Author Topic: Lamplighters #12  (Read 12618 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Lamplighters #12
« on: March 19, 2010, 04:58:01 PM »

Delayed again, but for good reasons  :)

I'm holding back from publishing because Swindons lamplighters are currently watching certain people at SBC incriminate themselves even further by having another go at re-writing recent history.

Presumably bolstered by seeing a hurried cover-up by officers get underway, it appears that Rod Bluh and his cabinet have already decided to go full steam ahead, regardless of the outcomes of several different 'actions' being carried out by the Chief executive of SBC, Gavin Jones.

This is going to be an interesting weekend. I guarantee it  :)


Info appeal: We understand that Gavin Jones sent a communication out regarding recent events and we'd like to know what he said, and who he said it to.  You know what to do.....  leaks@talkswindon.org





Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 02:08:20 AM »

Okey dokey..... I'm pretty sure I'll be stringing a few words together later this morning.  Even at this time of the morning we're still learning that certain people in the borough are promoting versions of recent history which are, shall we say, significantly at variance with the truth.

For reasons that will become apparent as events unfold over the next 20 hours or so, some stuff will be published in this thread later today, and some really juicy stuff in another thread later this evening.

Today is going to be an important day for local politics in Swindon, and an uncomfortable day for many of it's local politicians.

 

Offline komadori

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 08:22:58 AM »
 :popcorn:
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Offline Ringer

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2010, 10:21:10 AM »
It's doing the rounds here the gossip and speculation is rife.  Will it only make politicians feel uncomfortable? Have the officers nothing to feel uncomfortable about? Oh we're busy do nothing, nobody can deny! I have heard that leadership battles are getting hot, does anyone else know if it is the case?  :coffee:

I think tomorrow everyone in the offices will be breathing a big sigh of relief, the tension now can be cut with a knife don't you think? Almost as good as a bigmatch build up. ::)
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2010, 10:31:35 AM »
Well, by necessity I'm going to be posting bits and pieces all through today, this evening and probably late into the night. 

Without a doubt the public/private partnership between Digital City (UK) Ltd* and Swindon Borough Council is causing so much controversy that there will be political casualties and other collateral damage within the Borough Council. 

The atmosphere within the civic complex is described as 'tense' by some and 'they're running around like headless chickens' by others.  Civic tensions are not soothed by the following automated email response message being broadcast from the office of the Borough Solicitor, Stephen Taylor:

Quote from: Stephen Taylor, Borough Solicitor, Monitoring Officer and Director of Law and Democratic Services for Swindon Borough Council
I am on leave next week from 22nd March to 26th March and will be back in the office on Monday 29th March.


This must be very worrying for the SBC Director of 'Business Transformation', Hitesh Patel,  because he had last week been ordered by the CEO of SBC, Gavin Jones, to work closely with Stephen Taylor and Stuart McKellar, (finance officer), to 'draw a complete picture' of recent events.  Moreover, Gavin Jones is expecting to be briefed on this 'complete picture' before it is unveiled to councillors.

I have to tell readers that I suspect the picture with prove to be a fake mounted in a gilt-edged frame and,  ss usual, we already know many of the correct answers before the questions have even been asked.

If I could, in any way influence the words and actions of the 'wise and the good' in Euclid Street today, I'd urge them to start telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth....immediately. 

If they choose not to do this, and stick to the course I think they have chosen, they will look neither wise or good for very much longer.

In the style of Cllr Reynards Tweets: "Off to make some important calls - the future of SBC is at stake"

More in a bit.....  :popcorn:



*  Not to be confused with http://www.thedigitalcity.org/    Which may well be where Mr Hunt, a newcomer to digital engagement, found the inspiration for naming his 'innovative and unique' digital concept?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2010, 12:38:06 PM »
Additional:  The Challenge to Rod Bluh's Leadership

The rumoured challenge to Rod Bluh's leadership seems to be have become a very real one over the weekend and I'm told that Bluh is already strategically encouraging Cllr's to support David Reynards nomination as the next deputy leader.   This is no real surprise as Councillor Reynard was boasting-by-tweet last week that he was:

Quote from: Cllr David Renard
"Chairing Cabinet which is debating the current key issues"


The possibility that Bluh views Renard as a viable deputy is a prospect which concerns some.  Lamplighter Wikipol says:

Quote from: WikiPol
"David Renard struggles hard to keep his budget overspends within a million or so.  His budget recently swallowed up £225K paid to SBCby Bath Uni when they surrendered their lease on the Oakfield campus.

That £225,000 was supposed to be used to reinstate playing fields on the old Oakfield Campus, but was swallowed by yet another of David Renards black holes.  Mark Edwards must marvel at Renards ability to find a different overspend for him to deal with every month"


Has Rod Bluh decided that, (if he does not survive a selection interview and/or is rejected by the electors of Dorcan), that Renard should replace him as leader?

As Renards inability to stay within a budget of £millions is fast becoming as legendary as Rod Bluh's ability to spend millions yet deliver nothing, is this a warning that Swindons tax payers can expect even more of the same cavalier approach to fiscal prudence if either or both of them survive as cabinet members?  Perhaps it's not surprising that the hair-line of the lead member for finance isn't only receding, it is in full-blown retreat.

I'm currently at a loss to explain why Walcots two Tory Councillors, Mavis Childs and Peter Mallinson have not vigorously protested the sudden loss of £225,000 that should of, by rights, been used in their ward.  I have to consider that their apparent lack of public concern, (or even outrage), might be masking the deeper intent of helping to remove two cabinet members who have become notorious for asset-stripping and plundering every ward but their own. 

I can now think of at least 4 other cabinet members who are, or should be, deeply dissatisfied with Bluh and his gang of four, (the cabinet-within-the-cabinet).  The split is there, it is real, and I am reasonably sure that out of that split will emerge a serious contender for the leadership, (or deputy leadership), who is intent on giving the Rodigarchy an education in political in-fighting.


If you know more, let us know too  :)  -  leaks@talkswindon.org

Offline Jarvis

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2010, 12:52:20 PM »

I see Talkswindon is also 'Tweeting' now  ;D   http://twitter.com/talkswindon

I laughed my socks off when I read your tweet about the 'Major Regeneration Project In West Swindon'   http://twitter.com/talkswindon/status/10627676718

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2010, 01:01:53 PM »
I'm growing fonder of Twitter by the day  :)

Here's curious coincidence: Todays Daily Mail

Quote

TORY OUTCRY OVER THE ‘EX-MINISTERS FOR HIRE’ SCANDAL

GORDON Brown was last night facing demands for an urgent investigation after Labour was plunged into a “cash for access” scandal.

Three former Cabinet ministers were secretly filmed apparently offering to help a fake lobbying firm in exchange for payments of up to £5,000 a day.

Last night, Tory leader David Cameron said: “These are shocking allegations. The House of Commons needs to conduct a thorough investigation into these ex-Labour ministers.


This story appears on the same day that my Member of parliament, Anne Snelgrove, is going to stand up in the chamber and discuss Swindons WiFiasco.  I'm hoping that she'll touch upon the subject of the dangers of innappropriate relationships between councillors, council officers and businessmen.  I grant that the circumstances in Swindon differ from the National story, because in Swindons case....

...it appears that two local politicians have given almost unlimited free access to one person in particular before a lot of money flowed in exactly the opposite direction.  SBC eh?, can't even get a decent scandal organised properly. 

Onwards.....

I particularly liked this comment at the foot of the Express story...

Quote
This new cash for influence scandal highlights the debased political class as much, if not more, than the expenses saga. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a proper independent body to scrutinise politicians. This would investigate all accusations against MPs, Lords and Ministers and would decide on cases using the Nolan Principles that apply to all public bodies


...because that is exactly what we need in Swindon.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 02:14:15 PM by Geoff Reid »

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 01:34:28 PM »
I followed the link all I could find was something about a salt bin? Is that all it is or have you got the wrong link? If it is a salt bin then as a major regeneration project its a little   :emb: would'nt you agree?

Offline Jarvis

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 02:22:33 PM »

The headline you won't see tomorrow morning.  After Annie Snelgroves debate tonight, will we see the following headline in Tomorrows papers?


CAMERON SLAMS TORY COUNCIL

Speaking out after a Flagship Tory Council was criticised last night, Tory Chief David Cameron said:

Quote
“These are shocking allegations. Swindon Borough Council should be thoroughly investigated!"


I bet he stays quiet.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2010, 02:36:03 PM »
Walcot Update:  I earlier said:

I'm currently at a loss to explain why Walcots two Tory Councillors, Mavis Childs and Peter Mallinson have not vigorously protested the sudden loss of £225,000 that should of, by rights, been used in their ward.  I have to consider that their apparent lack of public concern, (or even outrage), might be masking the deeper intent of helping to remove two cabinet members who have become notorious for asset-stripping and plundering every ward but their own. 


If you know more, let us know too  :)  -  leaks@talkswindon.org


Walcot Conservatives website says of Councillor Mallinson:

Quote
As the Chairman of The Parks and East Walcot Neighbourhood Renewal Company Cllr Peter Mallinson has been involved with the regeneration projects in East Walcot.  Peter will continue to ensure that the projects we have funded continue to operate.  Peter also the Chair of the East Walcot residents forum which gives the residents a voice in regeneration matters.


Quote from: Cllr Peter Mallinson
"I would welcome feedback on the proposed regenerations plans as everything must be done to improve the local area for the benefit of local residents."


Q: How do the residents of Walcot feel about £225,000 disappearing into one of Councillor Renards Black Holes and what really happened to money left over when the The Parks and East Walcot Neighbourhood Renewal Company was wound up in 2007?

Walcot in touch again:

Quote
"At the end of operations there was a surplus of funds from the money used to run the company, this was not funding money but money accumulated through savings in the efficient running of the company.

This money has been used to setup a Peoples Fund for Parks and East Walcot, the money is on deposit with Swindon Council and the fund is being run by Stepping Forward situated adjacent to St Johns Church in Cavendish Square.  How to access the fund will be advertised locally later this year.


I've never been able to find any 'advertising' which reveals where that money went or how much of it there was......

....answers in an email to leaks@talkswindon.org please  :)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2010, 02:47:52 PM »
If the fund was being used to fund Stepping Forward, there proabably wasn't any way of accessing it.  Did I hear that Stepping Forward was closing down through lack of funding? So perhaps it's all been used up.   
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2010, 03:01:53 PM »
perhaps it's all been used up.

I'm hearing that it just vanished.

Now I'm wondering if David Renards cash-o-matic budget hoover ran over it on its way to the Sussex Square Regeneration scheme ?

Offline Muggins

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2010, 03:09:19 PM »
Just thinking Geoff that if they had £225,000 left in 2007 and here it is 2010 already, that's about £70,000 a year to run a support and counselling thing like Stepping Forward, it would have easily used that up in that time, just on worker wages.  What might have happened is that, that fund replaces community charge money to pay for the project.  They are mighty clever at finding pots of money to replace what should be from mainstream funding.

Usually these funds are set up to ADD to services, but that doesn't seem to happen after the initial thrust. I think some of that stuff on the web page you mnetioned could be well out of date. 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2010, 03:18:19 PM »
I think some of that stuff on the web page you mnetioned could be well out of date.


It's quite clear that the Walcot Conservatives web pages are 2007.

Hot tip from Fagin says that the money in question has been 'resting' in an SBC account since the scheme was wound up.

Cllr Renards latest tweet says:

Quote
"Meeting with colleagues and officers to debate future housing needs"


Has he found the money and plugging the cash-o-matic in as we speak?  :)




Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2010, 04:40:55 PM »
I followed the link all I could find was something about a salt bin? Is that all it is or have you got the wrong link? If it is a salt bin then as a major regeneration project its a little   :emb: would'nt you agree?

Yep, you found it.  A new salt bin has been successfully delivered.

Only it hasn't been delivered yet and even if it is, it won't won't be going where it was requested for or be usable by the people who requested it.

That salt bin, or rather the potentiality of a salt bin, might yet become iconic.   :)







Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2010, 05:24:52 PM »
Quote from Intouch
Quote
This money has been used to setup a Peoples Fund for Parks and East Walcot, the money is on deposit with Swindon Council and the fund is being run by Stepping Forward situated adjacent to St Johns Church in Cavendish Square.  How to access the fund will be advertised locally later this year.


I believe that Stepping Forward has ceased to operate?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/4755724.Don___t_close_doors_on_a_vital_charity/

All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2010, 05:41:37 PM »
So what happened to the money then?  I am sure the residents of Walcot would like to know.

The regeneration of Marlowe Avenue by the Council is lumbering the shop keepers with huge bills as they will be provided with a bare shell for a 50% rent increase.  Is any of this money going to be used to help them in the same way the Council are helping Digital City or is it because it is Walcot they will be left to get on with it?  After all it is not their fault the site is being redeveloped.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2010, 05:56:03 PM »
Quote from Intouch
Quote
This money has been used to setup a Peoples Fund for Parks and East Walcot, the money is on deposit with Swindon Council and the fund is being run by Stepping Forward situated adjacent to St Johns Church in Cavendish Square.  How to access the fund will be advertised locally later this year.


I believe that Stepping Forward has ceased to operate?

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/4755724.Don___t_close_doors_on_a_vital_charity/


It clearly says that Stepping Forward would be closed for lack of funding?  That will undoubtedly not help Graham Cherry with his re-election plans.

Perhaps the powers that be should say exactly what has happened to this money.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Lamplighters #12
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2010, 05:59:14 PM »
I can't really speak for Walcot or Parks, but I do know that reps from there that came to the same meetings as me said there is/was £50,000  sat somewhere to provide some sort of play equipment. The hold up was actually trying to find a bit of land to put it on - seeing as how they seem to have infill developed to the enth degree over there.  Will make enquiries, may take a few days. It could be that the rest of the money is also ring-fenced., if this is the same pot.

See my posting (though heaven knows where it is about the Participle project - wadge of funding given to provide very similar services, putting, in my opinion other support organisations in serious danger of closing through lack of funding.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)