Archive | August, 2012

Rotten Boroughs

29 Aug

I see that the latest issue of Private Eye (no. 1321) again features a story about Newham in its Rotten Boroughs section. This one focuses on the re-uniforming of the council’s anti-social behaviour officers in a manner that harks back to the dark days of the ‘Parks Constabulary’.

As you can see from the picture on Mike Law’s blog, which is reproduced in the Eye, the ASBOs look exactly like real police officers, except that they’re not:

It is an offence to impersonate a police officer. What, I wonder, are the real police going to do about it?

Behind you!

17 Aug


Snouts in the trough – again

15 Aug

After a bit of prompting Newham has published details of the allowances and expenses paid to councillors during the financial year 2011/12.

The basic allowance paid to all councillors (except the mayor) is £10,829 per annum, less a £60 fee for using their council laptop for personal use and a £35 data protection registration fee. Around half of the council also receive additional ‘special responsibility’ allowances. 

In total our 61 councillors raked in £1,210,323 in allowances last year. That’s an average of £19,841 each.

The table below shows the top dozen earners on the council.

RA WALES (Mayor)  81,029
AR BAIKIE  46,389
IK CORBETT  42,811
LT HUDSON  42,111
U DESAI  41,776
C MCAULEY  41,776
A KELLAWAY  37,635
CW FURNESS  37,291
JH LAGUDA  33,499
Q PEPPIATT  29,358


It is worth bearing a couple of things in mind while looking at this list:

Firstly, ordinary Newham people earn the second lowest wages in London at just £29,518 a year. A dozen councillors earn that or more just from their allowances, never mind any additional income they enjoy from their regular jobs.

Secondly, as recently as 2002 the basic allowance for councillors in Newham was just £533 a year. As council leader Robin Wales received an additional special responsibility allowance of £16,631. That scheme was replaced as soon as Sir Robin became mayor, when allowances rocketed to over £9,000 for councillors and £65,000 for the elected mayor.

Things have only got worse (or better, if you are lucky enough to be among the favoured few) since then.

A copy of the full report, listing all councillors, can be downloaded from the Newham website.

Sir Robin Wales on ‘The World at One’

15 Aug

Newham’s mayor talking about employment and the Olympic legacy on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One today:


2 Aug


Something of an Internet meme has sprung up since the blond Bullingdonian got himself stuck on a zip wire.

This is one I made, but there’s far more fun to be had over at