Archive | November, 2013

16 shades of Robin Wales

25 Nov

16 shades of Robin Wales

The current issue of the Newham Mag contains an extraordinary 16 pictures of the Mayor.

Even by the Mag’s Pravda-like standards, this must be some kind of record.

Could there be an election coming up, I wonder?

Community affairs

8 Nov
The Community Affairs team. What exactly  does Richard Crawford do?

The Community Affairs team. What exactly does Richard Crawford do?

Congratulations to Forest Gate councillor Ellie Robinson, who has been appointed to the Mayor’s cabinet as “Executive member for Community Affairs (North) and Safeguarding”.

Likewise to Plaistow South’s Forhad Hussain, who is now “Executive Member for Community Affairs (South) and Capital Projects”.

With Ellie looking after community affairs in the north of the borough and Forhad the south, both sitting in cabinet, what exactly is there left for councillor Richard Crawford to do as ‘Senior Executive Member for Community Affairs’?

As he’s currently pocketing close £43,000 a year in allowances from the council, I think we should be told.

Sir Robin’s slightly more expensive iPad

1 Nov

Sir Robin Wales has been shamed into handing over an extra £79 for the iPad mini he received as a gift on his recent trip to China.

A Freedom of Information request by @StopCityAirport asking for the basis of the original £130 valuation received this response:

The initial £130 valuation was provided verbally to the Mayor’s Office based on a Council officer’s research of local equivalent prices. No documentation is held to support this initial valuation. The Mayor paid this amount and a declaration was made to reflect this, in line with the Council’s policies for the declaration of gifts and hospitality. When he did this the Mayor queried the amount and the methodology by which it was established and asked for an independent valuation to be undertaken via the Council’s Interim Monitoring Officer.

A revised valuation was provided by officers on the 18th September on behalf of the Council’s Interim Monitoring Officer of £209.62. The Mayor then paid in full the revised amount advised and the relevant declaration was amended to reflect this.

The revised valuation is now in line with the ex-VAT price of a 16GB, wifi-only iPad mini.

But if you believe the Mayor himself initiated the re-valuation or the date this is claimed to have happened you probably have fairies living at the bottom of your garden.

As with the Brighton College nonsense it is an unnamed official who is at fault for inaccuracies in the Mayor’s declaration of interests, not Sir Robin himself.

Even if this is true, it isn’t good enough: it is Sir Robin’s register of interests; they are his declarations of gifts and hospitality. He and he alone is responsible for ensuring they are accurate; he must be accountable when there are errors.