Archive | November, 2017

Taupe Friday

30 Nov

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Taupe Friday – like Black Friday but more sophisticated!

For four days from Friday 1st December, Tax Return by Jim Pollard is available on pre Xmas offer.

A tongue in cheek detective novel that’s not at all taxing, the paperback will be £7.99 (reduced from £10) and the ebook will be FREE. It’s the ideal Christmas gift for yourself and a friend (because you’ll need to buy two of the paperbacks if you want free postage!).

Offer runs Friday 1st to Monday 4th December 2017.

Topical note: the book also furnishes, courtesy of Detective Sergeant Caton’s eccentric French mother, an explanation of the most popular forms of corporate tax avoidance in terms even HMRC could understand – the Paradise papers have never made more sense.




22 Nov

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via Instagram

It’s not a new sign, so I guess TfL has just decided to live with it!

Trigger action

20 Nov

On Saturday afternoon the crowdfunding campaign to challenge the result of last year’s mayoral trigger ballot hit its initial £10,000 target.

As Dave Hill reports:

Labour Party members in Newham seeking to overturn the re-selection of Sir Robin Wales as their mayoral candidate next year have hit an initial target of £10,000 to pursue a legal case against their party’s governing body

In January, Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) declined a request to investigate the affirmative nomination process or “trigger ballot” held last autumn, which saw Sir Robin endorsed to seek a fifth term as mayor despite claims that a number of “irregularities” had “made a material difference to the result”.

They are now in a financial position to issue a statement of claim, setting out the grounds which they content that their party has “behaved improperly” over the trigger ballot, both at local level and in failing at a national level to conduct an inquiry into how the process was run.

With the news coming out of Zimbabwe at almost exactly the same time, Sir Robin must be starting to feel a little nervous. This is not a good time for longstanding dictators with a penchant for gold chains.

TSSA trailer

7 Nov

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Cllr Salim Patel, mayoral advisor and TSSA delegate

London blogger and ex-Guardian journalist Dave Hill has an intriguing account of how one union affiliate’s vote ended up in Sir Robin’s pile in the trigger ballot.

It’s well worth reading the whole piece, but the nut of it is here:

The TSSA [Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association] branch in question is its Euston one. That branch had had previous ties with the East Ham Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Newham, and in May 2015 became affiliated to it again. A letter from the branch, which I have a copy of, informed the CLP’s then treasurer of this, said that affiliation fees and a donation of £50 had been paid by credit transfer from TSSA head office, and stated: “Our delegate will be Councillor Salim Patel.”

Councillor Patel represents Manor Park ward in Newham. His Labour Party profile describes him as a train manager with Virgin Trains. He is also one of Sir Robin’s appointees as a “community lead councillor” with additional children and early years responsibilities. For these duties he received in 2016/17 a special responsibility allowance of £8,433.39 in addition to his standard councillor allowance of £10,842.

The person in charge of running the trigger ballot was Councillor Patrick Murphy, chosen by  Newham Labour’s Local Campaign Forum in conjunction with the party’s London region for the task of procedures secretary. His duties included distributing trigger ballot papers. Councillor Murphy too was a mayoral adviser at the time, receiving a special responsibility allowance of £7,871.50. He is still on Sir Robin’s team, currently as a “delivery lead” councillor, with responsibility for environment policy.

My information is that the TSSA Euston branch received no direct communication from Councillor Murphy, unlike other unions entitled to vote in the ballot. Rather, Councillor Patel in person brought the ballot paper to a Euston branch officer, who signed it off without really appreciating what it was or giving it more than a moment’s attention. A vote was eventually added to the pile favouring Sir Robin’s automatic re-selection. The final result was 20-17.

Hill says he has contacted Cllr Patel for his side of the story and promised to update his story if he’s got anything wrong. He has not yet had any response.

If Salim Patel won’t talk to Dave Hill he should at the very least explain himself to local Labour members.As with everything else connected to the affiliate votes in the trigger ballot, this absolutely stinks.

Unlocking votes

6 Nov

D Lee Newham Mag

A nice bit of promotion in the latest issue of the Newham Mag for local locksmith Daniel Lee.

Especially nice, as Daniel Lee is a local Labour party member who’s just passed the interview panel to be a candidate at next year’s council elections. And local branches will be holding their selection meetings in the next few weeks.

No doubt this is a complete and utter coincidence.