Where there’s muck there’s brass!

Yet another publically-funded company promoting business, and with close ties to Waltham Forest Council, is accused of financial irregularities.

Belatedly, the Labour run Council has uncovered the fact that the E11 Bid had failed to disclose debts and found issues relating to the company’s governance.

Truth Will Out are not as surprised  at such revelations given who, in the past, was responsible for E11 Bid finances and may well still be?Khan

Johar Khan, alias The Scarlet Pimpernel, was/is the Finance Director of the E11 Bid.

E11 BID_KhanKhan should be comfortable in his new political home, after his successful appeal against not being approved as a local election candidate, as we are sure E11 Bids irregularities will be swept under the carpet like they have been for the Better Neighbourhood Initiative and WorkNet. Khan will join the illustrious group of Labour members who have, so far, eluded questions as to their roles in similar situations.

L & Q Wins Race

Walthamstow Assembly Hall played host to a special Planning Committee tonight with celebrity racing pundit, John McCririck, joining hundreds of local residents and Save Our Stow campaigners to oppose London & Quadrant’s proposals.

After a tortuous four hours the four Labour Councillors (Cllr Pete Barnett, Cllr Jenny Gray, Cllr Ebony Vincent & Cllr Asim Mahmood) outvoted the two Conservatives (Cllr Alan Siggers & Cllr Ed Northover) and the solitary Lib Dem (Cllr Liz Phillips) giving L & Q the go ahead for their ludicrous scheme which does not meet any of the Councils own targets. Interestingly, it was noted that Cllrs Gray, Vincent and Mahmood needed to take their cue when voting from Chair Cllr Pete Barnett who in turn kept looking towards the Councillor formerly responsible for housing and planning, Cllr Marie Pye, who was in the audience.

The standard of the debate from those opposing L & Q’s plans was extremely high. Not so from the highly paid L & Q staff (who described their organisation as a charity) nor, bar one, Waltham Forest’s elected Councillors!

The merits for and against this development can be easily found elsewhere.

We are more interested in the fact that democracy had been given short shrift tonight by an ‘accountable’ charitable and our Labour run Council whose political interests are more important than that of the community it supposedly serves.

We understand that an irate Labour supporter challenged Cllr Pete Barnett to resign so as they could both contest the seat in a by-election. Cllr Pete Barnett is reported to have replied “You can challenge me in 2014”. (Privately, it is rumoured that Cllr Barnett and his partner Cllr Angie Bean will not be standing for election in 2014).

Sadly, Waltham Forest is now being run by a Labour Party clique who lacks vision and has lost contact with its own supporters and residents. The opposition….what opposition!!!

Waltham Forest’s residents need to challenge the political incestuous allegiances by either putting up or supporting candidates in the 2014 local elections who will put community first.

Brown Envelopes

Politicians’ promises of transparency juxtaposes the reality of their actions. However, it is not actually transparency itself that is the most important thing. Transparency concerns us because it has a purpose. The purpose of transparency is accountability.

So it’s no surprise to hear that those accountable to us, Waltham Forest council and the Greater London Authority (GLA), have been negotiating behind the scenes to secure a pledge from property developer, London & Quadrant, of £1.75 million for improvements at Waltham Forest Pool & Track if it builds a residential estate at Walthamstow Stadium.

Two publicly funded organisations secretly negotiating with another publicly funded organisation to secure £1.75 million of taxpayers money as a ‘sweetener’ in return for guaranteed planning permission! Is there a connection to Councillor Marie Pye’s removal from her cabinet job for housing after her persistent denials that she was in secret talks with London & Quadrant?

Now, lets suppose the millionaire behind the Save Our Stow campaign was in similar secret discussions. He would undoubtedly be accused of bribery which could result in criminal charges.

The bottom line seems that ‘brown envelopes’ from publicly funded property developers is acceptable.

If, or rather when, London & Quadrant gets planning permission, even though a GLA report states that L&Q’s proposals do not

On balance…comply with the London Plan

it should be subject to Waltham Forest’s Section 106 policy. (Click here for general definition of Section 106).

Our fear is that that this deal will severley jeopardize the quota for affordable housing and valuable funding for infrastature (health provision, roads and schools) in and around The Stow to cover up the Waltham Forest Labour Party’s shortsightedness and ineptitude of not securing Olympic funding for Waltham Forest Pool & Track and the lack of meaningful regeneration in our borough.

The only transparency offered by the Waltham Forest Labour Party is that of its commitment to dodgy deals in the hope of electoral success at the next local elections.

Reward for failure

In a recent article we covered the publication of a damning Ofsted report which stated that vulnerable children in Waltham Forest have been put at risk due to council failures.

As a consequence the two senior Council Officers responsible swiftly ‘left’ their jobs no doubt with the blessings of the Labour Party and a large golden handshake.

Failure is almost always punished in real sports; in the shameless sport of politics, it is often no impediment.

Jon Ralston 

The latest example in Waltham Forest is the announcement that two fairly inept and failing Councillors have swapped jobs.

We agree with Archipelago of Truth that this shows (forgive us for another sporting analogy!) the strength in depth of the Labour team – or more accurately the lack of it!

But is this the entire story?

Why is Cllr Saima Mahmud still in the cabinet following her spectacular failure as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People? Could it be that her father has significant influence in the Waltham Forest Labour Party both financially and otherwise?

So what of Cllr Marie Pye who is no stranger to controversy? This is the Councillor who represents Waltham Forest Council on the London & Quadrant Housing Trust – Regional Committee and supports their plans for ‘The Stow’ and has her red sofa transported around the borough, at our expense, even though rumour has it she is not registered as disabled.

It seems if you are connected to the Waltham Forest Labour Party failure is an option; and can be well rewarded!

Cutting through the politics of cuts

Tonight, in Waltham Forest Town Hall, a massive social injustice has been meted out upon the most vulnerable in our community.

The latest tranche of local Labour cuts, led by Cllr Chris ‘Strong Leader’ Robbins, will  have a negative impact on the homeless, mentally ill, disabled, elderly and vulnerable young a Council report admits after they make hundreds of support staff redundant.

Robbins and his Labour cronies argues it has no choice as the Government moves to the budget deficit quickly.

Cllrs Bob Sullivan and Matt Davies’ Coalition Government argues that the former Labour Governments mishandling of the UK’s finances has led them to inflicting cuts Mrs Thatcher ‘could only have dreamt of’.

It seems it is the task of the weakest to protect the banks, politicians, and millionaires. The rich people of the UK must NOT be made to suffer. These cuts HAD to be made and it is only fair that the weakest should suffer the most. This is the nature of our current politics: the Masses suffer so that a rich minority can prosperously live glorious lives.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The Art of Misdirection

Since the revelation that fraud had occurred in the handling of money intended for Waltham Forest’s poorest areas the Council’s most senior legal Officer, Terry Osbourne, has issued a statement saying

..it appears to me that there may have been an error in the minutes produced in relation to the discussion at the committee

Whilst Ms Osbourne admits that the word ‘fraud’ was written by the committee clerk in their notebook she goes on to say that

I am satisfied that this word cannot be attributed to Ray (Head of Audit) in the way it appears in the minutes

The Truth Will Out team will happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he’ll saw a woman in half. That’s entertainment. But when Ms Osbourne says the minutes probably do not accurately reflect what was said, it’s not entertaining; its bordering on criminal.

The key word for us is probably. As a lawyer, is Ms Osbourne covering hers and the Councils back in case there is a challenge? Why would Waltham Forest Guardian print a quote from the Head of Audit as if one of their reporters had attended the meeting?

The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.

Even stalwart anti-fraud campaigner, Nick Tiratsoo, says he has been assured that members of the committee do not recall hearing the word ‘fraud’ used as it is recorded in the minutes and that it was a transcription error.

This episode led us to consider on what other occasions misdirection has or is being used.

This time last year the Liberal Democrats self-destructed after the de-selection of prominent senior councillors. At the time The Scarlet Pimpernel said that a certain Mr Saeed Diwan had been selected as part of a fair process.

Recently the Liberal Democrats delivered a Focus team calendar in Chapel End ward. No mention of Mr Diwan who, less than a year ago, apparently said he was best placed to be a Chapel End Councillor because the ward is diverse and that he funded the Hoe Street Lib Dem shop! Mr Diwan and his conies contributed to the ousting of long serving Liberal Democrats who, according to the figures, would have been returned as Councillors, albeit on a reduced majority.

So what of the present? Well, it’s the Lib Dems who continue to misdirect the residents of Walthamstow.

Defunct ex-councillors, Khan, Meiszner, Smith, Wheatley and Woollcott still, almost a year after the local elections, purport to be Councillors of the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The Truth Will Out team have drawn this deception to the the Council’s Director of Governance & Law, Terry Osbourne.

Pye in the Sky

Nine months into its administration, and in the face of no credible opposition, true Labour continues to demonstrate its utter contempt towards those it purports to represent.

In one very public hissy fit, senior member of the Labour Cabinet, Cllr Marie (Mama) Pye, said that residents in Waltham Forest who did not like high rise buildings should “move out and go and live in Surrey”. At the same time Mama Pye is shipping Waltham Forest’s homeless to Luton, presumably with a small furniture grant to purchase a red sofa, about which the audit commission’s One Place assessment to June 2010 stated:

“There are not enough good quality houses for people in Luton. This has been a long standing problem. The lack of available housing and overcrowding impacts on the lives of the people of Luton. This contributes to other problems such as poor health.

“Living in confined conditions can have a damaging effect on family life, including children’s safety. People who need help also have to wait too long to receive their housing benefits. Although the number of homeless people has recently reduced it is still too high.”

Pye’s rationale for moving Waltham Forest residents to already crowded Luton is because

There is a massive shortage of private rented accommodation for families in the borough.”

Pye’s singular strategy of Rack ’em and stack ’em (building them high and packing them in) blindly ignores reasons why there is shortage of traditional family homes. One being, that Waltham Forest landlords, including one prominent landlord in her cabinet, commonly convert houses into multiple flats, to boost their bank balances rather than provide what our borough needs.

Pye’s strategy lacks finesse and more importantly infrastructure – schools, roads, health facilities etc. Labour’s obsession with writing Master Plans has meant that they have forgotten what they buried within them. One Master Plan states that “New access roads, open spaces, schools and health facilities will be needed alongside new housing and employment development.”

How deep does Labour’s contempt for us go? Is it limited to senior, long serving, Councillors?

Seemingly, not. Local Markhouse ward councillor, Ebony Vincent, seems to have ‘played’ in both camps in relation to a proposed GIANT 14-storey tower block at Walthamstow Central. She apparently organised a public meeting with residents, presumably most of whom where against the proposals, yet voted with her fellow Labour Planning cronies in favour of the plans arguing that residents she spoke to were split “50/50” over the development and that she was motivated by concerns over the borough’s housing shortage.

Cllr Vincent has learned quickly about True Labour’s Political Arrogance and must believe her obedience will get her high up the greasy pole.

In the face of such arrogance and contempt the Truth Will Out team agrees with the anonymous commentator who said

Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.