Labour Council Honours Truth Will Out

For many years the Labour Party has waged a campaign to stifle freedom of expression by pumping millions of pounds of local tax payers money into the Councils ‘pravda style‘ publication – Waltham Forest News (WFN).

It is said the ultimate aim, started by former Council leader, Cllr Clyde Loakes, and continued by ‘Strong Leader’, Cllr Chris Robbins, is to rid Waltham Forest of the free press such as The Guardian.

So it is with some pride that we have heard that access to this website, by Council staff, has been blocked by our Stalinist rulers.

A GREAT HONOUR INDEED!!!

THANK YOU CLLR ROBBINS 

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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!

Once Upon a Time…

…at the beginning of this year Waltham Forest’s Head of Communications was summoned to a meeting to discuss her redundancy.

Suddenly, the Labour Party casts a spell, ‘Evanesco’, and the meeting is transformed into an interview for the post of Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications.

The only  ‘candidate’, Kathryn Myers, was given the job which attracted a salary between £71,000 and £127,000 a year.

Even the Conservative leader, Cllr Matt Davis, was subjected to Labour’s ‘Stupefy‘ spell as he was on the ‘interview’ panel.

7 months later we hear Kathryn Myers took voluntary redundancy as part of the authority’s restructuring plans earlier this month.

It seems the Labour Party looks after its own. By promoting Myers from Head of Communications to  Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications her redundancy package must of improved dramatically.

To add insult to injury it is alleged that the council is planning to give senior officers pay rises while cutting the wages of its lowest paid staff.

There are two things that spring to mind

  1. An once of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition (in this case literally)
  2. Waltham Forest needs strong and competent opposition to challenge Labour’s excesses.

Council’s Legal Eagle flys away

Waltham Forest Council’s Director of Governance and Law, Terry Osborne, is leaving to take another job after a mere eighteen months in post.

It seems Ms Osborne will not be missed as it is rumoured she was not well liked because of her over zealous behaviour.

We are led to believe an example of such behaviour was when Ms Osbourne threatened former councillor, James O’Rourke, with the Standards Board after he wrote an article on his blog entitled  ‘Council Cowardice’ just before the 2010 local elections. The on-line Waltham Forest Guardian picked the story up but then quickly dropped it before Mr O’Rourke’s article was also removed. Thankfully Mr O’Rourke’s article was copied by a regular contributer to this site, Nick Tiratsoo – click here to read it.

We understand that a comprehensive multi-agency enforcement operation,  relating to thirty flats built without planning permission in Walthamstow was called off at very short notice before the 2010 elections, apparently because Ms Osbourne thought it might be overly political –  ‘purdah’.

Disgracefully, sixteen months after Ms Osbornes ‘political concerns’ there has still been no action against those who built and currently rent out the thirty illegal flats. Interestingly, there has been no official comments from two High Street Councillors who are prominent in the housing market in the area

Inside ilegal flats

Cllr Liaquat Ali who is reputed to have a significant portfolio of ‘legitimate’ property in High Street ward and whose business premises, in St James Street, backs on to the illegal flats.

Cllr Mahmood Hussain whose business is in Hoe Street and has a significant rental portfolio in High Street ward

We sincerely hope that the ‘political concerns’ did not relate to rumours circulating that one or both of the above councillors have a connection to these illegal and unsafe buildings. We agree with Nick Tiratsoo’s comments, on one of our previous articles, that this matter “surely needs investigation.”

Ms Osbourne is not unfamiliar with controversy so we wish her future employers the best of luck.

Labour lemmings

Vulnerable children in Waltham Forest have been put at risk due to council failures, a damning Ofsted report has found following an unannounced inspection of its children and young people’s services department in June.

A result of this failure is the department’s deputy director, Linda Cointepas, has left the authority by “mutual agreement” and executive director, Chris Kiernan (allegedly a card carrying Labour supporter), is to ‘retire’ at the end of this month. Both, no doubt, with largess ‘golden handshakes’.

But what of the politicians responsible for this service?

The Labour Party have been responsible for this critical area of the councils services for well over a decade yet the current Portfolio Lead for Children and Young People, Cllr Saima Mahmud, has left commenting to a ‘spokesperson’.

We don’t expect the chair of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee, Cllr Ebony Vincent, to give this serious matter full and proper attention as we understand she is more interested in reporting to the Scrutiny Management Committee her activities with Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, and Cllr Mahmud!

Ironically, Leyton & Wanstead Labour MP, John Cryer, has an article on his website accusing Boris Johnson and the Government of “…shredding our services and putting our children’s futures at risk!”

Previous Councillors responsible for Children and Young People services are the councils ‘strong leader’, Chris Robbins (allegedly close friend of Chris Kiernan) and Liaquat Ali. Enough said!!!

Sham…bolic Consultation

A twelve week ‘consultation‘ in regards the future of Waltham Forest Library and Information Service may be proved to be a sham following rumours received by the Truth Will Out team.

Just six weeks ago Cabinet member for Leisure, Arts and Culture, Cllr Geraldine Reardon, said of the consultation  “First and foremost we must stress that no decision has yet been made and that these are still proposals” and the Councils consultation page states “The results of this consultation will be taken into account when a final decision is made.”

Whilst Labour politicians (fighting against low pay, workplace injustice and unemployment!!) are saying one thing in public we have been led to believe that  staff at South Chingford Library were told, in a recent meeting, it closes on 23rd December 2011. So what of Cllr Reardon’s assertion that “we will, of course, encourage as many residents and employees as possible to take part” if the decision has already been made?

If true, ‘Strong Leader’, Cllr Chris Robbins, champion of the working class, should advise Cllr Reardon that her position is untenable for presiding over a sham consultation and remove her from cabinet.

If you wish to contribute to the ‘consultation’ click here to fill in the online form by no later than 9th September 2011.

Note: The Labour Party are not novices at closing libraries in Waltham Forest – Friday Hill and St James Street libraries are just two examples.