Thursday, August 28, 2014

Rotherham Town Hall Tyrants – Where Are They Now?

  • Shaun Wright: Still PCC, just. Resigned from Labour.
  • Joyce ‘Ukip foster parents’ Thacker: still in post at Social Services.
  • Ged Fitzgerald: Now chief executive of Liverpool City Council.
  • Paul Lakin: remains Labour deputy leader of the council.

Time to clear some desks.

Pic via the Mail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About the Bercow Row
Leaked Memo From Speaker’s Opponents Explains All

Been away? Well this memo prepared by the cross-party alliance who have hamstrung the Speaker – tells you everything you need to know about the row over who will be the new Clerk of the House of Commons and whether the job will be split:

Bercow will face scrutiny about what looks remarkably like dirty tricks in his attempt to install his preferred external candidate into the role:

“The internal candidates were given less notice of the presentation required and of its subject than the external candidates (the former on the Monday before interview, the latter the previous Friday). The external candidates were offered a briefing meeting with the Speaker as Chair of the Board; the Clerk candidates were not. Some of the questioning appears not to have accorded with best practice. It is also reported that the Speaker gave the panel the benefit of his personal views of the Clerk candidates. All this may be explored in Tribunal proceedings.”

Just ten days after twisting arms on the selection panel, he has backed down and realised just how much trouble he is in. It would appear he greatly underestimated his opponents…

Miliband Now Backing Call for Shaun Wright to Quit

shaun-wright-ed-miliband

Having campaigned for him to become a Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012 – even after negative reports about Children’s Services in Rotherham for which Shaun Wright was responsible – Labour HQ says Ed Miliband is backing calls for Wright to resign. The warning signs were there before he stood to be PCC; Ofsted giving the council the lowest rating possible, the Whitehall warnings to improve, the Times news reports rejected by Shaun Wright . Pictured here on the campaign, it is now handbags…

Yet again this shows why we need a voter’s power of recall for all elected positions. Back it here.

LISTEN: MacShame Uses Rotherham to Plug Diaries on Radio 4
Denies All Knowledge Concerning Child Abuse Scandal

“No single individual, no constituent, no child, no family came to see me…” but buy my book!

WATCH: Labour’s Shaun Wright: “I Won’t Quit”

Labour’s PCC Wright says scandal didn’t reach senior political or management level.

Apparently there has been “a huge amount of learning”, so that’s ok then.

How can he sleep at night?

Shaun Wright Should Resign Today

shaun-wright-crosshairs

Never has a politician more deserved to be targeted by Guido’s crosshairs. Shaun Wright failed the children of Rotherham terribly…

Shaun Wright was the Labour councillor with cabinet responsibility for children’s services in the Rotherham from 2005 to 2010 until he was elected to the PCC role in 2012. Yorkshire and Humber UKIP MEP Jane Collins has called for Shaun Wright to step down yesterday, in response he told the BBC he took his responsibilities very seriously but would not stand down. He should accept he bears responsibility and resign immediately.

UPDATE: Labour’s national-level distancing operation has begun, with Yvette Cooper saying it’s right for Wright to walk. Helen Pidd, the Guardian’s Northern editor is cynical and right:

Better Together

The body language was wonderful at this morning’s joint appearance between Darling and the former Prime Mentalist:

Did someone say ‘forces of hell’?

Pic via Alan Roden.

MacShame Uses Rotherham Scandal to Plug New Book

Rotherham’s former Labour MP has broken his silence on the child abuse scandal, from the comfort of the Dordogne:

Or you could just read the 160 page report which covers the time Denis was the local Labour MP and seemingly oblivious to what was happening on his patch and the failings of his friends and allies on the local Labour council.

Far more insightful, and free.

Gallery Guido: Disaster Strikes Retreating Speaker

The retreating Speaker is now offering to split Robert Rogers’ role (which he always wanted) but have the new administrative position answer to the Clerk (which he never wanted).

This is a disaster for John Bercow – to save his job he has significantly strengthened the Clerk and created an alternative power base backstage.

But this isn’t the end, or even the beginning of the end.

The current legal and procedural shambles is the end of the beginning.

Carol Mills will be doing half the job at twice the salary. At the moment she still has the grace and favour grandeur of 3 Parliament St.

This is clearly untenable.

The process needs to start again.

Without the need for procedural knowledge a multitude of candidates will present themselves for one of the most prestigious jobs in the public service.

Carol Mills’ employment lawyer is going to make a fortune.

Bercow Blinks

In the middle of the August recess, Bercow quietly slipped the name of his preferred choice of Common’s Clerk to No 10 for them to send to the Palace. As the BBC reported on 19 August:

“Speaker John Bercow’s choice to take over as Parliament’s most senior official is almost certain to get the job…

…a spokesman for House of Commons leader William Hague said it would be “pretty extraordinary” if Downing Street were to reject the panel’s chosen candidate.

A source close to Mr Bercow called the recruitment process, which included two interviews, “fair and transparent”.”

After sitting on it for 9 days, Downing Street have now made clear they are not happy. Bercow has woken up to the crisis, despite still standing by his choice for Clerk late last week. A source tells the Times Red Box:

“He realises there are big problems here and he does not want to do something to which the House is opposed. As far as we know he wants to be re-elected as Speaker in 2015. And neither would John want to embarrass the Queen.”

Bercow is now signalling he would be happy to look again at splitting the role – something opposed by Tory backbenchers, but the current Clerk has fired a missile at that idea too. Again the BBC:

“Sir Robert Rogers – the most senior official in the House of Commons – says a suggestion his role could be split to create two posts of equal seniority is the ‘wrong answer’. Adding ‘the buck must stop somewhere, and it needs to stop with the official who is responsible to the House, not to a Chief Executive responsible to the Speaker and the House of Commons Commission’.”

Bercow has blinked, but this will rumble on yet. Either way, is it not about time the ‘listening speaker’ consulted those  he was elected to serve – the MPs.


Seen Elsewhere

Treatment of Ashya King’s Family Authoritarian | Brendan O'Neill
Stop the War Should Disband | Rob Marchant
State Should Not Act as Parent | Kathy Gyngell
Guido’s Column | Sun
Don’t Bottle Schools Revolution | Dom Cummings
Sack Bercow | Melanie Phillips
Tories Should Have Open Primary in Clacton | Mark Wallace
Osborne Tricked Into Haircut | Janan Ganesh
100 Tory Eurosceptics Defy Cameron | Indy
ConHome Manifesto Launched | ConHome
Play the Great Clacton By-Election Game! | ConservativeHome


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Douglas Carswell…

“I stab people in the front, not the back.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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