Thursday, March 29, 2007

Specialist Waste Watchers Uncover Fresh Outrages

Unacceptable conduct in Ashford

Surely by now we're all clear that Kirk Douglas is the real Spartacus. Just as we're all clear that I'm the real Wat Tyler.

So imagine my surprise and confusion when I was contacted by Wat Tyler, drawing attention to his new site Gave me quite a turn, I can tell you- thought I'd finally slipped the jolly old bonds of reality.

But it turns out that Mr T's brand new site is devoted entirely to "the scandalous profligacy and mismanagement in Kent local government". And it's an excellent addition to the growing number of waste watching sites springing up around Britain.

It's still in its first month, but it's already blown the lid off a porn and prostitutes scandal at Ashford council:

"Martin Bacon, the managing director of the council regeneration quango Ashford Future, has resigned after discovered that he had been given four weeks of ‘gardening leave’ after pornography and correspondence with prostitutes were found on his office computer at Charter House. We understand that Mr Bacon — who was paid in excess of £100,000 a year — had spent up to four hours a day viewing internet porn in his office and soliciting the services of prostitutes.

We further understand that rather than being summarily dismissed once his actions had been proven — as is standard procedure in local government and the private sector — Mr Bacon received a ‘ticking off’ from chief executive David Hill and council leader Paul Clokie. He was told to go home for a month to recover from the stress of the incident but was back at his desk last week … until contacted the council about the incident prompting his resignation."

That's all bad enough, but Wat also gives us some facts and figures on the quango, Ashford First. It sounds like a real humdinger, with fingers in all kinds of budget-busting white elephant projects.

Wat is still on the case, asking "What does the Ashford boss class have to do to get fired?", and surmising that council leader Paul Clokie's desperate efforts to get the lid back on may backfire badly.

It's a gripping, if teeth-grinding, read, which I strongly recommend. Especially if you live in Kent (the county, of course, whose council topped the TPA's Town Hall Rich List).

Meanwhile long-time BOM correspondent and British Council watcher David Blackie has some chapter and verse on how taxpayers' money really is being used directly to subsidise its supposedly self-supporting commercial arm:

"So there it is in black and white. The taxpayer is, through the British Council’s “grant-in-aid”, paying the fees of students at the British Council’s language school in Tripoli, and the evidence given to parliament by the British Council Director-General was the opposite of the truth.

Will the FCO / Parliament / “Establishment” break with 70 years of precedent and actually do something about this? Or is the British Council immune or exempt by virtue of some sort of parademocratic status? In any case should the rest of us be concerned at this further evidence of the organisation’s casual relationship with veracity? We should."

Casual relationship with veracity... I like that. Thank goodness the rest of government would never sink to that level.
We've blogged the Lord Kinnockio headed British Council many times (eg see here). It is an outrageous waste of half a billion of taxpayers' funds every year. Keep on their tails, David.
PS As you know, the other other Wat Tyler was born in Essex, but led his rebellion from Kent. This is all getting a bit confusing. I may need to lie down.

No comments:

Post a Comment