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News and Comment June 2020

Index: 2020

2 June (Part 2) - Local Government is a job for life

Newham's financesDon’t get on the wrong side of someone who has an inkling of what accountancy is all about would appear to be a good motto. Here we go again with more comment from a former colleague of Bexley’s Director of Finance.

There’s not been a word of support from any of the three boroughs where he has exercised his powers. Come on, someone must have a good word to say? Last time I said that a cheeky lady said something which in view of the latest nonsense from government would lead to her getting a criminal record.

Here’s another highlight of Paul Thorogood’s career in Newham. Of particular interest is his ducking of questions.

Members asked three times about the sufficiency of financial controls and three times he failed to provide the required assurance. Well he couldn’t really as there were few controls, a problem his successors have admitted to.

We had hoped things would get better, but so far the improvement plan has had little input from staff. The arrogance in some quarters is unbelievable but at least [by opting out of One Source] we get to be Newham employees again. It seems the same issues persist across the river when I speak with colleagues in Bexley.

With very minor editing for clarity.
Newham's finances


2 June (Part 1) - Covidiots everywhere

If I allow these meanderings to wander around the Corona virus I can be sure of two things, I will lose Twitter followers and receive a handful of emails questioning my intellect. It provides a bit of relief to the misery of obeying the lockdown rules and what goes on in Newham so let’s do it again.

Without doing an exhaustive check I think my main criticism of this government has been that its rules and regulations are stupidly inconsistent. You can go to IKEA but you can’t go to church, that sort of thing. You can gather in large numbers to protest against police brutality without the law stepping in but you are handcuffed if you are an ambulance driver standing outside your own flat minding your own business. (The assumption was that a black man standing around waiting for nothing in particular must be a drug dealer.)

I have come to accept that the police are rarely intelligent and sometimes thuggish but it is disappointing to note from the daily Press Briefings that the Cabinet can be less than intelligent too, possibly on a par with the average bus queue and more than likely less honest.

The intelligence and honesty of the press must also be called into question. They vilify a government advisor who seems to have panicked over the health of his son and probably stretched the lockdown rules to breaking point but are not much worried by the MP for Canterbury who takes similar journeys to see, and maybe see to, her married lover.

I’m inclined to think the government began to come to its senses when it relaxed the lockdown rules and ignored the medics who say otherwise while living in their own little bubble. If they had their way we would all lock ourselves in the lavatory until a vaccine is found, and maybe it never will be.

Politicians must take a more balanced view and consider how to get business and commerce up and running again. A big disincentive must be the incredibly generous furlough scheme. The sort of thicko who takes his children to a crowded beach but thinks school is far too risky is never going to want to work while he is on full pay, or close, and stop being the layabout he is.

Balanced political views seem to be in short supply; I’m told mine definitely aren’t, but any Government that makes so called intimate relations between consenting adults a criminal offence simply doesn’t deserve to exist. Good God, how is the Prime Minister going to find his next bit of skirt if that law is enacted?

I suspect that is enough to ensure a few more abusive emails so no need to go on. Back to dubious financial decisions next.


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