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Monday, 14 September 2020

More on the Rule of Law

I have just been reading "Fake Law" by the Secret Barrister. In it he recounts that Harriet Harman as Solicitor General said that Fred Goodwin's employment contract giving him a huge pension despite trashing his employer, RBS, "violated the Court of Public Opinion" and should be over ridden. He regards this violation of the Rule of law as shocking, which it was. One Tory MP at the time dismissed it as "leftie inanity". The MP was Boris Johnson. He gives Johnson's own web site as his source. Quite a change from Mr Johnson's views on breaking international law today.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Brexit Promises

Boris Johnson's proposal to over ride existing law to implement the Irish backstop is probably the most self defeating tactic he could pursue. I wonder what all those strict believers in Brexit as the "will of the people" think of it? It is after all quite contrary to the electoral mandate that Johnson won less than a year ago.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Brexit Chicken

Why does it not seem to occur to Boris Johnson and his ilk that if he has decided that the EU will cave because the damage from no deal would be so gigantic, the same calculation may be believed by them about him? These are the exactly the right way to create an accidental no deal Brexit, and exactly the best way to put the EU off negotiating with us in future.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

The Climate Emergency is too Urgent for Extinction Rebellion

Yesterday's partial blocking of newspapers exposes how the Extinction Rebellion has been hijacked by people with quite other motives. This not as uncommon as one might hope. Another example might be Palestinian rights. Fringe groups whose main objectives have little public sympathy like the SWP try to latch on to more popular causes and exploit them. In the process, they wreck those causes. This should be allowed to happen with tackling the climate emergency.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Brent Council's New Executive

I gather it is intended to drop three of the existing Council executive from the new one, which is tough on them but otherwise not noteworthy. Brent Council is essentially being run by one man as a family business.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Brent Council General Reserves

Brent Council Audit Committee will shortly meet and find that Brent has a General reserve of about £15 million. Grant Thorton believes that makes it safer than most Councils from catastrophic failure. This is the culmination of many years, arguably starting with Paul Daisley who was leader from 1996 to 2001. Inheriting organised financial chaos the Tories under Bob Blackman, he set the pace for Brent's professionalisation as a Council. This continued once his former Deputy Ann John succeeded him as Leader. There was a short hiatus under the Tory/Lib Dem leadership of Paul Lorber, who cut reserves ahead of the 2010 election. The very tough financial situation then facing the incoming Labour administration, where at one point we faced a projected overspend of £7.1 million but a reserve of only £7.5 million, caused it to follow the auditors' advice and increase reserves again. It also caused the administration to seek increases in revenue wherever possible (with the exception of Council Tax). At the same time there were a number of money saving transformations, improved procurement and in cases quite courageous decisions no longer to fund certain activities. All this work helped Brent Council to maintain relative freedom of action in the ensuing years. Now that Brent is once again facing even more central government cuts it is important that councillors show similar courage and discipline. The alternative is to lose a grip on the finances and therefore the political agenda.