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Sep 17 2014

Dave’s Council Gives Up on Transparency

harrow_council_logoCast your mind back to Susan Hall’s plans to implement a spitting ban in the borough. Her idea was to introduce fines for those who spit, in an attempt to eradicate this disgusting habit from the streets her her town.

So now, of course, we fast forward a few months, to Dave’s council. Naturally, jumping on the back of a good thing, they want to deliver on her promises. So, this week – tomorrow night, in fact – there’s an agenda item where Dave’s cabinet will approve the implementation of this ban.

All well and good so far.

However, the Council is tweeting already – a full 24 hours ahead of Dave and chums approving this, that it’s already going ahead in January. Which is strange, because either the Council’s PR team have some kind of mystic powers (unlikely, to be honest) over what the Cabinet decision will be, or it’s already a done deal, decided behind closed doors over a couple of cans of Special Brew and a kebab. In fact, the council’s PR team, perhaps feeling jittery now that the council is seeking a new PR agency, have already put together and published a press release – a full 48 hours before the big evening.


Now, this particular case isn’t particularly exciting. Few, if any, would disagree with a ban against such abhorrent behaviour going ahead, but surely it begs the question as to what other deals have been done, away from public scrutiny, and without any chance of transparency. Which means, Thursday’s cabinet – as well as other future ones, given the absence of the opposition there to ask questions – could easily be nothing more than a bunch of nodding councillors. After all, none of them are going to rock the boat and risk losing their allowances for being on cabinet, surely? And this is where a single-party cabinet breaks down, especially when the Overview and Scrutiny Committee is also chaired by the same party: we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – it’s nothing more than the fox guarding the henhouse.

Come along tomorrow night, 6.30 onwards at the Civic Centre. Remember, you are permitted to film, record and take photographs of the event. But even if you don’t want to do that, pop along and see how your hard earned council tax is being spent.

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7 comments

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  1. Timeforchange

    Over the last few years I have experienced 1st hand the appalling behaviour of some labour councillors. As a result nothing now shocks or surprises me. We knew what would happen when they got back into power and it is……

  2. mike mcfadden

    I would like to thank iHarrow for bring this to our attention. I will try and get to the meeting tomorrow because there seems many questions unanswered. My question to iHarrow can you suggest how to post questions and get answers from Harrow and what can be done if they mislead or lie? Further, do councillors and employees of Harrow know and understand what misfeasance in public office is and do they understand the consequences!!!!!!!

  3. Susan Hall

    Mike I look forward to you asking questions especially of the Labour Leader. Luckily Cabinet falls on one of the two days he works at the Civic centre so make the most of his being at Cabinet. I am totally disgusted that we Opposition Councillors are not allowed to sit on Cabinet (albeit as non voting members) and ask questions of the papers. I think they are too scared of the difficult questions we pose, as for transparency they dont know the meaning of the word.

    1. red mirror

      talking of transparency would you please answer my question i posted on the ice bucket challenge its on this forum so please go there and answer the questions and then comment on truth and transparency

      1. Susan Hall

        ok

  4. PraxisReform

    I’ll summarise what I said months back; whilst spitting on the pavement is horrible and people shouldn’t do it, the policy is completely unenforceable.

    The Council might as well try to outlaw jealousy, since unless you are going to massively intrude into people lives with yet more cameras and forensic DNA testing, you have know idea who spat, when or where.

    Ultimately, it will be probably cheaper to remove the nuisance by sending someone round with a bucket of hot soapy water. But, the root cause can be addressed by stopping footballers and other celebrity types from setting such a bad example on TV.

  5. PraxisReform

    Here’s what is leading people to think that spitting is socially acceptable, and a clear case of double standards, in that sportsmen are allowed to get away with it. Yet Harrow’s (football loving) residents get the sharp end and a big fine for copying those role models.

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