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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tory Toff gets party membership shredded as Cereste loses the Royal Borough (housing) plot again ...

"Terry. What a nerve, I've got another open letter from that Marco String Vesty geezer.
I sold 'im a home dyed black version of your leather coat for a couple of Sovs.
I'm now his new best friend. He wants us to move the business,
out of  'Pooters' manor and up to Peterborough !?"

(Minder TV location sequences were shot all over North Kensington) 
 Kensington & Chelsea Councillor Emma Dent Coad (Lab) said...     "Thank you for this excellent and well researched expose. You have it on the button. You will find similar comments on my own blog:   Keep writing, and let's stop this insanity."

The Marco Cereste Open Letter explained...

You really have to seriously consider if Cllr Marco Cereste is living in this world, or in a publicly funded ring fenced fantasy world of his own.  Or perhaps he is not aware of the actions of a former leader of a Conservative local authority (Westminster) one Dame Shirley Porter, who had played a key role in a scheme that sold off council homes to potential Tory voters?

She originally faced a judgement debt of some £27m plus interest and costs, following a prolonged legal battle. The gerrymandering scandal relates to a decision in July 1987 by Westminster to sell 500 homes each year under a policy called "building stable communities".

We refer of course to the Leaders latest adventure offering Peterborough social housing to the social housing toffs of Kensington, and perhaps the Dear Leader would like to consider this dictionary definition of a Toff: "In British English slang, a toff is a mildly derogatory term for someone with an aristocratic background, particularly someone who exudes an air of superiority."  This brings us back to the so called open letter sent to our Scottish owned weekly newspaper, and not democratically released through the PCC Press Office, as an official council document or response. But nothing daunted we have obtained a copy of the so called open letter and will take you through the important parts, line by line from the point of view that the PCC solicitor must have seen and approved the draft before releasing it.


MC:  Many people will have read and heard about tentative discussions between our city and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea regarding the possible purchase of land on which to build homes for current RBKC tenants.

TRIBsays  Kensington councillors report this week they have not been party to any discussions and know nothing at all about it.


MC: Some people will have rushed to conclusions about a proposed partnership and dismissed it before considering what the potential benefits could be to the city [of Peterborough]

TRIBsays Marco Cereste is known for sailing very close to the wind (and flying too near the sun a bit like Icarus), he rarely confides with his councillors, only conferring when its Cereste done deal, and has reduced his councillors to a block voting mechanism, some councillors even stealing a furtive look at the Leader before daring to vote. His threat to remove the public from the Cabinet meeting last week and a refusal to answer questions, demonstrates that any form of democratic debate in this city is routinely trashed. Cllr. Cereste has often said that "his door is open and that everyone who writes to him will receive a reply" unfortunately he then added the rider " the reply might not be what they wanted to hear" or put another way its Cerestes way or the highway....

MC: WE have not entered into secret talks. After a meeting I'd attended with RBKC leader Sir Merrick Cockell [known locally in West Ken as Pooter] we discussed how we could potentially work together and we've had a couple of conversations since.

TRIBsays Our information is that MC met MC [Pooter] initally at a LGA Local Government Association meeting ( LGA is an expensive lobby organisation, not all local authorities belong as many say they cannot afford the fees. Peterborough City Council can seemingly afford the membership.  Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is currently Chairman of the LGA). The Chief Executive is Carolyn Downs. Its not recorded if the drinks included champagne or spumante...

The LGA was formed on 1 April 1997, in the middle of the 1990s UK local government reform which created unitary authorities (Peterborough is a Unitary Authority). The association is the direct successor to several per-type associations, most recently the Association of County Councils, the Association of District Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

What is very clear is that as to being secret, none of the Kensington councillors knew of the 'several meetings' and a release of MC's official diary and related expenses for such meetings would perhaps resolve the issue. Clearly Leader Cereste 'bigged up' the initial encounter with the LGA Chairman Kensington Toff "Pooter", who in turn saw an opportunity to offload some of the massive annual RBKC debt incurred by his pet Opera in the Park, as the Holland Park Residents  Association is seeking to deny extended planning permission for the huge Opera tent to remain in situ. It could of course be moved to the Peterborough Embankment or the former B&Q site, which has been levelled and we pick up the bill running at some £90,000:00 per annum.

MC: As leader I get approached by a whole range of organisations interested in working with us. - and the reason that no one hears about them is that they quite often don't come to anything.

TRIBsays  They say truth will out, and the fact that PCC  has a payroll of very highly salaried council officers and executives to take and evaluate all these approaches, begs the question "Why is the political leader Marco Cereste filtering and interfering in all of these opportunities. Could he in fact be scoping business opportunities for the Lark prefixed 'Byzantine' group of companies, rather than inviting in other locally based firms to bid for the work?  No, what a silly idea....

Well placed City sources say they will not invest in Peterborough, as they claim Cllr. Marco Cereste literally places himself or his office, at the heart of each and every potential deal.  Taking a look at his very title, Councillor, Grand Officer (Gr. Uff. Italia) Marco Cereste, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Growth, Strategic Planning, Economic Development, Business Engagement and Environment Capital, and due to add a health portfolio to his list on All Fools Day (April 1st),  the number of portfolios confirms the spiders web approach he maintains and seems to rule and control his majority party councillors with a rod of iron. Perish the thought of a free vote!

The City of Peterborough is not supposed to be an Italian style dictatorship, although the Leader flaunts his Italian decoration ahead of his Christian or given name; although we understand it wasn't included in full as part of his UK Representation of the Peoples Act election information. Why was this excluded?  We as a democracy also do not subscribe to a one party state, there are however rules and conventions to be democratically applied.

Something that has taken a back seat in recent years, and sadly each and every one of the majority party councillors know it. They are not allowed a free vote, and in many cases under the Cabinet system, few are consulted, indeed councillors like Sheila Scott OBE, seem to the casual observer of  being incapable of understanding her brief to the detriment of Peterboroughs' disadvantaged children.

MC: Instead we have a clear and proper procedure when an idea is set to become council policy, which includes discussion with cabinet and the wider council and public consultation.

TRIBsays The recent Cabinet meeting held just a few days ago shows just how fragile the democratic process is. Within minutes of opening the cabinet meeting the Leader was already threatening to clear out the public and refused to engage with or answer questions of worried residents over the closure of Play Centres. Public consultations are a joke, paying lip service, going through the motions, the recent budget document shows that in every case where a resident has made a valid comment, the Leader just takes an alternative view, there is no follow up or bending from the original dictat. Read them for yourselves in the Slash and burn Budget documents featured on here over the last few weeks. Even the language used is misleading. Deep and savage cuts and deterioration of services are dressed up as "savings", just how stupid do the the authors of the document think we are?

We had a consultation exercise for the Care Homes, that worked well. The PCC simply parachuted in an interim director with experience of closing down Care Homes, a Mr Terry Rich, at a fee earning rate of over £1,000:00 a day plus VAT, He is still around....

MC: Following that there is a formal decision making process. The fact that we have not reached these stages illustrates how early our discussions are at.

TRIBsays The simple fact is that the Leader was rumbled, and the whole wretched  social cleansing scheme exposed not just by the Trib. but also the BBC Network, BBC London, ITV, LBC Sky Radio News,  Global  radio and CNS plus several West London media outlets and the ET.

Simply the Leader didn't do his homework as his 'hot' Kensington contact, known locally as 'Pooter' is considering a move further up the political feeding chain moving on from fronting Kensington and Chelsea and likely to be leaving the LGA post as well, all this said to be happening in May. But latest information is the path to greatness has been 'moved aside, and 'Pooter' has apparently indicated he'll stay at K&C until 2013...

MC: I understand that because of the way this proposal has been presented in many arenas it may be unpopular with some.

TRIBsays Well the Leader has the answer in his hands by turning over a new leaf and embracing the idea and concept of democracy. Specifically ending robotic block voting and being fully open and frank on all his dealings and sharing financial information.  Unlike the Freemans solar panel debacle where the PCC is on the hook for just under £1,000,000:00 but astonishingly thinks he's winning as only £300,000 has been handed over to the contractors so far! But the Leader suggests that will be recovered as a last resort through legal action....don't think so Marco, you've just opened up years of litigation and still not a single kilowatt of revenue generating electricity to show for it.

MC:  But I believe it is undemocratic to use misinformation to close down a debate before it has even begun. Thousands of people are moving to the City every year  - and if this proposal results in something or not -  this won't change. The difference is RBKC residents would come with their own homes ready built.

TRIBsays Classic if not vintage Marco Cereste, now clearly backed into a corner, it's double talk. What misinformation? The RBKC councillors sat they know nothing about it. Kensington residents associations know nothing about it. PCC councillors know nothing abut it. Peterborough residents know nothing about it. But how many Lark Group of Companies directors and property speculator/ developer / advisers knew something about it? Only Marco Cereste and his close cohorts seem to know the detail, but Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson picking up on a residents comment  that it was a case of classic social cleansing or  engineering, then dived straight in.

The Conservative Party after all has previous damaging form on this. Dame Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, was fined for illegal 'gerrymandering' and eventually fled to Isreal where she is today. BBC News reported at the time:  Dame Shirley Porter has paid £12m into Westminster Council's bank account, in settlement of the surcharge for her role in the homes for votes scandal. The former leader of the local authority had played a key role in a scheme that sold off council homes to potential Tory voters.  She originally faced a judgement debt of some £27m plus interest and costs, following a prolonged legal battle.

We obviously need to ensure our own local councillors don't follow the same sorry  path as the fines are personal and not protected by compensation insurance. Sometimes robotic voting comes with a sharp financial bite, and that isn't misinformation Marco! Are your councillors aware of the consequences?

MC: Young people and their families find it very difficult to buy or rent in London as it's so expensive. RBKC could buy land and build homes for young ambitious people.This is something they could do tomorrow if they wanted, as they just need to get planning permission - but instead we are investigating whether there would be greater benefits from working in partnership.  

TRIBsays   Following World War Two bombing and the clearing of slums within the borough, RBKC lost around half of its population between 1890 and 1980, reaching a low of 130,000. The population then increased to 179,000 in 2007, but has since decreased declined, and there are now around 158,000 residents. Nonetheless it is still the second most densely populated London borough, with 132 persons per hectare.  RBKC is London in microcosm. It has the second highest average income in London, of £36,000.

However, this prosperity is not shared equally, the borough also contains above average levels of deprivation. (Peterborough is also noted as having a significant child deprivation problem). RBKC deprivation is almost exclusively concentrated in the north of the borough, with the five northerly areas of Norland, Colville, St. Charles Notting Barns and Golbourne each including at least one 'Lower Super Output Area' in the 20% most deprived in the country. Golbourne is the 8th most deprived ward in London, out of 627. Earl’s Court, Redcliffe and Cremome also include areas of disadvantage., Julian Bray lived in London W8 and SW10 for many years, he says the normal pattern is with a growing family to move south of the river or further out within the M25 box. Moving to Peterborough is simply not an option, and  RBKC upper quartile residents know it. It is not even if we are to be on the High Speed Rail Line as Nottingham is. The PCC is closing or outsourcing services and a slash and burn budget has just been rubber stamped by Cabinet.. Cllr Cereste is about to add the heavily debt laden NHS portfolio from April 1st to his already long list of responsibilities, and in almost every area that he has taken 'a personal interest' sadly it is a list of repeated failures or grandiose schemes that simply do not add up in today's austere fiscal terms.  And if they do its all using borrowed money, saddling our children with high levels of debt for decades to come. Trust us Marco Kensington on Nene  isn't an option, any more than water taxis, cable cars, opera houses and a casino is ...

RBKC's own health panel offer this additional information:

Residential house prices in the borough are the highest in the country, meaning many of the borough’s residents are affluent and highly educated. However, more than half of all housing in the four most northerly wards is social housing, with most of this area falling into the 20 per cent most deprived in the country.

However, large inequalities do exist: deprived communities in the north of the borough generally have higher levels of unemployment and worklessness, higher proportions of children and young people with close to half living in poverty and over half living in overcrowded situations.

Culture, ethnicity and religion

Close to half the Kensington and Chelsea population (43 per cent) were born abroad and the borough has the largest proportion for people classifying themselves as ‘White other’ of anywhere in the country.

The borough is home to a wide range of different communities, particularly from Western Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa. In particular, the borough has the largest numbers of Americans (6,000), French (5,000) and Italians (4,000) of any borough in London.

These communities are most concentrated in the centre and south of the borough. The largest Black, Mixed and other Ethnic (BME) numbers are found in the north of the borough, in areas of relative deprivation.

After English, Arabic is the most commonly spoken language, with over 5,000 speakers. Two thirds of these were born in Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco. North African and Middle Eastern communities are generally more common in the north of the borough, although the Iranian (Farsi speaking) population are most concentrated in the centre of the borough.

The Portuguese speaking community are split between Brazilians and Portuguese, the latter more common in the north. Over half of the borough’s residents classify themselves as Christian and one in ten Muslim, (rising to 1 in 5 in Golborne ward in the far north).


Sadly the remaining half of the so called 'open letter' provides little or no new information and really isn't worth the analysis, as it is more a justification for his unorthodox unitary buttoned down style of stewardship of our City. Hopefully the full  text of the letter will be published on the PCC council website for all to see, as this response is already winging its way round the world...   Add your thoughts to the Comments panel below...


Sent: 02/03/2013 09:08:14 GMT Standard Time
Subj: From the Hornets Nest Kensington & Chelsea Blog

From the Hornets Nest

Dark forces at work in the Royal Borough....
Marcos' Best New Friends In Night of the Long Knives

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 04:04 PM 

It’s the talk of the town….last night a member of the KENSINGTON & CHELSEA Tories had his membership ritually shredded...CLICK HERE!


Conservative Association was in session before a kangaroo court presided over by Grand Panjandrum chairman, Matthew Carrington. 

The court, more formally known as the Executive Council, has responsibility for meting out ruthless justice to those tories  who ‘go native.’


The defendant, a Mr Billy James, was hauled, in chains, before Mr Carrington and fellow judges and accused of bringing the Party into disrepute….no sniggering please.


Anyway, the charge against  Billy was that he had sent a highly charged letter to the Mail on Sunday containing some very choice allegations against our fragrant agent, top to tail Louis Vuitton clad, Spanish hotelier, Jonathan Frazer-Howells. This is a fascinating comment.... clearly from someone who knows the inside track.

"I used to be a K&C Conservative member and postholder before leaving due to my perception that something was not right. I remember Billy James - a longstanding Conservative, senior businessman and thoroughly nice man. I would believe his word over J F-H any day. If he is moved to have to go to the press there must be something seriously wrong. He should be reinstated and his concerns investigated - this is not a way to treat anyone. K&C is becoming a real disgrace to the Conservative Party."

And The Dame hears that there was much anger amongst members present at the way they were refused the opportunity to view the evidence and the manner in which Carrington bullied Billy.

Anyway, the Dame is conferring with her friends on the London Standard Newspaper so watch this space......

So far, the Dame has been unable to ascertain the nature of the ‘charges’ so if anyone can help her ‘get to the bottom’ of it all she will be full of gratitude.  The Court found Billy guilty as charged and his Party membership card was shredded before his tear filled eyes. 

NEWSDESK 01733 345581 E&OE   Peterborough Tribune 2013 
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General notes about Rights: Any rights granted to PBROTRIB or the Rights Holder under this Charter shall survive termination of the Contract for any reason. Rights Holder Promises The Rights Holder promises: that it owns the Contribution and / or is (and will continue to be) authorised to grant the rights to PBROTRIB; nothing in the Contribution is blasphemous, discriminatory, defamatory, untrue, misleading or unlawful; that the Contribution complies with the NUJ Code of Professional Conduct and the Independent
Press Standards Organisations Editors’ regulations and Code of Practice; the Contribution does not contain any virus, Trojan horse, hidden computer software or similar; the Contribution does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party; where the Contribution contains Personal Data, all
the necessary consents in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 have been obtained; where the Contribution contains images of children under the age of 16, written parental consent has been obtained and can be provided on request; and maintain and comply with, at all times, the highest ethical standards in the preparation, creation and delivery of the Contribution.
Complaints In the event that a complaint is raised in relation to a Contribution, the Rights Holder agrees to co-operate fully with any internal or external investigation or process. Status. The Rights Holder is an independent contractor and nothing in the Charter shall render the Rights Holder an employee, worker,
agent or partner of PBROTRIB. The Rights Holder is responsible for any taxes/national insurance payable in relation to any services provided under the Charter.
Indemnity The Rights Holder shall keep PBROTRIB indemnified in full against all loss incurred or paid by PBROTRIB as a result of or in connection with any claim made against PBROTRIB by a third party:
arising out of, or in connection with the Contribution, to the extent that such claim arises out of the breach of this or any terms of this Charter (including any Special Terms); and for actual or alleged infringement of a third party's intellectual property rights arising out of, or in connection with the use of the Contribution except in so far as the claim arises as a result of changes made by PBROTRIB or a breach of the Licence by PBROTRIB.
Variation of the Charter No variation of any term of this Charter will be effective, unless it is set out in writing (letter, fax or email) and signed by
a relevant authorised representative of PBROTRIB. If you wish to submit a Contribution and are unable to agree with the terms of this Charter or if you
have any questions regarding this Charter, please contact a relevant authorised representative of the PBROTRIB publication.
Problems & Disputes In the event of a problem or dispute in relation to a Licence and/or in connection with this Charter, in the first instance the Rights Holder and the Editor will look to resolve the dispute amicably. Application of the Charter Unless otherwise agreed, this Charter shall be interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and English courts will have exclusive jurisdiction