Its not often you get the two 'ahem', 'star', 'columnists' of the once a week Peterborough Telegraph, featured together on the front page of the once proud Peterborough Evening Telegraph, see below, the Editor now sadly reduced to running the self serving weekly banal tosh, dished out by both these two Tory failing self made rich boys. At one time, an Editor would have refused to run the stuff, and put a red pencil through the whole lot. Getting the office junior copyboy to rewrite it, bashing out copy on the trusty Imperial. The national version of the Sunday Telegraph pictured above sets the scene.
Newsroom typewriters at one time, usually chained to desks, to prevent them from being physically launched as missiles, after a good Fleet Street lunch, towards the brooding back bench Subs (You don't have those either?) Such is progress.
Stewart of course , a back bench Conservative MP of MP's expenses fame, unlikely to see front bench service in the next Parliament, but bully for him, Tory fighting Tory when not ligging it in Peterboroughs finest watering holes; tad cheaper than the cosy Cinnamon Club in Gt. Smith St. eh Stewart? or cashing the odd cheque from the Daily Express. It's a Wonderful Life... an ex Lloyds Bank Manager, Lloyds Bank at one time, not that good with money either...
And of the Conservative Group, il Gruffulo Marco Cereste 'The Dear Leader' as we like to call him, suddenly finding that he, a few years back, through the council, headed by a chief executive who might be a good lawyer and former council solicitor, but in reality is refreshingly first to admit has little practical experience in the cold hard commercial financial world, she has been thrust into.
Marco of course is always to hand, and can quite lawfully access virtually unlimited public money funding at knock down rates of interest, for almost any daft 'public realm' idea (we do have a whole list of them) or vanity project that was 'right at the time.' Just wait for the rage of motorists trying to navigate the finished much narrowed Bourges Boulevard, and the scores of irate pedestrians doing battle with rush hour traffic. The overhead covered walkway is going. Folks! And whoever decided to plant London Plane trees (in tubs?) along the length of the Bourges, wet leaf pulp compacting on our badly cleaned streets will create an ideal skid pan for unwary motorists and pedestrians who for the first time will compete with motor vehicles. Madness!
And before the Stanground Gang of 4 Tory Councillors again start bombarding our local Police, with yet more spurious complaints, the Coalition Parliament has not yet wiggled out of the European Convention on Human Rights...they should realise respect still has to be earned, and it'll take a mountain of goodwill after the Tory High Command in London see this edition (helpfully we've sent it to them).
Borrowed Public Money. It all has to be paid back sometime - but dear reader that is in the future, and something that your children may have to deal with. So don't bother to fret about it, it'll make their education more interesting and spur them on to gaining meaningful qualifications, if only to pay down the council debt...worked for my four.
What we cannot run the PCC seems to be saying, can still be flogged off? Possibly at mates rates. Cushty. No questions asked, as its all frightfully hush hush - commercial confidentiality - Marcos' Conservative councillors now conditioned to voting as the Dear Leader wishes, robotic voting we call it. If they dissent, they vanish or resign. Its all cobbled together in the members room before each council meeting.
Roy Hattersley was once replaced in a TV panel game chair, with a melting lump of lard whilst the programme continued without him. No one noticed. Only in the Unitary Authority of the City of Peterborough you could replace the entire Conservative Group with the corresponding lumps of lard, and just leave Marco pulling the robotic voting arm strings from his seat at the back of the council chamber. Not one would know. Cllr Murphy can hold up lots of placards £3 Million, £22 Million, but its meaningless numbers. OPM beloved of shysters, panhandlers and bankers. Other Peoples Money, but it isn't. It is OUR MONEY. PUBLIC MONEY.
Clearly if Marco did the honourable deed and resign (spend more time with his family perhaps?) before he makes the entire Conservative pack totally unelectable next May; it might just help their chances. Any resignation however might possibly open up several cans of worms, as the books for the first time in many years, would also be subject to a thorough drill down public audit, and any ingoing Administration would be wise to nail that almost immediately, and change the audit firm.... But this isn't a butchslap at the Tories, the Labour faction hasn't exactly covered itself in glory, putting sectional interest before public service.
So where does this leave us all? Rudderless and heading for the Titanic iceberg. That story ended unhappily, but we do have a slight chance of getting out of this, and leaving councillors with an option. Look no further than the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, their history is not a million miles from what is happening here.
Finally, not many of you will be aware that a main sewer collapsed during the recent Beer Festival, the sewer in question is the responsibility of the Council. Had the thousands of happy Festival goers contracted any form of tummy bug or worse - it wouldn't be like the Ebola moment in Council (they laughed) - due to the sewer collapse, it could have been a massive class action, the new council next year would be defending. How many other Peterborough sewers are in the same state of disrepair? Clearly something rotten....
Front Page Peterborough Evening Telegraph PS Ed. it would have been graphically more effective if the Marco pic had been reversed looking into the page...
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