Julian Bray writes: We did resist the urge to comment on the very Americano (as in milky coffee) like piece in the Petertorygraph which purported to put Marco Cerestes lacklustre political term of office under the spotlight. But a few calls prompted a response, more in sorrow at the totally wasted opportunities, and the eyewatering amounts of public money spent on a series of decidedly odd pet vanity projects. Bourges Boulevard with its rusty razor teethed central divider and dead or dying dried out rootballed trees being a good example. Water Taxis, Lids on Lidos, the list is endless. Turning a classic English City - with a Cathedral - into a pastiche of downtown Rome - and bragging about it in the Italian press was never going to fly...
What we were presented with was something that might at one time have graced the lavender scented pages of Ladies Home Journal. You would have thought the scribe concerned had a close personal relationship with Council publicity officers and promised not to upset the applecart. Just a gentle stroll through a sanitised This is your Life complete with a huge Red Book - the latter possibly representing the debt mountain and a slash and burn series of budgets dressed up as 'savings' - they were in reality savage brutal cuts with promises of more to come.
Few probing, thrusting questions but there again it might have caused a family upset if the City Council wasn't featherbedded. Where were the probing questions? Taking apart the Marco largesse and some of the pitiful self justification for a job that was poorly executed, seldom explained, and seemed to the world and his wife as a self-serving benefit for the ever increasing Marco group of enterprises? Admittedly some of those would fail others wound up, but the empire rolls on.
Clearly during his tenure, he could only rely on a few hard working councillors, some of his crew didn't even bother to turn up for core meetings, once they were elected, and allowances trousered, others found it too arduous to hold regular councillor surgeries.
Cllr Sheila Scott, a former owner of adult care homes, put in charge of the unfit for purpose Peterborough Childrens Services for example has now decided to call it a day - well she'll put in the expenses until the next election next year.
Marco admitted that his own businesses had suffered due to his civic duties, but as he once told this writer over a cup of Earl Grey, that all new propositions for the City would be directed through his office. At that point my then vibrant City contact book slammed shut, and at least five major projects went elsewhere. An Insurance Company, Brokerage, Specialist Engineering Group, Data Recovery Firm and a credit card processing centre.
We had a good old belly laugh as the prose lingered over the monogrammes on the former dear leaders designer shirt and how hurtful nasty people had dared question his brand of stewardship. Even 'The Godfather' movie was worked in, trouble is when the horses head was about to be discovered, it turned overnight into a prize donkey and small dirty boy wash. But we like continuity so the burger van is still there, and the smell of kibbled onions wafts over the used needle strewn City Centre streets. Don't think Cromwell Street has seen a street sweeper in years. The soup kitchen behind the Brewery Tap still has a regular queue of some 40 customers...
There was nothing about Marco rehiring the old Lag Peter Hiller and the dear leaders astonishing rant at the judiciary. Cllr Hiller you will recall was convicted of criminal damage after a full public trial. Fined and had to pay costs. It was left open if the deposed dear leader would put his expensively shod foot back into the political arena but frankly the debt mountain is now so high there would be little to make an honest turn on...
We had the woeful tale of the solar parks, something he might have got through with his introduction of 'robotic voting', had it not been painfully obvious that the dear leader had at his disposal a variety of private firms ready to service and maintain the installations, and what on earth is he doing with some Mexican firm in Roswell? Perhaps the aliens did land after all.
Clearly Peterborough is going to be boring without him, but we still have Stewart Jackson as an Aunt Sally and backbench MP, just four more years and #wacco will possibly join his chums in the House of Lords? No? Oh well we can dream.
Bye Marco, time to pack up the carpet bag and move on... I'd like to say it was a pleasure, but at least the Brewery Tap was saved. They do leaving parties ........ Ciao!
And as our parting gift to you, your best bits: http://parkfarmneighbourhoodwatch.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Marco+Cereste
E&OE google.com/+JulianBray Tel:+44 (0) 1733 345581 ISDN COOBE LINK: +44 (0) 1733 345020 IPHONE 0743 303 145 http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlog .