1. Rod Aldridge, Chair of Capita, has resigned in embarrassment over lending money to the Labour Party. His company holds several government contracts, including the administration of the Congestion Charge, and the Criminal Records Bureau's IT systems (a Public-Private Partnership, so I hear).
That would be the same Criminal Records Bureau that seems to take months to give clearance to people to work with kids, right? Here in Hackney, because of delays in CRB clearance:
- There is currently no crossing patrol outside my kids' school.
- Schools are short of permanent teaching staff while newly-qualified teachers await clearance (after qualifying as a teacher, my friend Ruah had to work for months as a temporary hospital receptionist).
- Home-Start Hackney, a charity which offers support to families in difficulty, which was willing to provide a volunteer to help me in the aftermath of my accident last year, has been unable to do so.
- The youth club on our estate has been closed for a year and a half (in fact, this is mainly due to the Council's incompetence; CRB clearance was one of many excuses they offered).
2. Is it just me, or is it incredibly cheeky for politicians to use their own sleaziness as a pretext to demand state funding for their parties?
3. Does state funding already exist in a small form in our Town Halls? Hackney Councillors pay themselves whopping big expenses of £9k+ per year (no receipts required). You get extra expenses if you are in the Cabinet, chair a scrutiny committee, or are a party whip.
Hang on, why should Hackney's Council Tax payers fund the activities of party organisers? Shouldn't the Labour Party pay the expenses its whip requires to go round "ensuring" that Labour Councillors toe the line? And ditto the other parties?
(Our former MP, Brian Sedgemore, once described the actions of the whips as like being grabbed by the bollocks. This may not be an exact quote, but I didn't particularly want to do an internet search on 'whips' and 'bollocks' to find out!)