Archive for December 10th, 2010

Apologies to those awaiting a post on Wednesday’s full council meeting at Tower Hamlets, but I’ve been a touch busy with my day job. I intend to write a lengthy post about it over the next couple of days – and yes, there is plenty to say about what happened: the meeting was among the most poisonous and uncontrolled affairs I’ve been to.

In the meantime, Tory group leader Peter Golds has asked me to publish a personal statement from him following the bizarre and disturbing comments made by some people on my previous post here. These comments extended to some borderline homophobic insults hurled at him by some senior political activists in the public gallery of the council chamber on Wednesday night (but, as I say, more of that later.)

Here’s Peter’s statement:

It is clear that a number of your correspondents do not understand what an elected politician should or chose not to understand.

I received an enquiry from a resident regarding Medialink and raised that enquiry. This is what councillors do in every local authority up and down the country and of course what Members of Parliament do each and every day.

Before I received a response the head of Medialink telephoned me four times in one afternoon to discuss my enquiry. It was obvious that had been told the details of my enquiry. This could only have come from within the council and breaks all protocols.

Having received the actual response, which was not confidential, I shared it with the original enquiry and Ted Jeory who was also interested in the subject.

I then received increasingly threatening calls and messages from the same person. On Wednesday I met with the council’s Chief Executive and monitoring officer who were quite clear that my enquiry was right and proper and that as the response did not break commercial confidentiality I was entitled to share it.

It should be noted that I have raised many enquiries regarding consultants engaged by the Council, including Verve Communications who once had a very large contract. Strangely no one has attacked me for raising that particular company.

It should also be noted that at council on Wednesday night a member of the administration let slip that he had knowledge of an enquiry raised by another councillor.

There is to be a full investigation into how this is happening.

As a matter of fact on another issue, I have served on many appointments panels. On one occasion I ensured that the panel did not reach a decision until we had women and BME candidates to consider and on another I refused to serve because the assembled panel was entirely male and we would be interviewing women for a position.  I would treat any candidate who submits a dishonest CV in the same way, and in most organisations such a CV is grounds fro instant dismissal.

The attacks of racism against me are puerile and totally wrong.

I am more than happy to engage in debate with anyone, but attacks and lies for people who hide behind pseudonyms and are often the same person deserve to be treated for what they are. Sock puppets is the usual term. The sort of people who used to write poison pen letters, often on green ink.

For those unfamiliar with Verve Communications, it is the PR consultancy that used to run the press office and East End Life at Tower Hamlets Council. It was headed by Lorraine Langham. Following a series of investigations by Peter and me, when I was at the East London Advertiser, a council committee concluded that Verve had been allowed to exploit its position for commercial gain. Ms Langham subsequently left the council and is now the number 2 to ex Tower Hamlets CEO Christine Gilbert at Ofsted.

See here for more info.

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