Richard Desmond, the noted pornographer and owner of Express Newspapers, doesn't believe in spending his huge fortune on his paper's terrible websites - he told the Independent in a gushing article only last week that "you cannot give your content away" - so I am indebted to Mike Law for the following from yesterday's Sunday Express:
The Great Helmsman's above-inflation pay increase was also reported in the Rotten Boroughs section of Private Eye, which noted: "opposition councillors raised no objection... because there are no opposition councillors". Quite.
"The mayor of the deprived Labour council hosting the Olympics is defying Government calls for wage restraint and awarding himself an inflation-busting pay rise.
Sir Robin Wales, the mayor of Newham Council in east London, seized the four per cent rise this month, taking his salary to £81,029 a year. His pay is now 34 per cent more than the £58,500 he received when he was directly elected mayor in 2002.
Sir Robin’s decision to accept the rise came after he ordered cuts of £28million and as his staff face a two-year pay freeze. Awarded a knighthood in 2000 by Tony Blair, the 55 year-old Scot is the most powerful local Labour politician in Britain. He was a warded the pay rise by a vote of councillors, all of whom are Labour.
In return, opponents say, he rewards party colleagues by appointing them to part-time jobs on wages most voters in one of Britain’s poorest boroughs can only dream of. Jobs have been created for more than half of Newham’s 60 Labour councillors, many of whom earn more than £40,000 a year for a few meetings a month.
Sir Robin, who sits on Seb Coe’s Olympic organising committee and will be a prominent figure when the Games open in Stratford in 2012, barred the council’s press officers from answering questions from the Sunday Express about the authority’s costs."