Thursday, 20 January 2011

Newham's Loan To West Ham 'At Risk Of Abuse'

The BBC has a fascinating report on tonight's vote by Newham council on its proposed loan to West Ham United - with allegations about the Great Helmsman's style of leadership from at least one councillor that confirms what some of us have been saying for years:

"... the BBC has uncovered aspects of the council's approach that led one financial auditor to warn of a "danger of abuse" of the system.

These include:
  • Crucial documents explaining the bid in detail being withheld from councillors until shortly before the vote.
  • No explanation as to whether the council would be liable for the debt if relegation-threatened West Ham defaulted.
  • A "significant number" of councillors holding reservations - but refusing to speak openly because they are allegedly "afraid" of missing out on lucrative positions.
  • Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales declaring dozens of gifts from West Ham, with critics saying his impartiality has been compromised.
All 60 councillors in Newham are Labour Party representatives.

One serving councillor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "A significant number of councillors have reservations.

"There are massive doubts over supposed community benefits."

The councillor continued: "Why are we arranging a loan for a private company? West Ham should go to a bank like everybody else.

"The financial football model is hardly blessed by success."

But not one serving politician will go on the record.

The councillor said: "The problem is the mayoral system.

"People are frightened to go against the mayor. They are frightened of a lack of patronage.

"He's had almost the same executive since 2000 - on £40,000 each. People want a bit of the action."

Anita Shields, an auditor who works with other local authorities to ensure financial transparency, said: "Councillors are afraid to speak out. You have people pushing to get something through quickly.

"This rings alarm bells."

More here


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Newham Recorder is doing to bring this to the attention of Residents?

Anonymous said...

The problems of Newham are been highlighted nationally due to the economic situation, the Olympic games, and some good work by concerned and passionate people living in Newham. Whilst I think the mayor is having to deal with much more media attention than he’s been recently accustomed to I’m concerned about how much longer this pressure will last.

This is a little off topic, but given the political realities of Newham, I think the only way of getting rid of the Little Man would be by taking an approach modelled on the antics of the Orange Alternative movement.

Some possible suggestions;

A celebration of the Mayors birthday with the erection of a papiermache statue.

A peaceful demonstration to demand that the Newham Mag be produced and distributed on a daily basis.

Temporarily renaming a street in honour of our wonderful leader and lining that street with enlarged photographs of the man.

A two hour public silence to commemorate debates held in council chambers.

Demanding a second runway be installed at City Airport.

I know it's a very serious matter but l think this approach could be an interesting and different way of ridiculing the Mayor and drawing people’s to some of the absurdities of the present regime within Newham.

P.S. Anybody know his birthdate?

Bird Man said...

I am ashamed of the complete lack of backbone of Newham councillors. That one can talk anonymously is so cowardly. If they really believe in what they say they should have spoken out and voted against the loan. The fact is that Wales controlled the selection of councillors and ensured that only the stupid, avaricious and ambitious were selected. Why else would we have councillors who an't string two words together and others who just take the money and remain quiet.

Don't forget that the Labour Party takes 5% of councillors allowances and pays a full time official from that money, and fund campaigns. I make that about £250,000 every 4 years. Technically this is legal and not corrupt, but when you combine that with a Newham Mag that costs £500K a year to churn out Labour propaganda, you can begin to understand why it is difficult for other political views to get heard.

This latest scandal over the WHUFC loan is just the tip of a very big iceberg but no-one in the Media or government gives a toss. Shame on them all.

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