Thursday, February 11, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Denham Indemnifies His Perm Sec Against Legal Action Over Council Gerrymandering Decision

Click on the three images to enlarge

Yesterday, the Government announced a volte face and abandoned plans for a Norfolk-wide unitary authority and instead indulged in a bit of pro Labour gerrymandering by creating a unitary authority for Norwich. Very few people support such a proposal (apart from Norwich Labour Party) and opposition parties are furious. It has to be said that there were very few supporters for the Norfolk wide unitary authority either. Most people want the status quo.

However, I can reveal that John Denham, the Local Government Secretary, has ignored warnings from his senior civil servants, who believe the proposal is "unaffordable" and doesn't meet the Government's own criteria. Indeed, the Permanent Secretary at the DCLG, Peter Housden, has forced Denham to sign a letter absolving the civil servants from any legal action. Incredibly, Denham has done just that. Norfolk County Council is ready to make a High Court challenge and the Conservatives have already committed to reversing this decision if they win the next election.

I am told it is unprecedented for a Permanent Secretary to send such a letter to a Secretary of State.

Amazingly, Denham concedes the plan is unaffordable, yet decides to carry on anyway. It's paying-off Labour's political debts with taxpayers' money. When local voters realise that they've been cheated of their chance to give their verdict on the shambolic way in which Labour has run their City Council in Norwich, there'll be hell to pay. One local politician described it as "the biggest gerrymander since rotten boroughs were abolished in 1832."

The only bright point is that this still has to wind its way through Parliament and that can't start yet because MPs have just gone on a fortnight's break.

What an absolutely unnecessary dog's breakfast. And yet more evidence of Labour's scorched earth policy. They didn't have to do this, and could easily have left it until after the election. It's clear to any half awake observer that this has nothing to do with improving the structure of local government. It's corrupt. But why should we be surprised?


pete-s said...

There is another Labour Gerrymandering story at the moment. The Daily mail is only paper really following the story of the redacted sentences from cabinet papers. The redacted sentences point to Labour as using mass immigration as a means of GerryMandering the vote of this country. How many other ways have they used, but we don't know about, of fiddling the vote.

trevorsden said...

The fact that parliament has been shut down again by labour is another indication of the shabby way we are governed.

How can a government minister condone a policy which cannot be afforded? Is this legal?

As I recall from Nuremberg - 'I was only following orders' is not a defence.

James D said...

Well, at least no-one can now pretend that these bloated unitary authorities are democratic local government. They are little more than a tail of School Boards wagging the local government dog. I hope a future Conservative government abolishes all of Labour's enormous county-size unitary authorities and reinstitutes district councils, with an optional county council.

Grenville said...

Iain. You should take a look at what they did to Northumberland.

Matelot said...

'Dog's Breakfast' doesn't even come even close to describing what Labour are doing to Devon. In granting unitary status to Exeter, Devon is going to be administered from an HQ in a different council area, i.e. from County Hall in Exeter. I imagine that Exeter residents will make up a huge proportion of the HQ workforce including senior executives and as such they will have no stake in the outcome of decisions they may take. This must surely be unacceptable to anybody who believes in democratic accountability. This isn't just gerrymandering to protect Labour's Ben Bradshaw (MP, Minister and prize toady) but vandalism on a massive scale.

Q said...

It's paying-off Labour's political debts with taxpayers' money.

Which is pretty much a description of the policy pursued by the Labour Party since its inception in 1895.

I'm not sure why you're amazed or shocked by this, Iain. It's always been Labour's standard operating practice to use taxpayers' money to pay off Labour supporters, whether those supporters are the unions in subsidised industries or benefits claimants in Labour-voting wastelands.

Lola said...

Labour always trends to fascism and the One Party State. Has to really. Socialism being the giant deceit that it is.