Councillors, just who do they think they are? £2.9 Million spent on the Town Hall!

We finally got the low down on the costs of the Town Hall refurbishment thanks to the Advertiser and Phil Turner, their reporter, not being prepared to take no for an answer when they made a Freedom of Information request that was outrageously rejected initially on the grounds of cost.

The Borough Council had a change of heart after they were roundly criticised for their ridiculous stance and the information was published by the Advertiser in a special report by Phil Turner on the 15th October edition.

I quote the salient facts:

Where The Money Went
Chairs and coverings £310,000.00
Wallpaper £154,000.00
Toilet Fittings £119,000.00
Kitchen Facilities £98,000.00
Carpets £111,000.00
Microphones/technology £217,000.00
Security £106,000.00
Function room bar £30,000.00
Windows £40,000.00
General building costs £1,715,000.00
Total £2,900,000.00

These are truly ‘eye watering’ amounts of our money spent by the councillors on themselves refurbishing the Town Hall!

They are in addition to the £793,000.00 spent on the Eric Manns Building creating what amounts to a private club for these cosseted individuals and £2,460,00.00 on the new Doncaster Gate offices!

£154,000.00 spent on wallpaper! £119,000.00 on toilet fittings! are they solid gold? £217,000.00 on technology the councillors won’t be able to use! £310,000.00 on coverings and chairs, somebody is seriously having a laugh at our expense it would seem?

Despite these vast sums being spent it apparently is not possible for those in wheelchairs or who can’t climb stairs to access the public gallery at the Town Hall!

The Councils justification, ‘well, it’s less than a New Town Hall, that would have cost £7.5 Million’. So that’s a saving then is it? Attitudes like this must change, the real world must intrude even into Rotherham’s, Labour controlled, local government. Rotherham folk deserve better!

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Reading the Runes? or would that be runiczny?

Twitter: Denis is an inveterate tweeter, normally averaging more than five tweets daily. Sometimes up to ten! Denis MacShane on twitter.

Astonishingly for Denis, he has suddenly stopped!

No posts at all since 11:11pm on the 18th, when there was one preceded by just a couple on the two previous days. It takes an awful lot to shut this arrogant politician up.

Perhaps he has now significantly altered his opinion of the police’s  intelligence and range of investigative tools at their disposal. Alternatively he may have been the beneficiary of some serious advice, of the ‘when you’re in a hole, at least stop digging’, variety. We shall see?

Stop Press: 23rd October 2010. It would appear that I might have at least one reader? Within hours of  making a point about lack of activity by Denis on Twitter, low and behold a sudden flurry of posts, well two actually.

Political Blonde: Joan Smith’s Website. Who is Joan Smith?  Denis MacShane’s partner!

On the 13th, hope she is not superstitious? republished a Guardian piece she had written, originally published on the Guardian website last year as; I am sick of my country and this hysteria over MPs, published 25th May 2009. Strange that she re-published her original defence of parliamentarians in general, and Denis in particular, the day after the Parliamentary Standards Committee met and made their decision and a day before their decision was made public on the 14th!

This has the potential to make her look rather foolish or naive at best, if the ‘boys in blue’ find differently?

Where the story of Denis’s liberal interpretation of the provisions of the ‘Green Book’ started, back in June, 2009.

Mail on Sunday story 20th June 2009. Former Labour Minister’s £8,000 cash for his poet brother’s ‘translation services’

I quote from the story:

‘On the 19th June 2009, when he was initially contacted by the Mail, Mr MacShane said: ‘It is no secret that I do more work for Europe than any other MP, and people connected with the institute help me with that. That is all I can really help you with.’ The line then went dead.

A couple of hours later, Mr MacShane, who served as Europe Minister between 2002 and 2005, sent a text message saying:

‘The EPI was set up 20 years ago by a network of people on the Left working in Europe and the US. It has organised conferences and published books and reports.

‘Ed is my brother, but simply administrates it. The claims refer to work in connection with my well-known Parliamentary activity on European and global politics. When I stopped being Europe Minister, I used the EPI to claim for research and translation* relating to my work as an MP on European politics.’ * My emphasis.

The Mail, clearly touched a raw nerve with MacShane when they asked about this little arrangement with his brother, Edmund Matyjazek.

When Denis MacShane makes a statement it usually requires careful textual analysis to determine exactly what it means.

This phrase from the text statement is instructive: ‘I used the EPI to claim for research and translation’.

What is he saying here? The use of the term ‘to claim’, not ‘to carry out’ is perhaps, more revelatory than he intended?

Gerald Shamash, of Labour Party solicitors, Steel & Shamash, has reportedly, been engaged by MacShane to help him. I myself have previous experience with this firm of solicitors and found them less than thorough about checking that ‘facts’ were actually true! I will probably tell the full story of this episode at a later date. It would be quite instructive! On their website they claim ‘Steel and Shamash, has established a fine reputation in criminal cases over many years. They claim to specialise in serious cases, such as fraud’. Gerald Shamash, himself, claims among his specialities; (Cases involving) Parliamentary rules relating to the conduct of Members of Parliament. Probably got the right solicitors then.

Edmund, Denis’s older brother, is unlikely to be at all happy that he is being dragged into a situation of considerable potential embarrassment, by his younger brother. Edmund is owner and proprietor of an Isle of Wight, private school as well as being it’s Headmaster. He is also poet and luminary of the Poetry Society. A lot to lose therefore.

I know from personal experience that younger brothers can end up causing a lot of pain, embarrassment and more than a little money, through their own stupid actions. Just when you least expect it!

Seen Elsewhere:

Neil Clark Blog on Denis

Yorkshire MP & Labour Leader our very own, R'Ed Miliband – Speaks Out On Expenses Cheats!

R’Ed Miliband yesterday in Sheffield. He doesn’t seem very pleased to be having to take questions about further exposures of embarrassingly greedy MPs.

Democratic Outrage! Was there a 'conspiracy of silence' that concealed the full truth about 'Dissembling' Denis from the Voters of Rotherham?

A posting on Richard Wilson’s blog, the excellent,  Don’t Get Fooled Again, raises some very serious constitutional issues concerning the fact that the voters were deliberately deceived about their Labour Candidate.

He points to the fact that significant material facts about Denis, were concealed from public view before the election.

I quote:

“I’ve argued before that cleaning up Parliament will require a wholesale clear-out not only of the corrupt MPs who have been abusing the system for personal gain, but also of the unelected, unaccountable officials who have worked so hard to help them get away with it.

The Parliamentary Standards Office made a deliberate decision to withhold crucial information from UK voters ahead of the 2010 General Election. The voters of Rotherham – and for all we know many other constituencies around the country – were thus prevented from making an informed choice about the candidates seeking their votes. It’s only now, five months after the election has taken place, that the full picture is beginning to emerge. It may be another four years before Rotherham voters can express their judgement on this at the ballot box.

Yet again, the Standards Commission has put the “privileges of Parliament” before the rights of the electorate, and brought our democracy into further disrepute.”

I couldn’t agree more with these sentiments!

If this was a job he had applied for and was now in post, he would have been escorted off the premises, by some security man earlier this week, when the story finally came out! Having been summarily dismissed from his post.

We have been disgracefully deceived! Who by? Those we trusted to tell us the truth! The Parliamentary Authorities, The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and most of all, the Labour Party for not weeding out this greedy politician even though they knew all this information well before the election. They also knew about ‘honest’ Eric Illsley, from Barnsley, yet they let him stand as well!

The Labour Party is the real villain of the piece, it is incredible to realise that they knew all this and more and they still let them stand as Labour Candidates! So much for trusting Labour, look where that has got us!

The real ‘good guys’ on the Labour benches and even in the Shadow Cabinet must be feeling badly let down by their party for this ridiculous affair that should have been properly dealt with before the election. So that the exposure would have been Ex MPs, a much less damaging outcome than the parade of Labour Members of Parliament’s Greed, Sleaze and Corruption that is coming out now!

Gordon Brown lied to us! He asserted that all Labour Candidates had been thoroughly vetted and passed muster as honest, honourable and decent people who could be trusted with confidence. ‘Dissembling’ Denis and ‘Honest’ Eric prove that he did indeed lie to us!

Labour evidently can no longer be trusted, at least in the Yorkshire Region. The Labour Party Regional Director, Paul Nicholson and Yorkshire MP and Leader, R’Ed Milliband, should get a grip and now move swiftly to expose the rest of their ‘rotten apples’ and to deal with them expeditiously, requiring them to stand down from Parliament forthwith, if they are to emerge from this with any credit at all.

They had no right to foist Denis or Eric on their electorates knowing what they did about them, they should remedy the situation now, not let it fester on for months!

No by-elections, no trust left!

Rotherham Hangs It's Head in (Mac)Shame! Denis MacShane – Metropolitan Police Investigation! Suspended from Labour Party!

Another snout in the trough?

It has been revealed today, that Rotherham’s Labour MP, Denis MacShane is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for his less than open and now it would appear, less than honest approach to his parliamentary claims.

The complaint of 7th July 2009 was indeed submitted by a BNP activist, who is being referred to as the ‘Sleaze buster’, one Michael Barnbrook. The responses to his original complaint can now be viewed here on the website of the BNP Reform Group. Despite the source of the complaint, we should all be grateful that this sorry saga is now to be thoroughly investigated. There are further issues, that go to the heart of our democratic procedures, that will be the subject of a later posting.

In the report of the 12th October Meeting, published 14th October, 2010 of the, Committee on Standards and Privileges reads:

‘the Committee agreed that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should report to the Metropolitan Police Service the conduct of the Rt hon Member for Rotherham, Mr Denis MacShane’.

This blog, Peter Thirlwall’s Parliamentary Website and Rotherham Independents has featured many of the questionable purchases made on Parliamentary expenses and has openly criticised him for this. Now we feel totally vindicated and Peter Thirlwall’s attempt to raise many of these issues during the General Election campaign now fully justified.

We warned the voters of the Rotherham Constituency and Denis Himself, that MacShane would be eventually forced to answer the many justifiable questions his constituents have asked him but have gone unanswered. Now it has come to pass!  We are willing to present our evidence of MacShane’s less than honest or justifiable expenses claims to the Metropolitan Police who we feel confident will be asking Denis many questions and they will. no doubt, get the answers we were denied.

This slippery, oily, arrogant and self-aggrandising politician looks set to follow ‘Honest’ Eric Illsley, Barnsley’s own disgraced MP, into Court to pay the price for his wrongdoing, along with Elliot Morley, Jim Devine and David Chaytor as well as Tories Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor.

Now suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party and presumably the Labour Party, it is further evidence that Labour did a very poor job at vetting it’s candidates prior to the General Election and gives the lie to Gordon Brown’s claims to have done so, yet again Labour has let us down so badly! How many more greedy MPs will will come out of the ‘woodwork’ into the light one wonders?

Denis MacShane claimed £125,000 in office costs for this! It's Rotherham! NOT Central London!

Attached to his house in Rotherham just off Moorgate Road this is his rather expensive Constituency office in Rotherham.

No services are provided to this ‘office’ so without using his house attached his staff could not possibly work there! This may be a good time for Kath Sims, his secretary who works in this ‘office’, to look for a new job, I would have thought?

His brother, Edmund Matyjaszek, is also embroiled in this expenses controversy as Denis made a number of payments to a rather shadowy organisation called the European Policy Institute for ‘research and translation’. Headmaster Edmund, may come to regret this grubby little arrangement with his brother.

Many questions are still being asked about the eight laptops he bought from his parliamentary expenses, where are they now? Where have they been? Who has been using them? All unanswered.

These issues and the many other questionable expenses arrangements he has made over the years look set to bite him on the backside, big style!

We may now have a clue as to why he is so upset with IPSA and the new arrangements, making it more difficult to conceal any ‘Spanish’ practises from the authorities, perhaps?

In some parts of the Rotherham Constituency Labour Party there are quiet celebrations at Denis’s discomfiture and the sound of knives being sharpened ready for another attempt to rid themselves of  this odious and disagreeable man, who they didn’t want in the first place. Power to their elbows I say!

There is also a small group of very embarrassed supporters who are ruing the day they signed his nomination papers only a few months ago. They should be suitably chastened, because their actions now look foolish indeed! I hope they are proud of themselves for the shame they helped to bring to our Town.

Roll Call of Dishonour, MacShane’s signatories to his nomination:

Anna Chester, Keith Brisland, Barry Kaye, Ian Barron, Julie Currie, John Foden, Ian Jones, Kath Sims, Richard Crow, Sarah Crow, Mahroof Hussain, Zlakha Ahmed, Tracey Jones, Nellie McHale, Christine Burgess, Quereshi Parveen, Diana Swanson, Roger Swanson, Dave Pickering, Subodh Kapoor, Jahangir Akhtar, James Burgess, Simon Currie, Rekha Kapoor, Stephen Parkin, John Price, Tom Henley, Craig Mitchell, Alan Buckley and Ruth Hobson.

In the Press:

Banbury Guardian

Belfast Telegraph

Daily Mail

Daily Star

Daily Telegraph

epolitix

Financial Times

Guardian Story 1, Story2.

Hemsworth & South Elmsall Express

Herald Scotland

Independent

Ireland Online

London Evening Standard

Mirror

New Statesman

Rotherham Advertiser

Rotherham Star

Spectator

Sunderland Echo

USAToday

Yahoo News

Yorkshire Evening Post

Yorkshire Post

Broadcasters:

BreakingNews.ie

BBC

Sky

PressTV Iranian

Ulster TV

Blogs:

AVForums

Capital Bay

Don’t Get Fooled Again

Fulwood

Free Library

FT Westminster Blog

Guido Fawkes

LabourList

Millers Mad

Neil Clark

politics.co.uk

Surely Some Mistake

Whistleblower

Wikio

See also:

MPs who abused expenses staff should be named, former watchdog claims

Swearing MPs abuse expenses staff ‘monkeys’

House of Commons chiefs ‘failing to stop sex pest MPs’

Expenses chiefs urged to name MPs who called them ‘monkeys’

Denis MacShane working hard for Rotherham?

Denis’s Rant! – now the analysis, what was really on his mind?

What planet is MacShane on?

Disgraceful Denis, disgraces himself again! This time for being drunk and not fully in charge of his mouth!

Forgemasters £80M Loan Cancelled! Labour Cynicism Revealed!

Disgraceful Denis, disgraces himself again! This time for being drunk and not fully in charge of his mouth!

MacShane still doesn’t get it! Give us our money back!

Look! Who was missing! Yes it was MacShane, of course!

MacShane the Truth! Time for Change in Rotherham!

Peter Thirlwall, Independent for Rotherham. What motivates my campaign!

MacShane or is that MacShame, makes friends with Guido Fawkes Again!

Question Time for MacShane?

Peter’s Perspective – On MacShane

More Questions for MacShane?

MacShane has many questions to answer?

‘Two Homes’ MacShane must go! Part 2

‘Two Homes’ MacShane must go!

MP’s Expenses – What’s on the Web

MacShane PFIM No 2

MacShane PFIM No1

Genuine Tyke, John Healey – Now 'Politicians Politician'!

The Shadow Cabinet elections have revealed Yorkshireman, John Healey, to have become the consummate politician. Suddenly bursting in to public view to reveal a perfectly formed, gifted man, in much the same way that a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis.

Coming second only to another talented Labour MP, Yvette Cooper in the Shadow Cabinet vote amongst Labour MPs a distinct achievement in itself shows just how his peculiar talents have been recognised by all groups of opinion on the Labour benches.

John’s achievements now eclipse anything other Rotherham representatives of the past or present have managed and still has potentially the most successful period ahead of him.

I am confident that John will perform well at his brief. Taking the Health portfolio, will allow him ample possibilities to play to his strengths and to learn the arts of opposition, which are quite different to being in Government.

If John does not get involved in shaping future campaigns for Labour it will be their loss.

I am glad that the young man that appeared on my doorstep all those years ago, wanting to enter the race for Wentworth, (occasioned by Peter Hardy’s retirement) has handsomely repaid the confidence we placed in him back on that chilly night shortly before Christmas 1996, much to the chagrin of those who had wished to see inferior, but local candidates.

Rik

See Independent and People articles.

Sadiq Khan an asset or liability? Surely He Must Go?

Even a cursory review of the background of this oleaginous and arrogant politician, throws up serious questions about him. This information should have prevented him from even standing as a Labour candidate, never mind for the Shadow Cabinet! It speaks volumes about Labour’s candidate selection procedures! They after all did allow ‘honest’ Eric Illsley to fight his seat of Barnsley Central only for him to be exposed as a serious expenses cheat within days of the election!

R’Ed Miliband is going to have serious problems with Sadiq Khan, as his own judgement is now being called in to question because of his closeness to Khan. Sadiq Khan after all was R’Ed’s Leadership Campaign Manager.

Previously a whip, under the tutelage of the much disliked but effective, then Chief whip, Nick Brown, he was a good pupil by all accounts. Presumably, he knows where the ‘bodies are buried’ ! This may go some way to explain his rise, almost from nowhere! Some of his own ‘unburied bodies’  are presented below.

Expenses:

Khan is a three time expenses cheat, most recent case concluded just this week, with a requirement for refund of monies previously paid out against a fraudulent, re-submitted, previously rejected claim! The sum involved £2,551 and he has agreed to return it. Why is unemployment not the consequence for these calumnies?

Terrorist Links:

It has been reported that five family members plus a number of clients belonged to fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation. (See wikipedia entry) Banned by governments throughout the middle east because of, it’s links to terrorism, it’s view of muslim world domination and the establishment of the caliphate. This group is not exactly mainstream in muslim circles and have been the subject of much criticism, even by former members such as Ed Hussain or Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam.

He tried to defend 9/11 plotter, Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui asked lawyer Sadiq Khan to represent him after being accused of being the ’20th hijacker’ but the Americans wouldn’t agree, leaving us to suppose they know something we don’t? See this in the Sun.

Stop Press 11 October 2010. Fresh questions about links to terrorism:

Guido Fawkes raises very serious questions that go to the heart of his basic honesty when confronted with the issue of his truthfulness about the extent of his relationship with Babar Ahmad. Babar Ahmad is wanted by the United States for a series of very serious charges. It would appear that he has lied to parliament or the Prime Minister or even both. Not exactly the actions of someone suitable for high office, even of the shadow variety!

Stop Press 12th October: Guido again raises more serious questions with this latest Posting, Khan We Have A Straight Answer Please?

Report into the bugging of Sadiq Khan on his visits to see Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison.

Web page removed by Khan, once questions about the extent of his relationship with wanted terrorist, Babar Ahmad were being asked.

Daily Mail story on bugging.

Decidedly dodgy clients:

He defended Ali Dizaei the bent copper, successfully on this occasion, getting him off before he was eventually banged to rights and amusingly served part of his prison term in Wandsworth nick, in Sadiq Khan’s own constituency of Tooting.

Interestingly in 2002, he defended Maajid Nawaz, then a Hizb ut-Tahrir activist imprisoned in Egypt, was unsuccessful at keeping him out of jail and during his incarceration Maajid realised that he was barking up the wrong tree and later went on to form Quilliam with Ed Hussain.

Hypocrisy:

I know that we expect our politicians to be hypocritical, but voting in parliament at 19:00 to close Post Offices then at 20:00 in a public meeting in Tooting High Street in his constituency, said he was opposed and was cheered to the rafters, really takes the biscuit! See this report in the Wandsworth Guardian.

This little lot and the fact that there are doubts about his security status*, should qualify him admirably for his role as Shadow Justice Secretary.

Are we about to see one of the shortest tenures in the Shadow Cabinet in history? We shall see!

Back in my day it was, ‘Reds under the beds’, we needed to be fearful of.

It now seems that ‘muslim extremists under the beds’ has become the order of the day in the modern Labour Party.

Notes:

*It has been reported in the press that Sadiq Khan has been investigated by among others, MI5, MI6 and by the CIA after Zacarias Moussaoui asked him to defend him. Jack Straw was involved at the time, perhaps he should tell us what he knows about this seemingly dodgy politician?