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Golden handshake is fairer for all cabinet members

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Golden handshake is fairer for all cabinet members

While we weren't watching, Southwark Labour councillors voted to give themselves a golden handshake.

At the last week's Council Assembly, Southwark Labour councillors voted in favour of 'severance payment' for Cabinet Members.

No, they really did (you can watch the video recording here, roughly from 32mins onwards; warning: may cause severe nausea).

The councillor presenting the 'case for', reassuringly claims the constitutional changes proposed can be implemented without 'jeopardising democracy, scrutiny or public engagement'. Could it possibly be because people who are not councillors do not actually exist in the Southwark Labour's version of 'democracy/scrutiny/public engagement'? If people who live in Southwark have learned one thing since 2010 it's that the 'labour' administration does not listen to anything the people-who-are-not-councillors say but simply carry on with what they and the party had already decided, behind closed doors and/or with a little help of global developers/friends in high places.

Key 'selling point' is that it would encourage diversity, ie it would encourage people from all walks of life to get involved and not just the elite. Cllr Peter John is a barrister, Cllr Fiona Colley a former Barclays' Fund Manager, but they are not that elite.

Or are they saying the one reason they are councillors now is the money/whatever perks they can or hope to get?!

Southwark Labour, we hear, are proud to be proposing this, as it's part of their commitment to 'fairer future for all'.

Do any of them deserve it?

Since 2010, the Cabinet sold off the Heygate for less than it cost the council to get the former residents out of their homes. The Cabinet members continue to justify the unjustifiable, from 0% 'affordable' housing on One the Elephant (which is 35% less than policy requirement), to 78 or 80 'social' housing homes on the future Heygate (in place of 1,200), to abhorrent treatment of Aylesbury residents who continue to live in an (un)open prison of overpriced fences and security, to appalling treatment of Aylesbury leaseholders, whose homes and lives just don't matter. Breaking up and displacing communities and people is fairer for all, including the communities in question?!

The Cabinet decided to start charging disabled people and people on benefits council tax. In no time at all, some 5,000 residents were in arrears and had to be summonsed to Camberwell Magistrates Court; many were forced to agree a weekly repayment plan, which was at times higher than the original Council Tax. Is it 'fairer for all' to make poor people even poorer?

Since 2010, the Cabinet has shown alarming contempt for all things green - 600+ parking spaces at future Heygate is OK (again, in spite of policy requirement); fully established orchard in Camberwell, however, is a 'so-called orchard' and can be destroyed without any loss of sleep; shrubbery (and not social problems) encourage people to rob others etc.

Since 2010, the Cabinet has shown a shameless contempt for anyone who dares to have opinions different to them - non-labour councillors, other Southwark residents, all ignored without 'jeopardising democracy'.

Since 2010, the Cabinet have proved, over and over again, that they cannot be trusted with public funds - gambling with our land (Heygate) and our (public) money, selling our land cheaply in exchange for a vague promise of loads of money at some point in distant future; wasting huge amounts of money on building fences to keep Southwark residents out; wasting even bigger amounts of money on fighting us, Southwark residents, in courts, to protect developers' interests or their own fair? unfair? practices.

Since 2010, the gifts and hospitalities keep on piling, but are clearly not enough.

It is really difficult to find any justification for this - not now, not while this farce is what passes as 'democracy'. What do you think?

See also:

Southwark News article

Southwark News editorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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