Given Bellend's ties with developers, are we at all surprised - https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/former-ealing-housing-boss-admits-20455460
peter king ● 177d19 Comments
Since the pandemic started the council has been reliant on Zoom meetings with potential investors. One of these gave rise to Bell’s infamous ‘take advantage of Covid’ quote in relation to the LTNs.The council produces a nice brochure called Ealing in London which it used to hand out at Cannes, but now is available online.There was little need to go to Mipim. It was a jolly. But it gave Bell, Mason and co the chance to enjoy the largesse of its property partners on the pretext of ‘working’. And at no cost to taxpayers, apart from our loss of input or comment on most of these outsized schemes.
Simon Hayes ● 174d
Yes and then the Tories can say that Labour have been doing it for years. It is shameful as the intention is clear that they enjoy a jolly in Cannes every year when the developers are already on the doorstep. A lot of councils go to this event but the benefits are not quantified. I would say they are minimal as they meet the same people that they would meet here and that attending such an event gives rise to potential for corruption.
Peter Chadburn ● 174d
It is exactly that. It is grossly unfair on those who report it because of the diluted effect of the internet and it's plethora of untrue and inaccurate reporting.But this stuff all now comes out in the wash, and very rarely does it end with proper justice.That's my point, it was nipped in the bud by local papers which had the quality and integrity to report.It is the lack of awareness that purveys which is odd given the amount of communications means we now have.And you are quite right. People tolerate it- which ultimately gives sanction to what goes on.
Raymond Havelock ● 174d
That seems grossly unfair on the people reporting on this subject. A quick Google search shows articles on the subject of Ealing borough attending the Cannes conferences going back over 10 years. The payments by developers to councillors including Peter Mason were highlighted at the time in articles like this: http://www.ealingtoday.co.uk/default.asp?section=info&page=eamipim2016001.htm in which the term 'hookerfest' is used. Might I suggest this didn't come from a council press release?The problem seems to me not that people haven't been made aware of what is happening but that we are too willing to tolerate it.
Tricia Arbuthnot ● 174d
It has been going on for ages.But we did have a period when proper local papers with good circulations and proper reporters proved the value and underlined the importance of a free society.In a nutshell, Councils did not get away with very much going unnoticed and reported properly - not by press releases but from proper questioning.We have lost this and during the demise the advantage has been seized by Authorites and developers and others with potential interests.What we have now is amazing communications, but completely short on integrity, actual fact and third rate reporting standards.Makes it all too easy. A read of Private Eye now and a copy from 20 years ago.The Post Office Counters cover up has never been dropped by this publication. Only carelessness gets exposed and to the truth.
Raymond Havelock ● 174d
According to the MIPIM website the attraction for local authorities is:' ..to promote your city to a global audience, build your urban develoment strategy, and connect with future partners.' Whether you have to go to Cannes to meet and attract developers and investors is open to question, but if it works, then £3000 might be a small price to pay, particularly if you don't actually have to pay it and can save our precious council tax. Whatever we might think about this jolly jaunt/business opportunity, if it's legitimate council business then I guess the council should pay for it rather than accepting what some might see as compromising external payments, but there's certainly no reason why councillors should pay for it out of their own pockets.
Peter Evans ● 174d
Maybe BellEnd should also relinquish his Subsidised Social House whilst he owns another private investment property/ies?He bangs on that he's "Broken no rules", so that's allright then!Hypocritical Local Champagne Socialist Labour.
Rosco White ● 174d
It’s been going on longer than that, as long as there have been politicians.What would be a nice gesture, perhaps, would be if these councillors and the officers who accompanied them donated the equivalent cash from their own pockets to one of the local charities helping the less well off or homeless.
Simon Hayes ● 175d
This has been going on since the Blair / Brown government but successive governments have continually turned a blind eye to this form of sleaze.Because so much is now seen as acceptable we now have to hear the revelations of what it all leads to.It used to be the fallibility of these types to have affairs. Now it's noses in the trough and a nice PR smokescreen to deflect any of the great unwashed who dare to ask questions.
Raymond Havelock ● 175d
The problem appears to be that, at all level of government, there is a growing assumption that if something is within the rules it is okay. People seem to have lost the capacity to exercise their own judgement.
Mark Evans ● 175d
It's the Nasty Tory Cuts! A £3k 'envelope' is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. One gets caught, one can hazard a guess at the bulging envelopes that pass hands under the radar . . . .
Tony Heath ● 175d
Agree, I doubt that we shall ever know what went on behind closed doors.Developers do not spend six figure (on an average of £3000 per attendee)sums flying councilors and council employees to MIPIM out of some form of altruism. Only the truly naive would think this so, on the assumption that our elected representatives could not be this naive, one must suspect their motives.
N V Brooks ● 175d
Peter Mason's mea culpa is all very well but it would have been interesting to hear why he thought it was a good idea to go to the conference in the first place. Ealing is far from the only borough to be a regular attendee and the whole thing just stinks of corruption. It would be reassuring to hear of some actual benefits that have come from councillors and council officers going along otherwise there should be a pledge to stop attending.
Gordon Southwell ● 175d
Thin end of the wedge, I suspect.This councillors employment and connections were always questionable. At best naive but more likely ambition driven.But the whole business of what goes on in Cannes, where press are vetted and so is their copy. Who goes and all the closed "done deals' that take place between councils and developers with no open debate or reports, shows that something is wrong. Very, very wrong.Yet there are those who threaten to sue when a finger is so much as pointed at certain parts of this and other local authorities.If it's bad in this government and previous governments then it's patently obvious that the same culture is spawning in Local Government.And it's far from confined to any one party. If Keir Starmer wants openness and transparency and full accountability then he should start with his own party controlled administrations . Ealing springs to mind, and Hounslow just to name a few.The methodology of Labour run authorities including TfL and the GLA show that he is wading into double standards when taking on the Government.Lead by example. Root out those who practice dodgy principles in power who are in his own party as well.This whole culture needs rooting out.
Raymond Havelock ● 175d
Rosco? Seriously?He works for Commonplace, which the council is ‘using’ to ‘consult’ on LTNs.
Simon Hayes ● 176d