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Fake consultation, stinky stats and horrible holidays

By Emma Dent Coad 

The new leather of the £4,000 replica budget briefcase stank as much as its contents

The new leather of the £4,000 replica budget briefcase stank as much as its contents.

Gideon Osborne’s ‘Budget for [non] Growth’ was quickly overshadowed by ‘Worse-Off Wednesday’ last week, which confirmed that virtually every demographic group, from pensioners to single people to lone parents and working couples with children, could lose up to £3,900 a year from tax and benefit changes. That's social mobility utterly f**ked then.

The worst hit will be poor families living in London; our neighbours Mr Cameraman. Let’s see if you dare ever again to parade your well-nourished children down Golborne Road for photo-ops.

Equally cynical is Cameraman’s ‘genuine chance’ for the hoi polloi to comment on NHS proposals. When the PM uses words like ‘genuine’ you know we are in for a period of unmitigated spin when, with whipping boy Andrew Lansley, he will trawl the country in his shirtsleeves with his best ‘genuine’ face plastered on. Time to ease up on the Restylane now, a few natural worry lines might help the cause. But however ‘sincere’ a face he may conjure up, we know it’s only a chance to ‘build consensus’ or ‘explain it better’; nothing anyone will do or say will shift this pig-headed creature from his hell-bent course towards economic meltdown and social destruction.

Also in ‘listening mode’ with earplugs in is K&C Council, blithely pretending to consult on the tri-borough working arrangement while it is already under way, despite the inevitability of some ‘savings’ ending up costing more. Not to mention 100s of redundancies- that's actual people, people we know, losing their livelihoods.

Here are the so-called results of a tri-borough survey reported in a press release: 

‘Nearly 80% of residents in Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea support the idea of their three councils sharing some services.’

Whoa there, nearly 80% of residents? But then ...

‘Around 1,500 residents took part in a telephone survey with 34% saying that there should be some sharing of services, while 43% said the authorities should share as much as possible. Only 13% of people were opposed to sharing services.’

OK - 1,500 BT customers out of 600,000 residents, that’s 0.25%, so not a great sample ... but then: 

‘At least one in three residents (35%) expect the quality of services to improve, 29% think there will be no impact on quality and 27% think the quality of services will suffer.’

So, a three-way split and nearly a third think services will suffer! However, K&C Leader Cockell isn’t shy to air his own conclusions:-

"People recognise that we should reduce as much back office and management cost across our three councils as possible so that a higher proportion of money that we do have goes to the frontline."

This is all rubbish of course as there will be frontline cuts, and this will all be backed up by the unimpeachable Residents’ Panel Council Tax Consultation Summary Results - yet more stinky statistics. Various leading questions produce mind-boggling conclusions such as: ‘There is a general shift against spending more and in favour of spending less, although there is still a net preference in 2010 for spending more’.

Yes, you read it right, the slight shift away from spending more is highlighted though a majority still want the Council to spend more. See what they did there? And the most valued service of all, according to these tortured statistics, is still undeniably ‘SPENDING ON OLDER PEOPLE’. Gentlemen take note: 42% of K&C ressies value this above all others and it is almost double the next preference which is Schools at 25% ... but even this undeniable truth won’t stop them closing EPICS, the much-valued day centre caring for 700 older people and those with dementia.  

Are Moylan and Cockell going on a Summer Holiday or looking for an old lady to help?So, how will K&C Cabinet Members spin themselves out of that embarrassment? Be photographed helping some old dear onto public transport? I can well imagine they would stoop that low to show they are ‘sharing the pain’.

Or maybe they should take the PM’s example with a quick trip to Granada on Ryanair? Hm, hardly a self-sacrifice as SamCam was bribed to go with the promise of an intimate birthday party for 100 close family and friends and a diamond bracelet whose modesty is entirely in tune with the times. No wonder they call him Homer at No 10; always messing up then having to make amends. 

Emma Dent Coad ia  Labour Councillor for the Golborne Ward. She has her own blog at http://emmadentcoad.blogspot.com

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