Why the se­crecy over MP’s ar­rest?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

WE have to ad­mit that “Damian Green MP ar­rested” was not a head­line many of us ever ex­pected to see. But as he has be­come some­thing of an un­wit­ting cham­pion of our free­dom to in­for­ma­tion, we do won­der if the self-styled Con­ser­va­tive de­fender of civil lib­er­ties David Davis feels a slight twinge of jeal­ousy that the spot­light has been switched to his col­league.

SO, did Kent Po­lice know the Metropoli­tan Po­lice were to raid Damian Green’s home in Char­ing and his con­stituency of­fice in Bethers­den? You would have thought there might have been a call be­tween the two but if there was, no one is let­ting on. Our call to Kent Po­lice to ask is re­ferred to the Met. And the Met’s re­sponse? “We never com­ment on op­er­a­tional mat­ters.” Why the se­crecy?

WHO­EVER be­comes the county coun­cil’s next di­rec­tor of chil­dren’s ser­vices will be un­der no il­lu­sions about the scale of the job they are tak­ing on. Above an im­age of a sea­son­ally snow-cov­ered roof and chim­ney, the advert for the post by re­cruit­ment con­sul­tancy Vere­dus boldly states: “No one in­flu­ences chil­dren more - (well, al­most no one).” Sadly, the advert fails to say whether there is a lease agree­ment avail­able for a sleigh and rein­deer for the suc­cess­ful can­di­date. Or in­deed a red and white cos­tume, large sack and white beard.

SO, how much has Kent County Coun­cil paid to But­lers, the com­pany that ad­vised it to in­vest money in Ice­landic banks? The amount was dis­closed to coun­cil­lors last week by Nick Vick­ers, KCC’s head of fi­nan­cial ser­vices, who said But­lers re­ceived a fixed an­nual fee of £26,000 with an al­lowance for inflation, which meant by his cal­cu­la­tions that the com­pany re­ceived an ad­di­tional £840 this year. Mean­while, the much-an­tic­i­pated re­port KCC com­mis­sioned to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing its de­ci­sion to in­vest in Ice­land has not yet seen the light of day. We hear its pub­li­ca­tion is im­mi­nent. Just in time to get buried in the Christ­mas hol­i­days? Surely not. We wouldn’t be so cyn­i­cal.

THE idea of a na­tional town hall bank floated by KCC chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Gil­roy seems, on the sur­face, a rea­son­able propo­si­tion. As the Ice­landic cash cri­sis has am­ply demon­strated, coun­cils deal with huge sums of our money so pool­ing it does make sense. Off The Record is al­ways struck, how­ever, by how ideas spring from ad­verse or un­usual cir­cum­stances. Give their clout, why haven’t coun­cils pre­vi­ously thought this might be worth ex­plor­ing? As long as coun­cils thought that they could get a good deal from banks on their own, join­ing forces did not oc­cur to them.

PRESS release overkill cor­ner. A Labour party press release about the Turner Cen­tre art gallery for Mar­gate fea­tures quotes from not just one party spokesman but quotes from five coun­cil­lors. We hear it might have been six but Gor­don Brown was not avail­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.