Monday, 10 December 2018
Thursday, 7 November 2013

Rowdy Labour bully, jeer and gag outnumbered opposition councillors

Anderson slags-off former councillors for leaving the Labour Party. Euro candidate Swindlehurst praises Labour's expertise despite millions in account irregularities

Report: Paul Janik

Thursday night's rowdy bad tempered council meeting, held at the Labour Party's expensive and unwanted white elephant building in Farnham Road, lasted just an hour before everyone walked out.

The Conservative arranged Extra-Ordinary Council General Meeting (EGM) was doomed from the start. Little attention had been paid to the composition of the meeting's agenda. Consequently with Labour heavy-weights Cllr Rob Anderson (Britwell) and Cllr James Swindlehurst (Cippenham Green) supported by more than 30 docile Labour councillors, the 6 opposition councillors never had a chance.

The only item on the Conservative's agenda was a debate about:-

This Council resolves:
"..... it has lost confidence in the present leadership of Slough Borough Council because of recent examples of financial mismanagement and poor governance, and it calls on those responsible to resign."

Obviously the guilty people were not likely to identify themselves, so opposition councillors needed to identify them. Not once did the Slough Times hear or see a list of the culprits.

Local Government 'Pay-offs'

In local government, senior staff never resign unless they receive a massive amount of pay-off money, often several times their annual salary or, in the event of a major public scandal, they decide to retire and accept a massive retirement payment usually at least double their annual salary. Council watchers know that departing staff inevitably pop-up a few months later doing the same job at another council having greatly enhanced their personal wealth at the public's expense.

Veteran and recently retired Slough councillor Richard Stokes says the discredited council staff pay-off system rewards incompetent failing staff for their bad performance. At Slough Unitary Authority, more popularly known as Slough's Bad Council (SBC), pay-offs and other disquieting payments of £1/4 million to over £1/2 million to staff and council contractors are decided in total secrecy with opposition councillors and the public denied all knowledge of what some say are dodgy deals.

A senior Labour councillor, when questioned by the Slough Times about a secret payment of £225,000 to a council contractor, said:-

I didn't know what it was about. They said I had to vote for it.

Amazingly that councillor was one of the more educated Labour councillors.

The Meeting - setting the scene

The council's general meeting was held in the Flexi Hall at the Centre.

On the platform, east to west, were:-

  • Amardip Healy, the council's chief solicitor
  • Ruth Bagley, the council's chief executive
  • Cllr Balwinder Bains, the meeting's chairman
  • Cllr Shafiq Chaudhry, the deputy chairman

In the corner was the so-called 'press table' comprising from east to west:-

  • John Dickens, Slough Observer
  • Kate Pratt, the council's chief press/media officer
  • An unknown man from the Slough Express

Facing them the hall's seating was divided into two, Labour on the east side and the opposition on the west. It was reminiscent of the Cold War period. The Communists and baddies in the East and the good guys in the West.

The Labour Party's elite councillors sat at the rear of their group. It gave an impression of the powerful watching and supervising their subordinates' every move. From east to west, they were:-

  • Cllr

The public sat at the back of the hall.

The Debate

Anderson's Astonishing Outburst