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News and Comment March 2012

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17 March (Part 1) - Political hypocrisy

If it hadn’t been for the lunacies of the week now ending I would have written a fairly ordinary blog about political hypocrisy on Tuesday morning; a number of people had provided links. I know I usually avoid the heavy stuff at a weekend but neither do I like ignoring readers’ suggestions and I am so far behind I shall have to put in some overtime.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a TV programme from beginning to end (†), but I am told that Ken Livingston was interviewed last weekend by someone called Andrew Marr. Apparently Ken was being grilled because he has his media related income paid via a company he owns and it cuts his tax bill. In the past Ken has been critical of such arrangements and according to the BBC (and they are not alone) this is hypocrisy. But the BBC must be hypocrites too; they pay some of their their top brass the same way.

James Cleverly TwitterJames Cleverly, our man at the GLA, who I regard as a total twit since he labelled this website “well out of order”, got in on the act by Twittering comments no better and no worse than I might use here - in fact I said pretty much the same thing only yesterday but politicians are a special breed who can do and say what they like without having their collars felt.

Boris denialEd Milliband has retaliated by saying Boris Johnson pays himself the same way and the Mayor has been emphatic that it is not true and then joins in the criticism of Ken. This probably makes him a hypocrite too, for Conservative controlled London boroughs pay their staff the same way and he says nothing about it. Which brings us back to Bexley, for its former chief executive Nick Johnson has been paid the same way by Hammersmith & Fulham council and we chip in an extra £50,000 a year for his pension.

A Parliamentary contact drew my attention to Tuesday’s debate. It records how a Labour councillor made an official complaint about Nick Johnson’s tax advantageous arrangements and sent it to Eric Pickles 16 months ago and true to form the hypocrite has not, according to the debaters, replied.

If you click for the report of the Commons debate, search for the name Nick Johnson. If you are a total glutton for punishment watch the entire debate.

† I remember now, it was the Downton Abbey Christmas special.


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