Monday, December 19, 2011

Big Bad Mikey sings Goodbye-ee

(Warning: this is an internal Newham thing) Big Bad Mikey who posted as "I love Newham Labour Group" (or something like that) sings "Goodbye-ee to blogging" alongside his old partner in crime Newham Tory miniture

They will be sadly missed. How can we now show how completely useless the Tory opposition is in Newham?

I am of course, as always, a completely innocent man in all this.

UPDATE: within a few hours of this post "Big Bad Mikey" decided to change his mind (no surprise there) and reopen his blog! Hooray - we can now continue to demonstrate how completely useless all the opposition (trots and tories) are in Newham.  He claims that he is a reformed character and will not swear or attack people personally.

Yeah...he's already pretending to be the very thick and stupid illiterate anon who makes obscene comments.  Great stuff. Carry on "Big Bad Mikey" Please don't ever change! 

(I'll be thinking of a suitable "welcome back" post for the near future:)


Anonymous said...

Was Mike Law paid to keep shut?

Was he threatened to shut down is blog?

Did he find a horses head in his bed?

Anonymous said...

he just had one of his famous strops.

Anonymous said...

Whatever else Mr. Law may be he did ask some pertinent questions which should have been asked elsewhere and no decision-maker seems to have bothered to try to answer. The Olympic stadium is a huge thing and may have some demonstrable benefits. The trouble is no-one is really demonstrating them to the public at large. 40 million pounds is an awful lot of money to spend and should have a lot of debate and questions asked about it given the parlous financial state of the Council and the cuts in front-line services. If Mr.Law is getting an audience that should worry the Labour Party because it means the Party isn't listening and appear to be taking the electorate for granted.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.04 hits the nail squarely on the head:

Where is the transparency from the Council and the Mayor?
Why is vital business always conducted behind closed doors at Labour Group meetings rather than in public council meetings?
Why were the public and the press excluded from the discussion about the new £40 million offer to the OPLC?

John says he welcomes scrutiny but there is scant evidence of this in the way the mayor and council do their business.

If you weren't so secretive, we might not need to be so suspicious.

John Gray said...

The problem with BBM is that he is completely unable to comprehend that there are two sides to an argument. Its Mike's way or no way. If he gets an answer he doesn't like then he calls them liars, corrupt, bullies, ar.....e C...s etc. I'm all for polemic arguments but it is impossible to have any sort of rational debate with him.

As a former cllr he knows perfectly well that you can only prudently borrow money for capital investment against a income stream not for revenue. Yet he (and others) pretend otherwise.

I am amazed that there is anyone who can question the huge overall benefit from the Olympics and that any council (especially a Labour Council) would not want to have a direct public ownership stake in the stadium.

I was a Council officer (in a different council) for over 15 years and political groups have always debated and voted on policies in private. As a life long trade unionist and collectivist I stand totally 100% behind the principle of collective responsibility.

I have also as an Council officer been to countless council and committee meetings where the public and press were excluded when contracts and commerically sensitive information is being discussed.

I totally accept that there is indeed an issue regarding the lack of an elected opposition in Newham. But with respect this is hardly the fault of the Labour Party but rather responsibilty lies with the completely rubbish opposition in Newham which BBM typifies to a tee.

I have been active in politics for over 30 years in Wales, Leeds, Edinburgh and London. I have never come across such a shower of pompous, self regarding egotists with the emotional intelligence of stick insects. I know that there are thoughtful and intelligent people in Newham who are not Labour supporters but they tell me that they despair of being associated with the rag bag of right and left green ink obsessives who claim to speak in their name.

James said...

So you are a vastly experienced councillor with many years in office, and we are obsessive stick insects.

I have felt for some time that we, the electorate, the people who vote for you to represent us, are considered as some sort of lower life form by our elected representatives.

What patronizing twaddle.

John Gray said...

Hi "Jimmy" (akap BBM?)

No, I am a very inexperienced Councillor (I'm a baby - only elected last May!)

The people who voted me in (not I suspect you) are not at all low life it is only the idiotic internet armchair warriors who are too stupid and lazy to carry out real political activity that I have a go at.


Anonymous said...


You say "I am amazed that there is anyone who can question the huge overall benefit from the Olympics and that any council (especially a Labour Council) would not want to have a direct public ownership stake in the stadium."

Apologies if I'm being a bit thick, but I'm afraid you're going to have to enlighten me. Whilst I agree that there will be overall benefits to London and the UK from hosting the Olympics (even at the vastly expanded cost of £9 billion) and I am personally looking forward to attending a number of events in the summer, I cannot see why Newham council would want to have a direct stake in the future ownership of the main stadium once the Games are over. If the benefits are so obvious, why aren't Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Redbridge taking a similar stake? Why isn't the Greater London Authority?

Of course the Olympic stadium should remain in public ownership, but the OPLC is a public body, so Newham's investment won't make the ownership any more public than it already is.

The question therefore remains, what additional benefits will Newham people derive from the proposed £40 million investment that they will not get if the stadium legacy is wholly funded by OPLC?

The answers to that may lie in the report that you and your colleagues considered back in December when you approved the £40 million investment offer, but that document has not been published and your meeting was held behind closed doors. Quite why an arrangement between two public entities should be regarded as 'commercially sensitive' is beyond me.

John Gray said...

Hi Macuser

Again, purely in my personal opinion, I don’t know why (and maybe they are putting in a bid for all I know) but suspect that the simple answer is that the stadium is in Newham. I also think that the GLA have no legal ability to do what you suggest. Nor at this time the political inclination.

The OPLC is a “public body” at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it will be always.

Look, I believe in public ownership, I am a believer in “Municipalism” and that the role of a Council is not just to be an “enabler” of services.

The potential of the Stadium is enormous and IMO (sorry BBM) it is quite right and proper that the Council wants to play a prudent role in its future.

Whether you think it is a good thing or not all, public entities have a duty to negotiate to get the best commercial arrangement possible, whether it is a with a private or public body – so of course, you cannot make your negotiation position public.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry, but you really haven't answered the question.

You talk about potential and municipalism, but make no mention of concrete benefits to Newham people resulting from the £40 million we are putting in.

The business case for the investment that the council approved would have included some kind of benefits analysis as part of the return on investment calculation, so there must be a list of them written down somewhere. Why not just share that?

If this investment is such a great deal for the people of Newham, why aren't the mayor and the council trumpeting it from the rooftops?

John Gray said...

Hi Macuser

I honestly think that I have as much as is possible at this moment.

The key thing to remember at this time is that there is no "deal" to actually talk about. There is a proposal which is being negotiated. The proposal (as in any other negotiation) could be turned down, amended or withdrawn. In the midst of negotiations you just don’t generally trumpet things from the rooftops

Anonymous said...

hi John

Firstly thank you for at least attempting to address some of the disquiet around the stadium investment issue and I think you are genuine in your beliefs.

The trouble is, (against a background of austerity, public sector job losses, cuts in council services to those most in need, cuts in support to the voluntary sector) the basic premise that you do not invest scarce money without having some idea of the potential for return is even more crucial. Put simply, when the cake gets smaller it is even more important how you cut it up.

Of course the details of negotiating briefs need an element of confidentiality, however the overall potential benefits must have been considered in a business case for the Council to be involved at all - surely some of this could and should be shared with the public at large.

And some form of undertaking that the Council will not sign up to a deal that does not clearly demonstrate justifiable and evidenced overall benefit to the people of Newham (benefit that they both want and need) would be a positive step in my view for both Newham and the Labour Party.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

I do take your point. However, please remember what has already been widely made public that if this proposal goes ahead then “Funding is likely to be made through the Council borrowing, which will be repaid through the returns on investment made from the Stadium. The £40m will not be drawn from existing revenue budgets and will not impact on the level of funding that can be provided for services to residents” (Check out the Council website Olympic Stadium FAQ)

I don’t want at all to appear flippant but you can absolutely guarantee that no one (a Council, the Government, individuals or business) would sign any deal whatsoever if they did not feel they could "demonstrate, justify and evidence" that what they are doing will be of benefit?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this John.

I sincerely hope that Newham has done its sums right and not let its aspirations cloud sober financial judgement. I also hope that there is a way for the Council to extricate itself if the final deal is not acceptable. Somehow I doubt it will be easy.

Like you I would like to think that no public body could ever sign up to a loss making "profile and legacy building" project.

Unfortunately they sometimes do. Sheffield City Council won the bid for the 1991 World Student Games - something I am sure the people of Sheffield bitterly rue. 20 years on it was revealed that the venture was a £685 million pound disaster and the Council will have to continue to repay £25m a year until the debt is paid off in 2024. That's 33 years to pay it off.

Granted the WSG are not the Olympics, but in the light of this I hope you will forgive some healthy scepticism and concern. The world financial picture has changed dramatically since the London bid won. I really hope Newham has got its sums right, for all of our sakes.

John Gray said...

Hi Anon

You are right that in all forms of life things sometimes go wrong despite the best of intentions.

What is actually worse in my view is a well founded critique of British local government that many Councils (not all) are so scared of doing something and getting it wrong - that they sit on their hands and end up doing nothing.