Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Can the Cannes!

Last month I reported that Acting Chief Executive Brian Reynolds was once again attending the MIPIM property ‘conference’ in Cannes. The good news is that he’s not going anymore. The bad news is that two other officers are taking his place.

For anyone who may not have heard of MIPIM, allow me to explain: it’s a junket in the South of France.

People who attend will tell you how important it is for networking and meeting all the movers and shakers in the property industry, but I have never yet met anyone who came back from Cannes with anything other than a sun tan!

Barnet is not the only authority which sends delegates to MIPIM. But if it was acceptable for Barnet & Kent councils to send just one officer each to Iceland, representing over 100 local authorities whose investments were frozen, could someone please explain why, when it comes to a jolly in the South of France, they all have to be there?

If developers want to sell their schemes to British local authorities, let them put on their own exhibition in the UK. The NEC in Birmingham would be an ideal venue and it wouldn’t cost councils more than a couple of hundred quid each to attend.

Last year, Barnet’s attendance cost just over £3,000. This year it will cost taxpayers £4,932. This is an excessive amount which cannot be justified at a time when many families are struggling in the recession and, in any event, new building development has all but come to a standstill.

The council is cutting its budget for sheltered housing. I am sure that if a poll was conducted, the majority of residents would rather the council cut expenditure on junkets, business class trips to America and wide screen televisions for council officers, before cutting front line services.


Adam said...

The only people to get anything out of Mipim are the property departments of the magic circle law firms and yacht charter brokers.

Why? Cos the brokers fix gin palace yachts on week long charters at inflated rates to the law firms who, in turn, entertain execs from local authorities and other public sector bodies to such an extent that it would be rude for the la's not to instruct the firms. Of course, it all gets written up in the property and legal industry rags who are also there on junkets or expenses. Meanwhile, legal aid lawyers have their budgets slashed and those in the private sector of the property industry just get on with their jobs.


Rog T said...

In other words a gross waste of public money. Well done Barnet

Anonymous said...

I pay over £5K a year out of my taxed income for nursery for my daughter so i can work for barnet council. 50 hours a week to be shouted at by councillors. and David, you are wrong, the cabinet dont run barnet council, mike freer and brian coleman do. what they want they get.

clarrieb said...

anon is correct. got a barnet mole? want one?

Don't Call Me Dave said...


I would need several days to write about everything that’s wrong with the cabinet system, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be this: money.

There is so much money at stake that councillors dare not rock the boat because they don’t want to loose their allowances. In the old days when councillors received a few hundred pounds a year, they could act according to their conscience. If they speak out now, the leader of the ruling party effectively has the power to cut that person’s allowances by many thousands of pounds. It does not make for good democratic accountability.

I’m still waiting for someone to explain what Brian Coleman does for £103,000 a year.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

p.s. Anon. It is, of course, completely unacceptable for Councillors to shout at officers. Such behaviour by managers in the private sector would be met with disciplinary action.

Daniel Hope said...

And in the public sector see them suspended or booted from office courtesy of the Standards Committee / Board for England.

Adam said...


I’m still waiting for someone to explain what Brian Coleman does for £103,000 a year.


Shame on you, David! You answered this in your blog dated 4th December 2008.



Don't Call Me Dave said...


We know how Brian Coleman’s allowances are calculated. What we don’t know is what he actually does for the money. But I suspect you knew that!

do call me dave said...

YAWNY Yawn Yawn...

do call me dave said...

Still saving the posts so you can edit them then?

do call me dave said...

Yep thought so, it is still there:

"Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval."

Good old Rog T just lets the comments show, so why don't you?

Rog T said...

I see that after "Baldy big ears with the Crackpipe" AKA "Do Call Me Dave" got a monstering on my blog, he came here to try his luck.

Well let me explain the difference between our moderation policy. David doesn't like numpty's leaving nasty messages about his mum, as he worries that they might upset her if she saw them. As far as I'm aware he only refuses to publish personal attacks on his family. fair enough really.

As my dear old mum passed away last year, I guess I don't really have the same concerns about what people say on my blog. If people were to say really awful things, I guess I'd leave it so people could see what dispicable scumbags they were. If it's legal I'd be inclined to leave it there.

Now Mike Freer only prints nice comments. What a coward !!!!

Don't Call Me Dave said...

If “do call me dave” is unhappy with my moderation policy, he is quite at liberty to stay away from this blog. I am simply not prepared to publish anonymous messages which insult my parents and have absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter of the articles I write.

I wouldn’t blame Mike Freer for having a similar policy on his blog. I think it is quite acceptable for the Leader Listens blog to operate a moderation policy to prevent obscenities from being published. What is not acceptable, however, is for taxpayers money to be used on a site which will only accept praise for our glorious leader.

Daniel Hope said...

Er 'Do Call Me Dave' / Crackhead, it's probably people like you that force 'Don't Call Me Dave' to moderate comments.

Lord only knows what kinda wierd stuff you would post if you thought it would immediately show.

Rog T said...


Interesting point occurred to me about the comments I get on my blog. In all of the comments I've had left on blogs about failings of the Freer regime from people who appear to be supporters, 90% never actually even comment on the point I made. Of the other 10% the comments are so stupid that I've yet to think "Well I suppose they may have a point".

I'd say that when I've blogged about wider issues, I've got quite intelligent responses from people who I disagree with and whether I think they are right or wrong, I'd have to concede they at least had a valid argument.

It appears to me that the pattern is repeated here.

An example recently was someone criticising you on my blog for your opinion of PwC's treatment of Hendon football club?????