A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blair's holidays

Can someone explain to me what the big deal is about whether or not the Blairs paid for their holiday?

Surely loads of people get put up for free by friends at Christmas and New Year?

I can understand why politicians should register hospitality they have received in case it might influence their judgement, but why is he expected by the press to have paid for his holiday?

Though why he wants to spend Christmas in Florida with one of the Bee Gees is beyond me... the Tuscany option of years gone by (without Berlusconi...) sounded a lot more tasteful.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Adele said...

Its unfortunate in the context of th cash 4 peerages

11:14 pm, December 28, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst I do agree with the other post, you do make a fine point Luke. Maybe there's nothing else to report on?

11:35 pm, December 28, 2006

 
Anonymous ultra said...

Luke,

For the most part I agree with your blog, particularly your ability to sock it to the Trots.

However, on this occasion, I really am taken aback by your willingness to impune Tony Blair. What makes you so equipped to dole out judgment on matters of taste and decorum, I might ask.

The next time you're seeking a seat you might wish to contemplate this.

11:50 pm, December 28, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By taste and decorum do you mean staying with a Bee Gee?

2:48 pm, December 29, 2006

 
Anonymous Stuart said...

surely you mean staying alive with a Bee Gee...!?

(Sorry. Couldnt resist.)

3:49 pm, December 29, 2006

 
Anonymous Robin Gibb said...

It goes:

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive!

Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive ...

You're all invited round my place nezt Christmas!

4:56 pm, December 29, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The story is a simple one - the right cannot beat the left on policy so they attack on legitimacy. Sadly there are plenty of morons on the left who love to play this game too, in their desperate desire to return to the unsullied purity of opposition.

6:12 pm, December 29, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The story is a simple one - the right cannot beat the left on policy so they attack on legitimacy. Sadly there are plenty of morons on the left who love to play this game too, in their desperate desire to return to the unsullied purity of opposition."

So in a way it has nothing to do with left and right because the Left seems to be as critical of Blair as the Right these days.

Your last point is a bit more simple: They'd prefer to control the party than to be in government... Which they currently control neither.

8:06 pm, December 29, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I yearn for the days of Harold and Mary Wilson worrying about whether their (not rabid) dog could make the trip to the Scilly Isles.

The Blairs are conspicuous consumers. They have the means (thanks to Cherie with some pin money from Tony) to pay their own way, step outside the favours and mutual admiration society, and they choose not to.

In a press interview Cliff Richard said that he had offered hospitability to TB "because he is doing a terrible job" (my italics). He meant difficult. Probably.

The Blairs are firmly not in the "do no wrong" camp. You could say bully for them but instead you say they're cool to be freeloaders. Is this the society you stand for? What do the people of Hackney make of your pandering to the rich and famous in this way? What would you be saying if it were Cameron?

9:26 am, December 30, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke,

Do you think Saddam sang 'Stayin' Alive' when he was led up to the gallows?

10:29 am, December 30, 2006

 
Anonymous observer said...

Chris P asks: "What do the people of Hackney make of your pandering to the rich and famous in this way?"

Errr, Chris ... do you seriously think we care about Luke's pandering to Blair's holiday host when we have massive corruption going on here in Hackney? Instead, here the councillors and planning department officers pander to the large building construction companies intent on destroying historic Hackney and building Barratt-style tower blocks. In return the councillors and officers get given holiday homes - not just to stay in (like the Blairs) but permanent holiday homes to live in or rent out. [Linda didn't get one though, bless].

If our Chief Whip can acquiesce on that sort of activity, he's hardly likely to criticise Tony for accepting back-handers, now is he?

4:25 am, December 31, 2006

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Observer,

I don't mind if you slag off people on the planning committee in Hackney for approving developments you disagree with - as you hint, the member of the planning committee I live with voted against the Dalston development because she thought the buildings were not appropriate for the location - but if you are going to make serious allegations about corruption then they need to be reported properly rather than just potentially libelous insinuations made. If you have any evidence (or even hearsay) to support the allegations you are making you are welcome to email or post it to me.

As it is, I have a statutory duty under the Local Govt National Code of Conduct to report these allegations to the Borough Solicitor to ask them to investigate them, so I'll be doing that straight away, despite the fact I am unaware of any Labour member of the planning committee having any kind of holiday home, let alone one provided corruptly by developers.

7:13 pm, January 01, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Observer.

I agree with Luke on this one. If you have any firm evidence to back this up and would prefer for it not to get lost in the administration, I would happily ensure that it is properly investigated.

Call me on 07946 587960 anytime.

in the meantime, the relevant authorities are aware of the above posting and are making their own inquiries.

10:08 am, January 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

For the record I have reported this in writing by email to Amanda Kelly, the Council's interim Monitoring Officer.

She has already replied to say she will investigate this if she receives a formal specific allegation against named individuals. This will carry more weight if it comes from a named person rather than anonymously.

10:50 am, January 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, for the record and to avoid any misunderstanding.

Officers and Members do have certain statutory duties and they are fully aware of this. They choose how to interpret and how to deal with these.

Hackney has had a bad track record where allegations of fraud are concerned for many years and the on-going commercial property sales situation has done nothing to improve that situation.

Whilst Amanda Kelly - as Interim Borough Solicitor and Monitoring officer - awaits a formal allegation which may or may not be forthcoming, I have already acted to ensure that these matters are properly examined.

The Luke Akehurst blog is set-up in such a way as to prevent totally anonymous entries. Although the allegations made are not provided with any supporting evidence, there are clear issues which give rise to basic inquiries.

Obviously, if 'Observer' were to come forward this would assist greatly and (s)he can do so via any third party. In the meantime, the Fraud Squad have the information and will act as they see fit to either nip this in the bud or move it forward, as Hackney Council should do if they ever want to improve their image.

11:41 am, January 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Arthur

I was going to suggest that if "observer" wishes to remain anonymous she can ask you to make the complaint on her behalf.

It's in everyone's interest that if such a serious allegation is made that it is fully investigated so that it can either be disproved or appropriate action taken.

11:55 am, January 02, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok Luke, be honest. Do you already know who 'Observer' is or is your use of the word 'she' an error or oversight?

I am happy to pursue this on behalf of anyone who wishes to lodge a formal complaint.

I do not wish to spend all my time in debate on this blog so will conclude by saying that, in the wake of these allegations and the hugely critical report of 22nd December in which the Ombudsman labelled Hackney Planning Department as being in 'complete disarray', news that Sue Foster, Head of Planning has been awarded an OBE suggests that the 'well-oiled machinery' may be grinding to a halt. Wouldn't mind betting that Hackney Labour's Press and Public Relations officers won't be getting any gongs in the near future!

Who nominates people for an OBE anyway - and why!?!

12:16 pm, January 02, 2007

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

"Observer" has commented many times in the past and if my memory is correct said (or at least implied) she is a woman and a wheelchair-user. I can't tell who has made comments if they use a pseudonym, but like any website I do have a list of the IP addresses and domain names of everyone who looks at it - I think that means I could find out who they were in some but not all cases but I don't actually know how to do that and don't want to anyway.

Any one can nominate any one else for an OBE etc - details are here: www.honours.gov.uk
The CAB says "Nominations for the Honours List can be made by private individuals or by representatives of organisations. Anyone can nominate a person for an honour, provided that it is for service to the community and is not a self-nomination, although it is important to note that the number of nominations always exceeds the honours available in any year. You should also bear in mind that consideration of nominations for a particular Honours List begins many months before the list is actually published. Each nomination is considered on its merits so, if you want to nominate someone for an honour, you should be sure that there are substantial objective reasons for doing so."

Personally I can't see the attraction of gongs but I guess it's a nice way to recognise public service. I've never had any dealings other than occasional casework letters for constituents with Sue Foster so I can't comment on her OBE other than to say it would have had nothing to do with Hackney Labour Group's press officer, who is Cllr Jamie Carswell - I guess she was probably nominated by Penny Thompson.

12:53 pm, January 02, 2007

 
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12:58 am, August 07, 2008

 
Anonymous holiday flats in isle of man said...

Blair should have holidayed more in British regions.

2:26 pm, April 28, 2010

 

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