Winner of idiotic remark of the weekend award
... goes to Tory Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi for this - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358680/Storm-Sam-Cams-community-centre-axed-Labour.html - the suggestion that it is Camden Council Leader Nasim Ali's fault that the Surma community centre in his borough is shutting due to its grant being cut, because it could have received the £100,000 he has received in allowances since 2007.
It's difficult to know where to start dissecting this moronic intervention:
- until last year Camden was led by a Coalition of Lib Dems and Tories so they were trousering all the main Special Responsibility Allowances and were responsible for setting the pay and allowances Sayeeda is raging about
- Cllr Ali's allowances from 2007 to 2011 have presumably already been spent by him so are not available to fund the Surma Centre next year or in any other future year
- the figure of £100k quoted was over four years so only a fraction of it is available to offset the £125k grant Surma lost - and Warsi has also included guesstimates of hospitality from third parties Nasim has declared - tickets to concerts a couple of years ago are unfortunately not much use for funding community centres now
- Camden had its funding from central government cut so much it has to find £100m in savings over the next few years - don't sit in the Cabinet and sign off draconian cuts to CLG then act affronted when a project you like inevitably falls victim
- Cllr Ali is, as far as I understand it, the full-time Leader of Camden. His allowances are what he lives off. If you think he shouldn't be paid, then don't be a hypocrite Sayeeda, set an example - you, Cameron, Pickles et al could work for free (like Lord Wei did) and your ministerial salaries could be used to reduce cuts to public spending (I believe Sayeeda gets £55k as a Peer - enough to fund about 40% of the Surma's running costs if she gave it to them, the PM gets £142k and Pickles £134k).
Baroness Warsi et al need to come up with a consistent message. They can't proclaim local government and the state as a whole are bloated and need to be trimmed back to cut the deficit, then weep crocodile tears when community projects they like the sound of get their funding axed. You made the political choices that have caused these cuts, dear Tories and Lib Dems, now have the guts to defend your decisions.