Now here's a co-incidence. All councillors have been sent unsolicited emails which start off with exactly the same first line:
I am extremely disappointed and shocked by the decision made by Reading Borough Council to cut the funding of the RCRE. [N Razak]
I am extremely disappointed and shocked by the decision made by Reading Borough Council to cut the funding of the RCRE. [S Khan]
You would be forgiven for thinking perhaps that someone at RCRE was sending out a standard response asking people to be 'extremely disappointed and shocked'. Very sloppy. Maybe I can be forgiven for thinking that they aren't quite the spontaneous groundswell of support they were supposed to appear as.
There was another co-incidence when BBC South Today were invited to a stage managed piece of news by RCRE when we saw their former chair in an unattributed piece to camera at the Oxford Road Community Centre extolling RCRE's virtues. Why so shy? Why keep quiet about that fact?
And by pure coincidence again, the filming in the RCRE offices as the camera panned around the table meant to look like an RCRE board meeting had Bet Tickner sitting there who as far as I'm aware wasn't appointed to the board by the council, it was Cllr Ayub. So what was she doing there other than emphasising that this was a Labour put up job? Of course, there was no mention of RCRE coming to the Tory and Lib Dem groups complaining about Bet Tickner slashing their budget.
The reality of the changes to funding of the voluntary sector is that there will be no more favours. Every organisation will be treated equally. And that means everyone, including those run by ex-Labour councillors. If they have the strong case that they keep telling people they have, then they should make it. This is public money it needs to be justified. It is not a hand out.
In another one of those curious co-incidences, Rajinder Sophal was the Labour chair of the Personnel and Equal Opportunies Committee that in 1998 resolved to pay three full time salaries to union officials from the council tax.
There seem to have been an awful lot of co-incidences when Labour ran the town.