Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Green Budgie

I think we're about to see the most dishonest budget proposal put to the electorate for many a year.

No. Not Labour's one. It's the Green bid to increase council tax!

That's some going when it comes to that accolade. Labour's 12 year budget record saw the council budget rocket by three times the rate of inflation and there were plenty of reasons to disagree with what they did but at least they knew what they were doing.

Filled with fire and brimstone (or more likely Dosa from Cafe Madras) Rob White declared war on Labour at the Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to understand the first thing about setting council budgets and has resorted to filling in the figures of a generic Green Party press release.

For starters, year on year reduction of costs is normal. You renegotiate contracts, do things in a better way, so the Green budget is for waste and inefficiency. And you know you are seeing the wool pulled over your eyes when you see the use of the dodgy insurance sales pitch "for only 87p a week". Why not be transparent and just say an extra £45 a year? It's budgeting à la wonga.com.

And their argument that an increase is okay because the poor get council tax rebates beggars belief. You know why the poor get council tax relief? It's because council tax is too bloody high. Oh. who pays for this relief? The council tax payer. Using the Green economic logic we should put up council tax by 1000% because then only the really really rich will pay it and the rest of us will all get council tax relief! Yay!

But that's not why I chuckle at their amateur half hour economics...

Their claim that 3.5% is "a lot less than inflation" is a giggle. It is if, like the Greens, you think a lot equals 0.1%. But they are being also far more dishonest than that.

The Bank of England has forecast that by the time the Green's 3.5% council tax rise would be implemented in April, it will be an above inflation increase.

In their published figures, the Green's "below" inflation increase is predicted to be twice the rate of inflation that it will be this time next year.

So if we believe their own press release that they "understand these are difficult economic times" and the Green's would set another "below" inflation rise then next year they wouldn't get their 3.5% increase, it would be 1.8%.

Under those circumstances the total extra revenue raised would be £1.97m not the £5.64m they claim.

But if the government doesn't give council's a zero percent grant in 2013/14 and a non-Green council puts council tax up by inflation only then if you recalculate the council would actually LOSE £190,000!


That means that the Greens would have no choice, despite what they say, they would be forced to set a two year above inflation increase.

Rob was pretty clear at cabinet. They don't like the Labour budget. Not just disliked, they have strongly denounced it.

So will we see them waggle their arms and legs in the air over the budget? We heard last May of how much the Green's were going to hold the council to account and have seen precious little evidence of it so far. Are they going to stick to their guns and hold out for their council tax increase?

After all they say Labour's budget is "unacceptable". That language can only mean one thing if they are not to let down their electorate. Voting any other way would be a betrayal of their principles which they have been at pains to tell to the press about this week.

Or are we going to see them walk mmeekly into the Labour group room and roll over.

I know what I'm betting on!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tangled Webs Part 217.

The latest Katesgrove Banner is out!

Now here's a funny thing. The Tesco Express story has no reference to his writing in, successfully obtained or any of the other things Matt Rodda has claimed in the past to have done and defended in the press with such vigour.

I look forward to the Planning Inspectorate's investigation of his accusing them in the Reading Post letters page of maladministration .

And the 'To Let' sign Rose Williams is standing next to, er isn't there! That was pointed out to me by a neighbour.

Kerbside Parking - Taxing the motorist? So Labour scrapped it after the election, did they? Cobblers, the plans were "scrapped" before the election when Labour councillors refused to consult with residents over which streets should be exempted. Oh, and Labour intend to introduce the fines in Tilehurst. They'll introduce them in Katesgrove. And parking meters across the town. I bet they won't put that on their leaflets.

As for Lib Dems taxing the motorist, Labout have increased the revenue they expect from bus lane fines to an eye-watering £1.4m, up an extra £1/2m whilst also refusing to change the misleading signs. No conflict of interest there.

And the reinstating of extra visitor permits? I did that before the election. I have the email from Richard Willis, the former Lead Councillor for Transport, to prove it.

Can't fault their Kennet Arms campaign... jump on a pre-existing residents' campaign and pretend it's theirs. Classic Labour. The residents don't like it though.

Labour taking credit for the Crown Street lay-by for the Tesco Express in London Street? That was approved at TMAP on 13th January 2011... when if I remember rightly, Labour weren't in power.

He's probably got the local papers to send their photographers to Southampton Street to claim credit for the long standing Lib Dem campaign to demolish the derelict buildings and create a community garden there. I welcome the return of the never drunk bottle of Labour bubbly to the Chronicle picture pages.

The local Labour Party are beyond satire. Long may it continue!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Cold Tuna Call

Now that was a wierd call. number withheld but obviously from a call centre.
"Hello, I'm from the Industrial Workers Organisation. I have information that a member of your household has worked in industry before."
"No. I'm a web developer."
"What's that?"
"Someone who develops web sites."
"Is there anyone else in your house who may have worked in industry."
"Only my cat"
"What industry was that?"
"Tuna eating."
"How many tins of tuna does she get through a day?"
"About two"
"And how old is your cat?"
"Fourteen"
"And what is her name?"
"Matilda"
"Well, could you wish Matilda a very good day and thank her."
"I will. Goodbye"