Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wow (pt 2)!

Evidence of the disturbing secretiveness of Herefordshire Council comes in all the time. Look at this extraordinary series of emails between them and national campaigner for open government Paul Cardin.

In one FOI response, the Council states that it does not keep any record of Compromise Agreements made with staff (ie hugely expensive 'gagging orders') and so cannot supply him with the general information he asked for.

This is disgraceful cynicism; but also really helpful: essentially, they had to tell me they had paid for a Compromise Agreement with Michael Hainge because I knew his name and asked specifically about him. As Paul Cardin, being a national campaigner, could not have been expected to do (he may well never have set foot in Herefordshire).

All we have to do is ask, one by one and name by name, which Council Officers leaving employment have been paid to keep silent about the Council's activities. 
Shall  we start with the highest paid ex-Officers?
Let's go to work...

Friday, 27 May 2011


Two weeks ago I FOIA'd(*) Herefordshire Council asking who had authorised the payment of a Hush Money £123,000 to a certain 'Michael Hainge', dismissed by the Council a year ago.

Answer today (have a pinch of sodium chloride to hand everyone!) is that the decision was taken by two 'interim' - that is, temporary - staff members who are conveniently no longer employed by Herefordshire Council, namely Charlie Adan and Annie Faulder.

Look at this Council reply. How did our fairly straightforward little country become so routinely corrupt?

(*) Made a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Well done, Leominster!

Tuesday night was Leominster's Annual Town Meeting. For just once in the year any townsperson can vote on a motion, not just councillors.
Two years ago only one person turned up, last night the hall was packed, so we're getting somewhere!

We voted on a motion that our Council's Chief Executive - who last year earned £226,700 - take a voluntary 20% cut in his salary. The motion was passed without a single vote against. My fellow cllrs, sensing the mood in the room, either abstained or raised their arms in support.

It even made the end of this article in yesterday's Hereford Times (usually known as The BillWiggin Times)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Publicans be damned

A local boozer in Leominster is the very nice 18th c. 'Grape Vaults'.
A couple of months ago the landlord, Phil, told me that the new Wetherspoons opening in town could spell disaster for his business...

Now Phil happens to employ as his chief barman a bloke called Graham who I know to be a rabid Bill Wiggin fan (yes, he still has five!)

Last night a friend told me that last week he was having a pint in the Grapes when yours truly passed by the window, at which barman Graham exclaimed in a loud voice: "There goes that twat Miller".

If you happen to drop by my blog, Phil, a word to the wise: it might not be Wetherspoons that is losing you customers.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

My return to stand up

Not sure I've done a gig since 1994, but there's always a second time.

You'd think Bill Dubya would turn up for this one-off, wouldn't you?
See you at the Chequers, Bill!


The Hereford Journal

Now, this paper is not a big fan of Jimmy Miller, but they seem to have got the gist of Monday's meeting correct. Here is today's front page:

Two things, though.
I did not "storm out" of the Council meeting.
I slouched out, petulantly.

And no report that the Labour Mayor banned any mention of the words "Bill Wiggin". Have the words "Bill Wiggin" been similarly banned by the editor of the Hereford Journal?
Is the story of how North Herefordshire's MP fiddled his expenses becoming a Scottish Play for our times?

Leominster is the biggest town in the County...

...and the County's Chief Executive earned £226,500 last year.

I wonder if Mayor Eddie Clark will adjourn the meeting if I utter the words "Chris Bull"?

From:Jim Miller (leominsterindependent@live.co.uk)
Sent:18 May 2011 10:27:21
To: townclerk@leominstertowncouncil.gov.uk
Cc: rogerhunt@hotmail.co.uk
Dear Town Clerk,

I submit this business for next week's Annual Town Meeting in accordance with Standing Orders:

"That the Town Council, with a view to saving money for Leominster council tax payers and in light of stated government policy, asks the County's Chief Executive to take a voluntary, substantial cut in his salary".

More than 50 townspeople turned up (two years ago it was 1) and the motion was passed completely unanimously. I am very proud of the town I live in.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

My first Council meeting

The moment I mentioned the words "Bill Wiggin" the Chairman - supposedly 'socialist' Eddie Clark - ordered complete silence on the matter. He said if I mentioned the words again he would adjourn the meeting!

Then endless Planning applications. These were all opposed by the Green party as being "overdevelopment" and unnecessary housing. This is the same Green party who, during the election, pushed a leaflet through my door saying "no more new houses, it will only attract migration". I think they're way to the right of the Tory party round here...

The Town Clerk carefully puts "Councillors' questions" right at the end in the hope people like me won't stay the pace. But I did: I had sent in the two questions below to the Chair 3 days in advance in accordance with the regulations. Come the end of the meeting Steady Eddie Clark declares: "There are no questions from Councillors"! They'd just thrown my questions down the back of the filing cabinet & think they can get away with it. Of course, we'll be seeing about that...

Questions to Cllr Eddie Clark:
1   All nine of the newly elected Councillors were given only four days notice that there was to be an election on 14th May for Mayor and Deputy Mayor giving none of them the chance to decide whether to stand themselves, or discuss amongst themselves who might wish to stand on a joint Mayor/Deputy Mayor ticket.
In addition the Town Clerk issued all new Cllrs with a letter which misleadingly suggested that the issue had already been decided. The same letter also unfairly promoted your own candidacy, despite the fact that, when the letter was written, you had no more claim to be promoted as our next Mayor than any of the other sixteen Cllrs.
In the light of this entirely undemocratic sequence of events, and in the event that you are today claiming to be the Mayor of Leominster, will you voluntarily now step down from that position?
2   In July last year, the Town Council was obliged by law to open its accounts to view by council taxpayers.
On the 22nd July I emailed the Town Clerk and Deputy Town Clerk asking that I be allowed to view the accounts. They did not reply to me and the window for viewing the accounts – the last day of July – passed without my being able to exercise my legal right to view those accounts. I had already informed members of the Town Council that I had serious concerns about those accounts.
This constitutes gross misconduct by the Town and Deputy Town Clerk and I ask that you put to the Council that they be dismissed.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

I know some folk read this blog to catch any new developments on the MP's expenses front, and they may find the nuts and bolts of local government small potatoes.

But I'm finding it fascinating how the culture of corruption and deceit has trickled down to the most very basic level of our democracy, and how much devious chicanery there can be just to secure a five grand Mayorship.

The first, informal, meeting of Town Councillors happens at 6 today and I'm going to read/hand out the following letter of protest to all the newly elected ones.

Umami, umami, it drives you flippin' barmy


Mediterrasian "Miso Levistico"

Sweat half a leek and two chopped cloves of garic in a little olive oil and salt.

Add a large handul of torn lovage leaves. A supermarket has finally started stocking it - Waitrose; use the whole bag.

Add two teaspoons of chopped savory (winter or summer, there isn't as much diff. as the herb books say). If you've no savory (and you should have!) use thyme, lemon thyme is closest to savory.

Add a couple of pints of water and a veg. stock cube. Add some pepper and simmer on low heat for as long as possible. The lovage smell will disinfect yr house by the way, in that it's a stronger smell than just about anything else including fags.

Strain the liquor and add a dessertspoon of miso per mugful of juice you have. Heat through gently, never boil a miso!


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

It didn't take long, did it?

I’ve only been in the job 3 days and already I'm ankle deep in corruption.
There are 16 Councillors, any of whom can be nominated for Mayor (but I only forced them to tell me that this morning). The old guard think their mate Labour’s Eddie Clark should get it. Since 9 of us are new, they have rushed through the ‘MayorMaking’ for this Saturday, hoping to bamboozle us. So far, so rotten.
But I think they’ve now strayed into the illegal. See this letter from the Town Clerk which arrived this afternoon:
Note, eg, #9: “The Mayor Hunt will announce that Eddie Clark has been duly elected as Mayor” or #19: “The Mayor Eddie Clark will then announce” etc etc.
Not only is this letter trying to con new Cllrs into thinking the election for Mayor has already been decided when it hasn't, worse - it constitutes naked propaganda on Mr Clark’s behalf. If Clark is elected he receives £5,000 out of council taxpayers’ money. And a £30k+ public employee has sent out misleading propaganda – paid for out of public funds – to help him get that £5,000.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

I've previously argued with friends who think John Lyon the Commissioner for Standards is too soft on dishonest MPs. I don' think David Laws would agree with their assessment, either, after today.
This is the David Laws that The Times, only a fortnight ago, was urging the Prime Minister to bring back into the Cabinet: oh the arrogance of The Establishment!

I trust John Lyon, he does it by the book:
Next  in line for investigation - Jim Divine, already imprisoned for presenting false invoices, and then my own MP Bill Wiggin, who I reported to the Commissioner over what I believe to be a very similar unexplained invoice...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Councillor Jim's Little Red WebBook

This is mainly for "local" folk, I guess!
I've started putting together some  ideas & proposals which I hope progressive minded Herefordians will help me with: you know my email address.

I'll be working on this continuously, so please keep checking back.
That's COUNCILLOR Jimbo to you, mate!

Hmm: 563 votes, about a quarter of the electors, and I only know about 20 people in town: that's a lot of people sick of Nth Herefordshire Tory Party AKA the Bill Wiggin Fan Club.

I'm definitely not getting recognised yet, though. Spotted a nice statue of Poseidon in the charity shop for my Roman herb garden.
Little old lady: 'Who's he the god of?'
Me: 'The sea.'
Little old lady (having carefully finished wrapping it): 'So, are you a sailor then?'

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

We're into the home straight

Knocked up a final leaflet on the laptop, will stick it through a few doors tomorrow:

If that doesn't get me elected, I can always apply for the recent vacancy as leader of Al Qaida.
I'm determined to have a political career one way or the other...