The freebie Evening Standard has finally got around to following up Inside Croydon‘s angle on local councillors’ pay and allowances, something which Pippa Creer, the Standard‘s undoubtedly well-paid City Hall Editor, could have read in the Sunday Telegraph.
[Note to Doug Wills, the Standard‘s wonderful old-style managing editor: does Creer claim for the Torygraph on her expenses?]
Anyway, there’s no mention of the Sunday Telegraph nor, sadly, Inside Croydon, in Creer’s day-late version today, though some of the quotes she uses are very recognisable.
What she has seized upon, though, is that Croydon Tory Councillor Steve O’Connell is Britain’s highest paid local politician.
What a banker!
There is some new stuff, too, like O’Connell’s reaction to the comments of Coalition Government Minister Grant Shapps.
Shapps condemned local councillors, like those in the upper echelons of Conservative-run Croydon, for being politically stoopid enough to vote through increases in their (already generous) allowances at a time when they are doing things like cutting grants to local charities and voluntary organisations by 66 per cent. As O’Connell did last night.
O’Connell, according to the Standard, is “disappointed” by Shapps’s comments. “I’m not sure what it has got to do with him.”
Note to Steve O’Connell: the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP is a senior member of the Conservative party (that’s the same political grouping as you, Stevie boy), and is a member of Prime Minister “Call Me Dave” Cameron’s inner circle of “bright young things” in the Con-Dem Coalition Government.
In fact, the Shapps is a Minister in that Government. He is Minister of State for Housing and Local Government [thems our italics, just to bring them to the attention of Steve “I’m a banker” O’Connell], in the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Local. Government. Think that’s got something to do with it, Steve.
With Tories like O’Connell around, it makes life in political opposition so much easier.
The Standard quotes John Biggs, a Labour member of the London Assembly, saying: “When the Tories say we’re all in this together, they mean some are more in it than others.”