London Mayor ducks Night Czar questions to speak in Croydon

WALTER CRONXITE on the latest instance of non-accountability of our elected representatives, and how the borough’s new top cop will need to address the Bashment ban

Amy Lamé will make one of her first, if not the first, public speech as London’s “Night Czar” in Croydon tomorrow morning since Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced her appointment.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and his night time economy 'consultant', Amy Lamé

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and his night time economy ‘consultant’, Amy Lamé

Khan and Lamé will both be speaking at Croydon College at a council-run “economic summit” at something grandly titled the Croydon Local Strategic Partnership.

The event will also see the borough’s new top cop, Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, making one of his first public appearances.

Boothe will be Croydon’s first black borough commander, as was first reported by Inside Croydon, when he takes up his new post on December 10. Tomorrow, on a panel to discuss the night-time economy, Boothe will doubtless be asked to address the “Bashment ban”, where Croydon police were accused of racial profiling over licensing bars and night clubs who offered Jamaican and black music.

The appearance of Lamé and, specifically, Khan in Croydon, rather than at a City Hall oversight committee meeting will be somewhat controversial, since some London Assembly Members wanted to question the Mayor about specific aspects of the Night Czar’s appointment.

Jeff Boothe: sure to face questions about the Bashment ban

Jeff Boothe: sure to face questions about the Bashment ban

Because it turns out that the role, as advertised, has been fundamentally altered during the recruitment process, and that City Hall will now have to appoint a second person to chair the authority’s night-time economy commission.

The mayor replied that the process to appoint Ms Lamé was “open, fair and transparent” with 187 candidates having applied for the role.

Khan dodged questions about the detail of the Lamé deal at last week’s Mayor’s Question Time session, referring them to this week’s committee session instead.

“Hiding behind non-political staff in this way is not what the public expect from their Mayor,” Martin Hoscik, the leading City Hall blogger behind Mayorwatch, wrote over the weekend. “The appointment was made in Khan’s name, he knew that questions were coming and he owed it to Londoners to turn up sufficiently briefed to answer them.

“As someone once said, being Mayor involves a lot more than having your picture taken on a succession of red carpets.”

Hoscik’s persistence has dug out detail which shows that what has been presented over the Night Czar role is somewhat different from the behind-the-scenes reality, and that Lamé very much looks like a figurehead, while others will be expected to do the heavy lifting.

Khan’s office issued a press release on November 4 to announce the “hiring” of Amy Lamé as Night Czar.

“After sustained questioning and challenging to the early answers given, it’s now clear that a more accurate – though less headline grabbing – announcement would have been that a contractor (Amy Lamé Limited) had been appointed to provide consultancy services to the Mayor, including drawing up a ‘roadmap’ to secure the sustainability of London’s night-time economy,” was how Mayorwatch described it.

“… City Hall arrived at the appointment of a company – it prefers the term ‘consultancy’ – almost by accident”, Hoscik writes, saying that “once applicants started to be interviewed it realised the combined job of Night Czar and chair of the Night Time Commission ‘would be much greater than originally anticipated’.

“A decision was therefore taken mid-process to split the job, with the Czar role being awarded to ‘a consultant’ (Amy Lamé Limited) and the Commission Chair to be appointed as a GLA officeholder post.”

Quite rightly, Hoscik asks, “Perhaps they didn’t want to draw attention to the real nature of the appointment in order to prevent anyone asking how many other companies tendered for the one-year contract?”

And tomorrow, rather than being at City Hall to help clarify the position – such as how much extra it is costing Londoners to have an (at best) D-list celeb fronting up this important function in addition to a chair for the commission – Mayor Khan will be telling a hand-picked audience in Croydon what a fantastic job he is doing.

Perhaps someone at the Croydon Local Strategic Partnership could ask him, or Amy Lamé Limited?

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This entry was posted in Amy Lamé Limited, Business, Crime, Croydon Council, Jeff Boothe, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mark Watson, Mayor of London, Music, Policing, Sadiq Khan and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to London Mayor ducks Night Czar questions to speak in Croydon

  1. Sorry to appear a killjoy,but I am much less interested in Khan and Lame than I am in the
    NIGHT-TIME economy.
    Linguistic historians may remember this BLAIRITE euphemism for encouraging boozing all hours as an economic stimulus.Licensing hours got changed then and 24-hour tube travel is being changed now….”choice” will be used to explain the liberation that being addicted to alcohol brings.Linked to all the proven health benefits,no doubt.
    The Police,Casualty staff and fellow passengers will tell the other side of this “stimulus”.Liver,cancer and psychiatry departments will add their long slow tolling bell.
    We have been badly governed for a very long time,and public health has been subsumed to commercial priorities.

  2. croydonres says:

    Thanks , Alphaemitter, you have highlighted it in one.
    Let’s face it, people with jobs or without, need to get up in the morning, and won’t be out to 2pm each night having a drink or meal. Come Friday, by all means, let people let heir hair down, but we do not have the responsible drinking culture of Spain and France. By all means, let everywhere stay open late on Friday and Saturday nights (Midnight- or even 12:30 a.m. on the day after), and licence one or two places to stay open beyond that. But let them pay for the privilege.

    The real issues resulting from late night opening sadly are, and I am not insulting fellow readers’ intelligence here, but it is the truth — the need for police, the need for medical staff at A and E and mobile units. The need for street cleaning to clean up the puke.

    The Police, NHS and council coffers are stretched beyond breaking point, so who is going to pay for all the mess, human and physical, that happens to accompany the mass boozing culture. Mass boozing is really what “Night-time culture ” means in the UK. Croydon is not the sparkling West end, trendy inner London, nor Barcelona. Interestingly, most bars in Barcelona shut before midnight.

    I really can’t understand why local councils should be so blind–it is NOT going to make them money, it is not going to make the streets more “vibrant” ( top cliche urban regeneration word” ) it is going to make them sadder. Councils should be in the business of making–not destroying, their town centres.

    More important than money is the human cost. Night working is really bad for the health of night workers. At best, one man’s “night-time economy enjoyment of a drink at 1pm ” means that some poor blighter (the barstaff) will have to stay up to 2 to tidy up and shut the bar, then get home, wind down and get to bed by 3:30 to 4 am. Not a healthy lifestyle. To get them home, it means more night buses, so more public transport workers will also have to stay up –even later. Why should these workers suffer years of night shift work over their career of 30 years?

    I think the night-time economy is a poisoned chalice for society– the cost and the human toll is too great. We should be spending NHS funds on real clinical need, not having to spend it on mending the boozed or unfortunate victims of the boozed.

    Yes, the UK night-time economy sucks, big time. I think that in Croydon it will actually turn out to be an economic flop, and a massive yawn, and that most citizens will give it a miss and go home by Midnight and have a nice night’s kip. Good on ’em.
    Croydon Res

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