There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for.
It seems that these days, you can’t expect a great deal for £67,733.
That’s the amount, in pay and council allowances, still being pocketed by “Silent” Steve O’Connell, the Crystal Palace fan, animal-lover, pub enthusiast and occasional councillor for Kenley ward and London Assembly Member for Sutton and Croydon.
O’Connell’s income from public bodies is somewhat reduced from what he probably regards as the halcyon days when the former mortgage salesman-turned-Conservative councillor was banking a six-figure sum each year. But now, O’Connell is winding down towards his retirement to dozy Dorset, once he has stashed enough cash while seeing out his current terms at City Hall and Croydon Town Hall.
Which might explain why yesterday he was wasting his time, his staff’s time and the Mayor of London’s time – plus a considerable amount of public money – in putting forward the following submission for the next session of Mayor’s Question Time:
“For each of the years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19, how many crimes have been committed on Tube trains in Croydon by crime type?”
Yes. That’s right. “Tube trains in Croydon”.
O’Connell has only been a councillor in Croydon for 17 years and member of the London Assembly for 11. Yet it seems he hasn’t quite managed to work out yet that Croydon doesn’t have any Tube stations, any Tube lines or, for that matter, any Tube crimes.
That the question, submitted in writing yesterday, managed to get through O’Connell’s office staff – all paid for out of public money, naturally – is disappointing, as well as just a tad shocking. O’Connell is the deputy chair of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, and his latest round of questions for Mayor Sadiq Khan appears to relate to those responsibilities.
But seriously: the Tube? In Croydon?
O’Connell has long been criticised for being silent and next-to-useless in actually representing the interests of the public of the GLA super-constituency of Sutton and Croydon on the issues that matter.
On the London Assembly website, on the page devoted to the work and efforts of the individual members, under “News from Steve O’Connell”, the latest published entry is dated September 2016.
O’Connell’s repeatedly failed to participate in important public transport consultations to defend bus routes from TfL cuts, he said nothing to stop police station closures, even in his own ward in Kenley, and beyond keenly turning up at the side of Boris Johnson when he was making lies beside a tram, O’Connell has done nothing to secure extensions to the Croydon tramlink network.
But this Tube gaffe is, according to one of O’Connell’s colleagues, “the best MQ ever!
“He doesn’t even know that the Tube doesn’t stop in Croydon. Like it’s not that he’s been AM for best part of a decade.
“The crime figures for the Tube in Croydon should include this now, though, because O’Connell is committing daylight robbery by continuing to accept his £56,000 a year AM’s salary when he clearly is either not up to the job or behaving as if he is already retired.”
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