'In the mean time, however, I have been investigating more about what happens in The Council House. I find that the Labour Group offices have spent the amazing sum of over £40,000 on refurbishments including over £7,000 on each on the Labour Leader and Labour Deputy Leader's office. Indeed even the council leader has had a new fan at a cost of £657.'So wrote John Hemming in January 2005.
As Bob Piper points out, the Tory leader of the City Council - and 'leader' of the Regressive Partnership forged when he did a deal with Cllr Hemming all those months ago in 2004 - has just spent £17,000 on his office (refurbished and recarpeted only three years ago) and a further £560 a month on leasing a brand new Jaguar. Shame he couldn't get a freebie out of Ford, much as he managed to get a free car out of Rover for so long. Still, that trip to Spain to see the launch of the Jaguar diesel (courtesy of the Ford Motor Company, the owners of Jaguar) must have helped when it came to making the sale.
Cllr Hemming has been uncharacteristically silent on this profligacy and on the snide remarks about his Yardley colleague and Deputy Leader, Paul Tilsley, who has seen his car sacrificed to ensure that Whitless gets to be chauffered around in style. Alistair Morton reckons that Paul's been a 'jolly good sport' about losing access to a car. Perhaps Paul even tugged his forelock in deference to Whitless and thanked him kindly for taking away his council transport.
The Tory resurgence means that they are starting to regard the Liberal Democrats as useful idiots who can be relied upon to cast their votes in line with their Tory masters. I suppose the Tories might be half right there.