Friday, 27 November 2015

Mayoral Candidate Deletes Tweets!

Yet again Darren Cooper has messed his pants and had to change them!

The ludicrous wannabe Mayor of the new Greater Birmingham combined authority is notorious for his infantile, illiterate and abusive outpourings via his own Twitter account and (at least) 15 troll accounts which he has chosen to associate himself with.

Back in the day, Cooper started to abuse my wife via Twitter in the forlorn hope that I would then close this blog down. Besides, threatening to confront her at her place of work for an unknown purpose, he also referred to her in a tweet as my "wifey". My wife made a formal complaint to Sandwell Council about his conduct copying him in but the Council dismissed it alleging that the Twitter account is purely Cooper's own private affair. This is despite the fact that he advertised his inane and vicious Twitter feed on the SMBC website and on official correspondence and uses the account name "sandwellleader". He also regularly uses his SMBC iPhone (funded by us taxpayers) to communicate with his troll associates. Here's an example from just the other day:

But Cooper was aware of my wife's concerns from her official complaint (enclosures not included but available elsewhere on this blog):

Darren Cooper then started associating directly with one of his associated troll accounts and holding "conversations" with the troll (something he has done with many other accounts), "Colin Duval" - note the childish patter:

I don't have the original tweet when he used this derogatory and sexist term but another Twitter user also complained on both occasions:

Ever since, Cooper personally, and his associated troll accounts have waged a very nasty abusive campaign against my wife and two charities she is associated with. Cooper personally has attempted to get her suspended or dismissed from her job for no other reason that to bully and to try and close this blog down. He has openly endorsed troll accounts that have made vile and highly defamatory allegations about her (on one single day alone sending 12 highly offensive tweets to her employers). Happily, Cooper, the Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel, appears to enjoy considerable protection from elements within West Midlands Police who have refused to investigate the troll network.

Cooper has form for removing tweets which he has so recklessly sent out and his lack of any sort of judgement is quite staggering for a "normal" person, let alone the would-be leader of our city-region. And so he had to have another offensive jibe at my "wifey" the other day but has now taken the offending tweet down. Fortunately, this blog has a very diligent archivist who screenshots everything and so I can share the "disappeared" message with you:

The "Ennabran" account is that of Andrew Hipkiss who Cooper is using as his "social media" spokesperson despite the fact that Hipkiss used to run at least one suspended troll account and claims to be "mentally-ill".

Such is Cooper's bond with his "guru" that he even volunteered to abuse his position to move some travellers on and away from his "worker":

Hipkiss spends huge amounts of time on Twitter and on writing an abusive and defamatory blog about myself (I say defamatory from what I have been told by reliable people as I haven't actually read it). But, despite ex-mental health nurse Cooper actively egging on Hipkiss, he has been careful not to retweet the defamatory blogs himself - er, except once! He is so reckless he makes mistakes and so he DID retweet one of the blogs before suddenly realising he was putting himself right in the frame for a libel action.Once again he has had to amend his timeline but too late again Cooper - we got it! Oh dear, oh dear.....

If Cooper continues to soil himself and the body politic so regularly the laundry bill is going to be very high indeed by the time this mayoral race is over! This is going to be good!

And finally, Darren Cooper has pledged allegiance to the rickety House of Corbyn in a nonchalantly sexist way:

Woe betide anyone (especially other Labour candidates for Mayor) who cross Cooper as they will get "the treatment" which the currently unemployed nurse is so adept at dispensing. And his new mouthpiece, the Enlightened One, has set down these helpful rules for anyone who doesn't agree with Corbyn either in the all-inclusive, non-shouty, "new" Labour Party (RIP):


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Monday, 23 November 2015

Message to Mayoral Candidate Cooper

This is an open letter which I have today sent to Cllr Darren Cooper, the leader [sic] of Sandwell Council and someone who has stated his intention to run for the Labour nomination as Metro Mayor for the new combined authority [sic] aka Greater Birmingham.

Labour have ignored, and even encouraged, Darren Cooper's activities but I hope wiser heads will begin to take notice now that there is at least a possibility of him becoming the Mayor and turning the region into a world-wide laughing-stock.

Recently, Brum's Jess Phillips MP suffered horrendous abuse via Twitter which was rightly condemned by colleagues such as Stella Creasy. It would be nice to think that such strong personalities will show further female solidarity and would take the abuse of my wife in particular up with the "powers" that be in the Labour Party to ensure that this sort of conduct by party members is no longer tolerated - particularly against innocent members of the public. We shall see....

Letter (redacted):

Dear Cllr Cooper,

I note that you took to Twitter over the weekend to write to your latest troll associate threatening to use West Midlands Police (WMP) again to silence The Sandwell Skidder blog.

We have, of course, been here before. You made the bizarre allegation that you were “alarmed and distressed” within the meaning of s. 2 Protection from Harassment Act, 1997 by use of the satirical and lampooning names “The Txxxxxxxxxx”, “The Txxxxx Txxxx” and “Txxxxx” to describe you and also because I used the factually accurate terms “wxxxx-xxxxxxxx xxxx”, “sxxx”, “txxxx mxxxx” and “bxxxx-xxx” about you.

As you know, I was hauled into Brierley Hill Police Station by your friends at WMP and grilled about this. In the hiatus that followed, I temporarily removed the above-mentioned words whilst I took legal advice (a process that is ongoing) and I specifically reserve the right to reinstate the original text at any time.

I explained to the Police that this was farcical and that you and your cronies (who the police took a dim view of you dragooning into making spurious allegations about me) would simply keep making more and more allegations every time I wrote a blog you disapproved of and have them threaten me
with criminal proceedings.

It is noteworthy that you are the Chair of the Police and Crime Panel and should be well aware of the fragility of police resources at the present time. You have never sought any civil remedy against me because you don’t have one - my blog being factually accurate. Rather, you have sought to use your position to have the police threaten my liberty and seek to act as censors of the common law of free speech and to curb my rights to freedom of expression pursuant to the Human Rights Act, 1998. Now you are claiming to be at it again.

You have never complained about anything in the blog in any logical way - just some abusive twitter. Now that you have announced your desire to seek the Labour candidature of the Metro Mayor position that you claimed to be so strongly against, all the media in the West Midlands (with the exception, of course, of your friends at the Wolverhampton Express and Star) will be holding your dubious abilities and behaviour up to the glaring light of scrutiny.

If you are going to seek to have WMP censor anyone who expresses opposition to you, may I invite you to reply with a list of words and expressions which you are likely to find “alarming and distressing” in the context of your personal and political record. At least media organisations, including my humble community news service, can then be aware that publishing same and criticising you may be a criminal offence liable to imprisonment.

I wish to take this opportunity to request that YOU now desist from associating with troll accounts on Twitter. It is now almost the first anniversary of your troll associates starting a vicious campaign against me and my wife. You have directly associated yourself now with 15 troll accounts which you are well aware have poured forth the most vile filth and abuse about me and, more particularly, my wife (who has no connection with my blog whatsoever). You, and your associate, have also harassed two Birmingham Arts organisations and hijacked a photograph of a brilliant group of volunteers at the Birmingham Hippodrome to try and attack me via my wife. You have directly sought to have my wife suspended or dismissed from her current post. This behaviour from a senior local politician really is “alarming and distressing” and I am publicly requesting you to stop it.

Whilst you have run to your friends at WMP weeping about “name-calling” you, yourself, have attacked and abused myself and my wife (even threatening to “confront” her at her place of work for unspecified reasons). I was able to supply evidence of this to the Police whilst defending myself including, by way of just one example,, three pages of instances of you describing me as “Skidmark” and my wife as “Mrs Skidmark”. WMP have at least given me some helpful advice with regard to all that.

You are also aware that my wife specifically complained to you and to Sandwell Council about your use of the sexist and derogatory term “wifey” to describe her and yet you were at it again over the weekend on Twitter. Once again, I publicly ask you to desist from this wholly inappropriate behaviour.

Julian Saunders

ADDENDUM 26/11/15:

Here are two emails which I sent to Mr Cooper on 24th November, 2015. I have had no response.

Dear Mr Cooper,

Further to my email of 23rd November, 2015, I am told that your social media spokesperson, Andrew Hipkiss, has put up another of his grossly defamatory "blogs".

For the benefit of the public, can you please confirm whether or not you authorised the blog and, if so, whether the contents represent your own response to the email sent to you?

I note that. to date, you have been careful not to retweet the defamatory "blogs" of Hipkiss and I would respectfully remind you that your purported waiver on your Twitter profile, "Re-tweets are not an endorsement", has no effect in respect of Defamation law. If you choose to ignore this you do so at your peril.

Julian Saunders


Dear Mr Cooper,

I need to correct my last mail as you foolishly HAVE retweeted blogs from Hipkiss.

Julian Saunders



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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Taxpayers' Chauffeur for Cooper, Please!

In 2012 the Labour Dictatorship of Sandwell (aka "Sadwell") splashed out a mere £70,000 for a brand new mayoral limo and Range Rover. Two chauffeurs are employed to ferry the great and the good of the "socialist" establishment through the dog-sh*t smeared streets of the Borough despite all the alleged "Tory cuts" about which the crazed "leader", Darren Cooper, moans ad nauseam.

It is tempting to view Kim Jong Cooper as a latter day Viv Ncholson with his "spend, spend, spend" philosophy save, of course, that Viv was actually spending her own (fortuitously-obtained) cash whilst Cooper and his "socialist" cronies are spending ours. Now the Brownite gravy train has well and truly hit the buffers so that Cooper and the comrades have simply resorted to borrowing the money to spend on the "leader's" grandiose projects - new leisure centres, The Albion Foundation etc etc.

The spending on sport has reached new, dizzying, heights whilst cuts are forced on frontline services - including on the most vulnerable kids in "Sadwell" who are already being let down so badly under the Cooper regime.

The dimwitted Cooper fancies himself as the "metro mayor" for the new "Greater Birmingham" talk shop and has thrown his hat into the ring. In normal circumstances, we could just laugh about this prospect and assume that even Labour are not stupid enough to let him run but can we now say this after the Corbyn debacle? It is ominous that the Labour Party's controllers, Unite the Union, have already started a "Coops4Mayor" campaign on social media via their "Regional Organiser".

(I have repeatedly pointed out that ANY involvement by Cooper in the "Combined Authority" [sic] is likely to be disastrous for the great arts companies in the region as Cooper has destroyed arts and culture in "Sadwell" for the simple reason that he "doesn't like it"! He has, notoriously, been very directly associated with at least 14 (now-suspended) Twitter troll accounts and famously used one to opine that "art is shit". Compare and contrast with his attitude to sports spending and look out CBSO, Birmingham Rep, BRB et al).

The "Camp Commander" and suppository of all wisdom with one of his private taxis.
Cooper is, of course, unemployed but the class dunce feels it necessary to interfere with all aspects of the running of Sandwell Council (which begs the question of what he knew about the dodgy land deals currently being investigated by the fraud squad). It also raises questions of why the taxpayer needs to fork out so liberally for the top tier of management [sic] in the paid service.

Recently, the Express and Star (aka "The Wolverhampton C*ck-Suckers") ran a piece that Sadwell, having got rid of top dogs John Garrett and, more mysteriously, Stuart Kellas in the last financial year were appointing a new top manager at around a hundred grand per annum "to help cut costs" (I kid you not!) Even the "suckers" seemed surprised at this but, as ever, gave the last word to Cooper and published his inane witterings without, of course, actually bothering to check the facts.

In true "Ed Balls-style" (remember him?) there was this from the Great Helmsman on the new post:

"Councillor Cooper said this position 'will pay for itself many times over' and the council's reduction in senior managers in recent years has saved more than £3 million a year."

This is, of course, what is politely called "b*llocks". Here is the page (freely available to "The Star" if they had bothered to look) of top SMBC management pay from the last accounts. It appears the numbers have been increased in the last financial year by substantial pay-offs to Garrett and Kellas. Yet the total top pay for 2013/14 was £1,586,731 but this had gone UP in 2014/15 to £1,801,764. "Tory cuts" - you are having a laugh at us yet again, Cooper! 

And no wonder these skilled (!) and obliging highly-paid managers at the top are so keen to do whatever Cooper and Hussain tell them to do when they are scooping up so much moolah!

The Sage of Smethwick has also claimed big reductions - £100,000 no less - are coming as the Councillors themselves have accepted reduced allowances. The "suckers" printed this and were happy to add this propaganda from their Commander-in-Chief, the dopey "leader" himself: "We are genuinely all in this together." Except not just yet.....

In 2013/14 the total allowances were £1,252,077.13p. After the "cuts" the figures in 2014/15 had not gone down but had actually gone UP to £1,260,643.31p! Yes its those nasty "Tory cuts" again but you only have yourselves to blame, Sandwell folk, as you do keep re-electing this shower!

And so, back to Cooper's private taxis. A while ago, West Midlands Police asked Darren Cooper to present himself to be interviewed in respect of an allegation of harassment by a Birmingham woman. It has to be said, straight away, that the matter was referred by the Police to the Crown Prosecution Service but they decided to take no further action against the Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.

Unemployed Cooper voluntarily attended Steelhouse Lane Police Station in central Birmingham for interview on 14th September, 2015 with a woman believed to be his wife. Did they struggle onto the number 4 bus from The Oldbury Kremlin to West Brom and then take the tram into Town? As this was a purely private matter, and nothing whatsoever to do with Sandwell Council, did they hop onto the 120 bus by Londonderry Lane? Happily, they did not have to drive themselves or trouble with public transport as "Chief Executive" Jan Brittan laid of the taxpayer-funded mayoral limo and chauffeur for the Clown Prince to go to the nick!

So remember, Sadwell folks, if you are asked to attend a police station any time soon and want a free ride on the back of the taxpayer - phone "Jan's Cars" on 0121 569 3501!

Public transport at election-time only! But Balls-Up soon succumbed to the "Sadim" effect!
PS A kind reader has also sent me a nocturnal snap from the car park of Birmingham's Botanical Gardens where the chauffeur-driven taxpayer-funded Range Rover had taken some Councillors to an important event - a, er, Labour Party fundraising dinner! You may think this lot are a bunch of w*nkers but I couldn't possibly comment.....


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Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Altogether now....

"And now its,,,,

Springtime for Hitler and Oldbury....."

I am indebted to my esteemed colleague, Ian Carroll, of the excellent campaign to stop Sandwell Labour's slaughter of Canada Geese (because Cooper does not like them sh*tting in "his" parks) for some of what follows. Don't forget to check out his blog:

Ian pointed out that Labour were not only keen on goose-killing but also not averse to a bit of goose-stepping!

Here is Labour's Cllr Susan Downing sharing facebook posts from the extreme right-wing, Britain First:

And look who is now at it too! None other that Labour CABINET member and "Assistant" to Adrian "the Invisible Man" Bailey MP, Cllr Maria Crompton:

Sieg Heil as they say at Labour Group meetings....

Altogether now:

"How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria??????"


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Azeem's Back in Business!

I am delighted to note that the police are taking no further action against Sandwell Council employee, Azeem Hafeez, who happens to be the son of ex-Deputy Leader, Labour's, Mahboob Hussain, in respect of unspecified allegations against him.

Mr Hafeez was arrested some time ago and placed on police bail in respect of those unspecified allegations. Happily for the Hussain family and for him the police have decided to take no further action. With luck, one of his companies, Broadwell Developments should net him at least one million pounds clear profit from the Lodge Street development in Oldbury where, thanks to criminality or gross negligence by person or persons unknown, Jan Britton's Council sold him the land for just £140,000 (and also sold him the old Coroner's Office at an undervalue). Good luck to him I say, and I hope I will be invited to the party at the Hussain family's favourite venue - Akbars on Brum's Hagley Road - when the last house sells.

The top of the range house at Lodge Street underneath the M5 on a site described as "f*cking sh*t" by Mahboob!
There are long-standing freedom of information requests in with SMBC with regard to various land sales (including Lodge Street and the Coroner's Office) which they have refused to answer because of the police investigation though it is by no means certain what exactly the police actually have been doing for over fourteen months at considerable expense to the taxpayer. I have written to the Chief Constable to find out what is going on and will report back to you in due course. Certainly the police actions have done nothing to dispel the widely-held belief in Sandwell that the Council and certain individuals are being protected, for whatever reasons, by senior officers within West Midlands Police. There is even a strange rumour circulating that although the put-upon Azeem was arrested and bailed he was never actually INTERVIEWED by the police in respect of any issue. If they had no evidence, what was the point of arresting the poor chap in the first place and causing him undoubted stress.

Accordingly, I have now written to Jan Britton chasing a reply to the FoI's so we can try and see where the responsibility actually lies for some really appalling "deals" and huge losses for us taxpayers.

In the meantime, SMBC are using the "personal information" exclusion to the Freedom of Information Act to refuse to provide details of Azeem's employment with the crafty comrades. Curiously, local folk are also reluctant to speak to me about this as, for reasons that are a complete mystery to me, they fear "retribution".

I did ask Azeem's solicitors if they would provide his employment history though they have, so far, declined to do so. Of course, many have marvelled at Jan Britton's laissez-faire attitude to Azeem's many outside interests in addition to the day job that the taxpayer pays him for. This entrepreneurship seems to be actively encouraged by him and his direct boss, our old friend Nick Bubalo. Azeem has been involved in all of the following companies (though I am not sure if all coincide with his SMBC employment) and Bubalo was also aware that he developed three new-build houses on John Street, Oldbury, in his spare time away from the onerous workload imposed on him by Cooper and Britton. Then, of course, Bubalo and lawyer, Sharma, were tasked to dispose of the two properties referred to above and were happily able to find a willing buyer right under their noses

In the meantime, there have been persistent rumours that Azeem has been on long-term sick leave from SMBC but I am unable to confirm that. As it happens, there was a rare, mildly critical article by the Wolverhampton c*ck-suckers recently saying Council employees - despite their generally good terms and conditions - had taken 189 YEARS off sick in just 12 months! Nevertheless, they gave the last word to the ludicrous intellectual colossus who "leads" the Council, Darren Cooper, who sees everything in terms of winning and losing with nothing in between. This led the Sage of Smethwick to actually claim that this was relatively good in that, despite reasonable generous holidays, SMBC's slackers took an average of ONLY eight days each off per year when the national average for councils was 8.7 days!

But this joker went on to say:

“As a good employer we provide support for staff when they need it and manage employee sickness. However, in a relatively small number of cases as a last resort we have had to dismiss 18 employees over the past two years under our robust sickness absence management procedures.”

No doubt, this clown will break off from looking at his collection of dog-excrement posters and will be calling for Azeem's file tomorrow to make sure all is well.......

Mind you, if Azeem is back in the heart of Bubalo's empire let's hope he can quite properly buy up some more publicly-owned land at cheap rates to bolster his burgeoning business empire now that he has recently marriage (congratulations from all at The Skidder by the way). And if he does return he may have a little less time to serve the public as he has TODAY started yet another new business based on Washwood Heath Road. He describes himself to Companies House as a "manager" (?)

I am sure you would all like to join me in wishing Azeem well with his properties and with this brand new enterprise!


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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

SMBC Green Belt Scandal Latest!

Are Labour's three Charlemont & Grove Councillors concealing the truth?

Sandwell Labour Council itself is applying to build two huge "toblerone" advertising signs on green belt land. Now read on...

In my earlier post on this subject I pointed out that it was the normal course of events would be for a sign company to apply for planning permission but that, here, Sandwell Labour itself has decided to apply to build these things on green belt land.

I have been repeatedly asking via various media what commercial deal has been done here by the comrades. Our old friend Nick Bubalo has applied for planning permission himself on behalf of the sleazy "socialists" and the application is for planning permission for 10 years STARTING 01/01/16 ie just weeks away - a sure sign that the Dictatorship hoped this would slip through quickly and without fuss.

It seems inconceivable, therefore, that this is a purely speculative project by Darren Cooper and his cabinet cronies and why is a decision to put these objects on green belt land not publicly minuted anywhere?

The obvious candidate to erect and operate these signs is J C Decaux. Interestingly, they applied for planning permission themselves (ie in the normal way) for a very similar sign which now stands alongside the M5 in Oldbury (but not on green belt land). They applied for planning permission in 2008 and Sandwell turned them down (DC/08/5591A) on safety and amenity grounds. JCD appealed to the Planning Inspector and won. It should be remembered that each application is different and this does not "set a precedent" to nod through the two current applications and, here, there are the additional "green belt" considerations.

I have attempted via the Charlemont Twitter account and other means to ask the three local Councillors who claim they are opposed to these things, Liam Preece, Liz Giles and Sue Phillips, to confirm whether a deal has already been done (seemingly without Cooper & cronies bothering to consult the voting fodder and against the Council's own normal procurement procedures) but I can't get a direct answer. Liam will only say, when directly asked, that the three Charlemont Councillors are "fighting" their own Council comrades on this via the planning application as they perceive this to be "the best way".

Incidentally they have set up a petition but I think that, as Councillors, they would have been better advised to ask dissenters to complain formally through the proper planning process. Details here but you need to act TODAY:

It was good to see Adrian Goldberg doing a piece on this today on BBC Radio WM. Liam was on but said nothing whatsoever about the commercial arrangements. Adrian said his team had also been onto SMBC to ask why THEY THEMSELVES had applied for planning permissions on green belt land but that the Dictatorship deemed in "inappropriate" to comment on a live planning application - EVEN ONE OF THEIR OWN!!!!!!

Let us float some scenarios:

1 I haven't met Sue and Liz but I have met Liam and he is one of the few members of Cooper's flock who has the balls to speak to me. He appears, therefore, to have slightly more intelligence that many of the other Cooper drones. But if these three genuinely don't know what the commercial side of this arrangement is then, in my humble opinion, they are doing a very poor job for their constituents. Why are they not down at The Kremlin now demanding that Cooper tells them what is going on? If he won't say why haven't they got the guts to go public and say that?

2 Perhaps these three DO know the details but have been silenced by Cooper and Co. Again, this would be a very poor situation for their constituents and surely cowardice of the first order?

3 Maybe they DO know but are putting loyalty to the Cooper Dictatorship above the needs of their own constituents. See "2" above. It should not be forgotten that in the interests of good open governance you would think they would be raising questions why the commercial operation of these signs has not been put out to tender IF a deal has been done. Are they lying about their state of knowledge? I think we should be told and I will be happy to publish their response.

As we cannot get answers from Cooper and his Gang nor the Charlemont Councillors I have put in a Freedom of Information Request on your behalf which is set out in full below.


This from J C Decaux:

"From what I have been told we are NOT involved in this. [My emphasis]

We were approached by the council for advice on the project, but we are not responsible for operating the site.

I am afraid we know nothing else about the project apart from this."

This implies that sleazy Sandwell are doing this off their own back and we now need to know why they felt it necessary to "seek advice" on putting huge signs on green belt land (I am amending the FoI). Who within SMBC instigated this? This also does not mean, of course, that they have not done "a deal" with someone else.

I did also ask JCD if they knew who was in on the deal here but they have not replied to this point.

Charlemont Labour Councillors - YOU should be asking these questions not me!

A curious historical footnote:

Many moons ago someone used to have a contract with "Sadwell" to supply illuminated street signs etc to the comrades but then, for reasons that are not clear, it was decided to give the contract to JCD instead. One of the Councillors delegated to sort it all out and to negotiate the cancellation of the existing contract was one Darren Conrad Cooper. And the departing sign company was one controlled by, er, Mr Jim Cadman, latterly the statue "entrepreneur".


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Mr Nick Bubalo has made two planning applications on behalf of SMBC (DC/15/6211A and DC/15/6212A) for the erection of two giant "toblerone" signs adjacent to the M5 at Ray Hall Lane on green belt land.

Please state:

1   Who at SMBC made the decision to attempt to erect these signs? Please state specifically which Council members and officers were party to the discussions? Is the decision minuted anywhere in publicly available form? Please disclose the minutes and/or other records relating to the said decision.

2   What pre-application discussions have taken place with third party commercial operators in respect of the commercial use of the signs? Please disclose the minutes and/or other written records of any meetings/discussions and other relevant correspondence and communications with third party operators?

3   Who decided the signs should be placed on green belt land? Please disclose the written record of this decision.

4   Who decided that SMBC (as opposed to a commercial operator) should apply for planning permission itself in respect of these signs when the normal course of events would be for the commercial operator to apply/? Please disclose the written minutes and/or any other written records relating to this decision? (In particular it is noted that Bubalo claims to have had pre-application discussions in respect of these applications with SMBC employees Michael Nicholls and John Baker. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing please disclose the minutes and/or other written records in respect of those advice sessions).

5   If a contract has already been awarded subject to planning permission to a commercial operator please state why this matter was not put out to tender? My understanding is that SMBC requires a form to be completed specifically stating why normal procurement rules are to be suspended and so please disclose that form and the relevant contract. If it is not apparent from the face of the form please state who authorised the normal procurement procedures to be suspended. Please disclose and other correspondence/communications to and from the party or parties seeking to suspend the normal procurement rules and the person who authorised that suspension.

6   Please disclose all other written communications/minutes and/or written records not specifically disclosed in respect of 1 - 5 above pertinent to the planning application, the decision to erect the signs, the decision to erect the signs on green belt land, the decision for SMBC to apply for planning permission itself, the decision not to put the construction and operation of the signs out to tender (subject to planning permission), the decision - if it be so - to award the contract outside the Council's own procurement rules, the decision as to who and why - if it be so - a single commercial third party has been granted a contract of operate the signs (subject to planning permission) without competition.

End (but to be amended to add question about "advice" from JCD).

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Wednesbury Celebrates Insolvent?

We now have some financials and it seems clear that someone at Wednesbury Celebrates has grossly mislead the Big Lottery Fund in another grant application and that in April this year Wednesbury Celebrates was undoubtedly insolvent unless Sandwell Council have committed the criminal offence of false accounting.

This blog has shown how Wednesbury Celebrates shafted Sport England with a grant application a large percentage of which was to applied to paying £30,000 per annum to the partner/close personal friend of Richard Jones - son of Labour Cllrs Ian and Olwen Jones. This matter has been referred to West Midlands Police and to Sport England since, amongst many other things, Wednesbury Celebrates appear to have failed to mention to Sport England that they owed huge sums to Labour Sandwell Council which they could not pay and were, therefore, insolvent (see further below). At the time of writing Sandwell Council have failed to say how much of the debt they have collected and I am writing to them with regard to this. I have also referred the matter to KPMG who are the Council's auditors since there has been no satisfactory explanation why the large debt has not yet been recovered.

Wednesbury Celebrates made a grant application to the Big Lottery Fund on or around 22nd January, 2015 but the (allegedly audited) financial details they supplied was from their accounts of 15th March, 2014 when they declared:

Income                                £41,118
Expenditure                        £33,566
Surplus for year                  £ 7,100 (?)
Accumulated surplus          £13,652

In other words, for a small organisation they were claiming healthy reserves. But, of course, in an earlier blog I put up the minutes from an agenda meeting of January 14th where Councillor Ian Jones told Wednesbury Celebrates they would not have to pay Labour SMBC any rent.

Then it becomes even more strange since for financial year 2014/2015 Sandwell Council started invoicing for rent. The Council claim that the invoices were based on booking forms submitted by Wednesbury Celebrates itself. What could be clearer than this system (even if it is very lax) being effectively based on the paying party effectively self-invoicing.

So SMBC say booking forms were submitted by Cllr Olwen Jones and Cllr Elaine Costigan's fiefdom for the time that they claimed they used Wednesbury Town Hall. Two invoices were duly raised on 14th October,2014 for the first and second quarters totalling £9,348.25 which would have made a big hole in the surplus referred to above.

But then - according to SMBC staff - Cllrs O Jones and Costigan and/or others then disputed the invoices. How could this be if they were effectively self-invoicing?

Labour kicking Sandwell in the teeth again!
Of course, an anonymous SMBC insider has alleged that the invoices were a charade and that it was never the intention that they should be paid. They would be raised in financial year 2014/15 and then quietly written off in the current financial year. This, if true of course, is obviously fraud and false accounting.

But on a date after 14th October, 2014 the invoices for the first two quarters were quietly cancelled.
Once again it gets odder still since Wednesbury Celebrates continued to submit booking forms. What on earth would be the point of this if no charge was contemplated unless SMBC were just making extra work for themselves?

And so, when Wednesbury Celebrates made the application to the Big Lottery Fund in January, 2015 they were still filing booking forms. Either THEY knew they were never going to have to pay the rent due to a fraudulent deal with SMBC in which case the grant application was legit or they were deliberately failing to mention a huge liability to the Lottery which would drastically change their financial position and make them actually insolvent.

Indeed, on 9th March, 2015 SMBC re-issued the two invoices for the first and second quarters of 2014/15 and issued two further ones for the third and fourth quarters to a grand total of £20.836.50 and so Wednesbury Celebrates were undoubtedly technically insolvent at that date but did they inform the Big Lottery Fund? Alas no, and so - none the wiser - the BLF approved a grant on 24th March, 2015 and actually paid out £9,816 on 27th March, 2015 for Wednesbury Celebrates to run a "buddy scheme" for old people and the odd coffee-morning.

Once again, if the invoices were raised by SMBC on 9th March as part of a fraud and/or false accounting so that Wednesbury Celebrates never had a liability then the criminality lies within Sandwell Council House. If Wednesbury Celebrates was supposed to pay rent then they failed to disclose their insolvency to either Big Lottery Fund or Sport England (who are paying their grant out by instalments).

As it is when I last heard from SMBC the sum of £20,836.50 of taxpayers' money had still not been paid as Costigan, O. Jones and Wednesbury Celebrates had once again disputed the charges based on their own submitted time sheets!!!!! There had been at least one further rent invoice which has also remained unpaid. Now Labour are trying to change the rules to say that "community groups" can use the Town Halls for free (more anon!) - attempting to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted!

There is a really bad smell around all this - someone has farted, but we don't know who!

And finally, did you know Wednesbury Celebrates has been doing its "good works" further afield? No-one I have spoken to were aware of this but WC (!) have been operating in Tipton in conjunction with, er, Cllr Khatun's Bangladeshi Women's Association and also in Walsall and Smethwick! They are now working with Walsall's "Community Care Entertainments" and with Dartmouth Neighbourhood Forum (whoever they are).


The stench just got a whole lot worse......

Look who is involved in Walsall's Community Care Entertainments - none other that Sandwell Labour Councillor - currently voluntarily suspended from the Labour Party to clear his name from unspecified allegations - Ian Stephen Jones.

Did you know that you can join a private "The Sandwell Skidder Readers' Group" on Facebook? Apply to join now!


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Confidential phone no:  07599 983737                twitter  @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Urgent! SMBC Attack Green Belt!

Until yesterday I had no idea of any connection between Labour Sandwell Council and Schweizer Milchschokolade mit Honig und Mandel Torrone - that's Toblerone to you and me!

I happened to be in The Oldbury Kremlin yesterday afternoon doing some research when I received a phone call from a concerned resident asking me to investigate plans to build two huge triangular (hence "Toblerone" - that IS what they are known as) signs next to the M5 at Ray Hall Lane, Great Barr in Charlemont Ward. I immediately reviewed the two planning files.


Let's just step back a bit. The Labour dictatorship are desperate to raise some cash to spend more on sport. In the normal course of events you might expect that if an advertising hoarding/sign company wanted to build two huge illuminated toblerone displays next to a motorway they might buy or rent some land and apply for planning permission. Of course, the sleazy "socialists" in Sandwell have a different way of doing things under the Cooper regime and often arrange one-party commercial details behind closed doors where, mysteriously, a favoured party is given a contract without tender and all others are "locked-out" (eg. Interserve with The Public, Cadman and the Three Degrees statue, the bent ice rink deal, sundry land sales etc etc etc...)

But things are stranger still here. On the face of it, from the planning documents, this project has been instigated by the cunning comrades themselves. Our old friend of this blog, the head of planning Nick Bubalo, has made the two applications on behalf of Sandwell Council itself proposing permission for 10 years.

OK you might say - "Sadwell" is a hideous sh*t-hole and the second most miserable place to live within the whole UK. Most people only "visit" the Borough by speeding through it on the motorways that cross the area. If the Council can raise a few quid to waste on yet more sport, so what?

Well, the first thing to note is that of all the miles of motorway in the benighted Borough the Dictatorship has chosen two sites WITHIN THE GREEN BELT! The crafty comrades are already trying to build on open spaces all over (usually deliberately allowing them to become derelict dumping grounds and then saying they should be built on as they have become, er, derelict dumping grounds!)

If ever there was an area that needed its "green lungs" surely it is Sandwell?

The second thing to note is that there is no mention anywhere of the business case. Are we to imagine that this is a purely speculative project by Cooper and his cronies? Have they just decided it would be nice to build in the green belt and then they will offer the two sites out to tender? I doubt it. So far, I can find no reference to the business case for these hideous things on the SMBC website and the suspicion must be (given recent dodgy conduct) that the Dictatorship have already done a "deal" with a favoured "friend".

Whilst actually at The Kremlin yesterday, I emailed Bubalo as follows:

"Just sitting downstairs in Krem going through files for M5 green belt signs.

Can't see any mention of contractor/advertiser? Is this deliberate?

Skidder readers will want to know who will benefit from these monstrosities?


A short time later, I also emailed the three Labour councillors for Charlemont Ward - Elizabeth Giles, Sue Phillips and Liam Preece:

"As Charlemont Councillors would you care to comment on Nick Bubalo's application for two huge "toblerone" signs to be erected on green belt land?

I have read the planning files and there is no indication therefrom as to who will benefit commercially from these monstrosities. You will obviously know the full facts as the Ward Councillors and so please also share this information with Skidder readers. A 10 year deal is apparently planned.

Many thanks,"

I have not had a response so far from any of the four recipients to be able to share with you. I will put up an addendum if any of these individuals wishes to share with the public what is going on. Presumably the three Councillors agreed to this anyway in "Labour Group" where all decisions are made away from prying eyes?

The current recommendation is for the charade of a site visit. Will the planning committee actually turn down their own Council's application supported by the leadership [sic]? Remember the Statue when Bubalo used delegated powers to decide HIS OWN planning application?

I am told that The Kremlin has very efficient shredding machines and so please make sure you keep a copy of any objection you make (it really must be in writing).

There are two separate applications and so it is essential that you quote BOTH references on your objections (you can also use these references to see the applications on the Sandwell Council website):

DC/15/6211A and DC/15/6212A

Given time constraints you might want to hand-deliver your objection to your local Council office or to The Kremlin itself (mark your copy with the date and time of delivery) or email to:

Addendum - I am delighted to say that Cllr Liam Preece has now responded and it seems they are none the wiser on the commercial details of this project and that it has seemingly not been dealt with in Labour Group but imposed from the top. Here is the best copy I can do of a letter from the three councillors to local residents:


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Confidential phone no:  07599 983737            twitter   @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

More Cooper Hypocrisy?

Darren Cooper portrays himself as the suppository of all wisdom (!) but insofar as he has an intellect at all, it is very difficult to ever understand what his view is on anything. This blog has shown that the taxpayer pays over half a million pounds a year for the infamous "Communications Unit" of the Sandwell Labour Dictatorship and they write "his" blogs and speeches for him. He blatantly lies that these are "his".

(The "Comms Unit" enjoy a large screen TV in their office and so if the BBC/Sky News et al ever do a feature on canine excrement they will be able to disseminate this to the long-suffering denizens of "Sadwell" in seconds!)

Cooper loves to parade his ignorance on Twitter. Who can forget his brilliant synopsis on school funding? Would you let this clown anywhere near education issues (oh, sorry, you already have)?

Of course, many schools have sought to escape the doctrinaire diktats of Cooper and his crony comrades by turning themselves into academies (and, latterly, free schools). Incredibly, Cooper tried recently to impose his will on the headteachers of local academies and summoned them to grovel before him at The Kremlin. Unbelievably, The Skidder believes some of these gutless fainthearts actually did attend and duly prostrated themselves before the class dunce!

This blog has pointed out before that Cooper presents a daily news bulletins to his Twitter followers which he also passes off as his own. Of course, it is inconceivable that Cooper could actually read the papers and prepare this himself and, indeed, he doesn't but lifts it wholesale from the local MP, the privately-educated, John Spellar's "Early Bird" digest:

Of course, we don't actually know from this what the cipher, Cooper, actually thinks on the great issues of the day. All we can actually do is guess what Spellar thinks. But can we assume, therefore, that Sadwell's leading plagiarist is in agreement with the learned MP or is he really just a bird-brained parrot?

Here is Spellar/Cooper on the subject of academy schools (I am not including free schools where the tone is distinctly rancid):

I think we can safely say from the above that Spellar - who went to the same "public" school as Nigel Farage - is not a fan of academies but what of the Sage of Smethwick? He is repeating Spellar's claptrap so does he agree with it? All rather strange if he does, as Cooper used to be fan of. er. academies. How else can one explain this listed directorship for Darren Conrad Cooper in Companies House records?

Perhaps Cooper can get "Comms Unit" to waste some taxpayers' money writing a blog for him about all this!


In the foul and fetid world of Sandwell Labour politics there are always strange connections between The Kremlin and the rest of the Borough. I offer up just such a small oddity here. Since 2006, the Finance Manager at the Collegiate Academy has been one Jane Kellas. Who she? The wife of Cooper's old mate and Sandwell's Finance Director, Stuart Kellas, until the big falling-out last December when Stuart was unceremoniously booted-out of his job in circumstances which remain unexplained......


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Confidential phone no:  07599 983737

Monday, 9 November 2015

College - Truth At Last!

The College is paying no rent for the former Public for 25 years following the bent deal with Labour Sandwell Council and the taxpayer is also paying for the building's maintenance. (Still more to come on this particular scandal).

Meanwhile, the BBC, the Express and Star, other media and, of course, Labour have been trumpeting what an enormous success "Central Sixth" is despite the fact that anyone can see with their own eyes that the enormous structure is frequently deserted. Such is the desperation to save money people are going round plunging parts of the building into darkness.

The Wolverhampton c*ck-suckers lead the way in February, 2014:

And so it has gone on with Labour Sandwell, the College and their media friends maintaining that the 800 capacity building was overwhelmed with applicants. Which makes it all the more surprising then, that the College has been spending a huge amount of our - taxpayers' - money advertising for students!

Even though the College is in absentee MP Tom Watson's constituency, Bailey was dragged out to go with the Mayor to dish out awards to the students amidst much hoopla as the Labour propaganda machine whirred into action to bullshit us all.

Darren Cooper, the leader [sic] of Labour Sandwell tweeted on 9th October that Central Sixth was doing really well which, again, made it all the more surprising that the College Board have kept so much secret lately and, in particular, failed to answer Freedom of Information requests on numbers so that I have had to complain to the Office of the Information Commissioner to force the facts out of them.

Well, A- Level courses are over two years and so you would only expect half capacity in year one ie last year. Even though the building has been so deserted Sandwell College have now formally said that in year one there were an amazing 386 students who completed the year and sat exams (although, curiously, of these an unspecified number apparently sat final A levels which suggests that they must have been at the College anyway and simply transferred from Spon Lane to boost the statistics).

Again, if the numbers were so healthy why was the College allegedly trying to pull out of their bent deal with the crazed comrades?

So numbers must be nearing the 800 capacity this year mustn't they? Alas not - although the numbers now are the highest they will be as it is still close to the beginning of the academic year and so do not include "drop-outs" over the coming months - the College claims that the total number is just 467 - only 268 first years and, strangely, only 199 second years (which suggests there may have only really been 199 first years there last year who were genuinely "Central Sixth" kids.

A long time ago, I joked that this bent deal meant that Central Sixth would be so expensive it should be twinned with Harvard University! Who's laughing now as it turns out that once again the political elite of "Sadwell" have been pissing down our legs and telling us it's raining?


Many thanks to The Skidder team and to all informants (particularly those who have taken risks to whistleblow against the Dictatorship) as we shoot through 300,000 views. And, of course, thank you Dear Readers!


email:                   twitter:   @bcrover (Vernon Grant)

Confidential phone no:  07599 983737