Well. My first guest-post at Wonkoville. It’d make a change if I was going to say something nice (by way of variety), but I’m not. I’m going to have a little moan about Shropshire Council and a man called Paul Masterman.
The following story was in a recent issue of Private Eye:
Is there anywhere the outsourcing tentacles of Westminster council’s “communications” team, headed by Alex “Chicken-Wrestler” Aiken, do not reach?
After Richmond, Merton, Hillingdon and the Isle of Wight, WCC has added Southwark council to its portfolio. Westminster was brought in to conduct a “review” of the Lib-Deb/Tory council’s PR machine last year after it was revealed the council was spending more than £5m on spin – which clearly wasn’t working. More than 20 jobs were duly axed. Westminster has now found Southwark a new communications supremo: one Paul Masterman, formerly of Shropshire county council.
Masterman sounds just the man for the job. He left Shropshire last year after being caught instructing council employees how to cheat in an online poll. BBC Shropshire had organised the survey to gauge local opinion on whether the county and district councils should merge into a “unitary” authority (the government subsequently decided they should). In furthering the county council’s campaign in favour, Masterman encouraged hundreds of council employees to vote Yes – and explained to them how to bypass the BBC website’s “cookies” set up to prevent multiple voting. Masterman was suspended and resigned before a disciplinary process was completed. Perhaps Southwark could put him in charge of postal voting.
So this bloke orders council employees to waste their time skewing a BBC website poll. Not only is it a misuse of council equipment, its a waste of money: its our tax money that pays these people. Add to that the fact that the BBC website poll doesn’t count for squat anyway, and it makes it even more of a gross waste of time and resources.
The really narking thing about this is that the bloody little coward resigned before a disciplinary process could have made him face a more humiliating final curtain. And now he’s been given a top job directing communications for another council. If his track reccord is anything to go by, it won’t be long before he’s either booted out or forced to leave this one either.
The slipperier you are, the further up that greasy pole you can climb, it would seem. After all, no politico wants to slip back down the pole: at the bottom are the feral and angry jaws of the taxpayer whose money is so lavishly wasted by these arsebiscuits.