Friday, 4 September 2015

EVEN MORE BRENT SCANDAL! - 'Worse than Kafka' claim by councillor

"This is surely worthy of the darkest Franz Kafka novel the verdict before the trial, but then again in even in Kafka they had the trial before the verdict."

Courtesy of a sympathetic informant with a conscience comes news of further efforts of Brent Council to control people. Now it is not just Philip Grant, and his efforts to get answers to the 'Two Questions' or the Brent Conservative Group attempting to get an inquiry into the Cara Davani case who are silenced, but a member of the Labour Group itself.

It appears that over the holiday the Labour Whip, Cllr Sandra Kabir, decided to take disciplinary action against Cllr John Duffy who, in a blog on Kilburn Calling and a letter to a local newspaper ,revealed that without his intervention Brent Council would have lost council taxpayers £500,000. LINK

The allegation is that Cllr Kabir summoned Cllr Duffy to a meeting while he was on holiday and because he didn't attend went on to take unilateral action.

Duffy wrote to her:
"Since you have not confirmed your availability for this morning's meeting, you have either not returned from holiday or have decided not to respond" Yes Cllr Kabir you were right I was on holiday,  therefore I did not respond. You then went on to say "Over this long week-end I shall email you the action I am taking in respect to your unacceptable behaviour and conduct over the past fifteen months" therefore you have come to a conclusion about your  basis opinion of my behaviour without any  defence from me or even telling me what  the allegations were.
Duffy, with long experience in politics, clearly saw red when confronted with this on his return from holiday.  He wrote to colleagues in the Labour Group enclosing copies of the email exchange. It appears that he has sympathisers in the group  as well as officers but whether they will openly support him, given the current atmposphere, in a group meeting  is another matter. This is what he told members of the group in an email:

Dear, All,
I was happily enjoying myself over the summer in Turkey laying in the sun,visiting place of historical interest, eating lots of food etc.
While I was away bothering no-one minding my own business and everybody else was playing cricket. It seems the Chief Whip was hatching a plan. Last night she informed the group she had tried to contact me on several occasions for a meeting.This is untrue, she sent me these two notes ( attached at the bottom) in the last few days while I was on holiday,which I opened over the weekend on my return from holiday.
I am of course willing to have a meeting with Cllr Kabir providing a regional officer is in attendance, so we can discuss other elements of the treatment I have been recieving from the cabinet members  and the leadership. 
For instance
(1) Where did my missing nomination for the Tricycle Theatre go to after Cllr Thomas saw it.
(2) Why she changed the date of the full council meeting in November last year. the regional office are already aware and wrote to the leader of the council and the chief whip with their concern about their shenanigans ) to try and ensure me and Zaffar were removed from the council causing unnecessary By-elections.The chief whip was fully aware of this but chose not to inform me which would have meant me being disbarred.It was only that an officer alerted me  ( yes lots of them like me) became he was concerned that I was not beening informed  by her about the consequences of the change .It was only after  this officer alerted me I contacted the regional office who intervened saying they would take legal action against the Council. I am not aware of any other occasion where the National Labour Party had to threaten a Labour council with legal action. I will seek a full explanation from her why she decided not to inform me of the consequences of the change of date of the meeting, when she was fully aware and the concern it would have cause the Labour Party forcing two unnecessary  by-elections. I am also asking for the release of all letters sent to the Leader of the council /chief whip about this issue by the Labour Party legal department be released to me.
(5) Why did she removed me from all committees, knowing that because I am a trustee on a International Aids awareness charity I cannot always attend all full council meetings on Mondays, therefore because I am not a name sub on any committee, I am unable to sub at any meetings to ensure that I have attended the required number of meetings in a six month period. 
(6) When was the preparation for the removal of my name from the "All Labour Councillor" list done (clearly in expectation of the result of the Kangaroo court) and by whom.
(7) What are the allegations against me? I am puzzled what the charges/allegations are other than I have voiced my concern about the way we have made more cuts than the Tories forced us to do, I have never broke the whip, I have never leaked any internal information .So I hope she will provide her allegations to me in WRITING, so I may defend myself.
The emails below from Cllr Kabir are not only confrontational she has already come to a predetermined conclusion of my guilt . It is because of  the tone of her emails and the preemptive removal of my name from the all Labour Councillors list,  I have taken advise and decided not to attend any meeting with Cllr Kabir until she issues her allegations in writing so I can prepare myself and also I request we agree on someone who is independent (a back bencher) is present to witness the procedure.
As a active trade -unionist all of my adult life and  I have seen many disciplinary cases where the allegation have been proven or unproven.However I have never  seen a disciplinary take place , where there are no allegations, no hearing just a predetermined  judgement and a recommendation  from the Judge Cllr Kabir.This is surely worthy of the darkest Franz Kafka novel the verdict before the trial, but then again even in Kafka they had the trial before the verdict.
So bearing in mind the predetermine emails from the chief-whip, the question is should a kangaroo  turn-up at a kangaroo court,to hear his sentence without knowing the charge only knowing the Judge has already come to her view. 
Well the answer is no I will not attend this spurious  trial  until regional office have confirmed that she has followed the correction proceedures I believe Cllr Kabir does not understand  the meaning of justice and the fact that she thinks her verdict comes before the trial not the other way  around is very disturbing .This  may be inconvenient for her and other members of the cabinet and leadership (you know that old chestnut innocent till proven guilty ) but its a basic right, which I hope all backbencher and other democrats would all support. 
I am totally confident that her recommendation as they were made without any hearing of my case will be thrown out by the Regional Office.
It seems to me that the Labour Regional Office adding this to their own disquiet over the Zaffar Kalwala case, might end up mounting their own inquiry into Brent Labour Group and its leadership.


Anonymous said...

Greg Clark, communities and local government secretary, needs to order thorough investigation into the the shenannegans of Brent as they clearly don't care how they treat people and waste ratepayers money.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone Cllr Duffy - there is an unhealthy culture in Brent of fabricating allegations against innocent people who question things or raise matters of concern. This unhealthy culture will continue until individuals like yourself as well as the the present (pathetically weak) trade unions within Brent call for an independent inquiry into unjust matters.

Anonymous said...

I was a Brent Council staff who took VR and left in August so I can speak for myself and lots of other ex-staff and current staff , we are filled with disgust at the actions of Mohamed Butt and his faithful little followers. Whereas there was a clear line between the workings of the council and the politics, now that line is more than blurred. There are so many little yes people with no backbone just willingly cowing down to Mohamed Butt. If a private company was run the way that Brent Council is it would have gone bankrupt in no time. There are too many people there riding the gravy train who could not care less about the staff or anything to do with Brent. Take the The Brent Magazine for instance it has become Butt personal little propaganda machine, whereas there was a limit on the number of times the politicians were in it now it seems he's on almost every other page.

Whenever I walked past Butt in the Civic my blood would boil and I would think what a prat. Staff do not respect him. Not surprised by the treatment of Cllr Duffy so similar to what is happening to too many staff. Too many staff are happily leaving and there are many more who would love to be able to leave, no wonder Gareth Daniel had to be pushed out, he had some integrity.

Anonymous said...

When elected members behave like this, is it any wonder that there is the kind of insidious culture throughout the organisation that dismisses people on trumped up charges with a preconceived hearing outcome? An organisation's leadership sets the tone for the whole organisational culture and if they flagrantly disregard due procedure and basic fairness, what chance does the organisation stand? Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

You are right about the insidious culture - lets hope there is a thorough inquiry into the wrong doings of the clique.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right, Anonymous at 10:36, and the results of that are convincingly set out, from personal experience, by Anonymous, 4 Sept. at 20:45 in the comment above yours.

Things DO need to change, and the arrival of a new Chief Executive, Carolyn Downs, on Monday is the ideal opportunity for that change for the better to begin. We can play our part in encouraging that change to happen, and I am repeating now part of a comment I put on another "Brent Council" related blog this morning:-

I had hoped that I could also help to return Brent Council to the right road, after several years where these standards have been allowed to slip, with a Deputation to the Full Council meeting entitled:
"The importance of high standards of conduct in carrying out the functions of Brent Council."

There is still an outside chance that I will be allowed to present my Deputation, which would include a reminder to Council Officers and councillors of those seven principles - integrity, selflessness, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership - and encourage them to support the new Chief Executive, Carolyn Downs, in putting those at the heart of the way that they run the borough on our behalf.

If readers support these aims, they can still email their local Ward councillors, with copies to: and , to say so. Thank you.

Philip Grant.

Alison Hopkins said...

The problem is that Butt - regardless of who is CE - will still run Brent as his personal fiefdom. Anyone who dares t challenge him, whether member or officer, will be out. :( Butler is no better.

Unknown said...

This is a micro-cosm of The Labour Party through and through. To try and force out two democratically elected Councillors costing the public money via a byelection is outrageous. Although, we've seen this behaviour occuring recently with the so called 'LabourPurge' where Labour members for decades have been barred from voting because they may vote for the wrong person.

Can nothing can save such a squalid, undemocratic organisation full of careerist yes-men from itself?

I sincerely hope Cllr Duffy finds justice.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps residents should be writing to their MPs expressing concerns as it is clear that our Councillors are letting the borough down.

Anonymous said...

My Brent magazine has gone in the bin for years now - its content is shallow self serving twaddle. It used to be of some interest when they advertised local jobs that were of some interest to unemployed / local people who were seeking employment - including residents who may not have, or cannot access, a computer - but they stopped all that.