The Danvm Drainage Commissioners & ‘moor’ badgering of politicians needed?

Open transparent conduct in public office – is it a thing of the past?

Readers might surmise from a recent post that we are in the process of scrutinising the recently published Danvm Drainage Commissioners Audit – Governance Audit 2014 undertaken by Doncaster MBC, they would be right.  What is interesting in itself is that they [DMBC] are effectively auditing themselves as Local Authorities (including DMBC) appoint the majority of the Commissioners (13 as oppossed to 12 elected members).  How is it that collectively the three Local Authority (Barnsley, Doncaster, Selby & Wakefield) appointees have missed the signs?   This Board is around 85% funded through Special Levy (public taxes).

We will update the blog with our analysis in due course, in the interim here are a few other updates which might be of interest to readers:

1.  On 27 October, MPs voted against tabled ammendments to allow constituents to sack their MPs.  See the 38 degree campaign website for more information and how to act if you feel that as constituents we should have a say.

2.  There are three days to stop investigations into MPs’ expenses being hidden from the public.  The consultation on whether to go ahead with these dodgy plans closes on Sunday.

IPSA, the independent watchdog in charge of MP finances, claims its main duty is to serve the interests of the public, not protect MPs. But so far it’s suggested giving MPs a 10% pay rise. And now it wants to hide when MPs’ expenses are being investigated.

The 2009 expenses scandal destroyed the public’s trust in politicians.  And it was the lack of transparency that led to it. These plans would be a huge step backwards. If we want to prevent MPs abusing expenses, this means keeping every part of expenses in the public eye.  We might be forgiven for asking if it [trust and respect] has yet returned?

IPSA says it wants to hear from the public. So together let’s make sure they know what we think?  Nearly 200,000 people have already signed a petition. If thousands email in now, when they look at the results in a few days’ time, they’ll hear one clear message: don’t make investigations into MPs’ expenses secret.

3.   TTIP is another capitalist ambition which will see us the UK taxpayer foot the bill if corporations are allowed to sue the UK government. The ConDem government are supporting this deal, but do they speak for the public? See the 38 degree website for more information on the issue and how you can act if you are oppossed to the ISDS component particularly.

Why would politicians want to hide facts?  If the expense is legitimate then what have they to hide?  If a trade deal is being negotiated then public interest should be paramount not capitalist profiteering.  Open transparent and principled politics, including at a European and international level ….  we can dream but in the interim we have effectively a two party system with periodic appearance of alternatives which people then fail to embrace for a whole raft of reasons often because they fear the party they don’t want getting in so they vote for the other ‘main’ party.  Until there is a change in legislation which requires politicians to represent their constituents rather than the party then we continue to waste our energy with an outdated and archaic system alledgedly a representative democracy?


Tim M Badger 7465227996_e7b29e0ea9_h

Keep on BADGERING Government ….

Badger Trust disappointed by Court of Appeal decision against ensuring an independent referee. They call on the Secretary of State not to once more move the goalposts.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment on Wednesday in the matter of the Badger Trust’s appeal concerning the refusal of the Secretary of State to maintain an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to oversee the monitoring and analysis of the results from the second year of the pilot culls in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

​The Trust had understood that the Secretary of State had promised that an IEP would oversee the monitoring and analysis of the results of the culls while she was still considering a wider roll out. However, although the IEP had concluded that the first year of the pilot culls had been an abject failure and therefore the Secretary of State rightly decided not to roll out culling more widely, she abandoned the use of an IEP for the second year of the pilot.

​The Trust challenged this decision on the basis that the Secretary of State’s promise amounted to an enforceable legitimate expectation and accordingly any decision to roll out more widely after the second year of the pilots would be unlawful. The Court of Appeal rejected this argument, noting that the Government’s policy could be “said to be characterised by a tone of optimism as to the likely success of the pilot scheme in the first year.”

This optimism proved to be totally unfounded given the failure of the first year of the culls to achieve sufficient standards of effectiveness, humaneness and safety, despite the then Secretary of State’s premature announcement to the contrary. While the Trust respects the decision of the Court of Appeal as a matter of law, as a matter of policy, it calls upon the Secretary of State to confirm she will not roll out culls more widely given the failure of the pilot culls.

​Jeff Hayden, Financial Director and the Trust’s lead on the Judicial Review challenge said: “The current Secretary of State rightly has not jumped, as her predecessor did, to a premature conclusion regarding the result of the second year of the culls. However, if the leaked figures regarding effectiveness are correct, then contrary to the suggestions of the National Farmers’ Union, she cannot yet again move the goalposts, particularly when she has refused to have an independent referee.”

​“If the second year of the pilots has not met the standards determined by the Secretary of State, she must acknowledge that the pilots are a failure and culling cannot be rolled out more widely. Instead, DEFRA should commit to rigorous cattle control measures as employed in Wales where a reduction of 48% in bovine TB (bTB) has been achieved during the last five years. The small threat from badgers should be dealt with by vaccination rather than inhumane and ineffective slaughter.”





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