Tuesday, 21 October 2008


This article just in from Peter Kent Baguley (pictured):

Transparency dribbles out just in time for the referendum

In June 2007 Full Council, misguidedly in my view, voted in favour of selling the Council's share in the Britannia stadium, home of Stoke City football club, for a mere £4.5m cash plus £0.5m to be devoted to "community benefits". At no time was there the slightest hint that the cash would not be paid in full immediately the deal was signed. No hint in the officer's report to Full Council; no hint in any verbal clarifications and justifications from various officers; no hint from the Elected Mayor nor from any of his so-called cabinet members.
A year later, rumours develop to suggest that in fact the full payment has not been received but that payment would be extended over three years. A search of all Executive meetings since June 2007 has revealed no reference to the deal. The decision of Full Council, however, has certainly been corrupted by stealth through secrecy, so typical of this Labour elected mayor system in the City.
Today, finally, all is made clear. The man himself responsible for the extended payment admitted his role in the sorry, sordid saga. So-called cabinet member Cllr Roger Ibbs, leader of the Tory group, if not the Labour-Tory-Lib Dem coalition which has kept the lame duck elected mayor afloat, revealed today that he did in fact sign the legal agreement which allowed the extended payment, interest free.
Cllr Ibbs expressed surprise that the agreement in fact approved the extended payment! Why? After all, he had signed the agreement so surely he had read it before approving it? Well, er no, in fact he hadn't read it he said since it was "this thick" gesturing that the document consisted of more than one page. Self-justificaton reached towards the fact that, apparently, neither the legal officer, Gerry Clarke, nor the then Council Manager / Chief Executive Officer, Steve Robinson, explained what the agreement contained!
So, a responsible Councillor, member of the so-called cabinet that carries a £9,000 a year allowance, would have us believe that is how he exercises that responsibility. If we believe that explanation, then I am sure many a member of the Council Tax public will be more than a little perturbed; if we choose not to believe the explanation, we would surely be implying the councillor's denial of the truth. I for one would not wish to suggest that.
We are left, therefore, with the extremely worrying fact that a councillor in a senior position failed to exercise due care and attention in the performance of a highly important part of his responsibilities.
We are also left with the worrying fact that if Cllr Ibbs did not know at the time he approved the deal that it granted a three year payment period, then who did know? Even more to the point, who introduced the idea?
This is but one example of the absence of transparency associated with the elected mayor system. It has bred a sickness at the core of the council, a sickness with a cavalier attitude towards open, honest, democratic processes. The sooner it is consigned to history the better.


Anonymous said...

Has someone taken a backhander here? It seems very very dodgy this does. Roger Ibbs is a Tory, his mate is Meredith and Joy Garner leads a bunch of poodles.

Who knows the truth here.

Tony said...

Thanks for this Peter at least the city know what happened and who was responsible now.
Peter will be contributing to the blog again and we thank him for takig the time to do this!

brooneyes said...

If you think the deal over the Britannia is iffy, take a look at the old Victoria ground deal. It has been sold through several companies, and it looks like the reason for this is to try and get around the restrictive covenants in the original deeds. They apparently say that the ground cannot be used for building purposes! Have to check this out
just to make sure I haven't been sold a pup.

Shaun Bennett said...

Yes, this is a very good article. Thank goodness someone is holding the elected mayor to account-and those that hide behind him.

I have to say, knowing Roger, one thing I would say without hesitation is that he is actually very clever, very informed and well aware how the system works, and how to get the best out of it for his own ends. I have to say, I find it astonishing, and even dare I say unbelieveable that he was not aware of the full terms before he agreed to them.

If he genuinely did not, then either leading councillors were seriously mislead, in which case there should be a full investigation, or else leading councillors would not be fit for the positions that they hold and should be removed.

Bob Bagley said...

I'm sorry but this reeks of hypocrisy. Before leaving the Labour party after not being able to get his own way it was Peter "Phone Box" Kent Baggaley who championed the council's soft loan to Port Vale, the details of which I don't recall being made fully public. Either way I'm sure there will be people not happy at having their council tax used to prop up our two football clubs which at the end of the day are businesses in it for profit.

By the way, why do we take the opinions of someone whose party could hold their meetings in a phone box so seriously?

ian norris said...

Why didnt Rodger read WHAT he was signing?

Why didn't Labour vote with Cllr Anne James and Peter and Deferre the decison untill all questions and full deabte had taken place?

Or did Peter Coates £150,000 donation to Labour have anything to do with this?

Anonymous said...

Kent-Baguley is a sodding Stalinist.

No wonder Labour were glad to be rid of him!!!

nicky said...

Oh it would be Ibbs behind it all wouldn't it. If we had to pick one person we'd be better off without on the council I think I'd put Ibbs even ahead of Meredith.

Now Roger Ibbs clearly makes a habit of signing things without reading them, very worrying habit in our councillors. He and Ross Irving both signed the petition to save Trentham High School you know! That was the one the Trentham Ten walked to downing street. The TAG kept a copy so we have proof. Why did they sign it when they are adamantly against us you wonder? Well it was because they visited Trentham High School and when asked to sign the visitors book, the petition was there too and they signed that instead. It was pure and utter carelesness, they did not look at what they were signing (maybe it was because that petition was many pages thick).

Shaun, agree with you entirely, leading councillors not fit for the positions that they hold should be removed.

Bob I do not know why you persist with the phone box theme. (There's no such thing now anyway is there, we've all got mobiles.) You seem to take issue with everyone who has an independent point of view and doesn't wish to align themselves wholly with a political party. Peter Kent-Baguley I think you are right. I think you are far better off being an honest free thinker, even if you do fit into a phone box, than being one of a big bunch of twits on the EMB.

ian norris said...

:) well said Nicky ... :)

Anonymous said...

The guy actually does have an unhealthy obsession with red BT phone boxes:


Shows he can't be doing much work for his ward if he wastes his time of such piffle!

Tony said...

You really do seem to have a problem with the Potts Alliance! If i've read the phone box quip once i've read ir a hundred times! Move on, crap or get off the pot!

Gary Elsby said...

Anonymous 18:51

Labour were not glad to get rid of him. Nor were they glad to get rid of Mick Salih or Reg Booth.

Those that don't have a clue, may have been.

brooneyes said...

Tony, love the last comment!
Am I starting to have an influence????????

Bob Bagley said...

The phone box wasn't really my main point to be fair, it was the hypocrisy of championing the soft loan to Port Vale but being against Stoke City having favourable terms to pay the £5 million (and I agree it was wrong for Ibbs to keep this quiet).

Mayble Ian Norris could tell us if the City Independents were in favour of the Port Vale deal?

Peter Kent-Baguley said...

Plenty of room in the phone box for a few more to keep me and Geoff company!

ian norris said...

Bob: that question has nothing to do with the points I raised, are you trying to dodge the issues?

Bob Bagley said...

Yes it does Ian.

Were the Independents if favour of Kent Baggaleys Port Vale deal or not? If they were then they are also hypocrites for now decrying the situation with Stoke City.

Personally I don't think council tax payers money should be used to help prop up either football club as they are both businesses in it to make a profit.

ian norris said...

Bob for the Brittania Stadium the following questions were asked BUT NOT answered as LABOUR and MIKE BARNES voted againt the ammendment, that is the point If Mike Barne had VOTED YES then his questions and those of other Cllrs would have been answered....

Councillor Billington spoke in support of the proposals on the proviso that the £4.5m cash sum was invested in Stoke Town Centre and requesting confirmation from the Section 151 Officer that the deal was a fair one.

Councillor T. Follows suggested some kind of clause being included in the contract to enable the City Council to receive a share of future profits

Councillor Kent-Baguley agreed that when the contract should include some kind of uplift clause. He suggested that it would be irresponsible if the City Council did not benefit from any future development of the football club. He did not see the proposal as a good cash deal.

Councillor A. Walker agreed with the proposals in principle but had reservations that the City Council was selling their shares too cheaply. He commented that he would like to see advice from an independent financial adviser and he also suggested that if a motion was passed there should be some kind of uplift clause included.

Councillor James suggested that a presentation to all members outlining the benefits would have been useful and she asked if the Authority would have to pay back the ERDF funding;

Councillor James then moved an amendment, seconded by Councillor Kent-Baguley, “that the report be deferred for further consideration, a presentation, and answers to the questions raised during this meeting”.

Mike Barnes said...

I could not vote for the motion as it would have left the council tax payer exposed to the threat of a multimillion pound legal action by SERCO as it was so poorly worded.

If you think I want to give that sorry lot the opportunity to wring more out of us, you are crazier than I thought. So I did the next best thing, I asked the questions - got no answers, so I, out of all the 60 councillors, I went to the district auditor.

My question to all of you is this - if the Elected Mayor loses tomorrow what mandate do his policies have? Should the schools plans still stand, for example? should he resign? What about everything else?

Only strong public pressure will decide.

Zahid said...

Thank You Mike,
your arguments against the elected Mayor system have been calm and rational unlike Paul Breeze's aggressive and increasingly bizarre rants.
You have convinced me to vote YES.

ian norris said...

calm and rational Mike Barnes appears to have Highly confused a motion for MORE INFO on Britannia deal, with a motion against sercoe . nice going Zahid and Mike

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember that Mike Barnes once almost joined that select club of which Lee Wan(k)ger is a member?

Not exactly outstanding credentials for the leader of the council.

Only the BNP are fit to lead this city. Stoke for the Stokies!

Bob Bagley said...

Ian I will ask one final time although it appears that you can't or won't listen.

Could you please tell me if the Independents were if favour or against Kent Baggaleys financial package for Port Vale deal? If they were in favour then they are hypocrites for now decrying the situation with Stoke City.

And I will admit that I'm a Stoke City supporter, although I'm against the council giving them any kind of financial benefits as they are a business.

brooneyes said...

What's this??
Are you suggesting Barnes is a kiddie fiddler too?

Gary Elsby said...

Mike Barnes has a near 100% support from the Labour Party.

I say near, because if you have no birth certificate with S-o-T writen on it, you may oppose him.

The penny may drop for you soon, Craig, if it doesn't, then you need to think very hard.

ian norris said...

Bob: think you'll find it was Mike Barnes that 1st started complaing about britania deal, if he and Labour had listened to other Cllrs quoted above. There would be nothin to complain about ans the councill would have benefitted from the share in future profit.

your blinkers are on was too tight bob.