Recently in Property Speculation and Development Category

New Powers for the Mayor and the GLA have been announced.

There was a "Public Consultation", but, of course, the Government went ahead with its plans anyway, regardless.

The extra powers for the Greater London Assembly do not seem to amount to much.

  • The Assembly will be able to set its own budget and will publish an annual report setting out its work and achievements over the previous twelve months.

Achievements ? That will be a new concept for them.

  • The Assembly will be able to hold confirmation hearings for key appointments the Mayor proposes to make.

Does that mean that they actually have a veto on the appointment of someone ? What about the exorbitant salary and expesnese of some of the Mayor's appointments , like Bob Kiley etc ?

  • The Mayor will be required to have specific regard to the views of the Assembly and the functional bodies in preparing or revising his strategies. He will need to provide reasoned justifications where he is not acting on their advice.

Presumably he can just go ahead regardless, so long as some "reasoned justifications" are presented ?

  • The Mayor and Assembly will jointly appoint the Authority's statutory posts. Most other Greater London Authority staff will be appointed by the Head of Paid Service.

The new powers for the Mayor:

  • The Mayor will have the discretion to appoint political representatives to the TfL Board.

  • The Mayor will either appoint the Chair of the MPA or assume the role of Chair himself.

  • The Mayor will appoint two members of the LFEPA Board, and will be able to direct and issue guidance to the Authority.

LFEPA = London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

The new powers for the Mayor also include

The Mayor will have the discretion to determine planning applications of strategic importance.

This seems to allow the Mayor to meddle even more in planning decisions, something which will, no doubt, lead him to be lobbied, wined and dined even more, by property speculators.

Most controversially, "The Mayor will either appoint the Chair of the MPA or assume the role of Chair himself" i.e. the Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority

That is not independent scrutiny of the Police, it is political meddling !

The GLA website has published, the result of the investigation into the complaint about Ken Livingstone's remarks about the Reuben brothers property developers.

This has been published even before the official Standards Board for England has published it on their website.

The report by the GLA’s Monitoring Officer for investigation. Peter Keith-Lucas exonerates Ken Livingstone over the compaints about his original remarks on March 22nd, on the dubious grounds that Livingstone "genuinely believed" that David Reuben and Samuel Reuben were somehow Iranian and not Jewish,

Just how common are the names "David" and "Samuel" in Iran ?

Livingstone's previous run in with the Standards Board for England resulted in much wailing and gnashing of teeth and speeches and press releases denouncing the "undemocratic" Standards Board for England and the Adjudication Panel, which ruled against Livingstone, resulting in his 1 month's suspension as Mayor of London, a decision which is still awaiting a High Court appeal. Livingstone and his spin doctors wittered on about how an "elected politician" should only be answerable to the electorate, and to nobody else etc.

However, now that the Standards Board for England system of hearing complaints under the Code of Conduct which regulates the Office of Mayor of London, has ruled in favour of Ken Livingstone, there seems to be no word of criticism from him about them.. Livingstone has not rushed off to the High Court to seek a judicial review of this decision, "on pronciple", has he ?

Surely that makes him a hypocrite ?

This BBC report appears to show that Ken Livingstone is repeating the behaviour which has led him to be suspended for 4 weeks, for "bringing the Office of Mayor of London into direpute" (currently under appeal).

Firstly he has insulted someone - the precise insults are not that important but Indians, Iraquis, Jews, Iranians and Ayatollahs all come into it somwhere.

What is important is that, after being asked to apologise, he has yet again, arrogantly and publicaly, refused to do so.

Has he not learned any humility from the suspension adjudication against him ?

Even more worryingly, he claims:

Speaking at his Question Time at City Hall, Mr Livingstone said deadlines for planning applications were already being missed and, if this continued, taxpayers may have to cover costs to get building work finished on time.

There is no way that the taxpayers of London should be picking up any extra costs for this private sector property speculation development. The BBC headline mentions a figure of £700 !

Who exactly has signed a contract which would commit the London taxpayer to having to pay such a sum ?

If Ken Livingstone has done so, then the Standards Board for England need to conduct aonther investigation, this time to reassure the public that none of Ken's cronies, relatives or business associates or assorted Labour party financial donors, stand to gain financially from this.

He said: "They (the Reubens) do not have a track record of successfully undertaking major developments, or of working in partnership...and without them, collapsing into squabbling and litigation."

Ken Livingstone is the one with a history of overbudget and late projects, and of futile, expensive litigation - just look at the Tube or the Congestion Charge !

He refused to apologise for his remark in which he told the brothers to "go back (to their own country) and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs".

"I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers," he said.

Note how the when he does use the word "apology" it is only as part of a further insult.

"I wasn't meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran," he said.

How about starting off by not being offensive to the people of London ?

Who seriously believes that the post-Olympics "legacy" will create the same number or more, permanent local jobs in the blighted area, as are being destroyed or moved by this property speculation and development which will follow on from the Olympics Compulsory Purchases ?

It would be criminal if any of the speculators , consultancies , professional advisors etc., including the London Development Agency quango, who will be profiting from this compulsory purchasing and property development, contribute financially to Ken Livingtone's campaign funds, or employ him after he retires from the office of Mayor of London.

The Independent reports

" Businesses on Olympic site fight to avoid eviction By Matthew Beard Published: 13 August 2005

The London Mayor Ken Livingstone will embark on one of the UK's largest and most controversial compulsory purchase programmes this month to clear the site for the 2012 Olympic Games.

About 300 businesses based on a 250-acre site within the proposed Olympic Park in Stratford will be sent the orders in the next few weeks, it emerged yesterday.

The companies, which employ at least 5,000 staff in the Marshgate Lane area, will be told to vacate their premises and take up an offer of alternative land before the bulldozers move in at the beginning of July 2007 to clear the site for construction of the main Olympic Stadium.

A bad day for London, now that the International Olympic Committee has inflicted the 2012 Olympic Games on us.

No doubt the NuLabour politicians like Ken Livingstone and Tony Blair will try to claim some credit, even though neither of them are likely to be still in power in 2012, so they will not have to pay the political price for the inevitable cost overruns, which we the taxpayers of London and the rest of the UK will have to fund.

Livingstone has already announced that each London Council Tax payer will have to pay £20 a year for 12 years i.e. £240, even if the Games do not make a loss , which is extremely unlikely.

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