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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Admin on September 24, 2011, 09:38:47 AM


Title: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on September 24, 2011, 09:38:47 AM
The growing squabbling among the caucus that leads Surrey  finally broke out in a dramatic few days which has seen the sacking by Leader Povey of his number two, David Hodge (Monday)then a vigorous reaction in the corridors of power leading to Povey's ouster on Wednesday and by Friday night Hodge was picked as the new party leader - which means, as these things are under party control and not that of the electorate, he will become Leader of Surrey County Council at the next meeting unless there is some other remarkable development.

The Cabinet Executive member for Highways, Ian Lake, has also been ousted.  Our home page was among the first to report these things, thanks to several good sources.

Secure in their eternal majority, the county leadership has failed to address many endemic problems in the county council, which continues to fail in many areas (their bullish publicity material notwithstanding).  The latest is the street light saga - see e.g.

Coups are not new in Surrey.  Former leader of Elmbridge council Roy Turner, who was double-hatted as a county councillor (a bad principle) failed in a bid to oust former Surrey leader Nick Skellett a few years ago.  Povey eventually supplanted Skellett before the last county elections, and the caucus closed ranks rather than take the obvious management opportunity of a 'new broom' to address the serious deficiencies of the council so very clearly stated by outgoing Chief Executive Michael Frater.  Latterly, the way in which the council leadership has tried to railroad through the proposals on pay-and-display and on closing public libraries without thinking these things through and consulting properly - even with their own people - has rebounded on Povey and Lake.  When the Conservatives decide to get their knives out, you can't accuse them of hanging about!

There could, and should, now be an opportunity to address seriously the defects in the council's oligarchic approach which time and again leads to bad planning, inadequate staff work, lack of meaningful consultation, poor policies, and ineffectual administration.  From hopeless forward planning for adequate school accommodation, through the self-delusional contracts to major firms on Highways, to a wildly expensive PFI scheme to replace street lights that gave no thought to conservation areas when the contract was signed, and which makes no provision for eventual replacement of lights when their life expectancy is up in 30 years' time; the bad record on keeping our drains clear, and now the crippling of one of the few services to work well and be popular - the libraries; the last few years have been one chapter of failure after another.

Residents are not impressed by glossy brochures detailing diversity training, visits from China, and inconsequential 'awards' while the very basic things we pay taxes for are not competently administered.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Deborah on October 12, 2011, 11:42:15 PM
Qote from webmaster "We wish them well, and hope (despite experience) that they will first sound out and really listen to the resident taxpayers of Surrey before embarking on policies that may have owed more to outdated party political shibboleths than to practical commmon sense." (don't know how to link - lessons needed!

No chance!!!

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on October 13, 2011, 09:47:53 AM
Have you seen today's eyebrow-raising comment by ousted Povey?!  I've updated the news piece.  For some reason he tweeted  that the new cabinet comprises "six men, four women, one known gay and no PhD".  He explained: "That was my post, it's a factual comment...... I don't think there is any sour grapes about it. "  He went on to say that it was not the cabinet he would have chosen...  But that was the point, wasn't it?!  The man's judgment is unhinged - as with his tirade in full Council against members of residents' associations for being either Trots or BNP but he wasn't sure which


(I'll put a short tutorial on linking within a post, under the website board ( in a minute)

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Walker2 on October 13, 2011, 12:40:41 PM
Quote from: Admin on October 13, 2011, 09:47:53 AM
Have you seen today's eyebrow-raising comment by ousted Povey?! 

Well I think that every  body that sets itself up over other people should come with full disclosure of who they are including personal details.  How many councillors in Elmbridge are connected with the development industry, builders, estate agents, insurance, you name it?

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 06, 2012, 01:25:54 PM
So: the story so far:

- After the coup, new Cabinet formed. Povey sour grapes.  Lake - architect of pay and display disaster - retained
- Pay and display ditched (fate of £2m contract for meters not known)
- Some rowing back on closure of libraries - SCC now say will provide 25% of funding so that libraries affected can have at least one proper staff member at least one day a week (IIRC)
- SCC face judicial review on library closures having lost case against review at court
- draft corporate strategy report finally admits - but only for four years ago - that "In 2008 Surrey County Council was failing Surrey residents.  Key essential services were not being delivered effectively. Some were close to failure. Our costs were spiralling out of control." (TD Today Spring issue - news)
- SCC feel impelled to raise Council Tax, foregoing Govt. subsidy of 2.5%, cite need for e.g. building more schools

And now:
Elmbridge Guardian scoop: Councillors Ian Lake (Transport) and Denise Saliagopoulos (community services, Olympics) today asked to stand down ( as cabinet members.  Said to be related to undisclosed matters being referred to the standards committee. 
These are the two concerned with the biggest failing policies mentioned above.

David Hodge has a difficult job but he does seem to be trying to get a grip.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 06, 2012, 01:30:40 PM
Meanwhile this rather extraordinary release from the Surrey Spin Machine: "Surrey website named as one of the best in local government...Society of Information Technology described Surrey's as "an excellent site and a joy to use"

It costs you about half a million a year, contrasted with Elmbridge's much better site at about £10K a year.  As your starter for 'a joy to use' try finding the Frater Report.

Strange to relate (not) - nothing among SCC's press releases, filled as they are with 'good news' stories, to indicate the upheaval in the cabinet or, indeed, any of the above.  PR "Communicators" have zero credibility.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 07, 2012, 12:41:18 PM
Again, the impressive Elmbridge Guardian has its ear to the ground:

summary: "Councillor Helyn Clack and Councillor John Furey will take over from Councillor Ian Lake and Councillor Saliagopulous and Councillor Denise Le Gal joined the cabinet to fill Coun Clack’s previous role as member for change and efficiency.  Coun Lake said he was exploring the possibility of legal action over the way it had been handled. "

Comment: Another Night of the Long Knives.  You may recall Ms Clack was in charge of highways and drainage for a while back in the sodden days of around 2006-7, informing us with every press release that everything was going so well with her department!  Coun. Saliagopulous is member for Staines, or is it already Staines-upon-Thames.

Almost needless to say, there's not a sniff of this among current Surrey Press releases.  It's on BBC Surrey but not in the Advertiser.  We can thank the local Guardian for bringing it to attention - and support them in the essential role the local press play in what would otherwise be communications dominated by spin.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 07, 2012, 04:09:59 PM
The BBC has been busy - radio interview with Lake, Povey, etc here:


alleged conflict of interest over a company under Lake's directorship (Charterhouse Chancery Ltd.) which offers Olympic Games hospitality packages for overseas visitors  Denise Saliogopulous is a director of the same company

Lake:  "shocked and appalled;  Leader 'seems to think we have a vested interest; company has not traded; I have taken legal advice today and I am considering my position"

BBC - company is no more than a website at the moment

Povey (ex-leader, deposed, also had business interests): "you do have to be very careful.  He would have been wise to declare it and register it within the council earlier."

Simon Ashwood politics lecturer at Surrey Univ:
Questioner: "Is there something rotten at the heart of Conservative Surrey County Council?"
A:  "I'm not sure that we're quite at Watergate proportions here; the way that these things keep on coming up suggests that there are more underlying problems which the council are still working through; the natural constituency here tends to be right leaning and will vote conservative unless there is an exceedingly good reason why not..that's one of the perils of being a dominant party; the thing that's most mysterious about this is why everyone's being so mysterious about it;  Might be a storm in a teacup but fact that have been referred to standards committee [ suggests it]  might be rather more than a storm in a teacup"

You may note Cllr Lake's comment that "a root and branch investigation of the county council and the way it operates is probably more appropriate than an investigation into us" !

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Keith on March 08, 2012, 08:18:47 AM
Two days after the sacking, the Surrey County Council Media and Public Affairs team still haven't announced the rather important news that two members of the cabinet are axed and referred to the standards committee.  Zilch.   Perhaps they don't know about it?  They confine themselves as of this morning to:

"Surrey County Council leader David Hodge today announced two new Cabinet members.

Mr Hodge said: "I'm delighted to welcome John Furey and Denise Le Gal to the Cabinet. I'm sure they will be a great asset to Surrey and will help the council go from strength to strength."

Yes, strength to strength...

Over the years, PR people have lost all their credibility, haven't they?  Well, assuming there is good news as well as bad, let's be magnanimous and say half their credibility.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 08, 2012, 04:12:50 PM
Quote from: Keith on March 08, 2012, 08:18:47 AM
Yes, strength to strength...

Local Guardian again - in something of a purple patch the last three weeks:

"Councillor Ian Lake’s transport member replacement has a recent drink drive conviction.  Councillor John Furey’s new role in the cabinet includes promoting safer and smarter travel, but in July 2010 he was banned from driving for 12 months.  He was caught by police after a car he was driving was involved in a crash in New Haw.  "

Well, there's often no one more zealous than a reformed character, and perhaps he is a changed man.  Photo at head of article shows a  florid fellow. 

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 08, 2012, 09:00:11 PM
Advertiser now catching up:

A good piece.

As things stand, there seems to be some mystery about the real extent of any transgression (which no doubt the standards committee will clear up) but as mentioned when this story broke, I am struck by the fact that the two councillors sacked are the two who have been associated with the two salient mishandled policies which preceded the coup that brought Hodge to power: pay-and-display, and library closures.  I thought it interesting that nevertheless they were in the new Leader's Cabinet, and interesting that now he has consolidated, they aren't.

Another element that (according to past reporting in the Advertiser)  led to the coup, or at least was used by opponents of Povey as one argument for it, was the extent to which Povey allegedly was devoting insufficient attention to council affairs because of his own 'business interests'.

One clear point is that at the top, Surrey continues to be in an abject state and more attention seems to be devoted to infighting than to running the county properly.

And the other clear point is that in these days of corporate manipulation of communications with the public, we still very much need the independent media.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on March 20, 2012, 03:19:10 PM
After the local Guardian story revealing his drink-drive conviction and year's loss of licence following a crash at New Haw, the Advertiser has another hostile reaction to the Furey appointment as Head Highwayman in SCC, from cyclists:

The Advertiser has a nice photo of Cllr Furey:

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Flex on March 25, 2012, 12:03:39 PM
More decision making ( by that little group of politicians in Surrey behind closed doors. "considering Surrey County Council not running any of its own adult care homes in the future."

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Joe Zeponi on March 25, 2012, 01:36:51 PM
But isn't he Ian Lake again having just taken a tumble off his bike.......

Put him in uniform of an Eastern Block country then we will really be in trouble.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Walker2 on January 18, 2013, 03:53:03 PM

This is "Pothole" Lake who also put forward the parking meter disaster!

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on February 07, 2013, 03:09:49 PM
The continuation - Surrey Advertiser (

"Ian Lake has quit the Conservative Party and launched a broadside at the party’s leadership on Surrey County Council, which he has described as "dismal"."

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Keith on February 16, 2013, 09:45:18 AM
More mudslinging in County Hall - between the Tory leadership and that of the Libdems over expenses:

Meanwhile the Surrey Advertiser carries a story of deposed supreme Leader Povey calling for the man who ousted him in a tit-for-tat internal Cabinet battle, David Hodge, to resign over the death of a pensioner abandoned without food and water after a care agency closed because of cuts.

All rather tawdry, byzantine: and so it continues at the top while an inefficient unreformed bureaucracy bumbles along beneath these petty bickerings.

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on February 28, 2013, 11:33:44 AM
Lake, who left the Conservatives after the above episode (eventually the standards board ruled that he had not brought the council into disrepute) has now reportedly joined UKIP to contest Weybridge in the county elections:

(Eastleigh today.....UKIP might do for elections in Britain what Beppe Grillo has lately done for Italy)

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Admin on November 03, 2014, 06:06:16 PM
Under the headline "Police probe leader of Surrey County Council David Hodge over assault allegation" is this article in the Epsom Guardian:

Tales of the clique that has ruled Surrey for over a hundred years continue!

Title: Re: New leader in Surrey
Post by: Emberman on November 03, 2014, 08:42:51 PM
Petition to call for David Hodge to resign, or be otherwise removed, as Leader

More details from Mr Gerald Harvard, the petition creator:

Mr Hodge has shown himself to be unsuitable as Leader by his actions, some examples of which include ; 1. approving allowances over and above those recommended by an independent panel. 2. undemocratically agreeing to the annual cycling event, something that inconveniences many Surrey residents and businesses. 3. creating 'cabinet associate posts,' paid for by taxpayers and which many look upon as mere 'jobs for the boys.' 4. endorsing the use of private venues for staff 'away days.'

Recently an independent remuneration panel recommended certain increases to councillors' allowances. The majority group on Surrey County Council overruled the recommendations and forced through greater increases of up to 60% for their Leader, Deputy Leader and other appointees. This is totally unacceptable to Council Tax payers in Surrey who have suffered rises in their Council Tax year on year, up to the maximum allowed.

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