Don't repeat spending in Beds

IT was very disappointing, if not exactly surprising, that the vast majority of members of the administration at Endeavour House didn't have the courage to vote against their whips and block the obscene salary of £220,000 to be paid to new chief executive Andrea Hill.

IT was very disappointing, if not exactly surprising, that the vast majority of members of the administration at Endeavour House didn't have the courage to vote against their whips and block the obscene salary of £220,000 to be paid to new chief executive Andrea Hill.

What seems more worrying is their vote later in the meeting to press ahead with a nonsensical plan to promote Suffolk County as a unitary council controlling all services from Lowestoft to Haverhill.

That news will fill many people with horror because it could mean the county will see even more money disappearing down the plug hole.

The administration has already shown its claims to be concerned about getting value for money is sham by agreeing to pay Mrs Hill a ridiculous salary.

Now they seem to be prepared to offer her even more money to fight a hopeless battle that the county cannot win.

And she certainly has form on this - while at Bedfordshire County Council she spent £500,000 on a similar campaign which proved unsuccessful.

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That was in a much smaller county - and if she could not run a successful campaign there, what hope is there in Suffolk?

And it will prove unsuccessful - there is no way a single authority can run services throughout Suffolk.

The current administration at the county has proved itself time and again to be out of touch with issues facing Ipswich and other large towns in Suffolk.

The cabinet contains no members from large towns and has proved time and again that it is not interested in what people from Ipswich have to say - even when they are members of their own political party.

The administration ignored borough warnings that its favoured site for a new fire station was unsuitable - until it was told as much by its own officers - and brushed aside borough concerns about bus lanes.

At least one cabinet member is openly disparaging of Ipswich every time my notebook is concerned - however joking the tone may be, you don't have to be a genius to work out that there is an underlying contempt for the town among those in charge at Endeavour House.

This is not a case of Tory-bashing. There is no group more frustrated by the antics of the administration at Endeavour House than the Ipswich Conservative Association.

Back in the 1980s the Labour Party was tarnished by the behaviour of the Loony Left in cities like Liverpool.

Today the Tories are in serious danger of being damaged by the antics of the Ridiculous Right here in Suffolk.

ONE last word on the county's bid for unitary status.

After Tuesday's paper we had an e-mail from a former senior officer at the county council. It said: “Spotted the April Fool gag in last night's Star: 'County bid to create a giant unitary authority.' Very funny! Keep up the good work.”

If that's what they think inside Endeavour House, what hope is there for this daft bid?

WHEN cabinet minister Ed Miliband visited Ipswich earlier this week he had the appearance of a scared rabbit caught in the headlights, especially when I approached him armed with the office video camera.

Clearly he was not used to the idea of a “newspaper” journalist carrying a video to put material on a website - but that is the future of journalism in an era when news can travel the globe in a few seconds.

He will have to get used to video cameras, I suspect, we are not the only news organisation to use this new technology.

Mr Miliband might also like to try to relax a bit more when he comes out of his Whitehall comfort zone - dare I say take a few lessons from his brother David or good friend Ed Balls when it comes to meeting the public.

He was here to talk about community safety and how councils and the government should work together to combat comparatively minor crimes.

Taken to the Cobham Road recreation ground as an example of regeneration, he was clearly surprised to find that a couple of bottles of alcopops had been smashed on the playground and had to consult his resident spin-doctor before he decided he could be pictured looking at the offending smashed glass.

Frankly if you're a minister implementing government policy on community safety, you have to know what to do if you're confronted by a patch of broken glass without having to consult your minder!

I'm not sure that having a government minister in town to launch Labour's election campaign was such a great idea.

If Labour do better in Ipswich than they do elsewhere across the country, it will have nothing to do with the performance of the government and everything to do with local issues.

It's difficult to imagine a stiff, nervous cabinet minister from London really persuading more people going out to vote for his party than an enthusiastic activist from the town itself.

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