сряда, ноември 28


SENSATIONAL: Green Party Link to Labour Funding Scandals

Lobster Blogster has been approached by a senior member of Watford, Hertsmere and Three Rivers Green Party, so that the following personal statement can be made:
"I am a senior member of Watford, Hertsmere and Three Rivers Green Party and I have been secretly funding the Labour Party for over fifteen years, through a third party. When I first started doing this, I was not in the Green Party, and so there was no conflict of interest. To be Candid, I didn't really think about cancelling these payments when I first joined what was then Watford Green Party. I had hoped to buy influence in the Labour Party, but I don't really think I ever got value for money. I shall write to the third party to see if the existing arrangement can be cancelled, or failing that, if the entire amount can be properly refunded and donated to the rightful owners at my local Green Party."
Mrs Justice Lobster immediately issued a 'D' Notice, preventing the name of either the senior party member, or the third party, or it's General Secretary, from being used in any news media worldwide (except Solomon Islands). As ever we will keep you fully up to date with events before and after they happen here at Lobster Blogster.

Other news:
This blog is always delighted to hear of banana related gossip. So the Lobster is very pleased to hear that Pratt's Bananas in Luton may at last be going for Fairtrade accreditation. Well done to all the people on the ground there. Don't forget you can help to end workplace exploitation by supporting the work of bananalink.



Lobster Blogster: An Apology

Lobster Blogster would like to apologise to the long suffering Watford commuter, as he has had to ask officers from the elite "Shady Lane" fast reaction squad to close off Watford Junction. Whilst visiting the station yesterday evening the Lobster fell into a long conversation with a member of the front-line staff. The Lobster has not been paying Watford Junction the attention recently it so richly deserves. If you are familiar with Milan, Gard du Nord or even the recently reopened St Pancras, you are missing an architectural treat by not visiting Watford Junction.

Brutal by design and brutal by nature, the ticket hall is famed around the world as the venue for some of the toughest football related violence ever. Who can forget the day when Luther Blissett had to be escorted by nearly a thousand armed officers to catch the 8.14 to Kings Langley? Not letting myself be too perturbed by all this, I tried to purchase an Oyster card, and in the ensuing scuffle, an original document appears to have fallen out of my pocket.

As a bit of background I have in the past corresponded with one of Mr Blair's Ministerial team. Claire and I disagree about one or two matters, but we both respect each other's privacy and so have never chosen to divulge to a wider audience everything we have corresponded about. Now the Lobster can't really remember whether it was some notes which Claire had put together on the Lebanon crisis last year, and issues surrounding our newly installed Middle Eastern Envoy, or whether it was that other silly thing which I sometimes wish I had just let drop, but the truth is I have lost a letter. In the circumstances I think it would be wise to withdraw Mr Blair at his earliest convenience immediately from the Middle East. On security issues one simply cannot compromise.

I have every hope that the full search of Watford Junction, security audit, staff training and management re-alignment programme which I had alluded to elsewhere will soon turn up the missing document. In the meantime I expect passengers joining at Bushey will enjoy the fact that they are getting a seat for a change.

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Lobster Finds Pearl in Oyster

Watford Junction has just joined the London Overground Network. Here's the official checklist for who needs to do what to get the Oyster Card system up and running for the long suffering Watford commuter.
  1. Get Oyster barriers installed - engineer - done!
  2. Get a stock of Oyster cards - admin clerk - done!
  3. Get a machine to issue Oyster cards - technician - done!
  4. Get the ticket office staff trained up so they can issue Oyster cards - station manager
So Lobster Blogster would like to add just one more thing, to help the whole process on its way

5. Charlie Johnson, Station manager, Watford Junction - Get off your fat arse and get your effing staff trained up, you idle twat!

While you're at it, you total waste of space, where is the signage to the disabled access/bicycle route to the Abbey Flyer Line, dick head?

Lobster Blogster - serving Watford's public with a smile!



Deleted E-mails: Can They Be Retrieved?

Regular readers of Lobster Blogster will know that we have strict copy deadline of 5pm. So it's a shame that Watford Borough Council were unable contribute to this post. They work until 5.15pm, so the Lobster expects that a last minute cup of tea has just nudged them past the copy deadline. No doubt we will be able to give you a full report back in tomorrow's edition.

Security sources have suggested a fake Press Release is being circulated. These sorts of issues are usually investigated by MI5. For the time being all e-mail users of the following systems are advised not to open attachments from Watford Borough Council: Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Lotus Notes below version 6.5a. The main identifying mark is Word.Document.8. Lobster Blogster can supply the precise adhoc cycle review code if you think you have caught a live one!

What the Lobster can tell you, from "an informant" is that the computers on the Customer Service desk haven't been working since Thursday. And someone in the Press Office has been deleting a lot of e-mails.

Surely, someone from a nearby giant retailling company with an HQ in Clarendon Road has got someone to spare who can help WBC out with their PC problems?


вторник, ноември 27


Claire Ward MP: Are the Helicopter Flight Stories True?

Have any other bloggers heard the rumour that Claire Ward has been linked to the Michael Ashcroft/Flying Lion story? The way the Lobster heard it, she was seen flying out of Leavesden Aerodrome, just after Daniel Radcliffe and other film stars flew in. If anyone could track down a Flying Lion flight to the aerodrome, it would be sensational news.

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FOUND: Safe at Last! Two Inland Revenue CDs

Safe at Last
Lobster Blogster is really pleased to say that two Inland Revenue CDs have been found on the corner of Garfield Street and Leavesden Road. Accordingly, he is issuing the following press release:
"I went back to the abandoned Lib Dem offices I showed last night, again this morning, because the photo I showed may have been doing them a disservice. I had already described the huge pile of beer cans, and the vacuum cleaner. I don't want to cause the Liberal Democrats, or any other Watford politician, any more distress than is necessary.

I have been working for a major retailler recently, and so I know just how important computer security is. People should use anti-virus and encryption technologies to protect sensitive commercial and personal data. Yesterday, for instance, I had discussions with a "guru", over from the States. He made a minor change to a PGP encryption server, and then I asked someone to test that the company PCI policy could be fulled applied. I'm glad to say it worked. It's important that people with the most sensitive data, such as loss investigators and auditors are protected from prying eyes.

I am glad to be able to report, that in this case, at least one of the Government CDs is still in it's original packaging. The tamper proof seal is intact. The other one has been snapped safely into a waterproof plastic carry case. I felt it was important not to disturb the evidence until forensics could investigate."
No one yet knows if the police have been called.

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INCREDIBLE: Lying Lib Dems Flee Watford

This cannot possibly be true!
In an almost unbelievable turn of events, the Lib Dem offices on the Leavesden Road, North Watford, were coned off, as if to "prevent evidence from being destroyed". The shutters were down, there was not a single orange Lib Dem sign on display and an estate agent's "To Let" sign was firmly affixed to the front of the building.

Liberal Democrat Portfolio Holders, have been refusing all calls and e-mails, and even Cllr Iain Sharpe's blog has been left abandoned for several days. Lobster Blogster had hoped to bring you news of who the "third man" is, the political leader with responsibility for Housing during the period 2005 to 2006, but now it seems we may never know.

It looks as though the building was cleared out several days ago. Rubbish has already started to accumulate. An elderly man with white hair was seen leaving the building with bundles of paperwork on Saturday. Is this when the Lib Dems upped sticks and went? There are signs that a lot of alcohol had been consumed, and a vacuum cleaner has been left by the front door. Up the street an old settee is left right across the pavement. Could this be the same sofa where leading Lib Dems sat down in comfort, whilst collecting huge allowances from the Watford tax payer?

UPDATE: Oh no, it looks like we've found out who the new tenants are!

Other news
The Watford Observer reported today that the Gold Plated Traffic Cones saga is almost over. Drivers in the area face only a few more months of driving misery, before a team of specialised "traffic cone removal operatives" are assigned to the dangerous task of re-opening the full width of the road. Claire Ward MP, said this was a "victory for common sense" after being told that the M25 was likely to be further widened in approximately two years time. Full story here.

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понеделник, ноември 26


Anti Bullying Week

The Lobster has taken on three bullies during anti-bullying week. They are:
One failed Tory, one aspirant Tory and one Lib Dem local party leader and Council cabinet member. All in all a busy week. What have you been up to?



Lobster Blogster: Tagged For Life

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Lobster Blogster has joined an exclusive list of up to one thousand households in North Watford which are taking part in the UK's national pilot of enigmaTag. A free bottle of enigmaTag is available to North Watford resident's who visit North Watford Police Station, or contact their local community officers. But hurry, there are only one thousand bottles available for the entire pilot scheme. The tagging liquid is not available for sale in the UK at the present time, but it is expected to retail for around £80 when the trial is complete.

Were the Lobster to be stolen, or perhaps even eaten by missionaries from the Liberal Bananacrats, then police would be able to confirm the identity of the rightful owner using an ultra-violet scanning device.

How amusing that the powers that be have chosen North Watford as the only pilot scheme in the UK. Could it possibly be because this is one part of the country where we most definately don't trust the lying Lib Dems?

As a corollary to the Watford Observer getting a written apology from Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Sal Brinton, it may be worth mentioning that Andy Wylie, already in trouble on other pages of Lobster Blogster, is the Lib Dems election agent. It is his name that should appear at the foot of all local Lib Dem political material, and he is the one who is legally responsible for any claim made within the literature. Lobster Blogster's copy of the offending leaflet was delivered some four or five days after Brinton's apology appeared in the Watford Observer. In their usual lazy way the Lib Dems had not bothered to cover the offending item, or make clear by way of a sticker that they had had to apologise to the paper for the lie. Like any good citizen, the Lobster's copy went straight into the recycling bin unread. But if anyone still has the lying leaflet, the Lobster would be very grateful if it could be identified whether Wylie's name is on it or not.

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COVER UP: Estimated Exposure of WBC is £1.8m

How strange! The Lobster has highlighted in bold praise from the Audit Commission for Watford Borough Council recorded in two sections of the council's Comprehensive Performance Assessment.
47 Partnerships are used effectively to increase the Council's capacity to deliver its ambitions and priorities. Partnership with the County Council has enabled the Council to improve the town centre environment. It is achieving housing priorities by effective partnership work with residents, tenants, voluntary organisations and Registered Social Landlords; and the planned transfer of its housing stock will improve capacity to achieve the decent homes standard. The transfer of management of community centres to community associations and agreement on a three-year funding programme for voluntary and community groups helps those bodies better support the Council's priorities. The Council is working with two neighbouring authorities to develop shared services on HR, finance, ICT and revenues and benefits. It has taken a lead role in the development of the county-wide pathfinder bid, which is planned to make savings of 3.5 per cent. Partnership working with a consortium including Watford Hospital and Watford Football Club is central to the health campus plan. The Council's good use of partnerships is successfully increasing its capacity to deliver its priorities.

68. Service users are actively involved in performance management. Scrutiny actively seeks to involve the public and stakeholders in the policy review process, leading to improved participation rates in a number of reviews including those on the future of the Colosseum and on transport (buses). In a stakeholder survey over 60 per cent of respondents agreed that the Council was involving service users, residents and partners in monitoring services. In particular, housing was cited as a service that was good at engaging with and involving tenants and residents. Over half of respondents thought that the Council reported in an open and transparent way about levels of performance. Service standards are not universally in place but are currently being developed in a number of services. The Council clearly engages well with its stakeholders.
From the Audit Commission's Comprehensive Performance Assessment for WBC, July 2007

Strange because the Local Government Ombudsman, Tony Redmond, has just said (Lobster's emphasis):
33. Hertfordshire County Council and Watford Borough Council should also consider their arrangements for partnerships with other bodies and may wish to consider the advice contained in the Ombudsman’s recently published Special Report on Partnerships.
This forms part of his official ruling on 24th October 2007 that Watford Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council were guilty of Maladministration causing injustice.

Why does it matter?
A finding of maladministration will affect the reputation of both councils. Watford has ambitious plans for partnership working with neighbouring authorities and a local health campus/road scheme. Should these still go ahead while there are questions about Watford's competence? Or should a proper investigation take place as to why the Audit Commission was told one version of events, but the Ombudsman found another? But Mr Redmond's report also contained this bombshell:
26. The Borough’s housing manager says that [the complainant] had received the same poor standard of service as other Borough tenants. A note in his tenancy file said that external decorations were done in 1987 and were not due again until 1992. She says that the Borough’s properties have not been externally decorated for years unless the tenants complained or officers identified particular problems.
(Again the Lobster's emphasis.) This means that the complainant, who has just successfully won an offer of compensation, might not be alone. There may be other equally dissatisfied former tenants who are eligible for compensation. It's time to do a quick sum. There were 4,468 dwellings under WBC's control at the time they were transferred to Watford Community Housing Trust on 10th September 2007. The complainant's home in this case was actually part of a small number of additional dwellings that were owned by Herts CC and managed by WBC. So let's assume a total of 4,500 dwellings were previously managed by WBC. Section 2.7 of this report prepared for Marion Harris, Head of Housing at WBC on 5 September 2006 indicates that 20.1% of tenants were not "very satisfied" with the service offered by the council’s Housing Department. This means there could be up to 900 former tenants who may be eligible for compensation payouts.

Cllr Andy Wylie, portfolio holder for Housing, recently tried to imply that the tenants in the Ombudsman's case had accepted £2,000 from the council. It wasn't true. The tenants appear to be reserving their legal rights, and may well receive a larger payout. In their case there had been deficiencies over a very long period of time. These fell outside the Ombudsman's time limits, so he exercised his discretion to limit his investigation to just the final two years of their tenancy. But even if we just take the £2,000 figure, then the council's potential exposure to compensation claims is of the order of £1.8 million.

Cllr Iain Sharpe, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at WBC, was clearly very rattled when he made this comment on Lobster Blogster:
If we were trying to cover this up we have certainly gone a rather odd way about it.

The Ombudsman's report was reported to full council and the subject of a full debate, with the public present, as evidenced by the fact that you were there and able to report on it.

Cllr Wylie made it absolutely clear that compensation had been offered but not accepted.

The Ombudsman states that he had exercised his discretion to limit his formal investigation to events between 2005 and 2007, it is pretty clear from the tenor of his report that the failures go back much longer. Which makes Andy Wylie's comment pretty accurate.

In the circumstances, therefore, it seems to me that in using the term 'cover up' you are using emotive language to make a bogus point, in contrast to your leader Cllr Rackett last night.
Lobster Blogster now demands that Cllr Sharpe withdraws his comments above, and offers the Lobster a personal written apology.

There's quite a bit to follow up from this post. There's the matter of informing the Audit Commission and the Ombudsman of serious discrepancies between the reports they have independently produced, and there is the procedural issue of getting the matters raised here properly investigated at the council. The Lobster already has one outstanding urgent enquiry* to which the council has not even bothered to reply to, and so will continue to pursue these matters as and when time permits. As ever, watch this space for further developments.

* refers to a handcrafted LobsterGram, delivered to the front letter box of Watford Town Hall on Saturday morning

Marion Harris was Head of Housing between 27th October 2003 and 9th September 2007 when she transferred to the Watford Community Housing Trust.

Update 21/12/07
WBC's Head of Legal and Democratic Services has written to Lobster Blogster to establish that it was Cllr Andy Wylie who was the portfolio holder for housing during the period of maladministration. Mrs Chen confirms that no compensation has been paid.

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неделя, ноември 25


Exposed: Naked Toilet Man is Green Party Member

Andy McBean, Watford resident, unafraid to use the toilet in public

The naked truth about Andy McBean's toileting habits can be found in A Year on the Bog. It's available in all good bookshops and is published by Southbank Publishing. As you might expect there are frequent uses of the words "piss" and "shit". Over-sensitive Liberal Democrats are WARNED that the book also contains emotive language.

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Welcome to Watford

"... and of course our new pop up toilets. ... I hope that these small changes make a big difference on the High Street"
Mayor's report 21st November 2007

Yes they have Mayor Thornhill. They have turned Watford High Street into one long urinal. Pissing in public is now an accepted part of Watford nightlife. Liberal Democrats are shamefully turning our town into an open sewer.

Mrs Justice Lobster issued the following legal ruling at 7.00am GMT:
"The foolishness of Watford's Lib Dem administration now means that indecent exposure is legal within the central Watford drinking zone."
Clarification of the legal position means that Lobster Blogster will be sending out a National Media Alert shortly. Please stay tuned to Lobster Blogster for further developments as they happen.


Due to the Lobster happening across a very handy list of tourism contacts, and the dire need to make a pun here, the Lobster has revised his plans accordingly. A Members Survey and Worldwide Tourism Invitation has now been despatched. Let's make Watford High Street the venue for the world's biggest piss-up!

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