TONY JOHNSON: Free Dom for all

Rolling Stones
Picture: Sebastiaan Laan from Pixabay

In the United States, it was a week in which The Rolling Stones told Mr Trump, ‘You can’t always have what you want’.

In the UK, it was a week in which the dead cat strategy was replaced by a ‘live lion’ strategy and the fur began to fly.

In the Borough, it was a week in which the Council started to scrutinise itself again.

Getting Stoned

The campaign team for the ‘leader of the free world’ didn’t understand that ‘free’ referred to ‘the world’ not to ‘its music’.

At the failed Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma the music was being played without the band’s permission.

New York based BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) has warned the campaign team, who should have learned from 2016’s complaints, as well as from BMI’s recent success with lawsuits.

After this latest complaint, the US media have started reminding readers and viewers that the Trump-ets / Trump-ettes have been sounding other dud notes, as Rihanna, Queen and Pharrell Williams have all objected, as have Neil Young, Brendon Urie and Tom Petty’s family. 

Apparently, these musicians all detest the Trump using their music and withdrawn their permission from the campaign’s Music License for Political Entities or Organisations.

On behalf of the Rolling Stones, BMI has warned the campaign (in writing) that further use of the artists works will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement. (That’s legalese for “stop it, or else”).

Going, going, gone

Finally Transcript Central has been told that it can take a rest – the Coronavirus daily briefings are finished and they’ve managed to post the transcript of Boris’ last briefing. 

With five slides and ‘led by the science, driven by the politics’, the PM proved that the we’d passed the tests and could be excused lockdown provided we kept “one metre plus” apart.

But the nation’s swimming pools were still closed so we went to the beach instead, where local authorities in Bournemouth, Brighton and Bognor were left to cope with the crowds without any extra help.

At Durdle Door, a local Councillor was spat at by an angry motorist. Last year, this was disgusting. This year it’s being punished by six months in jail.

But not forgotten

Last week’s hope that “Dependence day” would be the “dead cat” strategy that actually worked has been proved totally wrong as the number of articles about Dominic Cummings has risen sharply to 350 in the week just gone.

Of these, 150 were still about Mr Cummings having driven to Durham then to Barnard Castle and being judged to have broken lockdown rules at the time.

Enter the lion, and Cummings was determined to shake up the civil service; to reform the planning system; to add to his closing of the Department for International Development. By the end of the week the head of the Civil Service was gone.

That wasn’t enough, so Brexit was revived; Cummings was in control; SpAd-in-chief who controlled other SpAds (Special Advisors) …

… then Cummings name started cropping up alongside Boris’ defence of Robert Jenrick and the growing entanglement of the Westferry property development scandal.

Then there was the other fifty pieces with Cummings name (or a reference to him) as a behavioural byword.

All spirited stuff, helping us believe that Dominic’s in charge, driving the agenda, keeping things jumping.

And what of Dominic’s opinions on Boris you might ask ?

Probably much like King George V’s on Bognor (allegedly).

Council Leader voted out

On Thursday night’s Extraordinary Meeting of the Borough Council last week, the agenda was short. First item: remove the Leader. Second item: elect a new Leader.

It was partly because the Council’s debts were of the order of £1 Billion and partly due to a Covid-19 related ‘rental deal’ being about to cost the Council £4.5M of much needed income.

In the end, the Leader resigned the day before the meeting so a Conservative who’d led the old spending spree and who became an Ex-Conservative on June 9th was replaced by a current Conservative to lead the … council

That was the Borough Council at Spelthorne in Surrey who, according to the 2019 year end report from the UK Debt Management Office has the second highest level of public debt-per-head in England, only neighbouring Woking … is higher.

Screw, Tin, Knee, Ring

Here in Wokingham Borough, the first of the Council’s virtual Scrutiny meetings got underway and finished a mere three hours later.

What was remarkable about the meeting was the way in which the public video managed to keep viewers in track with what was going on and where most of the active speakers were visible most of the time.

Amazingly either the individuals’ e-meeting discipline or the ‘electric string’ in and out of Shut End had been strengthened and everyone’s audio was audible and videos viewable.

The chairing of the meeting was good and the electronic “hands up” function worked well and was briskly managed.

Sincere applause for all involved – a real improvement on the Annual Council meeting.

Barbecue of the vanities – the broken promise

Back in 2016, late one night a Police Inspector was passing by the BBQ King van and noticed one of the staff’s cars illegally parked next to the van. Leaving an instruction to move the car and getting a promise that it would be, he was exceedingly disappointed to discover it was still there several hours later and that the bus stop lay-by had become a customer car park.


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