A week in the reign of our Leader….or is it?

A reader gets in touch to say that he has found a document in one of the Town Hall skips, and thinks it is a page of a diary feature that the Leader was preparing for WFN.

Personally, I have my doubts, no least because of the Bon Jovi comment (its widely known that Cllr. Loakes is a big Northern Soul fan and so would have chosen Al Wilson’s ‘The Snake’ ).

Maybe one of the many Robbins-ologists out there can give me an expert opinion? I don’t want to end up with egg on my face like that nice Mr. Trevor-Roper.


Day off! Mondays off for the Leader of the Council has to be one of the best things I’ve introduced in my time as Leader of the Council! Everyone talks about the importance of a good work/life balance, and I think I deserve some “Me Time” after all that hand shaking and ribbon cutting. Now, where’s the TV remote, it’s nearly time for Bargain Hunt! (Must make a note to officers to keep my salary of £50,000 quiet as possible. After all, some people might think it’s rather generous for four days attendance).


Driving to the Town Hall I notice that some of the flower boxes at the major traffic junctions are looking a bit shabby. Phone the Head of Green Space who is as always anxious to please. ‘Yes Leader, of course, we’ll get some new planting to adorn your processional route’. Not being sure that I heard him properly, I ask: “Adorn the processional route?” “No Leader, I adore your professionalism”.

It’s great to be appreciated by your workforce!

Run through my diary with PA. Looks like the Trade Unions want to meet but they really need to understand that, despite my former career as a Trade Union official, I really don’t have very much (or any) interest in their concerns.

Pre-cabinet meeting. Cllr Coghill makes us laugh by telling us she convinced a Ward Forum that she wanted to hear their views! She’s learning fast, although to be fair, her politics have always been as flexible as mine. I see her as Leader in waiting, but she’ll be waiting quite a long time if I have anything to do with it! We skim through some lengthy papers on forthcoming cuts (although I’m not sure anyone reads these), before getting to the highlight – the events programme for next year. Lots of Big Weekenders for me to attend! I always try and spin these as bringing the community together but in truth, I just like fireworks.


Planning meeting for the Love Your Borough awards. One of the highlights of my year to be honest, with all the glitz and glamour. Not sure what song to have playing in the background when I come on stage to give my big speech. Cllr Coghill suggests Right Said Fred’s “I’m too Sexy…” but I’ll have to Google it later as I’m not familiar with it. Cllr Loakes says “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi….

This year we have introduced a special category of Leader of the Council awards. I want to give it to Riney. Somebody from the Legal Department has pointed out the giving an award to one of our contractors at the same time as the contractors funding the award ceremony may look a bit odd. (Note to self – have a word with the Chief Executive to make sure Legal Department attend our corporate culture induction programme – they will soon learn how we do things in WF!) My suggestion of having a Leader’s award for Best Council Leader seems to fall a bit flat. Maybe there’s a technicality I’ve missed?


Meeting with Michael Poledri – a true friend of the Borough. Discussed [Redacted] and [Redacted] and [Redacted]. Great doing business with our corporate partners!

Cabinet Meeting. Since moving it to 2pm, the rest of the day is now free for attending dinners and functions, or watching Antiques Road Trip and Eggheads while I have my dinner. Having it in the afternoon also keeps the public away which is no bad thing! They only want to talk down all the good news I bring them like closing their Pool & Track and they never seem to join in with the round of applause I’ve introduced with each agenda item.


David Cameron has launched a review of Freedom of Information. I wholeheartedly agree that all those pesky requests for information on things like asbestos inhibit our ability to discuss policy, so I’ve asked our Head of Compliance to draft a reply to the consultation. In our view, Freedom of Information is a form of mischief making, with the usual suspects asking all sorts of scurrilous questions about things they don’t understand, like asbestos.

Draft of Waltham Forest News ready for review. Thank goodness we’ve seen the back of Eric Pickles and his threats to cancel our weekly propaganda, I mean good news stories. To show true Leadership, I make several amendments in red biro by adding the word ‘brilliant’ to a number of paragraphs about our Borough and it’s brilliant Leader!

Councillor Loakes pops in for quick chat. I always enjoy these “chats” but find he does most of the talking. He has a further list of things he wants to close down in the borough and seems quite animated by the prospect. I suggest he has another look at the list and see if it could be slightly more positive. I need to reign him in a bit, last time he was let loose it cost us £100k in legal fees!


Leytonstone Big Weekender. I know some boroughs have cut back on this type of activity but I think it’s essential to allow Councillors to be seen out and about (but not to answer questions obviously!), and to show the people who’s in charge. I’ve already authorised a draft press release about how well attended it was!


My Annual Garden party! The much anticipated event of the year where aspiring councillors come to pay homage, er I mean come to eat burgers with the Leader! This event is similar in importance to Rupert Murdoch’s conference on Hayman Island that Tony Blair famously attended, only this one is held in my back garden.

UPDATE – unfortunately the garden party has had to be cancelled as no one RSVPd. Cllr Loakes said this was due to my declining influence as Leader, but that can’t be true, can it?’