Solidarity with the Sandwell Skidder!

From today’s Daily Mail:

‘”Labour council with £2.8m hole in its finances ‘found £300,000 to silence blogger”

Published: 02:15, 21 December 2020 |

A penniless Labour council with a £2.8million hole in its budget set aside £300,000 to silence a blogger who was highly critical of its work.

Sandwell council…had admitted to setting taxpayers’ money aside to pursue blogger Julian Saunders, 62.

The former solicitor’s blog, Sandwell Skidder, that features claims about the council has been viewed 1.9million times.

Mr Saunders, who also ran a coach tour of the borough charging £3 to point out landmarks he claimed where council wrongdoing had gone on, which included the town hall.

Last year the former leader of the council Steve Eling, tried to have Mr Saunders arrested, The Times reported.

Mr Eling, who resigned in 2019 after he was suspended from the Labour party, complained to police about the blog, but was told to stop wasting police time.

Mr Saunders told The Times he has been locked in a legal battle with the council as he tries to gain access to internal documents that discussed him.

He believes the council has a fund codenamed Time to Stop which created “with a view to shutting him up”.

The local authority, which has seen four leaders in the last two years, has now admitted it set aside £300,000 in its budget to “potentially pursue litigation”, against the blogger.

It would not state exactly how much of that budget had been spent – but at least £50,000 was used on barrister fees and external counsel.

It refused to state when the fund was set up or who approved it.

The council said the fund related to the duty of care to its employees and would not comment further.

West Bromwich East’s Conservative MP said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money, a point Mr Saunders agreed with.

He said: “The fact that a Labour council in a very deprived borough can allocate such a huge sum of taxpayers’ money to pursue this vendetta is truly shocking and requires immediate investigation by the proper authorities.”‘

There is more here:

The coach tour is a great idea.

In WF, it would start at the Town Hall complex, where for a decade or more LBWF exposed its workers and visitors to asbestos dust, and a former Labour Mayor publicly threatened to slap her black chauffeur; take in the infamous Cann Hall Wall, the dilapidated outside flank of a property owned by the family of Labour MP Dawn Butler (who previously had wanted the taxpayer to fund her jacuzzi) which a local Labour councillor, and a couple of her mates, wanted to have ‘decorated’ with a £40,000 ‘artwork’ paid for from the public purse; continue to nearby John Walsh and Fred Wigg Towers, where (a recent report disclosed) ‘the external wall system is not compliant with current building regulations (but was at the time of construction)…and in consultation with the Fire Brigade, the Council has changed the evacuation procedures…to simultaneous evacuation and installed a waking watch (24 hour fire marshals)’; double back to Goddarts House sheltered housing, where LBWF tried (but failed) to evict a fire safety whistleblower; and finish up at the Black Hole, a large orifice that swallowed up hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money that LBWF gifted to the E11 BID Co. and North London Ltd., all without any discernible result.

And that’s just the morning session…