Sunday, 25 March 2012

Corruption at Brighton Council - an update

Following last week's Brighton and Hove City Council meeting, I posted a piece on this blog suggesting that the motives of the Tory councillors in voting for a motion condemning Smash EDO might have been that the proposer, Tony Janio, works for one of EDO's partners in the arms industry.

Well my post seems to have rather put the cat among the pigeons, so to speak.

I thought it sensible, therefore, to clarify a few things: it seems some councillors (and a few others - it seems I do have a couple of readers who aren't Tory councillors looking for evidence of my lefty nonsense!) misunderstood what I was saying.

Firstly, I wasn't alleging any corruption at all: rather I was reporting that (a) Cllr Janio (known to some fellow councillors at Mount Hangleton Volcano due to his tendency to erupt or storm out of meetings) proposed a motion condemning a planned lawful protest, (b) that, according to his register of interests he works for a firm that produces military equipment, Thales, and that Thales has worked with EDO before, (c) that he declared no such interest at last week's meeting, (d) that it all looked a bit dodgy, and (e) that sorting it all out would keep council lawyers busy for weeks.

Secondly, that Cllr Janio himself has said he doesn't work in the bit of the company that produces any weapons, rather that he works with flight simulators for the civil aviation industry. I daresay that's true: I haven't the faintest idea, but of course I'll take his word for it. Personally, I don't think that makes much difference, but perhaps the lawyers will.

And thirdly, I'll be asking the council's head of law for some advice about  Mount Hangleton Volcano's actions, and whether they amount to any wrongdoing or not tomorrow. I've no idea what they'll say, of course, but if they come to the view that all was above board then all the better for the council, really - I think any formal process will probably be a waste of the council's time and money: formal processes involving lawyers usually are.

One of the most interesting things to have come out of this whole saga is a 'tweet' I received from Labour councillor Warren Morgan (perhaps embarrassed to have got caught up in all this) challenging me to produce any evidence if I was alleging corruption - to be clear, I'm not - and defining corruption as 'payment for actions'.

I'm not surprised to hear a Labour politician say he thinks corruption is about 'payment' rather than 'standing up for your mates' or, as is at issue here, 'promoting the shared interests you have with a third party' - perhaps this sort of logic was at play when Tony Blair took us off on all those military misadventures that cost so many innocent lives but out of which arms manufacturers made so much cashin the first place!


  1. Well just bacause some dotty old judge says it's lawful to smash up others peoples property (unles it's his of course) who in their right mind left or right politially say that it is moral to smash up the property of a lawful company and moreso dissrupt the lives of the good citizens of this city in doing so should not be running our city. I don't think they will be for long.

  2. But of course most people at Smash EDO demos engage in no such behaviour: not the peaceful grandmothers from Kemp Town, not the CND and PSC activists who show up, not the councillors and MPs (there are often a few), not the children and young mums, etc etc... these people's presence usually goes unreported, but if you go along you can meet them all...

  3. Coucillors Janio and Cox clearly both have a personal interest in attacking the campaign against EDO. As you say there is no suggestion of venal motivation. It is clearly political opportunism based on a sensationalist headline in the Argus and pandering to a twisted sense of Patriotism. The fact that Cox is an ex-policeman makes it doubly worrying he should base Council business on such headlines!