Viewer A quite disgraceful response from Dorothy Thornhill, the Lib Dem Mayor of Watford, to this post. She arranged for the Council's Head of Legal Services Carol Chen to send a bullying letter to her Conservative challenger Cllr Stephen Johnson. This is the most astonishing abuse of a council officer's time for party political activity. She demands that "necessary corrections" should appear to such "unsubstantiated comments" such as the Council spending money on propaganda and recruiting Manny Lewis who at the London Development Agency had "a proven record of failure."

For a start Cllr Johnson didn't write the piece, I did. So demanding he should change something he has no control over is pretty confused. Secondly, there is no suggestion that anything written was illegal – so why is a lawyer writing Cllr Johnson a letter. Thirdy, she can go whistle for the "necessary corrections" – apart from accepting their classification that Watford has five press officers rather than a dozen. The substantive point is that for a council like Watford to be spending half a million pounds on propaganda is a scandal.

Perhaps before recruiting Manny Lewis, on a six figure salary, Mayor Thornhill should have checked with her Lib Dem colleague the London Assembly member Dee Docey who wrote this report on the LDA under Manny Lewis's stewardship.

It summarised it's findings as follows:

Our scrutiny into the LDA’s funding of cultural projects (with particular emphasis on six high profile projects) has concluded that:

•    The LDA was unable to demonstrate in some cases what it expected to get in return for its funding, did not adequately monitor the outcomes, and was unable to explain the criteria for some of its spending decisions.
•    There is a lack of detailed evidence considering project risks and their impacts.
•    There is insufficient documentation to explain why the LDA become involved in these projects.

These concerns about the LDA’s processes make it impossible to judge why projects were funded and what the LDA got for its money.

Londoners are entitled to higher standards. 

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson agreed and got rid of Lewis. Only for the dopey Lib Dems in Watford to snap him up.

Yet that is not the worst thing that Mayor Thornhill has done. That was her extraordinary decision to banish parents remaining with their children in playgrounds. In her own words to: "Take a positive decision to safeguard children, by ensuring that all children left at a supervised play session are only left under the care of qualified CRB checked and legit staff."

How dare this woman, who puts state regimentation above a presumption of trusting of parents, call herself a liberal?

13 comments for: Watford Lib Dems Mayor’s war on free speech

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