|Councillor Cowan - does he do chutzpah?|
I was comparing him to the chutzpah of Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, who very much does do chutzpah, in my humble opinion, by reading out this quote in support of the cuts which he said he'd received from a local resident:
“I've often wondered what David Cameron means by the Big Society – but if this is it I'd like to see more of it”.But my conclusion that by comparison his Labour counterpart didn't "do" chutzpah has provoked an angry reaction from Conservative Councillor Harry Phibbs. Cllr Phibbs is in the Boris Johnson mould of Tory politicos as you'll see from what he said in a minute, but it's also worth pointing out that he has brought about some welcome changes in W12, such as the transforming of derelict houses that were blighting our streets - a Top Tory.
Anyway, back to chutzpah - Cllr Phibbs rages thus:
"Shepherd's Bush blogger Chris Underwood makes the extraordinary comment on his blog last night that Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Labour Group leader on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, "doesn't really do chutzpah."Phew. Looks like I'm off Cllr Phibbs' Christmas card list, but there's more:
Chris, chutzpah is in Cllr Cowan's DNA. It's his middle name. His irreducible essence. He is the physical manifestation. The embodiment of chutzpah. Cllr Cowan is chutzpah made flesh.
Cllr Cowan's speech last night was pretty typical. He complained that the Council employed too many HR managers. When the Conservative administration took over from Labour there was a total HR headcount of 100 posts at a cost of £4,612.834. HR headcount has been cut over time and today it is down to 47 posts (a total reduction of 53 posts) costing £2,816.300. This has resulted in a total saving of £1,796.534.
He complained too much was spent on communications.
Yet under Labour Communications spending was £1.14 million. We are halving that cost. According to an Evening Standard survey our total spending on publicity at £669,000 is the second lowest of the 32 London boroughs. Only Bexley spends less. Southwark spends over £5 million. We have slashed spending on spin and cut the number of Communications staff from 13 under Labour to seven. The cost of h&f news is much lower than the previous Council publication HM Magazine which cost £400,000 a year".
"The greatest chutzpah was voting against the budget without offering an alternative budget. The only saving he came up with was fixing the lights in the Town Hall extension saving £250,000. Yet the saving is £20,000 and has been accomplished. It is true that the building is energy inefficient - which is one reason why it should be knocked down and the site redeveloped. Yet he is fighting to save the Town Hall extension.Well, that's me tellt.
Requests to substantiate his claims, for instance on police cuts, were met with bluster.
So Chris I'm afraid I would have to conclude that Cllr Cowan does do chutzpah
So what do you think? Who in our local political class does the best chutzpah? To get you started here is the dictionary.com definition of "chutzpah":
–noun Slang .
1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2. audacity; nerve.