Poor old Jules Pipe! He’s just had to write off £40 million of debt, his Councillors have turned down the planning application that was to pay for the new Town Hall (even though it’s already being built) and now he’s getting grief only because he decided to spend £30,000 of Hackney’s money on a jaunt to the Beijing Olympics.
The Mayor’s press department claims that he wanted to make contacts with key people in Beijing. Perhaps he talked to the Chinese Government about the efficient way they moved all the poor out of sight, how they shut down local markets that were feeding people on small incomes (Ridley Road watch out) or maybe he just wanted to look important.
None of the the Olympic events will actually be held in Hackney. Hackney won’t be running the Olympics – all that power has been handed over to the Olympic Development Authority. It won’t be a major visitor centre as most of the people visiting the site will go through Stratford. With luck we’ll end up with the site of the media centre, but only after the Olympics has finished. So why did Mayor Pipe feel it was necessary to spend £30,000 of our money on a jolly when he could have saved half by making it a one-way trip?