Jun 2011 23

Back in 2010 in Tameside, we had a leadership battle between Labour councillors with the then incumbent leader Roy Oldham and Councillor Kieran Quinn. At the time Roy was suffering from cancer and had little time to rally support and ended up losing the leadership in May last year. He died just two months later. I always had respect for Roy, but we also had our disagreements. One of them was over political assistants, a position highlighted by the TPA as a non-job.

I remember Councillor Kieran Quinn’s first speech as leader where he promised that he’d change several things which would please Tameside’s bloggers who, at the time were questioning the need for political assistants in the face of incoming budget cuts. To Councillor Quinn’s credit, he removed both Labour and Conservative political assistants which saved the council £67,438 per year.

Mike Kane (right) with Ed Balls

However, a year later it seems political assistants are creeping in under a different name. Tameside Council has just appointed Mike Kane as a “Senior Executive Assistant” to work in the leaders office. Kane has moved from working for Stalybridge and Hyde MP, Jonathan Reynolds as his office manager, a job he inherited when former Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell stepped down from the seat. He also briefly served as a Labour councillor for the Northernden Ward at Manchester City Council.

Mike Kane is a political assistant all in name. Senior Executive Assistant may sound like a jumped up PA (which is probably what he is), but there is no denying Kane’s close links with the Tameside Labour Party and you have to ask if this was the reason he was brought in to work for the council. It stinks of jobs for the boys. It clearly shows the lack of judgement shown by Tameside’s Executive Council Leader, Kieran Quinn. On one hand he complains about the lack of money for frontline services, yet somehow he can find the money for more backroom staff for his own personal benefit and increased trade union funding.

Liam is a TPA activist from Tameside, near Manchester.

  • Pilotprltd

    Tameside’s Councillors are acting more like Parish Councillors on steroids. They really don’t seem to be equipped to make Grown-up Council decisions!
    At least by employing someone who has proven politicalaccumen, perhaps now properly thought out principles and less red tape might allow common sense to appear.
    But I won’t hold my breath!
    Good luck to you Mike.

  • IPayforall.

    The poster “Pilotprltd” agrees that it’s OK for a council to employ someone “with political acumen” – but surely a council’s duty is to improve or maintain the services for the people who pay for it, not employ people to promote thier own party politics with the electorates money? Fair enough if Labour or any other party wishes to employ people themselves within their party, who have the skills to promote that incumbent party, but but no way is it correct to be doing that with public money! There is no benefit to the council tax payers from such a post. To me there seems to be no difference in that than there is in buying duck houses or adult films with public money. 

  • hadenuff

    Pilotpritd disparages parish councillors, at least those who do carry out parish council  duties do not have their hands deeply in the pockets of the poor bloody taxpayers! They work for nowt on behalf of their communities.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bernard-Todd/100001249182851 Bernard Todd

    The Labour run councils seem to have their own agenda,they treat their ratepayers with  contempt,is this not part of the reason why they are now the opposition?  My grateful thanks to TPA for keeping the kettle on the boil,it is only by continual pressure and if needed harass’ment, we are often told we are a nation of moaners,well lets go up a gear.

  • Davefahey

    This just sums up the Labour party.

  • Pilotprltd

    Sorry, I guess you ‘don’t do satire!’
    My attempt was intended to vilipend the decision of the Leader of Tameside council, not to disparage Parish Councillors, in whom honour and duty is still paramount!
    To make it clear; if any new scheme or appointment means an increase to taxpayers or does not add to the councils core service delivery, then it should not proceed.