Archive for the 'Credit Crunch' Category

24
May
09

monkey clip

This week’s Monkey Clip is dedicated to the greediest bastard on South Tyneside Council.

Labour councillor Ernest Gibson, the Whiteleas sex machine known for his love of everything – as long as it’s free – managed to milk the council’s expenses system and claimed almost £5,000 for travel, hotel accommodation and meals.

Pay careful attention to the thing in the grey suit, he reminds Mr Monkey of council leader Iain Malcolm. The ‘baby’ also reminds this chimp of the new mayor, councillor John Anglin.

23
May
09

miss piggy orders a new set of wheels – paid for by you

'Piggy's wheels'

'Piggy's wheels'

Mr Monkey wonders how many people know that South Tyneside council recently did it’s bit to help the ailing British car industry by buying another Swedish car? A fuckwit Iain Malcolm in the town hall decided that it was time to add another black Volvo to the growing collection of council vehicles.

Apparently Iain Malcolm, aka Miss Piggy didn’t want the new deputy mayor, coun Tom Piggott travelling round the borough on his own, because he couldn’t be sure what he’d say. To avoid any embarrassing Piggott moments, coun Malcolm thought the deputy mayor should always be accompanied?

The council already has one black Volvo which comes complete with a chauffeur and it’s used mainly by the mayor, although Iain Malcolm has been known to use it when he needs a lift to the airport. Mr Monkey has now been told coun Iain Malcolm felt that one wasn’t enough so in these difficult economic times – when people are struggling financially – he  decided the time was right to buy a second one. 

He also thought he’d do his bit to help massage the unemployment figures by recruiting another chauffeur – what good is a car without a driver?

13
May
09

tory councillor David Potts £12,000 expense claims

After yesterday’s pronouncements by the Conservative leader David Cameron concerning the dodgy expense claims of some of his colleagues i.e pay back the money or risk being booted out of the party, Mr Monkey can’t help wondering when councillor David Potts, the local Conservative group leader will join the newly formed  alliance of spineless progressives and the outcasts, who apparently want to be known as The Progressive Party and The Association on non Aligned Independent Councillors?

Regular readers of this blog will remember this post CLICK HERE

"After claiming nearly £12,000 in expenses he still can't afford a pair of sunglasses"

"After claiming nearly £12,000 in expenses he still can't afford a pair of sunglasses"

about councillor Potts record expense claim in 2005 when he claimed more than £2,251 – most of it was spent on First Class rail travel which just happened to be around the same time he claimed he was studying at Cambridge.

Mr Monkey can now reveal that councillor Potts has gone that extra mile in the last 12 months (2008 – 09) and has set another record by claiming a whooping  £3,393 in travel expenses and subsistence.

Interestingly this claim also coincides with the period that councillor Potts had been selected as the Conservative candidate to challenge Alistair Darling in Edinburgh – that is until Mr Monkey put paid to his political ambitions by revealing the sleazy alcohol fuelled antics of councillor Potts.

This chimp reckons that the people of South Tyneside unwittingly paid for his campaign jollies and will be stunned to learn that the council allowed him to get away with it.

Mr Monkey can also reveal that councillor Potts, who is allegedly in opposition has one of the worst attendance records on South Tyneside council,  but he’s still managed to claim nearly £12,000 in travel and subsistence since his election in late 2004.

This chimp reckons it’s time David Cameron turned his attention to some of his colleagues in local government, especially those who are blatantly ripping off the taxpayer with their exaggerated and probably fraudulent expense claims.

.. and Mr Monkey certainly intends to bring councillor Potts dubious expense claims to his attention.

30
Mar
09

Exclusive: Good news for King street .. at last

'Good news for KIng St, Sports Direct will be opening soon'

'Good news for King St, Sports Direct will be opening soon'

EXCLUSIVE: Mr Monkey can exclusively reveal that South Shield’s beleaguered town centre is about to receive a welcome boost.

Newcastle United’s owner Mike Ashley, is set to open a branch of Sports Direct in South Shields.

The news comes at a time when Mr Ashley, the under-fire Newcastle United owner is expanding his business portfolio in an effort to establish his dominance over rival sportswear retailer JJB Sports.

Mr Monkey can confirm that Sports Direct has acquired the former Woolworths site on King Street and is set to open it’s doors to the public in June.

This chimp can also confirm that Sports Direct decision to open a store in South Shields has nothing to do with the council, the council leader or South Tyneside Means Business – just in case the council’s Office of Propaganda were thinking of claiming the credit!

Mr Monkey wonders whether this latest addition to a ‘thriving King Street’ means we’ll be seeing more of our shopaholic invisible MP, David Miliband .. sadly not, Mr Monkey has just learned that Sports Direct doesn’t sell Arsenal tops.

09
Feb
09

GAZETTE: The End Is Nigh

Mr Monkey reckons the newspaper industry has moved towards the end of middle-age, growing increasingly aware of its own mortality.

Like someone nearing retirement, it might well expect to have a couple of decades left before it’s ready to start pushing up the daisies.

However, the reality is many groups haven’t led the healthiest of lifestyles. Instead of investing for the future, they became greedier and greedier in the margins they chased.

It wasn’t so long ago Johnston Press, whose titles include the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, were the toast of the industry. Thirty per cent profits.

Why aren’t we making that, they chorused in boardrooms up and down the land.

Now look at them; they’re shares are not worth a bag of crisps.

It’s easy to be wise with hindsight but like all newspaper groups, they never really “got” the internet until it started getting to them.

In late middle-age it seems Johnston Press may well be prone to a sudden heart attack.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how long the banks are going to put up with their debt mountain – which is approaching half a billion pounds - and given they’re falling revenues it won’t be long before they decide it’s time to foreclose.

It must be worrying times for those employed by the Gazette – do yourselves a favour and get out before it’s too late – apparently Papa John Szymanski is already looking.

08
Dec
08

Mr Monkey Acquires A Stake In The Gazette

Mr Monkey has been watching the financial performance of Johnston Press the company that owns The Malcolm Fanzine Shields Gazette closely over the past 6 months. It seems they’ve not been fairing too well of late and thier share price has reached rock bottom.

One of Mr Monkey’s financial advisers has been keeping a close eye on things and for the past two months this chimp has been contemplating buying some of the company’s shares. Mr Monkey thought it would not only make financial sense, but it would also allow a bit of monkey business at the company’s AGM – imagine Papa John’s Szymanski’s face when questions aboutthe Shields Gazette and his relationship with council leader Iain Malcolm are tabled at the AGM?

Mr Monkey can now confirm that one of his holding companies has recently acquired shares in Johnston Press and will now be privy to shareholders information which he will happily share with readers of this blog.

Over the past couple of years Johnston Press has been finding trading conditions difficult and in June there was a rights issue to raise funds to help alleviate the company’s debt burden – at that time shares were valued at 53p – today the value of those shares have fallen to just 9p.

On December 24th 2007 the share price was £2.76 and just under a year later (5th December 2008) they had fallen to 8p.

Mr Monkey reckons times are hard at the Gazette Johnston Press and they’re going to get even harder for Papa John over the coming months.

06
Dec
08

Monkey Clip

This week’s Monkey Clip is dedicated to  Town Hall Fat Cats everywhere. CLICK HERE and enjoy.

 

05
Dec
08

JACKPOT WINNER .. Part Two

Where do I sign?

Where do I sign?

It soon became clear why the Dominant One Ms Lucas had insisted on clearing the room of her minions – she did’nt want them to know too much.

As the Mill Dam Bike, aka councillor McMillan introduced the report it was apparent that Ms Lucas was a tad uncomfortable, and so she should be given what was about to be revealed.

The council had appointed an ‘Independenat’ person to carry out a job evaluation of the senior posts including the Chief Executive’s.

This individual made the following observations and recommendations.

1. He thought South Tyneside Council was finding it difficult to retain it’s senior staff because of current salary levels.

2. That money was the motivating factor behind the departures of Kim Derry Bromley, Amanda Skelton, David Slater and Diane Wood. Apparently ambition, career progression and the desire to seek a new challenge never entered these mercenaries minds.

3. Diane Wood was used to illustrate the argument. When she left South Tyneside for Cumbria County Council her salary increased by £40,000 per year. Again nothing to do with the additional responsibilities that came with her new role.

4. It was felt that as the the new crop of Executive Directors had only recently been appointed it was a bit premature to carry out an evaluation of their jobs. In other words it was felt they couldn’t get away with it.

5. No report would be complete without a touch of spin and this one was no exception. What we call a pay rise these twats called a spot adjustment. In a nutshell this means that the recipients are fast tracked up their pay scale – no gradual progression for these lucky bastards.

6. Whilst it was agreed to leave the Executive Director’s pay as it was (for now), the same could not be said for the Heads of Service. The spot adjustment method was applied to these posts and guess what – the majority of them got a rise. Seems Christmas really has come early this year.

It’s always good to save the best till last especially when someone is about to hit the jackpot.

Apparently the council’s Chief Executive is underpaid on a paltry £133,000 per year. In order to correct this travesty of justice it was felt that Ms Lucas must be paid her just rewards and what better way to do it than to make a spot adjustment.

Mr Monkey reckons that this spot must have been the size of a fucking balloon given the recommendation in the report. Irene’s adjustment was just another £13,000 per year.

That’s right she was about to get an extra £13,000 per year which now takes her salary to around £146,000 per year.

At this point the Mill Dam Bike really did make a twat of herself.

Not content with keeping her fellow councillors in the dark until they arrived at the meeting, she now had the neck to ask them to hand their reports back to her. As she put it, this was a very sensitive matter – how perceptive of you Audrey.

In case your nose is interfering with your vision, thousands of people face a bleak Christmas and are struggling to make ends meet and what do you do? You condone a £13,000 per year increase for someone who is already well paid for what she does.

It’s because of fuckwits like you that the town hall fat cats get fatter by the day.

Credit again to councillor McAtominey, he was having none of it and whilst the bike was seeking advice from Patrick Melia (he didn’t get a rise so he was probably pissed off) the Dominant One made a sharp exit. Meanwhile councillor McAtominey got his own way in the end and kept his report.

If this is the new rebellious councillor McAtominey, Iain Malcolm and his stooges better watch their backs - seems Steady Eddie is out for revenge!

05
Dec
08

JACKPOT WINNER .. Part One

A quick look at the hits tells Mr Monkey you’re a nebby bunch and it seems you can’t wait to find out who the lucky jackpot winner is.

On Wednesday night Mr Monkey told you that some lucky bastard in the town hall had struck gold by winning the jackpot - many of you thought it was the lottery, Mr Monkey can now reveal all.

Bloogers will remember that South Tyneside Council undertook a job evaluation exercise which proved far from popular with many of the council’s employees. Although the  process allegedly involved consultation with the unions. But when it was put to the vote staff overwhelmingly rejected the proposals.

The council then dropped hints that it would impose a settlement on it’s employees and allegedly used emotional blackmail by try and force them into accepting the proposals. They also persuaded the unions to accept their view - not that it would have taken much to persuade certain union officials.

Reluctantly, staff accepted the proposals and the council’s spin machine went into overdrive. Apparently staff were given the option of lodging an appeal although the time-frame was very short.

This whole exercise has left moral at an all time low with many staff now doing the bare minimum. For many the commitment, drive, enthusiasm and motivation they once had as all but disappeared. Recent turmoil in the financial markets, the credit crunch and escalating costs have also had an impact on moral especially for those who feel they are underpaid and undervalued.

Set against this background the Executive Team, no doubt with the leader’s approval, decided to undertake their own job evaluation and Mr Monkey can now reveal that the report along with it’s recommendations were approved by the Human Resources committee on Wednesday.

Councillor Audrey McMillan – aka the Mill Dam Bike – who chairs the committee realised this matter would be ultra sensitive and used underhand and devious tactics to push the proposals through.

As is normal for South Tyneside Council, anything with the slightest hint of embarrassment is buried in a green paper. This limits the amount of people who have access to the information and allows the chair to remove the press and public from the meeting when it’s being discussed. This removes any chance the public have of finding out the truth. But they didn’t reckon on Mr Monkey.

Members of the committee, except councillor McMillan, knew nothing about the report because she in conjunction with senior management decided not to tell them about it. Unlike other green papers – which get circulated in advance of the meeting, this report was tabled at the start of the meeting so members had no prior warning and where not able to study the contents in detail.

To his credit a now sober councillor McAtominey pointed this out to those present and tried to get an explanation as to why this cloak and dagger approach had been adopted.

The Mill Dam Bike, aka councillor McMillan did her best to live up to her imgae of being a stupid twat and mumbled something through the piece of arse stuck on the end of her face.

When it was time to discuss the report not only were the public and press asked to leave, but so too were the officers. Within minutes Irene Lucas the Chief Executive appeared as if she’d been summoned.

…. part two to follow later this evening

04
Dec
08

Read All About It .. A Day Later

Mr Monkey was the first blogger to bring you news of Roy Keane’s departure from Sunderland Football Club.

Once again the Shields Gazette netty paper that has the nerve to call itself a newspaper was scooped by Mr Monkey.

It seems the days of this antiquated news medium are numbered – take today. As the Gazette was hitting the streets with a front page ‘scoop’ – KEANE CRISIS, Boss locked in talks with board – Mr Monkey was breaking the news that he’d quit the club – talk about yesterday’s news.

With cutting edge journalism like this it’s no wonder the Gazette’s circulation is falling faster than the share price of parent company Johnston Press.




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