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Ealing and Northfield

“Well, he would [say that], wouldn’t he?”

I see that last week’s Ealing & Acton Gazette is carrying some comments from Ealing North MP Steven Pound on the sale of Eve.

The council argued it was never properly on display, although residents had been able to go and see it according to Ealing North MP Steve Pound. “The family silver has now been sold off,” said Mr Pound. “I would like to see a fair bit of the money go back to the people of Hanwell, who have lost a prize asset.”

Naturally I am appalled that such a cultured man should resort to the use of such an outdated cliche as “selling the family silver”. The phrase was allegedly made famous by Harold Macmillan in reference to Margaret Thatcher’s privatisations. Like many things said to have been said in politics Macmillian didn’t actually say this, see here.

My challenge to Steve is simple. If you would have kept it, where would you have displayed it (all 3.1 metres tall of it) and how would you have paid to display it?

Maybe our country would not be in the parlous state it is in of our Labour government had not had such a cavalier attitude to the husbanding of public resources.

5 replies on ““Well, he would [say that], wouldn’t he?””

The painting could have been displayed in the Council Chamber in the soon-to-be-an-arts-centre Town Hall. As for paying to display it, the £6.1 million Cash Back would have covered this cost.

As for ‘cavalier’ …’husbanding of public resources’ no better examples exist than Ealing Conservative Government’s sale of some 13 acres of central Ealing public land to property developers St George and A2Dominion.

I’m also concernd about your description of Steve Pound as ‘a cultured man’. He is a Fulham supporter after all….

In my last query about the future of the funds realised by the sale of the painting you gave an output style of answer to my question as to how the money would be spent on a new asset. I would prefer a planned outcome answer. How actually will the funds be spent in a new cultural asset? What are the options? Do we the public have a chance to scrutinise what sort of new asset we may have? Like MacMillan I do not wish to see the funds treated as income.

Eric,

There would have been three problems with displaying Eve in the council chamber.

Firstly, it would have looked dumb. The whole point of the design of the council chamber is to focus everyone’s attention on the chairman, the mayor. Putting a 3.1 metre high naked lady to one side of the mayor would look incredibly silly.

Secondly, the council chamber couldn’t be maintained at a sensible temperature and humidity permanently to ensure the future of such a valuable work. Not without unreasonable cost anyway.

Thirdly, the picture could not really be viewed in a sensible way by the public.

When you talk about using the Cash Back to pay for the display of this picture you are confusing capital and revenue. Sorry the Cash Back is a one off – the release of a balance sheet provision back to its ultimate owners, us. You could suggest that we cut a child social worker or some aspect of parks maintenance but George Knox, and Macmillan, won’t let you mess with capital.

In your second paragraph I believe you are referring to your Quixotic animosity to the council’s incredibly popular regeneration of the Green Man Estate. You might ask your neighbours what they think about having well designed, modern homes. I don’t think they would have much time for your point of view.

George,

All I can tell you is what was written in the cabinet report. “Re-invest” implies spent on an asset but the words invest and investment have been so systematically debauched by Gordon Brown over the last 12 years, along with the currency and the public finances, that I quite understand your concern. As we only knew what the price was last week you will understand that we have not planned how to spend the money yet.

Phil,

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Steve Pound to tell you how he would have paid for the upkeep of this painting had we kept it.

The Labour party in government don’t cost things, if they feel good, they just do it, hence their addiction to spending.
It must be a bit like doing drugs, it feels good at the time you do it, but it plays havoc on the lives of the people around you.

Addiction is a terrible thing, whether to drink, drugs or spending other people’s money. The consequences are not restricted to the person with the addiction unfortunately

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