Friday, 15 April 2011

Olympic tickets: Council U-Turn!

What a difference some publicity can make - H&F Council has pulled a dramatic u-turn and has decided not to buy any of the Olympics tickets that it was planning to purchase for councillors. Responding to this story Councillor Harry Phibbs, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, has this to say:
"We've now decided not to purchase any tickets. The plan had been to offer them for sale (unsubsidised) not just to councillors but to all Council staff.
The Labour Party's view was that the Council should become a state ticket tout: "We'd suggest auctioning half the tickets and raffling the rest to give local people on lower incomes a chance of getting one."

Personally I am pro ticket touts on libertarian grounds. But the problem is that it would have been against the rules. So the simplest thing was just not to take the allocation".

Now then ... you can respond to this in one of two ways - either heap derision on the Council for having to do a u-turn at all, or congratulate them for having the guts to own up that they'd got it wrong. And I think it's very much a case of the second option - lots of councils get lots of things wrong but most of them for most of the time are too arrogant to admit it and back down.

On this occasion I think our Council has listened, realised how all of this looked to ordinary people and did something about it - and they should get a lot of credit for doing just that.

So well done H&F Council.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Editor

    For whatever reason Harry Phibbs (Con) is misquoting the Labour Group of Councillors position on H&F Conservatives' plan to spend £50,000.00 of tax payers' money on Olympic tickets for themselves.

    We said no such thing about ticket touts and actually said the "tickets should be sent back or be used for the benefit of some local worthy cause." You can read the full article published five weeks ago by following this link:

    My fellow Labour councillors and I boycotted this wasteful ticket scheme which, along with pressure from this blog, is what brought about their u-turn. Why it took our local Conservative councillors five weeks to realise how inappropriate it is to waste a large sum of public money on their enjoyment, we can only guess. I've set out the time line to this u-turn and detailed other u-turns they've made in similar circumstances here:

    I hope this clarifies things.

    With best wishes

    Cllr. Stephen Cowan
    Leader of the Opposition
    The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham