Thursday 22 September 2016

The Mike Ashley of the Public Sector

Thus was the thoroughly obnoxious Simon Henig, the Leader of Durham County Council, described at last night's packed and uproarious rally by the Teaching Assistants.

Henig would dash across the street in front of an oncoming juggernaut for the chance to lick a penny piece off the opposite pavement and howl at the Moon in celebration. But he will happily reduce people to what amount to zero hours contracts. Well, of course.

He was one of very few Labour councillors with the gall to attend last week's Special Council on this subject. That meeting was effectively chaired by some law clerk, elected by absolutely nobody. Lie, after lie, after lie was poured out by the portfolio holder, Councillor Jane Brown.

She and Henig will doubtless continue to enjoy their private box at the Riverside. But Durham County Cricket Club is insolvent, and it is kept going by a loan from Durham County Council. In that box, they will doubtless be joined by the Deputy Leader, Alan Napier, who is an old NUM hand, and who is now a signatory to pro-Corbyn letters with which the other signatories would refuse to allow him to be associated if they knew what he was doing to the latter-day Grunwick women.

Yet Napier was one of two left-wing old miners, of whom the other was the late Albert Nugent, whom Henig arranged to have suspended unjustly from the Labour Party in order to overstep their superior claims to the Leadership of the new unitary county council. Just before the death of Davey Hopper, he and Napier almost came to blows when the latter called the TAs "parasites".

But those "parasites" are oddly unwilling to be "compensated" with their own money. A message of support was read out from Angela Rayner. In a sign of quite how different the world will be after Saturday, even the BBC turned up last night.

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