Greenwich’s rebel councillor loses Olympics role


What do you get when you challenge Chris Roberts for the Greenwich Council leadership? The boot, that’s what. John Fahy, who stood against the Dear Leader last month for the council’s top job, has been shunted out of his role as cabinet member for culture and Olympics, and given the unglamorous portfolio of “health, adults and older people” in Roberts’ cabinet reshuffle.

He effectively swaps positions with Roberts loyalist Peter Kotz, who takes on the renamed role of cabinet member for creative industries. It’s sad to see Cllr Fahy pushed aside – it was always enjoyable jousting with him on issues such as the Peninsula Festival (above) and he’s one of the very few Greenwich councillors to speak with any kind of openness. He leaves big shoes for Cllr Kotz to fill.

Otherwise, it’s the same old gang as usual running the council, just with new job titles to make it look like they’re making some kind of progress. What is “customer and community services” when it’s at home?

It’s worth noting that Chris Roberts has given himself the title of “lead member for finance and communications” – at least he’s taking some kind of responsibility for the council’s catastrophic attitude to communicating with its residents.

16 comments

  1. Good to see the Dear Leader exacting revenge in such a petty-minded manner. Sums it all up really.

    Hopefully Mr Fahy will now rock the boat a little more often — for example over the fiasco that the swimming pool has become.

    Just thinking about it, if he is in charge of all adults in Greenwich that’s a rather powerful portfolio innit?

  2. A more nuanced reading would be that a) the Olympics will be over come September and the municipal year runs to May, so Roberts clearly wants to draw on the talents and counsel of Cllr Fahy for the full year and b) adult social care is the most pressing challenge of any local area in the long run and he has entrusted this key role to a political veteran capable of engaging with the agenda. I very much hope this is the case.

    However, it’s just the usual has-beens and non-entities served up to the borough on the basis that anyone with any political talent or acumen is allowed nowhere near the cabinet and that they can get away with this because, basically, they can.

    I mean, it’s a good job Greenwich doesn’t have one of those horrible undemocratic elected mayors, isn’t it? Thank God for the safety and certainties of the status quo, which delivers a brighter, shinier Greenwich year in, year out.

  3. Thank you for your generous comments. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with carers,volunteers and the third sector to bring the needs of our community to centre stage. The transfer of Public Health to Local Government early next year will bring new challenges but will provide integrated services for Borough residents. I have enjoyed my Olympic role and a lasting legacy will remain to be enjoyed for generations to come. The Olympic caravan will move on to Rio in October but the hopes and aspirations of residents will remain to be confronted. Be assured I have no intention of taking a back seat.

  4. Interesting response.

    So, have the needs of our community not been centre stage to date?

    And what precisely is the “lasting legacy…to be enjoyed for future generations,” Councillor Fahy?

    – “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

  5. Rare I’d say this in relation to a politician but give the guy a break chaps. He’s had the courage to come on here and discuss what could be perceived a demotion. He deserves better than having his words picked apart for hidden meaning.

  6. @ Fahy

    Yes Franklin: what, Mr Fahy, precisely is ‘a lasting legacy will remain to be enjoyed for generations to come’ when it’s at home? The planned new pool in East Greenwich that a family of ducks would turn their noses up at…or Greenwich Park children’s playground wooden logs to climb across…what else?

  7. Stuart –

    Because Cllr Fahy has made a comment here – and a comment that willfully misinterprets the content of the post and the comments, to boot – we’re not to challenge that comment?

    I’m afraid I don’t see it that way…

  8. The Games are all about Legacy. Legacy’s an interesting word.

    What will the Roberts legacy be in Greenwich, after he finally does step down?

    – a royal borough but no gong for him (contrast that with other long serving local leaders)
    – presided over a below average Labour swing among South London boroughs in the 2010 elections
    – no significant regeneration other than schemes agreed before he became leader (and he’s managed to cock those up too)
    – led a Labour Group which has got less diverse (compared to the borough profile as a whole) since 2000

    So, in anything, you should be glad it’s communications and not the Games he’s taking responsibility for.

  9. We have ways of making you talk – get the lights focused on him and the torture gloves ! After all this is really the Republic (oops Royal) Borough of Greenwich.

  10. They are all there just to spend the peoples taxes. They do nothing but show up at committees.. The officers make the decisions. If they are wrong and you try to make changes, they just see you as an outsider. This is why the leader has been in the post for so long due to the fact nobody dares challenge him. These guys have no qualifications apart from the gift of the gab hence leave decisions to officer, who then believe they know it all because they have the backing of the ignorant members!

    Why couldn’t John Fahy turn down the new post? He wouldn’t because he needs the money like all of them do. They are not there for the people but for their pockets. Some have full-time jobs earning thousands and then supplement that with their Councillor’s salary and allowances which could bring their annual income to over £40,000.00!

Comments are closed.