I’ve just seen a news item about the proposed surrender of Palingswick House’s keys to Toby Young’s West London Free School.
The Hon Tobes was interviewed and pretty much poured scorn on the idea that his school would get money that would normally be destined for other schools in the borough. He also said that his free school wasn’t some “Rachman of a landlord” seeking to evict the 21 charities that operate from the building. We know it isn’t his school that will do the evicting, it will be Pyongyang-on-Thames Council doing the dirty work.
You can watch the news report here on BBC iPlayer. It’s about 12 minutes into the programme.
UPDATE: 19/1/11 @ 1322
Hon Tobes has used the Guardian’s Comment is Free section to launch an attack on his critics and promote his West London Free School. He talks of “misinformation” and mutters darkly about trade unions
While it’s true that our school is interested in the site referred to in the piece – Palingswick House in Hammersmith, a former school for diabetic children – we only became aware of it when Hammersmith and Fulham council listed it for disposal last year. The choice is not between selling the building or keeping it, but between selling it to our school or a commercial developer, and I have no doubt that a developer would demolish it and stick up a block of flats. The current tenants will have to be rehoused by the council whoever buys it. The council is working with them to find suitable alternative accommodation.
I have used bold type for emphasis. The truth is that the council doesn’t have to sell Palingswick House and it is only selling it because it is ideologically wedded to the idea that charities and working class people deserve less than those who draw down decent salaries. The Council and Young are also very tight with each other. As I pointed out in this blog, the steering committee boasts one former Tory councillor who just happens to be the partner of Harry Phibbs, who is himself a current councillor and columnist for the Daily Mail. This lot are as thick as thieves.