An appealing headline for an appalling story appeared on This Is London: Pensioner Trapped By Hole In Road. The story relates how Londonist's favourite London water supplier Thames Water had dug a hole outside a 78-year-old man's front gate.
The story takes a 'half-empty' view of the fact that Thames Water had thoughtfully cordoned off the hole with a barrier and cones. The way we see it, if it hadn't been cordoned off, a
comedy moment tragic incident could have occurred without such protection. The way This Is London sees it, "For two days Mr Murrell, 78, had to lift the barrier aside - not easy for a man of his age - and squeeze through the gap."
Mr Murrell, needless to say but we'll say it anyway, was not happy. "The guy who did this was a jackass. It was like he wanted to lock me in." We've got over-active imaginations here at Londonist, so when reading the story, we imagined Mr Murrell as unlucky Alf, that old Northern bloke from the Fast Show (you know, "oooh, bugger"). The juxtaposition of the Northern accent and the American insult 'jackass' tickled us far too much to be healthy.
Mr Murrell lives under Newham Council's jurisdiction, so credit to the council for taking Thames Water to task and getting them before the beak.
Newham Council is a 'good' borough according to the Audit Commission's latest Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA). As the Audit Commission's CPA home page explains, "CPA looks at how well the council delivers their services, for example education, social care and housing. It also considers how well the council is run, as this will impact on how they deliver their services in the future."
Overall, London councils fare well, with the number receiving the top rating of 'Excellent' increasing to eight (up from seven) and those receiving the second tier rating of 'Good' up to 12 (from eight). The full report can be downloaded from the Audit Commission's website, or you can see a summary table of results for London here.
Interestingly, Ealing council is the only council dropping a rating, from 'Fair' to 'Weak', with Brent, Bromley, Hackney, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston-upon-Thames, Lambeth, Merton, Southwark, Waltham Forest all improving. It's all relative, though, as Hackney and Waltham Forest only moved from 'Poor' to 'Weak'.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council get a 'Good' rating but the Audit Commission either dislike animals or the story about a guide dog losing its paw was too late to take into account. Or perhaps they just got confused by This Is Local London's opening gambit which placed the distinctly-non-London borough of Epsom and Ewell in East London. Must be all those 'E's...