Something is very strange here. The lugubrious Cllr Robertson claims the appointment ‘was made by the private sector’. Yet the December meeting at Redruth’s Penventon Hotel that rubber-stamped Banham’s appointment involved an invited (by whom?) group of merely 16 people. Dissension from within the Cornish business community was soon apparent and it became crystal clear that no ‘consultation’ worth the name had occurred.
While no councillors are reported to have been present at the December meeting the Council’s Chief Executive Kevin Lavery most certainly was. Indeed, those who were there report that they were subjected to ‘one hour of sustained badgering’ from Lavery to accept Banham and his plan. Tory MP George Eustice is also reported to have suggested Banham in the first place. But suggested to whom?
The Council claims there was an earlier meeting in November, convened by George, and involving ‘private sector representatives’. Others have alleged that this meeting included Eustice and Lavery but no business leaders at all. Even the date of this November meeting remains shrouded in mystery, while the identity of the ‘private sector representatives’ flits ghost-like and insubstantially through the shadows. Meanwhile, George remains silent on the issue.
So if Cornwall Council really ‘had no involvement’ then who was Lavery representing at the December and possibly the November meeting? And why did Sir John himself state that
he had been offered the role of interim chairman of the shadow board of the new LEP by Cornwall Council.And who agreed to fork out the £2,000 a day? And when? The deal seems to have been cut well before the Council’s press release of the 22nd December announcing the appointment. And why before the appointment was made was there apparently a protracted period of negotiation between Banham and the Council involving the quality of their planning department?
But not to worry. In the warped world of the management class Robertson assures us that Banham’s services should actually have cost £4,000 a day. (Which makes his weekly worth almost equivalent to the average Cornish annual wage). Cheap at half the price then.