Greenwich Council’s tall ships jolly goes all Cotton Eye Joe

You might have seen by now how Greenwich Council is bidding to bring the Tall Ships Race to the borough in 2016 – and how leader Chris Roberts led a five-strong council team to Riga, Latvia a couple of weeks back to meet and greet the great and the good of the tall ships world, with council taxpayers picking up the £5,500 bill for their trip to the Tall Ships Conference.

While the trip’s already sprouted one success – the borough’s been asked to host a regatta in 2014 – it’s raised eyebrows among councillors; most didn’t know about the bid until Roberts returned from Riga. And why did it take five people – including chief executive Mary Ney, Roberts’ spin chief Katrina Delaney and cabinet member Peter Kotz – to make the journey, at a cool £1,140 each?

And as the Tall Ships Race would start from Woolwich rather than Greenwich, couldn’t the council’s buddies at Berkeley Homes, which is developing the Royal Arsenal site and would benefit from the attention, have coughed up the costs? Or the backers of Sail Royal Greenwich, pictured above at its launch last year, which started this enthusiasm for hoisting masts on the Thames?

As their neighbours in Lewisham display unity over the threat to Lewisham Hospital, Greenwich’s Labour councillors have been left wondering quite what their leader is up to once again.

Still, that might not be the worst of it. You can watch the video of the Riga conference here…

Skip forward, beyond the bit about the bar running out of booze, to 17min 20secs in, where a Dutchman introduces how he works with young people… by dancing to Rednex’s novelty 1994 hit Cotton-Eye Joe. And then at 19 mins 20 secs in, where he gets all the delegates to join in.

Did the Dear Leader and his jolly crew shake their funky stuff? Time to keep a close eye out for photos…


  1. Thank you for reporting on this. It’s just appalling how the council spends money.
    The person who introduces the dance does not sound Dutch. He says himself he comes from Poland.

  2. I always liked a bit of Cotton Eye Joe… *hangs head in shame*

    But yes, I was young(ish) in 1994, not 2012.

    I hear the Dear Leader is a great dancer so sure he joined in with the rest…

    (Disclaimer: some or all of the contents of this comment may be untrue…)

  3. The Dear Leader may well be a good dancer but some are concerned as to whose tune he is dancing

  4. […] and we should also get the On Blackheath music festival on 7 and 8 September. Get set to see more tall ships on the Thames, too. At Greenwich Council, minds will turn towards the 2014 election. Maybe the foot tunnels will […]

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