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The dust settles

Well, starting to settle anyway.

It hasn’t been the best 18+ hours, has it? We’ve had worse – much worse – but it still doesn’t feel any better this morning.

I don’t buy the notion that it’s like the three man commission, but it feels more like the original Darlogate with the 18 point deduction.

The reaction since it got called in has unsurprisingly been one of shock. Add plenty of outrage, more than a liberal dose of bewilderment, and in a few quarters some outright white-flag waving.

Some people took Erik’s “the story is not over” comment in completely the wrong way, suggesting he too was saying our future was now bleak.

Read what was written, not what you think was written. There is still a long, long way to go on all of this anyway, and the “story” comment was aimed at the very same people who took it badly.

Maybe he was being a bit too subtle?

Anyway, now isn’t the time for snark – the mood is lousy enough as it is. Helpfully, we got the reasonings behind why it’s got called in

The main bit that has confused (to put it mildly) many is the conclusion right at the end. I quote:

Having regard to the details of the application, the matters set out in Merton Council’s committee report, its draft decision notice and the draft heads of terms, the scheme is considered acceptable in strategic terms. Further information has been provided and conditions and planning obligations have been secured where appropriate which address the outstanding issues that were raised at Stage 1. On this basis, there are no sound reasons for the Mayor to intervene in this particular case.

Right. So there was no need to intervene but he did so anyway? At least it’s pretty much admitting it’s a decision for politics rather than planning.

And perhaps not in the way that is immediately obvious, either. Boris has now kicked it down the road for (in all likelyhood) Khan to pick up.

One assumes the new mayor would be bound by what’s been concluded in this, so if Khan has to explain why “he” is intervening when he shouldn’t be – that’s going to make his life difficult.

Which is probably some of the intention behind calling this in. Khan is going to be damned either way should he be taking this over, especially as he’s the Tooting MP and there’s always that local element, so to speak…

He could delegate it, and perhaps he will just to cover his own arse and let somebody more expendable take the flack. Remember, we’re at this stage anyway because of politicians, not rational human beings…

There’s obviously a lot of discomfort about Khan’s views on us, although apparently he’s not as anti-AFCW as many fear. We’ll need to lobby him (as well as Goldsmith), and it appears that’s what we’re doing already.

(That picture was from a networking business event, by the way, not a formal bit of lobbying. But at least Erik and Khan have been seen in the same room).

Add to that, Cllr Alambritis is unsurprisingly pissed off right now, but Khan is going to need his support to get votes around LBM and even LBW. Especially in helping with a by-election.

Speaking of LBM’s leader, I wonder if he knew something was going to go wrong when he kept mentioning on Twatter about the unaminous verdict his council gave?

The covering letter suggests there are issues with the “London Plan”, whatever that entails, and “significant issues of controversy” that gets thrashed out in public meetings.

In other words, not enough people have been satisfied with their share of S106s, and are demanding more.

It’s basically more work to get things nailed down. I’ve no idea how long a public consultation takes, but this seems to hint that it’s one meeting.

What happens after that, if the worst happens, is anyone’s guess – that’s really not something any of us want to think about right now, but we must be mindful of that.

I don’t think the mayor can turn it down at a public consultation because he simply doesn’t like us, at least not without us taking it further.

Does a new mayor really want to be embroiled in a judicial review as soon as he gets into office?

It’s all back to lobbying and getting things nailed down even further, and answering many more questions. It’s basically going back to December when we faced LBM.

And hopefully with the same result from that evening.

With all this backdrop, it’s easy to forget we’ve got two games in the space of four days coming up. Going to Hartlepool on Good Friday might not be the worst game to have, if only to clear one or two heads.

We’re on telly on Monday against Pompey, which will be a good time to make our point heard (though the inevitable anti-Boris vibe might be a distraction after that).

This might have a negative effect on the side, or it could equally galvanise the club on and off the field. The sense right now is injustice, and we’ve used that well enough in the past.

Could this actually propel us to the playoffs after all? It would be fitting if so, and occasionally it takes something like this to make people want it.

I don’t think that’s entirely been the case recently, a fair amount of people (your editor included) have been lukewarm about extending the season, yet that might now change

Of course, you can’t quite rely on the players to produce the goods. After all, we put in an absolute stinker after NPL was first approved…