Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tory collaboration with fascists in Hounslow -

GMB learns of former National Front activist now a member of the Executive Group in Tory council in Hounslow, west London

22 Jun 2006

GMB has learned that leading west London independent Councillor Phil Andrews is a former member of the fascist National Front has infiltrated Tory controlled Hounslow council. This raises fears that the Tories, in a multi-racial community in west Londoncouncil, have formed the first fascist-linked coalition to control a local council in Britain.

Andrews is a leading member of the Tory controlled Executive Group coalition, which holds the balance of power for Hounslow council, since last May's local elections. He is a member of the Isleworth Community Group and has responsibility for Housing and Community Safety.
The Labour Party in Hounslow has consistently refused to take part of any power sharing deals in order to win power and control.

Research provided to the GMB by Searchlight, the renowned anti-fascist campaigning organisation, has found that Cllr Andrews is a former leading light of the openly fascist and
overtly racist National Front. He was a former parliamentary candidate for the National Front, and was specifically trained as a "political soldier" with the intention of infiltrating local politics, and community groups, as described in an article in the fascist magazine Nationalism Today. Cllr Andrews will share responsibility for Housing and lead responsibility for community safety, which is surprising, as he was also given six months imprisonment in 1986 for causing actual bodily harm to a black police officer at a St Georges Day Rally.

GMB has thousands of members in Hounslow, many are of an Asian background, with the majority living in the community where they work. National Front activity, graffiti has been on the general increase for some time in Hounslow.

Mick Rix GMB National Official said "If David Cameron does not wish to be known as a political chameleon he must act today to put an end to this coalition, before his party further threatens the harmony of good race relations in Hounslow. David Cameron's rhetoric over the BNP prior to the May 2006 local elections has a very hollow ring when we find that his party in Hounslow, is in coalition with a group that has a former leading fascist, racist, Holocaust denier, and convicted thug at its head. The local Tory group has welcomed with open arms this known fascist, with a conviction, into their power sharing ranks of the local council."

(My cousin lives in Hounslow by the way, she must be horrified, LB)

So called Tory family friendly policies

(Some of this information is taken from an email from Chris Gale who I have mentioned in an earlier blog - this needs a wide audience so I am recreating it here)

David Cameron said last week, to much fanfare, that he was all in favour of family friendly policies.

Guess what? It is another example of his chameleon like qualities

For instance,

David Cameron voted against the second and third readings of the Employment Act 2002 on 27 November 2001 and 12 February 2002

He went to to say

"The suggestion for the massive extension of paternity leave owes a bit more to political correctness than the realities of life. It could be very disruptive, particularly to small business."
David Cameron, Sunday Times, January 1st 2006 (is six months ago long enough to merit a change of heart would you say?)

"The response of the new left - that government should regulate the specific details of working life - is ineffective. It produces unintended consequences that can end up damaging our competitiveness."
David Cameron, speech to Google Zeitgeist Europe 2006, 22nd May 2006

Now be fair, he did say that last month, in May, now we are in June it is entirely okay for him to totally contradict himself, right?

Fairfield signage

Two years ago, or perhaps a bit more, Liverpool City Council Highway Engineers put out proposals for new signage in the city.

The idea was that major districts would have a sign at the roadside, welcoming people into their district, just as cities, towns and villages do.

The proposals with maps and detail was put to the then 99 councillors and they agreed them.

Even while I was campaigning for election to the council, local people in Fairfield (you will recall I represent Kensington and Fairfield) were talking to me about how their area had been lumped in with neighbouring Kensington. They were angry that their district, one of the oldest in Liverpool I would imagine, given how old some of the houses are, was now disregarded.

They were angry that the junction between Old Swan and Fairfield bore a sign saying "Kensington" which is plainly inaccurate and would seem to remove them from the map.

They wanted the sign replacing with one that says "Fairfield"

I wrote to the Engineers expressing concern and several residents also wrote to the Liverpool Echo, but to no avail. I received a written response turning down our request but was undeterred.

I wrote again demanding action and was delighted to receive a reply acknowledging local concerns and a promise that the plans would be sent out again to Neighbourhood Committees for possible revision. (These are committees where neighbouring wards come together to discuss matters of mutual concern).

Obviously, as the only Labour Councillor in Kensington and Fairfield I am in a minority, but it seems to me that if the Fairfield Residents Association send representatives to the meeting and we all make our feelings clear, common sense will prevail.

I hope it comes to a meeting very soon, the next one in the series, which are held in different wards, cyclically, happens to be in my ward, so that would be a great place to have the debate!

I should say I am surprised that it has taken a Labour councillor arriving in the area to make this change, but frankly, that would be a lie.

It is another example of local LibDems taking their eye of the ball where the wishes of local people are concerned, and that is me being generous!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Two short sharp points (!)

I am desolate following the insistence of airport authorities that I should junk my lovely time-served tweezers in case I was going to attack someone with them......isn't my hard-backed library book at least as much a risk, for braining someone with, as a sharp pair of tweezers might be?

Any woman will tell you that a good pair of tweezers are worth their weight in diamonds, and the older she gets the more she means it!

Making myself known

When I am out and about in my ward, going to fetes for instance, how, if at all, should I make myself known to local people as their local representative?

Today I went to a school fayre, where my bloke works, in my ward.

I told him I wanted to go with him to support him and also to be there for local people. I spent four hours on a stall selling cheap plastic items to kids whose pocket money was burning holes in their said pockets.

I did not tell anyone, children or parents, that I was their councillor, I did not have a sign or notice which said this.

A few people recognised me and introduced me to friends and neighbours with casework which was great, because I can get going now on their problems.

But this is bound to happen loads of times again.

What is an innovative and interesting way to meet people and residents at fayres without getting in their face but ensuring they do know I am there and approachable?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Alastair at the World Cup

Oh I know it has always been fashionable to bad mouth Alastair Campbell but I have always liked him. He is such a loyal Labour man and usually goes straight to the point.

(And he is very handsome which goes a long way - so shoot me for being a woman and stating the obvious and ask me if I care.)

Anyway, like him or loathe him, his football blog (with as he says a bit of politics thrown in) is fascinating

Give it a go, if you were already a cynic, you will stay one, if you were on the fence you just might see him in a different way

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Why it has all gone a bit quiet lately

I have not been on holiday - although I did spend two days 'oop north at my sister's wedding over the weekend, which was great.

Otherwise I have been "rubbing my nose hard" against the proverbial grindstone, what a horrible image that conveys.

When you are the only Councillor from your Party with two others from another Party, you have to do the work of three all by yourself. I have to go all the neighbourhood events, committees and meetings because there is no alternative person to go for me.

I have to do all the casework myself, including all those people who have been waiting donkey's years for a Labour councillor and all those people who have already tried everyone else with their problems and think I am a fresh ear to bend.

I also have to hold all the surgeries myself every week and institute a programme of meeting all of the relevant officers of the council and other agencies to work out who does what and how we all interconnect and mutually support.

Understand that I am not complaining, I have wanted to be a councillor for 11 years now and am thrilled to be one, but there is so much to do!

Coupled with that I am in my last fortnight of my night class, the Certificate of Personnel Practice from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development - I had to hand my project in two weeks ago for instance and next week I have to give a presentation on it to my whole class.

And then my full-time job has just become very busy as we are reorganising a department with 1000 staff in 100 locations into a department with 700 staff in 6 locations, and everyone effectively has to reapply for their old jobs - or hope to get one they might prefer.

Guess whose team of six is leading on the recruitment exercises?

I have now put out most of my thankyou leaflet which in itself is generating a lot of casework and soon I will be writing to all the voters in my election, whoever they voted for, with more follow up work anticipated from their reply slips.

I am really looking forward to August when the political parties all traditionally have a bit of a lie-down and a lie-in!

So if I have not had much to say about the NEC you will see why, and if I have not had much to say about the Council you will see why there too.

I have not been invited to a Co-op meeting lately so did not have to offer any apologies as yet.

Otherwise I am aware of the fact that my campaign to be re-elected to the NEC depends on my running another innovative and positive email campaign, something that my earlier post will show is going to be very hard.

Is there anyone out there within local reach who will let me come and plug my laptop into their BT line so that I can get my email campaign going? Ballot papers go out in the first week of July.

My learning curve is about 1:3 at the moment, I look forward to it levelling out soon

The future is definitely NOT Orange

I expect you thought this was going to be my advanced warning to the LibDems about their election chances next year, right?

Well it can be about that too.

But really it is about my Internet Service Provider (ISP)

I am with Freeserve, they were taken over a year or two ago by Wanadoo and now they too have been taken over by Orange.

I have had my Freeserve email address for 7 years next month and my new "Liverpool" Wanadoo address for a year, running them side by side.

I had an email telling me that the whole outfit was now Orange but that it would not affect me. Only guess what? It does!

When I moved to Liverpool it took nearly two months to get online because our house has a Telewest phone and Freeserve, or Wanadoo as they had become, did not like anything other than BT. However eventually I got onto a "Pay as you go" account which would work with Telewest, although it cost me an arm and a leg each month in phone calls.

It is true though that as long as I connected reasonably regularly using this method, for the rest of the time I could access my emails through the web, using other connections, like at work for instance.

However, now that Orange has taken over they have taken a much harder line.

You cannot even be a pay as you go user unless you have a BT line.

They have not stated this categorically but they have said you can now only connect to the new Orange using an 08440 number and Telewest dont connect to 08440 numbers, so it is a fait accompli.

Of course the Orange helpline have denied all this and said that somehow I am being mislead by Telewest and that, quote, "lots of other Telewest users are getting online okay"

This is patently not true and I expect there is already a big fuss going on, they just dont want to face it head on nor accept it publicly, you heard it here first though.

So very soon, it will be curtains for my Freeserve account and my Wanadoo account because if I dont connect online using a BT number quite soon I will be cut off without a second thought and I wont even be able to access using a web based mail.

Fortunately Liverpool City Council are talking about installing a BT line here at home for me that is broadband enabled so that I can finally access my council email, and at that time I can go back to connecting to my other accounts.

Always assuming it ever happens, you will have read my earlier outbursts on the subject of the poor support we get....

So I dont know what is going to happen now, in the meantime I may have to cart my own laptop round to various mates' houses so that I can connect using their BT line, always assuming they have a BT line and dont mind my running up their phone bills.

Now is that a bright future for Orange?

I dont think so