The KPH: End of an era

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Sad news for North Kensington; Our beloved local pub the KPH, that has been going for longer than    we have been alive, has now closed for good.

It will be apparently replaced with so-called “luxury flats” that we believe are not even a fraction of a substitution for this fantastic pub, live music venue and vital hub of our community.

For those not familiar with our area and the pubs there, the KPH appears to be one of the last of a very endangered species of local “real pubs”. Now we ¬†have nothing against gastropubs, ¬†but it is good to have an unpretentious local venue ¬†that is primarily a pub, rather than a restaurant or a wine bar, with most of the regulars local, and where someone doesn’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy a round of drinks……

Closing night was on Saturday and THINKers were happily in attendance! We met many  local friends and also several other campaigners there.

We would like to thank all the staff, management and regulars at the KPH for making this such a fun place!

Also, having being brought drinks all night, we partied on until the early hours with the great and the good, but felt our respective ages later on Sunday morning and took all day to recover. Sadly, we believe it will take our community a whole lot longer to get  over the loss of our beloved KPH pub.

Funny goings on Nextdoor………

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THINK has been alerted to the goings on at the Nextdoor site. For those not in the know, Nextdoor is a localised ¬†private social media site that acts as a sort of noticeboard on which locals place posts. Normally these are things such as buying or selling, recommendations or local events. Recently however, some members of our community have been getting very topical on there. THINK is a local community blog and we wouldn’t like to be semi detached from reality, so we decided to have a peek behind the net curtains.

Fellow blog From The Hornets Nest covered an incident between Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer and North Kensington residents Рwe have uncovered more  dissatisfaction among ordinary locals.

Residents have made their feelings loud and clear about how they feel about both national and local issues. Most were annoyed about Brexit and Victoria Borwick’s position on it (one member put a post up entitled “Kensington Constituency, RBKC and Brexit – Time to take a stand” for which she was bizarrely thanked by Conservative Cllr Julie Mills!).

Most were outraged about North Kensington Library and RBKC giving it to Notting Hill Prep School at cut price – which was the beginning of Cllr Palmer throwing his toys out of the pram.

Others were upset about RBKC’s “regeneration” plans, particularly the Silchester Estate and expressed their concerns with regards to what happens to the residents affected and the wider implications for our community.

Other issues that came up were the loss of the Maxilla Centre and RBKC’s attitude with regards to a “consultation” being in fact an announcement of closure.

Also, the Notting Hill Carnival came up for discussion a few times. The responses were mixed, but THINK was very pleased to see some residents defending it, suggesting minor changes such as more live music and better transport and giving their own personal accounts of how special the Carnival is to them.

And many expressed their dissatisfaction with our MP Victoria Borwick with not just her policies, but also her communications (or lack of) with them. It got to the point of Cllr Robert Freeman posting a lengthy and exhaustive ¬†defence of her that filled an entire page and would normally be more appropriate for the council chamber. Then surprise surprise, ¬†Lady Borwick herself made a special guest appearance – but even that didn’t stop residents from putting the boot in!

So, RBKC Tories and MPs’ – If you pop Nextdoor to look for a builder or a cleaner; many in the area will suggest that you give your unpopular policies a good refurbishment ¬†and give you a good verbal dusting down!!!

Because voters never forget………,

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Here at THINK we are not just passionate about North Kensington but also deeply care about our wider world and the wildlife that exists in it. Imagine our horror then to find out that not only have the Conservatives dropped the ban on the ivory trade, but also our local MP Victoria Borwick, in her role as president of the Antique Dealers’ Association was instrumental in getting the ban dropped.

See this article by the Born Free Foundation here: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/animals/african-elephants/projects/ivory-trade/

THINK deplore this cruel trade and believe that any politician who supports it should be shown the door. We ask all Tory voters and those who have yet to decide to really consider the serious consequences of your vote.

Victoria Borwick MP and the half-baked truth……….

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THINK have finally got our hands on a copy of the Conservatives’ campaign leaflet (ridiculously titled “in touch”!) which purports to lay out some of Victoria Borwick’s “local campaigns”. Well we decided to examine these rather closely alongside Lady Borwick’s voting record in the Commons – the actual results do not quite match the claims made in the leaflet and there are many other further relevant issues with regards to her voting to point out. ¬†(Warning to moderate, pro-remain and “One Nation” Conservatives: you may need a stiff drink or a lie down after reading this!)

One claim states one of her local campaigns as “Protecting EU citizens- Championing reciprocal rights for EU nationals living in Kensington.” and goes on to say that “Many EU nationals have made Kensington their home and are a vital part of our community ” ¬†Excuse us at THINK if we lose ourselves in a state of bewilderment here, ¬†but not only did she campaign and vote for Brexit against the majority of her constituents, but also has voted against the right to remain for EU citizens living in the UK – what a nerve!

Here’s another one: “Air Quality – Campaigning to reduce diesel pollution in our streets” Well we weren’t choking on filthy Westway fumes when we read that! As you can see from our previous “Let’s clear some air” post – the Conservatives have not followed Labour and the Lib Dems by committing ¬†to a new clean air act. Not only that but Lady Borwick has always voted against measures to prevent climate change – if these issues weren’t so serious, we’d be laughing.

And here’s the hat trick: “Improving housing provision – Supporting better social housing for the most vulnerable and providing more homes for families locally” Really? We heard she had been to North Kensington recently – clearly she didn’t bother to visit any social housing there or speak to locals who live in it then. ¬†And here’s her voting record in the Commons : Voted against local authorities retaining the funds from council home sales to re-invest in social housing, voted for cuts in housing benefit for recipients in supported housing, voted against more funds for social care, voted against paying higher benefits to the sick and disabled, voted to phase out secure lifetime tenancies and voted against the provision of discounted starter homes. Not exactly living up to the billing on her leaflet, then.

Here’s further information on her voting patterns that may be of some local interest:

For those in our area who care about the Middle East: She voted for air strikes in Syria and against an inquiry into the Iraq war. She has also continuously voted against refugees’ rights in the UK.

For those who are under 18 and for others who wish to lower the voting age to 16. She voted against this.

For those who care about the future of pubs in our area:  She voted against making the demolition of pubs subject to planning permission.

For those in our area who care about human rights and civil liberties: She has voted to repeal the human rights act and also voted for mass surveillance.

And for those in our area who care about taxation and the fairness of it: She has voted against higher taxes on banks.

Also when she comments on the Notting Hill Carnival, she only focuses on the crime and problems element  rather than what a generally positive, fun and multicultural celebration of our community it is.

So at THINK we believe  that Victoria Borwick is a right wing Tory whose views are closer to those of say, Norman Tebbit than to the vast majority of her constituents and makes her predecessor Sir Malcolm Rifkind, appear almost left wing in comparison!

We also believe that any claims that she and her Conservative party colleagues make ought to be taken with a good pinch of baking powder!

Let’s Clear Some Air – Rap 23 meeting (part 2)

imageNow back to Friday and the Rap 23 meeting. This is a very serious matter for all and THINK won’t let a few Tories distract us.

After Prof Maksmovic’s talk on the serious statistics & possible ways using infrastructure to help combat it, the next speaker was Simon Birkett of Clean Air in London. As well as pointing ¬†out that of course the problem is more serious than we realise. As well as the obvious greenhouse gases, there is local air pollution two main types of ¬†– split between particles and gases – Nitric Oxide is ¬† mainly formed when ¬†fuels are burned , mostly traffic fumes – diesel particularly which produces about 90% of harmful exhaust emissions, ¬†combines with Oxygen in our atmosphere to form Nitrogen Dioxide.

Both types of NO2 are a serious threat to our health and are regularly monitored by scientists. The World Health Organisation legal limit for NO2 levels were in place in 1999 and to be complied with by 2010. Many busy roads in London, including the Westway, are in continuous breach of this (the legal limit of NO2 gases is 18). Also the old road network in London and tall buildings help to trap these harmful gases.

Mr Birkett also pointed out that the existing clean air act is 60 years out of date. So far, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens have all committed to a new clean air act – but the Conservatives haven’t.

Seeing Victoria Borwick and Cllr Robert Freeman in the audience, THINK had hoped that the Conservatives would be making a positive announcement – alas not.

The final speaker was Leonie Cooper, London assembly member and chair of the cross-party environment committee, who pointed out that we have “asks” of our politicians – encourage better road safety for cyclists, higher charges for those from outside our area parking here ¬†and “no idling” zones.

Well, one of our THINKers has seen a few of these “no idling zones”¬†in RBKC and we will take the highly unusual step of thanking our council for this. Ms Cooper also said one “ask” was to ¬†our candidates to commit to a new clean air act.

Well Lady Borwick, THINK asks will you? We wouldn’t like to imagine that yourself and Cllr Freeman just turned up as a PR stunt. Plus many voters in Kensington Constituency are, ¬†thanks to Rap 23 and all the speakers at the meeting, now much more informed as to the severity of the issue – it might just count against you at the election if you don’t…….,

 

 

Talking to the trees………

The parents of a certain Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Housing, Regeneration and Property in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ¬†are known to enjoy “getting high” – to the point of trepanning (drilling holes in their heads) to stay high

THINK is a family blog, some of our members are squeamish and therefore we will not be posting videos of Amanda Feilding demonstrating this highly dangerous practice.

Some might say that if you enjoy hallucinating and getting “out of your tree”, you may start talking to the trees. Well some trees in Bramley Road, North Kensington have their own way of echoing public opinion………

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Rap 23 meeting Reduce Air Pollution (Part 1) And possible reasons why Tories attended……..

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RAP23 is  a well known and much loved pressure group in North Kensington dedicated to  campaigning to reduce the toxic levels of pollution that we   ordinary folk have to endure.

The statistics are truly horrifying to all of us  Рarouund 90,000 vehicles are on the Westway daily, about 70 people die feom air pollution in our area every year, 11% increase in dementia for those living 100 metres from the Westway, children born in our area with poor air quality (pm 2.5 particulate pollution) have smaller brains, lungs and a shorter life expectancy.

Professor Cedo Maksmovic started by a talk on infrastructure and gave examples of how this can help (ie. roof gardens for example).

Some THINKers in attendance at this time, also spotted a few Conservatives in attendance. Well yes – the serious issue of air pollution in our area is relevant to all. But some did wonder if some Tories may misuse Prof Maksmovic’s expertise with regards to so-called “regeneration” , redevelop for “environmental reasons”, then deport tenants and leaseholders and sell off the new builds to the wealthy?

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Anyway, this blog applauds Rap23 for caring about our local area and environment and will be posting more information from the event and speakers soon………

 

Vote for Emma Dent Coad to be your MP for Kensington Constituency!

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Here in North Kensington we face a constant onslaught of social cleansing and asset stripping by the ruling Conservatives.

A member of THINK went out canvassing with Cllr Emma Dent Coad, our Labour candidate on Tuesday. The views on the doorsteps and on the streets were resoundingly positive in support of Emma and her campaigners.

As a North Kensington local and a Labour Councillor (Golborne Ward) for 11 years, Emma is a popular local figure and a campaigner for social change.

Also, Victoria Borwick only has a majority of 7,361 and voted for Brexit – against 68% of her constituents – who voted remain and that’s even before beginning to take local issues into account, so yes – a Labour MP for Kensington is a true possibility!

THINK are backing to Emma Dent Coad and we encourages anyone in our community who has had enough of the Tories here to vote for her.

It is time North Kensington had parliamentary representation that is more representative of our community!