Not so sweet charity

IMG_0758.JPG

The woman pictured above is Marianne Alapini. She was an RBKC Labour councillor for Colville Ward between 2002 to 2009, when she resigned as a councillor due to “stress”.

THINK recently heard from a few in our community who had misgivings about her as well as watching her chair an unofficial Grenfell meeting, in which she spent more time making self-indulgent speeches than letting survivors and volunteers speak.

Well we can reveal that she did in fact resign as a councillor due to allegedly “misusing her role as a councillor for financial gain”. We spoke to some senior Labour sources who have stated that she is no longer in the Labour Party and one source described her as a “self-publicising narcissist”.

She has also been heard to be saying that she was “looking for a grant for Grenfell victims”.

Well we at THINK have had to take down our “help” post as there is concern among the community that some with less than honourable intentions are trying to lay their hands on money or to make contact with victims. We were contacted by some who expressed wishes to work with Grenfell victims but lost interest when it was pointed out that they would need to be subject to the relevant official checks.

We would strongly advise anyone to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the Police and also would advise  anyone at an unofficial meeting or elsewhere who comes across Ms Alapini to keep their hands in their pockets.

 

Grenfell and a community in pain

IMG_0766

THINK was at the Grenfell fire response meeting at Notting Hill Methodist Church this week.

Grenfell survivors and relatives of victims present, as well residents from blocks in the immediate vicinity and residents from neighbouring streets in the area.

The quality of air around the area during and after the fire came up for discussion. We know that one survivor sadly lost her baby due to cyanide poisoning and that 12 survivors were also treated in hospital for this. Despite reassurances given that the air quality around the area is safe, we know that many in surrounding area during the fire and just after have had respiratory problems and a few at the meeting mentioned this.

One distraught father of a young girl who died in the fire made it clear his distrust of the council and questioned the figures of the deceased.

Other relatives of victims spoke of not being able to access help as they didn’t live in the area.

Some residents from neighbouring blocks spoke about how they weren’t being offered help and the poor communication they had received from the council. Others made clear their understandable ¬†anger with the council and its many failings. It is more than clear to most around here that it is wholly inappropriate and wrong that this council who made the decisions regarding the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower should still be in charge and many of those affected are not only highly traumatised but also very angry with RBKC.

 

Readers of this blog and locals will know that the Grenfell Action Group warned of this disaster years before it happened and RBKC ignored them and even bullied and insulted them in response. Other residents’ groups had also many issues concerning the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower in the past, which they had little to no say in.

We at THINK also believe that this refurbishment added to the casualties and fatalities and the main purpose was to make the tower more aesthetically pleasing to wealthier residents.

See this excellent piece  from the Grenfell Action Group here :https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/grenfell-tower-the-truth-will-out/

We also note that their “regeneration” plans have only been put on hold for 6 months and as some THINKers have themselves been under threat of social cleansing, that it is likely that RBKC will go ahead with this ¬†on the quiet, picking smaller low density blocks that are not considered part of an “estate” to begin with.

It is all very well for Kim Taylor-Smith and Elizabeth Campbell to say sorry at every meeting but the vast majority of residents here have no confidence in them – they are part of the system of failure that led to this tragedy and we do not trust them to oversee what happens to the residents next, especially as they have been planning to socially cleanse North Kensington for years and have colluded with their colleagues to treat this community with contempt.

We at THINK do not trust any from the ruling Conservatives at RBKC to still be in charge of dealing with the crisis our community is in. Especially since many of the same people oversaw the TMO, continuously failed the residents of Grenfell Tower with tragic consequences and North Kensington as a whole no longer has any confidence in them. This is no time for politicians to posture and speak empty rehearsed phrases and gestures; it is time this council was put into special measures with input from the local North Kensington community.

Kim, Dizzy Lizzy & the Tory Kitchen Cabinet hang on to power……..

Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth [Bradypus variegatus]

RBKC has a new cabinet formed by Dizzy Lizzy Campbell with some new faces on it. Here is the list of them so far:

Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Borough Services: Cllr Will Pascall

Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Grenfell Recovery, Housing and Property: Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith

Lead Member for Adult Social Care and Mental Health: Cllr Charles Williams

Lead Member for Community: Cllr Mary Weale

Lead Member for Corporate Services:    Cllr David Lindsay

Also we had the good news this week that all regeneration plans are on hold and that the plans to lease our North Kensington Library may be under review. But THINKers are cynical types who have long grown to mistrust the Conservatives of RBKC and have good reason to do so.

We weren’t entirely familiar with some of the new faces of the RBKC cabinet, As North Kensington residents who are highly concerned about the issue of housing and “regeneration” meaning in fact, social cleansing and knowing ¬†what a major issue this is ¬†our community, we decided to look at Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith:

He has stated on the RBKC website that he was a chartered accountant until 2008. But we at THINK also know that he is a property developer (now why was that not disclosed on the RBKC website?) Some of us are now getting a sense of deja vu Рas in Rock Feilding-Mellen with his property development company Рconflict of interests  Рsurely not!

And Mr Taylor-Sloth (yes we couldn’t find a picture of a sloth dressed like a Sloane Ranger circa 1985) admit that he “was unaware” or residents’ concerns about fire safety. Yes, he might have only been elected in 2015, but we will point out that he has been on the Housing and Scrutiny committee for over a year – well then Taylor-Sloth, you didn’t even begin to pay attention to this? Maybe some should get out of their “magic money trees” and go and see how some of us actually have to live? Let us point out that the Grenfell Action Group wrote this while he was on ¬†that committee:

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/amp/

We are not left with much confidence that this “Kitchen cabinet” can ever achieve anything ¬†much other than further destruction of our community and embarrassing themselves to a much wider public audience. Another example is Mary Weale who told residents that “We listen but we don’t hear” ¬†she is now Lead Member for Community, which is not very ¬†reassuring for all of us.

THINK ¬†just believe that this is nothing but a tinpot kitchen cabinet that is keeping its fingers crossed. When Dizzy Lizzy ¬†Campbell was asked if she would resign, she answered “no, not yet” We have had more than enough of this Rotten Borough and now some should at least admit to their failures, ¬†Unfortnately ¬†for concerned residents of North Kensington, they don’t genarally get our ¬†issues and the real thing to remember ¬†is the fact that they have only put “regeneration” plans on hold, rather than actually cancelled them, so forgive us if we are not opening the champagne just yet.

See this video of Taylor-Sloth here: http://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/video-news/video-it-will-be-a-challenge-to-house-all-grenfell-residents-kim-taylorsmith-35950375.html

Note that he states that 300 properties have been offered and only 17 have been accepted.  Could it be that RBKC is trying to offload some of the cheaper properties (outside London that they bought ages ago when making their social cleansing regeneration  plans) on to  Grenfell survivors? We hope not, but our experiences of this council have only shown that most of them treat most of  the poorest and most vulnerable in our community with either ignorance or contempt.

Mr Taylor-Smith also appears to be blaming the  housing shortage in RBKC  on the actual size in area of the borough. Let us point out to him that there are many properties in RBKC that have been recently been built as well as many properties that have been left empty. THINK suggest that Kim and his colleagues now seek to use their large reserves to purchase these for social housing Р it is the  very least RBKC could do to repair their now very tarnished reputation.

Could it be that the reason ¬†our council have only put their plans “on hold” ¬†is just because they are waiting for the media spotlight to go away before quietly going ahead with “business as usual”? As it is, we believe the change of leader and cabinet reshuffle is nothing short of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, and this Tory (once considered a “flagship” ) council is soon about to sink.

 

 

 

 

THANK: Grenfell Action Group, Friends of North Kensington Library and Save our Silchester – THey Are North Kensington

Long before the Grenfell Tower fire disaster   THINK had  no confidence in the ruling Conservatives, who only appear to treat North Kensington as a carve up and investment opportunity for property developers and vested interests at the real cost to our community.

There are many amazing locals campaigning in North Kensington battling to save our area. One, is Edward Daffarn of the Grenfell Action Group. We had been following their excellent blog for years and would highly recommend it to anyone who really wants the full back story behind Grenfell Tower, as well as the countless other issues that residents have had to face. See it here:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

Eddie and his group had long warned RBKC on several occasions of the fire hazards at Grenfell Tower only to be ignored (and even ridiculed) by this council and the TMO before the disaster.

At last Wednesday’s emotional, turbulent ¬†and highly charged meeting at Kensington Town Hall, there were several statements given by survivors and victims’ families. The ¬†horror, grief, and anger that they felt was made very clear to the council.

Eddie, also a survivor of the fire had some words to say new leader Elizabeth Campbell:” The way you treated our community group with contempt was despicable”, pointed out that ¬†his group had emailed Mrs Campbell back in 2010 regarding their concerns that the ¬†KAA school being built so close to Grenfell Tower would put residents’ safety at risk,

Eddie also said ” If you councillors from the the ruling party honestly believe that you have the legitimacy after everything you have heard here tonight – after everything that has happened in North ¬†Kensington over the past few weeks you seriously need to reconsider, because I’ll tell you one thing, the wounds that have been created in North Kensington are not going to heal as long as you are ignorant enough to believe that you have the right to rule over us”.

Also two petitions by incredible local campaigners in our area  were presented to the council Рone was from Piers Thompson of Save Our Silchester asking that  residents of the Silchester Estate get to decide what happens to their homes. The other was from Eve Wedderburn or Friends of North Kensington Library demanding the immediate resignation of the RBKC cabinet. Both excellent petitions were of course, supported and signed by THINK.

When reading out ¬†the petition, Eve stated that “we do not recognise your right to govern our community”and went on to say “The problem is not perception, but your actual culpability in an actual crisis. Stand down” . She also pointed out that Dizzy Lizzy has a record of dismantling children’s services.

As we pointed out in our previous post, the meeting, full of distressed and angry residents, was chaotic and the response from the council in locking some of the survivors in a fire exit only added to their upset. Amid shouting, booing, banging on the door and crying, we heard shouts of “resign”, “crooks” and “Shame on you”. Piers pointed out to the council that “maybe things would have been different if they had spent as much time on safety at the tower as they had on controlling the meeting.

Eddie, Piers and Eve are all friends of ours and are outstanding local campaigners who have inspired us. It was the Grenfell Action Group who first opened our eyes up fully to what RBKC was doing to North Kensington, Piers and Save Our Silchester who have campaigned against RBKC’s plans to “regenerate” (socially cleanse) the Silchester Estate and informed us to what the council proposed to do and Eve and Friends of North Kensington Library who ¬†have fought a long battle to stop RBKC from leasing our library to Notting Hill Prep School. There would not be a THINK group or blog without their outstanding activism to inspire us ¬†– they are local heroes and we are thankful to them ¬†– as well as Westway 23, Rap 23 and Save Wornington College – all incredible local campaign groups which we fully support.

THINK will point out that many Grenfell survivors, victims families and many others in our area are severely traumatised, some are not getting the adequate help they need, some are being moved around temporary accommodation outside our borough and others are living in cramped conditions, that we need the council to do their duty and help our community. Also we know some of the Tories  are to blame for the shortage of housing in RBKC to offer survivors as well.

The next council meeting is until October the 25th – three months away. ¬†We say to Dizzy Lizzy and her Conservative colleagues that we really do not believe that this is the time, when our community is suffering, for you to be taking a long holiday. If any of you run away from your responsibilies, we and all the other campaign groups will do everything we can to ensure that you do not have jobs to come back to. If ¬†you are so intent on staying in power, then you had better step up and see to people’s needs as urgently as possible.

THINK have no confidence in the RBKC Conservatives and we believe that the only positive thing you can ever do for this community is to go. In the words of Eve Wedderburn – stand down. Here’s Eve’s brilliant speech:

http://northkensingtonlibrary.org/council-speech-stand-down.php

A caring community under a callous council….

IMG_0606.JPG

Last Wednesday a member of THINK attended the RBKC meeting at Kensington Town Hall. RBKC had changed the venue from the Great Hall to the Small Hall fearing angry protesters apparently.

It was a very harrowing meeting with Grenfell survivors giving their own accounts of what happened to them during the disaster and what has happened since.

Many have had to live in very cramped temporary accommodation (including a family of five in one room with one bed between them). Also we heard from families of the deceased who stated that they were being “treated like cattle”and all were frustrated and angry at the council’s lack of response.

The organisation for the meeting was an utter shambles and many couldn’t get in and be heard – a situation that could have been avoided had the meeting been held at the Great Hall instead and with priority being given to Grenfell survivors, families and those living in the immediate vicinity of the disaster.

We also heard crying and screaming coming from outside the Small Hall and heard that some of the  already very distraught Grenfell survivors and families were not being let in and that some were even locked in the fire exit Рutter disgrace.

One survivor praised the local community of North Kensington for their responses, but criticised the local authority. As local residents, we agree with him and are deeply proud of all the good decent and amazing residents and volunteers who have stepped in to help.

We also will point out that after the meeting Elizabeth Campbell, RBKC leader, refused to do interviews as was apparently “too distressed” well Dizzy Lizzy, how distressed do you think victims and families of the Grenfell Tower fire, alongside many in the local community, feel? After all, Dizzy Lizzy, you have the option of going off on your husband’s yacht to get away from it all while traumatised North Kensington locals are sufferering.

We will leave you with footage of Tory councillor and one-time Apprentice contestant Matthew Palmer (who not content with making a fool out of himself on fellow blog From The Hornets Nest regularly) is seen here mouthing  not to let in the Grenfell survivors into the meeting. Р just to show everyone what a heartless bunch most of the RBKC Tories are

 

http://news.sky.com/video/grenfell-councillor-matthew-palmer-mouths-do-not-let-them-in-at-meeting-10955174

Save Wornington College – a community speaks out!

IMG_0562.JPG

More from the KCC “consultation” meeting at Wornington College. Regular readers of our blog will know that we were upset about the consultation and a Grenfell fundraiser for the College being held on the same day. Well so were many others in our community – we were really pleased to see such a strong level of support for keeping our community college.

The meeting was chaired by Mary Curnock Cook, the chair of the board of governors at KCC, standing in for interim principal Michele Sutton. We weren’t surprised by the level of support for the College, but she and her colleagues certainly were! We were all packed into the small library room as they clearly didn’t expect such a large turnout, not being in their jobs long, being unfamiliar with North Kensington and likely fed a lot of misinformation regarding the popularity of Wornington by others.

One issue discussed was KCC moving provision of courses to Hortensia Rd, Chelsea. As THINK had pointed out before, this is too lengthy a commute for many of the students who are in work and/or have families. One former student, who now ran her own nursery school, stated that NVQ up to level 3 was required for childcare in her profession and that KCC had since moved all the level 3 courses to the Chelsea site, thus depriving a lot of others of the same opportunities.

Another issue was KCC’s supposed reasons for moving courses over to Chelsea, citing lack of students taking up courses in our area. Well one former lecturer pointed out that many in North Kensington and nearby were unaware of the courses provided at the College and that there was a lack of advertising and promotion of this leading to fewer students enrolling – she described Wornington as “the invisible college”. Most attending had not seen or heard of ¬†much of any attempt by those in charge in recent times to promote courses at the Wornington site.

A proposed merger with West London College was also discussed. KCC had already announced this on their website and a local campaigner mentioned that this was in an article published in FE Week the board were very cagey about discussing this – and THINK wondered as did many others , if the real plan was just to move the courses over there and to do away with the Wornington site. This was backed up by another former lecturer who pointed out that staff at Wornington were being made redundant now before any merger had been finalised ¬†KCC did admit that the merger was their preferred option even though they are reluctant to discuss this and Mrs Curnock Cook tripped up a bit and said “it could go wrong” so that’s reassuring then.

The meeting did leave us with more questions than answers. We took two positives from the meeting: firstly that KCC did agree to a second and fuller consultation meeting, and secondly, the real level of enthusiasm and support on behalf of our local community to save our College. THINK believe that Wornington College has to stay as a local community college in North Kensington and ¬†that in light of the recent disaster at Grenfell Tower and the managed decline of both the social housing and ¬†local facilities in our area that we need it now more than ever to provide opportunities and positivity in the local area. We will be posting more on this issue, campaigning more ¬†and also will of course be going along to the next meeting. And we will tell ¬†the KCC board, we will not have our College and our prospects taken away by those who have nothing to do with the best interests of our community. Be warned – this isn’t over.

Here is the Channel 4 News article on Wornington College:

https://www.channel4.com/news/the-battle-to-save-kensington-and-chelsea-college-near-grenfell

Further goings on Nextdoor……

IMG_0556.JPG

THINK has again popped Nextdoor and we didn’t need to borrow a cup of sugar to realise the RBKC Tories could be in hot water… ¬† Sadly the wreck of Grenfell Tower casts a dark shadow over our neighbourhood ¬†and the council now not only has many questions to answer about this disaster but also about other policies they have put in place over the years that appear to be a contributory factor to the fire and their ¬†complete neglect of the poorest and most vulnerable in our community.

THINKers can not  ever recall a time when the Conservatives have been any more unpopular in our area. Here, posted on Nextdoor, are just a few some comments from  local residents:

On air pollution: RL from Notting Dale:”Not surprisingly, the RBKC (such as it is in its current ramshackle state) is very reluctant to have a conversation about air pollution. Victoria Borwick (seemingly polite but utterly ineffective) in her quirky, somewhat bizarre fashion, seemed to think that equipping her husband with an air monitor and strolling around the borough, amounted to a clean air campaign….. Apart from getting to grips with its’ appalling record on governance, RBKC needs ¬†to address the issue of high levels of pollution across the entire borough A good start would be trading in the fuel guzzling Bentley for a more environmentally friendly vehicle. Perhaps Moylan could do something useful and pilot an RBKC pedicab…”

On Cllr Catherine Faulks: JC from Norland:”The woman sounds like a solipsist (the cleaned up version of the response that first sprang to mind)”

On Wornington College: AF from Notting Dale: “The council or any other council don’t care about us. The time is right. It’s all about money”

JS from Ladbroke:” This is all about redevelopment. It isn’t for locals’ benefit, they won’t replace it with social housing it’s about big fat profits for someone down the line. It’s a perfectly good college serving local needs. It doesn’t need fixing, probably just needs more funding but what public institutions don’t? Given the General Election outcome and the ¬†awful Grenfell tragedy, we now have an opportunity to tell RBKC a big resounding NO! Garner more support, everybody lobby your councillors & MP, lobby Sadiq Khan… tell May we need more education NOW”

NL from Golborne: ” Not sure RBKC are going to be able to sell off their assets as easily as they had thought”

And then  about Elizabeth Campbell, Grenfell  and  other issues facing North Kensington residents:

TS from Notting Dale: ” She was totally out of her depth at the Grenfell meeting today, absolutely clueless this council are like a bad joke that never ends.”

The Tories had one supporter – JE from Holland Park: “Oh give the woman a break, she’s only just taken over!” But more responses were to come:

DN from Portobello: “Replacing Nick Paget-Brown with Elizabeth Campbell at RBKC is like replacing Al Capone with John Gotti. She is responsible for the destruction and dismantling of the youth service in North Kensington. If you really want to gain the confidence of the community and stop the culture of elitism and neglect in the borough – then you don’t get rid of the head of the Mafia and then tell us that his lieutenant has replaced him. Justice 4 Grenfell means exposing the corrupt culture that facilitated the fire at Grenfell Tower. It means addressing the long standing concerns of residents in North Kensington it included the council’s regeneration programme, the closure of a public information centre to build a private school, the closure of a school to build a gymnasium, the proposed closure of our public library to lease it to a prep school where the (former) ¬†Deputy Leader of the council Rock Feilding-Mellen has his child on the waiting list, the building of an Academy school in the car park of Grenfell Tower 200 metres away from the school they closed, the displacement of residents in Wornington, the proposed closure of Wornington College to build luxury apartments, the closure of youth and community facilities, the displacement of five generations of white working class families from Portobello Market, the attempted destruction of Golborne Road street trading, the collusion of the Westway Trust and the council to disenfranchise the local community of 23 acres of land to put in the hands of commercial retailers… the list goes on and on. The remit of this public inquiry has to include the history of neglect, systemic corruption and institutional bias that led up to this tragedy.”

CC from Notting Dale: “DN’s post sums up what everyone has known about RBKC’s plans for North Kensington and its treatment of North Kensington over the past years. The key thing now is to get rid of this council and replace it with councillors of some honour and probity. Action is now required to achieve this”

THINK believe that the RBKC Tories had better get used to these types of responses from residents in the North of the borough.  We  also noticed that Nextdoor also has many excellent domestic services advertised on the site Рwell no cleaner however skilled, will ever be able to help them sweep all the utter mess that they have caused under the carpet and we call on all the cabinet to resign.

Dizzy Lizzy and the Town Hall of Shame……

IMG_0519

This is Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, the new leader of RBKC (nicknamed “Dizzy Lizzy” or “Silly Lizzie” because of her rumoured lack of brain power). THINK were scratching our heads as to where we had heard of her before.

No it wasn’t the rumour that her husband had cut up her credit cards due to her love of shopping (though we wish RBKC could extend some of Mrs Campbell’s alleged love of spending to those in the borough who are most in need).

Then we remembered that she used to be Cabinet Member for Children’s services and partially responsible for the disastrous cost-cutting exercise in tri- borough contracting out of the provision of home-school transport for children with special needs.

This resulted in countless problems including lateness and delays, lack of special equipment, provision of drivers and escorts who lacked knowledge of the transport routes and also of the medical needs of the children. As well as countless complaints from parents, this even resulted in one child suffering a seizure and being taken to hospital – disgraceful. Apparently the biggest factor on which the contracts were decided was cost.

If North Kensington residents haven’t already had enough of being defecated on by this council , we also will inform our neighbours that Dizzy Lizzy is also behind ¬†the closure of our much-loved Maxilla Children’s Centre and Nursery School. She did eventually quit her post, to help her husband out with his yacht – we kid you not.

THINK are genuinely perplexed as to what is going on in the minds of RBKC for them to consider Mrs Campbell as a competent leader. She has also recently admitted to have never been in a tower block (after 11 years on the council) another sign that she is hopelessly out of touch with the public. We believe that most of the Tories at RBKC do not only fail to understand the real needs of the most vulnerable of the borough, but they have been in charge for so long, that they have stopped caring. It is high time the voting public sorted this out once and for all……..

Warwick Lightfoot – “Sorry we have no money” – but are sitting on ¬£300 million reserves.

IMG_0514

This is Cllr Warwick Lightfoot, he is RBKC Cabinet member for “Finance and Strategy” (that’s worked out well, hasn’t it?) Yes he had worked as an economic advisor to Norman Fowler, Norman Lamont and John Major in the 1990s – that worked out well too as we all know

He also authored a book that ought to be be the title of a rubbish sitcom called “Sorry we have no money” ! Shouldn’t that be “Sorry we have no shame in bribing taxpayers with their own money?”

He is also noted for his strong opposition to a Labour and Liberal Democrat motion for a food bank. With both him and former leader Nick Paget-Brown not exactly covering themselves in glory, making out that it would encourage poverty! Though he is often seen by locals in our area perusing the “reduced items” food section in Portobello Road Tesco’s – so maybe he just gets very upset about the very nerve of the poor and needy doing him out of saving 50p on a sandwich!!!

No they still don’t get it, help for the poor doesn’t encourage poverty; it is the lack of help which does. Most people don’t unlike Mr Lightfoot, need a degree from Oxford University to begin to try to understand that (not like he has ever shown any concern) but then again, he is completely endemic of what this out of touch bunch of RBKC Tories are really like, and it is more than obvious that the real reason they oppose a food bank is because they do not want the poverty in the community to be exposed.

There is no “sloganising” involved in both the Labour and the Liberal Democrat councillors wanting to help those in poverty – and what is wrong with that? But RBKC Tories do not care as they are more interested in the very wealthy and love to cosy up to those who do not even bother to pay an appropriate level of tax. If we’re going to talk about slogans, we could mention former prime minister David Cameron and his slogan of “Conpassionate Conservatism” (whatever happened to that?!!)

We will also point out to those living in Holland Ward of RBKC that not only do they have the misfortune to be represented by Cllr Lightfoot, ,but also they have Rock Feilding-Mellen as a fellow ward councillor too (two for the price of one!) If residents are interested in cut-price goods; they might consider cutting away the neglect and contempt that this terrible twosome have shown for the local community and voting them out.

Here’s the footage of Cllr Lightfoot objecting to food banks – we did wonder if he had a “liquid lunch” instead? We’re embarrassed that these people are supposed to represent us……..