So here we start a new year and a new chapter and say goodbye to a year that marked the beginning of THINK and landmark political change in having a Labour MP for Kensington, but also tragedy and devastation to our community in the many lives lost in the fire at Grenfell Tower.
We mark the end of a very difficult year by sharing our journey and some of ourhighs and lows of our community here
We really only started as a community noticeboard-type blog for campaigners. One of our earliest posts was when one THINKer joined Emma Dent Coad and Kensington Labour on the doorsteps for the general election. Encouraged by their positive message and wanting postinve change in the area, we gave Emma and Labour our backing. Some mocked and laughed at us when we suggested that Labour could win Kensington…..
Then our posts reporting on the RAP23 (Reduce Air Pollution)”Lets clear some air” meeting (held on 12th May) in which pollution (a major health and environmental concern in London – North Kensington in particular) and the excellent speakers at the meeting brought the hard facts to public attention. Even some of the Tories turned up and we weren’t going to let the presence of a few of them distract us, but we were disappointed that none committed to a new clean air act, unlike Labour the Lib Dems and the Greens.
On May 20th, one of our THINKers received a copy of our (at the time) Tory MP Victoria Borwick’s election leaflet. We were both astonished and amused at the claims made in this and thought we’d just point out a few things about Lady Borwick’s voting record to set things straight…..,,
And we weren’t going to forget this on the ivory trade either…..
Then it was time to pay a visit Nextdoor to see what other local residents were saying:
Then sad news and the closure of our beloved local pub the KPH. (We have recently heard the news that it might reopen as a different venue and not at least end up as flats, but of course it won’t be the same):
Hustings at St Johns Church in Notting Hill. Emma Dent Coad was outstanding (as always) while Victoria Borwick got booed jeered and heckled – which even took THINK by surprise:
The last round of hustings at St Cuthberts in Earl’s Court. After the difficult time she had at the last hustings, Victoria Borwick did not even bother to turn up, along with most of the Tories, leaving only Cllr Malcolm Spalding to defend them (which he made a bit of a mess of). Emma Dent Coad was outstanding again:
This was it, the amazing election result with Emma Dent Coad being elected at our Labour MP for Kensington after a hard fought and amazing campaign. It was a real victory for people power locally in North Kensington and a real show for positive social change as many from all around the constituency backed Emma and the Labour Party.
Then four days after, complete devastation in the shape of the Grenfell Tower fire. Our community will always have this horrific tragedy and loss in our hearts and we posted this:
Of course many in our community knew just where some of where the blame over the refurbishment of the Tower did indeed stand, and we pointed to RBKC’s then Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for housing, regeneration and property, Rock Feilding-Mellen:
Also RBKC’s Leader (at the time), Nick Paget-Brown:
The “consultation” for Wornington College was due to be held and THINK believe strongly in keeping our community college in North Kensington. We encouraged many others to join us there:
RBKC then cabinet member for Finance and strategy, Warwick Lightfoot was another senior councillor who we also blamed over Grenfell Tower and this council’s failure and we had this to say :
A change of leadership at RBKC in Elizabeth Campbell, but THINK were very far from impressed with her record…..
A return visit to Nextdoor and no surprise to see that the majority of local opinion was still overwhelmingly against the RBKC Tories:
Our coverage of the Wornington College consultation meeting. Again, locals were not short of things to say and there was a large turnout of people all in support of keeping our College here in North Kensington
THINK was at the first full council meeting at the Town Hall after Grenfell. This was a very distressing meeting on so many levels – both on hearing the experiences of survivors and bereaved and shockingly, RBKC’s “security” measures, which led to survivors and families being further traumatised after being locked in a fire exit at the Town Hall.
At the same meeting, three incredible local campaigners and friends of THINK, Edward Daffarn (Grenfell Action Group), Eve Wedderburn (Friends of North Kensington Library) and Piers Thompson (Save our Silchester) spoke at the meeting – Eve and Piers presenting their petitions and Eddie, a survivor from Grenfell Tower who had warned the council previously about the fire risks telling the council a few home truths.
More new faces in the RBKC cabinet and THINK decided to take a look at Kim Taylor-Smith :
Then we were at a meeting at Notting Hill Methodist Church about the Grenfell response ( a response which many found less than helpful):
Sadly, disasters can also attract persons with less than honourable intentions and the activities of one former Labour councillor (no longer in the Labour Party) raised many suspicions in the community:
A break from North Kensington as we headed for Earl’s Court and reported on the Save Earl’s Court campaigners and their brilliant and visionary alternative plans to the (disastrous) masterplan. Their initiative and forward thinking approach is an inspiration to all:
Unfortunately not everyone supports the Save Earl’s Court campaign – the Tories supported the “disasterplan” as we call it and THINK believe that they are truly out of touch and their days are numbered. Here’s a post on Earl’s Court Tory Cllr Malcolm Spalding:
Back home to North Kensington and a personal opinion from one of our THINKers:
And more on the RBKC Tories (insert your rubbish poultry puns here!) , plus the launch of our art competition (we needed cheering up!)
Our art competition launched here. Judging this made a pleasant and positive change from writing about our issues with RBKC most of the time! Thank you to all who entered:
Some you win and some you lose. Sadly, Notting Hill Police Station will be no more. Here is a post back from when we campaigned to save it.
Next, RBKC Tory Cllr Catherine Faulks after her excruciating interview on Radio 4 came under the THINK spotlight:
It really was the “Summer of our discontent” – cue an angry and frustrated post…..
Then some good news from the Silchester Estate (which had been under threat of regeneration) :
Notting Hill Carnival was a quieter event this time around (for obvious reasons) but many turned up wearing green (for Grenfell – the idea was thought up by some local schoolchildren ), with love and respect for our community and to just simply have a good time. We shared some pictures:
Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer frequently gets into silly arguments with North Kensington residents and appears to be something of an embarrassment to many of his colleagues. Here he goes flying off the handle with some locals on Nextdoor again:
Cllr Palmer may be something of a liability for the Tories, but he is a gift that keeps on giving to bloggers!
With the TMO in complete disarray, frustrations in our community about the situation and the management structure were all too evident :
The murky world of property PR firms and the involvement of senior RBKC councillors with them came under our gaze
THINK are big supporters of Notting Hill Carnival and were disappointed to see some trying to discredit this wonderful event. Unsurprisingly, many were Tories and their connections who had their own motives and some were even posting on social media using aliases:
This post on Notting Dale Labour Cllr Beinazir Lasharie accepting the position of Deputy Mayor was one of our most controversial. We are actually pleased to say that this is one time when we didn’t get things right and we have since thanked Beinazir herself for answering our concerns directly:
This post of ours on Rotten Borough Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan was one of our most popular and was also posted on famous RBKC local blog From The Hornets Nest:
The management of KCC (Kensington and Chelsea College) appeared to be less than honest with their claims over the Wornington Road site. They more than fully deserved to win our first ever “Piglet-Pie Award”
For those who weren’t in the know, here was some of the background story of Wornington College and why it is so important to our community:
We had more to say about disgraced RBKC former Deputy Leader Rock Feilding -Mellen here:
Some senior council officers at RBKC have had key roles in the disastrous policies of this council. Here is one we took a good look at:
A happy ending for North Kensington Library and some much-needed good news for our community. A huge thank you from us to Friends of North Kensington Library and all their supporters for this. This one of our personal favourite posts and is our most popular and best received post to date with nearly 60,000 people reading this one post alone!
Time up for the TMO or confusion as to what would replace it?
And more on messrs Paget-Brown and Feilding-Mellen (again!)
RBKC Leader Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell did not turn up to the Grenfell vigil but preferred to stand less than a minute down the road in front of the media. She took off when local residents and families confronted her about both this and their frustration and anger that so few Grenfell survivors had been offered permanent homes:
THINK’s well-deserved “Your North Kensington” Art Competition winner Karimah Bint Dawoud announced here:
And her profile here:
The Save Wornington College campaign made clear their demands to KCC management and they had the support of the vast majority of the community:
Another council meeting at the Town Hall, a statement from THINK in reply to our earlier post about Beinazir Lasharie as Deputy Mayor and yet more distressing accounts from some members of our local community affected by Grenfell
Then another encounter with Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer:
The Wornington College consultation meeting was packed with local residents unanimously against the proposed KCC/EHWLC College merger and the closure of the Wornington Road site. Both KCC management and the RBKC Deputy Leader received a rough ride……
Confusion and anger reigned over the terms of the proposed TMO vote:
And more on the vote here:
Then another post on former councillor Marianne Alapini and her dubious claims for “charity” money
An open letter from the Save Wornington College campaign:
Our local MP Emma Dent Coad also supported the campaaign to save Wornington College. Here is her open letter:
More on the Save Wornington College campaign and some exclusive footage of the demonstration outside:
” Managed decline” of properties is a familiar term in RBKC, but we didn’t expect to see this at Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house:
More about the TMO vote in relation to Grenfell
Possible social cleansing plans to do with what is left of the TMO? We took a look at Tower Hamlets….
TMO vote: Judgement Day:
Residents voted to adjourn the TMO AGM:
A link to our petition to get commissioners in to sort out our disgrace of a council:
Notting Hill Housing was once a wonderful housing provider with charitable aims. THINK examined just how far it has strayed from its roots:
The proposed merger between Notting Hill Housing and Genesis and the fight by residents to save these associations for social and truly affordable housing
Nick Paget-Brown announces he is to quit RBKC but doesn’t have the decency to immediately resign from his seat:
Sometimes dogs know best. Here is one whose canine insticts about the Rotten Borough are spot on…..
A warning to lazy journalists and plagiarists: Quote and put a link to your sources!
Part 1 of our Halloween special and the very horrors that lurk in the mindset of Notting Hill Housing’s chief executive Kate Davies:
Part 2 of our Halloween special and a flying visit to Rock Feilding-Mellen’s house down the road – don’t have nightmares….
Big figures for our blog; so many thanks to the local community who keeps us going!
Labour’s Judith Blakeman takes the RBKC Tories to task over the Maxilla Family Centre:
The poster for and more information on the campaign to Save Wornington College and keep locally provided further education and opportunities here – thanks to all who turned out for the demonstration!
The KCC management and our council may not care about further education in the area – but clearly many locals do!
And KCC management treat their staff disgracefully too:
Our Tory leader of RBKC, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell, has moved away from being a local embarrassment and has become a national disgrace. More on the appalling so-called “Grenfell Response” :
And some other members of the Tory RBKC cabinet are both a local and national embarrassment too…….
Other leadership plans afoot within the RBKC Tories? It was time to have a say about this:
It is also extremely important that our council doesn’t forget about housing and providing support for the elderly and vulnerable already in need before Grenfell:
The Tories’ Shaun Bailey and the smear campaign against our Labour MP Emma Dent Coad – it was time to set the record straight:
And more on our MP Emma Dent Coad, against the disgraceful Tory detractors who aren’t exactly in a position to try and discredit her and the honest views of some of the locals who know her best :
Out belated Thanksgiving special and rumours afloat that Tory Cllr Julie Mills (Norland) who is also local Conservative chair, is about to quit North Kensington for a safer seat in Chelsea:
More about RBKC Tory David Lindsay, his questionable views and some Grenfell protestors paying his North Kensington home a visit:
“Jailhouse Rock” Feilding-Mellen may run but he can’t hide…..
Fairness and equality regarding the treatment of all TMO tenants and leaseholders? Why no!
Chair of Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Tories Cllr Julie Mills was appearing to axe Tory councillors who didn’t support Daniel Moylan and his bid for leadership:
And here again is Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan, social cleanser, former cabinet member and former Deputy leader of TFL, treating our community with utter disrespect by falling asleep in the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee:
Our reflections on Grenfell and the local community nearly six months on:
Proposals to merge Kensington and Chelsea as one constituency and give our Labour seat to the Tories and replace our Labour MP with Tory Greg Hands? It was time we took a further look at Mr Hands…..
Yet another sleepy Tory councillor at the Grenfell Scrutiny Committee. We only let Catherine Faulks off of any calls to resign (unlike Daniel Moylan) because she didn’t actually fall into a full-blown slumber at the meeting:
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry and its lack of involvement and relevance to our community: Please sign the petition:
Daniel Moylan resigns! Surely not anything to do with our blog post featuring him sleeping in the Grenfell recovery scrutiny committee? Julie Mills means business
Sign the petition to Save Wornington College and the latest press release from the campaign:
Grenfell and a personal account from one member of THINK:
Grenfell Silent Walk six months on- an appeal to all to join and support us
Our thanks to everyone who joined and supported the Silent Walk :
RBKC’s in-house local newspaper hides coverage of Grenfell away back on page 7:
Tory Ben Goldsmith thought he would have a party opposite Grenfell Tower and not only disrespect the Silent Walk, but also tried to smear our North Kensington community:
A temporary reprieve granted for Wornington College for now. The vote on the proposed merger called off for the timebeing:
And finally, our blog was banned from RBKC computers and wifi :
2017 was a year of devastation grief and trauma, but also a year of change when all the many severe concerns raised by residents over many years came to the national forefront. .
We hope this year will bring truth, justice, answers and real community representation for North Kensington on our council that has been severely lacking in the past. There are still many issues, in particular to do with housing and also local amenities in our area.We thank all our local friends and campaigners who have worked so hard to bring about the positive changes, such as Emma Dent Coad elected as our MP, the Silchester Estate regeneration cancelled and North Kensington Library saved. We still have a lot of work to do and will continue to report on the issues and do everything we can.