Local Elections: Kensington hustings falls apart as the Tories’ failure to address the “elephant in the room” takes its toll on proceedings


Last Thursday,  some THINKers attended hustings at Fox Primary School in Kensington. On the panel were two candidates  each: Henry Peterson and Annabelle Louvros  from Labour , Tom Fox and Tim Walker from the Liberal Democrats, Peter Marshall and Deepali Nangia from Advance Р and yes Рtwo candidates, from the  Conservatives, Ian Wason and Johnny Thalassites.

No sitting councillors were on the panel, though we spotted ¬†councillors Catherine Faulks, Robert Freeman, Sarah Addenbrooke and Anne Cyron from the Conservatives and ¬†Labour’s Monica Press sitting in ¬†the audience.

There was ¬†already a bad start to the meeting for us as one organiser – ¬†(a nasty angry bully of a man) ¬†shouted in our faces and threatened to throw one of us out over one ¬†THINKer’s ¬†over use of a dictaphone (for notetaking ¬†purposes) ¬†. ¬†Anyway, it was on with the meeting itself.

Local issues were discussed, including the controversial proposals for redevelopment of Newcombe House – with strong arguments ¬†for and against being made from all sides of the political spectrum, also social housing, and the lack of provision of, came up for discussion, but with Tory candidates putting more of an emphasis on “affordable” (up to 80% of market rate) housing ‘, much to our disappointment.

A question about the housing points ¬†system ¬†in the borough came up with some on the panel saying that it can’t be changed. Well THINK know that RBKC themselves ¬†took the ¬†Government’s changes to the most extreme level and unlike some other London councils, changed their own housing ¬†points system and removed localism points from residents back in 2014, so we were unsatisfied with that answer.

Also it was disclosed that RBKC placed more people outside the borough than any other London council – disgraceful. There weren’t many solutions offered for this. One resident asked an interesting question about ¬†how residents could be involved in the development and. management of genuinely affordable homes. We were disappointed that not many in the panel had appeared to understand this.

Labour’s Henry Peterson did appear to have some understanding of the issue however ¬†and also expressed his concern about young people being unable to afford to live here.

Also discussed were bin collections. THINK have seen that local Conservatives have been putting out posters that say”I’m voting to keep my twice weekly bin collections” according to Labour, they have no plans at all ¬†to scrap the twice weekly bin collections – so maybe the Tories would like to explain ¬† themselves?

Eventually the subject of Grenfell came up. One man in the audience got ¬†up ¬†to say “It could have happened anywhere” this shocking comment upset us as ¬†well as caused ¬†shouting and gasps from some others. ¬†He pointed out that other buildings in other local authorities had cladding on them. There were also a few in the audience who agreed with him.

Well let THINK put these  ignoramuses straight Р Grenfell Tower was built to last Р the shoddy refurbishment, and not just the cladding was carried out by RBKC and contractors such as Rydon. Residents  had long complained about the shoddy quality of the refurbishments and also of power surges in the building Рtheir objections fell on deaf ears from the council and the TMO. Moreover, the Grenfell Action Group, had warned countless times of the fire risks to the building only to sadly be proved right. . We suggest these people please read their blog before making blind assumptions purely based on party political favouritism:

Maybe some should read this  first before getting their 10 cents worth in:

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

One traumatised young man from our local North Kensington community got up and asked why people there didn’t want to talk about Grenfell. “Let’s talk about Grenfell” he shouted and THINK saw and heard Tory Cllr Catherine Faulks shout out “let’s not!” (See our previous blog post about her).

He got up and confronted the panel on the stage, not aggressively or threateningly, but just from a frustrated and traumatised point of view. It was then a break was called in the meeting.

One THINKer got up and spoke to the chair,  BBC journalist Humphrey Hawksley and explained that this young man who is known to us, is traumatised, loved ones  in the fire and that this disaster in which at leat 72 people from our community needlessly lost their lives,  really does need to be discussed. We pointed out that some  of the anger in the room about this was also because none of the Tories  had turned up to the Westway23 hustings  in North Kensington and only Tory Cllr Eve Allison had turned up to the hustings at Al Manaar.

After the break, another resident asked they they were “going to ignore the elephant in the room” Most of the ¬†Conservatives, councillors, candidates and supporters, got up to leave, and Tory candidates on the panel did not return ¬†– what a shambles.

THINKers decided by that point ¬†we’d had enough too and decided to call time on the meeting. We attempted to speak to some Conservative councillors. On spotting us approaching, ¬†Cllr Sarah Addenbrooke thought it would be a good time to pretend she was on the phone!

Undeterred, one of us spoke to Cllr Robert Freeman. We explained that the North Kensington resident was traumatised by Grenfell, having lost people in the fire. We also pointed out that the Conservative had completely shunned the  Westway23 hustings in Ladbroke Grove and this led to increasing frustration as many residents from the north of the borough felt ignored.

Cllr Freeman then said that he had not heard a thing about this particular hustings and this was the first he had heard of it. Being ¬†now used to watching politicians trying to lie or wriggle their way out of questions, THINK have become rather good at detecting at who is being honest here. We watched and listened to Robert ¬†Freeman’s reaction and answer ¬† and could tell that he genuinely knew nothing of this previous event.

The  shunning  of our community does not make the ruling  Conservatives look good at all Рbut we thank Cllr Freeman for being honest and for answering our questions and listening to our points.

After we had left,  we were informed that the hustings did carry on, minus the two Conservative candidates.


We have several criticisms of the way the meeting was handled, we have nothing against Humphrey Hawksley and know  him to be very knowledgable about foreign affairs, but he admitted to us himself  when we talked to him, that he does not know very much about the issues in the local area.

A particular criticism ¬†we have is of the “toilet-trained gorilla” ¬†(one of the organisers) who shouted at us for using a dictaphone and also shouted at some Advance supporters for taking photos, plus a few others in the audience ¬†– we suggest that this rude specimen take an anger management course and get professional help before anyone lets him have anything to do with public meetings ever again. His attitude and behaviour contributed to an unpleasant atmosphere at the meeting.

THINK have now been informed that the reason that filming and sound recordings were banned (and they were also banned at the previous Earl’s Court hustings – we have a post on that coming up) – was because Andrew Foster, chair of the Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives, had requested so – this is censorship of a public meeting in a public place and is completely unacceptable.

We more than have a sense that many RBKC  local Tories are trying to avoid residents  and debate and censor people who are simply trying to report on a meeting.  We will bring our  dictaphone to the next hustings tonight  in Chelsea and   speak out if anyone has the nerve to try and censor us Рwe are residents who take an interest in local matters and what goes on in a public meeting deserves to be  publicly reported. What have some got to hide anyway?

THINK believe that the RBKC ¬†Tories and cannot and should not go around trying to avoid public appearances and meetings with local residents and local residents reporting about them. Yes they should expect a hard time – why not? After all, at least 72 innocent people from Notth Kensington died in a disaster that happened under their watch……

If ¬†some candidates and councillors are too cowardly to face some hostility and criticism from residents, then we believe they have no business of standing for or sitting in¬†public office in the first place. Let’s us remind them of what first and foremost a councillor’s job is – that’s right, a public servant!

As for ¬†these Tory cowards, they should care to remember this popular phrase: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”……..

Catherine “Lady False” Faulks: We need to talk about Grenfell


This is RBKC Tory Cllr Catherine Faulks. She is councillor for Campden Ward  since 2011, and for a brief time  last  year was Cabinet Member for Education and Libraries (yes she was in charge when there were still plans afoot to lease our beautiful North Kensington Library  building on the cheap to Notting Hill Prep School, where disgraced former RBKC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Housing and Property,  Rock Feilding-Mellen, had places booked for his children).

It was last year when still in the RBKC Tory cabinet, in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster  in late June, , when Cllr Faulks gave a car crash of an interview with Radio Four, in which she tried to defend RBKC, the fact that a survivor was having rent deducted from their account and former disgraced leader Nick Paget-Brown (who had recently resigned then)

She also in the interview, made out that the moment when the press obtained a high court order to enter  a cabinet meeting, which was going to be held behind closed doors, was a “clever stunt”.

THINK have had, in previous posts, some words to say to a few rogue journalists who seemingly out of pure  party political motivations, seem keen  to do a hatchet job on some good hardworking members of our local community. Fortunately, there are plenty of incredible  journalists around whose motivations are solely to get to the truth –  so we thank those who obtained the order. It’s just a shame that some RBKC Tories, like Faulks, are less than enthiusiastic about open communications with residents

As for open communications with residents, this brings us to the last hustings, held at Fox Primary School, Kensington Place, London W8., which she and a number of RBKC Tories did attend.  When a traumatised member of our North Kensington community stood up and said “let’s talk about Grenfell” – Catherine Faulks  (who was sitting a couple of rows back from us) yelled back “let’s not!” – disgraceful.  (And we do indeed have a post coming up  next, of our account of that very meeting).

Of course Lady Faulks resides comfortably in a ¬£9million house at the south (more affluent)  end of Ladbroke Grove and has obviously every real idea imaginable  what it is like to be traumatised  by Grenfell, to live in KCTMO social housing or to reside in temporary accommodation.
Cllr Faulks also has a background in working for Vivien Thompson Property Search, a company which finds properties for those who are “too busy” to find a home.  We wonder how many “buy to leave” empty properties  in the area that Lady False and her work colleagues have helped to purchase and we of course know that her conscience over this must clearly keep her awake at night when  around two thirds of survivors  and nearby residents from the walkways are STILL living in temporary accommodation when there are clearly empty properties locally.

Perhaps that explains her nodding off in the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee back in  December last year? See our old post about it here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/not-only-daniel-moylan-but-catherine-faulks-also-appears-to-be-falling-asleep-in-the-job/

Sadly the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee is no more. Not that she cared very much about this community anyway.

Lady False also  had a “Twitter fight” with this blog in which she was very keen to point out that the Maxilla family Centre does have a view from Grenfell a Tower of it (only  if viewed by a tall person standing on a chair by the way-  this was a Centre for mainly the under fives  – ridiculous!). We should point out that many of us were and are still traumatised over the fire and over losing some friends of ours in this disaster….. Several other residents informed us that she was also using Twitter and tweeting about other issues when in fact she was sitting at those very exact times,  in RBKC’s full council meetings.

We would suggest that Catherine  Faulks would get her act together and try to find homes for Grenfell survivors –  but as she clearly does not care one bit about Grenfell and as RBKC has already made the mistake of  blindly going around purchasing homes without seeing what survivors’ needs and requirements are first –  then again,  perhaps not……

Lady False is married to Lord Faulks  a peer in the House of Lords (brother  of author Sebastian Faulks – who is particularly famous for writing Birdsong ) who was once a Tory Minister for Justice. Well it might be a long time before many here ever begin to see those we believe responsible brought to justice – which only further exacerbates our suffering .

Cllr Catherine Faulks has also accused a member of the Grenfell Action Group who is a survivor from the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower, of using Grenfell for political capital – beyond tasteless. Yes – a survivor whose life was saved by the firefighters who were at the scene, yes – a member of a group who warned this council of exactly what could happen to Grenfell Tower  and whose warnings fell on deaf ears.  We are so incredulous at the nerve of  Lady False to say this  that we are having to temper our language in this post – we think  that this  deeply offensive squawking of hers does not amount to birdsong and clearly shows her to be a very bird-brained individual.

THINK believe that Lady False and her shameful attitude should be dismissed from this council as soon as possible. We ask the good voters of Campden Ward to  please consider voting this clueless, heartless and completely out of touch  councillor out of office on May the 3rd.

Local Elections РWestway23 Hustings: RBKC Tories a no-show! 

So what happened at the hustings organised by Westway23 back on the 17th of April, some may ask?

Well following the previous hustings by a Migrants Organise at Al Manaar, in which Cllr Eve Allison was the lone Conservative to turn up, this time not one of them even bothered!

Are they afraid of North Kensington residents and the questions we want to put to them, some may wonder?

Or do they just not care one bit about us and the issues we face?

THINK warn the RBKC Tories that appearing to avoid us or not to care about us in North Kensington can and will likely cost them votes.

As for the meeting, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Advance all made an appearance. There were some good speakers there ( particularly Labour’s candidate for Colville, Ian Henderson who is a campaigner for Save Our Sutton Estate in Chelsea, which is under threat).

There was ¬† shouting ¬†fron angry and frustrated residents at some points of the meeting ¬†and the meeting ended in chaos ¬†over a dispute between a few residents and Labour’s Judith Blakeman over an email. We do not publish other people’s emails that are not addressed to us, so we will not go further into this.

We will not be unfair to Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Advance to question them over the policies of a council which they are not responsible for if those in charge do not bother to show up.

We believe that the least the RBKC Tories could do is to issue an apology to Westway23 and local residents and then arrange to be there at another meeting.

There is hustings tonight at Earl’s Court and we will be very disappointed if the Tories do not turn up to this. Local Earl’s Court residents deserve to hear ¬†from them too.

It doesn’t look good for them, and as they have previously missed hustings before the general election (when Labour’s Emma Dent Coad won Kensington) ¬†last year in Earl’s Court (only Cllr Malcolm Spalding turned up to that!) ¬†some of us wonder if they have just accepted defeat and thrown in the towel…….

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The curious case of The Curve, the council and real cause for community concern 

The Curve Community Centre, located in Bard Road, North Kensington, is a facility where many affected in our community by Grenfell, go for help and support. Its function is to provide help and support (such as mental health and wellbeing services and counselling , housing advice and support and community activities) foall affected.

Concerns have long been raised by many in and around the community about the relevant checks being made on all who provide help, services and activities there. Here is a quote from the minutes of the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee meeting back from the 10th October last year: ” Cllr Mary Weale indicated that she shared and understood these concerns and would ensure that all volunteers working in The Curve were DBS checked and had signed the code of conduct”.

A very well known comment from one RBKC cabinet member, now in charge of our finance, Mary Weale (who was once the RBKC cabinet member for communities) is “We hear residents but we don’t listen”.

Clearly RBKC has not been listening to any concerns, as THINK has recently discovered some truly shocking news upon receiving most recent Grenfell Support Newsletter.

The present RBKC Cabinet member for communities is Gerard Hargreaves. He was also Cabinet Member for Communities just before and immediately after Grenfell – maybe he ought to ought to sharpen his senses?

An item in the newsletter invited people to come down to The Curve “to pray and reflect” with a certain individual.

The individual (who we will not name as she herself has mental health issues ) is a woman who goes around pretending to be a nun and has several criminal convictions, including ones for sending white powder (as a terrorist hoax) to MPs and peers, -and for antisocial behaviour towards others, ( including being fined for being offensive towards two Muslim women – calling them “terrorists” and telling them to “go back to your own country”).

This information can be simply found out by entering their name in a search engine, so we know full well that no checks were made regarding criminal records on this person’s individual conduct before – scandalous.

The item also misleadingly inferred that this dubious individual tends to the memorials around the community. We know for a fact that this is also untrue. Most flowers and candles are regularly provided by a few locals who tend to the memorials. We know who the people are and that this individual is in fact not one of the people responsible. THINK believe that printing a factual error of this sort deserves a public apology. Some of the local volunteers who tend the memorials have been deeply offended.

Worse still, the item referred to the individual holding visits to the memorials with groups of people at her “prayer sessions”. We believe that treating the memorials as a tourist visit organised by someone who has no part in them. is tasteless beyond belief.
But the very worst part of it all is that we wonder how many other volunteers offering services at The Curve, have not had criminal record checks – we could question RBKC over this, but we believe that they are far too incompetent to provide a real answer. THINK believe that this sort of error can lead to vulnerable and traumatised members of this community exposed to real danger.

We demand that the council’s inadequate response to the aftermath of the fire plus their failure of duty deserves a full Governent investigation, and we ask that the Government also takes away the responsibility of The Curve and services provided there. In their failure to ensure proper vetting of volunteers RBKC have failed in their duty of responsibility to its residents completely. This situation is dangerous and it cannot be allowed to continue.

THINK believe there are some very serious questions to be asked of the senior people responsible for the management of The Curve and that these people not be allowed to remain in charge – they are Callum Wilson, Saskia Goldman and ultimately Sheila Durr.

Also, RBKC’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement, Michael Clarke, must have been aware of who the local volunteers are, via his North Kensington Community Engagement Team, and the Grenfell Heritage Community Working Group. He is the person who is ultimately responsible for the Grenfell newsletter

An oversight on his part? Many here have already previously been outraged and offended by Mr Clarke’s decision to hide news about Grenfell in the back pages of RBKC’s newspaper.

Did Michael Clarke really have no knowledge of the matter? Surely as a Communitcations Director, he would have thought of entering the individual’s name into Google? If not it shows him to be more than completely incompeteent. If so, it shows him to be even worse than incompetent. Either way, he needs to resign from his post right now.

Please sign the petition calling on him to resign right here :

https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-kensington-and-chelsea-michael-clarke-former-head-of-press-of-grenfell-tower-inquiry-to-resign-immediately?recruiter=731926697&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message.nafta_milestone_share_ask_victory.control&utm_medium=whatsapp&utm_content=whatsapp_share_content_2:control

And here is the article from the newsletter (with the individual’s name obscured):

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Local heroes helping the local community! 


Meet A21 Run 4 Grenfell. They are a team of 9 firefighters from A21 Paddington Red  Watch and North Kensington  who are running the  Virgin London Marathon     in their full firefighters uniform and breathing apparatus   (.which adds an extra 30kg on Рno mean feat)      to raise money for The Firefighters Charity,  and local charities the Rugby Club and the Harrow Club.


Please donate to them here;

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/a21run4grenfell

Also see their website here:

http://Www.run4grenfell.co.uk
North Kensington Red Watch were the first responders at the Grenfell Tower Fire and they are running the London  Marathaon Рto raise money for Kids On The Green Рa local charity which helps traumatised children. Please sponsor then here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/run4grenfellg27

Both teams of these  brave  firefighters were at the fire on June 14th. Many of their colleagues have suffered PTSD and  yet they still go all out to help our community.

This is particularly close to THINKers’ hearts as firefighters attending Grenfell Tower saved lives of some of our friends and we ¬†fully support and value these local more than heroes and we ask our readers to please donate to both and support both them and the wider community.

 

Local Elections: Westway23 Hustings tonight. Will the local Tories bother to put in a “performance”?¬†ÔĽŅ

Last Thursday some THINKers attended local elections hustings at Al Manaar . The event was hosted by Migrants Organise and Nova New Opportunies. Both these excellent organisations campaign and help many in our community.

Nova New Oppotunities is a local  organisation which offers help, information  guidance and  vital  educational courses to many in need, such as those needing to get back into employment and refugees.

See their website here

http://www.novanew.org.uk/

But at the last hustings, only Cllr Eve Allison from the RBKC Conservatives bother to turn up!

Tonight at 7pm,  there is another local elections hustings hosted by Westway23 at Acklam Village, Acklam Road, London W10.

Will the Rotten Borough Tories bother to turn up to this one? We’re not banking on it!!

Recently, we reported previously, ¬†Tory ¬†Cllr “Chicken Run” Matthew Palmer has taken to ¬†posting the Grenfell Housing figures on Nextdoor, in the form of a statement, rather than just a link to the newsletter.

Read  more about it  (alongside some truly disgraceful behaviour from  some other local  Conservatives   here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/local-elections-grenfell-just-how-low-can-some-conservative-candidates-get/
We spotted Tory ¬†Cllr ¬†(and Cabinet Member for finance and corporate services) David “Dinosaur Dave” Lindsay (in the middle of our picture) ¬†in North Kensington today -will he be there we wonder?

It is probably a relief for the Tories that Cllr Lindsay ¬†didn’t turn up to the previous hustings – ¬†After all – he has been heard to make offensive remarks about child refugees before……..

THINK believe that the absences from hustings show the RBKC Tories up to have zero concern for our North Kensington community and the issues many face in it – they, in our view, are the last people who should be making decisions for the rest of us…..

Grenfell Silent Walk: Ten months on¬†ÔĽŅ

THINK joined the Silent Walk today as we remember our community friends and neighbours who needlessly lost their lives in the fire, those who lost their friends relatives, and those who lost their homes.


We thank all who took part, those who like us, are members of the local community, and those who came from further afield. We would like to also thank the bikers  from United Ride 4 Grenfell  who  rode from the Ace Cafe to Parliament and then joined us.



We are so thankful to all who  have cared about our  local community  and supported us in the last 10 months Рit means a lot to us.


We cannot also forget the fact that at least 72 members of our North Kensington community lost their lives in a disaster that was entirely preventable. We demand justice and cannot hide our frustration that not one person has been arrested for this.

Today was for reflection, remembrance and  a silent call on the streets for justice



Please  do join us  if you can on the 14th of May Рwhich will be 11 months on.
We hope by next month to see change in our council and those we believe to be responsible brought to justice Here’s hoping…….




No justice – no peaceūüíö

Local Elections: Hustings РA community ignored by the ruling Conservatives 

Yesterday some ¬†THINkers were present at local election ¬†“Your Voice Your Vote” hustings. The event was held at Al Manaar and was held by Migrants Organise – an organisation which campaigns for, helps and celebrates refugees and migrants ¬†here. Please check out their website here:

https://www.migrantsorganise.org/

There were plenty of Labour councillors and candidates present РEmma Dent Coad (pictured, far left) out local Kensington MP and also councillor for Golborne Ward, Cllr Pat Mason (pictured, fourth from left) , Cllr Monica Press( pictured, second from right)  and Cllr Judith Blakeman were all present. Liberal Democrat Cllr Linda Wade (pictured   second left) was there. So were Annabel Mullin(pictured on the far right) , Valerie John-Baptiste, Melvyn Akins (pictured Рthird left)  and Claire Van Helfteren from Advance.

So what about the Conservatives, you may ask? Well only Cllr Eve Allison bothered to turn up! (She is in our picture, third from right) .We had memories of a certain hustings before the General Election in Earl’s Court back in June when most of the local Tories failed to turn ¬†there up too (giving the lame excuse of a “school meeting”!) See our old post about it here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/hustings-victoria-does-a-theresa-may-and-so-do-most-of-her-colleagues/

Anyway, many subjects were discussed, with residents, local campaigners and politicians giving their opinions on social housing, crime, education and the local area.

Linda Wade was particularly good in mentioning the academisatuon of schools and that many teenagers being expelled from these local schools end up drifting into a life of crime.

This was also mentioned by Pat Mason (who has a background in youth work) and by Emma Dent Coad,and all three  also mentioned the importance of good provision of youth services locally.

THINK strongly agree with Linda, Emma and Pat and we are very concerned about the rates of knife and gun crime among young people in London Рthere is one person stabbed to death in London every three days in fact Рwe believe that it is vital that politicians both locally and nationally, seriously take this on board and have some reconsideration over the policies of some schools and also do not make any cuts to youth and community facilities.  We also strongly feel that there should be no more cuts to policing.

Melvyn Akins, a  well-known local North Kensington resident  and candidate for the newly-formed Advance party, also spoke well and mentioned his own experiences and called for change.

One resident at one point made an impassioned plea for both residents and politicians to get more involved with community and youth work. He lifted up his top at one point to show scars from knife wounds that he had received in the past.
Some at the meeting did not appear to be very familiar with politics and how the system works. Some were so upset and frustrated after suffering years of cuts and neglect by both RBKC and the Government, not to mention also being traumatised after Grenfell.  that they vented their frustration on Emma Dent Coad and Labour opposition councillors.

We at THINK point out to these residents that we have had  a Conservative council in Kensington and Chelsea, that has been in power for 117 years, and that we have a Conservative Government. So Emma , in her role as both an opposition Member of Parliament and councillor, is very limited in her powers as to what she can do and does not have any role in shaping the policies and cuts that have been inflicted by both national and local governments. The same goes for the other opposition councillors at RBKC

We say to all frustrated residents that to change the system, you have to vote for change and then be the change in holding those who ¬†you vote for to account. It is no use to sit on one’s ¬†hands ¬†and blame a system if you do not play ¬†an active part in trying to to bring about change.

The deadline to register to vote is in just four days time. If you are not registered to vote, or have changed address, name or nationality, please do fill in the form on here (it only takes five minutes) :

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

THINK also believe that lifelong provision of education is vital to the wellbeing of all residents and we remind all candidates of all parties that keeping KCC Wornington College in North Kensington open and also extending provision of courses provided there is crucial to this local community.

Grenfell was discussed, with Labour’s Judith Blakeman speaking about our council’s less than adequate response and that they are buying properties ¬†without bothering to find out what survivors actually need first.

Most of the local representatives who spoke were very impressive, particularly Linda Wade from the Lib Dems ¬†and ¬†Labour’s Monica Press.

We also heard some excellent impassioned speeches which were straight from the heart by Labour candidate for Norland Ward , Mona Adam, and by Labour candidate for Colville Ward, Nadia Nail. Both Mona and Nadia come from refugee backgrounds and have real knowledge and insight into the issues that many refugees living here face. Labour candidate for Golborne Ward, Sina Lari, also spoke well about his parents’ background as immigrants.

THINK stand with Mona, Nadia and Sina and as people who have  migrants  in some of our own family  backgrounds, we believe that it is vital that local government in RBKC reflects the make up of the local population and fully takes on board the issues its residents have.

The lone Conservative councillor there, Eve Allison is the only black Conservative councillor and ¬†was the only Tory ¬†present at yesterday’s event.

She spoke strongly about her being alienated from the local Conservatives, talked of her deselection and the fact that she had to go to national government to be reinstated. Cllr Allison also  spoke about her own background and the fact that she lives in social housing. She made the case that her own party needs to be more representative of the local population and to include persons like herself. We agree with Eve,  about the Conservative Party  needing to include more people like herself but know that the policies of this council and Government   have alienated so  many in our community.

As for the other ¬†local Conservatives, who did not even bother to turn up, THINK believe that their non-presence speaks volumes about their attitude towards not only North Kensington and Grenfell, but also young people, community groups, migrants and refugees. It says it all if not even one member of the RBKC Tories’ leadership bothered to attend.

Eve Allison has a majority of only 1 vote in St Helen’s Ward and we are not banking on her to hold on to it, so maybe some senior local Tories may be relieved ¬†to not have her speaking out against them in public as a local councillor after the elections , but we thank Eve for speaking out and we say to the ¬†other RBKC Tories (who come from overwhelmingly white upper and upper middle class backgrounds) – shame on you.

There is also hustings, presented by local campaign group Westway23 at Acklam Village, Acklam Road, W10 on Tuesday the 17th April. THINKers will be there of course and we fully expect local representatives from ALL the parties to be there.

THINK urge our local readers  to do the right thing at the local elections and vote the RBKC Conservatives out of power. 

Local Elections: Grenfell- just how low can some Conservative candidates go?

Meet Maxwell Woodger, he is one of the Conservatives’ “young Turks” and a candidate for the safe-as -houses Tory- held Ward of Queen’s Gate.

Yesterday, at the Ladbroke Arms pub, Woodger and several of his colleagues, including Pembridge Conservative candidate Laura Round and also Greg Hammond, Conservative candidate for Courtfield, were spotted having a discussion on  “how to spin Grenfell on the doorsteps”

Woodger then said comments to the tune of “we have X amount of Grenfell survivors in hotels and they’re milking the system”

THINKers were not present at this impromptu gathering, but we do know in fact that the pub manager came out and asked the Conservative campaigners to leave because of bad language.

In other news, fellow Queen’s Gate councillor, council candidate and THINK regular, Matthew Palmer seems to have taken it on board to give RBKC’s “official” Grenfell figures on posting on the Nextdoor site.

Palmer himself also is an enthusiastic believer as we have stated previously, of the TMO not very believable surveys, insisting upon TMO residents being supposedly content with the previous situation,  and insisting upon them as fact to the point of senior council officers shutting him up and Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith visibly cringing.

Cllr Palmer does not appear to  understand that pretending to be an ordinary resident and posting the supposed figures in a local election campaign, can constitute electioneering on a non-political neighbourhood website. Moreover, Cllr Matthew Palmer sat on the RBKC Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee  for THREE years before the fire – so he had plenty of time to be concerned about Grenfell Tower and the people living there – but no.

As Matthew Palmer appears to enjoy this regular appearances in both this blog and in fellow local blog From The Hornets Nest, we thought we would post an appropriate picture :


The next person to post a link to the Grenfell Support newsletter  on Nextdoor was our former  Conservative MP  Victoria Borwick. Some might remember her from this:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/victoria-borwick-mp-and-the-half-baked-truth/

It has also been brought to our attention that Lady Victoria Borwick herself was  also present at the Ladbroke Arms gathering, giving her support to these hooligans…….

Is this Rotten Borough Tory council flagship about to sink?


Apologies for the funny picture, but let it be known that THINK have heard words from the doorsteps, about what many others in the borough (outside the Notting Dale Ward that Grenfell is in ) feel  about the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It won’t make for comfortable  hearing for this council , and we believe their complete neglect of social housing, which culminated in the Grenfell Tower fire  disaster has impacted many all around the borough.

Sadly as well as losing 72 innocent members of our community, we still know that only 89 Grenfell survivors have been permanently rehoused.

Also we know of many TMO properties all around the borough which still aren’t safe. Still they waste money in outsourcing  contracts out to places far away and on useless consultants who do not have any understanding of what they are dealing with here.   There is no excuse and there are no excuses that this disgraced local authority should be ever making.

It may be fine for Kim Taylor-Smith to go on Radio Four and seem apologetic, but we think  he and his colleagues should be going to Theresa May and asking for some more money now.

If this is not a severe disaster; we don’t know what is, and this Government has appeared to have purely sat on its hands for political purposes  because other  local authorities  that have far less of a greater need in the past, have been put in special measures. But never worry about this Tory “flagship” of a council?

We believe this Tory Titanic of a council  is about to sink and we urge those still in charge to take responsibility for their actions and at least, if they don’t care about their residents, to try to restore their damaged reputations and just do the right thing,  Here it is  a list – in capital letters below in case some still don’t get it
1. ASK THE GOVERNMENT FOR EXTRA FUNDS BECAUSE THIS IS A DISASTER AREA AND BECAUSE AT LEAST 3000 HOMES ARE STILL UNSAFE.

2. ADMIT CULPABILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND INACTIONS.

3. RESIGN.

But of course we are in local elections now and it won’t be long before residents make them walk the plank…..

Matthew Palmer: No fool like an April fool 

Conservative councillor for Queen’s Gate, Matthew Palmer has been making a fool of himself again. He has recently been on the Nextdoor site, posting his party leader’s figures on the number of Grenfell survivors in permanent or temporary accommodation.

Ordinarily, he or  any other councillor could post  on there about Grenfell  or any other local  council matters,  but the council is now in local elections Purdah, and councillors and candidates are  now fighting an election campaign. A number of residents on the local section of the site that Cllr Palmer uses, include some in Notting Dale Ward  some of whom have been particularly affected by the disaster. This led to angry residents commenting on his  post and questioning the figures and also expressing their anger with RBKC and others questioning his motives for posting about this.
In fact Nextdoor has rules for posting on topical matters and one of them is against people using the site for electioneering. As Cllr Palmer and colleagues are now in an election campaign, some residents pointed out that Palmer as a councillor who is standing for re-election, posting council matters and this issue on  there  during an. election campaign amounted to electioneering.  This  led to administrators  pulling Cllr Palmer’s post off the site.

Of course it isn’t  the first time on Nextdoor that residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the local Conservatives, we posted this back  in May  last year before our former MP Victoria Borwick lost her seat to Labour’s Emma Dent Coad and  this was also before the Grenfell Tower fire:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/funny-goings-on-nextdoor/

And it is far from the first time that Matthew  “Chicken Run” Palmer has clashed with residents on there too:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/chicken-run-matthew-palmer-gets-in-a-flap-again/
Recently, fellow local blog From The Hornets Nest has posted about Cllr Palmer claiming that come May , he is apparently looking forward to becoming a member of the RBKC local executive team and Cllr Julie Mills  will put herself up a council leader and win.

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/a-palace-coup.html?m=1

Well there are several flaws with Matthew Palmer’s supposed plan:

The Conservatives have  never been more unpopular here and we predict that Labour  will win several wards this local election. In fact, we believe that Cllr Mills’ ward, Norland, will be one that Labour will likely take. We also believe that the new Advance party will also take  many disaffected Conservative votes.

THINK also know that the 5.99% council tax rise is very unpopular with their supporters  and that Labour has pledged to freeze it.

Not forgetting that the Conservatives have deselected a number of councillors who did have some personal votes. Personal votes for councillors actually do count for a lot -the brilliant  campaigning Liberal Democrat councillor for Earl’s Court Linda Wade, has a huge personal vote for example. We believe this election will be very tightly fought and that deselecting some well-liked councillors in marginal wards could just prove to be part of the local Tories’ undoing!

And also not forgetting that EU citizens have a vote in these elections and that many of the local Conservatives campaigned  and voted for  Brexit – we can’t see them getting too many votes there!

We also believe that if Palmer and Mills supposed tactic of selecting  less than adequate “dire” candidates will help them, let THINK remind them that the electorate are far from stupid, and that the opposition parties and Labour in particular, have selected a number of excellent candidates in the wards that will be  most highly contested.

As it is Palmer’s regular animated “outbursts” in both full council meetings and the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee meetings are a real embarrassment to many, including some of  his own party colleagues, particularly his recent bringing up the TMO “surveys” and claiming  residents had  previously been happy with this discredited organisation –  the authenticity of these surveys has been disputed  by many  and we witnessed  senior council officers trying to shut Palmer up and Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith cringing and shrinking into his seat!

THINK believe that Cllr Palmer’s alleged plan sounds like something hatched by Baldrick from Blackadder and  we suggest to him that if he does want to win back support for the local  Conservatives,  perhaps bringing up the matter of Grenfell to residents in the  north of the borough which is most affected might not be such a good idea. (And not forgetting that Mills’ Norland Ward adjoins Notting Dale Ward, that Grenfell Tower is in) .

Many residents have not forgotten that the RBKC Conservatives have been  in charge of the council before, during and after  this needless and entirely preventable disaster in which at least 72 innocent people lost their lives.

It’s just as well for Cllr Palmer that his  ward, Queen’s Gate, happens to be one of the safest Tory wards in the borough…..

Anyway it is Easter and Passover too and many will be enjoying their holidays so we will end on a positive note. The picture below is a mock up of a Conservative election leaflet that was drawn by a young Granddaughter of a friend of ours. We also think it should serve as a reminder to some in the local Tories of the real embarrassment that giving  such a liability as Cllr Palmer a more senior role  in either the council (should they remain in charge)  or their party could cause them!