Grenfell, our local community and THINK: Nearly a year on

THINK apologise to our regular readers  for our rather lengthy absence from the blog. It has been a difficult time for us, with it almost being a year since the Grenfell Tower disaster, plus the disappointing local election results and dealing with trauma and our anxiety for our community.

Last week,  the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry heard tributes and statements  from some relatives of the  victims.  We thought it was only appropriate and right that we took a longer break to  also extend our silence in tribute.  We send our love, respect and solidarity  to all survivors and bereaved and all others in and around the community affected. 

Recently,  a few   have been sending us emails querying  as to why THINKers haven’t attended the Inquiry and as to why we haven’t posted details of it.

We guess  that some just aren’t aware that we are still in trauma and grief, that many of us live within a five minute walk of Grenfell Tower and that some of us have lost friends. Maybe if some  were, they might try to understand that being at the Inquiry for some of us, can be too personally distressing. Some of us do plan to attend hearings at some point, but when we feel ready to. 

Anyway, we also believe it is important that  a blog like ours, that comes from nearby (but not actually in the Tower or walkways), is very careful  not  to post anything that could interfere with the Inquiry or anyone taking part in the Inquiry .  

We have already in previous posts, expressed some opinions on a few of those who we believe have questions to answer, and that it is vital that  ourselves and others who are not survivors or relatives of victims,  allow those who are speak more on this. A lot of people have a lot to say about Grenfell, but a few  of the outside  comments we sometimes hear, particularly on social media   (from some who have no connections to our community) are far from helpful and some are very offensive to many here. 

We have heard that RBKC leader, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell has attended some of the hearings and we very much hope  she not only listens to every word, but takes on board in terms of council policy,  the various points and concerns that many affected  will make at the hearings. 

Of course, we cannot second guess just how long this inquiry  take, but we warn both RBKC and the Government that many here who are traumatised will take years to heal. We still have  serious concerns over poor council  responses to  safety of social  housing (such as  tower blocks – mentioned in our “Dixon House”  post,  and  fire exits –  our “Hesketh Place” post)  and  we ask the Government to take action over potentially dangerous cladding.  

 THINK cannot emphasise enough the importance of provision of safe and decent social housing both in this borough and in many other parts of both London and the UK. 

This is not the time for the policians  to try and act as if they care, it is time for them to take  real steps to protect the safety and wellbeing  of residents in social housing and show that they really do care. We also  strongly believe that  attitudes need to badly change over  the importance of the provision of social housing in higher value areas like ours. 

What happened at Grenfell Tower   was avoidable and  a disaster like this must never, ever  be allowed to happen again. 

THINK will leave the last words to our good friend, Grenfell Action Group member, campaigner, and survivor Edward Daffarn. We  strongly recommend that anyone  who takes an interest in the matter and proceedings watches this video of him being interviewed by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News,  If you have not seen it yet, please set aside half an hour of your time to watch this:

Grenfell Silent Walk – tomorrow 14th May 2018


Tomorrow is 11 months on since the Grenfell Tower disaster devastated our North Kensington community. We will likely have a long wait to see those we believe responsible brought to justice and many of us are still struggling to cope with our trauma and loss.

There will be a protest outside Parliament between 3pm and 6pm.

The Silent Walk  will return to its original route and will start outside Notting Hill Methodist Church at 7pm.

We  say a big thank  you all who have joined with us and supported our community


Next month it will be one year on and there will be a series of activities organised then.
Here is a statement from Grenfell United:

“Grenfell United would like to thank all those individuals and local organisations that have contacted us with regards to arranging activities around the year anniversary of the tragic events of the 14th June 2017, and take this opportunity to inform the community of our plans for the 14th, 15th and 16th of June 2018. On the 14th June, Grenfell United are asking that the privacy of the bereaved families and survivors is respected.
During the daytime members of Grenfell United will be gathering together privately in order to be able to support each other and reflect and grieve in peace. We will be calling for the UK to observe 72 seconds of silence at midday to remember each life that was lost in and after the Grenfell Tower fire. On the evening of the 14th June, Grenfell United will be taking part in the Silent March and then we will gather to observe “Iftar” and the breaking of bread at sunset, which we hope many of our fellow marchers will join us in.
On the 15th June, Grenfell United are working with the Dept of Education to request that as many school children as possible are able to wear green items of clothing to school in order to highlight “Green for Grenfell” (more information to follow). On Saturday 16th June, Grenfell United will not be putting on any events ourselves but we will be encouraging our members to join in with the many activities that are being organised by the North Kensingon community (including Al Manaar and various local RA’s).
Finally, we would like to thank you for your support at what will be a challenging and difficult time for our community. Grenfell United are determined that the local community comes together in unity over the anniversary period and that local organisations who wish to contribute with events or ideas do not feel marginalised or excluded. It is very much the hope of Grenfell United that all the different local organisations and RA’s can come together and work collaboratively to ensure that any events that are being scheduled are run in a way that respects the wishes of bereaved family members and ex-Grenfell Tower residents and promotes inclusivity and celebrates community cohesion.”

THINK : Our first birthday

Yesterday was the  first anniversary of our blog. We thank all our readers, followers and supporters who have been with us on our journey. We also thank all the campaigners, other blogs and community groups who have inspired us. Still we have a lot to do in and around our community and we are not going to sit here and shut up or go away…..

THIS IS NORTH KENSINGTON

We are proud of our diverse mixed community and its uniqueness and history, which has sadly in recent times come under threat by our council  and  unscrupulous property developers who do not have our best interests at heart.

We started this blog last May as more of a noticeboard for campaigns and local community activities, but as anyone can see now, the blog has evolved into something very different! We have been on a rollercoaster of a journey – our blog and Group started before Grenfell and we have had a lot of cope with  for obvious reasons. Although we have had a lot to deal with, we do recommend that others become  more involved in our community activities, and supporting others.

BUT ALSO NOT JUST  ABOUT NORTH KENSINGTON
Our priority as a group and blog   will always  be our immediate local area, but we will always take an interests in our neighbouring communities and the issues residents there have to face.

Many regular readers of this blog will have read our posts on Earl’s Court, and we have some posts about Chelsea coming up. We intend to inform (and yes, sometimes, to entertain!) and always to support our friends and campaigners in ours and other communities.

We may be feeling deflated and run down after some disappointing local election results in RBKC, but this also means we have more of a duty to make our voices heard!

THIS IS NORTH KENSINGTON AND THIS IS OUR COMMUNITY

Here is a selection of a few of our most popular blog posts to celebrate a year of THINK:

Out takedown  of former MP Victoria Borwick and her election leaflet :

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

On some of the amazing campaigners who are truly an inspiration to us:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/thank-grenfell-action-group-friends-of-north-kensington-library-and-save-our-silchester-they-are-north-kensington/

Our first post on Earl’s Court and the brilliant alternative plans for the area by  the Save Earl’s Court campaigners:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/think-special-post-from-earls-court-a-new-beginning/

Success for the campaign to save Notth Kensington Library:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/north-kensington-library-happily-ever-after/

Local residents fighting to save Wornington College stand up to KCC management and RBKC:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/a-community-comes-together-in-our-battle-to-save-wornington-college/

And some good news for the Save Wornington College campaign:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/good-news-for-wornington-college-the-commissioner-says-no-to-the-proposed-merger/

On some who sat on the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny   Committee:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/is-the-grenfell-recovery-scrutiny-committee-a-farce-think-scrutinises-some-of-the-scrutinisers/

Some on the council and their supporters would rather not talk about Grenfell. We do not know how any decent human being can turn their backs on the isssue:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/local-elections-kensington-hustings-falls-apart-as-the-tories-failure-to-address-the-elephant-in-the-room-takes-its-toll-on-proceedings/

And finally our post and some pictures of last month’s Grenfell Silent Walk. We will always remember, campaign for and support all in and around our community affected:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/grenfell-silent-walk-ten-months-on-%EF%BB%BF/

Of course we are still relative newcomers on the blogging scene and we would like particularly thank the two local blogs who have  been a big influence on THINK of course:

From The Hornets Nest :

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

And Grenfell Action  Group:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/

This is our 164th post. Thanks ever so much to everyone from North Kensington and beyond  all for your support!!

Anyone hear the one about Malcolm Spalding, Earl’s Court and the dead parrot?¬†

Word has got round to THINK of a speech made in the Town Hall by Tory councillor for Earl’s Court. Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding, in which he compared the Save Earl’s Court campaign to a “dead parrot”

He also called the campaign to Save Earl’s Court the “biggest and most spectacular failure in local history”.

Bananaman Spalding also in the speech said about the demolition works: “Everything is working beautifully. Despite a Cllr (Linda) Wade’s best efforts and the Save Earl’s Court campaign, they haven’t saved it. It is going to plan”.

Well THINK believe that Cllr Spalding should explain himself to residents and businesses in and nearby the area  who have suffered greatly due to this ruinous plan. We think he needs to explain his position on the issue  to his electors  in full. 

When the issue of the  masterplan was last brought up in Kensington Town Hall by Earl’s  Court Lib Dem Cllr Linda Wade, earlier this year who sought a statement from RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith at the time, we saw Spalding sat in the chamber, yet he was strangely very quiet…….

See our post from back in February here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/could-there-be-good-news-for-earls-court-at-last/

We have not found any record  of Malcolm Bananaman Spalding actually opposing the masterplan and we believe any support for this unworkable plan is simply bananas…..

What we do see  sense in supporting however, is the petition by the Save Earl’s Court campaigners to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former exhibition centre. We urge all our readers to  sign, share and support this here:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/build-the-world-s-greenest-venue-on-the-site-of-the-earls-court-masterplan-london-1

We will leave the last word  on this to the Save Earl’s Court supporters. A campaigner has told THINK:”The dead parrot is in fact Capco’s  Earl’s Court Masterplan which is in chaos and which is no longer viable. The Save Earl’s Court campaign has always highlighted  how risky it was. Spalding is not crowing any more.”

A  controversial Conservative councillor for Courtfield?

Pictured here on the left, is Cllr Janet Evans She is a newly elected RBKC Conservative councillor for Courtfield Ward.

THINKers have seen Janet some months before she became a councillor as she has been seen regularly cheering on her Tory friends and rudely shouting at other visitors to the chamber who do not share her enthusiasm (including her shouting at then-Labour candidate and now councillor for St Helen’s, Portia Thaxter).

Janet Evans is also the proprietor of Janet’s Bar in Old Brompton Road. A few months back we checked out some of the reviews posted online – they made for interesting reading! To be fair to Janet’s Bar, we haven’t been to the place, but we’re not exactly sold on the idea of getting a side order of rudeness or even racism with our drinks!

Interestingly and surely by no mere coincidence a few of these reviews have mysteriously disappeared from Tripadvisor at around the same time Janet Evans was elected!

Just as well THINK had some copies…….

Some reviews of Janet’s Bar:

“most horrifying experience. the rudest american woman treated my friends and I disgustingly, wouldn’t serve us as 1 of us didn’t drink alcahol. don’t come here, terribly overpriced and shocking service.”
“Never have been treated so rude, horrible experience. Janet the owner, yelled at me to get out of her bar because I wasn’t drinking even though everyone in my group had ordered very over priced cheap drinks, she said if I didn’t leave she would kick me out, 5 minutes after arriving not even getting a chance to look at the menu.”

“Avoid this place ! Racist and rude bar tender, disgusting”

“The owner is an actual psychopath and she only hires fellow psychopaths to work there. Enter at your own risk unless you’re also a psychopath.”
“Kicked me and my friends out when one (of four) didn’t buy a drink. Made a big scene for no reason. The prices are extortionate and the drinks suck, plus Janet is very rude. Sad!”
“Janet is probably one of the worst people I‚Äôve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Rude, unfriendly and ruined our evening. Don‚Äôt go here!”
“What an absolutely appalling experience. The rudest establishment in the greater London area.

“The staff seem to have got customer service completely wrong. ”

“Rudest bar manager. Screams at you, never says thank you. Awful drinks. Totally overpriced. Everywhere else in SK for those prices gets you a proper drink. She should be closed. Avoid.”

“On a serious note – never ever go here. The owner is a sociopath.”
“‘Janet’ is the most disgusting human being I have ever met. I have never experienced so much prejudice. 3 out of 4 of us bought beers and she told us to leave because the 4th person wasn’t drinking. She called us ‘pricks’ and ‘cheapskates’.
AVOID.”

“Kicked me and my friends out when one (of four) didn’t buy a drink. Made a big scene for no reason. The prices are extortionate and the drinks suck, plus Janet is very rude. Sad!”

“Janet is probably one of the worst people I‚Äôve ever had the misfortune of meeting. Rude, unfriendly and ruined our evening. Don‚Äôt go here!”

“overbearing owner ruins this bar. Janet asked intrusive questions about my ethnicity after trying to read my surname off my credit card. She also asked personal questions about my friend’s health issues as I tried to pay. Other customers have told me about her xenophobic and racist remarks. Rumour has it that she even owes some of her employees. I wouldn’t be surprised if she can’t afford to pay them. The only thing keeping this business afloat is their late license and lack of local competition. They never have foot fall until after the pubs close. Bad employment practices and a bratty owner. Don’t give them your money – let the free market run its course!”
“Having read the reviews, I‚Äôve decided to go to this bar to experience the nasty owner. I‚Äôve never read such a lengthy series of dreadful reviews about a single individual‚Äôs behaviour. And her replies on Facebook are so offensive, indignant and unapologetic… mental problems? She‚Äôs a tourist attraction of hatred, and meanness. Incredible how someone faced with so much criticism of herself can go years blaming others. What must it be like to spend your life being horrible to people and becoming notorious for it? I‚Äôll have two inexpensive drinks, use the toilet a lot (she doesn‚Äôt like this apparently), and taunt her a bit to see what she‚Äôs made of. Let‚Äôs dance! ūüėā”

RBKC TCC Street Properties: the blind leading the blind? 

Pardon us at THINK if we imagine it to be just a mere coincidence that the TCC (Tenants Consultative Committee) meeting for street properties just exactly happens to be this evening, at the same time as induction for councillors – so no local representatives there.

What, therefore, is the point in going? Are we just to sit there while the council recites rhetoric and palms residents off with a PR exercise.

We are running out of tolerance with RBKC and their refusal to  involve residents in exploring other housing options, particularly their blind ignorance towards any idea of residents forming housing co-operatives, for example.

RBKC also invite some who lets just say have mud   Рif not blood Рon their hands to have a say in these meetings.

All in all we think the TCC street properties meetings are  partly a precursor to regeneration  on the quiet for those who are most vulnerable, and also for others, are merely an exercise in handing over more power to those less accountable. Maybe if RBKC really wanted  to do something helpful, and informative perhaps they could hand residents a full list of their contractors?

Otherwise it just looks like a far less accountable version of the TMO. We urge RBKC to please be open and straightforward ¬†with residents and to learn from their mistakes – ¬†after all some of us will ¬†spend the rest of our lives living with the council’s mistakes……

THINK’ s election night(mare) ¬†and the results¬†

The local elections are over and so are THINK’s hopes for real positive change in our community. For those who would like to see the results in full (and for those who can bear to), you can go to this link which has the ward by ward results:https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/local-democracy-and-elections/local-council-elections-2018-resultsSome THINKers were at the Town Hall for the count that night. We were there for quite a few hours before the results came in. One THINKer needing the ladies walked in and saw something odd in the cubicle our leader, Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell was coming out of – who knew Dizzy Lizzy eats bananas in the toilets? On seeing big piles of ballot papers in the red trays , we did have our hopes up, but sadly as everyone now knows, the postal votes came in and we were left with huge disappointment.One of the results that we were particularly interested in was Earl’s Court as the Tories there have long benefitted from a three way split vote there.We heard one bit of good news in hearing that the brilliant Liberal Democrat councillor and local campaigner Linda “Wonderwoman” Wade had not only been re-elected but she polled more votes than any other candidate. Unfortunately Tories Cllr Malcolm Spalding and Hamish Adourian were also elected there (but not Lloyd North, whose past as an “actor” may well have contributed to him having fewer votes than the others) We also saw former Tory MP for Kensington, Victoria “Lady Baking Powder” Borwick at the count -she was hugging Tory chair and nasty bully Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster at one point. Some locals here may have seen Borwick along with Tory Cllr Matthew Palmer upsetting some residents by posting about Grenfell on Nextdoor when an election campaign was on. Yes, Matthew “Chicken Run” Palmer was there too, but as he represents safe Tory Queen’s Gate Ward, there was no chance of him losing his seat.RBKC Deputy Leaders Kim “Tailored Sloth” Taylor-Smith and Will Pascall were re-elected in Stanley WardLabour only made one gain – St Helen’s Ward, where the Conservative councillor Eve Allison had just a majority of only one vote, so no surprises there. All in all it was a dreadful night and some of us were there until 7am in the morning, just hearing the bad news. We expect social housing and all council owned buildings (including Canalside House and Wornington College) to now be at risk as RBKC’s reserves are running low and because the Tories will now feel that they have the public’s full support – this was the one election that could have made a difference, but no. We will not in our lifetime likely ever see a real posintive change at RBKC. Earlier, we saw Justice 4 Grenfell illuminating their logo outside the Town Hall. THINK do not expect to see this in our lifetime either:We hear that the Labour campaign was late in getting going, that their postal votes were not as organised as the Conservatives, but we won’t look around for someone to blame here. THINK will watch this council’s every move like a hawk – we particularly wonder who will now chair the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee now (decent Tory) Sam Mackover has stepped down from the council – it will be more than a bad joke if Matthew Palmer (who sits on that committee) takes his place…….We do not feel safe in our homes or convinced that RBKC will not bring back regeneration and “CON”sultations under another guise. In fact we won’t be surprised to see them trying to force us away from our homes and communities and out of North Kensington . And if anyone thinks that making noise, waving a banner about or having countless meetings will make the slightest bit of difference to what happens; let us tell you it won’t. It is all about the balance of power and there are 36 Tory councillors and only 13 Labour councillors and one Liberal Democrat and this make up will decide everything regardless of how others feel about it.

Local Elections: ¬†Earl’s Court Tories ¬†and the Kippers

We at THINK are a  strongly pro European blog and we know that many EU citizens reside in all parts of this borough and that their votes in these local elections will be crucial.

THINK believe that the good citizens of Earl’s Court ¬†fully deserve to know about Conservatives Cllr Malcolm “Bananaman” Spalding and fellow Conservative candidate ¬†for Earl’s Court, Hamish Adourian and their position on Brexit.

We have received a copy of UKIP’s manifesto. Have a look here:


We think it is more than likely that Earl’s Court voters who care about the future of this country and of EU citizens here will give Spalding and Adourian a one way ticket out of here……

A resident of Earl’s Court also informed us that ¬† on the day on the referendum vote, Bananaman Spalding and a friend were seen outside Earl’s Court Station shouting “the Brussels tyrants are unelected!”

At another time, later, Cllr Spalding, was ¬†seen outside a meeting of the French Lib Dems (MODEM) , that was organised by Earl’s Court Liberal Democrat councillor Linda Wade, and offering his card to people three, saying “if you need my help, please get in touch” .

THINK believe that what is less than helpful, is pretending to care about EU citizens and then voting for Brexit and campaigning  against their rights to remain in the U.K.

Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster: Chair of the local Tories and nasty piece of workÔĽŅ

Meet Andrew Foster, he is chair of Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives (KCFC)

At Kensington hustings at Fox Primary School, a man, who we believed at the time to be one of the organisers, aggressively ¬†got in one THINKer’s face and shouted and threatened to throw her out for using a dictaphone.

After our post on the Kensington hustings came out, THINK received information from ¬†someone posting a comment on the post and also ¬†from a couple of others via email, that the “toilet trained gorilla” we referred to, in the post, is none other than he!

See our post about it here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/local-elections-kensington-hustings-falls-apart-as-the-tories-failure-to-address-the-elephant-in-the-room-takes-its-toll-on-proceedings/

People were also banned from filming or recording hustings at St Cuthbert’s in Earl’s Court too. Why? Because nasty bully and tyrant Foster insisted upon it!

Some might remember our post regarding Maxwell Woodger’s offensive comments about Grenfell ¬†at the Ladbroke Arms ¬†pub, where he was alongside fellow Conservative candidates Laura Round and Greg Hammond (also former MP Vicoria Borwick had briefly dropped by).

Read about it here: https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/local-elections-grenfell-just-how-low-can-some-conservative-candidates-get/

Well here is the picture from the Ladbroke Arms, taken  from the Daily Mirror, with Maxwell Woodger circled in red.


The man to the left of him ¬†now appears very familiar to us ; why yes, it’s ¬†Andrew Foster again ¬†– making an appearance he’d probably like us to forget! We now know that Mr Foster likely witnessed Woodger making these offensive remarks.

Seriously , what are some of the local Tories thinking?

At least Foster’s predecessor Julie Mills could at least conduct herself in a civilised manner in public!

See our old post about the Tory cull and Julie Mills here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/the-tory-chansaw-massacre/

Of course, Julie Mills paid the price for axing a number of councillors – not all of whom were to blame for the turmoil RBKC is in.

Two of those who had been deselected Cllr Eve Allison and Cllr Adrian Berrill-Cox, have since been reinstated by Conservative central office – after all, it doesn’t look very good for them if they deselect their only black and their only disabled Councillor does it?

No wonder local ¬†Conservative ¬†communications are ¬†so appalling when they ¬†can’t even pick an agreeable person to be in charge!

Dear, oh dear, ¬†can the local Conservatives ever get it right? ¬†They ¬†do indeed appear to be the “Nasty Party”.
THINK believe that if the Tories would at least like to appear like decent human beings, they should throw Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster’s career ¬†in a KCFC bargain bucket and into the bargain bin ¬†of obscurity and replace him with someone half decent.

And just in case Bully Beef turns up at any other public meetings and tries to censor members of the public, ¬†allows his own colleagues to behave offensively or behaves aggressively towards others, here below, is another picture of this moron so others can ¬†recognise him and show him the door…..