Imagine a vote conducted with no ballot boxes at first, a rule of having to show a passport or a driving licence to vote, refusal of admission even to people with a passport, one of the parties involved in the vote able to bloc vote by proxy without?proper independent verification , and some people eligible to vote not even being made aware by the organisation that the vote was taking place.
No, this is not an election conducted by some sort of crazy tinpot dictatorship that we are talking about here – this was last Thursday’s vote at the extraordinary General meeting (EGM) on resolutions put by the now-discredited and disreputable Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation to resident members.
Our blog, plus fellow local blog Grenfell Action Group plus a number of local residents and campaigners were urging members to vote NO to the resolutions. Read our post and the press release from the BWRA here:
We arrived at Kensington Town Hall to find that as well as the TMO requiring members to bring official photo ID to go into the meeting and vote (not usually a requirement for voting in a General Election!) , residents were subject to heavy- handed security measures such as bag searches and metal detectors at the entrance. In fact we witnessed the chair of Lancaster West Residents’ Association being denied entry despite showing them her passport – ridiculous. Filming and journalists were also being banned from this meeting so there was no chance of us getting to view the very sorry proceedings ourselves.
We heard from other residents attending that the meeting (and a big thanks to all who kept us informed) was being chaired by Anne Duru, Deputy Chair of the TMO,
Unsurprisingly many members at the meeting expressed their anger and frustration with the TMO, only to be treated in a patronising, arrogant and disingenuous manner by Ms Duru. Some asked severely times if minutes were being taken and who by and Ms Duru replied (or rather, lied) and said that minutes were being taken. When challenged by local resident Samia Badani over this, and told to look over the minutes and at question 3 again, Anne “Dodo” Duru and her colleagues couldn’t – liars.
Duru and her colleagues stated that the changes that they were trying to bring about were the result of feedback in surveys from 98% of residents. Odd then that out of the hundred or so people in the room, only three people there had been surveyed. When residents from the north if the borough asked if only residents from the south of the borough had been surveyed, the TMO refused to confirm or deny – so we’ll take that as a “yes” then.
TMO residents are unfortunately all too used to this sorry organisation falsifying surveys and resident feedback and patting themselves on the back for doing a rubbish job . Have a look at this, published in their (now defunct) magazine The Link back from 2016 :
Three times members attending voted to allow the press into the meeting and this was refused.
Residents pointed out that there were no ballot boxes and eventually they brought out a couple – but these were neither guarded nor sealed.
Anne “Dodo” Duru is supposed to have a hundred and one or so qualifications and several letters after her name – odd then, that she was completely clueless and even at one point, asked traumatised residents what PTSD was. Words fail sometimes, but we think Dodo should “do one” Un fact residents were so upset with her behaviour at that meeting they voted for her to be removed as chair of it – again refused.
A 75% vote in favour of the resolutions was required to carry them and for “some reason” the TMO refused to announce the result at the end of the meeting. Anyway here, posted on the TMO website, later than promised, are the supposed voting results :
Yes, despite there being a very large and vocal opposition to the resolutions, the TMO had managed out of thin air, to get 526 proxy votes in favour. THINKers who are TMO members and did cast their “NO” votes by post were wondering if the chair had wrongly cast our votes in favour or if our votes were sitting in a office in Southampton? Because we know for a fact that more than 28 members voted NO in the postal votes.
Residents did also wonder why postal votes were expected to be received in Southampton rather than the TMO main office in Kensington This was because vote was apparently being managed by Tony Slater of Mi-Voice, an organisation that among many things, provides electoral services for membership based organisations who are based there. (We’d never heard of them!)
Tony Slater himself (pictured below) apparently has a background in managing election campaigns – so many people there were wondering how independent Mr Slater actually is? His supposed role in this was providing electoral services; anyone simply reading this post can clearly see that he didn’t exactly do a good job of that.
With a supposed vote run like this, we wouldn’t trust Tony Slater or his organisation to run a bath!
Local resident, campaigner and friend of THINK Joe Delaney posted this on Twitter:
Extraordinary General Meeting? Well it was extraordinary for being an utter shambles , that’s for sure.
Finally when the meeting ended, our council delivered one final slap in the face to those attending it by locking the doors to main part of the Town Hall where a meeting of the planning committee about the Holiday Inn Forum in Cromwell Road was still going on in the council chamber. Perhaps they felt a need to “keep the riff raff out”? Because TMO members (including a number of elderly and disabled residents) either needing to use the lavatories or hoping to catch the planning committee were forced to walk around to the front and past security to go in. THINKers attending the planning meeting at the time spotted Dizzy Lizzy coming out of the cabinet meeting room and we did wonder if she had authorised this?
We think the heavy-handed security measures speak volumes about say this council’s attitude if they appear to view residents living in social housing as a bunch of riotous thugs….
Anyway, to us, the whole sorry meeting and vote just appeared to be an exercise for some in charge of the TMO to cover their backs and one which put several locals through unnecessary distress . We will wait and see what legal responses there will be to the TMO vote and keep you posted – we very much hope residents will legally challenge this vote for the reasons we have given above, and also the 46 abstentions were not taken into account (which would have been 72.6% in favour – falling short of the 75% – plus the fact that some members did not receive a letter to their correct addresses (and we know for a fact that the TMO did have the correct addresses in question).THINK also know that there are a couple of thousand resident members of this organisation and we question as to why there was such an extremely low turnout for this vote.
As for the people in charge of Terrible Mismanagement Organisation (past and present), our reworking of their logo should give anyone reading this a very good idea as to what our blog believes should happen to them……