The Runners and the Riders: Introducing our new THINK “Election Special” posts

THINK “Election Special” #1

The candidates for next months General Election have all been announced, and the campaign is in full swing, so it’s time to introduce our “Election Special” posts with our local take on the issues and candidates.

But in this post we are going to kick things off with just a brief list of the local and neighbouring constituencies and candidates here, some previous election stats and a reminder to register to vote.

Of course, our readers can expect more to come from us with our own commentary on the many issues and events happening locally around the Election (that some may agree or disagree with!)

But THINK believe the worst kind of voting in our local area is when people do not bother to vote at all.

Register to vote!

If you are not registered to vote, not sure if you are registered to vote, or need to change your details on the electoral register, please do so – it will take you only about 5 minutes. Please note that the deadline for registering to vote is tomorrow – Tuesday 26th of November at 11:59pm. Of ou are registering a postal or proxy vote; you need to do this by 5pm.

Make sure your views get out of the starting gate

Kensington Constituency is the most marginal seat in the UK – only 20 votes in it – and we cannot call this one (Photo finish? Steward’s Inquiry?)

Here, in alphabetical order, is the list of candidates for Kensington Constituency:

ASTON COLQUHOUN Jay Hilda – Brexit Party

BUCHAN Felicity Christiana – The Conservative Party Candidate

DENT COAD Emma – Labour Party

DORE Scott Ejiro – Workers Revolutionary Party

GORE Harriet Nkechi Adimora – Touch Love Worldwide (UK)

GYIMAH Samuel Phillip – Liberal Democrats

LICHTENSTEIN Vivien Aviva – Green Party

PHILLIPS Roger David – Christian Peoples Alliance

More about them in My West Lomdon here:

Here, also, is a list of candidates for the Chelsea and Fulham constituency:

HANDS Greg – The Conservative Party Candidate

HORLICK Nicola Karina Christina – Liberal Democrats

MORLAND Samuel Valdemar – Animal Welfare Party – People, Animals, Environment

UBEROI Matt – Labour Party

More on the Chelsea and Fulham candidates here:

And more about the candidates our readers in neighbouring constituencies can vote for:


Westminster North:

Cities of London and Westminster:


General Election 2019: Meet the Battersea candidates

Ealing Central and Acton:

All 3 of the constiuencies in Brent
in the Brent and Kilburn Times here:

On London has a look at some other interesting constituencies in our city:

This election is proving to be an interesting and exciting one with all to play for . Some big names are in marginal seats. Iain Duncan-Smith is hanging by a thread in Chingford and Woodford Green, and could Boris Johnson, on a majority of just over 5,000 in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, possbly be the first incumbent Prime Minister since Arthur Balfour in 1906 to lose his seat?

Two and a half years ago, Emma Dent overturned a Conservative majority of 7,361 held by Victoria Borwick, to win Kensington.

Can Labour retain the seat, or will Felicity Buchan win it back for the Tories? The local Liberal Democrats and their candidate, former Tory minister Sam Gyimah appear to believe that they are in with a chance. The previous 2017 voting figures previous figures that we have published below and the voting history of the contituency does not indicate that, but nevetheless Lib Dems are leafleting addresses in the constituency very heavily – some of us are receiving their leaflets on a twice-weekly basis and there are plenty of their posters and signs up in the local area

Anyone yet to consider where their votes may go may wish to see these stats as to how Kensington voted in the last 2017 election:

Emma Dent Coad (Labour) :

16, 333 votes (42.2% of vote) (+11.1% swing)

– Victoria Borwick (Conservative) :

16, 313 votes (42.2 % of vote) (-10.1% swing)

– Annabel Mullin (Liberal Democrat) :

4,724 votes (12.2 % of vote) (+6.6 swing)

– Jennifer Nadel (Green Party):

767 votes (2.8% of vote) (- 3.1% swing)

– James Torrance (Independent) :

393 votes (1.0% of vote) (+ 1.0 swing)

– Peter Marshall (Independent):

98 votes (0.3% of vote) (+0.3% swing)

– John Lloyd (Alliance for Green Socialism) :

49 votes (0.1 % of vote) (-0.2% swing)

Brexit, the economy, education, health, housing and the environment are all important to Kensington voters, but we remind all candidates that Grenfell is in this constituency and to please campaign thoughtfully and tastefully – let’s have a positive and meaningful election campaign and consider the community affected.

Anyway, we will have news on both the latest election stories and our reports on happenings in the past few weeks on THINK starting tomorrow – and we will leave you with some recent pictures of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems campaigning around North Kensington and a reminder that this is likely to be a very close result.

Every vote counts; don’t forget to use yours!

RBKC censors residents at the Full Council meeting – again

We really thought these days were over, the days when our council tried to censor some residents from speaking at meetings.But this time the council has decided that because there is an election on, that there will be no residents speaking at the Full Council Meeting on the 4th of December at all.

This is what RBKC has posted on social media today:

The Public Speaking “Democracy Hour” is actually our favourite part of the meeting. (with many of the residents actually proving to be better speakers than some councillors!), it is interesting to hear from different people who live or work here, speaking on a variety of issues and doing so very well indeed.

We are disappointed with this decision of our council and are guessing that “The Suits” (senior council staff) must imagine for some ludicrous reason, that residents and visitors would misuse their five minutes of speaking time by party political canpaigning!

Last month’s public speaking hour was one of the best and most interesting, and it was clear that one resident speaking was a Labour supporter and another resident speaking was a Conservative supporter. But neither of them – and both of their speeches were very good by the way – misused their speeches for campaigning purposes.

In fact it is the councillors more often than not, who play “political football” in meetings or use party campaign slogans in their speeches. (We have seen this from all sides many a time.)

So on that logic, if election purdah has officially kicked in, why is a Full Council Meeting going ahead at all only 8 days before this country goes to the polls?

This decision does not make sense in our opinion and we hope this is not some slippery slope going back to the old days of Council “Business as usual” and residents and visitors sitting in the back being denied the opportunity to speak at most meetings…….

As for this upcoming meeting , we do not think most residents will get much from it, as most councillors will be in election mode. Expect lots of point scoring back and forth, desk thumping etc. Actually we’re half tempted to give this a miss ourselves

Also the last thing that residents in our neighbourhood, who are traumatised by Grenfell, need at the last council meeting before Christmas is the sight of councillors cheering, jeering thumping their desks, pummelling their feet on the ground, and generally behaving like juveniles at a football match when they win a vote.

We do not think this meeting should go ahead and neither should the behaviour that we have described above, be allowed to go on it does

Social, Affordable, Potato, Tomato – Let’s call an MP & some councillors out!

Kim “Tailored Sloth” with Johnny Thalassite, Greg Hands & Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell

This concerns the 600 new homes that RBKC plans to build in North Kensington.

Kim Taylor-Smith says half of these will be “social” , but Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell says “affordable” KTS says “social”, Greg Hands says “affordable”, KTS says “social” Johnny Thalassites says “affordable”🎵 “Let’s call the whole thing off?!” 🎵

But seriously, which is it? Because the Leader of RBKC, the MP for Chelsea and Fulham and the RBKC Lead (Cabinet) Member for Planning and Transport appear to be saying different things to the RBKC Deputy Leader…..

At the RBKC Housing and Communities Select Committee meeting last month, THINKers were very pleased to hear Kim Taylor-Smith saying that half of these proposed new homes would be for social rent.

So why then, also last month, have Elizabeth “Dizzy Lizzy” Campbell, Greg “Butterfingers” Hands and Johnny “Bambi” Thalassites all said the homes would be “affordable” ? This sounds rather “off” to us.

For the record, social housing and so-called affordable housing are two very different things. We believe the term “affordable ” housing to be a real misnomer as up to 80% of market rate here in North Kensington isn’t exactly very affordable to the average earner.

THINK have actually been impressed with Kim “Tailored-Sloth” in meetings in recent times and we really wouldn’t like to have to dust off one of our Piglet-Pie Awards to give him as an early Christmas present…..

Also for the record, we support these plans, but only if half of the planned homes really are for social rent like KTS has said. London, and this borough in particular, are in urgent need of social housing. What we do not need are more “buy to leave” luxury flats.

We do not ‘throw bricks” all the time and if KTS is right, we are happy to support this. It’s just a shame that senior councillors and an MP do not appear to understand the differences between social and affordable housing.

We will just tell Dizzy Lizzy, Bambi and Butterfingers to do some reading up on this issue – pronto and if RBKC reallly are going to build 300 new homes for social rent – they have our support on this and let’s please not call the whole thing off!

Empty “legal threats” from a vulture of a former RBKC councillor!

Yesterday was our Editor’s birthday and we thank everyone who sent us some wonderful and supportive messages and emails.

Some things, one cannot simply cannot make up, such as our editor of this rather satirical blog sharing her birthday with William Hogarth, for example.

The subjects and the people involved that we write about (however crazy they might appear to be to people who are unfamiliar with North Kensington and neighbouring areas) are true and while we may have our own political views and take on certain topics that not everyone will agree with; most people here recognise THINK as a legitimate and not ill-intentioned blog.

We really shouldn’t have to attempt to justify ourselves, especially when some people send us “legal threats” by proxy in a rather comedic manner; one email we received at the weekend was far from a nice email sending our Editor birthday wishes!

So here without further ado is an email we received on Saturday, in the form of these amateur mobile screenshots, from one supposed person called “Avesh Mirza” who was acting on behalf of former RBKC Labour councillor for Colville, Marianne Alapini;

Some of our readers will now be wondering what DMCA is:

No, not that! It is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, here:

Clearly Ms Alapini’s friend has the same very poor grasp of understanding the law as they do of communicating effectively in the English language.

Here, for our readers, are the two old blog posts, which Marianne Alapini objects to. (We fully stand by these posts by the way.) :

And here, for Marianne “Vulture” Alapini, is a basic lesson in some facts:

FACT: Marianne Alapini was a Labour councillor for Colville Ward in RBKC from 2002 to 2009

FACT: Marianne Alapini has not been a councillor or stood for election as a councillor since then

FACT: Marianne Alapini does not sit on any present RBKC council committees

FACT; Marianne Alapini is no longer a member of the Labour Party and has not been for a considerable number of years

FACT: Marianne Alapini in 2009 made an unsuccessful attempt to get selected as a Labour PPC for Erith and Thamesmead and had briefly been PPC in Woking the year before:

But Marianne Alapini really needs to know how to get her facts right, because here is a screenshot from her Facebook profile, in which she still claims to be a councillor at RBKC!

Delusional or what?!

Because Ms Alapini is falsely claiming to still be a councillor at RBKC and even apparently claiming to be on the newly formed Overview and Scrutiny Committee, it is more than likely that she will now receive some very real legal threats from solicitors acting on behalf of our council.

Marianne Alapini’s political career is long over and has been so for over a decade. That silly farcical amateur email gave us a good laugh and we think she should consider a comedy career instead.

Some supposedly litigious individuals perhaps really ought to “remove content” from their social media profiles long before they ever begin to attempt to threaten us….

Pheasant pluckers: A friend of a friend of Jacob Rees-Mogg……

Some reading this might be wondering why our post is headed with a picture including Rock Feilding-Mellen and Boris Johnson (somebody said they “look like they are going grouse shooting in Little Scrubs in that picture!” ) Please bear with us and all will be revealed ……

As if Grenfell survivors, the bereaved and our community hadn’t already been through enough, the last few days have been upsetting for so many here:

– The first thing was the news that the Government had put Rydon, the main contractors responsible for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, on the Crown Commercial Service Construction Works and Associated Services construction framework list – a list from which public sector bodies (including councils) can choose contractors bidding for public sector buildings (including high rises). Words really fail us sometimes.

The Government’ s response has been to blame the EU rules and say that they are not allowed to exclude Rydon Apparently Rydon could be banned if they were charged with an offence.(Well, we’re thinking along the lines of “corporate manslaughter”)

Here is what some have said on Twitter:

Here is Inside Housing with more, plus the respone from Grenfell United:

– The next thing, was hearing the recording of the LBC Radio Nick Ferrari Phone in with Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative Leader of the House (hopefully he won’t be in that position for too much longer), in which Rees-Mogg said “The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”

Grenfell United on Twitter said this:

Here is Rees-Mogg’s supposed “apology”: “I profoundly apologise. What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade’s advice to stay and wait at the time. However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone else would.What’s so sad is that the advice given overrides common sense because everybody would want to leave a burning building.I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments. With hindsight and after reading the report no one would follow that advice. That’s the great tragedy.”

Here is today’ s Daily Mirror featuring a response to that from Chair of Grenfell United and friend of this blog, Natasha Elcock:

Here is what Peter Apps, Deputy Editor of Inside Housing Tweeted:

And here is how Stormzy responded :

And here, from the LBC website is what James O’Brien said in response


We think Jacob Rees-Mogg should read this My West London piece and what Grenfell survivor Antonio Roncolato had to say:

Then Mr Rees -Mogg should have the “common sense” to resign, and the “hindsight” to think before he speaks and causes further offence to others in the future.

And as for professional pillock MP Andrew Bridgen defending him, the less said about that the better, but this from. The New Statesman, is rather good:

More about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s background here:

But Jacob isn’t as clever with regards to considering what he says as he is with putting away his finances, because if he was, then perhaps he might have remembered his friend and co-founder of Somerset Capital Management, Dominic Johnson and Dominic’s background.

Because Dominic Johnson ( no relation to Boris) is at least more than an acquaintance of “Jailhouse Rock”:

Dominic Johnson was an RBKC Conservative councillor for (the now defunct) St Charles Ward in North Kensington from 2006- 2010 – alongside Rock Feilding-Mellen and of course, a few years later, Rock Feilding-Mellen was responsible for signing off the fatal refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

Dominic was still an RBKC councillor when he co- founded Somerset Capital Management alongside Rees-Mogg, Edward Robertson and with the backing of Crispin Odey.

Someone else who we happen to regard as a “professional pillock” – and who is still an RBKC councillor, (though he was recently expelled from the Tories after being exposed campaigning for the Brexit Party) and on St Charles Ward alongside Dominic and Rock, is Cllr Matthew Palmer.

Our Prime Minister appears for some reason, to think that appointing someone who does not appear to possess empathy, and who does allegedly pay his fair share of tax, to the position of a cabinet minister, is perfectly acceptable.

Boris, when Mayor of London, also thought that making drastic cuts to our fire services was perfectly acceptable. But with an election next month, the people of this country at least have the opportunity to show him it isn’t .

And here, below, is that picture again featuring (l to r) Rock Feilding-Mellen, Matthew Palmer, Boris Johnson and Dominic Johnson.

We also wonder how well acquainted with “Jailhouse Rock” Boris Johnson happens to be ?

Bananaman and some slip-ups over social housing

Some wondering why RBKC Conservative councillor for Earl’s Court Malcolm Spalding (pictured above) is nicknamed “Bananaman” may not remember the early days of our blog and hustings at Earl’s Court and Cllr Malcolm Spalding’s hustings performance , standng in for an absent Victoria Borwick back in 2017 . So here is our old post about it from back then:

Anyway, to more current events and after protest over the threatened eviction of RBKC tenant Chloe Williams. We can bring some good news that the eviction has been halted. As of now we do not have all the details but we thank everyone who turned up to support her on the 26th of September

That evening, also at Kensington Town Hall, there was a meeting of the new RBKC Overview Scrutiny Committee – and we have more on that meeting coming up on our blog next – of which Spalding is a member.

Housing, unsurprisingly was a big subject in the meeting with very good suggestions and points made from everyone there. Well — almost everyone – because Bananaman Spalding returned to form and said that there was ” already plenty of social housing in RBKC”!!!

Really?? Everyone knows there is a huge chronic shortage of social housing here and even the Leadeship admit that! The severe shortage of housing is why sadly the council makes final offers of housing outside the borough to people – as they did to Chloe.

Conservative councillor for Pembridge, Dori Schmetterling, sitting at the back, disagreed with Bananaman’s point about “plenty of social housing” too, pointing out that there were nearly 3000 people on the RBKC housing waiting list.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Linda Wade who also represents Earl’s Court ward was not present at the meeting, but she had said this to us: “RBKC has a chronic shortage of social and affordable rented accommodation in good condition. Unfortunately, Chloe’s case is not unique. Old and young residents face challenges such as overcrowding, damp, vermin, mould and antisocial behaviour. These Dickensian conditions should not exist in Kensington and Chelsea”.

Malcolm Spalding did say there wasn’t enough intermediate housing . But we’re not too sure what he means because he did say “for keyworkers, Police. Nurses”

Well hang on a bit – with the house prices here, the vast majority of them simply can’t afford to live here in so-called affordable housing.

Let’s go back to an article from 2015 in The Guardian by Dave Hill, which features, pre-Grenfell, the notorious “Jailhouse” Rock Feilding-Mellen:

Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen, K&C’s deputy leader and its cabinet member for housing and regeneration. He tells a story of a young man from a local council house background who has become a trainee manager in the financial services sector and is paid less than £20,000 a year. The royal borough contains just under 19,000 homes for social rent – 21% of its total housing stock – and there’s a large demand for it. That young man has no hope of being allocated one of his own.He’s never going to be vulnerable enough to get the points he needs for a social rented house and market prices are impossible for him. He has no way of staying in K&C at all.” Stories like that have persuaded FeildingMellen that the council must adjust its policies to help people in that income bracket remain in a “prime central” borough containing some of the most expensive real estate on Earth.

The rationale is this: “We are keen to address the growing threat of what I call ‘the dumbbell society’, where you’ve got housing at the rich end of the spectrum and housing at the vulnerable end, but nothing in the middle.

The article goes on to housing regenerations in North Kensington:

Feilding-Mellen is very proud of the new “tenure blind” Portobello Square built byCatalyst Homes as part of the ongoingWornington Green estate rebuild and of the new homes where garages used to be on the western border of the Silchester estate, whose first phase was completed in partnership with Peabody in July. It comprises 91 homes, of which 36 are for social rent, 37 for shared ownership and 18 for private sale. The local lettings planfor the estate as a whole aims to use the regeneration as a way of rehousing some of the estate’s overcrowded families.

So what “intermediate” homes are some of these then? Here are some of the flats advertised for sale at Portobello Square (they start at around £690K ) – which are very clearly way out of the reach of people earning middle income and public sector keyworkers:

A number of tenants on the Wornington Green Estate had been lied to by shameful Catalyst housing association and RBKC , and told they would be able to return to the area after being moved away “decanted”, in some cases out of the borough and in others, even outside London. These promises were not always kept.

As for the new Peabody homes – now known as “More West” Most of the people living in Shalfleet Drive – the “mini regeneration ” at least were able to be rehoused there. But this was only because there had been enough land available – from the former Silchester garages – to fit the social homes into the development – and the decants had taken place before RBKC made drastic severe changes to its housing policy

“Jailhouse Rock” did have plans for a huge regeneration project for the rest of the Silchester Estate – which would have forced not only some social housing tenants , but also all the leaseholders on the estate out of the area for good.

It was only Grenfell that really prevented this social cleansing pet project of Rock Feilding-Mellen’s from going ahead.

We note that what Dave Hill’s piece neglected to mention was that Feilding -Mellen had bought a home in Bramley Road – right around the corner from the Silchester Estate – and was clearly hoping to “cash in ” on the regeneration for himself. (After Grenfell he resigned his Cabinet position and also moved out of the area).

The whole social and affordable housing issue really needs serious reform and this issue needs to go far higher up than (a thankfully Rock-free) Kensington Town Hall

A good thing in recent times, is that “Jailbouse Rock”‘s successor at RBKC, appears to be at least trying to do something about this. Kim Taylor-Smith has been making positive moves towards building more homes for social rent in the borough (and we also have nore coming up in our blog about this soon), but ultimately, it will be down to central Government to really make a difference.

But Bananaman has made the very same comments about social and intermediate housing before – at a Planning Committee meeting on the 27th of February this year. At that meeting, RBKC granted further planning permission for Capco to go ahead with building a few more flats on the Earl’s Court site (partly in Spalding’s ward) . There had been, outside the same meeting, a protest outside the Town Hall from the Save Earl’s Court campaigners, supported by the Radical Housing Network.

This development is currently in limbo as troubled Capco are tryimg to offload it to another developer. But the approved development (22 acres of it are in RBKC ) is for luxury flats with no homes for social rent whatsoever – hardly a solution to the housing problem.

As for the Earl’s Court site, we support this petition from the Save Earl’s Court campaigners for the Mayor of London to intervene to build the world’s greenest venue on the site of the former Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre and green homes on the site too (including social housing).

Maybe Bananaman has sometbing against campaigners and protesters? It’s just as well for him that the protesters against Chloe’s eviction, who made it into the Small Hall earlier that evening, putting up pictures of rats, mice etc (we spotted one with a sign that read “Roach BKC”) had left by the time he was speaking.

We really don’t know what Malcolm Spalding was thinking. He has been on the council since 2014 and really ought to have more knowledge of this issue. Maybe there is some truth in the old myth about people getting high on banana skins after all……