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: https://twitter.com/RBKC/status/1194292832342814721?s=19

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 RBKC Cllrs out!

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!

https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2014/feb/03/affordable-housing-meaning-rent-social-housing

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.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hogarth

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 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:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act

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.) :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/not-so-sweet-charity/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/marianne-alapini-the-vulture-returns-to-a-new-low-at-grenfell/

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:

https://www.bexleytimes.co.uk/news/controversial-labour-list-revealed-1-490213

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/5174331/Ballot-box-tampered-with-in-London-Labour-election.html

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2014/12/an-ex-cllr-and-her-colourful-employer.html?m=1

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:

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/news/grenfell-survivors-react-with-anger-over-rydons-inclusion-on-government-framework-64034

– 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:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-jacob-rees-mogg-issues-20814739.amp

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

:https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/james-obrien/james-obrien-takes-close-look-at-jacob-rees-mogg/

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

https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/i-tried-escape-impossible-grenfell-17205874

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:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2019/11/andrew-bridgen-suggests-jacob-rees-mogg-would-have-been-too-clever-die

More about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s background here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Rees-Mogg

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.

https://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/jacob-rees-mogg-quits-5-5bn-fund-boutique-for-cabinet-post/a1253334

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 in RBKC

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:

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

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).

https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-mayor-khan-intervene-to-build-green-housing-and-the-world-s-greenest-venue-in-earl-s-court

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……

THINK Halloween Special 2: A Nightmare on Hornton Street

It will come as no surprise to some, because we spend so much time at Kensington Town Hall (in fact our editor is probably the most regular resident attendee there), that we sometimes have nightmares, which involve councillors and senior staff….

One nightmare involved being on trial with Julie Mills as our barrister, Marie-Therese Rossi prosecuting, and RBKC Mayor Will Pascall as judge!

A really strange recent one had RBKC Deputy Leader Kim Taylor-Smith feeding dog food to a hen in a broom cupboard Go figure….

One day hopefully, we may be able to eventually not have nightmares, but far worse is , feeling like we exist in a permanent nightmare.

Anyway, most of what we would wish from our council appears to be impossible beyond belief. So we’ll be realistic here and will stick to Kensington Town Hall, communications and council meetings and some postive suggestions.

Just a couple of our suggestions for changes at the Town Hall since we last posted about this have been taken on board, but taken on board they were:

– We have 72 seconds of silence for Grenfell before full council meetings – of course it was1nt just us who asked for this; so did most of our community…….

– We now have displays of local art, that have replaced the pictures of former leaders and mayors

So let us again make just a few small, very realistic and very easy and doable suggestions and hope that someone is listening tbis time:

1. A Grenfell memorial as a centrepiece in Kensington Town Hall:

We do not have to explain this; it is the right and proper thing to do 💚

2. Have webcasts of ALL RBKC committee meetings

Residents deserve to know the public business and functions of this council. It is good that we have webcasts of the RBKC Full Council meetings and Leadership Team meetings but a lot of really important matters are raised in committees. Many residents cannot make it to the Town Hall on a weekday evening for various reasons, but this does not mean they happen to be reluctant to get involved or disinterested.

3. Allow residents who cannot make it to committee meetings to submit questions online in advance and have an online facility to do so :

Greater resident participation needs to be encouraged. If the questions are submitted within reasonable notice, are appropriate to the meeting, and to ensure that email responses of answers are sent back by the next day – we do not see any reason why this cannot go ahead.

4. An RBKC Housing Twitter account – and please update it regularly :

There are Twitter accoumts for many council services, but absolutely nothing on housing, which is arguably one of the biggest issues in the borough. Regular communications – in all forms- with residents particularly on tbis issue are vital.

5. “RBKC Question Time”

We think it would be a really good addition to the council calendar to have open Q & A meetings in the Town Hall, where those who live or work in RBKC have the opportunity to put rhe RBKC Leadership Team “on the spot”. As long as the questions and the residents asking them were not selected beforehand and everyone attending had a chance to ask a question or make a point, we could see a lot of local interest and participation in this.

Anyway these are just a few simple suggestions from THINK and we would be interested to know what suggestions other residents have …

We hope all our readers enjoy Halloween and please do not have nightmares!!

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

THINK Halloween Special 1: The election nightmare before Brexit?

So it’s official: a General Election will be taking place on December the 12th.

Prime Mnister Boris Johnson, pictured above (!) has in the view of many people, been turning this country into one Hell of a constitutional nightmare.

THINK say to Boris the Pumpkinhead that by repeatedly saying “Get Brexit done” like a silly advertising slogan without the backing of many of your MPs or your own voters, without a clear and workable plan, is no way to run this country. It appears that Boris has managed the feat of losing support of both Leavers amd Remainers.

Brexit of course, has been extended and remainers have been spared further nightmares by it not going ahead today.

But what may or may not happen next will depend on the outcome of the election. See this from The Independent:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-delay-extension-labour-corbyn-boris-johnson-article-50-latest-a9179371.html%3famp

Some might see this as by voting Conservative, they get hard Brexit, by voting Labour, theu get soft Brexit and by voting Lib Dem they get to remain.

But things are of course, not as straightforward as that and particularly here in Kensington, some voters may wish to take note of this:

Here is the position regarding Brexit of our sitting Labour MP Emma Dent Coad:

So while the position of some people in her party may veer towards a soft Brexit, Emma Dent Coad is a solid remainer.

As for the Conservatives here (and in nearby Battersea), have a look at this from today’s Evening Standard:

Conservatives in marginal seats in London seem to have come up with a cunning plan for any upcoming election — trying not to mention Prime Minister Boris Johnson or Brexit in their campaign literature Kim Caddy, Tory candidate for Battersea, has no mention of Johnson or leaving the EU on a recent letter to residents. Instead, her leaflets focus on “making Communities safer”, “building more homes”, and transport. Caddy is a councillor in Battersea, where she is hoping to unseat shadow minister for disabled people, Marsha de Cordova.

Similarly, Felicity Buchan, who is fighting to overturn Emma Dent Coad’s majority of 20 in Kensington and Chelsea, recently sent residents a leaflet on local issues without mentioning the former London mayor.

Buchan’s leaflet does mention a “good Brexit deal” as one of six bullet points, with the caveat: “*As of October 17th 2019. Clearly this is a developing situation.” Buchan told The Londoner the reason for leaving Johnson off the leaflet.“We are looking to introduce me to the constituency,” she said. “We have had letters sent out to constituents from the Prime Minister. I have met the Prime Minister on several occasions and we have a good working relationship.” Asked whether Mr Johnson would campaign with her in the constituency, she said: “I don’t know at the moment.” Buchan explained her decision to put Jeremy Corbyn on her leaflet: “That’s to scare people.”

Well, whatever some may or may not think of Jeremy Corbyn, it looks like voters appear to be terrified of the prospect of Boris Johnson remaining Prime Minister!

Also some Tories here appear reluctant to talk about their position on Brexit – largely because 68% of Kensington voted remain.

It is going to be very difficult for them to convince voters in this – the most marginal seat in the UK – to vote for them without giving much away as to where they actually stand on this……

Well, one candidate we have in Kensington who is not shy of admitting they are a Brexiteer is Jay Aston (of 80s group Bucks Fizz) who is standing in Kensington for the Brexit Party.

So far we have not heard from any residents who have received any Brexit Party leaflets – yet Unfortunately this snap election makes holding hustings rather difficult,so it looks like there won’t be an opportunity for us to ask all the candidates to share their “Euro Visions” (or not) with us and answer our questions in person

As for the Lib Dems, this is what a THINKer has received from them today:

Former minister Sam Gyimah was a Conservative MP until recently, and some remainers may not be so convinced by his entire voting record in Parliament over Brexit. Here are a few excerpts of his voting record taken from our blog post about him this week:
On 7 Dec 2016:Sam Gyimah voted in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and in favour of starting the process by 31 March 2017.
On 13 Mar 2017:Sam Gyimah voted against guaranteeing EU derived rights, and the potential to acquire residency rights, for EU and EEA citizens legally resident in the UK.
On 13 Dec 2017:Sam Gyimah voted to allow ministers to withdraw the UK from the European Economic Area, the European single market.
On 17 Jan 2018:Sam Gyimah voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Read the full post here

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/29/kensington-lib-dem-fail-2-enter-sam-the-carpetbagger/

The leaflet also contains a brief biography (below) which omits the fact that he stood as a Tory Leadership contender and briefly fancied his chances of being Prime Minister only this Summer!

Perhaps Jay Aston might want to treat Sam to a rendition of “Making your mind up”?

So some Liberal Democrats may not be convinced Sam Gyimah is one of them. In fact, he has only been a Lib Dem since last month.

But let’s face facts here, Kensington Constituency is really a two horse race between Emma Dent Coad MP for Labour (a remainer) and Felicity Buchan (a leaver) for the Conservatives. There are omly 20 votes in tbis, the mpst marginal seat in the UK, so every vote counts.

So THINK urge everyone here, of whatever political persuasion, to go out and voteand to to do wisely.

Because who knows what possible horrors could lie in wait if you don’t?

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Today’s TMO AGM postponed: Now time to try and clear some cobwebs…..

We will start by saving KCTMO resident members a trip to Queen’s Gate this evening by announcing that today’s TMO AGM has been postponed.

The AGM is now due to go ahead on Monday 25th November at 6:30pm at Baden-Powell House, 65 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5JS.

Pictured above, is Kerry Tromanhauser. He is Company Secretary of KCTMO. The letter notifying residents of the change of date of the AGM was from him.

As most people here know, the TMO is in place and has to stay in place as an organisation solely for legal purposes and being answerable to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Also as most people know, yesterday the report of Phase One of the Inquiry Report came out. We will not respond to and post on this until we have read the report in full and until the survivors and the bereaved and others comcerned have had the opportunity to fully make their responses. But here is a brief summary from Inside Housing:

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/grenfell-inquiry-round-up-of-sir-martin-moore-bicks-phase-one-conclusions-63928

Many resident members still question how close the workings of the TMO are to RBKC.

Well, we can help here; Kerry Tromanhauser is also Interim Director of Governance and Compliance at RBKC and has been so since September 2017

Now, this does appear to cast the decision of RBKC to abolish the Grenfell Recovery Scrutiny Committee and the role of Heather Wills, Interim Director of Governance and Coordination at RBKC who was behind the RBKC Scrutiny Arrangement Report and recommendations and her very poor efforts to communicate and consult with residents on this in a rather bad light indeed.

See our last Grenfell Scrutiny blog posts here:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/05/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-1-the-build-up-and-the-showdown/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/16/grenfell-scrutiny-and-the-summer-of-our-discontent-part-2-grenfell-committee-gets-the-chop-as-dizzy-lizzy-and-rbkc-lose-their-heads-the-full-council-meeting/

Matters of communicating and consulting with residents (or not!) brings us to another (but not completely unconnected) matter that troubles us greatly.

Again like in our last TMO post :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2019/10/21/kctmo-add-insult-to-injury-and-put-their-foot-in-it-again/

Many resident members have not received a letter about the postponement of today’s TMO AGM.

Mi-Voice and its “Delivery Director” Tony Slater are STILL responsible for managing the the votes, proxy votes and for correspondence to and from KCTMO to resident members.

Tony Slater and Mi-Voice were in charge of the voting at this fiasco:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/never-mind-the-ballots-at-kctmo-kensingtons-allegedly-corrupt-terrible-mismanagement-organisation/

As Mr Tromanhauser has a law degree , perhaps he can try and answer this: Given the legal position of KCTMO, is it a good idea to retain the services of a company that has not only managed votes in a dubious fashion (proxy votes not registered or not supposedly received, not all resident members notified, unsecured ballot boxes after there had been none provided) , but whose services were used by the previous incarnation of the TMO – when the TMO was managing (or not) RBKC’s housing stock before the Grenfell Tower fire?

This is from TMO papers in 2016:

And this is also taken from a TMO Board Report around the same time:

173 bed “Hotel Hell” in Notting Hill Gate set to be approved by RBKC this evening

We apologise for the very short notice, but at 6:30 this evening, there is a meeting of the RBKC Planning Committee at Kensington Town Hall over plans submitted by developer Frogmore, for a 6 storey, 173 bedroom hotel at 146-164 Notting Hill Gate (where M & S Simply Food is currently located) .

The agenda and details are here:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/committees/Meetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/669/Meeting/8014/Committee/1568/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

RBKC’s planning officers have recommended this scheme for approval.

The plans are opposed by the local residents’ associations and groups including the Hillgate Village Residents Association, the Ladbroke Association, the Pembridge Association and Bulmer Mews Residents.

There have been 63 letters objecting and just 4 letters supporting the plans.

We note that the plans appear to show that the height and mass of the proposed building are double that of the present one, causing very significant loss of light to the nearby residents.

We also note that the plans are out of character with the local area and the works will cause very severe disturbance to the community.

We are concerned that allowing increasingly taller buildings here as has happened in some other parts of London, sets a bad precedent for Notting Hill Gate and for other high streets in the borough, ruining the character, landscape and skyline of the local area.

We believe that a hotel of this size would cause significant increases in pollution and congestion in the area from hotel guests using taxis and ubers in an already bighly polluted and congested part of London.

Some of what little public support we have seen for this scheme, appears to suggest that this hotel would significantly benefit local businesses.

Having looked at what type of hotel this would supposedly be (the developers have said a boutique hotel but the plans seem to point more to a Travelodge/Premier Travel Inn type of hotel) we believe this to be greatly exaggerated. These tend to be short stay places and larger hotels like this one, have an in-house restaurant/bar with diiscounts for their guests. (a restaurant is included in the plans ).

This hotel in our view would detract from the character of the area and would only be of real benefit financially to developers and the company running the hotel.

We believe that Notting Hill Gate could do with some changes to improve this high street, but the size and character of this proposed hotel is inappropriate and unsympathetic to the location, and is obviously deeply unpopular with residents. We do not have anything wrong with a hotel in the area per se but this is far too big in size and scale and intrusive to nearby residents.

THINK urge the council and the developers to listen to the views of local residents, and for Frogmore to reconsider this and to come back with a different plan that takes the views and requirements of the local community fully on board.

Have a 💚 for Grenfell and North Kensington

This week has been very difficult for survivors, bereaved and the surrounding North Kensington comnunity.

The report of Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry report is due to be released today, and many of the survivors and bereaved have been going through their advance copies of the report.

Sadly some of the media and press have chosen not to respect this and leaked information ahead of publication ; something which has caused many of those directly affected further suffering. Also, members of our community who are traumatised, are now having to put up with media intrusion. This is unacceptable.

We cannot comment too much on what we have or haven’ t read or heard, but let us just say that we believe that any attempt to smear the brave firefighters who came to the rescue of many in Grenfell Tower and the walkways on that night, is also unacceptable.

What is even more unacceptable in the minds of all affected here, and has been from the start, is the possiibility of the parties responsible not being brought to justice.

Here is a press release from our MP Emma Dent Coad, that has been posted on the Grenfell Action Group:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2019/10/27/grenfell-inquiry-interim-report-what-we-fear/

THINK stands here today with thoughts of the 72, their families and friends, the survivors and all affected in our community in our minds and deep in our hearts. We hope to support one another and stay strong as a community together throughout this and hope that others unfamiliar to Grenfell and our community will try to show respect and understanding.

💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

HELP AND SUPPORT:

Here are the contact details for the NHS Grenfell Health and Wellbeimg Service who will be at both Notting Hill Methodist Church and The Curve from 10:30am today

Wednesday 30 October: How to contact us

The SPACE will also be open this evening from 8pm to 11pm (note: this is not open to the press and is for members of the local community)

https://www.nottingdale.org/

Kensington Lib Dem fail #2: Enter Sam the Carpetbagger

Today we have heard that the Lib Dems have suddenly replaced Rabina Khan as their candidate for Kensington constituency with Sam Gyimah, who defected to the Lib Dems from the Conservatives.

No, it is not because Rabina has suddenly done anything drastic (we understand she is not responsible for their appalling leaflets by the way). It appears that some delusional top brass in Lib Dem ranks, appear to think that by just parachuting in “names” into central London seats, they can actually win them from third place ( !)

Actually things do not quite work like that. This constuency is one of the most socially and culturally diverse seats in the UK. It also has pockets of economic deprivation, particularly in the north of the seat, and is home to Grenfell, the scene of a national disaster two years ago in which 72 lives were lost. We do not take kindly to people jumping in here and only appearing to represent themselves.

Therefore if Sam Gyimah really wants to stand any chance of representing us, ought to show that he has a good understanding of all the local issues here. Since he is refusing to stand down as an MP from Surrey East (where he was elected as a Conservative), we cannot on the face of it, see much commitment on his part to this area.

We have not seen any references or connections that he has to this area. At least Rabina Khan who did not have local connections here, did have some background working in housing in London with disadvantaged people.

So what of Sam’s commitment to the Liberal Democrats? Well, he has only been a Lib Dem for little over a month. This account of a car crash TV interview with him may not offer Lib Dem voters much comfort:

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1178172/Brexit-News-BBC-Breakfast-Sam-Gyimah-Liberal-Democrats/amp

Mr Gyimah admitted he “did not know the detail of every Lib Dem policy” after appearing to be uncomfortable with the party’s stance on winter fuel allowance.

This does not look good, to say the least.

So what of his remain credentials? THINK had a look at his voting record as an MP and found a few things here may also offer little comfort to remainers :
On 15 Jun 2016: Sam Gyimah was absent for a vote on European Union Membership
On 6 Jul 2016: Sam Gyimah was absent for a vote on EU Nationals Currently Living in the UK — Right to Remain
On 14 Sep 2016: Sam Gyimah was absent for a vote on UK Withdrawal from Membership of the European Union
On 7 Dec 2016: Sam Gyimah voted in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and in favour of starting the process by 31 March 2017.
On 1 Feb 2017: Sam Gyimah voted to empower the Prime Minister to give notification of the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union.
On 8 Feb 2017: Sam Gyimah voted to empower the Prime Minister to give notification of the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the European Union.
On 8 Feb 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against the UK remaining a member of the European Atomic Agency Community (Euratom) when withdrawing from the European Union and against treating leaving Euratom separately from leaving the European Union.
On 13 Mar 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against guaranteeing EU derived rights, and the potential to acquire residency rights, for EU and EEA citizens legally resident in the UK.
On 11 Sep 2017 : Sam Gyimah voted to end the supremacy of EU law in UK law; to convert EU law into domestic law on the UK’s exit from the European Union and to give ministers the power to correct deficiencies in retained EU law.
On 14 Nov 2017: Sam Gyimah voted not to require courts or tribunals to have regard to anything done on or after exit day by the European Court, another EU entity or the EU.
On 14 Nov 2017: Sam Gyimah voted to end the supremacy of EU law in domestic law and to remove the mechanism which enables the flow of new EU law into UK law.
On 21 Nov 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against retaining general principles of EU law derived from EU treaties, direct EU legislation and EU directives, as part of UK law after the UK leaves the EU, and voted to only retain those general principles deriving from European Court [of justice] case law.
On 21 Nov 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights remaining part of UK law on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
On 21 Nov 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against requiring the UK Government to report on changes to EU legislation which form part of UK law, and against requiring the Government to consider adopting such changes to ensure that the rights of workers and employees in the UK are no less favourable than they would have been had the UK remained a member of the EU or EEA.
On 12 Dec 2017 :Sam Gyimah voted to allow laws which were required by the UK’s membership of the European single market to be weakened, removed or replaced by Ministers after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
On 13 Dec 2017: Sam Gyimah voted to allow ministers to withdraw the UK from the European Economic Area, the European single market.
On 20 Dec 2017: Sam Gyimah voted against the UK retaining the EU’s common customs tariff and common commercial policy

And just look at this one:
On 17 Jan 2018: Sam Gyimah voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

Oh wait, there’s still more….
On 13 Jun 2018: Sam Gyimah voted against largely retaining the EU “Charter of Fundamental Rights” as part of UK law following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union
On 17 Jul 2018: Sam Gyimah voted against making retaining membership of the European medicines regulatory network a government objective.
On 28 Jan 2019: Sam Gyimah voted to confirm the rights of Irish citizens to enter and remain in the UK without permission but to otherwise make European Union, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and their family members, subject to UK immigration controls.
On 1 Apr 2019: Sam Gyimah was absent for a vote on EU Withdrawal and Future Relationship — Motion (C) Customs Union

April fool? He must take some people for a fool, but the Kensington electorate are no fools and after many see this, it is very unlikely that “Carpetbagger Sam” will get anywhere further than third place here.