Wringing the wrong numbers: A poor reception for Shaun Bailey

Conservative London Mayoral candiate, Shaun Bailey, is making a long overdue return to tbis blog today.

The Dame on From The Hornets Nest http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/?m=1 had this to say on him last December:

Over a sandwich lunch, the Dame endured an hour of Bailey talking incoherent rubbish. Not once did he ask a question. He behaved like a mobile phone salesman not the potential mayor of a super city. So we thought we would do the Photoshop honours….

Recently, THINKers received a copy of his election leaflet disguised as a magazine “London Life”

In this publication, Bailey seems very keen to play up his less privileged background in North Kensington …

Here’s what homes in the North Kensington street Shaun Bailey grew up in go for these days:

Rags to riches? But Bailey’s supposed answer to homelessness and the housing crisis in the capital was to ridiculously suggest encouraging London’s 62,670 homeless households (and that official figure doesn’t include “hidden homeless” – people “sofa surfing ” or living in overcrowded households) to apply for shared ownersbip!

No answers as to how cash strapped homeless bouseholds might somehow out of thin air, be able to get the ¬£5,000 deposit together or acknowledgment of the fact at all that unemployed people, those on lower incomes and some who work but do not always have the guaranteed regular level of regular income, wouldn’t be accepted in the first place.

Rightly, fellow Kensington blog The Steeple Times was very scathing about this, calling Bailey “Moron of the Moment”:

https://www.thesteepletimes.com/the-fog/shaun-bailey-homeless/

Here’s more from Shaun Bailey’s political leaflet-disguised-as-a-magazine, an interview with Karren Brady:

Still on housing, he talks about building more supposedly “affordable homes” . Well we have a few of what are deemed as these , built by Catalyst Housing on the regenerated former Wornington Green Estate (now Portobello Square) – another part of North Kensington where Bailey used to live – they start at ¬£600k and many are sitting empty, but hey, who cares, let’s just go and build some more! Like that’s going to solve the ptoblem….

Perhaps he could look into building more SOCIAL housing to help with the homelessness issue? Though it’s clear he isn’t even prepared to bother entertaining that thought and social housing is not mentioned ANYWHERE in this leaflet

Bailey does mention Sadiq Khan spending money on building homes to rent and that he will instead divert the cost for that into homes to buy – but who for?

Also, if Bailey doesn’t want to be “moron of the moment” he might just spare a thought for some of the Londoners who did buy into the dream of owning their own home under the shared ownership scheme, only for that dream to turn to dust, because of costs due to the cladding and fire safety scandal leaving them facing bankruptcy and homelessness (the Fire Safety Bill returns to the Commons today); but no, it appears Mr Bailey has absolutely nothing to say on this – he is merely aspiring to be Boris Johnson’s puppet at City Hall and is perfectly content to sit there while his “master” happily pulls the strings and sends hard-working people down the river…..

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/thousands-trapped-decade-london-cladding-scandal-b917899.html

As for crime prevention, for someone who has masses of experience as a youth worker , Bailey has previously made positive encouraging noises elsewhere about providing 62 new youth centres to help , but where is the money to do this actually going to come from? Who knows, he seems to have completely forgotten about that.

He also seems to have forgotten about this

http://fromthehornetsnest.blogspot.com/2020/02/bail-out-of-bailey.html?m=1

What little the magazine does say of his policies on crime is of him supposedly providing 8,000 more Police Officers. How? He just says he will cut bureaucracy such as offfice costs but fails to say anything more about that. He does mention that he will partly fund this with revenue gained from introducing corporate sponsorship of the tube lines and stations, but this also appears to be the only solution he offers to sort out the TfL financial crisis. Again, no costings, no further details.

As well corporate sponsorship of the tube being a much-loathed and vulgar idea in the eyes of many Londoners (“Coca- Cola Hill Gate Station” anyone? ), Bailey, despite the mentions of where he grew up, again forgets his roots and perhaps ought to be aware of the public outcry and upset around here that happened a few years ago when someone made the suggestion of changing the name of Latimer Road Station .

The outside of Latimer Road is currently about to be redecorated as part of a local arts project, but we guess since he hasn’t been here for years, Bailey doesn’t seem to know or care how offensive and upsetting it would be if green hearts and children’s artwork outside the nearest tube station to Grenfell, the site of our comnunity’s loss, were replaced by garish advertisement signs, billboards and disrespectful name changes. As it is, despite this leaflet/magazine being received right around the corner from Grenfell, there is no mention of Grenfell or any present day acknowledgment of his former community in it at all.

“You’re hired”? We wouldn’t hire Shaun Bailey to run a bath!

His wife Ellie Bailey isn’t standing of course, but obviously his party only just realised just how flimsy and daft Bailey’s supposed policies are, have given up and decided to desperately look for votes by going with the “nice guy” “family man” personality angle.

Just how “hugely passionate” about the environment is Shaun Bailey? His wife doesn’t say apart fron the obvious how bad London’s air is and neither does he. Nothing at all on a subject which many Londoners are genuinely ” passionate” about. .

As for Shaun Bailey in the classroom, it has been reported elsewhere that he was apparently described by a teacher as “gobby and dangerous” – make of that what you will….

Finally we get “9 Questions with Shaun Bailey” Disappointed THINKers saw no burning questions get put to Mr Bailey here, just silly small talk. We’re only surprised they didn’t ask him what his favourite biscuits were….

Also Ellie Bailey might want to send the makers of this leaflet/magazine back to school as they managed to get the year of the election wrong; it’s this year – the 6th of May in fact.

And no, we don’t think he will win.

We think that, with his constant gaffes like this recent one –https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/downing-street-refuses-to-say-stand-by-shaun-bailey-sarah-everard-comments-b923546.html which has appeared to alienate some of those on his own side, the absence of genuine policies and his lack of knowledge over most of the serious issues this city faces, that Shaun Bailey might struggle to scrape second place.

That phone sbop beckons……

Fire safety and Conservative controversy : Playing politics or playing with fire?

Image: “Houses of Parlianent in Grenfell-Style cladding” by Zoom Rockman from Private Eye 2017

Over a week ago, on Monday the 7th of September in the House of Commons, the Fire Safety Bill passsed its first reading. This did not go without controversy as Conservative MPs voted to defeat a Labour amendment to the Bill.

Read the debate in full here:

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2020-09-07c.410.2#g441.0

Our local Kensington MP, Felicity Buchan voted with her party and unsurprisingly this has not gone down too well with some locals and supporters of our community Here are some reactions on social media:

Here are some reactions from Labour

And here is what Felicity Buchan had to say :

Fanning the flames?

What do we think? Well, as sure as dogs bark, and cats meow; most MPs vote with their party , so we cannot say we are exactly too surprised if our Conservative Party MP obeys the whip and toes the party line.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that residents and local community groups who have had postive meetings with Felicity Buchan before and some who held out hope that she might have taken a stand on this, do feel very betrayed and angry.

Kensington MP Felicity Buchan

But is all what it seems?

Here is some of what Gill Kernick in excellent fellow North Kensington blog The Grenfell Enquirer has to say:

This was a vote about certain specific amendments to the Fire Safety Bill as proposed by Labour. It was not a vote about whether or not to bring the Recommendations from the Inquiry into law, which is what seems to be being reported.
It is also unclear whether these amendments are sound… And we don’t seem to be considering that.

Read the blog post in full here:

Grenfell, the Conservative vote & why we are missing the point

And this is what a Conservative source said to us about the Labour amendment: “Labour put down what is known as a ‘wrecking amendment’, designed for the Government to vote down. It’s a typical opposition ploy that all parties do in opposition. An example would be an amendment to the Queen’s Speech (which the Government has to pass), saying that nurses should get a pay rise; the Government duly votes against and the opposition then says the Government doesn’t think nurses deserve a pay rise, even though that might not be the case ”

Fair point – that’s party politics we guess – but a further Conservative source told us they believe that “everything will be done in the end in the right sequence”. Sadly, THINKers do not share their confidence in this.

While not all Conservatives have approached this Bill and issues of fire safety with bad intentions, we have little faith for other reasons that this Conservative Government will ever really act and put the necessary changes into place, and here are a few brief glimpses into why…..

No smoke without fire

Inside Housing also reported from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on Monday the 7th of September and over emails between (Grenfell Tower contractor) Rydon’s Commercial Manager Zak Maynard and sub-contractor Harley Facades, with Maynard’s email saying “and we are quids in!” as a result of savings made by switching to the cheaper (and far deadlier) aluminium composite cladding.

Private equity firm Coller Captial, fron 2009 until 2015, owned a fifth of Rydon, through Jersey-based Cavendish Square Partners, and the boss and founder of Coller Capital, Jeremy Coller also donated money to the Conservative Party in the same year.

Last year, Private Equity News reported that Boris Johnson’s brother, forner Minister Jo Johnson (who will soon be in the House of Lords), was set to be the ghostwriter of Mr Coller’s autobiography.

Also elevated to the House of Lords by Boris Johnson this year along with his brother, is another high profile Conservative, Sir Edward Lister. Forner Leader of Wandsworth Council from 1992-2011 where he was controversially known to have sold off council housing to absentee investors, after that , Lister, known as Eddie to his friends, (who include the notorious Peter Bingle), became Boris’ London Deputy Mayor with responsibility for policy and planning until 2016, when he was appointed as Chair of the Government’s housing regulator the the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which later became part of Homes England in 2018.

Boris Johnson & Sir Edward Lister

At the beginning of this year the Financial Times reported that Lister had last year “joined the board of a Jersey-based holding company for a housing start-up (TopHat) without any public disclosure” and that his “directorship was not announced by the government or the company and it does not have to be disclosed in Jersey, meaning there was no way for the public or bosses of rival housing companies to find out about the role.

One board member of the HCA under Lister, was Anthony Preiskel, who had a background as a property developer and also sat on the board of KCTMO during the Grenfell Tower refurbishment and was there until 2017 just after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Back to some more Twitter responses and here is what fire safety expert Phil Murphy had to say:

This is the British Standards Institution, the national standards body responsible for technical standards and safety.

We thought to have a closer look at some of the membership of the board of the BSI:

One Non-Executive Director of BSI since last year, is Ian Lobley. Mr Lobley’s background was as Managing Partner at 3i Group plc, the FTSE 100 international investor focused on mid-market private equity and infrastructure. The same year that Coller Capital invested in Rydon, they also invested in Mr Lobley’s conpany.

This might seem like a slight deviation on our part from the main subjects of fire safety and homes, but many like us would hope to see some indication of the focus of those on regulatory safety boards to not be purely profit-driven.

Moving back firmly to the main subjects of this blog post, another Non-Executive Director of the BSI is Douglas Hurt, who also happens to be a Non-Executive Director of new homes developer Countryside Properties Plc, where he is also Chair of their Audit Committee .

Safety first? People before profit? We’re not so sure about that…...

An example of how Countryside Properties treats some of their leaseholders can be found here

Claims made by the Government and their supporters that they are fully committed to fire safety in homes and people before may also appear to be extinguished in the minds of some when looking through a list of Conservative Party donors over the past decade and seeing where their interests and priorities lie:

John Bloor of Bloor Homes has donated over £1.6million, Residential Land Ltd have donated over £200,000, Canary Wharf Group have donated over £135,000, regular Tory Conference sponsors Thakeham Homes have donated around. £120,000.

Developers of Millbank Tower Reuben Brothers РDavid and Simon Рalso have, according to the Financial Times , donated nearly £200,000 .

Reuben Brothers are also the developers partly behind Paddington Walk where leaseholders have had to pay out £3.5 million to have dangerous cladding removed.

Jamie Ritblat of Delancey reportedly donated ¬£50,000 to the Conservative Party shortly before his company purchased the former Olympic Village (which is now “East Village E20”) for redevelopment at a knock down price.

Delancey are now part- owners of the Earl’s Court Site, having bought it from Capco late last year.

Other notable Conservative donors in the property development business have also have included Nick Candy, Tony Gallagher of Countywide Developments Ltd the late Tony Pidgeley of the Berkeley Group and also media magnate and former pornographer Richard “Dirty Des” Desmond of Northern and Shell – his alleged dealings with Tories and the Government over the Westferry Printworks housing scheme and affordable housing do not make for comfortable reading for some. See this:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8416475/Boris-Johnson-billionaire-Richard-Desmond-120m-property-scandal.h

…Which certainly calls into question the conduct of Boris Johnson and especially that of Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

So any hopeful residents looking to Jenrick for action will likely be in for huge disappointment as he seems to think his top priorities in the job are being the developers’ BFF and advertising Taylor Wimpey – that’s if he lasts much longer in his post that is.

He who pays the piper calls the tune?

To us, all the above just points to self-regulation from this Government, with their friends in certain places bending Ministerial ears towards their own interests. (We could say worse, but as a little North Kensington community blog, we do not have the resources to handle encounters with multi-millionaire property tycoons and their lawyers.)

Burning issues

So THINK will not be flooding Felicity Buchan’s inbox with complaints; we do know she reads our blog and we hope she sees this post and our points and concerns.

It is not purely just the regulations or lack of that we feel fired up about in this case; it is questions of independence of some of those who are supposed to be in charge of regulating, the transparency issues or possible conflicts of interest there may be in some cases, and we agree firmly with the Grenfell Enquirer on the point about lack of accountability structure.

And while it still may be early days, from how we have seen of the primary interests of the Prine Minister and several of his colleagues and how some of them appear to operate (the cronyism, the cosy relationships with property development bigwigs for example) . We have seen enough in the way of indicators as to whom and what Boris and his Government colleagues may or may not take notice of to have more than just a hunch that they will do very little.

After all, some of those who are in charge are and were, part of the problem in the first place.

We‘re sorry to state the obvious , but people voted for Johnson’s Government and this is what we are stuck with; which is far from reassuring to all the residents living in homes with potentially dangerous materials and other possible fire safety hazards..

So we will leave the last word with one such resident whose Tweet says it all really:

Leaflets, lies and Piglet-Pies

A local resident has shown us a¬† local Conservative Party leaflet from March , which tells an absolutely outrageous lie.¬† Let’s see if our readers can spot it too:

Some THINKers  are part of the Save Wornington Colkege campaign and we know that  NOT ONE  Conservative councillor supported the campaign to save the College, let alone worked with  the campaigners Рwhat a nerve!


David Lindsay did reluctantly turn up to the open community meeting Рbecause this THINKer persuaded him to Рas  we still  felt RBKC was not listening to the voices of our community . Cllr Lindsay had not  been  supporting  the campaign or working with any of us to save Wornington College  and the same goes for all his other RBKC Tory colleagues. 

It was former minister Anne Milton and the Government FE Commissioners who listened to the campaigners and the community when they  put the case to them  as to why we need  our College  Рand the Government who  provided the money Рnot Conservative  councillors and not the RBKC Leadership

Also, the FE commissioners were not  exactly too happy with  the  dealings at KCC and the way in which the College was sold to the council at a knock down price for luxury flats Рsomething which  a few  Conservative councillors shamefully had a role in.

We bet they won’t be¬† putting the fact that RBKC Tories were actually otherwise¬† prepared to completely ignore the needs of our community and go ahead with their property development¬† scheme on the Wornington Site ¬† – on a¬† campaign leaflet…..


RBKC had no choice but to agree to the terms Рthey had to because the Save Wornington College campaign, supported by the  community, students and staff persuaded the Government of the vital importance of  locally provided further education in helping the people of North Kensington  recover after Grenfell.


We would like to know who is personally responsible for this leaflet (and they must have something seriously the matter with them  to imagine they could get away with this)  Рbecause THINK cannot possibly give one of our Piglet-Pie Awards  to an entire political party!  Or can we?

We guess their Chairman, Andrew “Bully Beef” Foster will have to do the “honours”…..

So for members of¬† his party campaigning on¬† outrageous fibs,¬† for¬† the¬† claim¬† that Conservative councillors worked with the campaign –¬† which they didn’t of course, – for trying to take credit for helping to save Wornington¬†College (they didn’t help to save it¬† – they didn’t care)¬† and for having the outright cheek to put this leaflet through the door of a member of the Save Wornington College campaign member’s door, THINK present Andrew Foster, Chairman of Kensington Chelsea and Fulham Conservatives (KCFC)¬† with a Piglet-Pie Award:


We know it probably wasn’t¬†Bully Beef who came up with¬†the leaflet but they’ll probably never tell us who did. Whichever idiot¬† is responsible ought to have their¬† party political¬† career put in the KCFC bargain bucket bin for good.

Saga of the Mayor of London and the “Tower of Mordor”

THINK are going on a journey down memory lane – or rather, Cromwell Road in South Kensington and to the Holiday Inn Forum Hotel:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/judgement-day-is-also-here-for-south-kensington-and-the-holiday-inn-forum/

Hardly a soul in this borough supported this development – most of the councillors regardless of which political side they were on – certainly didn’t. From the then Labour MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad and her party colleagues – notably Sina Lari (who is a resident of South Kensington) also Lib Dem Cllr Linda Wade and Conservatives – particularly the local Courtfield councillors Greg Hammond, Janet Evans and Quentin Marshall – and also Cem Kemahli (pre-cabinet when he was on the Planning Committee)

Most agreed and listened to the residents – there were over 800 objections after all – who would be facing years of noise, dirt and disruption to an already severely polluted part of London, their skyline and streetscape ruined and a loss of light that the developer’s supposedly flattering computerised images and salesman patter could not disguise.

We covered RBKC rejecting the proposals back then in this blog post:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/some-good-news-for-south-kensington-residents-holiday-inn-forum-plans-rejected/

After that long and gruelling meeting of the Planning Committee at the end of September 2018 in which the council roundly rejected the plans, we warned people at the end of the post that this would likely not end here.

How right we were; sure enough, they came back as we predicted, using the housing issue – there were 62 “affordable” (we’re getting sick and tired of this misleading term) to put this through to the Mayor of London, who called in the scheme just over a month later.

Queen’s Gate councillor Maxwell Woodger had referred to the scheme in a Full Council meeting as ” replacing the most unpopular tower with the Tower of Mordor” , which might sound dramatic to some, but Cllr Woodger is a local councillor to some of the communities affected and we had previously seen evidence from residents which showed that nearby streets would indeed be shrouded in darkness from the two towers – one 30 storeys high and the other 21 storeys.

But City Hall and the Mayor of London fell for developers Rockwell Properties and Queensgate Investment Ltd and their scheme and had already decided they were going to force this on residents come what may and in June 2019, Sadiq Khan approved the scheme (having called it in the Autumn before after RBKC rejected it) citing the number of “affordable” homes provided in the scheme and the shortage of “affordable” homes in our borough.

This was not the end of the matter however and our council, with Johnny Thalassites, RBKC Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning and its Legal Team at the helm as well as local Residents’ Associations – 30 of them objecting to the scheme – went to the High Court and applied for a judicial review and also for full documents to be disclosed to the RBKC Legal Team

This was granted and during the judicial review earlier this year , it turned out that Sadiq Khan had deliberately not provided relevant documents to our council and had tried to bypass Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Govermment.

The Judge quashed the Mayor’s approval decision and agreed with RBKC that he had acted improperly. Khan conceded to the judgement and admitted that his purpose had been to frustrate the Government. His office was ordered to pay RBKC legal costs of ¬£90,000.

Whatever some may or may not think of Sadiq Khan policywise, there is no debating the fact that he is a highly intelligent and accomplished statesman . So the mystery to some was why the Mayor would behave in such a cavalier, arrogant and dishonest way over this.

Khan’s actions over this have damaged whatever credibility he may have had with voters here and we certainly do not envy Kensington Labour Party campaigners who will be in for a very hard time from residents on the doorsteps next year – that’s if they can find enough local Labour members who will happily defend Khan’s behaviour that is….

So was the Mayor of London just overly keen to engage in a pointless game of party political ping pong with the Government and RBKC ? Or did he just have something against Kensington locals and assume that people who didn’t want this here were just being a bunch of nimbys or snobs?

Possibly neither as THINK might have a possible answer to this, as we can reveal that developer Rockwell Property are not just clients of PR property lobbying firm Cratus , they are also clients of Peter Bingle and Terrapin Communications, who have featured in this blog several times before, notably here and here.

This picture below shows just how close Bingle gets to Khan. We wonder if he treated him to a few nice lunches with a side order of some “helpful” suggestions on-behalf of his Terrapin clients? Nothing mentioned in Sadiq’s entry in the City Hall gifts and hospitality register about this either – the shame of it.

Hands gets slap on the wrist : Time to get tough with MPs

This is Greg “Butterfingers” Hands, Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham.

Butterfingers doesn’t make nearly as many appearance as he should in this blog (that will probably soon be rectified) and gets his nickname partly from outbursts on Twitter like this from 2018 :

Check yourself before you wreck yourself? Does the delusional Mr Hands think he is rapper Ice Cube?!! ūüėÜūüėāūü§£

We think Butterfingers should have ” checked himself” before he decided to send out local campaign and update letters on House of Commons stationery to the tune of ¬£4,865.

The Parliamentary Commissioner and the Committee on Standards ruled that Butterfingers broke the rules as House of Commons stationery is for direct communiciation as a Member of Parliament only and not for updates on campaigns and issues.

Hands had insisted the letters were not of a political nature, and that they were intended to save unneccesary expenditure. Surely he meant to “use public money to save the Conservative Party expenditure” because we sometimes receive similar letters from Kensington MP Felicity Buchan – sent on Conservative Party local HQ stationery instead.

Anyway, Butterfingers received a slap on the wrist and just has to apologise and pay back the money back.

This might not sound like the most serious breach of rules, but if one of Butterfingers’ constituents did this with nearly ¬£5,000 of resources at their workplace for campaign purposes , they would likely get the sack and possibly face criminal charges.

MPs misusing House of Commons stationery for political communications is hardly a new thing . Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (and also former RBKC resident) Matt Hancock also previously got into trouble back in 2014 for this.

But Greg Hands’ and Matt Hancock’s breaches of the rules pale in comparison to Conor Burns, who used House of Commons stationery to send veiled threats to a firm with whom his father had a dispute with. The Dame also had a few words to say on this here

Burns had to resign as a Trade Minister and only got suspended from the House of Commons for 5 days for this

Surely the public deserve better than this?

And don’t even get us started on other MPs misdemenours (involving personal expenses, alllowances and jobs on the side) otherwise this blog post would go on foreveer…..

As it is , we are only members of the public and our views will probably not be taken seriously, but we will put a few brief suggestions down here regardless:

– Have the Parliamentary rules set and enforced by a truly independent public body – and not one consisting of MPs themselves and ano anyone anything with a membership of partisan peers and any other MPs” friends please

– Stop MPs from approving their own pay (who else gets to do this?!)

– Pay MPs an executive salary and in return ban them from having any jobs on the side and ban all allowances and expenses on the side too. (One could say that Butterfingers also used to be MP for BNP Paribas until January tbis year!)

There will always be some (more often than not the very Parliamentarians themselves) who say that if this country ever did this, then the “right people” would be put off from standing for Parliament. Well which “right people” would these be?

If that would mean no more unauthorised election campaigning, no more “MPs for hire” , no more vested interests, and no more luxury goods and services being sneakily procured from the public purse – that would hopefully mean no more of the lazy carpetbaggers, spivs and charlatans standing for Parliament – and this country would be so much the better for it.

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‚Äôs read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you‚Äôre 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‚Äôt happen.”

Grenfell United on Twitter said this:

Here is Rees-Mogg’s supposed “apology”: ‚ÄúI profoundly apologise. What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade‚Äôs advice to stay and wait at the time. However, with what we know now and with hindsight I wouldn‚Äôt and I don‚Äôt think anyone else would.What‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ?

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 ‚Äúdid not know the detail of every Lib Dem policy‚ÄĚ after appearing to be uncomfortable with the party‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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.

¬†Matthew Palmer’s offensive behaviour lands him in trouble

Pictured above is RBKC Conservative Cllr Matthew Palmer. Cllr Palmer has made several appearances on this blog before – here are just a few of them:

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/a-caring-community-under-a-callous-council/

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/chicken-run-matthew-palmer-gets-in-a-flap-again/

And at the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee which he is now Deputy Chair of :

https://thisisnorthkensington.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/news-from-the-rbkc-housing-and-property-scrutiny-committee/

He also has been going around at times taking pictures of people without their consent, including bizarrely and distastefully sneaking up and taking photos of people at the Grenfell Silent Walk.

He also offended several locals by posting Andrew O’Hagan’s The Tower on social media (a piece which had already upset, offended and misrepresented many in our conmunity) and describing it as ” a better insight as to what happened at Grenfell” .

Fortunately for Matthew Palmer, his council ward (that he did a chicken run to) , is in safe true blue Queen’s Gate – he never has to worry about the electorate voting him out.

But recently residents have been surprised to see that Chicken Run” Palmer has been unusually well behaved (and even was quite civilised to us in one meeting!) – let us explain why: he was under investigation for this:

He was reported to the council after his outbursts at the RBKC Full Council meeting in March caused offence to Eddie Daffarn and other Grenfell survivors. Palmer had shouted out several times “where are the sprinklers” (referring to sprinklers at Grenfell Tower) when Labour were proposing amendments to RBKC’s budget.

Cllr Palmer denied the charge, but some of us were not sitting too far away from him and we can confirm that he did indeed say this.

Yesterday, the Audit and Transparency Committee ruled that “Chicken Run” Palmer violated the councillors’ code of conduct and now has to make a public apology.

We think this is a slap on the wrist and we’re not convinced that Cllr Palmer is either truly sorry or that he will ever learn any lessons from this.

Not coming up Trumps: Some crazy goings on Nextdoor

This is Damien Smyth, he is the landlord of the Jameson Arms pub in Blythe Road, West Kensington. Mr Smyth, in a publicity stunt organised for Donald Trump’s Uk visit a fortnight ago, changed the name of his pub to “The Trump Arms”this was organised by Patrick Sullivan, CEO of right wing think tank Parliament Street and Lucy Brown who used to work for EDL’s Tommy Robinson and filmed some of his offensive videos:

The story was covered in Private Eye here :

This cheap publicity stunt was for a supposed ” welcome party” ” for President Trump held at the pub for ¬£30 per head.

As THINK are very concerned about these dubious persons up to no good near our local area, here are their photographs:

This is Patrick Sullivan

This is Lucy Brown

Looking up Ms Brown led us to a variety of offensive far right websites but here is a description of her from one: ” Lucy is a firm believer in common sense, reality, and being as offensive and stupid as you possibly can.”

And here she is pictured with Tommy Robinson (in the middle).

So no visit was made to the pub by Donald Trump of course but here is a politician who did attend the Trump Arms shindig:

Pictured above, on the right (literally!) at The “Trump Arms” is David Campbell Bannerman, Tory MEP for the East of England, former UKIP Deputy Leader (he rejoined the Tories back in 2011 having defected to UKIP in 2004), former Tory councillor in Tunbridge Wells, former special adviser to Sir Patrick Mayhew (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in John Major’s Conservative Government n the late nineties).

As well as being a fanatical Brexiteer, Campbell-Bannerman ( a descendant of Liberal Prime Minister from 1905-1908 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman) also wrote UKIP’s bonkers 2010 election manifesto, (which they tried to take down).As many of these far right wingers love to go on about how much they believe the freedom of speech, here it is:

Click to access UKIPManifesto2010.pdf

Apparently UKIP’s former PR man Gawain Towler was offering landlord Damien Smyth some “help” too. He obviously wasn’t really very helpful to Mr Smyth because here, below are just a couple of Smyth’s aggressive responses posted on local social media site Nextdoor. to an elderly woman, a formidable campaigner who merely aired reasonable objections to the politics of both Trump and Tommy Robinson and called for a peaceful protest outside the pub:

Damien Smyth, Brook Green West·1d ago

I NEED AN APOLOGY FOR THE FACIST /RACIST STATEMENT

Mr Smyth then posted this picture

Damien Smyth, Brook Green West·1d ago

PLEASE NOW RETRACT AND APOLOGISE FOR THE SHAMEFULL DISGUSTING ” FACIST HORRIBLE RACIST LANDLORD ” COMMENT

PLEASE VIEW THE PHOTO I SENT.

And here were a few good and sensible responses from other locals to the story and to Damien Smyth:

J – Brackenbury Village: “Apart from anything else his spelling is atrocious.”

P – Brook Green West :

“We really do not want our multiethnic neighbourhood polarised by the activities of this pub and their friends. We should show it and steer clear of the place.”

A- Shepherds Bush Green: “I certainly wont be going in that Pub again!!!

R – Avonmore: “Damien, thank you for joining the discussion. Please can you stop bullying this 82 year old woman who clearly wrote her post out of frustration at your actions. Action have consequences, you must know that?

There is a strong feeling you sold out our community to the media aims of Patrick Sullivan, the CEO of a Right Wing think tank leading on lobbying for Brexit, and Lucy Brown the self styled producer of Tommy Robinson’s Islamaphobic You Tube channel.

Mr Robinson is the former leader of the EDL. The EDL began in Luton, a town with a huge Irish community and a large Wahhabi community. Mr Robinson enjoys conflating all Muslim people with Wahhabism and grew himself a huge following. This following has been used and built upon by several organisations, such as UKIP.

The leaders of the Brexit movement have enjoyed using this racist energy and its associated votes to exit the EU. (Just as bankers used it to divert the masses away from blaming them for the 2008 crash.)

Trump & Putin hate the EU because of its trading strength and success. Trump retweeting Britain First is to encourage the mislead racism. Trump courting Farage, Boris and Piers Morgan is simply an extension of the wider problem of politicians across the globe courting Popularism for Power instead of genuinely working towards a safer world for all. Remember the biggest losers in Brexit will be from the bottom up.

Trump using his grass roots popularism has caged children, taken away women’s rights over their bodies, undermined hard fought disability rights, courted dictators with atrocious human rights records etc; generally played a game to increase wealth for the rich and poverty for the poor.

The Trump Arms is a symbol of this power play on ordinary people. This is why it has evoked so much emotion and you, Sir, are the man who brought it to our doors.

You are a pub landlord which means you have a responsibility to this community which is greater than the personal opinions of you and your wife. You are the ones who chose to make our community look racist and fascist in the media.

Personally, I feel you need to apologise to us. ”

THINK are not surprised that right wing sympathiser Mr Smyth reacts to criticism this way but are truly appalled that himself and others intimidated the elderly woman into removing her posts objecting to his pub from the site. She had also been allegedly receiving threats.

But as well as Mr Smyth’s crazy outbursts, Things got even crazier when this was posted alongside them:

A , Holland Park·5d ago

“My only comment is re Tommy Robinson and the media take on him. Tommy is an independent journalist and if one cares to watch and listen to his interviews on Youtube, may be surprised. He has one stand which is for stopping the organised child abuse and child rape in UK which is persistently ignored by all media. For 11 years he has spoken about this openly, trying to open a discussion and inform parents. He has been supported by the Times, Stefan Molyneoux and many more media outlets,including Muslin Imam, who discuss this seeming taboo subject openly with him online. He seems to me a reasonable, committed father, husband and decent man.”

“Journalist? “Decent man?”

Good grief! After all the crazy goings on the Nextdoor site THINKers were longing to see the return of “lost cats” and “looking for a plumber” posts on there! Nobody can ever call West London boring we suppose.

Anyway THINK will not be setting foot in the Jameson Arms and we thoroughly condemn the far right politics of hate and prejudice and all who promote them , as well any bullying of a peaceful individual who aired reasonable objections. We also believe that the Conservative Party really ought to take a closer look at some of its members.

Anyway, to end on a positive note, here is a picture from the Stop Trump protest in London to show which Trump event really was very well attended and to reassure concerned locals that there will be no far right takeover of our multicultural neck of the woods happening anytime soon

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 РWestway23 Hustings: RBKC Tories a no-show! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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