Walthamstow’s Losers

stella_50%_cropped

Walthamstow’s MP, Stella Creasy, appears not to be as popular as her PR machine indicates.

Not only has she been overlooked by Labour leader Ed Milliband but her local constituency party is rumoured to have chosen Johar Khan (Scarlet Pimpernel) to represent Markhouse Ward.

This is the same Mr Khan who, as Chair of Walthamstow Lib Dems, spearheadedScarlet Pimpernel the unpleasant anti Labour literature campaign in the 2010 local elections. We are not able to confirm right now who has been de-selected to make way for Mr Khan; but de-selections are not unfamiliar to him . Leading up to the 2010 local elections he was instrumental in the de-selection of then fellow existing Lib Dem councillors.Khan_reward

In 2010 Mr Khan as Chair of Walthamstow Lib Dems sanctioned the delivery of over 250,000 leaflets. Rumours remain the election expectations he signed off did not comply with financial constraints!

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Democrat becomes Liberal

A former Waltham Forest Councillor exiled from the Liberal Democrats for speaking out against alleged corruption and racism is standing in the forthcoming by-election in Larkswood ward.

James O’Rourke has thrown his hat into the ring as an old-fashioned Liberal. Whilst we, and others, are encouraged to hear of his return, we thought the negative impact of The Scarlet Pimpernel would have discouraged Mr O’Rourke from returning to politics for life!

However, we wholeheartedly agree with Archipelago of Truth that Mr O’Rourke was a “…hard-working, case-working councillor when he was the representative for the High Street ward” and that by standing as a Liberal Party candidate it “…is the closest thing … to standing as an Independent without actually taking the plunge.”

Realistically, Mr O’Rourke is not going to beat the Conservatives on their ‘home turf’ but we wish him all the very best in dramatically reducing their majority and seeing off the other pretenders.

Ali family extends their empire

Not content with building their property empire in Waltham Forest the Ali family have extended their grubby tentacles into the Councils innermost sanctums – the cabinet and the mayoralty.

One week after the inauguration of the Mayor for 2012/13  Cllr Nadeem Ali, son of Cllr Liaquat Ali, hosted a celebration of Waltham Forest’s Mayoralty in the Town Hall Council chamber. The event, filmed by an asian TV channel and posted on YouTube, shows Cllr Liaquat Ali thanking family and friends for attending.

‘Chairing’ the meeting was newly elected Mayor of Waltham Forest and first citizen, Cllr Richard Sweden, so we assumed that this event was to celebrate his coming year in office. NOT SO!!!

The event was a ‘jolly’ for the family and friends of Cllr Nadeem Ali to celebrate him being the youngest Deputy Mayor of Waltham Forest!!!

Questions need to be asked of the Councils ‘Strong Leader’ Cllr Chris Robbins including:

  • Was the Mayor used to promote Cllr Ali and Cllr Ali who are known to be business men in area?
  • Was this an official Council sanctioned event?
  • Who paid for this event to glorify Cllr Nadeem Ali?
  • Were refreshments provided?
    • If so, who provided and paid for them?

Such narcissistic abuse of public facilities by Labour Councillors needs to be challenged.

If anyone can answer our questions please come forward with information.

Note: Brother of Liaquat  and uncle of Nadeem sits in his grey suit directly in front of Mayor, Cllr Richard Sweden.

Brown Envelopes

Politicians’ promises of transparency juxtaposes the reality of their actions. However, it is not actually transparency itself that is the most important thing. Transparency concerns us because it has a purpose. The purpose of transparency is accountability.

So it’s no surprise to hear that those accountable to us, Waltham Forest council and the Greater London Authority (GLA), have been negotiating behind the scenes to secure a pledge from property developer, London & Quadrant, of £1.75 million for improvements at Waltham Forest Pool & Track if it builds a residential estate at Walthamstow Stadium.

Two publicly funded organisations secretly negotiating with another publicly funded organisation to secure £1.75 million of taxpayers money as a ‘sweetener’ in return for guaranteed planning permission! Is there a connection to Councillor Marie Pye’s removal from her cabinet job for housing after her persistent denials that she was in secret talks with London & Quadrant?

Now, lets suppose the millionaire behind the Save Our Stow campaign was in similar secret discussions. He would undoubtedly be accused of bribery which could result in criminal charges.

The bottom line seems that ‘brown envelopes’ from publicly funded property developers is acceptable.

If, or rather when, London & Quadrant gets planning permission, even though a GLA report states that L&Q’s proposals do not

On balance…comply with the London Plan

it should be subject to Waltham Forest’s Section 106 policy. (Click here for general definition of Section 106).

Our fear is that that this deal will severley jeopardize the quota for affordable housing and valuable funding for infrastature (health provision, roads and schools) in and around The Stow to cover up the Waltham Forest Labour Party’s shortsightedness and ineptitude of not securing Olympic funding for Waltham Forest Pool & Track and the lack of meaningful regeneration in our borough.

The only transparency offered by the Waltham Forest Labour Party is that of its commitment to dodgy deals in the hope of electoral success at the next local elections.

Reward for failure

In a recent article we covered the publication of a damning Ofsted report which stated that vulnerable children in Waltham Forest have been put at risk due to council failures.

As a consequence the two senior Council Officers responsible swiftly ‘left’ their jobs no doubt with the blessings of the Labour Party and a large golden handshake.

Failure is almost always punished in real sports; in the shameless sport of politics, it is often no impediment.

Jon Ralston 

The latest example in Waltham Forest is the announcement that two fairly inept and failing Councillors have swapped jobs.

We agree with Archipelago of Truth that this shows (forgive us for another sporting analogy!) the strength in depth of the Labour team – or more accurately the lack of it!

But is this the entire story?

Why is Cllr Saima Mahmud still in the cabinet following her spectacular failure as Cabinet Member for Children and Young People? Could it be that her father has significant influence in the Waltham Forest Labour Party both financially and otherwise?

So what of Cllr Marie Pye who is no stranger to controversy? This is the Councillor who represents Waltham Forest Council on the London & Quadrant Housing Trust – Regional Committee and supports their plans for ‘The Stow’ and has her red sofa transported around the borough, at our expense, even though rumour has it she is not registered as disabled.

It seems if you are connected to the Waltham Forest Labour Party failure is an option; and can be well rewarded!

Council’s Legal Eagle flys away

Waltham Forest Council’s Director of Governance and Law, Terry Osborne, is leaving to take another job after a mere eighteen months in post.

It seems Ms Osborne will not be missed as it is rumoured she was not well liked because of her over zealous behaviour.

We are led to believe an example of such behaviour was when Ms Osbourne threatened former councillor, James O’Rourke, with the Standards Board after he wrote an article on his blog entitled  ‘Council Cowardice’ just before the 2010 local elections. The on-line Waltham Forest Guardian picked the story up but then quickly dropped it before Mr O’Rourke’s article was also removed. Thankfully Mr O’Rourke’s article was copied by a regular contributer to this site, Nick Tiratsoo – click here to read it.

We understand that a comprehensive multi-agency enforcement operation,  relating to thirty flats built without planning permission in Walthamstow was called off at very short notice before the 2010 elections, apparently because Ms Osbourne thought it might be overly political –  ‘purdah’.

Disgracefully, sixteen months after Ms Osbornes ‘political concerns’ there has still been no action against those who built and currently rent out the thirty illegal flats. Interestingly, there has been no official comments from two High Street Councillors who are prominent in the housing market in the area

Inside ilegal flats

Cllr Liaquat Ali who is reputed to have a significant portfolio of ‘legitimate’ property in High Street ward and whose business premises, in St James Street, backs on to the illegal flats.

Cllr Mahmood Hussain whose business is in Hoe Street and has a significant rental portfolio in High Street ward

We sincerely hope that the ‘political concerns’ did not relate to rumours circulating that one or both of the above councillors have a connection to these illegal and unsafe buildings. We agree with Nick Tiratsoo’s comments, on one of our previous articles, that this matter “surely needs investigation.”

Ms Osbourne is not unfamiliar with controversy so we wish her future employers the best of luck.

Another Lib Dem defects to Labour?

Cllr Mahmood Hussain

The Councils ‘Pravda’, Waltham Forest News, seems to have confirmed the rumours we recently published that two Liberal Democrat Councillors are in defection talks with the Labour Party.

On page 10 of the latest Waltham Forest News are pictures of all of Waltham Forest’s Councillors by ward and political party. The red line around High Street Councillor, Mahmood Hussain, seems to suggest he has defected from the Liberal Democrats to the Labour Party.