Art of self-serving Politics

Evolution of a PoliticianWith a matter of days to Christmas our team have pondered on our reflective, appreciative – and hopefully wise and experienced – outlook on life as well as our evaluation of family and community. It is the community about which we are concerned. Waltham Forest is in trouble.

Therefore, in the interests of balance we felt obliged to report that the Liberal Democrats and Labour Parties in Waltham Forest are not alone in having amongst their ranks people for whom politics is self-serving rather than serving the community.

Uncommonly, it appears the Chingford Conservatives have 4 vacancies for candidates at next years local elections!

Following the recent announcement that deputy leader of the Conservatives and ward Councillor for Chingford Green, Cllr Michael Lewis, is not to stand at the local elections in 5 months time we have heard rumblings that a number of his ‘colleagues’ are already plotting to replace him.

We understand these so called colleagues include, the Conservative Councillors’ Whip and the Chingford Conservative Association Deputy Chairman – Political, who are actively ‘throwing their weight around’ in an attempt to ensure their self-serving ambitions are fulfilled.

Unwittingly, the current leader of the Conservative Councillors may have played into their hands by announcing he will not stand in the ward he currently represents but will contest one of the two vacancies in Chingford Green. Particularly, as we understand it, as the Deputy Chairman – Political has a vote!

With only 5 months before the next local elections we must remind our elected political trough feeders what is most needed is a policy of community revitalization – NOT Party nepotism.

So on 22nd May 2014 –  Let them know party-first, self-serving tactics will no longer be tolerated.

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Once Upon a Time…

…at the beginning of this year Waltham Forest’s Head of Communications was summoned to a meeting to discuss her redundancy.

Suddenly, the Labour Party casts a spell, ‘Evanesco’, and the meeting is transformed into an interview for the post of Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications.

The only  ‘candidate’, Kathryn Myers, was given the job which attracted a salary between £71,000 and £127,000 a year.

Even the Conservative leader, Cllr Matt Davis, was subjected to Labour’s ‘Stupefy‘ spell as he was on the ‘interview’ panel.

7 months later we hear Kathryn Myers took voluntary redundancy as part of the authority’s restructuring plans earlier this month.

It seems the Labour Party looks after its own. By promoting Myers from Head of Communications to  Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications her redundancy package must of improved dramatically.

To add insult to injury it is alleged that the council is planning to give senior officers pay rises while cutting the wages of its lowest paid staff.

There are two things that spring to mind

  1. An once of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition (in this case literally)
  2. Waltham Forest needs strong and competent opposition to challenge Labour’s excesses.

Blind leading the Blind

A senior Council officer responsible for the Lloyd Park debacle has been tasked with bailing out a local development charity, O-Regen, after it got itself into serious financial difficulties.

Clive Morton

Head of Cultural Services and former Labour Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Clive Morton, has been tasked with investigating how and why O-Regen has consistently made losses over the last five years.

O-Regen’s financial history can be seen here and shows the accumulative loss over the last five years as £1,621,728.

O-Regen’s Board of Trustees consists of three Waltham Forest Councillors and its chair is Leader of the Waltham Forest Conservatives, Cllr Matt Davis.

Interestingly, earlier this year Cllr Davis demanded that the council must “get real” about costs and “If something is going to cost a certain amount of money, that’s how much you should budget for.”

With Cllr Davies’ leadership acumen, Cllr Terry Wheeler’s regeneration expertise and Clive Morton’s financial acumen we are sure O-Regen is in capable hands.

Cutting through the politics of cuts

Tonight, in Waltham Forest Town Hall, a massive social injustice has been meted out upon the most vulnerable in our community.

The latest tranche of local Labour cuts, led by Cllr Chris ‘Strong Leader’ Robbins, will  have a negative impact on the homeless, mentally ill, disabled, elderly and vulnerable young a Council report admits after they make hundreds of support staff redundant.

Robbins and his Labour cronies argues it has no choice as the Government moves to the budget deficit quickly.

Cllrs Bob Sullivan and Matt Davies’ Coalition Government argues that the former Labour Governments mishandling of the UK’s finances has led them to inflicting cuts Mrs Thatcher ‘could only have dreamt of’.

It seems it is the task of the weakest to protect the banks, politicians, and millionaires. The rich people of the UK must NOT be made to suffer. These cuts HAD to be made and it is only fair that the weakest should suffer the most. This is the nature of our current politics: the Masses suffer so that a rich minority can prosperously live glorious lives.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Democracy destroyed by Democracy

If liberty and equality are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.
Aristotle

A rushed Labour Cabinet decision provides an interesting insight into the three Waltham Forest political Parties’ attitudes to democracy.

Labour – Cllr Marie Pye, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Development, submits a last minute report to Cabinet on 10th November asking the Council Leader, Cllr Chris Robbins, to treat it as an urgent item of business.

The report to replace Community Councils with Ward Forums was unanimously agreed by the Labour oligarchy.

The rush to get this report agreed seems to be to ensure financial savings of £151k each year starting from January 2011. Yet Pye is happy to reduce the savings by £26,947.50 to provide officer support and training for Councillors to manage public meetings during a nine month implementation of Ward Fora!!!

Pye insisted the decision had nothing to do with saving money, but was motivated by a desire to improve the system of accountability.

Whilst Community Councils could be cumbersome members of the public were able to influence Councillors who ultimately and legally made the decisions. Under Pye’s new ‘Community Engagement’ strategy Councillors, we have elected to make decisions on our behalf, have had their decision making powers stripped from them and given to a Council officer under delegated powers.

The proposed Community Ward Fora will not be formal council
committees under the Local Government Act 1972 or area committees under section 18, Local Government Act 2000 or the 1990 Regulations. The meetings cannot have decision making powers but may recommend proposals to the officer with delegated powers. The executive may delegate authority for the ward budgets to an officer of the Council under the executive arrangements in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000. The officer must make decisions based on all the relevant factors and it is lawful for the officer with delegated powers to take into account the views of the Forum as one of those factors. However, the views of community fora or individual members cannot be the determining factor in or predetermine the officer’s decision (para 7.2.3 of Pye’s report).

ConservativesNo public statement to date!

Liberal Democrats – Eight days after the Labour Cabinet decision Leader of the Lib Dems, Cllr Bob Sullivan, accuses them of trying to “muzzle” residents by scrapping community councils. The Truth Will Out team have news for you Cllr Sullivan. Labour are not trying to muzzle residents. Labour have muzzled residents and Councillors.

Conclusion?

Waltham Forest’s Labour oligarchy who believes that  power, wealth and opportunity should be in the hands of the many, not the few (Clause IV of the British Labour Party constitution) have, ironically, used democracy to destroy democracy.

The Conservatives’ silence indicates that they are unable to be a credible opposition or simply don’t care. Leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Matt Davies, and Chair of the Council’s Scrutiny Management Committee didn’t attend the Cabinet meeting neither, it seems, did he arrange for a substitute to attend in his absence.

The Lib Dems entering the argument after the event, as usual, when Labour’s proposal has been in the public domain for over two weeks shows they too are not a credible opposition.

Waltham Forest Council is made up of 60 Councillors (Lab:36, Con:18 & LD:6) yet only 8 of them make all the decisions. Pye and her 7 Labour Cabinet cronies have stripped the last vestiges of decision making from the remaining 52 Councillors. So what is the point of having them and paying them, collectively, £546,000 in basic allowances?

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’. The three main political Parties are out of touch so let’s call for a change in our political system which represents all within our community.

Coalition Government leaves Waltham Forest in a mess

Plans to replace the Edmonton waste incinerator, due to be decommissioned in 2020, have been scuppered despite the Coalition Agreement giving the ‘all clear’ to the project over the summer and saying it wanted to be the “greenest Government ever”.

It is understood the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) spent hundreds of thousands of pounds developing the project following the Government’s summer approval.

The Government’s decision to withdraw £258.4 million promised to support investment in the future waste disposal infrastructure for North London, and which would have seen 400,000 tonnes of waste diverted away from landfill, leaves local council taxpayers to pay the whole cost of the Government increases in landfill tax that it has confirmed will rise by £8 per annum to £80/tonne in 2014. Additionally, this decision sees the loss of 700 new, desperately needed, local jobs.

We all wait with bated breath to hear the thoughts of the Leaders of the Conservatives, Cllr Matt Davis and the Liberal Democrats, Cllr Bob Sullivan.

NLWA is the second largest waste authority in the country, after
Manchester, and currently deals with 3% of the country’s total
municipal waste. Members of the NLWA are Waltham Forest, Islington,
Barnet, Haringey, Hackney, Camden and Enfield.

It’s not all doom and gloom in Waltham Forest

Stoneydown Speakers' Corner

Members of the Truth will Out team attended the launch of the Stoneydown Speakers’ Corner in Stoneydown Park, Walthamstow yesterday which, apparently, is the first permanent Speakers’ Corner in London for almost 150 years.

The launch concluded months of planning by the Stoneydown Speakers’ Corner Committee headed by James O’Rourke the former ward councillor for High Street within which the park is situated.

Children from Stoneydown Primary school were the first to speak from the Speakers’ Corner and each presented well thought out and delivered speeches on a range of subjects from bullying to smoking. Parents, teachers and the children should be proud of themselves.

Dignitaries included Waltham Forest Mayor, Cllr Masood Ahmad, Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, Cllr Geraldine Reardon, who is responsible for the Councils parks, and Peter Bradley from the Speakers’ Corner Trust. Others who attended were Cllr Afzal Akram, Conservative Leader, Cllr Matt Davis, recently crowned councillor for High Street, Mahmood Hussain, (although he did not stay long) former Deputy Leader of the Council, John Macklin and Bob Belam, formerly responsible for the Councils Environment Directorate.

Notable absentees were the two High Street Labour councillors, Liaquat Ali and Clare Coghill and the Leader of the Council, Chris Robbins. It seems they couldn’t be bothered to attend as there are no impending elections.