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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Community Infrastructure Levy

Brent is now open to community bids for grants for Community Infrastructure Levy projects.  These tend to be one off projects to improve local areas.  As they use taxpayers money they have to be responsible in terms of using the money.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Is Labour's NEC Personally Liable for Damages Arising from the Antisemitism Claims?

Is Labour's NEC Personally Liable for Damages Arising from the Antisemitism Claims?  That is the question raised by the Independent.  I have no idea what the legal position is, although it may well be different from that of a charity.

It will also be crucial to see whether the Labour Party was following its own rules, reasonably relying on officer advice, and whether NEC members were trying to make judgements conscientiously of simply on a factional basis.  It would be interesting to discover whether NEC members would have been less cavalier over claims of antisemitism and sexism if they were themselves subject to personal penalties.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

The Daily Mail and Vaccination

The Daily Mail has recently been praised by Matt Hancock and others for coming out against the anti-vax campaign.  That is good news, but those with longer memories than Mr Hancock can remember that it was not always so clear. 

Take this story from as an example.  Under the heading "New MMR link is found with autism" it is distinctly favourable to Mr Wakefield, calling him a "specialist" who was "forced out of his job".  As I understand it he was a surgeon so not sure he can really be called a "specialist" in a story about autism.  Over the years the Mail published a number of articles with a similar line, implying some kind of unreasonable cover up, like this one, or this one. 

In 2003 Melanie Philips was particularly insistent along these lines (11 March 2003). 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Cuts in Overground Ticket Offices

It is reported that train station ticket office operating hours are to be reduced at Brondesbury, Brondesbury Park, Kensal Rise and Kilburn High Road.  Whatever the other effects, this is likely to inflict damage on the Kilburn High Road economy since the cuts are in the evening and most of the day.  This should be a major concern for Brent Council and I hope some one is raising the matter with TfL.

On the plus side, I welcome a new lift at Brondesbury, although I recall that the Kilburn station lift up the road always used to be closed because there were said to be no staff to help passengers.  Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

Friday, 11 October 2019

Labour Party Selections

Currently, the Labour Party NEC have closed down parliamentary selections in seats without a candidate despite the fact that a General Election (whilst imminent) has not been called.  This is the first time I have ever known this to happen.  Previously NECs have certainly truncated the process once an election is called.  Something of that kind happened when Dawn Butler MP was selected for Brent South in 2005, but even in that case members got a vote.

Where no candidate is in place candidates have sometimes been imposed, but every effort has been made to make sure that members have been involved to the maximum logistically possible, not least because members will be unlikely to feel motivated to campaign for a candidate simply imposed by the NEC.

The current NEC, which is made up of a faction of people who claim to be interested in extending democracy within the Labour Party are doing more than anyone has ever dared to close it down.  The likely result will be a number of legal actions, that will knock back the Party's General Election message from day one.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Heidi Allen MP in South Cambridgeshire

I must say I have some sympathy for candidates who have got themselves selected in particular seats only to be elbowed aside by johnny-come-latelys from another party, as in the case of South Cambridgeshire where Heidi Allen is now standing for the Liberal Democrats.