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Sunday, 24 July 2016

Martin Francis Barking Up the Wrong Lamp Posts

Martin Francis is complaining about Brent Council painting lamp posts, and seems to think it something new.  In fact, this is routine, which anyone who looks at the number of painted street lights around the place might be expected to realise.  The "new" change he highlights is that the default colour is black, or "raven black" as I believe the Council likes to call it.  This was decided as part of passing the Placemaking Guide in February 2011. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ongoing Failure Under Jeremy Corbyn

As Jeremy Corbyn launches his re-election campaign today, I thought it might be worth pointing to what the ex-Shadow Cabinet critics say about him.  These are people from the so-called "Make it Work" tendency, who tried to work with him and then gave up.

But first it is well worth watching "The Outsider" documentary by Vice TV.  This is a film made by avowed Corbyn supporters invited in by Seamus Milne, but it ends up coming across as something of a hatchet job by simple reporting.  I am particularly thinking of Jeremy's refusal to attack the government following Iain Duncan Smith's resignation, which was frankly a bizarre way for the Leader of the Opposition to behave.

The ex-Shadow Cabinet portray an Opposition Leader who appears not to even want to oppose the Tories.  Lilian Greenwood felt she was constantly undermined.  Thanggam Debbonaire has a still more damning picture of ineptitude.  Heidi Alexander thinks he doesn't have capacity to lead.  These members have gone public, but I suspect all his former spokespeople would have similar stories of indecision, poor consultation, missing basic deadlines and so on. 

This is before one gets on to Jeremy Corbyn's refusal to make any effort to unite the party on difficult policies like Trident (it is worth recalling that a continuous at sea deterrent remains Labour's official policy); his lack of an economic policy, his apparent knee jerk anti-western prejudices on Syria and the Ukraine; his shameful acceptance of payment from Press TV; his past record on the IRA, his equivocation on anti-semitism, and so on. 

None of this seems to matter to many of the people signing up to the Labour Party to vote in our elections, but it does to the electors at large.  As I write, Labour's poll standing is 29% and heading downwards _ which would take it beneath Michael Foot's horrific defeat in 1983.  If that happens there may not be much of a Labour Party left to lead. 

Nonetheless, Jeremy remains the favourite to win the party leadership, but then what? I don't see any point in the previous refuseniks or the make it work resignees changing their minds.  I simply don't see how, say Hilary Benn, could come back into any post and work with Jeremy Corbyn.  So Labour will be left with a wholly ineffective Leader made still more ineffective by the absence of the rest of the Parliamnetary Party around him.  If that is not an open invitation to Theresa May to call an early election and slaughter us I don't know what is.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Samba in the Library at Willesden


Willesden Library had a Brazilian festival at the weekend.  I can't help but admire the sheer range and variety of the events Brent Library staff manage to put on. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Kilburn Regeneration Ploughs On

Brent Council has another report on the transformation of South Kilburn.  In many ways there are good sides to this, but it concerns me that there appears to be no public debate about it.  Talking to people in the area, there seems to be just an acceptance that local people are powerless and whatever will happen will happen.  That is not how local democracy should work. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Parking Charges in Brent

Brent Council's next executive meeting contains yet another report on parking.  This report is now to be an annual event.

Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) issued through CCTV have fallen dramatically, thanks to the government's rather illogical changes in this area.  The report says that this is having a detrimental effect on traffic management around schools in particular.

Yet the total number of PCNs and the level of fines have gone up.  This is because more cameras have been introduced at yellow box junctions, catching moving traffic offences.  The Council says it is also better at collecting the fines, although the figures still seem to indicate that a lot of people are not paying.  A 71% recovery rate implies almost a third of people don't pay.  It is also noteworthy that the majority of on street parking is now paid cashlessly.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cllr John Duffy Calling

I am glad to see Cllr John Duffy has resumed his blog.  I don't agree with all his comments on Willesden High Road, but at least he is engaging with what Brent Council does, and trying to improve it.