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Wednesday, 31 March 2010
One of the councillors in Alperton is the delightful Cllr Daniel Brown. He collects a special responsibility allowance for taking a lead on Highways and Transportation. You know, things like ... broken pavements.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
UPDATE: Btw, I should have given the orgiinal source of the poster here.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Friday, 26 March 2010
Thursday, 25 March 2010
This is Dawn during the 2005 election campaign (You can just recognise the picture of Yasmin Qureshi in the bus window behind her).
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
It is amazing that such people persist in defiance of any plausibility to their claims.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
"Bob is a Parliamentary candidate and he is expecting to get elected. Out of respect for the people of Preston, he doesn't want to stand and make promises he can't keep. The leadership is something the group will decide after the election, there are only two people who will be candidates and frankly I will be one of them.”
I find that quote fascinating. What does it imply about the Tories' Brent North candidate, Harshi Patel? Harshi is currently also a Brent councillor for Preston, and has not announced that he is standing down as a councilloor. Is John Detre saying that Harshi does not expect to get elected as a MP? Or is he saying that Harshi might get elected and doesn't mind that he will "make promises he can't keep?"
Alternatively, does John Detre view Harshi as a potential rival for whatever is left of the Conservative Group after the election, and is attempting to pressure him to stand down in order to remove a possible rival?
It reminded me of reading David Niven's memoirs years ago. Apparently, someone calling himself "Mike Romanov" ran a bar in Hollywood. Mike Romanov claimed to be a member of the famous dynasty. A Russian emigre who was somewhat sceptical of his identity one day addressed him in fluent Russian. He walked away, complaining about the vulgarity of that man using that language: "We only ever spoke French at Court."
By coincidence, I read a book by Richard Dawkins recently where he talks about the idea of memes, coherent packages of information that can be passed on in a similar way to genes. The example he gives is some origami instructions to make a Chinese junk that his father taught him and that he passed on to his school fellows. The advantage of origami instructions is that presumably they would not be suspectible to change (You would get a sadly misshapen junk), whereas the Romanov idea is much more suspectible to alteration.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Sunday, 21 March 2010
Tree route damage in Alperton
Broken pavement in Alperton:
This sort of damage is the responsibility of the Lead Member for Highways, Cllr Daniel Brown. Cllr Daniel Brown is also a ward councillor for ..... Alperton. If he can't sort out problems in his own ward, it is no surprise that he can't do it anywhere else.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Windows in conservation areas have been a hot topic in the past couple of years. Traditionally, Brent insisted on wooden replacements in areas like Queens Park, Mapesbury and Barnhill. Some people didn't like this because wooden windows tend to be more expensive than uPVC. In some cases at least, uPVC can be virtually indistinguishable from wooden. The policy has therefore been relaxed over the past year to allow some uPVC windows.
However, my view is that a recent decision in Barn Way relaxes it so much as to make enforcement in the Barnhill Conservation Area virtually impossible. Officers were recommending refusal for a house with some very poorly desiggned windows with grossly uneven sightlines. The Committee overturned their recommendation (although all three Labour members supported the officers' view).
Strangely we subsequently had an extremely lengthy discussion of wooden windows in Keyes Road in the Mapesbury Conservation Area where the Planning Committee seemed quite happy to impose stringent conditions on a Housing Association.
The Mapesbury Residents Association (MAPRA) will be pleased with the result they got, but I wonder what the Barnhill residents will think about the Committee making their Conservation Area into virtually a dead letter. I suspect that the effective result of that night will be that officers redirect their limited enforcement resource to areas and subject where the Committee will uphold their actions, which will not include the Barnhill Conservation Area.
Friday, 19 March 2010
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
The reason is that it demonstrates the hypocrisy of Sarah Teather and the Liberal Democrats. They play to the Left when they want votes in Brent because most of the southern part of the Borough is naturally Labour leaning. But when they get into power they put a Conservative like Bob Blackman in charge of finances, and he then uses the position to do things like bankrupt people for very small amounts of Council Tax arrears, which the Liberal Democrats publicly claim to oppose.
If there is a hung Parliament after the next General Election, it would not surprise me at all if we see the Liberal Democrats jumping into bed with the Tories.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Saturday, 13 March 2010
Friday, 12 March 2010
This was true of the meeting I chaired a couple of weeks ago where the Carlton Vale roundabout development was discussed. We had two councillors from Westminster turn up, one of whom spoke. The other one wanted to speak, but I refused him permission, because you have to draw the line somewhere. The legal advisor was of the view that only Brent members should be allowed to speak, but as the Cllr Moss of Maida Vale had already been told that he would be allowed to speak when he attended the site visit, I don't think it would have been fair to refuse him on the night.
There is also the point that we did allow councillors from Camden to speak on the Gaumont State Cinema application on Kilburn High Road.
However, I think it would be a good idea about exactly when we allow people to do this as, at the moment, we don't seem to have a clearly formulated rule, and the practice is becoming more common.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Given the difficulties that Bertha Joseph has been getting into over donations, you would think a competent administration would be more careful. But then this one is headed by Boris Johnson.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
A typical Liberal Democrat pledge in fact.
However, it does sound as if Sarah Teather must be getting rattled by the public response to the government's promise of 80-85 million pounds for secondary schools and a further 14.7 million pounds for primary schools in Brent. Certainly the Kensal Green residents I have been speaking to have been impressed by the scale of the investment.
Of course, if I took Nick Clegg seriously I would wonder how splurging on Brent education tied in with his earlier promises of "savage cuts." Incidentally why are the Liberal Democrats not making similar pledges elsewhere? Could they be making a desperate bid to buy Brent votes with a spurious promise?
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Monday, 8 March 2010
According to Boris, the base is not supposed to have a front desk at any point, which is contrary to what my colleague Cllr Bobby Thomas was told. He states, somewhat boldly, that residents don't like to have officers sitting in the bases, which is not what residents have said to me. He also lists a number of sites in other parts of London where front desk services are being considered or in place, which makes his attitude to Station Road seem rather inconsistent.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Saturday, 6 March 2010
The Willesden and Brent Times had a front page yesterday about how bad things are on Kilburn Lane, even though it is a major bus route. Yet the Lib Dems voted down our proposal to spend an extra £1.5 million on roads and pavements at the last budget meeting.
Friday, 5 March 2010
Boris really has made a shocking mess of the whole thing. Firstly promoting her after the Brent Standards Committee had condemned her means that he had no excuse for regarding her as innocent. It was just a shabby political manoevre designed to give the Tories a temporary majority on LFEPA. It destroys his credibility as a sleazebuster, which was already looking tatty thanks to Ian Clement et al.
Even after the judge gave his damning verdict, Boris tried to keep Joseph in place. Being forced to dump her now makes him look weak as well as cynical, rather like John Major being forced to dump his cabinet ministers.
My view is that the Council has been allowed to drift for far too long because of a lack of political direction.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Boris’ initial position of stout denial had weakened by the time of Question Time, if the Guardian report is anything to go by. The coverage in Brent’s local papers has also been interesting. Cllr Bob Blackman, who recruited Joseph to the Tory Group, remains silent. Instead, Cllr John Detre is quoted in the Wembley Observer making a distinctly non-committal defence full of “Ms Joseph sees this as…” and “[Joseph] … believes it to be an attempt to ‘politicise justice’”; nothing much about whether he agrees with her. I sensed a similar distancing among members of the Tory group at the Budget making last night.
It seems to me that Boris has little to thank Bob Blackman for in adding yet another dubious appointment to the roll call of Ian Clement, Wadley and so on. Politically, the question for him is now will he look worse sacking Bertha Joseph after defending her to start with, or letting her hang on the bitter end in May. Will the Tories in Brent allow her to stand under their name and risk being discredited by association?
Monday, 1 March 2010
Fortunately, they will have some help fundraising, as Cllr Jim O'Sullivan, the current Tory Mayor in Brent, has chosen them as a Mayoral charity. Giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
I wonder whether he will vote for the cut at the Council budget meeting tonight?
The new report is about the £900 "sponsorship" that Bertha Joseph used to buy ballgowns.