WALTHAM FOREST: Labour take control as Liberal Democrats suffer losses

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Chris Robbins in jubilant mood as Labour takes control of the council Chris Robbins in jubilant mood as Labour takes control of the council

VOTERS in Waltham Forest have handed control of the council to the Labour group.

The local election provided some shock results as the Liberal Democrats suffered devastating losses, with 12 seats going to Labour and three to the Conservatives.

The result takes Labour's number of seats to 37, with the Conservatives having 18 seats and the Liberal Democrats down to just five.

Labour group leader Chris Robbins said they would now focus on delivering their manifesto and protecting people from any potential spending cuts by a Conservative Government.

He said: "I'm massively delighted at the result.

"This result has created a contract between the Labour party and the residents of Waltham Forest.

"We need to ensure the job we do honours that contract so that they will re-elect us again in four years time."

The biggest surprises came as prominent Lib Dem councillors, including former cabinet member Keith Rayner, James O'Rourke, Bob Wheatley and deputy group leader Johar Khan all lost seats to Labour.

Former Lib Dem group leader John Macklin, Bob Belam and Bob Carey, who were all deselected by the local party in the weeks running up to the election, failed to retain their seats in Chapel End ward.

But their decision to stand as independent candidates following their deselection split the vote, resulting in the ward's three seats being taken by Labour.

The Lib Dems put their catastrophic performance down to a strong turnout by Labour voters in London and the council elections being held on the same day as the General Election.

Johar Khan said: "I think Gordon Brown made a very good decision having them on the same day.

"There was a big turnout and an anti-Tory vote in Walthamstow, and we suffered as a party as a consequence."

He said he felt the deselection issue had not had a detrimental effect and pointed out that seats were lost across the borough.

Mr Khan added there would now be "time for reflection", but said he was sure the group will take seats back at the next local election in 2014.

Conservative leader Matt Davis was in good spirits as the group became the second largest on the council, winning three seats from the Lib Dems in Hale End and Highams Park.

He said: "It is very gratifying to win it back because we lost it last time around.

"I would like to thank the people of Hale End and Highams Park for their support."

Mr Davis described the Liberal Democrats' losses as a "self-inflicted wound" and said he had "considerable sympathy" for some of the people who lost seats.

Voter turnout was 59.22 per cent, with the total number of votes cast being 103,675.

Click here for the full list of results

Comments (51)

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1:26am Sat 8 May 10

E17006 says...

The deselection issue had no effect?!!!!
It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves.
The deselection issue had no effect?!!!! It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves. E17006

2:30am Sat 8 May 10

Brian_Harrison says...

Lets Hope these new concil members can get some changes for this bourough now, among their aims should be the following;

1. Bring back the arts to wf we need AT LEAST one cinema and theatre.

2. The former arcade site by Walthamstow Market where we were promised a libary followed by a multi-complex shopping centre followed by a cinema needs to be fully regenerated instead of the awful open space there now, we the residents of waltham forest have been conned for too long.

3. Places for young people to reside such as youth clubs, people can complain about them hanging about on the streets but what else can they do with nothing being provided to occupy their time.

There are many more things to also work on improving and would like to hope that they will be improved but as a resident of Waltham Forest for 23 years that hope is hard to come by.
Lets Hope these new concil members can get some changes for this bourough now, among their aims should be the following; 1. Bring back the arts to wf we need AT LEAST one cinema and theatre. 2. The former arcade site by Walthamstow Market where we were promised a libary followed by a multi-complex shopping centre followed by a cinema needs to be fully regenerated instead of the awful open space there now, we the residents of waltham forest have been conned for too long. 3. Places for young people to reside such as youth clubs, people can complain about them hanging about on the streets but what else can they do with nothing being provided to occupy their time. There are many more things to also work on improving and would like to hope that they will be improved but as a resident of Waltham Forest for 23 years that hope is hard to come by. Brian_Harrison

8:04am Sat 8 May 10

jack de large says...

This is fantastic! The disease of Liberal Democrats all but eradicated, I'm so relieved. Johar Khan's comments show how little he, and Liberal Democrats understand about their own vote. Because their main policy is just to get elected, when faced with a true political opposition from a hard Labour vote their support melted away. I am over the moon that the Tories got back Hale end and Highams Park, they campaigned using the truth, they told it like it was and they won because of it. One strange thing that did happen in Hale End and Highams Park, toward the end of polling day, suddenly there were lots of young Muslims knocking on doors to get people to come out to vote Liberal Democrat (there were three in my road) where there had been no Lib dem activity all day. The hand of Johar perhaps?
This is fantastic! The disease of Liberal Democrats all but eradicated, I'm so relieved. Johar Khan's comments show how little he, and Liberal Democrats understand about their own vote. Because their main policy is just to get elected, when faced with a true political opposition from a hard Labour vote their support melted away. I am over the moon that the Tories got back Hale end and Highams Park, they campaigned using the truth, they told it like it was and they won because of it. One strange thing that did happen in Hale End and Highams Park, toward the end of polling day, suddenly there were lots of young Muslims knocking on doors to get people to come out to vote Liberal Democrat (there were three in my road) where there had been no Lib dem activity all day. The hand of Johar perhaps? jack de large

8:19am Sat 8 May 10

jrp says...

So with all the **** ups of the last few years, the mistakes of Loakes and Robbins, the missing millions from the poor fund. The people of Waltham Forest vote the same lot back in... I really do despair!!!!!!
So with all the **** ups of the last few years, the mistakes of Loakes and Robbins, the missing millions from the poor fund. The people of Waltham Forest vote the same lot back in... I really do despair!!!!!! jrp

9:48am Sat 8 May 10

Silent Majority 2009 says...

They say the British electorate are intelligent and this local result seems to prove it. The Liberals behaved in a totally unacceptable way, deselecting their leader, paying people to deliver election material, spending a fortune on that material etc. The electorate has seen through it and punished them accordingly.
The old guard of Labour councillors now need to heed the warning and allow the younger blood to put forward their ideas. The dogma of the last few years must end and a proper dialogue with the electorate must start.
The plans for the land around the Town Hall (Area Action Plan) must be dropped, and all the efforts and what ever money becomes available, put in to getting the Town Centre developed in a holistic way that is acceptable to residents. A good start would be to encourage the creative industries to develop. Retailing can't compete with Stratford or the West End so lets find a way of developing a unique character for Waltham Forest which is not based on retailing and offices but encourages individuals to play their part in the Borough.
They say the British electorate are intelligent and this local result seems to prove it. The Liberals behaved in a totally unacceptable way, deselecting their leader, paying people to deliver election material, spending a fortune on that material etc. The electorate has seen through it and punished them accordingly. The old guard of Labour councillors now need to heed the warning and allow the younger blood to put forward their ideas. The dogma of the last few years must end and a proper dialogue with the electorate must start. The plans for the land around the Town Hall (Area Action Plan) must be dropped, and all the efforts and what ever money becomes available, put in to getting the Town Centre developed in a holistic way that is acceptable to residents. A good start would be to encourage the creative industries to develop. Retailing can't compete with Stratford or the West End so lets find a way of developing a unique character for Waltham Forest which is not based on retailing and offices but encourages individuals to play their part in the Borough. Silent Majority 2009

11:21am Sat 8 May 10

May Buds says...

Chris Robbins says: "This result has created a contract between the Labour party and the residents of Waltham Forest. We need to ensure the job we do honours that contract so that they will re-elect us again in four years time." Never a truer word spoken - and we will constantly remind you of it over the next four years, Councillor! There is still the issue of the 'strong leader' to sort out so please keep the internicine strife to a minimum guys. Business as usual is no longer an option so you need to up your game significantly and act as a responsible administration with a strong mandate. We'll support you if you deliver on your contract - if not, remember what happened to the Lib Dems. Think on!
Chris Robbins says: "This result has created a contract between the Labour party and the residents of Waltham Forest. We need to ensure the job we do honours that contract so that they will re-elect us again in four years time." Never a truer word spoken - and we will constantly remind you of it over the next four years, Councillor! There is still the issue of the 'strong leader' to sort out so please keep the internicine strife to a minimum guys. Business as usual is no longer an option so you need to up your game significantly and act as a responsible administration with a strong mandate. We'll support you if you deliver on your contract - if not, remember what happened to the Lib Dems. Think on! May Buds

12:56pm Sat 8 May 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

My three top wishes for action by the new council:

1) Get a grip on the Arcade site fiasco - it would help if you and your developers came up with a plan that residents at large found acceptable, and if you didn't then propose to close the pool in Chingford Road;

2) Get a grip on the primary school places shortage which is getting worse virtually by the week - stop sweeping it under the carpet and pretending everything is fine when it isn't;

3) Stop taking decisions behind closed doors then launching the final plan to local people under the pretence of consultation.
My three top wishes for action by the new council: 1) Get a grip on the Arcade site fiasco - it would help if you and your developers came up with a plan that residents at large found acceptable, and if you didn't then propose to close the pool in Chingford Road; 2) Get a grip on the primary school places shortage which is getting worse virtually by the week - stop sweeping it under the carpet and pretending everything is fine when it isn't; 3) Stop taking decisions behind closed doors then launching the final plan to local people under the pretence of consultation. Helen, Walthamstow

3:20pm Sat 8 May 10

Techno2 says...

E17006 wrote:
The deselection issue had no effect?!!!! It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves.
Hear hear.

Johar Khan should get real. He has been rejected at the polls. His comments, confusing his own party with the Tories show just how out of touch he is.

The mystery in all of this is how he ever managed to fool anyone into thinking he should be allowed to adopt any kind of leadership role in his party in the first place. He and his allies wrecked the local Liberal Democrats and directly led to these election results. The local party have been roundly punished at the polls, bringing down the whole party like a house of cards.

Maybe Mr Khan should realise that politics is just not something he is very good at. He is not part of the solution to the mess he has created. I wish him well in life, but do think he should go and do something he is more suited for, where he can use his destructive talents without ruining our democracy and dividing our community.
[quote][p][bold]E17006[/bold] wrote: The deselection issue had no effect?!!!! It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves.[/p][/quote]Hear hear. Johar Khan should get real. He has been rejected at the polls. His comments, confusing his own party with the Tories show just how out of touch he is. The mystery in all of this is how he ever managed to fool anyone into thinking he should be allowed to adopt any kind of leadership role in his party in the first place. He and his allies wrecked the local Liberal Democrats and directly led to these election results. The local party have been roundly punished at the polls, bringing down the whole party like a house of cards. Maybe Mr Khan should realise that politics is just not something he is very good at. He is not part of the solution to the mess he has created. I wish him well in life, but do think he should go and do something he is more suited for, where he can use his destructive talents without ruining our democracy and dividing our community. Techno2

4:11pm Sat 8 May 10

May Buds says...

Johar Khan it was who on 12 July 2007 moved a motion in council on Freedom and Human Rights for the People of Kashmir. I would suggest that if ex-Cllr Khan cared so deeply about these issues he should go to Kashmir and work on the ground to help resolve them - were it not for the fact that the poor people of Kashmir have suffered enough already!
Johar Khan it was who on 12 July 2007 moved a motion in council on Freedom and Human Rights for the People of Kashmir. I would suggest that if ex-Cllr Khan cared so deeply about these issues he should go to Kashmir and work on the ground to help resolve them - were it not for the fact that the poor people of Kashmir have suffered enough already! May Buds

5:47pm Sat 8 May 10

livedheretoolong says...

Techno2 wrote:
E17006 wrote:
The deselection issue had no effect?!!!! It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves.
Hear hear.

Johar Khan should get real. He has been rejected at the polls. His comments, confusing his own party with the Tories show just how out of touch he is.

The mystery in all of this is how he ever managed to fool anyone into thinking he should be allowed to adopt any kind of leadership role in his party in the first place. He and his allies wrecked the local Liberal Democrats and directly led to these election results. The local party have been roundly punished at the polls, bringing down the whole party like a house of cards.

Maybe Mr Khan should realise that politics is just not something he is very good at. He is not part of the solution to the mess he has created. I wish him well in life, but do think he should go and do something he is more suited for, where he can use his destructive talents without ruining our democracy and dividing our community.
Hear Hear

I also think jack de large may be right about Johar Khan and the Liberal Democrats not understanding their own vote. Given that they position themselves between the left and the right much of their support comes from people who have become disaffected with either the Labour or Conservative parties.
Speaking as an ordinary resident who has become increasingly disaffected with the way that our borough has gone into rapid decline over the last 10 years or so under a predominately Labour administration I was looking to the Liberal Democrats to provide a possible alternative. It's incredible to think that only a few weeks ago it looked as if they might had a good chance of taking overall control at this election.
And then the news broke about the deselections and internal wranglings going on inside the party leaving those of us without the benefit of insider knowledge wondering what on earth was going on.
I hope that in the great tradition of politics following a disaster of this magnitude inquests will be held and heads will roll.
In the meantime whilst Johar Khan has time to reflect on his position he might want to consider the following points:
1) The voting public is smarter than you think and won't be taken for fools.
2) Don't think you can bamboozle people into voting for your party by bombarding them with junk leaflets (with factually incorrect statistics)
3) We don't want a Tower Hamlets here - it's time to pack your bags and go.

We now face the truly awful prospect of having a local Labour Party that has been given a clear mandate to continue to run this borough into the ground with their disasterous policies. I just hope that the Conservative councillors will challenge their actions at every step and that this newspaper will continue to bring them to account on all the decisions they take that will affect the lives of the residents who live in this borough.
[quote][p][bold]Techno2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]E17006[/bold] wrote: The deselection issue had no effect?!!!! It only wiped out your party Johar. Nice moves.[/p][/quote]Hear hear. Johar Khan should get real. He has been rejected at the polls. His comments, confusing his own party with the Tories show just how out of touch he is. The mystery in all of this is how he ever managed to fool anyone into thinking he should be allowed to adopt any kind of leadership role in his party in the first place. He and his allies wrecked the local Liberal Democrats and directly led to these election results. The local party have been roundly punished at the polls, bringing down the whole party like a house of cards. Maybe Mr Khan should realise that politics is just not something he is very good at. He is not part of the solution to the mess he has created. I wish him well in life, but do think he should go and do something he is more suited for, where he can use his destructive talents without ruining our democracy and dividing our community.[/p][/quote]Hear Hear I also think jack de large may be right about Johar Khan and the Liberal Democrats not understanding their own vote. Given that they position themselves between the left and the right much of their support comes from people who have become disaffected with either the Labour or Conservative parties. Speaking as an ordinary resident who has become increasingly disaffected with the way that our borough has gone into rapid decline over the last 10 years or so under a predominately Labour administration I was looking to the Liberal Democrats to provide a possible alternative. It's incredible to think that only a few weeks ago it looked as if they might had a good chance of taking overall control at this election. And then the news broke about the deselections and internal wranglings going on inside the party leaving those of us without the benefit of insider knowledge wondering what on earth was going on. I hope that in the great tradition of politics following a disaster of this magnitude inquests will be held and heads will roll. In the meantime whilst Johar Khan has time to reflect on his position he might want to consider the following points: 1) The voting public is smarter than you think and won't be taken for fools. 2) Don't think you can bamboozle people into voting for your party by bombarding them with junk leaflets (with factually incorrect statistics) 3) We don't want a Tower Hamlets here - it's time to pack your bags and go. We now face the truly awful prospect of having a local Labour Party that has been given a clear mandate to continue to run this borough into the ground with their disasterous policies. I just hope that the Conservative councillors will challenge their actions at every step and that this newspaper will continue to bring them to account on all the decisions they take that will affect the lives of the residents who live in this borough. livedheretoolong

5:51pm Sat 8 May 10

myopinioncounts says...

How much of Labour's success was due to the increase in EU residents in the borough?
How much of Labour's success was due to the increase in EU residents in the borough? myopinioncounts

6:20pm Sat 8 May 10

md-j says...

'But their decision to stand as independent candidates following their deselection split the vote, resulting in the ward's three seats being taken by Labour.'

Not quite: add the votes togather of 'official' and 'rebel' LD's, and it would still have been a very tight contest in Chapel End: though quite a few people must have decided it was best to vote for certainty, and dumped the LD's altogether.
It's noticeable that the biggest pro-Labour swings were in the wards with the lowest turnouts: what this signifies I'm not quite sure, because traditionally it's HIGH turnouts which are supposed to favour Labour.
It would be very interesting to have the figures for postal votes cast in each ward to see if they correlated with the swing.

'.. so lets find a way of developing a unique character for Waltham Forest..'
Completely agree with this; all the plans brought in by outside developers are dull,shoddy and generic, designed to make them a profit but leaving every place the same.
Step 1 is a revitalised market , which would be cheap to accomplish.
The depressing result of the outcome is a refreshed mandate for figures who lost or squandered vast amounts of public money, voted to conceal their own breaches of the law, and seem to favour deals - to our repeated loss- with companies famous mostly for corruption: is this what we have to look forward to?
'But their decision to stand as independent candidates following their deselection split the vote, resulting in the ward's three seats being taken by Labour.' Not quite: add the votes togather of 'official' and 'rebel' LD's, and it would still have been a very tight contest in Chapel End: though quite a few people must have decided it was best to vote for certainty, and dumped the LD's altogether. It's noticeable that the biggest pro-Labour swings were in the wards with the lowest turnouts: what this signifies I'm not quite sure, because traditionally it's HIGH turnouts which are supposed to favour Labour. It would be very interesting to have the figures for postal votes cast in each ward to see if they correlated with the swing. '.. so lets find a way of developing a unique character for Waltham Forest..' Completely agree with this; all the plans brought in by outside developers are dull,shoddy and generic, designed to make them a profit but leaving every place the same. Step 1 is a revitalised market , which would be cheap to accomplish. The depressing result of the outcome is a refreshed mandate for figures who lost or squandered vast amounts of public money, voted to conceal their own breaches of the law, and seem to favour deals - to our repeated loss- with companies famous mostly for corruption: is this what we have to look forward to? md-j

7:05pm Sat 8 May 10

Harry Howard says...

My message to Labour. Don't be arrogant about your success. It's got more to do with the astonishing incompetence of the Lib Dems at local level than it has with your popularity.
Please dont waste money on consultants and remember that although a cinema would be nice, we don't want one at the expense of our existing facilities like Pool and Track etc.
I know you're going to have to make cuts, but dont make irreversible ones such as shutting Vestry House and William Morris. They are part of our history and make us proud to live here.
Finally, good luck !
My message to Labour. Don't be arrogant about your success. It's got more to do with the astonishing incompetence of the Lib Dems at local level than it has with your popularity. Please dont waste money on consultants and remember that although a cinema would be nice, we don't want one at the expense of our existing facilities like Pool and Track etc. I know you're going to have to make cuts, but dont make irreversible ones such as shutting Vestry House and William Morris. They are part of our history and make us proud to live here. Finally, good luck ! Harry Howard

8:51pm Sat 8 May 10

May Buds says...

myopinioncounts wrote:
How much of Labour's success was due to the increase in EU residents in the borough?
I thought they tended to fancy rabid right wingers - ah, come to think of it...!
[quote][p][bold]myopinioncounts[/bold] wrote: How much of Labour's success was due to the increase in EU residents in the borough?[/p][/quote]I thought they tended to fancy rabid right wingers - ah, come to think of it...! May Buds

11:16pm Sat 8 May 10

Redfox says...

How nice to actually see Robbo is alive and looking well. He didn't attend any of the last 3 Leyton ward community councils, presumably hiding away from 'difficult' questions about the Leyton cricket ground! I still haven't seen him photographed wearing his FREE Waltham Forest 2012 Logo badge, nor any other councillors yet come to think of it.
Is it hidden underneath his rosette?
How nice to actually see Robbo is alive and looking well. He didn't attend any of the last 3 Leyton ward community councils, presumably hiding away from 'difficult' questions about the Leyton cricket ground! I still haven't seen him photographed wearing his FREE Waltham Forest 2012 Logo badge, nor any other councillors yet come to think of it. Is it hidden underneath his rosette? Redfox

3:58am Sun 9 May 10

sonofturpin says...

So, regardless of how we analyse the circumstances or question the thinking of the electorate, the fact is that Labour control the Council. So, here’s a message for them;

As has been highlighted elsewhere, there are a great many issues that you still need to resolve and, this time, you need to act with openness, honestly and inclusion.

There is a growing army of activists out here who will not let these issues lie. To paraphrase the words of Mr. Gordon Sumner: “Every breath you take, every move you make, we’ll be watching you”.

Most of us believe you either lack the acumen or the intelligence to deal with these issues with anything approaching vision. Prove us wrong.
So, regardless of how we analyse the circumstances or question the thinking of the electorate, the fact is that Labour control the Council. So, here’s a message for them; As has been highlighted elsewhere, there are a great many issues that you still need to resolve and, this time, you need to act with openness, honestly and inclusion. There is a growing army of activists out here who will not let these issues lie. To paraphrase the words of Mr. Gordon Sumner: “Every breath you take, every move you make, we’ll be watching you”. Most of us believe you either lack the acumen or the intelligence to deal with these issues with anything approaching vision. Prove us wrong. sonofturpin

11:38am Sun 9 May 10

Robert19 says...

Whilst I do think this election result has a lot to do with the Lib Dems implosion, if you look at London as a whole there has been some pretty impressive results for Labour. This has been at the expense of both Lib Dems and Tories. As well as Labour hitting rock bottom in 2006 there is also the fact that people were there to vote in the general election and there would then be a higher turnout for the locals. The swing against Labour was much smaller in inner London indeed some seats had a swing to Labour. What was the best result was the decimation of the BNP.
Whilst I do think this election result has a lot to do with the Lib Dems implosion, if you look at London as a whole there has been some pretty impressive results for Labour. This has been at the expense of both Lib Dems and Tories. As well as Labour hitting rock bottom in 2006 there is also the fact that people were there to vote in the general election and there would then be a higher turnout for the locals. The swing against Labour was much smaller in inner London indeed some seats had a swing to Labour. What was the best result was the decimation of the BNP. Robert19

2:57pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

Perhaps our new Labour-controlled Council could start by looking at Community Councils. Now Labour no longer needs to indulge the Lib Dems' whimsical approach to community engagement I'm sure a radical overhaul, if not scrapping, must be on the cards - if only as a money-saving exercise. There are six Community Councils in the Borough, which meet four times a year. Each has an annual fund of £10,000 per ward, plus £5,000 per Community Council area, representing an annual spend of £230,000. In addition, the Councillor Chair of each Community Council gets an annual allowance of £4,000, representing a further annual cost of £24,000. Add in the officer time and administrative overheads and the cost must be at least half a million quid. These Community Councils are a sop to the concept of local democracy but are in fact highly unrepresentative. We elect our Councillors to make decisions about allocation of increasingly scarce public money and they should not be allowed to pass the buck (or the bucks!) in this way. We've all seen how the 'arms length' principle has failed spectacularly with the so-called ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation) of Ascham Homes. In the old, pre-Cabinet, days we had Grants Committees where Councillors, with the advice of interested residents, made these decisions. Get rid of these expensive, opaque and unaccountable Community Councils, which are the political cowards' option, and make the decisions in the proper elected forum, the Town Hall. If we're going to continue to pay sixty Councillors a minimum of £10,000 a year apiece to sit in the Town Hall, the least we have a right to expect is that they should work for it - and take the responsibility for their decisions.
Perhaps our new Labour-controlled Council could start by looking at Community Councils. Now Labour no longer needs to indulge the Lib Dems' whimsical approach to community engagement I'm sure a radical overhaul, if not scrapping, must be on the cards - if only as a money-saving exercise. There are six Community Councils in the Borough, which meet four times a year. Each has an annual fund of £10,000 per ward, plus £5,000 per Community Council area, representing an annual spend of £230,000. In addition, the Councillor Chair of each Community Council gets an annual allowance of £4,000, representing a further annual cost of £24,000. Add in the officer time and administrative overheads and the cost must be at least half a million quid. These Community Councils are a sop to the concept of local democracy but are in fact highly unrepresentative. We elect our Councillors to make decisions about allocation of increasingly scarce public money and they should not be allowed to pass the buck (or the bucks!) in this way. We've all seen how the 'arms length' principle has failed spectacularly with the so-called ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation) of Ascham Homes. In the old, pre-Cabinet, days we had Grants Committees where Councillors, with the advice of interested residents, made these decisions. Get rid of these expensive, opaque and unaccountable Community Councils, which are the political cowards' option, and make the decisions in the proper elected forum, the Town Hall. If we're going to continue to pay sixty Councillors a minimum of £10,000 a year apiece to sit in the Town Hall, the least we have a right to expect is that they should work for it - and take the responsibility for their decisions. May Buds

3:14pm Sun 9 May 10

Earle Martin says...

"May Buds" writes:
"Get rid of these expensive, opaque and unaccountable Community Councils, which are the political cowards' option"

You've either never been to a Community Council in your life, or you're a bloody loony. I've been to lots of them, and seen perfectly normal non-political residents of the Borough have their opinions listened to directly by Councillors, the police, Transport for London and others; heard community discussion of problems that affect everyone; and participated in communal discussion of how to spend money on civic improvements.

Please, go back to whatever dark troll hole you crawled out of, and stay there.
"May Buds" writes: "Get rid of these expensive, opaque and unaccountable Community Councils, which are the political cowards' option" You've either never been to a Community Council in your life, or you're a bloody loony. I've been to lots of them, and seen perfectly normal non-political residents of the Borough have their opinions listened to directly by Councillors, the police, Transport for London and others; heard community discussion of problems that affect everyone; and participated in communal discussion of how to spend money on civic improvements. Please, go back to whatever dark troll hole you crawled out of, and stay there. Earle Martin

4:42pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

You're perfectly entitled to your opinion, Earle Martin, as I am to mine but you rather prove my point by your offensive and belligerent remarks. I have attended several Community Councils and it was precisely the sort of attitude you exemplify in your response that formed my negative view of these forums in the first place. Sadly, your rude and bombastic manner is all too typical of attendees and I know many others who have been not just put off but actually intimidated at these meetings and will never attend them again. Put it down to poor chairing or what you will but they are in sad need of a comprehensive overhaul.
You're perfectly entitled to your opinion, Earle Martin, as I am to mine but you rather prove my point by your offensive and belligerent remarks. I have attended several Community Councils and it was precisely the sort of attitude you exemplify in your response that formed my negative view of these forums in the first place. Sadly, your rude and bombastic manner is all too typical of attendees and I know many others who have been not just put off but actually intimidated at these meetings and will never attend them again. Put it down to poor chairing or what you will but they are in sad need of a comprehensive overhaul. May Buds

4:52pm Sun 9 May 10

Lucifer1 says...

Robert19 wrote:
Whilst I do think this election result has a lot to do with the Lib Dems implosion, if you look at London as a whole there has been some pretty impressive results for Labour. This has been at the expense of both Lib Dems and Tories. As well as Labour hitting rock bottom in 2006 there is also the fact that people were there to vote in the general election and there would then be a higher turnout for the locals. The swing against Labour was much smaller in inner London indeed some seats had a swing to Labour. What was the best result was the decimation of the BNP.
Don't read anything into the so-called 'decimation' of the BNP. Their vote increased in percentage terms, and the votes they received in the Barking council elections would have been easily enough to win if it had been a normal turn-out.
In these times of economic uncertainty, people were scared of what a Tory government might do but did not want to trust an unknown quantity in the Liberal Democrats. Therefore more people than usual were determined to get out and cast their votes for Labour. This had a knock-on effect for the council elections.
When I think of the BNP I am reminded of what Gerry Adams once said about the IRA: "They never went away, you know."
[quote][p][bold]Robert19[/bold] wrote: Whilst I do think this election result has a lot to do with the Lib Dems implosion, if you look at London as a whole there has been some pretty impressive results for Labour. This has been at the expense of both Lib Dems and Tories. As well as Labour hitting rock bottom in 2006 there is also the fact that people were there to vote in the general election and there would then be a higher turnout for the locals. The swing against Labour was much smaller in inner London indeed some seats had a swing to Labour. What was the best result was the decimation of the BNP.[/p][/quote]Don't read anything into the so-called 'decimation' of the BNP. Their vote increased in percentage terms, and the votes they received in the Barking council elections would have been easily enough to win if it had been a normal turn-out. In these times of economic uncertainty, people were scared of what a Tory government might do but did not want to trust an unknown quantity in the Liberal Democrats. Therefore more people than usual were determined to get out and cast their votes for Labour. This had a knock-on effect for the council elections. When I think of the BNP I am reminded of what Gerry Adams once said about the IRA: "They never went away, you know." Lucifer1

6:03pm Sun 9 May 10

Walthamster says...

Johar Khan and his idiotic bunch of wreckers deserve to be thrown out of their party. I hope the Lib Dem head office launches an inquiry into the way they sabotaged their own party just before an election, and why.

I don’t care about their political careers, which I hope are now over. But they destroyed a real chance to free Waltham Forest from a lazy and incompetent Labour administration whose only talent has been for “losing” things: millions of pounds of public money, legal paperwork for contracts, results of consultations, star ratings, etc etc. (And I was a Labour voter up to a few years ago.)

The Lib Dems weren’t much good in coalition, but they stopped a few of Labour’s worst attacks on Walthamstow, such as turning St James Street Library into a drug centre after 2000 local people had signed a petition asking for the library to be reopened. John Macklin and James O’Rourke were among the few councillors who seemed to like Walthamstow, and they were working with local people on projects that could have done some good.

Lib Dems were within a couple of seats of taking over from Labour, before Khan’s little clique blew it all by deselecting sitting councillors including their leader. And what for? So one of their mates could have a safe seat as a councillor? Didn’t work, did it! It just blew all hope of change for the rest of us.

Khan was a useless ward councillor, who didn’t even do the basics like attending his own surgeries or answering emails. When the cuts started in 2007, people were pleading for help to save local amenities under threat. His response? As May Buds says, to make speeches about Kashmir! Big help here in Walthamstow, Johar. Thanks a lot.

If he or any of his co-wreckers are allowed to stand for public office as Lib Dems again, I will know the Lib Dems have not just lost their principles, they’ve lost the plot.
Johar Khan and his idiotic bunch of wreckers deserve to be thrown out of their party. I hope the Lib Dem head office launches an inquiry into the way they sabotaged their own party just before an election, and why. I don’t care about their political careers, which I hope are now over. But they destroyed a real chance to free Waltham Forest from a lazy and incompetent Labour administration whose only talent has been for “losing” things: millions of pounds of public money, legal paperwork for contracts, results of consultations, star ratings, etc etc. (And I was a Labour voter up to a few years ago.) The Lib Dems weren’t much good in coalition, but they stopped a few of Labour’s worst attacks on Walthamstow, such as turning St James Street Library into a drug centre after 2000 local people had signed a petition asking for the library to be reopened. John Macklin and James O’Rourke were among the few councillors who seemed to like Walthamstow, and they were working with local people on projects that could have done some good. Lib Dems were within a couple of seats of taking over from Labour, before Khan’s little clique blew it all by deselecting sitting councillors including their leader. And what for? So one of their mates could have a safe seat as a councillor? Didn’t work, did it! It just blew all hope of change for the rest of us. Khan was a useless ward councillor, who didn’t even do the basics like attending his own surgeries or answering emails. When the cuts started in 2007, people were pleading for help to save local amenities under threat. His response? As May Buds says, to make speeches about Kashmir! Big help here in Walthamstow, Johar. Thanks a lot. If he or any of his co-wreckers are allowed to stand for public office as Lib Dems again, I will know the Lib Dems have not just lost their principles, they’ve lost the plot. Walthamster

7:24pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

They have lost the plot, Walthamster, and are now a spent political force. Nationally they have sacrificed what principles they claimed to have by tarting themselves around Whitehall in search of a client. In London they've lost councils and locally they're annihilated. I don't think we should waste any more of our time on them (since they have wasted so much of ours) but rather spend time holding Robbins and co to his 'contract'.
They have lost the plot, Walthamster, and are now a spent political force. Nationally they have sacrificed what principles they claimed to have by tarting themselves around Whitehall in search of a client. In London they've lost councils and locally they're annihilated. I don't think we should waste any more of our time on them (since they have wasted so much of ours) but rather spend time holding Robbins and co to his 'contract'. May Buds

7:49pm Sun 9 May 10

md-j says...

May Buds,
Community Councils are rather bureaucratic and top-down in character, but are the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience. They need to be developed, not disparaged.
There is great pleasure in watching an official on £125,000 pa wriggle as they are caught out in a 'terminological inexactitude'!
If they go , we must set up our own Residents' Forums,. and dare Councillors and officials not to turn up!
Your point about the c £700 per hour that the Council Chairs get for their minor involvement is well made.
May Buds, Community Councils are rather bureaucratic and top-down in character, but are the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience. They need to be developed, not disparaged. There is great pleasure in watching an official on £125,000 pa wriggle as they are caught out in a 'terminological inexactitude'! If they go , we must set up our own Residents' Forums,. and dare Councillors and officials not to turn up! Your point about the c £700 per hour that the Council Chairs get for their minor involvement is well made. md-j

7:50pm Sun 9 May 10

md-j says...

May Buds,
Community Councils are rather bureaucratic and top-down in character, but are the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience. They need to be developed, not disparaged.
There is great pleasure in watching an official on £125,000 pa wriggle as they are caught out in a 'terminological inexactitude'!
If they go , we must set up our own Residents' Forums,. and dare Councillors and officials not to turn up!
Your point about the c £700 per hour that the Council Chairs get for their minor involvement is well made.
May Buds, Community Councils are rather bureaucratic and top-down in character, but are the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience. They need to be developed, not disparaged. There is great pleasure in watching an official on £125,000 pa wriggle as they are caught out in a 'terminological inexactitude'! If they go , we must set up our own Residents' Forums,. and dare Councillors and officials not to turn up! Your point about the c £700 per hour that the Council Chairs get for their minor involvement is well made. md-j

7:59pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

It seems to me a rather expensive spectator sport, md-j. The Councillors should be holding their senior officers to account, that's what they're paid for, we are not. This is why people took one look at Cameron's 'Big Society' and thought 'you're having a laugh!' This was all very well when Councillors and the voluntary sector all worked 'pro bono' but now that Councillors are well paid why the hell should we do their jobs for them gratis?! Residents' Forums are a jolly good idea as then we are setting the agenda and not just participating in a window dressing exercise for their benefit, allowing them to claim 'community participation and consultation' while taking us for fools.
It seems to me a rather expensive spectator sport, md-j. The Councillors should be holding their senior officers to account, that's what they're paid for, we are not. This is why people took one look at Cameron's 'Big Society' and thought 'you're having a laugh!' This was all very well when Councillors and the voluntary sector all worked 'pro bono' but now that Councillors are well paid why the hell should we do their jobs for them gratis?! Residents' Forums are a jolly good idea as then we are setting the agenda and not just participating in a window dressing exercise for their benefit, allowing them to claim 'community participation and consultation' while taking us for fools. May Buds

9:08pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

PS: You say, md-j, that: "Community Councils are ... the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience." Surely this is what Council meetings are for. I bet you if we turned up mob-handed at the Town Hall for every meeting that would really rattle them. As it is, they know that hardly anyone will bother so they can patronise us all by turning up at Community Councils once a quarter in a sham of accountability. It's a game they play with those gullible enough to take it at face value.
PS: You say, md-j, that: "Community Councils are ... the only forum where Councillors and officials have to justify their actions in front of a public audience." Surely this is what Council meetings are for. I bet you if we turned up mob-handed at the Town Hall for every meeting that would really rattle them. As it is, they know that hardly anyone will bother so they can patronise us all by turning up at Community Councils once a quarter in a sham of accountability. It's a game they play with those gullible enough to take it at face value. May Buds

9:58pm Sun 9 May 10

md-j says...

'The Councillors should be holding their senior officers to account, that's what they're paid for'
If only, May Buds, if only!
The chief reason I stood for election was to draw attention to the difficulty of telling Councillors apart from officials.
Did you know that the head of the Arts,Culture and Leisure department (s/fx: hollow laughter) is a former Labour leader of the Council? That Councillor Akram is also Chair, at c.£46k, of the Primary Care Trust?
That a senior Councillor recently described her job as being to 'explain Council policy to the public,' as if she was a salaried PR officer, and the public had no role in making policy?
They're all of the same inbred apparatchik culture. Their purpose in life is to consume budget; they'll reverse policy overnight, so long as they can carry on consuming. If we waited for Council meetings to make our views known, do you think that the underhanded and unlawful Cricket Ground proposal would have been stopped in its tracks? It would have been too late.
I'm sure you're right about the sedative intent of Community Councils, but they're a weapon the public can put to good use.
I almost wish that Councillors were BETTER paid, because a better quality of candidate might come forward - either that, or we start electing the officials directly, seeing what political animals the senior ones are.
'The Councillors should be holding their senior officers to account, that's what they're paid for' If only, May Buds, if only! The chief reason I stood for election was to draw attention to the difficulty of telling Councillors apart from officials. Did you know that the head of the Arts,Culture and Leisure department (s/fx: hollow laughter) is a former Labour leader of the Council? That Councillor Akram is also Chair, at c.£46k, of the Primary Care Trust? That a senior Councillor recently described her job as being to 'explain Council policy to the public,' as if she was a salaried PR officer, and the public had no role in making policy? They're all of the same inbred apparatchik culture. Their purpose in life is to consume budget; they'll reverse policy overnight, so long as they can carry on consuming. If we waited for Council meetings to make our views known, do you think that the underhanded and unlawful Cricket Ground proposal would have been stopped in its tracks? It would have been too late. I'm sure you're right about the sedative intent of Community Councils, but they're a weapon the public can put to good use. I almost wish that Councillors were BETTER paid, because a better quality of candidate might come forward - either that, or we start electing the officials directly, seeing what political animals the senior ones are. md-j

10:42pm Sun 9 May 10

May Buds says...

Indeed, md-j, the senior officers (and the not-so-senior ones from what I've seen) can run rings round the elected members - and do on a routine basis. But I suspect it's been a cosy cabal that has suited them all quite well and has helped maintain the status quo that has provided convenient cover for their mediocrity. One glimmer of hope now is that, having no other party to blame, the ruling Labour group will be forced to get a grip and the senior officer corps may be held to account at last - although they are usually quite adept at making sure their juniors take the rap.
Indeed, md-j, the senior officers (and the not-so-senior ones from what I've seen) can run rings round the elected members - and do on a routine basis. But I suspect it's been a cosy cabal that has suited them all quite well and has helped maintain the status quo that has provided convenient cover for their mediocrity. One glimmer of hope now is that, having no other party to blame, the ruling Labour group will be forced to get a grip and the senior officer corps may be held to account at last - although they are usually quite adept at making sure their juniors take the rap. May Buds

11:25pm Sun 9 May 10

md-j says...

'the ruling Labour group will be forced to get a grip and the senior officer corps may be held to account at last ..'
But they are all one happy family!
See also:

http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/news/election
/article-1271457/Gen
eral-Election-2010-P
ostal-vote-fraud-ami
d-fears-bogus-voters
-swing-election.html
'the ruling Labour group will be forced to get a grip and the senior officer corps may be held to account at last ..' But they are all one happy family! See also: http://www.dailymail .co.uk/news/election /article-1271457/Gen eral-Election-2010-P ostal-vote-fraud-ami d-fears-bogus-voters -swing-election.html md-j

3:02am Mon 10 May 10

KWyatt-Lown says...

I hope that I might be given a forum here to clarify some damning and ill-informed information that appears to be claimed by your correspondent “May Buds”.

I have acted as the Chair of the North Chingford Community Council for some years. My post has regularly been voted upon by the community and, I’m honoured to say, they have re-elected me four times. I fulfil this role voluntarily, without payment, and without bias to any political party. As I explained at my original election, I ‘m a firm adherent to the philosophy of Marx (Groucho, not Karl) – I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

It is, indeed, true, that the post of Councillor Chair (a post apparently rotated among the Tory councillors in our part of the borough on an annual basis and worth some £4000 plus per annum in “attendance allowances”) creates an opportunity to sit next to me and earn over £1000 per meeting – even though ALL of the Councillors in the area are expected to attend the Community Councils anyway – while I do the job for nothing.

It is also true that I have campaigned repeatedly for this “nice little earner” to be removed from the Councillors benefits, asking each time, how they justify the ratepayers expense.

That notwithstanding, I utterly refute any attempt to diminish the role of the Community Councils in the democratic process and the demands on Councillors to be answerable to the electorate. If Central Government are to have their way in coming months then an increase in localised management of many processes is inevitable. Structures such as Community Councils will become even more important in ensuring that the Community themselves have a role to play in monitoring the checks and balances governing local democracy.

While Councillors may have their regular “surgeries” at which, (if they can be bothered to turn up) they might acknowledge that their constituents have an opportunity to seek advice and support on civic matters, the Community Councils offer a very public forum at which, at the very least, Councillors are expected to attend but, far more importantly, are required to respond and to act on very public issues.

Kevin Wyatt-Lown
Chair, North Chingford Community Council
I hope that I might be given a forum here to clarify some damning and ill-informed information that appears to be claimed by your correspondent “May Buds”. I have acted as the Chair of the North Chingford Community Council for some years. My post has regularly been voted upon by the community and, I’m honoured to say, they have re-elected me four times. I fulfil this role voluntarily, without payment, and without bias to any political party. As I explained at my original election, I ‘m a firm adherent to the philosophy of Marx (Groucho, not Karl) – I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. It is, indeed, true, that the post of Councillor Chair (a post apparently rotated among the Tory councillors in our part of the borough on an annual basis and worth some £4000 plus per annum in “attendance allowances”) creates an opportunity to sit next to me and earn over £1000 per meeting – even though ALL of the Councillors in the area are expected to attend the Community Councils anyway – while I do the job for nothing. It is also true that I have campaigned repeatedly for this “nice little earner” to be removed from the Councillors benefits, asking each time, how they justify the ratepayers expense. That notwithstanding, I utterly refute any attempt to diminish the role of the Community Councils in the democratic process and the demands on Councillors to be answerable to the electorate. If Central Government are to have their way in coming months then an increase in localised management of many processes is inevitable. Structures such as Community Councils will become even more important in ensuring that the Community themselves have a role to play in monitoring the checks and balances governing local democracy. While Councillors may have their regular “surgeries” at which, (if they can be bothered to turn up) they might acknowledge that their constituents have an opportunity to seek advice and support on civic matters, the Community Councils offer a very public forum at which, at the very least, Councillors are expected to attend but, far more importantly, are required to respond and to act on very public issues. Kevin Wyatt-Lown Chair, North Chingford Community Council KWyatt-Lown

7:29am Mon 10 May 10

jack de large says...

Before this debate veers into one about community councils, in all the analysis of the LibDem performance nobody seems to mention the roles of Bob Wheatley, and the Higham Hill councillors. Johar Khan and Farid Ahmed couldn't have done what they did without help from Wheatley, Meiszner & Co. As I understand it, Higham hill was a pretty safe LibDem seat and the three councillors were suspended for their role in this sordid affair.

I think Lucifer1 has got it about right, people in cushy public service jobs and on benefits were too scared to vote Tory and came out in droves to vote Labour, against this, a soft Liberal Democrat vote which, if they're honest (unlikely I know) is based on them pretending to do things like getting trees cut or writing to the Mayor of London, was never going to stand up.

Just a word on community councils, I have never been to North Chingford Community Council but I have been to the South Chingford one, my only complaints are that it seems an expensive away of distributing money, the councillors don't turn up very frequently, we only get, Councillor Buckmaster, Siggers and usually one of the three Lib Dems and the average age of the people who attend would seem to be about 60, I stopped going because I felt out of place, I tried to get the couple of my mates to come along once, never again! perhaps some youth representation or a youth forum might not be a bad idea (and LBWF, don't call it something like Defendin' Da Hood, you patronising morons, not everyone under the age of 20 want to be a gangster rapper and some of us can speak English!).
Before this debate veers into one about community councils, in all the analysis of the LibDem performance nobody seems to mention the roles of Bob Wheatley, and the Higham Hill councillors. Johar Khan and Farid Ahmed couldn't have done what they did without help from Wheatley, Meiszner & Co. As I understand it, Higham hill was a pretty safe LibDem seat and the three councillors were suspended for their role in this sordid affair. I think Lucifer1 has got it about right, people in cushy public service jobs and on benefits were too scared to vote Tory and came out in droves to vote Labour, against this, a soft Liberal Democrat vote which, if they're honest (unlikely I know) is based on them pretending to do things like getting trees cut or writing to the Mayor of London, was never going to stand up. Just a word on community councils, I have never been to North Chingford Community Council but I have been to the South Chingford one, my only complaints are that it seems an expensive away of distributing money, the councillors don't turn up very frequently, we only get, Councillor Buckmaster, Siggers and usually one of the three Lib Dems and the average age of the people who attend would seem to be about 60, I stopped going because I felt out of place, I tried to get the couple of my mates to come along once, never again! perhaps some youth representation or a youth forum might not be a bad idea (and LBWF, don't call it something like Defendin' Da Hood, you patronising morons, not everyone under the age of 20 want to be a gangster rapper and some of us can speak English!). jack de large

10:21am Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

Forget the Lib Dems, jack de large, they're yesterday's news. Your views on Community Councils are interesting and seem to bear out my experience and that of many of my friends and acquaintances. I have no reason to doubt Mr Wyatt-Lown's dedication to the role of Community Chair in North Chingford and I'm sure his Community Council meets the requirements of the majority local demographic, ie white, middle-class, middle-aged to elderly but there is another story, which you eloquently describe from the viewpoint of a 19 year-old, that is not being heard in this rather lumbering, bureaucratic and very expensive process. I doubt even Mr Wyatt-Lown would defend the status quo.
Forget the Lib Dems, jack de large, they're yesterday's news. Your views on Community Councils are interesting and seem to bear out my experience and that of many of my friends and acquaintances. I have no reason to doubt Mr Wyatt-Lown's dedication to the role of Community Chair in North Chingford and I'm sure his Community Council meets the requirements of the majority local demographic, ie white, middle-class, middle-aged to elderly but there is another story, which you eloquently describe from the viewpoint of a 19 year-old, that is not being heard in this rather lumbering, bureaucratic and very expensive process. I doubt even Mr Wyatt-Lown would defend the status quo. May Buds

11:08am Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

PS: As to Mr Wyatt-Lown's assertion of "damning and ill-informed information that appears to be claimed" by myself in relation to Community Councils, I accept that my views are damning (self evidently) but they are certainly not ill-informed and neither are my claims apparent, but real. I don't know how many Community Councils other than his own Mr Wyatt-Lown has attended but I can assure him I have attended four, including his own, and found them either turgid on the one hand or confrontational on the other. They seem to provide a platform for the pushiest and most opinionated in our community and are not welcoming, or even particularly interesting, to the young or to minorities. Unlike Mr Wyatt-Lown I am a disinterested member of the community who, speaking from experience, does not like what I have seen and believes radical change to the present system of community engagement is not only essential but long overdue.
PS: As to Mr Wyatt-Lown's assertion of "damning and ill-informed information that appears to be claimed" by myself in relation to Community Councils, I accept that my views are damning (self evidently) but they are certainly not ill-informed and neither are my claims apparent, but real. I don't know how many Community Councils other than his own Mr Wyatt-Lown has attended but I can assure him I have attended four, including his own, and found them either turgid on the one hand or confrontational on the other. They seem to provide a platform for the pushiest and most opinionated in our community and are not welcoming, or even particularly interesting, to the young or to minorities. Unlike Mr Wyatt-Lown I am a disinterested member of the community who, speaking from experience, does not like what I have seen and believes radical change to the present system of community engagement is not only essential but long overdue. May Buds

12:41pm Mon 10 May 10

WaqarAhmed says...

Guys, let's get involved in making our borough a better place. I have sent an email to Chris Robbins, stating that we expect to see visible improvements to the facilities ion Waltham Forest, including sorting out the Arcade fiasco, having at least 1 cinema in Waltham Forest (why do i have to go to Ilford or Wood Green, we should support jobs and services in our own community), and having decent community services for all of us especially the youth. Send an email to him now,
leader@walthamforest
.gov.uk
Let's turn up to the council meetings and make sure these guys are accountable to us, the tax payers, for goodness sake we pay enough. We need to turn up in numbers and put real pressure on those representing us.
Guys, let's get involved in making our borough a better place. I have sent an email to Chris Robbins, stating that we expect to see visible improvements to the facilities ion Waltham Forest, including sorting out the Arcade fiasco, having at least 1 cinema in Waltham Forest (why do i have to go to Ilford or Wood Green, we should support jobs and services in our own community), and having decent community services for all of us especially the youth. Send an email to him now, leader@walthamforest .gov.uk Let's turn up to the council meetings and make sure these guys are accountable to us, the tax payers, for goodness sake we pay enough. We need to turn up in numbers and put real pressure on those representing us. WaqarAhmed

1:00pm Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

Well said, WaqarAhmed. The Annual Council (first full council meeting of the newly-elected administration) is at 7.30pm on Thursday 27 May. Let's start as we mean to go on and pack the public galleries!
Well said, WaqarAhmed. The Annual Council (first full council meeting of the newly-elected administration) is at 7.30pm on Thursday 27 May. Let's start as we mean to go on and pack the public galleries! May Buds

2:26pm Mon 10 May 10

stevewhite says...

Yes. Come on Chris. Now that you have failed to build that school on the Cricket Ground why not push forward the idea to subsidize the sports facilities over there and make them affordable to all.

Great to see your smiling face, or is it a relieved face. I bet you can't believe your luck. One of the worst local campaigns ever and still you win. You lucky, lucky ......... Perhaps we will see you more locally now? I thought you were hibernating!

Still, one thing is for sure- it was not your high visibility or winning personality that did it. More like Cameron having an open goal and still hitting the corner flag. People don't want cuts, trust schools, league tables for schools, bankers to get bailed out, PPP, PFI, hospital trusts, cuts to A and Es, cuts in beds.

Got it?
Yes. Come on Chris. Now that you have failed to build that school on the Cricket Ground why not push forward the idea to subsidize the sports facilities over there and make them affordable to all. Great to see your smiling face, or is it a relieved face. I bet you can't believe your luck. One of the worst local campaigns ever and still you win. You lucky, lucky ......... Perhaps we will see you more locally now? I thought you were hibernating! Still, one thing is for sure- it was not your high visibility or winning personality that did it. More like Cameron having an open goal and still hitting the corner flag. People don't want cuts, trust schools, league tables for schools, bankers to get bailed out, PPP, PFI, hospital trusts, cuts to A and Es, cuts in beds. Got it? stevewhite

4:19pm Mon 10 May 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Not only have the parties on the council still to appoint their leaders, but this time they have to choose a "strong leader" - that's not a one-year appointment, it's a four-year one, and the person selected will have a free hand to pick his or her cabinet.

Chris Robbins might not want to sign up for that commitment, and the other Labour members might not want him.

There are two people I hope are not chosen.

One is Clyde Loakes, who has had his day. He should not be allowed to bounce back into leadership now that he has lost the election in Northampton.

The other is Liaquat Ali, who has been such a dead loss as cabinet member for children and young people. He has done bog all for schools beyond popping into one from time to time to have his photo taken. I have an impression of him over many years as being someone who likes Cllr before his name and the kudos that come with holding a senior position, but not the work and responsibility that go with the honours.

WaqarAhmed for council strong leader! Now he seems to have his head screwed on the right way.
Not only have the parties on the council still to appoint their leaders, but this time they have to choose a "strong leader" - that's not a one-year appointment, it's a four-year one, and the person selected will have a free hand to pick his or her cabinet. Chris Robbins might not want to sign up for that commitment, and the other Labour members might not want him. There are two people I hope are not chosen. One is Clyde Loakes, who has had his day. He should not be allowed to bounce back into leadership now that he has lost the election in Northampton. The other is Liaquat Ali, who has been such a dead loss as cabinet member for children and young people. He has done bog all for schools beyond popping into one from time to time to have his photo taken. I have an impression of him over many years as being someone who likes Cllr before his name and the kudos that come with holding a senior position, but not the work and responsibility that go with the honours. WaqarAhmed for council strong leader! Now he seems to have his head screwed on the right way. Helen, Walthamstow

5:25pm Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

There's another I wouldn't want to see as 'strong leader', Helen - Terry Wheeler. In fact I don't even want to see him as a portfolio holder, certainly not of his previous one (Enterpise & Investment aka Regeneration) in which he so underwhelmed us - but I doubt we'll get that lucky. What's the betting on Afzal Akram?
There's another I wouldn't want to see as 'strong leader', Helen - Terry Wheeler. In fact I don't even want to see him as a portfolio holder, certainly not of his previous one (Enterpise & Investment aka Regeneration) in which he so underwhelmed us - but I doubt we'll get that lucky. What's the betting on Afzal Akram? May Buds

5:36pm Mon 10 May 10

fabster says...

Helen, god forbid Liaquat Ali. We know the man is too busy with his property & letting agency - buying up & renting out properties in the borough and shoring up his votes.

He can't string a coherent sentence together, let alone find it in his means to reply to residents' emails, petitions and letters. His Declaration of Interests form is two years out of date - you think he'd be able to spare 5 minutes to update the form in the back seat of his Bentley whilst being chauffer-driven around the borough.

The additional fiasco of breaking the rules by taking his daughter out of school, not paying the Magistrate's fine, cheque latterly appearing mysteriously etc. All these things serve to erode the trust with Ali. And then they go and make him responsible for Children & Young People?

If the Labour council pick this man as their 'strong leader', they really are holding voters in contempt.
Helen, god forbid Liaquat Ali. We know the man is too busy with his property & letting agency - buying up & renting out properties in the borough and shoring up his votes. He can't string a coherent sentence together, let alone find it in his means to reply to residents' emails, petitions and letters. His Declaration of Interests form is two years out of date - you think he'd be able to spare 5 minutes to update the form in the back seat of his Bentley whilst being chauffer-driven around the borough. The additional fiasco of breaking the rules by taking his daughter out of school, not paying the Magistrate's fine, cheque latterly appearing mysteriously etc. All these things serve to erode the trust with Ali. And then they go and make him responsible for Children & Young People? If the Labour council pick this man as their 'strong leader', they really are holding voters in contempt. fabster

5:42pm Mon 10 May 10

Lucifer1 says...

May Buds wrote:
There's another I wouldn't want to see as 'strong leader', Helen - Terry Wheeler. In fact I don't even want to see him as a portfolio holder, certainly not of his previous one (Enterpise & Investment aka Regeneration) in which he so underwhelmed us - but I doubt we'll get that lucky. What's the betting on Afzal Akram?
May Buds - I agree with every word.
In fact, I personally did not want to see Terry Wheeler even elected!
If there has to be a 'Strong Leader' I think Afzal Akram would be by far the best choice.
[quote][p][bold]May Buds[/bold] wrote: There's another I wouldn't want to see as 'strong leader', Helen - Terry Wheeler. In fact I don't even want to see him as a portfolio holder, certainly not of his previous one (Enterpise & Investment aka Regeneration) in which he so underwhelmed us - but I doubt we'll get that lucky. What's the betting on Afzal Akram?[/p][/quote]May Buds - I agree with every word. In fact, I personally did not want to see Terry Wheeler even elected! If there has to be a 'Strong Leader' I think Afzal Akram would be by far the best choice. Lucifer1

6:00pm Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

There is another one I wouldn't want to see in the role, Lucifer1, and she put herself up for Leyton & Wanstead along with Afzal Akram, Marie Pye.
There is another one I wouldn't want to see in the role, Lucifer1, and she put herself up for Leyton & Wanstead along with Afzal Akram, Marie Pye. May Buds

6:11pm Mon 10 May 10

md-j says...

But would Mr Akram want to give up his £47k at the Health Trust? The conflict of interest is already bad enough with his being a Councillor - and portfolio holder for Community Safety (c.30,k.) Over such matters as the St James St Library/drug treatment centre he has to leave the room as soon as he comes in, because he's in conflict with one side or another!
But would Mr Akram want to give up his £47k at the Health Trust? The conflict of interest is already bad enough with his being a Councillor - and portfolio holder for Community Safety (c.30,k.) Over such matters as the St James St Library/drug treatment centre he has to leave the room as soon as he comes in, because he's in conflict with one side or another! md-j

6:13pm Mon 10 May 10

md-j says...

...though I don't think that involves giving up one salary or the other.
...though I don't think that involves giving up one salary or the other. md-j

6:30pm Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

Hmm. By the way, judging by its website Clyde Loakes is still chair of the North London Waste Authority but I can't find whether that commands a salary. Does anyone know?
Hmm. By the way, judging by its website Clyde Loakes is still chair of the North London Waste Authority but I can't find whether that commands a salary. Does anyone know? May Buds

8:00pm Mon 10 May 10

carolinem says...

May Buds wrote:
Hmm. By the way, judging by its website Clyde Loakes is still chair of the North London Waste Authority but I can't find whether that commands a salary. Does anyone know?
not sure, may buds. but just to add that according to their website, he is also one of the 8 members of the 'london waste and recycling board', which budgeted a total of £85,000 for board members expenses last year.
[quote][p][bold]May Buds[/bold] wrote: Hmm. By the way, judging by its website Clyde Loakes is still chair of the North London Waste Authority but I can't find whether that commands a salary. Does anyone know?[/p][/quote]not sure, may buds. but just to add that according to their website, he is also one of the 8 members of the 'london waste and recycling board', which budgeted a total of £85,000 for board members expenses last year. carolinem

10:03pm Mon 10 May 10

md-j says...

No, May Buds: Mr Loakes chaired the NLWA in tandem with being Leader. But when he resigned the leadership, he asked for a compensating salary of c.£30k to make up for a sacrifice noone had asked him to make. This was not forthcoming.
It's a good general question how much these figures get from little enhancements, such as being directors of Ascham Homes. Also, did any officials get bonuses for winning the Borough 4 stars, which were later taken away? Do they get money for being lent and borrowed across Council boundaries? A 'partner' librarian from Haringey got c £40+k for choosing books for us a couple of years ago, since our own libraries manager does not have the skills to do so. That's for choosing them, not for buying them: probably more per book than the authors got for writing them.
No, May Buds: Mr Loakes chaired the NLWA in tandem with being Leader. But when he resigned the leadership, he asked for a compensating salary of c.£30k to make up for a sacrifice noone had asked him to make. This was not forthcoming. It's a good general question how much these figures get from little enhancements, such as being directors of Ascham Homes. Also, did any officials get bonuses for winning the Borough 4 stars, which were later taken away? Do they get money for being lent and borrowed across Council boundaries? A 'partner' librarian from Haringey got c £40+k for choosing books for us a couple of years ago, since our own libraries manager does not have the skills to do so. That's for choosing them, not for buying them: probably more per book than the authors got for writing them. md-j

10:22pm Mon 10 May 10

May Buds says...

And you wonder that I'm cynical, md-j!!
And you wonder that I'm cynical, md-j!! May Buds

9:05am Tue 11 May 10

jack de large says...

I can help here, MD-J is quite right, I remember the story that "sticky fingers" Loakes wanted money for chairing London Waste even though this had previously been an unpaid position.

With regard to Ascham Homes, I looked into this when the story about Hassett Auguste resigning broke. The only person on the Ascham Homes Board who gets paid is the Chair.

I have to disagree with you slightly may buds (although I realise your comments were posted before the events of yesterday unfolded) it would seem the Lib Dems are not as much history as we would have liked. I have to say, my first experience of voting has not been a pleasant one. My girlfriend said she would not vote as she said "it's not going to make any difference". Well, yes and no, it now seems that the most powerful party in the Commons will be the Scottish Nationalists. That is not what I voted for.
I can help here, MD-J is quite right, I remember the story that "sticky fingers" Loakes wanted money for chairing London Waste even though this had previously been an unpaid position. With regard to Ascham Homes, I looked into this when the story about Hassett Auguste resigning broke. The only person on the Ascham Homes Board who gets paid is the Chair. I have to disagree with you slightly may buds (although I realise your comments were posted before the events of yesterday unfolded) it would seem the Lib Dems are not as much history as we would have liked. I have to say, my first experience of voting has not been a pleasant one. My girlfriend said she would not vote as she said "it's not going to make any difference". Well, yes and no, it now seems that the most powerful party in the Commons will be the Scottish Nationalists. That is not what I voted for. jack de large

9:27am Tue 11 May 10

May Buds says...

I'm surprised at your girlfriend's decision, jack de large, when one considers what women in particular suffered to gain the vote. And there are alternatives to the mainstream parties - as witness Caroline Lucas' success for the Green Party in Brighton Pavilion. My grandmother used to say "if you don't vote you can't complain if you don't like the result". Still, your girlfriend wil probably get an opportunity to reconsider in October!
I'm surprised at your girlfriend's decision, jack de large, when one considers what women in particular suffered to gain the vote. And there are alternatives to the mainstream parties - as witness Caroline Lucas' success for the Green Party in Brighton Pavilion. My grandmother used to say "if you don't vote you can't complain if you don't like the result". Still, your girlfriend wil probably get an opportunity to reconsider in October! May Buds

12:25pm Tue 11 May 10

md-j says...

'The only person on the Ascham Homes Board who gets paid is the Chair.'
That's a relief: when I looked up the board's composition what worried me most was there that seemed to be nobody inhouse with the knowledge to prevent them getting into the legal pickle that has cost us all so much money. Their lawyers, whoever they are, are still in the frame for whatever defective advice they gave about charging the leaseholders without consultation: it's not been explained why we should pay for this blunder.
'The only person on the Ascham Homes Board who gets paid is the Chair.' That's a relief: when I looked up the board's composition what worried me most was there that seemed to be nobody inhouse with the knowledge to prevent them getting into the legal pickle that has cost us all so much money. Their lawyers, whoever they are, are still in the frame for whatever defective advice they gave about charging the leaseholders without consultation: it's not been explained why we should pay for this blunder. md-j

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