collapse of public accountability

I have just received an email from the chair of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Board (SNB) asking me to meet him for coffee to see if I can be of use. He copied in 3 serving police officers at the Met too.

I refused. It is abhorrent to think that one person can decide who gets the local voluntary positions. That is not democratic and there is no accountability.

There is now a collapse of democracy evident so far as the voluntary sector is concerned.

I used to be the chair of the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association. That was a post created out of a network of elected local Neighbourhood Watch panels, who democratically elected the chair of the local Association, which in turn worked in partnership with the local Metropolitan Police.

The then Mayors Office for Policing in Crime (MOPAC) funded the Tower Hamlets Neighbourhood Watch Association.

When my daughter became a successfull performance athlete in her sport, I needed to spend a lot more time to bring her to training sessions, starting at 6am, ending at 9pm and in between there was schooling.

I had a good relationship with local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Neighbourhood Watch was set up through the SNT officers verifying the residents who registered as Neighbourhod Watches. I helped establish over 100 Neighbourhood Watches in Tower Hamlets.

Now my daughter has grown older and no longer needs as much help to get to and from places and I have more time to commit to the community again.

Unfortunately my successor in Tower Hamlets dissolved the Association. A new system called OWL was established, which is in fact just a communication system that works one-way. The police use it now to communicate with registered users only to give information on current situations and distribute news letters and invites to events.

I have been in communications with the national Neighbourhood Watch Network and attended one of their seminars. The former London Neighbourhood Watch Association has also been dissolved and there is no infrastructure left as it was previously.

Local people now often use WhatsApp to communicate among themselves, which is quite effective. Meetings with police are held via the SNT network and take place 4 times per year.

The SNT panels have a representative with the local Safer Neighbourhood Board.

how about the knife?

He was able to bring that very large knife into the conference

Watched a few programs now about that unfortunate event at London Bridge and it appears that the perpetrator had his unlimited sentence changed to a fixed sentence,  because of a Court of Appeal ruling, which allowed Khan’s release after half-time served and then be released on parole.

Under supervision, he applied to attend the conference near London Bridge and he was tagged.

He was able to bring that very large knife into the conference.

Why was he not stopped and searched or searched prior to entering the conference.

At another program someone said,Usman Khan would have attacked someone regardles of how long he was imprisoned for.

Obviously I have to agree that psychopaths will always pretend to be rependant and harmless for the purpose of comitting further offences. But simple searches or knife arches at the entrance of events, will help reduce the risk for those attending.

It is not really a matter of what law was better, it is a simple matter of reducing risk and searching for weapons on those in the premises.

The American conundrum

It is absolutely terrible that the current problems with

  • Prince Andrew’s alleged association with convicted American Epstein
  • The Dunn family and the American Anne Sacoolas

could be compared.

I don’t want to get into the like-for-like comparison because there is so much human suffering through wrong-doing involved.

But I can’t help noticing how Prince Andrew is being urged to volunteer his evidence to the American investigators, from the highest level whilst Anne Sacoolas has the support of Dominic Raab to stay where she is and not come to the UK for assisting the criminal investigation.

There seems to be no proper understanding on both sides of the Atlantic that both countries need to work together and volunteer for individuals involved in investigations to assist.

 

We support faith schools in general

Faiths and Faiths can be quite different. Whilst it is known that in England alone, 2.000 suspected child victims were identified, yet that is only the tip of the iceberg and the real figure may be much higher. Victims can suffer abuse because of exorcism, violence against witches and of course FGM plays a major part.

Whilst our home-grown faiths like Church of England, Methodists, Catholics all work hard to expel child abuse and whilst our domestic laws outlaw even parental violence against children like smacking, some foreign religions bring their bad habits to Britain when they immigrate.

Our laws make no distinction between faith schools. That is the problem with our non discrimination laws. We do not discriminate against bad practises but accept anything.

We then only deal with problems as they arise. Once the problems have arisen, the child has already suffered or is dead.

I have seen a film about Africa where a child is expelled from the family, declared a witch and left to starve to death in the street unless the begging child finds doners. Victoria Climbie died aged 8 after sustained torture and abuse from her aunt  here in Britain. She was accused of being obsessed by evil spirits and starved to death.

Children are often targeted for abuse because of financial problems in the family. We used to publicly flog people in the streets hundreds of years ago but other countries are still in that phase of social development and bring those beliefs with them.

As a society we either stop having faith schools or we allow only schools with faith associated and fully acceptable to our social norms.

 

 

election promises

A good point has been made in a TV discussion today in that any party can promise as much as they like but if there is no majority government, whoever wins will probably not be able to put any of the promises into reality.

Labour promised free university education once before and took that back. It is extremely unlikely that Labour will get a majority government to put those promises into action.

For us here in East London, we are seeing the stark reality of a borough being run by Labour, which is leading to the closure of a Church of England Secondary school and 6. Form because the Labour led council is seeking this as a problem solution.

Pupils in the school are severely affected by the stress the closure of the school causes and all we get in answer to questions is that the school is not profitable enough. Hence a large school with a capacity of 750 has to be closed in favour of a nearby smaller school, who is supposed to absorb the extra pupils, being spewed out by the closing school.

How much sense does this make to anybody?

The Church of England school, that owns the property to provide education by having not only one but two modern school buildings is being closed so that another smaller school can take over education in the area.

Council will no doubt threaten purchasing at least one building by way of compulsory purchase.

It would have been possible to do it the other way around, by integrating the smaller school with the larger school. But it seems that just because the larger school is affiliated to the Church of England, the Labour run council rather dismisses that school in favour of a non denomination school.

Demographics show that the Christian population in Tower Hamlets is shrinking. the 2011 Census shows there are only 30% of Christians left, compared to 38% Muslims, the rest are from smaller churches or have no religion.

2018 estimates now put the Bangladeshi population numbers above the white ones.

It is quite obviously discriminating against the Church of England, whose admission policies are not restricting access to the school to Church of England members. All church schools usually accept members of all churches as long as their church leaders attest to their church attendance, whether that is Mosque, church or chapel. There is also a percentage of places guaranteed for non denomination pupils who live locally.

The council applies a rule which is based on the per pupil income, yet there are a lot of schools in Tower Hamlets which do not supply their accounts yearly and they are not strictly scrutinized to that extent.

It seems an easy option for Tower Hamlets Council to close a Christian school, when Christians appear in the minority and are the least able to fight back and loose the least vote when it comes to elections.

The schooling can be done by a Christian organisation as long as it serves the national curriculum and results are good.

Yesterdays’ parents were scared for their children but the council will only offer help once problems have ocurred. There is little appetite to do preventative measures. My daughter says she has been threatened with being knived if she wants to join certain local schools and that threat is enough for us not to go there. We really do not want to find out whether such threats are really going to happen.

Obviously if one group of residents is being marginalised the preferred groups may want to bully those who are driven out.

 

 

Drill music

Watching Krept and Konan on Victoria Derbyshire was a revelation. It makes sense that stopping music is not stopping the cause of problems. Music is more a mirror of what is happening rather than the cause of it.

When I was young music was all about love and happiness because we had the baby-boom generation and life was easy and people made a lot of love.

The only odd one out were the sex pistols who were advocates of punk, which was not outlawed at the time.

Now we live in a period of austerity, which is the real reason for the increase in violence and music reflects this with drill music. The music is popular and sustains an industry and allows musicians and followers to establish business structures, which is a positive result.

Political Sunday

Sunday mornings have become sports, political and shopping days, perhaps in that order. The BBC channel starts the day with ‘Match of the Day‘, then comes ‘Politics live’ and ‘Sunday Politics‘. The bigger shops open at 11:00.

Personally I do not want to be a member of any political party as I cannot find any I can fully agree with. I strategically support some political parties at certain times but only temporarily.

Residing in Tower Hamlets, a large Muslim population, Labour stronghold, I am completely in a reversee environment as soon as I help at my sports club in Hackney, which has a big Jewish community. Both boroughs are now policed by a joint force from Met Police, which sort of streamlines relgious frictions.

Our council, like all councils, relies on finance restrictions imposed by central government. Yet it always depends who lives and works in a borough to see what services are needed. Obviously councils with a larger proportion of financially secure residents can enjoy a different electorate from those who have another demographic.

There are national policies like the PPI refunds, which helped us recoup some of the debts incurred up to January 2005 and the Pension policies, which enable us to be excempt from the bedroom tax and gives us the Freedom pass are national policies, currently upheld by the Conservative government, which I find attractive.

Just for the purpose of reason, making council tenants move out of bigger flats, does not make the space available in private homes and houses. So I oppose Bedroom tax as it is needlessly discriminating and ineffective.

Unfortunately Britain has a history of stupid taxes, like taxing the amount of windows (1696) or the Poll tax.

Environmentally friendly policies are pushed by the larger parties, they need to do it to get the votes, which is a good thing.

I have just had an email from Gov.uk stating the non-EU trade agreements, which are in place should we leave the EU without a deal. This makes some grim reading, you can see all the agreements in place and it is not a lot.

That makes it very understandable why so many politicians argue day and night about the Brexit issue.

Some political parties have now come the conclusion that they should reverse the Article 50 and remain in the EU.

This is all good and valuable but to get engaged in those current affairs to a great extent would literally make it impossible for me to keep an eye on the bigger picture. It is very time-consuming.

 

 

 

 

Nobody knows anything

Perhaps the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is not so bad after all because it forces Northern Ireland business to fill in customs declarations about what they import or export. The case of the lorry cabin, belonging to a Northern Irish company, registered in Bulgaria, driving 39 people to their deaths, is a compelling case for it.

The worst outcome

Seeing the mood in parliament it seems to become a Home nations and Labour supporters versus the Conservatives.

But we do need certainty as business investment will rely on it.

As stated previously with a new election Boris Johnson wants to rid the Conservatives of those Members of Parliament who lost the whip and who voted against the government.

Experience shows that those standing as independents rarely win elections.

Perhaps those independents will find other mainstream parties to put them up as candidates.

I am in an unusual position. I am a pensioner and as such benefit from the triple lock Conservative policy, that raises pensions guaranteed but I am also solely in contact with young people all the time and get a good idea what young people and working people do not like about this government.

With all those new parties springing up and the Liberals getting a lot more support than before, which they lost due to the previous stint of collaboration with a Conservative government, I wonder whether we are going towards a repeat of exactly the last scenario whereby Liberals prop up the Conservatives again.

I think people want genuine change, better jobs protection, better housing and less crime.

Education has become a sore point because so many schools close and many others spring up with not enough regulation to ensure quality.

On one hand this government wants to tear education away from local authorities to get direct government funding for Academies but on the other hand the local authorities get more responsibilities to raise their own finance. So why do schools get taken out of the equation?

We do see the gentrification of local communities in the social sense but local councils are supposed to get more responsibilities running their local communities whilst the poor are moved around like pawns on a chess board.

The low tax, high wage economy is not working because crazy, unstable policies have driven business out of Britain and the home nations are in the mood to cry independence.

Our charities rely on individual donations and those attracting more money can care better for their needy but those failing to attract donations cannot provide services. This leaves whole swathes of needy people uncared for, hence a rise in crime.

Leaving things to sort themselves out is obviously not working.

 

 

Very strange

Yesterday I received a thick envelope in the post. Upon opening it, I found it contained an invitation from the Co-operative Party to join them.

Looking up their website, I was attracted to their Broadband and mobile phone prices but noticed that our contract still goes till next year.

So I read that booklet, they included, which sounded good and knowing that my family in Germany always had a Co-operative in their village, which all the local farmers used for banking I was tempted to be impressed.

Then I read the membership procedure on their website. The Co-operative Party is strongly connected to Labour. Labour refused my membership application some years ago, just after I had a attended the local Jewish Synagoge for a multi-faith service and we are members of a swimming club in Stoke Newington.

Strangely enough, even now, here in Tower Hamlets, I cannot even become a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator for my local ward, when years ago I had been the Chair of the Neighbourhood Watch Assocation, working closely with local police in this borough.

How things change. Local law enforcement seems to be strongly affiliated with the local Labour Party.

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