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.

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.

 

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.

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.

London disruptions funded by billionnaires and philanthropists

There we have it, riches are concentrated among a small minority of elitists and once they realise that their previous business enrichment has been causing serious damange to the planet – because its the rich who are in charge of all business around the world – they simply finance a protest movement that aims to change things.

Those include:

  • Sir Christopher Hohn
  • Aileen Getty (oil heiress)
  • Radiohead (band)
  • Crowd funding (6.000 people donated £600.000 in a week)

But why concentrate the actions on London? The sponsors assume that no civil disobidience took place! Is that living in dream land?

The working people of London are unable to earn a living normally and they have to cope with triple the stress than normal!

Those donations should be used to pay for the extra policing effort it took to control those demonstrations. We need police to fight crime. We hear of stabbing every day and there is little police available to patrol our streets.

Perhaps those who lost out financially through the actions should take some steps to recover their monies. Now they know whom to ask.

So that is irresponsible.

Just heard that in Manchester a criminal has stabbed several people in a horrible incident. That is what we need our police for, not for making sure that those weird looking Extinction Rebellion demos are policed.

 

Slash, bang, whallop

Here we have it, Boris Johnson, shows how tough he is on crime and wants to build 10.000 more prison places and increase stop and search.

We are going towards a classical double-sided society. The underlings, living in prison cells and the good people living in houses/flats.

In the old days we could see the two-way society by the way pubs were built with two entrances for the poor and the rich. The public and saloon bars.

Boris Johnson now wants to create a new society whereby everybody just gets locked up, out of the way and that creates the internment society.

Gone has the community cohesion model, the trying to build civil societies who live together in peace and harmony.

I am not against stop and search and I am not against re-introducing the 20.000 police officers that were cut from the budget but recruiting masses of police officers quickly, doesn’t exactly increase the quality control of officer that is coming to our beats.

Yet stop and search done on an aggressively large scale, can seriously push mentally instable people over the edge and we may be walking towards a new age of riots.

Whilst the new government bemoans a break-down in civil society here in Tower Hamlets all Neighbourhood Watch signs were taken down from lamp posts. Those signs were always

  • an expression of anti-crime sentiment,
  • deterrents for criminals and
  • assurance for residents.

Why remove those signs, when they are simply a positive influence on the community? And whilst removing Neighbourhood Watch signs, which always introduced a better feeling of community spirit and increased attempts of community cohesion and simply replace all by a quick lock up and shut up policy?

It seems we are trending towards the Chinese model of building internmnet centres for re-education, and assisted living.

It is totally amazing that the government suddenly can find the funds to build 10.000 new prison places but is unable to build council housing in the same scale.

The knife edge

Initially I supported the work program. I thought that is the way to keep people out of trouble, keep them busy and get them into work and it will then make the knife problem go away.

I even supported the reduction of police officers because I thought when people are in work, they won’t have any time to commit crime, they will be too tired.

It was one of the strongest arguments from the Tories against the previous Labour government that knife crime was so high.

But what headline do we have now?

Knife possession at 9 year high.

So the work program is not helping the wave of crime we are experiencing now. The reduction in police officer numbers also didn’t help.

And I am sick and tired of the tit for tat accusations between political rivals to accuse each other for being responsible.

I don’t even think that Boris can help the problem by reducing taxes. Especially not by reducing taxes. Though the aim is to make the poor better off without reducing the wealth of the rich. Yet, it doesn’t work. Dropping out of the EU will not work and getting the deal changed will not work. The early autumn will be very stressful for most of us.

I think Boris did well as London Mayor, he delivered the Olympics, sorted out a lot on London Transport, but that is it.

The situation now is different, he said a lot more that is offending a lot of people and all he can count on is his nice voice and his sincere personality and a lot of memories people have.

Of course he might get the top spot but that is because his party colleagues think he may help the Tories win the next general election. Dooooooo

Having lives before politics

I am astounded to read that

  • Michael Gove took Cocaine
  • Rory Stewart smoked Opium
  • Jeremy Hunt had a Cannabis Lassi
  • Boris Johnson snorted cocaine and smoked drugs as teenager

Although these events are kind of ancient, e.g. they have been described by

Mr Gove who told the Mail: “I think all politicians have lives before politics. Certainly when I was working as a journalist I didn’t imagine I would go into politics or public service.”

I think that is the source of the problem of our increased drug culture in Britain, that taking them is seen as having a life.

On the front line, living in Tower Hamlets, a borough that has a high drug dealing problem, we find that it’s the social users, the ones that have jobs and earn enough money to consume drugs, have a substantive responsibility towards the drug dealing problem. If they wouldn’t buy the drugs, the dealers would have less reason to sell.

I can only hope that people are starting to realise that it would be better for all of us not to take any class A, B, or C drugs whether in politics or not.

Tower Hamlets Council is currently  conducting a substance misuse strategy survey on how to best combat drug use and how to educate people about it. They suggest that care leavers and high risk groups like pupils who have been excluded from schools should be educated about the dangers. Yet, the council seems to forget that it is those established high earners and middle class university graduates that also need educating.

Drugs are very common these days and it is definitely not easy to say no.

Yet if a pupil in a school these days would be caught out in any way with drugs whatsoever, they would be expelled and had little chance to ever enter a high-profile political post.  It doesn’t help to play down the drug taking of major politicians and put it down to life before politics.

What should happen is that children who nowadays get themselves in trouble whilst in school should not be expelled but helped instead so that they have a future equally as those politicians who now admit their failures once they had a career.

It is more than cynical that Michael Gove feels fit to admit his drug taking when he used to be Minister for Education who fell through the net.

Perhaps also our alcohol drinking culture should be called into question as this also has severe health implications both on our minds and on our bodies.

But the moral of the story is though that nobody is perfect after all.

 

Back to reality

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Johanna Kaschke a judge at London Swimming Regional Champs

Just decided to air this blog again, after I had been hiding it for years because of the shame of losing this libel trial. But history is what it is and we just have to live with it. Apparently we are now being defined by our online history and seeing that employers now choose employees by their public profile, I can well now understand that it is absolutely hopeless for me to ever get a well paid job.

What has happened so far?

I am a pensior now and I volunteer a lot to keep busy. I volunteer with

  • my local community centre
  • my local Safer Neighbourhood team and Neighbourhood Watch
  • for British Swimming at competitions as a swimming judge/starter

I am not active in politics at all. It is just amazing how small local activities of a female to do with political parties or interest groups get blown out of all proportions. Does it have to do with power-sharing?

Just having watched Dragon’s Den this week, there is now an online business that offers to clean up people’s public internet profile for a yearly membership of £70, so that it is easier to get the well paid job.

I think I will pass on that and allow the people who so completely and utterly bullied me online to live with their own conscience.

In the meantime, after having left the Conservative Party and been politically abstinent for years, I tried to re-join the Labour Party but was refused membership by my local association apparently just a year after I applied, apparently when I posted a picture of  being at a Jewish synagoge durinng a multi-faith celebration of the yearly Holocaust commemoration, which also included Councillor Islam for Bethnal Green. I declined an inviation to appeal the refusal.

Somehow I have the feeling I just don’t fit into political parties and will give that a miss in future.

 

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