Government investigates Tower Hamlets again

Apparently people like Sylvia Pankhurst and Danny Boyle are among a high-profile string of supporters of the Raine’s Foundation Trust and Steering Group and the many grateful parents and pupils who happily attend the school.

This new investigation is mainly concentrating around the illegal attempt by Tower Hamlets council, trying to close Raine’s Foundation, Church of England Secondary school and Sixth Form prior to a consultation.

Tower Hamlets Council made an application to the Government Schools Adjudicators in May for a zero published admission number (PAN), cutting the future pipeline of the school. A final decision on this application was due for February 2020. Yet the council already and illegally informed all new year 7 pupils, who had been given confirmed places for the year 2019/20 at Raine’s, that they had to leave Raine’s and be placed in other schools, mainly Oaklands.

Whilst the council told parents at meetings that there were only 29 viable applications for a year 7 place at Raine’s, for 2019/20, further evidence suggests that there were actually 70 – 100 pupils applying for places.

Incidentally all year 9s were also told by the council they could not progress to year 10 within the Raine’s Foundation school and should continue their education at Oaklands school.

Raines Foundation Interim Executive Board (IEB)

Whilst the previous board of governors were dismissed, acussed of being unable to run the school, an Interim Executive Board was put into place.

The school advertised a position of parent governor but we were told at the last meeting with the borough that no suitable person could be found to fill the post. I had applied for it. As a former LEA school governor, I should be more than qualified. But I suppose they didn’t want anybody on the board who would want to put a spanner in the works of their devious plans.

In the interests of ‘transparency and openness’it might be interesting to see what the Interim Executive Board (IEB) of Raines Foundation secondary school have been getting up to and you can download all ten documents here.

Raine’s Foundation hired Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who went to the High Court and obtained a judgement including directions to Tower Hamlets Council that they have to write to all parents and pupils who were originally told that they cannot continue their education at Raine’s that they now can continue their education there.

Yet, the council, to date, has not followed that order of the judge.

There are now new applications in preparation to again go to the court for further orders by the solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

It seems very strange that the council tries every trick in the book to dismantle the only traditional school with a 300 year history in the borough.

Please also see a good article from  Wapping Mole though I would not want to go so far as to call for a return of Lutfur Rahman.

It is just really sad that our current Labour council under John Biggs, makes such dreadful decisions. John Biggs. It was a seriously political and administrative mistake to illegale incite the closure of a traditional Church of England school in Tower Hamlets. It will cost the Labour Party a lot of votes.


No Poppies at the Tower Hamlets Homes Engagement Conference

I went to the first of the three Tower Hamlets Homes engagement conferences in the borough of Tower Hamlets today on 12 November 2011 and was amazed that no member of the THH staff wore a Poppy in their lapels. I thought it looked like a policy not to wear them. Considering that only yesterday loudspeakers throughout London Underground helped travellers to wear their Poppies with pride, Tower Hamlets Homes has no policy to endorse the wearing of Poppies at all.

Of course it speaks volumes that our Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson instructed staff to give out messages of support for the Royal British Legion on London Underground yesterday but that today a Tower Hamlets Social Housing Landlord and provider refuses to wear them at all. I would say it is correct to use the term refusal because considering that tomorrow there is a laying of a reef outside of Bethnal Green Underground station to remember the tragic deaths there, it is obviously a policy not to wear Poppies for Tower Hamlets Homes staff. Neither did I see any of the attending residents or others wearing poppies.

What does it mean? It obviously means that Tower Hamlets Homes does not do a lot to endorse the British Army, the British Legion now and/or in the past. People can draw their own conclusions from those facts.

Election Day

Yesterday I went up Bethnal Green Road and saw Mr Abjol Miah, the local Respect parliamentary candidate standing at the bus stop outside the post office, giving out leaflets. I told him that I remember him having knocked on my door previously and I then told him I am a Conservative and I am going to vote Conservative too. He mocked me, saying that one sees more Respect members than Conservatives in the area. Just earlier in the day a large group of Conservatives, among them Zakir Khan’s mother stood outside our local C.o.E. school giving out blue Conservative balloons and I thought that made great impact. Therefore I went up to the Conservative office in Brick Lane, got some more balloons and marched back down Bethnal Green road to show some presence in the area.

Today started with a cold morning and now we have a beautifully sunny day to come out and cast the votes. I think we have one of the most hotly contested elections in a long time and the voting took a steady pace. I thought there were more people coming out this time.

I began the election day at St. Elizabeth School polling station, and stood outside with the local candidates Matthew Smith and Nur Baksh. There was a crowd of Respect Party members and eventually the police came along and said we are too many and block the footpath but we Conservatives were assured we are OK, we had 3 people standing there. Respect were very civil to offer all other parties a breakfast of croissant and hot tea. But when the police talked to them, Respect agreed to cut the number of pollsters to 4, to reduce their numbers. I passed on the croissant but then enjoyed the tea. It was also very nice to see the old friends and neighbours that came to vote and I felt really at home.

I spotted a film camera across the road and Channel S came over to interview Nur Baksh and then asked me; not being a candidate myself I was taken by complete surprise but managed a comprehensible answer.

I then went off to Bow East to help with a final leaflet drop. My bad eyesight took its toll and I fell over like a plank of wood at an address where I didn’t see the steps in the path up to the door. I now nurse a very bruised knee and my leg feels like a plank of wood as well.

Yet I am hopeful we will get a good result and the turn-out looked promising. What we need is a majority in the council to make effective changes needed. But even then the outcome of the Mayor consultation vote is also important because all the councillors cannot function properly if a mayor takes over the running of the local council.

Nick Clegg more popular than Winston Churchill

According to Nick Robinson’s blog Nick Clegg is more popular than Winston Churchill in a comparison to Dunkirk. Well, I don’t know what Nick Robinson had for breakfast today but it must have been something very special to say that a party that wants to allow convicted murderers and paedophiles to vote is more popular than Churchill. Just to even put such issues as a priority shows that the Liberal Democrats are out to shock and use the effect to get people to vote for them out of boredom. We’ve seen the phenomena with George Galloway, who is a very funny and brilliant entertainer in the Hackney Empire but has little clue about real politics.

The Liberals do not have any serious agenda, they merely put pressure on those who know how and make their life that little harder with ridiculous priorities like letting paedophiles nd convicted murderers vote. Maybe Nick Clegg wants to volunteer to deliver their ballot papers in person, or would he suggest the postal vote perhaps?

It is kind of sad that politicians need too much spin to get a vote and the good looks and youthful charms are what got Tony Blair into government and in the last US elections the powerful women’s worker’s vote was what secured George Bush the presidency.

If certain politicians give us the feel-good factor, its just like watching the favourite actors in our best soap. To be good on TV one just needs a some natural talent and acting skills and this is what can make a political leader these days. It is a natural result of the mass-media that screens ready-made entertainment into our homes, that we just like the guy or girl that makes us feel the best.

I tested that out for myself when I posted completely un-edited clips, recorded on my computer camera and there was only one person who thought the message in the clip was factually good and historically correct but the rest just slammed the short film into the ground because it wasn’t entertaining enough, with other words it was not spun.

The media produces mass hypnosis and probably in the end political parties will come to train prospective parliamentary candidates in acting and speaking lessons before they allow them to stand for any political office. Candidates could be selected with criteria like how photogenic they are or how they come across on camera. Luckily for Gordon Brown those criteria were not important for him but then he pushed through when his more popular fore-runner quit and left him in charge of the situation. The Phantom of the Opera effect is what we’ll see in politics in the future, when the serious guys work quietly behind the curtains and we’ll only see the popular fronts acting in front of the scenes.

Is anybody today still really interested in getting the fine details or is the majority of the population just content to get happily presented politics and would not complain as long as they have their food on the table?

It can be hard to get people to leave the TV and come to meetings in the community to discuss matters of importance because many rather just slump in front of the TV after a hard day’s work and many won’t even come out to vote any longer because everybody expects things to go on smoothly because it has always gone on smoothly. We simply do not have nasty surprises because the British just always functioned and went the way of righteousness.

I think people need more active encouragement to take part in local decision-making themselves and get a better direct relationship to the problems that are facing politicians today instead of getting ready-made solutions presented to them.

Politics these days are merely consumed with negligible participation and we can see as little as 35% turnout in elections. We need to increase an interest in polls but to give the vote to criminals is not the way to increase the percentage rate and that the Liberals want to attract fringe groups like criminals as one of their first priorities shows that they happily slap in the face the hard work serious politicians put in to contain criminality when the Liberals want to make them feel better about their crimes and status as criminals.

Maybe Nick Robinson and Nick Clegg had breakfast together, to feel like a band of brothers and to come to the point of thinking that making criminals vote is what Winston Churchill would have wanted and that it is that, which makes Clegg popular.  Oh my God, just had a thought, is this the reason why the Liberals are so popular in the former home of the Kray twins, that the Liberal Democrats want criminals to vote?
But to bring this conversation back round to Winston Churchill, we had here in Tower Hamlets the sad occasion arising that the Labour led council decided to name 2 tower blocks after a well-known Russian anarchist, who gotten himself engaged into a shoot out with the police here in Tower Hamlets and incidentally at that occasion Winston Churchill attended and almost gotten himself killed in the process. And whilst here in Tower Hamlets Labour and the Liberals are great chums, we see that the support for criminal action is prevalent in the minds of those who want to give criminals equality.

Labour’s and the Liberal’s strategies to fight crime and anti-social behaviour are not constructive and effective enough to make a difference, a difference so great that we would actually see a reduction in crime and betterment for society. And this qualitative difference in the approach is often not transparent and covered up with spin and good public performances. Nick Clegg reminds me of the cheeky chap character, that’s all  he is.


Equal opportunities in Tower Hamlets?

I just browsed the online E=edition of the East London Advertiser to see whether the ELA reported about our CCTV petition for Parkview estate that I delivered to the full council meeting Wednesday a week ago, just one day before the ELA comes out on the Thursday.

Unfortunately I could not find an article about our petition that asks for CCTV on our estate to bring us the same standard of safety and security that private housing residents can enjoy, in the East London Advertiser. Social residents run a much higher risk of becoming a victim of crime than residents in private housing developments do. The council’s argument is that they would only put it in if the level of crime would justify such a measure but private housing developers do not want to expose their residents to the risk in the first place and put in CCTV as a preventative measure, which is taking good care of those residing in such blocks. Tower Hamlets council obviously wants to see victims of crime first before they would consider CCTV as standard in local housing estates. This just shows that residents are not valued as much by social housing landlords Tower Hamlets Homes and ultimately by Tower Hamlets council who still own the freehold of the property that Tower Hamlets Homes now administers as ALMO.

When I browsed through the online version of the East London Advertiser issue 4/2/2010 that people who took part in the “You Decide” event and voted for CCTV on their estates are still waiting for them 1 year on.

Yet this criticism “has to be” expressed in the East London Advertiser rather than the flagship paper “East End Life” because East End Life doesn’t allow any free discussion in their paper, they repress any type of criticism by refusing to publish reader’s letters and comments that would be critical of the Tower Hamlets Labour Council’s policies and decision. I think that it is against the law and contradicts Freedom of Speech and Expression that a local authority can publish a borough wide newspaper and not allow reader’s comments. East End Life promotes Council events like “You Decide” each week with the promises made but fails to face its own failures by also allowing the criticism that follows their own inability to keep the promises made. One reader calls East End Life Soviet Style propaganda, which is not far from the Hitler style propaganda, painting everything glossy, saying we do this, we win that but never delivered on those promises made and knowing that they are not able to deliver on those promises.

The dilemma about East End Life has now also become a point in my Defamation Proceedings against John Gray who actually complains in his Defence that I dare to criticise the Labour Party in a reader’s letter to the East London Advertiser.

Another reader’s letter in the East London Advertiser comments on the rise of Labour Party employees within the Labour Party council. One of the latest appointments apparently is a person called Takki Sulaiman who previously worked at Haringey council and who appointed Sharon Shoesmith as head of Children’s Services there. I understand Sharon Shoesmith still fights her dismissal from Haringey council over the Baby P affair.

I have been laughed at for failing shortlisting by the local Labour Party for nomination as Bethnal Green and Bow parliamentary candidate and for having joined the Conservative Party. Labour proves here that they look after their own, even if they fail with parliamentary elections they get a job in a town hall if all else fails.

I think the job selection processes in the Town Hall right now should be objected to detailed scrutiny for each applcation and each applicant failing to be appointed, that is not a member of the Labour Party should ask a detailed explanation why they have been refused.

Inequality in Tower Hamlets

Looking at this week’s East End Life, the promotional paper of Tower Hamlets Council, I see the all ethnic candidates for the Young Mayor of Tower Hamlets election. I thought wait a minute, weren’t the white volunteers that run the community centre the Glasshouse refused a grant to run the venue because they did not use an ethnic person?

Why is it that all white organisations aren’t allowed in Tower Hamlets but all ethnic ones are?

That is unequal and discriminatory in my view. Constantly predominantly white organisations fall over themselves and carry out equal opportunities policies to proof that they are not racist but the Labour run, predominantly ethnic council in Tower Hamlets doesn’t have such a problem, they don’t think they have to proof that they are tolerant of white youth and/or pupils.

Anyone who has the time to do so should make a complaint about this, please, about Tower Hamlets not applying an equal opportunities policy towards whites.

Equal opportunity policies must go both ways, so that whites cannot discriminate against ethnic but also that ethnic persons cannot discriminate against white persons. We have seen plenty of positive discrimination going on in favour of ethnic “minorities” but Tower Hamlets Council doesn’t see the necessityof a fair and balanced white/ethnic composition of community representation because for representation to be fair and balanced the electorate needs to be able to choose from a wide range of candidates; making only ethnic candidates available does not allow a choice for voters. The Labour run Tower Hamlets council consists 2/3 of ethnic councillors.  It is also interesting to note here that electoral participation is low and hardly exxceeds 40%. According to Wikipedia in Tower Hamlets (at the time of writing this comment)  the population percentage of whites is only slightly higher than that of ethnic persons.

lack of community support

This report about a lack of social support for needy families highlights the lack of help where it is needed, we do not get from this Labour government.

My view is that poor communal services, delivered by untrained volunteers makes things worst rather than better and people in need of direction and social stability can become exposed to shallow attention.

Especially here in Tower Hamlets we have seen how community centres suffer from a lack of qualified workers support, centres are left to untrained volunteers and events are  held that encourage anti-social behaviour rather than stem it.

The budget for youth provision in 2010 has been cut by 5% and the families relying on that support to help their growing teenagers are left yet again without the much-needed support.

Taking into consideration that many young persons will leave school ill-equipped to deal with the requirements of our ever-increasing sophisticated society, we suffer from an ever-increasing splitting up of family units into more and more single ones and a lack of emotional support for those who need it most.

The highest budget in youth provision in Tower Hamlets  is channeled into after-care, the care needed to help youngsters who have committed crimes, been given ASBOS, youth being rewarded for bad behaviour.

What is needed is financial and personal support to help stabilise families so that their children do not stray into the wrong path. The only solution LBTH can come up with are more civil police support officers and police officers stationed in schools, schools who themselves look more like prison compounds than educational institutions.

If we are not careful and cannot avoid the ever-increasing criminalization of our young generation we’ll end up with a split society, those who end up in the jails and those who just manage to be able to cope on antidepressants.

No doubt churches can deliver a lot of that much-needed support and it is up to the media to bring church going back into fashion.  Clearly the social fibres function better in Muslim societies whose church affiliation are still intact, we can learn from them.  Apparently it is the Christian churches that are in decline and that turning away from religion makes us poorer and not richer.

Crime-fighting in Tower Hamlets

Just returned from an early morning meeting with Louise Casey, who is the author of the white paper “Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime”. Also present was the commander in charge of the Tower Hamlets Safer Neighbourhood Police, lead councillor Abdal Ullah, Head for Community Safety at Tower Hamlets Council, Mr Andy Bamber.

Discussed were the length of service individual Safer Neighbourhood Officers have to spend in any location and its currently a minimum time of 1 year in Tower Hamlets but for example Cheshire Constabulary engages their community officers for a minimum of 2 years. To my delight, Louise Casey says she would support a 2 year minimum contract.

Well it might be more pleasant to spend 2 years in Cheshire than in Tower Hamlets, but lets not dwell on negatives.

All community representatives also there on the day demanded higher police presence, in form of patrols to discourage congregation of anti-social elements in any shape of form.


The Glasshouse Community Centre is run by volunteers since 18 years. It was recently refused essential funding because one of its volunteers died suddenly of a heart attack and a funding application deadline was missed.

Louise Casey combined this visit with a chat to a local community pay-back team cleaning graffiti from walls in Brick Lane. All agreed to support the special vests community pay-back offenders have to wear.

On a personal note I am not clear why Tower Hamlets Council does not support positive community initiatives like the Glasshouse Community Centre. This community centre on Parkview Estate, does not attract nor host crime and provides a positive to the anti-social and criminal negatives in the area. There was a lengthy article in this week’s East London Advertiser about the issue.

Talking of publications, the council can spend well over 1 million pounds per yearon a local paper but cannot find a comparatively paltry sum of £6,000 for a local community centre. Such centres are important to provide meeting space for locals who cannot afford commercial rates to mix and there is still a considerable number of local residents who require that provision.

People use it for birthday parties, children’s parties, weddings, holy Communion parties.

There is also a much used boxing club, tea and coffee mornings, I use it for Neighbourhood Watch meetings and of course the Tenants and Residents Association also meets there. Not to forget the mothers and toddlers have nowhere else to go on a regular basis. I thought the council cares a lot for under-fives but apparently Bethnal Green North is not high on the agenda for them.

I am still hoping to bring them around and give the much needed money to help the volunteers pay back 3,500 pounds on unpaid gas and electric bills.

I must say I did not raise the community centre issue at the meeting because it is a local problem but discussed it afterwards with both Councillor Ullah and Andy Bamber who promised to look into it. Lets hope for the best. Crime Fighting is not just about police arresting criminals its about communities who do not want to turn to crime in the first place.

I love to ride my bicycle

Map of the triangle that includes, Approach Road, Old Ford Road, Sewardstone Road, Victoria Park and names some local schools in the area

Map of the triangle that includes, Approach Road, Old Ford Road, Sewardstone Road, Victoria Park and names some local schools in the area

and yes, I used to do it for a living, when I could not get any other job, I signed up to be a cycle courier and I was 43 at the time and had 5 children, nevertheless I couriered around London, cycling 12 hours per day and carrying weights of up to 30kg on my back.

So I know how difficult it can be to go around London and to avoid riding on pavements. It is simply just the shortest route, especially when one has time pressures. Who can remember the famous pictures of Boris Johnson and David Cameron being caught out cycling in places where they should not be?

View Larger Map
In my local area, e.g. around Sewardstone Road, Approach Road, Old Ford Road, we get a fair amount of cycling on the pavement. People come from the park and continue across the zebra and on the pavement, especially so as the new boulders have been erected to stop a direct descending from the park into Approach Road.

But, as had been mentioned in a recent meeting on Parkview estate, parents bringing their children to Gatehouse School often cycle on pavements, through Parkview estate and not too slow neither. Just yesterday I witnesses a young boy with his father racing around the estate on the way to school.

We all love Gatehouse School as a most valuable addition to our local community and especially also as Gatehouse School now rents the hall from our local church. I know some parents there and had some dealings with them years ago about the fencing to stop local youngsters climbing over their wall to use the play equipment there.

On that point, we hope to improve play facilities in the area very soon and await approval that the play area behind Rosebery House can be revamped.

Back to cycling, I very much welcome the initiative to increase cycling rates but miss the travel infrastructure for this. Here in East London we usually have heavy traffic going in and out of London from cars, Sewardstone Road is especially busy and so is Old Ford that is very narrow.

I however do get alarmed when I walk along with my 4 year old and bikes are zooming past. When I remarked to a Gatehouse parent recently, I was called stupid. I don’t think it is necessary to lower the tone that much, at least, one could answer, I can understand your concern and we could make a working group on how to improve the pedestrian areas and or road to allow for easier cycling routes but nothing of the sort.

Both Approach Road and St James Avenue are very sleepy streets, with hardly any traffic and the path through Parkview estate is used by parents bringing their children to one of the 5 local schools in the morning. Maybe we could improve awareness to take care for cyclists not to alarm pedestrians as to their style of cycling, so that we all can use our footpaths in peace.

I personally disagree with the Mayor on the point of traffic in London. I feel it should be restricted to delivery vehicles and public transport and taxis and allow the rest of the city to become pedestrian areas. The density of traffic in London is alarming and the air quality a concern. I am rather green and to really encourage more cycling one has to reduce the street traffic from cars.

Cyclists, are in a category that doesn’t fit in either with cars or with pedestrians but they are doing the right thing and get my encouragement, but just not too fast on pavements when it can be avoided. The danger is that one is late one morning and realises how fast one can cycle to save time and then tends to cut that little bit of time to be even more economical with time planning and gets faster and faster each day.

If anyone is interested in a working group to improve the traffic infrastructure around East London, here Bethnal Green please get in touch. I wish to thank all parents from a local school who were kind enough to return my questionnaires about cycling on pavements.

I don’t think that our local cycling problem is an isolated one and that this needs addressing everywhere. Hope we can learn from the Dutch who got a great cycling culture.

Humpty Dumpty

Finally the wall outside of the Hair Lounge has been demolished. It attracted a fair amount of revellers each day who sat on it and populated the space outside our local hair stylist.

However what has been created with the removal of that wall is a ramp, that now stands unprotected. The wall covered up a raised parking area. The local police supported the removal of the wall, there were suspicions of drug use and we from the Neighbourhood Watch and the Local Area Safer Neighbourhood Team supported removing it. Hopefully those new boulders are going to be erected soon.

There are benches in the square, opposite the Newsagent and we do hope that the users of the wall do not move themselves to the steps outside of the church. Though I do not know what the policy of the vicar would be doing.

Please whoever don’t leave litter on the church steps if you can avoid it.  Unfortunately I lost my connecting cable from my camera to the computer and cannot at the moment provide a picture. If anyone has one, let me know please.

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