LBTH council budget 2020

Looking at the latest budget discussions published by Tower Hamlets Council, it seems to cause offense that the council wants to raise council tax by 3.99%, citing among other an ever tightening belt and less funds.

So, I look at the docs, which are published in that respect and I find it impossible to get a reference stating why the council put £17 Million into building and improving Raine’s Foundation buildings and how the tax payers of this borough actually benefit from that.

It seems easier to get a building improved for free and then close the school rather than continue education there. Is that a logal loophole that has been exploited?

I have asked my local MP Rushanara Ali and Councillor Danny Hassell for comment, which I shall share as soon as received.

Anyhow I am looking at a document called budget amendments pack and it contains some interesting facts and figures.

There are two main motions

  1. From the Conservative group
  2. From Lib Dems

Obviously the wasted £18 Million in total on Raine’s Foundation expenses and the additional cost of building a brand new school in Shadwell makes up a considerable amount of expenses. Yet, I can’t see any direct reference in the large amount of documents published.

Perhaps it would be easier to actually have a fully transparent easy to read list of documents.

So The Conservative group propose and end to a loss of reserves through inflation by investing the money.

I agree that purchasing solar wind farms would be a great idea but can’t see where they actually could be built in Tower Hamlets. There are however different proposals on environmentally friendly heating by using ground heat.

Purchasing cheap for rent flats for key workers in the borough is a great idea but that would mean that all those who change jobs and stop working for services in the borough would have to move out and that creates a whole new lot of problems.

I agree that a publicly owned charging system for electric vehicles is very good, yet the main point of problem is that the electricity itself needs to be green electricty.

Again the Conserverative group complains about how often the name of Mayor Biggs and John Biggs is mentioned in the now 1/4 publication of East End Life and ending this publication would mean a mere saving of £864 k per annum. A small sum compared to the £18 Million that has been gifted to the Church of England and the Raine’s Foundation.

Of course the ‘hail our leader’ philosophy is nothing new. In Iraq for example there were big billboards with Saddam Hussein everywhere.

But mentioning a person by name repeatedly does nothing to disperse with policies, which are damaging.

Anyhow social media has run away with election campaigns, false news and plastering us with news about some politicians endlessly for years now.

It is concerning that the East End Life budget is higher than the spending on CCTV in the borough, but that does not necessarily mean that we need to get rid of East End Life.

What is however concerning is that quite a lot of money is put into mother tongue language classes and that money should be used instead for ESOL classes to help the 27% of adults in the borough who do not speak English.

Anyhow, I highly recommend that people spend time and do the number crunching. Today’s media is full of glam gossip, we need more reality publications.


Community Radio a better alternative to East End Life

Whilst the government has now made a new fund available for innovative Crime Fighting ideas I have already sent of requests to Andy Bamber and Paul Rickett to support my applications for fund money. Either has to approve my application to roll out the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme throughout Tower Hamlets. The Neighbourhood Watch system works very well for the rest of the UK and the Neighbourhood Watch network recently launched a prize winning website.

Whilst I was thinking what might attract the attention of those wanting to help reduce crime and get back on the path of righteousness and even prevent crime and protect vulnerable residents and bring about a better community spirit that includes our local businesses I thought of Community Radio. Especially as there is this great controversy over East End Life, which uses a lot of paper, costs a lot of money and is unpopular with the free press.

Community Radio definitely makes a very viable alternative for East End Life. For a start it is much more environmentally friendly and does not use any paper. People love to listen to music in between stories and the community can share a station and people can tell about their success stories just as well as paper can. A radio station would be more successful I think and radio is much more flexible than a paper as stories can be changed quicker and on the spot. Community radio can be used by the authority to inform, by the police to warn and by the community to exchange views.

I understand it is not easy to get a licence but taking the special circumstances into account, I am hoping Ofcom will look at this further.

But as I said it all depends on Chief Inspector, Commander Paul Rickett and Andy Bamber from the Tower Hamlets Partnership to approve my plans, which will allow me to apply to the government for a grant.

Political propaganda machines

Now people are wondering how long the hacking scandal will occupy the news as it has been nearly 2 weeks now as a top headline. Furthermore will it help topple the PM as much as the McBride scandal helped topple Gordon Brown?

There is a fierce battle going on over whom is ruling the publications. But as long as the publishing is transparent and answerable, there is not too much to worry about. It seems to me that too much importance is put on to who publishes what. In Tower Hamlets, the new rule that local governments cannot publish more than 4 yearly publications or newsletters was meant to to put a stop to East End Life but it becomes a little laughable that strategies are there that obviously only want to shut up those who have different views from those in opposition.

When we had the McBride scandal The Sun and/or News of the World was tops and trumped the publication highways and now they are found out with the hacking scandal. Apparently many actors and celebrities support Labour led publications and many law suits have been filed to discredit News International.

Yet how shallow politics has become, what we really need is transparency in politics and political strategy. Often party members of either party feel detached from the leadership and don’t really know what’s going on. I think democracy should go back to the roots and parties should sort themselves out internally first before they embark on widespread publication campaigns to find that somebody somewhere has broken the law.

It is more than obvious that the Conservatives want the press to be dominated by News International and Labour wants to have papers like the Mirror, Guardian and local papers like East End Life. Yet fundamentally no paper should differ that much from another from the point of real news but what they can do  is tint reports in their ideology. But are there not already too many papers and publications out. Who can honestly say they got the time to read them all. In law today it says that the considered reader is expected to read more than just the headline but that law was made when there was much less to read. We don’t even have time anymore to read the small print in contracts, to do with software downloads etc.

Despite there being so much to read we hardly get essential information in a presentable format. In a political party I expect to get much more policy briefings and discussion forums of actual policies but that just doesn’t happen. All one gets is some propaganda materials and most party members are often surprised to read the latest developments on the news just like everybody else. Most political propaganda has become shallow and over-emotional and beside the point.

I don’t even think that many politicians actually know what they are deciding about. I had the impression that on the local level councillors are not very informed on planning permission applications and just vote to follow a policy set by somebody high up on the party. It is this detachment from the reality of politics that has to be addressed, we do not need more rubbish propaganda material from either side.

East End Life serious mix-up

When I browsed this week’s East End Life, I came across this apology, saying that East End Life apologises to Dr Emma Jones for wrongly labelling her as Labour in the printed list of elected Councillors for Tower Hamlets council.

I would say an apology is not good enough, East End Life will have to re-print that double spread page until they got all the details correct.

People hang that list onto their walls, as I do with mine, it is behind my door and refer to that list throughout the year.

Extra-curricular schools provision

When my own children grew up the after-school-play centre was free of charge and heavily used by children. Each and every school had a play centre and provided completely subsidised, that was around 25 years ago. Then we had mostly Conservative governments.

Since we had a Labour government that constantly argues for better schooling, we’ve seen the cost of play centre provision rise steadily. For the last 3 years we paid £5 per term for benefits recipients for the ability to send a child to play centre after school and parents still had to pay 20p tuck money per day. And now that cost for play centre has risen to £20 per term without any warning. That is a 150% rise in cost. Obviously we  are told that this is in line with other boroughs but whom do we really have to thank this policy, its the current Labour government that doesn’t allow those subsidies to happen because of the policies, that do  not fund councils as generously as we seen it under Conservative government. A working parent has to pay £5 per day to keep their kid supervised. Considering all other prices rise steadily as well, I find it kind of a little bit unaffordable to work nowadays unless one is in the higher income league. Especially also as the fares constantly go up too.

I heard that other parents also refuse to pay the higher play centre costs and feel sorry for the play centre staff who might get threatened with redundancy over the decision to cut play centre subsidies, whilst no plans are made to cut the cost of East End Life or the wages of local councillors.

Play centres may well be able to earn their costs in an area where most parents are waged, yet in our area, that is still poverty stricken, we’ll see a reduction in after-school services. Holiday play centres have already been cut to 2 in the whole of Tower Hamlets. That is also a change to a free play centre per school 25 years ago.

It now explains why the Council built a controversial playground behind one of our housing blocks and then makes such drastic rises in the cost of in-school play centre provision, as if this new playground shall make up for the loss of supervised playing time.

Considering that Tower Hamlets Council also cut youth provision by 5% and we recently had a spade of murders of young persons, I do not believe that this Labour government and Labour council take the future of our children seriously. A well run play facility will help with the social cohesion of children and cultural integration but the less of that provision is available the less that social cohesion is going to happen.

It feels better to be Conservative

Just came back from a nice evening of canvassing in Limehouse with the local Conservative Councillors and it is such a nice area. London is a beautiful town and it is amazing how many wonderful places look like they are dreamy little villages but are actually part of a huge city. One can only see that we are in a big city when we look up to the sky and see Canary Wharf overlooking us.  The atmosphere is priceless in Tower Hamlets and the change in attitude that people experience at the moment is running like a Mexican Wave through town.

More and more people welcome us Conservatives at their doors, open them and engage in friendly chat. Years ago, it was very different but the seriously good alternative the Conservatives propose makes people want to engage with us.

It is hard for people that voted Labour all their lives and breathed Labour day in day out to change attitudes and become open to Conservative thinking, especially also as this process is made more difficult with the weekly delivery of East End Life that tells us what to think.  For many Labour support is not only a political direction but a way of life.

But there is now a new wave of people who have realised that with Labour nothing really changes, the opportunities are not there and progress cannot be made. People want to escape the old rut and try something new but its not easy to do so. People generally do not like changes, see what happens each time new coinage is introduced, even for something as trivial as that, we can see major disturbances. But with patience and understanding, I think we will see a big shift in people’s sympathy towards the Conservatives even in the northern part of Tower Hamlets.

Conservatives care deeply for people and their fulfilment of their ambitions and comfort in their daily lives. People should not be afraid to take the step towards Conservative policies and even if the beginning may be hard, the weaning off from the Labour dredge, there will be fulfilment in the end. I have never regretted that I finally arrived at the Conservative Party and must say, Conservatives are the nicest people to be with. All are very polite, friendly and understanding.  In my personal experience I think Conservatives are much more sincere and trustworthy than Labour Party members. It just feels better to be Conservative.  Just the fact that Labour party members see it as an act of betrayal when a person ‘defects’ shows that there is no tolerance for personal choice and freedom of association, which is dangerously near a totalitarian attitude.  With Labour one has to do what one is told and shut up,

The Conservatives have much more respect for individual choice and trust us, trust us to trust ourselves that we as individuals can make our own decisions and choices, that is something we could never expect under Labour. We can choose our own schools, select who will run our community centres and since Margaret Thatcher have the choice to purchase our flats and change our quality of life in a fundamental way.

Many former Labour supporters made that a reason to vote Conservative and having realised that Tower Hamlets Labour council makes Leasholding a misery by being not transparent enough in leaseholder charges, it changed their minds about Conservative policies.

But we do not have to own our flats to change our voting habits, we only have to open our minds and start to think and as soon as we start to think we have no choice but not to favour Labour. Labour is the Party of the “yes or no” tickbox mentality and growing out of this means that we are big enough to think for ourselves and choose Conservative candidates at the next election. Conservative means Freedom of choice.

Proposed BBC cuts

I agree that the BBC budget be cut and services reduced. The BBC website is now so big, it’s almost impossible to find anything. There are a few good gimmicks on there, e.g. the household calculators but do we need the BBC to do that for us? I think not.

The BBC needed very little money to continue important world service functionality during World War II and what it is doing now is becoming a state sponsored entertainment service. Many of those services can be provided better by private and independent companies.

During the last few years the BBC has become a Labour mouth piece, so much so that people got removed from positions for the most innocent personal remarks in back rooms. The organisation itself has become over controlled ideologically and turned in on itself.

Apart from this, the general users can ill afford to pay for services, which are not essential to all that use it. The BBC should stay an essential service and run on a budget as small as possible and not become a world-wide encyclopedia, entertainment and library service.

I think its very hard to find anything on the BBC website nowadays as most news get lost in its archives and are very hard to retrieve.

The BBC must  stay affordable for all who pay the obligatory TV license and all other services provided for by private enterprise paid for by demand of those who can afford to pay for it.
We are now having a turned around economy where private enterprise is in decline because the state machinery has started to swallow it up in the best Communist fashion, which is exactly what this Labour government wanted to do.

We have a very similar situation here in Tower Hamlets, New Labour’s  stronghold in Greater London. They produce their own Council funded weekly paper and the commercial newspaper in the area has to fight to survive. Of course the council run newspaper only prints what suits the ruling Labour council. This is not free expression and free speech it is repressing freedom and choice.

I used to work for the German Service in Bush House and that was closed because the political situation had changed. And that is what the BBC is all about, bring essential message services to those who suffer from repression and not to influence our ideology in Britain the Labour way.

East End Life is loop sided

It’s great to see that on the front page of this week’s East End Life councillor Cllr Abdal Ullah celebrates western culture by recreating the Beatle’s Abbey Road album cover to make sure that roads stay safe as well.

When I turn further pages I see that London Borough of Tower Hamlets has written to the Major, Boris Johnson to complain officially about the fare rises from £1 to £1.20 for a bus fare. I think that this is not within the remit of the council. The pensioners have the freedom pass and – if I remember correctly – it was Ken Livingstone who planned to rise the bus fares to £1.20 and it was Boris Johnson who left them unchanged for a year and therefore gave Londoners a reprieve.

I think it is wrong that this Labour council only complains if that complaint is directed towards a member of an opposition party. Especially so as this Labour council does not allow readers to have opposing opinions to the paper East End Life but takes it upon itself to criticise others without any chance to voice an opinion that this paper actually will print.

If East End Life can voice opinions then others “must be” able to reply in the paper to the allegations made.

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.

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