Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Two Sillies and Crossrail confusion

K&C Tory Leader Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell showed his ignor-oops poor officer briefing while stating his support for the bid for a Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks as it would give ‘a direct link to Heathrow’.

This misconception has been repeated by other Conservative Councillors at previous meetings, and by none other than Malcolm Rifkind MP, who stated in the Kensington and Chelsea Chronicle on 20 May ‘Establishing a Crossrail station would .. strengthen the local community’s links .. by providing a direct line to both Paddington and Heathrow’.

This is totally incorrect; Kensal would be the final stop to the west of this line. To go to Heathrow, you would have to take the tube or bus to Paddington and then change to the other Crossrail line which serves the whole route – or take the Heathrow Express which would be quicker.

The really scary thing here is that the very people who are leading this campaign for a Crossrail station at Kensal Gasworks know so little about it. Are they really gambling £30m+ of public money on a project they are so ignorant of? Are they just a bit thick? Or is someone spinning them a line that it WILL take passengers to Heathrow, which is blatantly untrue?

So, ignorant? plain silly? or misrepresented? Take your pick.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Posturing Politicians

We are told that Dave Cameraman and his old school buddy Alexander de Pfeffel (Boarish Johnson’s actual name) have agreed to pretend to disagree on a few trifling matters to help Bojo get re-elected next year. Apparently this will make Bojo more credible; at least, that’s what an alleged £250k of spin-doctoring has come up with. There will be more, oh, so much more to annoy in the next 12 months from the Mayoral campaign. Keep your cool and remember:

'The man who persuades you to lend him money or goods and then keeps them is without a doubt a rogue; but much the greatest rogue of all is the man who has gulled his city into the belief that he is fit to direct it.' Socrates

Meanwhile in our own sunny K&C, candidates for the by-elections and their supporters have set up a petition to demand a Referendum for a Directly Elected Mayor. This is because of constant and widespread vexation with the role of Mayor in the borough which – notable exceptions aside (such as the one just past) – is handed out by rota to the most obsequious among the ruling elite in this feudal system. The petition’s paper copy is going the rounds, but you can also sign online (anonymously if you must). Link not working so cut and paste: http://www.ipetitions.com/my/petitions/334399

At the same time there are various posturing exercises and poker games under way using your money:

1. The supersewer. This is a major infrastructural project agreed by government and funded by Thames Water to relieve storm drains during downpours so that actual poo doesn't get into the river. The people of Lots Road and nearby can smell why it is needed. However our Council is hopping from one foot to the other trying to decide whether or not to support it, and whether or not the construction route would be through Cremorne Gardens (a highly unpopular choice) or through the Council’s own recycling site (a valuable piece of real estate), while implying that it is something to do with funding Counter’s Creek, which it is NOT; it is different money. This results in some spectacularly ambivalent language from our alleged leaders; Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud.
2. Holland Park School. We thought they had sold off the south playground to pay for the rebuild, cost now tripled to £100m. If only it were that simple. The developer has put a deposit on the site and will pay the remainder and any overage at various stages. BUT. They are now quibbling over the planning permission. Meanwhile you and I have underwritten the £100m cost. Poker face slipping a bit yet?
3. North Ken Academy. Hard to judge what is going here as actual information is hard to come by. The sponsor of this already compromised scheme is unlikely to come up with the additional readies to make it the school many of us need and desire for North Ken resident. The Council won’t commit more funds but wish to shove yet more ‘facilities’ on this already overcrowded site. We may end up with something altogether inadequate and planned to fail due to lack of space and sufficient funds, while our lovely Victorian Isaac Newton School and North Ken Library buildings are sold off to create luxury homes and yet more private schools.
4. Kensal Crossrail. We can see the fear in your eyes!

As a general rule when gambling vast sums of money, poker players need real talent and the knowledge that the odds are stacked in their favour. If only that were true.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Air we breathe price hike shocker; Key Platitudes competition results

Fast on the tail of announcements about increased gas and electricity prices, the government has announced steep increases for the air we breathe. The Prime Mincer said: ‘Wholesale prices are about to sky-rocket as stocks of good quality air we breathe come under pressure. In anticipation of these rises we are working hard to apply them before the end of the year; this will create the smoothing effect on outgoings that the people of this great country rely upon to plan their budgets.’

Last weekend saw an amazing 400 very very important and sincere people on a PRO-Cuts Rally to Westminster, including leading lights of the movement such as Toby Young. In fact it was just Toby Young and his Facebook 'friends’. This contrasts curiously with 400,000 people from all corners of the country at the TUC ANTI-Cuts Rally in March. Food for thought Toby - or are you practising your political face?

We have the results here of our fantastic Easter competition to identify Four Key Platitudes for the government to regurgitate – sorry reiterate. The winners have chosen to remain anonymous as some are quotes from colleagues, but they will get their prize, which is a surprise!

Four Key Platitudes Competition 2011 - and the winners are:

1, ‘We are at the cutting edge of the future of what is coming’ [senior K&C Cabinet Member 'Mrs Malaprop' at Cabinet Meeting]

2, ‘What I am excited about is that we are getting a better quality of conversation’
[senior civil servant in K&C]

3, ‘We have an institution – a precious idea – that says we are in this together, looking out for each other’
[A classic from the PM, can be used for any occasion]

4, ‘This is a listening exercise’ (oh, not the real thing then?)
[Another multi-purpose classic.]

You may have seen in the press lots of ads for the Cancer Research UK Run for Life. They are advertising this because they are very low on participants this year, and sponsorship contributes millions every year. So please sponsor me and my daughter Connie this year – and if you have already, very many thanks. Sorry links not working you will have to copy and paste: http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/emmadentcoad0210

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Bully's Battle-Cry: 'Can't you take a joke?'

Cameraman’s painfully revealing ‘Calm down dear’ comments to an elected Member of Parliament sitting on the opposition front bench quite justifiably provoked outrage. It took me back to my first experiences of working in offices, when it was normal for men to make blatantly sexist comments, tell disgusting jokes, and demand you wear a skirt so they can see your legs – the sort of atmosphere that today could bring a charge of constructive dismissal and potential compensation. Quite right too. It was a horrible and personally destructive environment to work in and I would never tolerate that level of intimidation and misogynism for my daughters.

Cameron’s ‘it’s just a joke’ come-back compounded the felony.

Was this funny Dave, the day your bike was nicked in Portobello Road when you’d chained it to a BOLLARD? ‘cos, you know, we were all laughing like drains.

And was this funny Gideon? ‘cos we were all wondering if the woman in the picture was trying to ascertain whether or not someone had made off with the Chancellor’s Crown Jewels (and associated jokes I will not repeat).

See? It’s not funny, is it? So, to make it clear Mr Prime Minister and associates, it’s only a joke if both sides are laughing. Sorry to say, Clegg and Cameron are to sit with the juniors until they learn their manners.


While we await the results of the various elections today, and fall out with our loved ones over how we voted, let’s take a serene moment and think back to our glorious weather over Easter. Here I am indulging in a favourite pastime – swimming in a freezing cold lake on a baking hot day.

- Waving not drowning