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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How can we move on from the riots in Ealing?

A lot has been written about the riots that affected Ealing and other areas of the country.
The Liberal Democrat group were more than impressed with the speed and efficiency that Council staff and contractors helped to get Ealing cleaned up from the damage.
The police also were criticised but half of Ealing’s officers were sadly moved to other areas of London. They did the best job they could in a difficult situation. I think the Met though need to look again at when it moves police resources from one area to another in these fast-moving situations.
Liberal Democrats have always said that it makes sense to see what areas of the Met’s activity, such as the large volume of paperwork, can be reduced to allow more front-line officers to be available.
When I was present in South Ealing, as some of the rioting was occurred, the air was acrid from bins and cars set alight. The day afterwards, when I helped to clean up Ealing with hundreds of residents, you could see clearly the shops, bars and restaurants that had been attacked and damaged.
I have since suggested to the Council that it empties or removes bins from town centres if there is evidence to suggest riots are likely, using Sutton as a good example. The police and the Council are actively considering this now.
I am also glad that the courts have looked into the individuals accused of rioting and acted to send a signal that the rioting and looting is not something we can condone.
Less has been said about how we try to ensure riots do not happen again. How can we stop the mindless thugs from rampaging our town centres again?
In my locality, the ward forum I chair, paid £10,000 to a youth club to help fund the rental of community buildings and equipment such as a table tennis set, sewing equipment, a stereo, make up, stationary and some computer games.
Many teenagers just want a place where they and their friends can meet which is SAFE. The “W4 Youth” club serves a lot of kids that had nowhere safe to go, last year.
Recently their football teams have won competitions and one 15 year old has improved his table tennis ability. I hope he will be good enough to take part in the 2016 Olympics (he out-classed me by a mile)!
Liberal Democrats believe that by investing in our youth we can improve people’s lives now as well as make a difference between how different communities in our towns and cities treat each other.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Riots in Ealing - YouTube video

Myself, other Councillors made speeches in a sombre meeting to discuss the riots in Ealing that occured recently. An Australian TV channel recorded the meeting and the link with my speech giving the perspective I saw of the riots in Ealing but also across the country can be heard here:

Ealing Police Open Day - come along!

The Borough Commander has invited residents and other community representatives to an open day at Ealing Police station at Sunday 2nd October 2011 (10am till 4pm).  The police will also be in Walpole Park with stalls as well.

On the day a number of special police groups will be present such as the dog team, firearms unit, mounted police section and other units. Kids are made welcome and have a good time, as similar events have occured in the borough through the year.

It will be a good chance to ask the police questions as well as see whether there are any police jobs that might interest you.

If you can pop in for an hour I am sure it will be informative. I shall be attending.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Info I heard from TfL: A40 Western Avenue night-time resurfacing works

The westbound off-slip road to junction with Argyle Road will be closed when works are carried out for carriageway resurfacing works along the westbound section of the A40 Western Avenue, between Hanger Lane and the junction with Argyle Road in Ealing.

The works are scheduled to start on Wednesday 31 August 2011 and are expected to last approximately five nights. In order to minimise disruption, and following consultation with the London Borough of Ealing, these works will be carried out at night from 21:30 to 06:00hrs, Monday to Friday.
It is planned that these night-time resurfacing works will be carried out along the A40 Western Avenue under lane closures. A40 Westbound off-slip will be closed for the first two nights with a signed diversion route in place for affected traffic.

Local access to residential premises through the works area will be maintained and controlled by gatemen at all times. The noisiest operations will be carried out before midnight to minimise inconvenience to local residents.

These works may affect night-time bus services. Changes in bus routes and service times will be posted at the local bus stops for the affected area.

Should you require further information or an update during the delivery of these works, please contact the Streets Customer Services department of Transport for London on 0845 305 1234 or via their website at

Friday, 19 August 2011

Glad to see Ealing Council is listening

At a special Council meeting this week I asked a question to the Councillor responsible for Housing relating to evicting those guilty of rioting or looting:

Could the portfolio holder please outline whether he is in favour of using the powers we have, or altering future housing rental contracts, so that those convicted of crimes relating to the riots and associated looting can be removed from Council housing?

The answer I got to the oral question was sort of luke warm but in the days since it appears the Council have taken a strong line. This may mean that those who are guilty of these crimes might be evicted allowing some of the many on the waiting lists for housing to move up the queue and hopefully some can get housing they have patiently waited for. 

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

An emotional meeting about the Ealing Riots

Tonight was a meeting where a number of parties discussed the riots that occurred in Ealing last week.

Initially we had a number of faith groups speaking, a resident giving her experience where three masked attackers broke into her home. Then Ealing police's Borough Commander gave his account of the police's actions.

Many residents had the view that Ealing police had failed. However listening to the top Ealing police chief it was clear that he had orders to have half his police force leave to attend other areas of London that were under threat  or being attacked from riot. Part way through his statement he was emotional and came across as a human. Many of the remaining police force in Ealing fought for their lives against a group of yobs five times as many as there were police.

Later in the evening I made a speech shunning the excuses many have used for rioting - those who have rioted  have certainly been immoral and I have no respect for them. They have let us all down.

Earlier in the evening I asked a question to the Councillor responsible for Housing about whether those convicted of rioting or looting should have their housing rights removed. The answer given was that each person would be judged on a case by case situation. It would be a shame if someone had committed offences and had no dependants was allowed to take a housing space that someone else should get ahead of them.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The rioters and looters should be locked up

The mindless damage and riots in Ealing, across London and the country has been caused by criminals who I have no respect for what so ever. However young or old no-one has the right to damage property, commit arson or steal property from shops.

Many local shopkeepers have not had a good time over the past few years. Any damage to the area or their property just takes away what our High Streets are about – diversity and people grafting to make a living.

When I was in South Ealing on Monday evening at the time of the riots the smoke from a fire near to the Grove pub was so acrid. Crowds of people wondered whether any of the buildings were on fire.

We often see the bravery of cameramen – in war zones - but in Ealing one of the Gazette’s journos was brave getting pictures and reports as to what was happening. A fellow councillor in my Liberal Democrat party had a bottle thrown at his car.

Back home now many friends do not feel safe in London. Clearly the time has come to add to the numbers of the police by drafting in the army.

These mindless, misguided and evil rioters and thieves need to be shown that they cannot do as they wish. They need to pay back in terms of time doing a very large amount of community service as well as paying back for all the damage they have caused.

Sadly when this nightmare is over Ealing, other parts of London and the country will take a lot of time to get over this sad episode in our history.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The staggering cost of the Jubilee Line upgrade fiasco has just got higher – Caroline Pidgeon

After years of disruption on the Jubilee Line new evidence has come to light revealing some of the real costs of the years of dragged out weekend closures.
Following extensive freedom of information requests Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, has now discovered that the costs of the weekend closures since April 2007 on the Jubilee Line include:
    • 32 million passengers being affected by the weekend closures, leading to a loss in ticket revenue of a staggering £15.7 million

    • Transport for London having to spend £13 million on replacement buses
Commenting on these immense figures Caroline Pidgeon said:
“A year ago the Mayor and Transport for London admitted that the upgrade programme on the Jubilee Line would slip once again.  After years of disruption to passengers, communities and businesses they announced a further year of weekend closures which has only just finished."
Caroline added: “There has now been years of misery faced by passengers who simply wished to travel around London.   Sadly the fiasco of dragged out weekend closures has also hit many businesses hard.  From restaurants and West End theatres to the O2 Centre, the amount of lost weekend trade has been immense."
To me this simply adds insult to injury to now finally discover that in addition to the cost already paid for by passengers and businesses there has been such a serious loss in revenue for Transport for London and such a huge bill for replacement buses. 
The upgrade on the Jubilee Line has been a case study in exactly how not to upgrade the tube.    I just hope that the Mayor has learnt from these mistakes.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I took part in a Dragon's work!

Just now I did a five minute Dragon's Den presentation to the senior management of the company I work for. This was the end point of a training session on presentation and how to persuade people to do something.

The prize (announced later this week) is a day off from work and most importantly an amount of money for a charity - I chose the locally W4 Youth charity. They help so many kids to have fun, be safe and engage with each other. There was over 30 colleagues bidding for the prize so difficult to know who will win.

I was then interviewed afterwards. Just like on the real show. It was a great experience and really fun.

Fingers crossed!