I am delighted and honoured to have been selected as Labour’s candidate for the West Central constituency in the 2012 GLA elections. West Central is comprised of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster. West Central is suffering under Tory rule—from a Mayor and Assembly Member who are overseeing cuts to front line policing, to a central government that is on an ideological mission to cut public services, to borough councils that seeking to make West Central a “no go” area for everyone but the wealthy. I am looking forward to taking the fight to the Tories and to promoting the positive policy alternatives that the Labour Party offers. It is critical that London elect a Labour mayor and GLA in 2012 in order to protect London’s public services from Tory cuts. My priorities include preservation of our safer neighbourhood teams; construction of affordable housing; affordable public transport; and opportunities for London’s young people. You can learn more about my priorities at http://toddforeman.org.uk/westcentral.
Cllr Atkinson spoke under Standing Order 19:
Firstly, I would like to point to the excellent and first rate OFSTED report that was published recently. I hope that the whole Council will join me in congratulating the school, its staff and community on such an excellent result – a result made more extraordinary because the intake of Holland Park School remains challenging. So this excellent result is something in which the school is entitled to take exceptional pride.
Secondly, I wish to note and regret the decision made last Thursday by the Governing Body to vote to explore the possibilities of becoming an Academy. I hope (but do not expect) that this council will join me in encouraging the school to refuse this totally unnecessary development.
The OFSTED report proves not only that a change in status at Holland Park is entirely unnecessary but that if it goes ahead it will be for entirely political reasons. I regret very much that tonight’s timetable does not allow us a wider debate on this matter but I do want you all to know that if our schools do now vote to become academies it will be only because: a) the Council’s political leadership has told them that they must do so and b) that our excellent and much valued education department is already being dismantled so that the schools have no choice but to go along with the Academy proposals.
If any of our schools now walk the plank to academy status it is only because Cllr Elizabeth Campbell is pushing them over the edge at sword point. And behind her stands her wicked and ambitious ‘Pirate captain’ Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell.
Finally, I want this Council to agree over the summer to assist the school in ensuring that public consultation on this proposal is conducted as widely and as extensively as possible. The lack of consultation with the students of this school is a disgrace and the four days’ notice given to parents is entirely inadequate and I believe leaves the decision open to Judicial Review [and should Judicial Review fail this will only prove that the rules on consultation with parents and the local community have been deliberately rigged so as to make them meaningless].
I often criticise this council for its own poor efforts to consult with and involve our residents. But even the Royal Borough could not make such a poor job of resident and community involvement.
Madam Mayor, I hope therefore that this Council will applaud the excellent OFSTED report and condemn the plot to force Holland Park School to become an Academy.
Dear Labour Councillors for Kensington and Chelsea,
I wonder if any of you would be interested in learning more about, attending a meeting of, or backing Campaign Against Holland Park Becoming An Academy, a recently set up local and student-led campaign calling for a schoolwide ballot on the status of Holland Park in the new academic year. We would be highly grateful of any support for our petition letter or our campaign.
I cannot underestimate the significance of Holland Park falling to the Department of Education’s reform programme, as one of the most prestigious state comprehensives in London.Thank you for your attention. Our website can be found here. http://noacademyathollandpark.wordpress.com/
Holland Park Student
Interim Chair of the Campaign
Member of Youth Parliament for Kensington and Chelsea (personal capacity)
SUPPORT THE STUDENTS – GO ON THEIR WEBSITE AND SIGN UP NOW!
Thanks to our two fantastic candidates and their teams who put in a fantastic effort in the two ‘most Tory’ wards in the country! A shocking turnout of just 15% shows just how much value residents of those wards hold for their local Tories. They have no idea what they’re missing! The Labour vote stood firm, and we had great back-up from members and Councillors and friends from all over the borough, showing how our increased membership has given us all a boost.
‘A community activist in the best tradition of Kensington and Chelsea … a person who gives his time selflessly to the community … valued for his fair and level-headed approach to local issues and problems; his concerns are particularly for older residents.’ These are the words of Council Leader Sir Merrick Cockell at Keith’s Mayor’s Award in 2010.
Keith Stirling was born and bred in the borough; he is famous for his 14 charity cycle rides from John 0’ Groats to Land’s End for Sixty Plus/Age Concern.
HOUSING: Queens Gate Ward is a wealthy area but there are hidden problems. Keith is worried about those living on controlled rent or in private rented homes dependent on Housing Benefit. Queens Gate also has a large number of home owners reliant on Housing Benefit, which is being cut. Keith is a seasoned housing campaigner and will fight for all his residents.
EXHIBITION ROAD: Many of you expressed disgust at the Council spending £22m of your money on paving Exhibition Road, a scheme unsuitable for people with limited sight or mobility. The cancelling of step-free access to South Ken tube will make it more difficult for those with mobility problems. Your Labour candidate Keith will lobby for improvements, saying: ‘Cllr Moylan is vice-chair of Transport for London and should be fighting for better access not making it worse’.
DOGS: Kensington is a dog-lover’s paradise, with wide pavements, plenty of trees and beautiful parks. But dog mess is a problem. Keith is devoted to his dog, Stumpy, who is old and blind but no less lovable, and will fight for better facilities for dogs, and for dog mess bins on every road to help dog-walkers clean up.
FUEL BILLS: Heating bills are going up and the heating allowance will not cover it. Keith will be looking at ways to help older people keep warm. He says: ‘Another freezing winter will endanger older residents; the time to plan is now.’
REFERENDUM for Directly elected Mayor: Like many of you, Keith is sickened by self-serving Tory Councillors who hand the prize of Mayor to whoever is in favour that year. Keith pledges to run a Petition for a Referendum for a Directly Elected Mayor. This means that YOU will choose who becomes Mayor.
ADVICE SURGERIES: On the doorstep we heard concerns about how you will manage tight budgets as food and fuel prices rise and incomes drop. You told us you are worried about the Tri-Borough working with our neighbouring boroughs and how that could affect local services. You are worried about being able to stay in your own home.
Keith is committed to running Councillors Surgeries at least once a month where residents can come for advice and help. He says: ‘The issues you have may not be important to others, but they are to you and to me. I want to hear about them, and will do my best for you’
Local activist Mark is a long-time borough resident and a chartered accountant who would be happy to represent Brompton ward. He says: ‘Brompton is a neighbourhood not a shopping centre; the needs of residents should always come first, and I am looking forward to fighting for the interests of residents as their Councillor’.
WORKING FOR LESS CRIME AND A BETTER ENVIRONMENT: Brompton is a destination for shopping, bars and eating out, but this brings levels of street crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour that are unacceptable in a neighbourhood of families and older people. Mark will work closely with police to reduce crime and improve operation of the group dispersal zone to deal with drunks and car racing at night. Knightsbridge is a pollution hot-spot; Mark will address this by demanding a Low Emission Zone.
BROMPTON TORY COUNCILLLOR FINALLY SPEAKS: Almost three years after being elected to the Council, Brompton Tory Quentin Marshall finally gave his maiden speech at the Council meeting on 20 April 2011. Mark said: ‘Cllr Marshall gave a fine speech praising the late Dr Hanham, but if I am elected I will get to work from day one and won’t wait three years to speak out on behalf of Brompton residents in the Town Hall.’
EXHIBITION ROAD: Many of you expressed disgust at the Council spending £22m of your money on paving Exhibition Road, a scheme unsuitable for people with limited sight or mobility. The cancelling of step-free access to South Ken tube will make it more difficult for those with mobility problems. Your Labour candidate Mark will lobby for improvements saying: ‘Tory Cllr Daniel Moylan is vice-chair of TfL and should be fighting for better access, not making it worse.’
DOGS AND PARKS: Kensington is a dog-lover’s paradise, with wide pavements, plenty of trees and beautiful parks. But dog mess is a problem. As a dog owner, Mark will fight for better facilities for dogs, and demand dog mess bins on every road.
PLANNING: Residents have told Mark that they believe the Council favours business over local people when planning applications are considered. Mark knows that outdoor cafes with long opening hours can cause problems for those who live nearby, and he will lobby the Council to restrict hours and control problem areas.
REFERENDUM for Directly elected Mayor: Like many of you, Mark wants to challenge self-serving Tory Councillors who hand the prize of Mayor to whoever is in favour that year. Mark pledges to run a Petition for a Referendum for a Directly Elected Mayor. This means that YOU will choose who becomes Mayor.
ADVICE SURGERIES: On the doorstep we heard concerns about how you manage tight budgets as food and fuel prices rise and incomes drop. You told us you ar worried about Tri-Borough working with our neighbouring boroughs and how that could affect local servicers. Mark is committed to running advice Surgeries at least once a month where residents can come for advice and help. He says: ‘I want to hear about the issues that concern you, and I will do do my best for you.’