18 December 2006

One too many drinks in Hammersmith & Fulham

Festive drinkers have been confused in Hammersmith & Fulham this year.

On the one hand the Conservative council was saying Festive drinkers sold short. Dozens of licensed premises in West London are serving festive drinkers short measures of alcohol, according to the council.

And on the other, it was proclaiming Street drinkers left high and dry by booze ban. A blanket ban on anti-social street boozers has busted more than 120 drunken vagrants in the first month of the innovative new scheme.

Which is all rather confusing for local residents. What does the council really think about alcohol consumption? Are glasses half full or half empty in Hammersmith & Fulham?

Whatever you do, don't go into the Salutation pub opposite the town hall to ask one of the Cabinet members for an answer. Particularly later on in the evening.

11 December 2006

Scrooge arrives early in Hammersmith & Fulham

Tis the season of goodwill - unless you live in Hammersmith & Fulham. The Tory council has just put up the cost of dying by increasing charges for being buried locally.

Now everyone's waiting to see where the axe will fall to pay for cuts in council tax. Council staff are leaving in droves to avoid the chop while others are 'celebrating' Christmas with redundancy notices.

Council leader Stephen Greenhalgh is already tucking into the mince pies, avoiding the flak by taking an early Christmas holiday. No doubt he'll return even blobbier in time for photos on Christmas Day with pensioners.

Not that they will want to celebrate the council's cuts to home helps and meals on wheels. The question everyone is asking is where will the axe fall next?

One small consolation is that local police are being asked to work 24/7 to tackle crime in parts of the borough. But guess what, only if local businesses will pay for it!

Scrooge has definitely arrived early in Hammersmith & Fulham.

21 November 2006

Autumn leaves Tories slipping up

Walk the streets of Hammersmith & Fulham in late November and you're in danger of slipping and sliding on all the leaves. Either that or coming to a complete standstill because of the mounds of autumn debris everywhere.

Is it the wrong kind of leaf or the wrong kind of weather? Or are the Tories cutting back on street cleaning before privatisation in the hope that we won't notice once it's another service lost forever.

Of course the Tories might respond when the council starts getting sued for all the accidents as residents put the wrong foot first. All the expensive new logos mean nothing if the streets are a filthy and dangerous mess.

Just imagine Cllr super-size-me Greenhalgh taking a tumble down King Street. It would mean several more weeks of road repairs and hold-ups. A disaster for all the 4x4s edging their way around the congestion zone.

A suitable subject for another extraordinary council meeting perhaps?

16 November 2006

Tories spin into chaos

Strangely, the latest edition of hfnews, Hammersmith & Fulham council's newspaper for residents, has no mention of plans to close a secondary school, privatise the home help service, or any of the other cuts already announced by the Conservatives. And that's before they even unveil their budget plans for 2007-8!

Meanwhile the front page of hfnews highlights local NHS financial problems without a single acknowledgement of the council's own cuts. The leader of the council gets all high and mighty about local hospital services while savaging council services.

Talk about re-writing history. Tory councillors are obviously aspiring spin doctors and hfnews is their Pravda.

Take the photo of residents celebrating the Allied Carpets appeal victory in hfnews. Local MP Andrew Slaughter has been cut out of the picture even though he led the campaign against the development when he was council leader and since as MP.

Private Eye readers may also appreciate the lookalike photo in hfnews - council leader Stephen Greenhalgh is a deadringer (OK, slightly heavier version) of BNP chief Nick Griffin. And their policies seem remarkably similar.

PS the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle reports today that the council will be calling an extraordinary council meeting on 29 November on the council's 'gambling policy'. That probably means they have plans to open casinos in the borough. Watch this space.

06 November 2006

Tories don't like it up them

When the going gets tough, the Tories get going. That's what seems to be happening in Hammersmith & Fulham. Clearly the Conservatives don't like it up them. Little did they realise a few weeks ago what a stink their massive cuts would create across the borough.

Having upset families with children and older people by announcing plans to close a secondary school and privatise the home help service, the Tories obviously weren't prepared for the response. So when parents and children attended a cabinet meeting to ask questions about the proposals, not only did the leader refuse to answer them but he stormed out closing a public meeting.

The council leader, Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh, may be a big boy. But he clearly can't cope with public opposition to his plans. Mr Blobby is getting very wobbly.

And he gets arch right winger Cllr Harry Phibbs to write stalinist letters to the local papers, inbetween his day job writing diary stories for the Evening Standard. Cllr Fibber is telling bigger whoppers every week. Meanwhile Greg Hands MP has gone strangely quiet - even he doesn't like it when his friends upset local people and they want Greg to sort it out.

The Tories will do anything to try and distract attention from the devastation caused by their cuts. This week pompous Cllr Greg Smith attacks the Law Centre for holding a debate on liberty and security. What irony!

This would all be very funny if it wasn't true. Fortunately the Tories in Hammersmith & Fulham are showing what would happen if the Conservatives ever got into national government. That's one lesson we can thank Mr Blobby for.

30 October 2006

Tories' Halloween cuts in Hammersmith & Fulham

What better time to start this blog than Halloween 2006. It's almost six months since the Conservatives won the May council elections in Hammersmith & Fulham. And true to form they haven't wasted any time in slashing local services.

It's not a good time to be old, disabled or poor in Hammersmith & Fulham - because the Tories are privatising the home help service, cutting 166 jobs mainly held by local women; and they are reducing meals on wheels deliveries so these same vulnerable people only get a visit once in a while with a whole batch of frozen food which they have to heat up themselves.

It's not a good time to have children needing education in the borough. The Tories are planning to close one secondary school at Hurlingham and Chelsea even though it's rapidly improving. They have not said what will replace it to create more choice for local parents. Instead they have managed to unite all the borough's secondary heads against the closure in fear of what might follow. And the Tories have put questionmarks over the future of several local primary schools by announcing a review of primary education. There are even rumours about what they will do to the new children's centres already set up and funded - will the Tories fulfil or scupper these centres, let alone other children's centres planned across the borough?

All because H&F Tories want to emulate their nasty neighbours in Wandsworth and cut council tax to Wandsworth levels. Except there are historical reasons for that which H&F council will never be able to match. Still that won't stop the right-wingers finding scapegoats for their failures - like recent Polish arrivals who do all the Tories' building, cleaning, nannying, decorating, carwashing etc.

This is just a taste of what is to come. Is this what local people really voted for? What makes the Hammersmith & Fulham Tories think they can wreck our borough? Now is the time for local residents to fight back.

Watch this space for more Tory horrors - who needs Halloween?