26 February 2007

Tories 'clear off' warning

Not wanted in Hammersmith & Fulham. Cabinet member Cllr Greg Smith says he aims to “clear out the riff-raff”. That's an interesting way of describing the Tories' new social policies. It used to be called gerrymandering.

23 February 2007

Stars in their eyes

Hammersmith & Fulham Tories have been seething this week. The Audit Commission only gave the council three stars and the council's cultural services were rated as failing. If they're bad now, wait until the libraries cuts hit home.

Strangely this news doesn't merit a mention on the council website. Instead the site is full of protests about the congestion charge. That particular storm will soon be forgotten.

A chip off the old block

Sebastian Greenhalgh may still be a toddler but he's obviously following in his dad's shoes. Out on the streets protesting about the congestion charge last Saturday, Seb's photo then appeared in the Standard on Monday. Unfortunately it was used to illustrate a story about the supposed impact of the c charge on poorer families - shurely shome mishtake! Seb then adorned the front page of this week's Chronicle. Admittedly he is a bit more photogenic than his dad. But shouldn't he be at boarding school rather than protesting on the streets of Kensington? Perhaps he'll be smoking pot next.

18 February 2007

The Conservative cut that broke the borough's back

Since January details of Conservative cuts in Hammersmith & Fulham council services have been unveiled. It's been a non-stop attack on the most vulnerable people in the borough (see previous blogs) - all to pay for a council tax cut of 50p a week.

Now the cuts are to be agreed by the Conservative cabinet on Monday 19 February before going before the full Council meeting on 28 February.

What has emerged from all the detail has been a proposal to scrap the mobile library service used by elderly residents and families with children.

This highly visible cut may prove to be the Tories' biggest mistake so far. Clearly the Tories have no concern for services they don't use. Clearly they are happy to leave elderly people isolated in their homes, having also cut meals on wheels and home help services.

The library bus is a sign of a civilised community. The Tories will come to regret this cut which may seem to them to be a small saving but is a big error of judgement.

It's also another example of how the Tories' cuts mean worse services in Hammersmith & Fulham. The cuts are going to cost a lot of local residents much more than the 50p saved on council tax.

All in a week when some of the Tories' biggest supporters got huge bonuses of millions of pounds for pushing money around in the city. What a strange world we live in.

Another attack on the Mayor of London

The Conservative council in Hammersmith & Fulham has a one track mind - when all else fails, attack the Mayor of London.

Over recent months a substantial amount of council taxpayers' money has been used to fund party political attacks on the Mayor - from the congestion charge and tram to affordable housing and council tax.

Most recently Tory MP for Hammersmith & Fulham Greg Hands has been pictured on the front of the council website (http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/) holding a placard opposing the extension of the congestion charge.

This abuse of council tax must be stopped now.

From smarter borough to dirtier borough

Have you noticed how the streets of Hammersmith & Fulham have been getting really dirty in recent months? Litter and leaves, rubbish and dog poo everywhere. It certainly seems to be getting worse in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

So why are the Tories are cutting a massive £915,000 from the street cleaning budget this year? Having boasted that the borough has the fourth cleanest streets out of the 33 London boroughs (measured when the previous Labour council was in office!), the Tories are determined to plummet down the league. Their election pledge of better services seems to have been conveniently forgotten.

The council's 'smarter borough' slogan should be replaced with 'dirtier borough'.