Posts Tagged ‘Lewisham Labour’

Ruddock’s war update – lambasted and exposed

April 28, 2010

In the US, we call this “Kabuki”. Vote for the meaningless amendment or bill that you know won’t pass in order to build a record so that you can claim that you voted against the war, for single payer health care, against FISA, whatever, and then go south when the vote that really matters comes up.

The LibDems have this one 100% right, and, apparently, the voters in the UK are beginning to understand Kabuki as well as those of us here in the states.

This above is one of the 60 comments left under Joan Ruddock’s article in Sunday’s Guardian Cif written in response to mine of Friday, they’re well worth a read (link).
Poor Joan, she really shot herself in the foot with a big gun.

And yesterday the issue was taken up by the South London Press that on page 3 featured this article.

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Joan Ruddock’s War

April 6, 2010


I’ve been forwarded this letter that Joan Ruddock MP has sent to a selection of Lewisham Central residents.

I read it and gulped, again, the claim that Joan Ruddock voted “against” the war, only in a much clearer and unequivocal phrasing.

“I have always acted with integrity and stuck to my principles – voting against the government going to war in Iraq.”

Now, let’s be clear, Joan Ruddock is on record as absent on the crucial occasion of the Government’s motion to authorize the use of force against Iraq. That’s a fact.

(Click here for her record on the vote for the use of force)

She was also absent for every other vote on the main motions about Iraq.

What she did vote for were proposals to amend those motions on Iraq by inserting clauses saying that the case for war was yet unproven, but those attempts were always defeated, and following those failed votes for amendments the main motions went to vote, and on each and every occasion about Iraq she was absent.

(Click here for her voting record on Iraq)

So, I don’t think she’s being straight at all by saying that she voted against the government going to war in Iraq. She didn’t do  a Robin Cook or even a Diane Abbott, at the crucial moment she wasn’t in the room.

Something that voters should know, and that can potentially affect her chances for the forthcoming elections since it’s not just an embarrassing statement but also a great way to remind people of the clear position that Lib Dems took against the Iraq war.

She’s the incumbent with a large majority, but the debate is just starting. Lib Dems were the second party in Lewisham Deptford in 2005 and with the redrawing of the constituency boundary to include Lewisham Central ward (where Lib Dems are the first party) our chances have increased.

Lewisham primary schools short of 543 reception level places

March 26, 2010

6.16 As of the end of January 2010 cut-off date, 3699 First Preference applications had been received on time for the 3156 Reception places available.

It’s impossible to exaggerate the impact of the numbers revealed in the Mayor and Cabinet papers of 24th February (link to document) and that the South London Press reports about today.
The sobering news is that next year Lewisham will be short of 543 reception level primary school places.

If we weren’t so close to an election the Mayor would have to be forced out of his seat for his inability to face up to the most basic needs of the community he is supposed to look after.

This report to the Mayor is full of explanations about why we are where we are, but on the side of the administration there are no excuses, the fact is that they saw it coming, and didn’t rise to the challenge.

Over 500 children and families will suffer greatly. A whole generation of Lewisham’s children will receive a reduced service, overcrowded classes, not enough teacher’s attention, insufficient play area. All of this at that most crucial stage of their education. As I said, the consequences are immense.

Lewisham Labour member deceiving the public on Council Tax

March 12, 2010

There is an interesting letter in this week’s Mercury, it’s signed by a “Neil Watkins” who declares he just moved to this Borough.

A quick Google of the keywords Neil Watkins and Lewisham and Labour clarified further where he comes from. A rank and file Labour Member whose Facebook profile puts in the UK Parliament network. Possibly a young researcher.

Here’s what he writes:

I received a leaflet from the Lib Dems complaining about the level of council tax in Lewisham.

I’ve recently moved to the borough and I can tell you that the boroughs with the highest council tax in London, Richmond and Kingston, are Liberal Democrat-run.

Kingston’s Band D rate is 30 per cent higher than Lewisham’s, so I think a bit of perspective is required.

Everyone in the UK pays council tax, so it’s worth knowing where we stand.

We all know that what the Liberals say and what they do in power are two different things, but let’s hope we never have to find out in Lewisham.

Neil Watkins, Blackheath

Now, since Mr Watkins is so politically aware, he must also have spotted that the Libdem literature informs people that Lewisham has the highest Council Tax of all Inner London Boroughs.

And that is entirely true, as it is true that Mr Watkins craftily manages to avoid refuting this fact (and if you read carefully you’ll also realize that he says he just moved in the Borough but not necessarily from Kingston or Richmond).

It is also true that all Outer London Boroughs bar one charge more than all Inner London Boroughs, and this is  due to the fact that they all receive much less Government Grants, also for the reason that they are wealthier, and since they must deliver the same services the difference can only be found through Council tax.

It’s a redistributive measure to make those that need more receive more and those that can afford more pay more, and in fact the two Boroughs that Mr Watkins chose to focus on are two very wealthy Boroughs indeed, that therefore receive a much lower government grant from central government to integrate the collected Council Tax.

For each resident the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames receives a yearly grant of £231, the London Borough of Richmond receives £150. The latter is in fact the London Borough that receives less grants than all other Outer London Boroughs.

The London Borough of Lewisham receives £715 for each of its resident!

In his letter Neil Watkins points specifically at Kingston’s Band D Council Tax and says it’s 30% higher than here. Let’s take a look at this specific.

First of all this is factually incorrect, to be precise it’s 24.7% (Lewisham is 1,351.92 and Kingston is 1,685.88), but mostly, since Lewisham Council receives for each resident a grant that is £484 higher than what Kingston receives then Kingston must have a higher Council Tax to deliver the services it must deliver.

If Lewisham had to add the same £484 to the tax it charges then Lewisham’s Band D would be £1835, 92 and that’s £150 above what Kingston charges.

Band D Council Tax for the London Borough of Richmond is £1,597.21 , and this despite the fact that it receives a paltry £150 of central grant per resident, that’s a staggering £565 less than Lewisham. If Lewisham would add that to what it charges then Band D here would be £1916.92.

In conclusion, after adjustment to consider the different Government Grant received by each Borough it emerges that the Labour run Lewisham charges a Band D Council Tax that’s 8.9% higher than Lib Dem run Kingston and 20% higher than Lib Dem run Richmond.

P.S.: to make this calculation I made here the assumption that each individual resident is also a Council Tax payer. This is not true because the Council tax is instead a tax on the property, and since each property is on average the residence of more than one person it means that Lewisham charges in real terms even more than that when compared to Richmond and Kingston.

Lewisham Labour leader standing against transparency

March 4, 2010

At last Council meeting held this Monday 1st march Cllr Alan Hall, who is leader of the Labour group at Council, did a serious bit of grand-standing against Liberal Democrat disclosure of Councillor’s expenses.

His high sounding speech explained to all mortals that the £1300 taxi bill of Councillor Sylvia Scott was thoroughly justified by the fact that she is Vice Chair of the Council and as such wears a “Chain of Office” and you wouldn’t want to see someone wearing a Mayoral Chain going up and down buses.

I’m not sure I buy the argument in the first place, Ken Livingston never minded using buses, Boris Johnson cycles, and anyway Councillors receive an allowance that they can spend on cabs if that’s the way they want to travel for duties on those occasions that are not normally covered with extra expenses.

But there is another reason why Councillor Hall grandstanding is completely void of merit, and that’s that we are talking of the 2008/09 expenses, when the Vice Chair of the Council was Cllr Smith (who claimed no expenses at all), not Cllr Scott.

Lewisham Central Labour Party Activists lying barefacedly

February 20, 2010

I was going home earlier today and saw some Labour Party canvassers, just by my doorstep.  and after introducing myself I asked them:

“What’s your line about the war? What do you say when they ask you about the Iraq war?”

“Joan Ruddock voted against!” Was the assertive reply.

“No she didn’t, she abstained” I replied.

“No she was against, we checked!” They said nodding as one.

And so I went home and checked Joan Ruddock’s voting record online, and what do I find? Only confirmation of what I already knew, that the historical fact is that at the crucial vote for or against military action she was…absent!

And so I ran back, and told them, and guess what they said to me?

“Go away!”