Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thankyou and goodnight


This blog, ere, is an ex-blog. It is a dead blog. It is a blog-no-more. Sadly all good things come to an end and here is no exception. I am about to embark on an exciting new chapter in my own life which will mean leaving the Bush and relocating to South Africa.

I started this blog back in 2008 after an encounter one freezing November morning by the library (now Bush Theatre) with a comatose tramp. He was out cold so I called an ambulance. It turned out he had been there all night and into the morning, while people had walked on by. When I got home I wondered what his story was, amid the many our neck of the woods has as one of the most diverse and vibrant in London.

Raiding a crystal meth factory on the White City Estate
That plus the dire provision of local news led me to set the site up and its been going strong ever since. Reporting the Bush has taken me on to the streets with our brave local police as they stormed a crack den on the White City Estate, down the sewers to investigate a lost river and the issues surrounding local flooding and even a meeting with the QPR manager who'd just brought the R's back to the top flight.

One of the best things about this community is precisely that – it’s a community. Despite the massive diversity of our streets you see how strongly people pull together. A quick look at the stubborn resistance of the people of the West Kensington Estate against the Council and their property developer colleagues, the breathtaking bravery of one of our streetcleaners determined to stand up against thieves and the coming together after the tragedy of Lakeside Road when people used the blog to talk to each other about why what was happening was happening. A difficult conversation but one that was clearly needed.
Checking out the local sewers
Warnock was a man watching his back
A thread running through the years has also been local politics. Cameron's favourite council has got good people serving in it who are trying to do their best for the local area. But it can also be, frankly, a bully. The ruling councillors almost all live in Fulham and the south of the borough and it shows. All of the major developments involving people losing their homes, businesses and communities have taken place in the North of the Borough. All of them.Sometimes they get their way by steamrollering things through. And sometimes they don't, with residents emerging victorious. By contrast, the one scheme that seems to threaten communities in Fulham in the form of the Thames Tideway Tunnel provokes our Council's utter outrage. Postcodes matter in H&F.

As I sign off this blog we approach a local election which might change all of that. But I should also say that many of the Councillors I have met on all sides of the party divide are genuinely good people - personal favourites include Top Tory Harry Phibbs, Tory Twitter Attack Dog Peter Graham and Sweary Greg Smith, while Labour's Steven Cowan and Andy Slaughter are not above a bit of skullduggery themselves. I hope their forthcoming contest for Council and Parliament is about ideas and not personal abuse .. but I doubt it.

Along the way I have encountered tragedy, death and sadness - but also inspiration and strength. And in revealing secret documents that somehow floated into my possession I hope I brought some much needed transparency to the way decisions affecting local people were being made.

And so I sign off with a deep sense of privilege for having learned so much more about the streets in which I lived. You are a special place, Shepherd's Bush. Thank-you. And goodnight.

Goodnight London

10 comments:

  1. You will be much missed. Thanks to your great blog I felt I had some idea of what was going on in lbhf. And that those who voicecwas often not heard, had a champion. Thanks and good luck.

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  2. Thank you so much for your blog, it will be very much missed. It was wonderful getting an independent realistic view what was happening in our community rather than what the politicians wanted us to think.

    I wish you well in south Africa. I have a Friend who recently revisit Jo-bourg, he said whereas before many areas were no go zones, now the city has a vibrant "London" feel. If you are heading to Cape town, then you are going to the most stunning city in the world.


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  3. It's a shame, it will be missed. It's been a useful link to events in the Bush and LBHF generally ever since I first came across it.

    Good luck in South Africa.

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  4. Thank you so much for everything and good luck in SA.

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  5. Well done Chris; you did a great job over the years with this blog. I wish you and the family every success in SA

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  6. Many thanks for writing this blog. I will miss it very much. Have a great time in South Africa.

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  7. I really liked reading your view, as a new resident of Shepherds Bush.
    All the best in South Africa. Sounds like a good plan.
    And thank you for your blog.

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  8. Thank you very much for all the information you have provided. I have been particularly impressed with your accurate coverage of the West Kensington Estate residents and Capco's Earl's Court project. Your support might bear fruit on the issue of the shameful low level of affordable housing provision; the Information Commissioner has decided against RBKC, where the provision was only going to be 3%, http://www.ico.org.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2013/fer_0491596.ashx Let's hope the greedy scheme now unravels. I'm sorry you are leaving here; you deserve good luck where you go.

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  9. Thanks for your blog - it will be missed! From one Bush to another.. good luck in SA.

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  10. A very warm and sincere thank you for all the hard work you have done on our behalf. You are an inspiration we will be sad to see you go, but I wish you every success on your new adventure in South Africa. Take care my friend and do not forget us:-)

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