Thursday 31 December 2009

11,000 readers in December

This blog had over 11,000 viewers in the past month, another large increase on the month before.

Thanks for coming back and keep the stories coming - as ever, anonymity guaranteed.

Wishing you all the best for the New Year - it's going to be a defining one for the Bush, so I'd like to think the need for a local blog like this will be all the more important. But it will only be as good as the stories you feed in. Enjoy the ride!

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Shepherd's Bush Fair

If you fancy a drab, drizzle bound dullathon then get yerself down to the Green for a last chance to experience the Shepherd's Bush Fair, which has graced our Green since Boxing Day and runs till the 6th Jan 2010.

I've walked past it a few times this year and I have to say it looks dire. I can only hope that the Council does a lot better than last year at cleaning up afterwards. But I doubt it.

At least these little people are happy.

Hammersmith soldier raises cash for comrades

Hammersmith man Capt Ed Poynter, of the 2nd Battalion The Rifles, recently completed a six-month tour of Helmand province, where 40 comrades were killed or wounded and has come back on a dual mission - to raise much needed cash to support those who have come back from that place with horrendous injuries, and secondly to re-train as a school teacher.

I can only hope that one of our local schools benefit from this man's experience - in particular some of the schools that have kids who think they're big to join a local gang.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

2010: Year of change for the Bush

The coming year will change the look and future of the Bush for generations to come. A bold claim, but true nonetheless. We have the prospect of the Green itself being ripped up and redeveloped beyond all recognition, more transport changes and an election which probably won't alter control of the Council - but it will decide who the next MP is, which will either slow down or speed up the changes they want to make - which will in turn change not only what the Borough looks like, but also in the long term who actually lives here.

What are your predictions for 2010? After this review of 2009 here are some of my thoughts for 2010 in order of when I think they will happen ...

1 - Shepherd's Bush Green is redeveloped, prompting a storm of protest over the trees that the Council has earmarked to be chopped down, in opposition to the Mayor's strategy for protecting London's wooded friends

2 - Andy Slaughter narrowly hangs on to the Hammersmith seat at the General Election, but with a wafer thin majority. In the end I think his local popularity, plus the damage the Council has inflicted on Shaun Bailey's chances, will narrowly - very narrowly - count for just a bit more than the current deep unpopularity of the Government

3 - Conservatives win the local elections and hang on to the Council, reaping the benefits of a very unpopular central Government and voter's responses to promises of tax cuts constantly carried in propaganda-dressed-as-news. Stephen Greenhalgh, currently the Leader, leaves H&F to become a member of the House of Lords advising Prime Minister David Cameron on housing & local government strategy - and our Council loses a lot of it's current high national profile as a result. A more moderate leader promises to listen to local residents a lot more before making major planning decisions.

4 - Unseasonal storms lead to Hammersmith and Bush houses being flooded with sewage again, presenting H&F Council with a face-saving way of conceding defeat in it's campaign against the Thames Tunnel, or what it calls the "Super Sewer Crater"

5 - A young kid is killed on our streets, and several other young kids - most likely members of the local 'Murder Dem Pussies' gang - are found guilty later in the year and sentenced to 20+ years, thus ruining their lives as well as the victim's family. Cue much hang wringing and soul searching, but not much else.

6 - Wormwood Scrubs is designated a London 2012 Olympic Site, with preparations underway to build an archery and shooting facility

7 - Major security incident at Westfield shopping centre takes place prompting a crackdown including bags being searched on entry. This follows an attempted attack in central London which is foiled by the bravery of police and passers-by.

8 - Acton Carnival takes place and is a roaring success, although several people are taken to hospital as a precaution following exposure to the record-breakingly hot sun that has baked W12 for much of the summer.

9 - QPR are beaten in the play off quarter finals for promotion to the Premiership prompting Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone to leave the club in the hands of multi billionaire Lakshmi Mittal. Fans celebrate with an impromptu carnival in Ellerslie Road.

10 - BBC revokes an invitation to Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time after being asked to cover the cost of the security operation

So a brave new world - and one which will change the Bush for at least the next 5 years, if not longer. It will be an exciting ride, and makes this place the best in London to live in by a very long margin indeed. Thanks for reading this year, and do please keep the stories coming in, they make this blog what it is. I'd love to claim credit but some of those that have been picked up later by other media, in some cases days or even weeks after they were featured here, have all been as a result of readers themselves sending them in. Anonymity always guaranteed.

Enjoy the year ahead!

Monday 28 December 2009

David Cameron in the Bush

Tory Leader David Cameron will be hosting one of his 'Cameron Direct' visits with local residents in W12 on the 5th January. Starting at 1900 the venue will be confirmed in the early part of next year but those wishing to attend are asked to email Hammersmith Conservatives at or call 0207 385 1002

It's another illsutration of how keenly fought over our constituency, and therefore our votes, are going to be between now and May. Cameron will be hoping to repair some of the damage our own Conservative council have done to Shaun Bailey's campaign in recent months. I'm not sure whether having Gordon Brown here would really count as being a help to Andy Slaughter, but Labour will be defending the seat vigourously too. Whatever you do, please vote - the way the Bush looks in future will be directly affected by the result.

Sunday 27 December 2009

2009: A year in the Bush

This bit in between Christmas and New Year is always a bit weird isn't it? That tree starts to look a bit out of place and the big day which we've all been building up to for the best part of a month is over in a flash! But what else has gone before? I started this blog in November 2008, and just for fun I thought I'd ape what the BBC and Sky are trying to outdo each other with at the moment with a review of the last 12 months, but this time of things from the Bush. So what were the highlights in W12?

  • In January our MP Andy Slaughter resigned from the government over their support for expanding Heathrow, which is set to be a dominant local issue at next year's election and beyond. I also photographed the local rat population on the Green which seemed to be growing thanks to a general lack of upkeep on the part of the Council

  • In February another youth stabbing took place on the Uxbridge Road

  • In March a cyclist was dragged under a lorry at the notoriously dangerous Uxbridge/Askew Road junction, while Shepherd's Bush Police Station mysteriously flew their flag at half mast for a few days prompting speculation about what they were in mourning about. Much more speculation followed the by now infamous trip Conservative councillors took to see a fair of property developers in the South of France resort of Cannes. In hindsight this was a theme we returned to again and again.

  • In April some of our finest local morons stoned some central line tube trains bringing the line to a halt

  • In May we were treated to hot weather and the Japanese Garden Party in Hammersmith Park, complete with Met Office predictions of a 'barbecue summer', prompting me and others to choose a 'staycation' this year

  • In June the Shepherd's Bush Festival took place, but the weather was slightly hit and miss, and local people used this blog to pass information to each other about another stabbing which the local press had failed to pick up on completely. In the end they caught up but this was one example of what the dire gap in our local media reporting on W12 can mean.

  • In July Cllr Anthony Lillis sadly died, while on a lighter note QPR held their first family fun day which was great despite the weather which was now in freefall. Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh launched a fightback against his critics who claimed he was intent on driving poor people out of the Borough with the help of the property developers he had been meeting in Cannes.

  • In August I profiled a local business and some historic local sites in and around W12 with a Historic Bush series of posts which proved quite popular with readers

  • In September the new Shepherd's Bush Library opened its doors in the Westfield Centre and the first of several controversial planning decisions were made. I told you that meeting in Cannes would come back to haunt us.

  • In October the BNP came to town and Katie Piper, the girl attacked with acid by two of the Bush's most disgusting local thugs spoke out about her experiences. She would later give the Channel 4's alternative christmas message this year.

  • In November our Council seemed to go a little crazy with the Leader claiming that his own party couldn't 'run a piss up in a brewery' while conservative candidate for our constituency had a less-than-stellar appearance on the BBC Politics Show on the subject of the Thames Tunnel, or "Super Sewer Crater" as our Council like to dramatically call it

  • And in December 'Mad Dog' Magilton left QPR to join a long list of has-beens while yet another planning decision was controversially made against the express wishes of local residents, and in favour of the property developers.

So that was the year that was! I'll post a set of predictions for 2010 in the coming days, will be interesting this time next year to see how many come true!

Friday 25 December 2009

Christmas Bush

Have a good one all - thanks for reading.


Thursday 24 December 2009

Singing Sewermen!

Looking back on the last 12 months it's fair to say that a recurring theme has been, and there's no better word for it, poo.

That is the problem we face in this Borough both from ageing Victorian sewers that keep flooding, and the fact that since we are right next to the river we get the dubious privilege of having everyone else's poo from North London flowing under us and into the river.

That's when it doesn't flow into our homes as well. Did you know H&F has the highest number of basement flats in London?

The proposed solution is a giant new sewer that will transport all that waste under the river and away to Beckton in east London to be treated. Thames Water, the Mayor of London and the Government are all in favour of the 'Thames Tunnel'.

Our Council however launched a populist campaign against it which many of us, including me, supported. But as Thames Water made clear on this blog and at this meeting, many of the facts that our Council have been reporting are in fact false. And they know it.

And I hope as a result of this blog so do many more residents too. I am on course for nearly 9,000 readers this month!

But as the arguments rumble on, people here keep getting flooded, like these unfortunate souls on the Goldhawk Road recently. All of which is made worse of course over this period by the gallons of congealing fat that gets washed down people's sinks and into the bowels of the city.

So spare a thought for the men who have to go down there to sort it out. Their job, I kid you not, is officially known as "flusher"! And they have this year released a single which I feel sure is going to rocket in the charts. After all, just look at these lyrics...

(verse 1)
This Christmas think of sewermen
Who tremble in dismay
When grease from goose and fatted fowl
Is idly poured away
It clogs the drains of London
And it must be scraped away.

Put your fat in the rubbish in a bin
Throw it all in
Put your fat in the rubbish in a bin

(verse 2)
So when you've had your Christmas meal
Of turkey, wine and pud
Remember our poor sewermen
And treat them as you should.
Don't pour your hot fat down the drain
'cause it will do no good.
(repeat chorus)

Wednesday 23 December 2009

RMT Scrooge goes out with whimper

Communist Bob tried to add to our snow-related transport woe yesterday and spectacularly failed. His EDF Energy power supply workers walked out in a strike over pay. They want more, obviously.

They were joined by workers from the Unite union, who are led by the men that almost crippled British Airways over the christmas period, ruining tens of thousands of families plans that had more to do with internal union power struggles than anything about BA staff. So they use the public *and* their own members as pawns - you have to admire the chutzpah.

Judging by the fact that there were no major delays on the tube yesterday their threat that the strike would have 'serious' consequences has been shown to be all talk and no trousers. And a good thing too. Go and have your fights without using us as pawns Bob, a New Year's Resolution for you?

0845 UPDATE: This post seems to be getting a lot of readers from an internal RMT website called "RMT Junction" - good to know the Dark Side is taking notice..

Tuesday 22 December 2009

QPR Festive Family Fun Day

Loftus Road will be throwing its doors open to young fans and their families today at the inaugural Festive Family Fun Day. After this family day which we went to this summer I hope they've learned a thing or two about how to put a proper show on, but fair dues to them for organising this again.

After recent events this is of course another "reaching out" attempt to some long suffering and frankly bemused local supporters!

Gates are opening at 10am and the day will start with a behind closed doors first team training session

Fun Day highlights also include:

  • Get your autographs and photo taken with players after the training session

  • The chance to quiz the new managerial team

  • Visit santa in the QPR Superstore Grotto

  • plus loads more festive action!

Any changes to the schedule of events due to the weather/snow situation will be announced at 9am on

Monday 21 December 2009

Goldhawk Road: Andy Slaughter to intervene?

Andy Slaughter has offered/threated (delete as applicable depending on whether you're a resident or a Council official) to intervene over this super-contentious planning decision which would transform Goldhawk Road and turn a green conservation area into a dense housing project. He says:

The truth, as always, is that the deal had been done before the committee met.  The site had been auctioned off by the council to its favourite housing association, whose management also advise the Tory Party on housing policy, in total disregard of the wishes or needs of local residents.

If residents so wish I will request a call-in to public inquiry for this site as I have successfully done in the case of Goldhawk Industrial Estate.  It would be unusual for a development of this size to be called in by the Secretary of State, but planning decisions in Hammersmith are so perverse that there must be a chance of success.

I said here that Shaun Bailey, the conservative candidate for this constituency at the next election had taken another knock as a result of this decision, and everything local people from that part of our Borough tell me indicates that this is true - Andy Slaughter MP could well do both them and himself a favour by contributing to having this decision overturned.

Sunday 20 December 2009

H&F Council on attack over "Super Sewer"

H&F Council have gone on the offensive over what they call the "super sewer crater", the Thames Tunnel project proposed by the Government, Thames Water and now supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson to deal with the huge sewage outflows into the Thames River due to our dilapidated centuries-old sewer system. This often results in properties in H&F being flooded with foul water and is therefore an issue that sparks strong local emotions, as in this meeting at the Town Hall recently.

I have to say I thought the last straw for our Council on this campaign might be being overruled by their own conservative Mayor. I even thought that this intervention by Thames Water using this blog might deal the final blow, but no!

Our Council instead have gone very much on the atack with the below letter having been sent to all councillors throughout London who represent a local authority with a Thames River coastline, urging them to join H&F in rejecting the project. It's a very long letter so I won't respond to it point by point here but I wanted to bring the letter to your attention - it was sent today and has been until now private, but you can't send a letter as widely as that without it getting leaked and sure enough a mole has forwarded a copy to me. And I have pleasure in passing on to you what your Council is saying about this project to others. For some reason I just didn't trust propaganda-dressed-as-news to bring you the full lowdown.. the text of the letter is as follows, make your own minds up:

London Borough of Hammersmith & Fuiham ~_,tIiW

Councillor Paul Bristow
Cabinet Member for Resident Services
Hammersmith Town Hall, King Street, London W6 9JU

Tel:• [censored - by me!] 

Web: putting residents first



Dear Councillor,


I write to seek your support for our campaign opposing Thames Water’s proposais for
the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. It is our view that the Government
should be considering options for making the Thames cleaner but we do not believe
that a convincing case has been made for this particular scheme. Nor do we believe
that alternative options have been properly considered.

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is the Government’s response to meeting the
requirements of the EU’s Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. Hammersmith
and Fulham Council believe this to be a seriously flawed and short-sighted option
that needs review.

Our objections to the tunnel proposal are that:

• The scheme will generate unacceptable disruption during construction and
the major access points could seriously impose on several of London’s
riparian parks and open spaces;
• The scheme is about water quality improvements to avoid EU fines and does
not address the major residents’ concerns about sewer flooding in homes;
• The scheme will be very expensive and does not represent value for money
for water charge payers it will put many into ‘water poverty’;

• The environmental benefits of the scheme will be outweighed by the carbon
footprint that the construction and ongoing maintenance of the tunnel will
in the future we shall need flexible and adaptable approaches to drainage and water
storage that can be developed incrementally to respond to climate change as our
knowledge and understanding of the impacts develop. The tunnel is not an
adaptable nor flexible solution but rather locks us in to a single drainage solution for
the next century and beyond. A more sensible, long-term, incremental approach
should be through a strategy which deals with the long term segregation of surface
water drainage from foul sewage at critjcal sewers, in tandem with other partial
solutions which encourage the avoidance of surface water entering into the sewerage
system and the treatment of the Thames to improve water quality.

The super sewer will not even prevent all raw sewage entering the Thames as it is
not going to connect to all of the combined sewer overflows (CSOs). It will reduce
the discharge volumes, of course, but as the costs escalate, and given the
complexity of some of the outfalls, it is likely that fewer connections will be made
rendering the entire project less viable.

As well as an access shaft for the main tunnel, which will require a 30 metre diameter
hole to be excavated, the construction of the tunnel will also require a number of 10
metre wide shafts to be opened at the sites of combined sewer overflows. This
construction will seriously obstruct the route of the Thames Path for eight years.

Economic costs
The estimated £2.2billion cost of this construction, which will almost inevitably
escalate over the eight years it will take to complete, is not conducive to the
economic well-being of London or Londoners. The only economic benefits of the
tunnel will be the possible avoidance of EU fines that the Government may incur if it
fails to meet targets set by an EU Directive. The Consumer Council of Water is most
concerned that the cost of the construction will be borne by Thames Water
customers and is objecting to any scheme that exceeds customers’ willingness to
pay — which their evidence suggests this certainly does.

Social costs
The social costs of the scheme will be felt most acutely at a local level and these will
be severe and long lasting. Those affected by the works would be locked into the
nightmare of living by a major construction site for eight years. It is most unlikely that
many people would be able to sell up and leave as property prices in the affected
areas would undoubtedly be affected. A total of 11 riparian boroughs along the
planned route of the tunnel will suffer these social costs.

Environmental costs
The key benefit of the scheme is supposedly an environmental one it will reduce

the incidence of flood waters causing sewage overflow into the Thames. The
Thames, however, is acknowledged to now be one of the cleanest metropolitan rivers
in the world. The clean up over the last twenty years has seen the return of a wealth
of river life, including 120 species of fish. While no one wishes to see any raw
sewage at all in the Thames, this benefit needs to be considered against the much
greater environmental impact i.e. a huge carbon footprint that the construction of

the tunnel would produce. The energy use and the carbon emissions that will be
produced over eight years in the construction of this enormous tunnel will be far more
detrimental to the long term environmental well-being of the planet than the
occasional overflow of raw sewage into the Thames.

fully accept the need to look for solutions to the problem of flood waters taking
sewage into the Thames, but this plan is most certainly not a sustainable solution.
A more sensible long term approach has to be the segregation of surface water
drainage from foul sewage. I am aware that Thames Water has rejected this option,
on the grounds of cost, but there is more than one way to tackle this problem.

The segregation of surface water drainage can have long term economic, social and
environmental benefits by providing much needed reserve water supplies for the
Capital. The development of the Thames Gateway is expected to increase water
demands in the region by 8%. If this additional demand is not planned for then we
will see increasing water shortages in London.

It is my view, and that of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, that all London
authorities should oppose this project on the basis of its negative impact on the
economic, social and environmental well-being of the local area. I hope you will
agree with this position and lend your support to our opposition to this scheme.

I am particularly alarmed by the recent letter from DEFRA to London Borough Chief
Executives proposing to bypass London councils’ planning committees by referring
the scheme to the Infrastructure Planning Commission. This proposal must be
challenged. If Londoners are expected to pay for the scheme then the planning
decisions should be made by London authorities.

If you wish to discuss our campaign against the tunnel or lend it your support please
do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Paul Bristow
Cabinet Member for Resident Services

Friday 18 December 2009

Privatise the Post Office!

Latest experience of the unfailingly crap sorting office on Ariel Way, W12. Two packages, christmas presents both, which were not delivered despite someone being inside my house on both occasions are still nowhere to be found.

I get to the sorting office and think myself lucky for finding a parking space, for which I pay the princely sum of 90p to avoid the vulture like traffic wardens that prowl Ariel Way just because they know people will leave their cars for the sorting office.

I get into the sorting office and endure the loud 1970s rock music that some prat behind the counter always insists on playing in that place. I peruse the trade union stickers that are plastered all over the place with slogans about how we should "keep the post public" at all costs.

Then I get told that possibly one of my packages won't be there because it hasn't been 48 hours. "But I only live over there"! "It 'aint the office" comes the reply, which apparently is in North London. Oh, that office.

Then he comes back with a smirk to tell me that in fact neither of them are there, including the one that has been waiting for me for at least 4 days. So "what happenned to that one then"? "Dunno mate - its chris'muss innit". He then snorts loudly and looks past me.

Yes, it's Christmas. So what? Can someone please remind me why it would be so bad to privatise these jokers tomorrow?

Thursday 17 December 2009

Acid attack: Katie Piper to give C4 alternative Christmas message

Katie Piper, who was raped and then horrendously disfigured by an acid attack carried out by two of the Bush's most disgusting local criminals, will be giving this year's alternative christmas message on Channel4.

One of the most-read pieces on this blog, with 3,864 readers, has been this article which I wrote in May when Daniel Lynch, from Becklow Gardens W12, was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in prison.

At the time I called the Judge, "His Honour" Mr Nicholas Browne QC, a 'moron' for only having sentenced Stefan Sylvestre, who actually flung the cup of acid in Katies' face, 6 years. I still think he is a moron for that utterly pathetic sentence.

But in that article I also described Katie as having been "destroyed" by the two men. At the time she was being fed through a tube and living inside a plastic bag because the acid had eaten away so much of her face and the lining of her throat.

Now I think I was wrong. That woman has shown more courage, determination and strength of charecter than any of us will probably be called on to do. She was changed forever, but she was most definately not destroyed. And I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say on Christmas Day to prove it.

Planning Bush: 282 Goldhawk Road developers move in

...and lo it came to pass. Shaun Bailey's campaign to become the next Conservative MP for Hammersmith took another almighty blow last night courtesy of H&F Council's infamous Planning Committee

Despite a petition of 300, and local residents opposed to the development attending the planning meeting in force (no mean feat on the first day of snow) the Committee acted true to form and approved the developer's plans.

Bulldozers will be in action soon, learning from this experience of having the decision called in by central government, the Council will want to make sure they get their rewards this time. That, presumably, was the lesson Stephen Greenhlagh was talking about at this Borough Summit when he said he regretted how the Goldhawk Block decision had been handled.

The relevance of this to the whole of Shepherd's Bush is that many of us live in conservation areas, yet our Council is illustrating what it thinks when presented with a choice between maintaining a conservation area, which is the reason why many people moved here, and the profits offered by developers. Even when it is manifestly opposed by the vast majority of existing residents. And that is a concern to us all.

Will Shaun Bailey be attacking this decision by the Council as he did here? We shall see. Andy Slaughter MP has yet to comment.

"Mad dog" Magilton leaves QPR

After this incident no surprises that Jim Magilton has left Loftus Road, it was obvious from the point at which he started locking players out of the changing rooms that he had to go.

And go he's gone.

Along with any realistic prospect of promotion you would have to say unless the strange twins start getting serious about the club.

0900 UPDATE: Paul Hart is to be revealed as the next Manager of the club later today. You may recall he left struggling Portsmouth earlier this year and has decided to join QPR instead of taking charge of Tottenham Hotspur's youth side. So another stellar signing by the strange twins, then.

Andy Slaughter: the movie

Andy Slaughter, our MP, has released this video.

What did you think? I don't think it will set the world on fire really, although many of the points he makes are valid and in fairness it's aimed at trade union members first, rather than the general public. But it does appear on his website for all to see and compared to this effort from Shaun Bailey, which clearly benefitted from a very expensive film crew with lots of editing back up, I think Andy needs something more in the video locker for next year's election.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

BNP on the Bush: To condemn or to condone?

At today's session of Mayor's Question Time in City Hall Richard Barnbrook, the British National Party’s member of the Assembly, eventually got to ask his question about these events in Shepherd's Bush and White City which surrounded the appearance of Nick Griffin his party leader on the Question Time programme. In the event, and as the Mayor remarked in response, his question illustrated that the best way by far to deal with fascists is to allow the public to hear from them in all their magnificence and to make their own minds up.

For Mr Barnbrook, it soon became clear, does not understand the difference between the words “condemn” and “condone”. Thinking that one meant the other he repeatedly demanded that the Mayor condone the violence that took place and got angrier and angrier as the Mayor with a smile repeatedly refused to condone violence but condemn it.

Like a maddened bull in an unforgiving Spanish arena Mr Barnbrook became notably irritated by the laughter from the public gallery at his inability to master the language his party claim to defend from those nasty foreign immigrants. Eventually Mr Barnbrook realised his error but by that time he’d run out of time and the fun was over. I told you he was thick.

We were also treated earlier in the session however, from this clearly nervous and twitching fascist, to a rendition which began with “twitter, twitter, twitter ..” which was a reference to this incident, followed by an angry demand for Darren Johnson’s resignation as Chair of the Assembly. It was notable that other members from all parties cried “rubbish” and events moved swiftly on.

Having never watched Mayor's Question Time in person before the big story for me however, aside from the illiterate ramblings of Mr Barnbrook, was the extent to which most of us have no idea about how our daily lives and areas are actually shaped by what goes on in that beautiful building by the river. There were numerous other exchanges of interest to those of us that live in W12, including about numbers of police, jubilee line upgrades and the future of the Piccadilly line. Most of it was fairly bog standard yah-boo politics but flung around in the exchanges were scarily large figures in the millions of pounds and major policy decisions that will shape the Bush.

Mike Tuffrey, Liberal Democrat, revealed that the cost of Boris far outweighed the cost of Ken, by some millions of pounds in terms of how much money was now being taken from fare payers and spent on staff at City Hall. While Boris denied this with his customary bluster, he was forced to admit that having attacked Ken for employing 15 PR people, Boris’ official figure for the same thing was a bizarre 14.8 people!

John Biggs, Labour, accused the Mayor of setting a budget for London that would lead to cuts in police numbers across the Capital. He argued that the Mayor’s budget had only managed to retain current police numbers by rising transport fares. He said that the recently announced freeze on future fare increases would therefore mean numbers would go down.

Boris was also asked by Len Duvall, Labour, about the process of recruitment for the post of Chair of the London Arts Council which has been covered extensively here. Boris of course tried to hire his former cheerleader during the election the then Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley which was blocked by the Secretary of State for Culture and Media. Boris said that that block illustrated that the government was playing politics with London’s arts while other members pursued a line of questioning that suggested Boris was using tax payer’s money to appoint stooges.

There were also exchanges that seemed to reveal that Boris wants to scrap the Metropolitan Police Authority, and himself assume Chairmanship of that body. The Mayor denied that he had, in his words, “an oven ready policy”, but it was clear what he wanted to do.

As I walked home in the snow on the south bank I reflected that here we have a London Assembly which makes huge decisions about our city, including the Bush, and we all know next to nothing about it! Far from wanting to defend Boris spending huge amounts of our money employing people to spin for him, the only way that institution is going to be well understood by any of us is if they adequately manage to communicate what they do! Must do better, London Assembly. They could pay for English language lessons for the BNP for a start.


Planning Bush:282 Goldhawk Road

** for the decision of the planning committee click here**

The infamous Planning Committee of H&F Council is meeting tonight, and on their agenda is this little contentious item. 282 Goldhawk Road is at the moment a leafy green conservation area, and the locals want to keep it that way. The Council's friendly  developers however, see pound signs and want to build a high density local housing block there instead.

Locals have organised a 300+ petition against the scheme and will be there in force this evening. And unlike the residents who eventually overturned the Council on this ruling by getting the decision called in by the Secretary of State this lot are getting political. Someone closely connected to the campaign wrote to me recently to warn Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey stood to lose an awful lot of votes from the good residents of Goldhawk Road if the Council went ahead and stayed true to form by ignoring residents in favour of developers.

That would be in addition to the votes the Conservatives have doubtless lost over the Goldhawk Block decision and other planning decisions recently.

I understand that Shaun is privately furious with the leadership of the Council for having managed to damage his campaign in these ways, he even issued a statement describing his disappointment with the council over the Goldhawk Block fiasco. I understand one local signatory to the 300+ petition is actually a Conservative MP.

Labour on the other hand have managed to exploit these situations to their own and local residents' advantage, including by sending the letter that put a halt to the Goldhawk Block redevelopment, which was done by Cllr Michael Cartwright. In so doing they have doubtless earned the support of people that the Tories have lost as a result of these decisions, and this is likely to be translated into support for Andy Slaughter, our current Labour MP.

Our constituency is on a knife edge and every vote will genuinely count at the next election - will the Council put the boot in again to Shaun's campaign by approving the planning application this evening?

Tuesday 15 December 2009

BBC caves in to lawyers

So our ratings-chasing neighbours are quite happy to subject the residents of the Bush to the BNP, but when faced with a stiff lawyers' letter they cave in like a pack of cards. What are the lives of local residents compared to Carter-Ruck the lawyers after all.

Here is a film about the firm Trafigura which their lawyers Carter-Ruck demanded the BBC take down off their website and remove all reference to. The BBC grovellingly obliged and you can now find no reference to even the story on their website.

I wonder if Messrs Carter-Ruck will be sending me, and so many of the other bloggers who have today reproduced this film in the face of the BBC's spinelessness, stiff letters too. Somehow I doubt it. Watch, be informed and form your own opinion.

19 December UPDATE: With thanks to readers who have sent me the text of a statement the BBC made in Open Court regarding this case, which you can find here with commentary from the Liberal Conspiracy blog here.

Monday 14 December 2009

BNP raise events in S Bush at Mayor's Question Time

You will all remember the events which surrounded the BBC's decision to invite Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, onto the Question Time programme a few weeks ago. As predicted there was unrest outside the building and the BBC itself was briefly stormed by protestors, with the Police having to draft extra forces in to secure both the building and the area in which protestors were gathered.

Now the BNP's Richard Barnbrook, who is a member of the GLA, is going to be asking Mayor Boris Johnson a question about the whole episode on wednesday at Mayor's Question Time, which will then be briefly debated. There are widespread rumours that Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP will attend, presumably along with other thick set bomber jacketed swastika enthusiasts, as they try to turn the whole episode into a media circus. City Hall have already started to organise extra security measures to deal with the likely consequences, which are about as inevitable as what happened in our own backyard.

Given the focus on the Bush I will be going to this session of Mayor's Question Time on wednesday and reporting back on what the fascists have to say about what they got up to in our area, courtesy of our ratings chasing neighbours, the BBC.

Richard Barnbrooks Question is as follows:

Disorder At Television Centre

Question No: 4001 / 2009

Richard Barnbrook

The answer to Mayor’s question 3342 / 2009 was wholly unsatisfactory. You say you believe in free speech but this was violent disorder. You failed to condemn such violence commenting that it was “counter productive to the unpleasant views of Nick Griffin”. Will you here and now as Mayor of London and Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority condemn in the strongest terms possible the violence and disorder outside television centre perpetrated by Unite Against Fascism in which 3 Metropolitan Police officers were injured?

It's worth saying at the outset however that this could all turn into a damp squib. Richard Barnbrook is famous for being both quite slow witted and pretty useless at his job. He frequently talks for so long he runs out of time and generally shouts a lot without saying much. If he does that then there obviously won't be much to report but if he gets his act together the Mayor will have to answer and there will then be a short mini debate as Barnbrook will have right of reply. Time will tell.

H&F Council: Christmas is cancelled

Some of you may have seen this report on BBC London about the councils across London who have decided to close their public services on boxing day -  Saturday 26th December (on the grounds that its a public holiday) but have also decided to impose standard-day parking fines on the same day that are normally not in place on boxing day, because this year it falls on saturday and is not therefore officially a bank holiday. 

Result? Thousands of pounds of christmas money leaving the pockets of unsuspecting people and entering the coffers of our Council. Cynical, manipulative .. and very very lucrative.

By contrast if you park your car down the road in Chiswick, you'll be fine. Because Hounslow council, like most others, isn't treating its' residents in such a grubby pick-pocket-like way.

Contact the man responsible for doing this to you, Cllr Greenhlagh, Leader of H&F Council at to give him a piece of your Christmas Spirit

Sunday 13 December 2009

Review: Adam's Cafe Askew Road

Excellent local blog Tamarind and Thyme has posted this review of what looks like a cafe well worth visiting on the Askew Road. I'll let their review, which helpfully has pics of the dishes themselves, do the talking, but this blog looks like well worth adding to your favourites if you're into food.

The Cafe itself sounds like one of those local gems that sadly for them very few people know about but those that do keep coming back for more. A local couple, one of whom is Moroccan hence the food style, who have been plugging away for 15 years. To my shame I have never been there but I plan on rectifying that very soon.

I suggest you do too.

Bombs in Wood Lane

Eeek - a remnant of a gift left to the Bush by the Third Reich, a collection of live mortar bombs, was discovered this week and thankfully disposed of in a controlled explosion on the Scrubs. 

This is the second story I have taken this week by the excellent Dan Hodges who writes for the Ealing Gazette. Despite all of that paper's problems at the moment Dan is a great local journalist and we are lucky he has survived all the cuts - and the impact of propaganda-dressed-as-news which, by hoovering up advertising revenues, has decimated the local media sector.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Happy Chanukah

Demolition Bush: Sawley Road up in smoke

Demolition crews are busy as I type knocking the former Sawley Road Primary Care Trust buildings down to nothing, and burning much of the debris with a large fire. It's a sad end to a site that used to serve our area well, I remember health visitors coming to see us from there to do post natal check ups.

The site was the subject of local controversy when the NHS announced they were closing the service down in favour of a polyclinic - a catch-all walk in centre. The controversy died down after a while and the buildings were derelict for a long time. I don't know what will be built on the site but I hope its of much use to the local community as the old one was. And as we saw this summer, the local yoof certainly need all the help they can get.

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Rapist jailed for 1999 attack

A rapist who managed to get away with his attack for nearly a decade has been sent to prison after being tracked by DNA after being arrested for something different. Pole Kazimierz Sadowski, 32, from Barking, east London, attacked the Shepherd's Bush woman after offering her a lift home with another man from central London. Among other things this degenerate threatened to "break your neck" when the woman tried to escape,  eventually dumping her in the Bush.

This is obviously one of the worst nightmares of any woman, but it comes hard on the heels of yesterday's story about Darren Johnson, the current Chair of the Greater London Authority and Leader of the Green Party in London. After this party he decided to get an illegal cab home, and even boasted about it on his Twitter account. The prat.

Although Kazimierz Sadowski wasn't driving a minicab the principle is the same. And after being out myself last night and looking at the state of some of the women falling out of bars in no position to really look after themselves, please, please, please use this service over the break and don't take the risk. Put the number in your mobile now so you don't have to think about it later.

Christmas Bush

Having missed last year's December almost completely I am probably enjoying the kitsch far more than any of you. But one thing that does disappoint me is this effort at our tree. I mean, is that the best we can do?! I simply contrast it with the one I walked past last night next to St Paul's. I think the images do all the talking. Have a good week-end!

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Friday 11 December 2009

GLA dancing to London's tune

Heart warming scenes from last night's GLA Christmas celebrations, the Mayor and leader of the Green Party Darren Johnson bravely put party differences aside and danced on all our behalves last night - well done them.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Shaun Bailey: The Movie

Our Conservative Party candidate for the Hammersmith (which includes the Bush) seat has made this video about our local area and his views. Watch and enjoy...if you've got a spare 8 minutes!

What did you think? I thought his focus on housing was very interesting given the controversies that have been around recently due to planning decisions, none of which will have helped Shaun's cause very much. But he deserves credit for making this video, I can see from the stats that over 100 of you have watched it already. So a very effective piece of local communication. Andy Slaughter has relaunched his website recently which you can see here, and very good it is too, but for numbers of people reached this has to be far more effective. I notice Shaun has obviously sat on this video for a long time though - judging by the weather and clothes people wear in the video it was obviously filmed in summer!

Prisoner found dead at Wormwood Scrubs

I've posted before about our hidden neighbours in W12, and the total lack of contact we have with them. This report in the Ealing Gazette which appeared on friday carries the tragic and very sad news of a prisoner who was driven to suicide behind those walls. Daniel Heath, 32, hanged himself in July last year just 10 days after having been sentenced, an inquiry into his death has been told.

From the report in the Gazette he sounds like a career petty criminal who demonstrated what to my unqualified mind looks like very obvious signs of mental distress. But the prison system is full of people with mental health problems and yet empty of staff properly equipped to deal with that. So people like Daniel, who described hiding from mirrors to protect himself, continue to go undiagnosed, unhelped and end up taking their own lives.

All next door to us. If you can, think about joining this scheme.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

QPR suspend 'headbutt' Magilton

Queen's Park Rangers have suspended manager Jim Magilton after this frankly bizarre episode where he locked one of his best players out of the changing rooms. Akos Buszaky eventually had to go and hide in a public toilet, in the cold of Watford still in his kit! Londonist is reporting that a furious Magilton headbutted Buszaky, and that the player is now considering legal action as a result.

Magilton's reign it would appear is over, and he would of course be one in a long line of has-been QPR managers since Hitler fan Bernie Ecclestone and Fabio Briatore took over. Judging by some of the results they have been enduring recently I would imagine this latest incident was just the excuse the two strange men at the top were looking for. Another long season in the Championship beckons for 2010-11...

West London Free School

On tuesday evening BBC Newsnight featured a proposed new school based in Acton which, if it gets off the ground, would start to recruit children from some of W12. The proposed school has caused quite a stir locally, since the establishment of a new school would imply a criticism of existing local schools - especially Acton High Scool -  its fair to say its not gone down particularly well with them. And yet the Board of the new school claim to have 250 local parents already signed up in support.

What is interesting about this school is that the proposed founder of the school - Toby Young - makes statements about how the prospect of "another old Etonian" becoming Prime Minister illustrates the "collapse of social mobility in the last 25 years". He says the mission of this school would be to equip children from within the state sector to "go out there into the world and take on the public schoolboys at their own game". At the moment it appears both the current government and the likely next Conservative government would both support the idea in principle.

Toby Young says that this new school will be run on the same lines as a comprehensive, in the sense that it will not select pupils based on academic ability or the ability to pay. But he also says that the old comprehensive model was good at picking up the less able but pretty bad at supporting the more able - and that's what he wants to change with his new school. He says its based on this school in East Los Angeles, whose pupils come from deprived backgrounds and yet achieve over the odds.

Some local parents and traditionalist supporters of state education as it currently exists however fear that such a new school would be a needless diversion of valuable local resources away from existing schools. They have a point - this school would only be judged as a success or otherwise after a couple of generations had passed through - while the same generations of kids going to existing local schools suffer from resources being diverted away to fund the experiment next door. But then how would we ever know if we don't try new approaches? Ironically Toby Young is the author of a book called How to lose friends and alienate people which judging by some of the comments I have already had about this school seems quite apt.

So - an interesting local experiment in education that could benefit our local kids and be of national importance or a costly diversion and needless meddling?

Unlike most articles on this blog, it is my blog after all, I don't have a clear opinion on this. I'm lucky enough that our own kids go to one of the really good schools in the Borough, and I can genuinely see both sides of the argument. I'm going to try an experiment though and run a poll - do you support the idea of a West London Free School?

[polldaddy poll=2360194]

TfL tries to save Western Extension of C-charge

Transport for London, TfL, has launched an online "consultation" for Londoners who have views on the future of the western extension of the zone. You can see it here. It's clear that TfL don't want the zone to go and they mean to find ways to keep it. Mayor Johnson now also appears to have abandoned his pledge to be rid of it, which has caused no small amount of controversy recently.

Our own Council is adamant that Mayor Johnson should keep his pledge, abandon this "consultation" and all other hoops that TfL want to set up to be jumped through before they will do anything, and get on with it. I'm inclined to agree, on two grounds. First, that if a politician is elected by a popular mandate with a clear pledge, whether you personally agree with it or not, he has a duty to follow it through. That, after all, is democracy. Secondly, it is clear to me that the zone has not lived up to its promise which was made to west London, namely that it would cut traffic. If anything traffic around the edges of the zone where we live is much much worse as people try to skirt the zone.

There are other reasons and you will have your own views, but the real point of this post is to ask the question: now that our Council has fallen out with the Mayor on this and this, and relations between them are so poor, what influence do they really have left with City Hall to lobby for the Bush's interests?

Tuesday 8 December 2009 – customer service?

If you, like me, are doing last minute internet Christmas shopping can I suggest you avoid like the plague.

I have just been trying to place two orders on their website but on two occasions their website went down. On the third occasion it appeared to go through successfully, or at least they took my credit card details, but then straight after the order it went back to their home page with no acknowledgement. Nor did I get an email telling me the order had been placed.

After waiting for no less than 15 minutes on their “helpline” I eventually got through to someone called ‘Margie’ who did not speak English very well at all. She refused to answer the question as to whether any money had actually left my account and kept saying I should “make another order, make another order!”

I will Margie – but not with ever again. Bewarned!

Monday 7 December 2009

Thames Water bites back: have you misled us Cllr Greenhalgh?

I have been talking to a very senior source indeed at Thames Water recently, who is to use the old cliche, "in a position to know" all about the Thames Tunnel project, or 'super sewer crater' as it is dramatically referred to by our Council.

You will recall that this is something our Council have been campaigning against and warning of catastrophic local consequences to the environment and our taxes if it goes ahead. For a very long time now Thames Water has been on the receiving end of an awful lot of vitriol from our Council as the chief villains, but this senior source has clearly decided that enough is enough. Thames Water wants to set a few facts straight to Hammersmith & Fulham residents - direct.

With the lack of any widely read local independent media they have chosen this blog. Somehow I doubt the Council's own freesheet would have carried the story.

What they have told me, to use their words, is that our Council has been misleading local people, which is a pretty serious charge to make.

Some of you may remember our Council's first reaction to the proposed Thames Tunnel, which was to claim that Ravenscourt Park was in imminent danger. This, the source at Thames Water tells me, was ruled out " order to draw attention to the Council's campaign of misinformation."

So in other words a major national utility company was forced into making a public planning announcement in order to counter what it regarded as a deliberate campaign of misinformation from a publicly elected Council. I think that is extraordinary.

My source goes on to tell me, categorically and in no uncertain terms, that the Thames Tunnel will NOT start at Furnival Gardens. He goes on to state the following:

We have already said that the site [Furnival Gardens] is too small for one of the major shaft sites. It is also true that if our current research confirms that the Stamford Brook CSO which
discharges to the river there needs to be intercepted, we will need a small shaft somewhere in the vicinity for 12-18 months. But there are all sorts of possibile shaft sites still being investigated, with the active help of Council officers. As a general point, we are looking at all the 34 CSO sites currently regarded as unsatisfactory, to see if we can make connections further up the network to minimise the number of shafts, or take any other measures to reduce costs and/or disruption. So (a) it is categorically wrong to say that the tunnel will start at Furnival Gardens. It won't. Then (b) if there is to be a shaft on the site, and there may not be, it won't be 'huge', although I accept that size is a matter of opinion. Nor (c) will the park be 'lost'. The worst case is that access to some parts may be restricted for 12-18 months (and I accept that even that would be highly undesirable).

H&F Council, on the other hand, still seem to be insisting that Furnival Gardens is "likely to be an option" for the Tunnel to start and then go on to talk about "three or four football pitches" worth of "craters" being created with a "million tons of dirt" - see here. Scary stuff.

But if what my source at Thames Water is saying is true, and I repeat that they are in a position to know exactly what they are talking about, then all of that is a load of, well, craters. 

In which case how can our Council justify a) the expense that their campaign has cost local residents and b) the widespread concern and uncertainty that such misleading campaigns have created?

Now that the Mayor has effectively overruled the Council it may seem that these questions are in the past, but our Council has been running this campaign at our expense for in excess of 12 months. Even I was concerned about losing Furnival Gardens as a result and asked you to back the Council's campaign, but I now understand from my source that it was never really in danger - and that the Council has been told this from day one. Cllr Greenhalgh, have you misled us?

Sunday 6 December 2009

Excellent parking in W12 thanks to QPR

Coming back from the shops yesterday I realised that I was going to need to try to park in our street on a  match day at QPR. Big mistake. Its usually crammed with cars from both home and away fans and its usually suicide to leave the house on match day if you fancy being able to park anywhere near your front door again.

Imagine my surprise to find, half way through what must have been the second half, bags of spaces. What can be going on, I wondered? Then I heard the score line. 5-1 to Middlesbrough!

Saturday 5 December 2009

Sponsor me, support Cancer Research UK

In the past year I have lost three close friends to cancer, and another close relative is very ill with it at the moment. You will all know someone in a similar position because one in three of us will get cancer at some point in our lives.

A little while ago I used to have some very unhealthy habits in the way I lived my own life but in the past 2 years have changed a lot. When people who havent seen me for a long time see me now their first comment is usually about how much weight I've lost. I now have a different addiciton however, which is sport. Most of the photos I take for this blog are at the crack of dawn or even before now the nights have drawn in as I make my way down to the gym at the W12 Centre.

But I've never done a marathon before. Not even a 10K run officially in fact. But I am in training for the Brighton Marathon in April next year and am currently running about 15-20K a go. A full marathon is 44K, or 26 point something miles. So a way to go, but I have time!

If you would like to sponsor me I would be very grateful, and with apologies in advance you're all going to hear about this again. Possibly even with photos as well, including what I imagine will be some gruesome ones at the end in April!

I've just set up a JustGiving website here, where you can sponsor me tax free. It also means that Cancer Research can claim GiftAid which basically means they get even more than you donate. Thanks for your support - I recognise I'm hardly going to be the only one asking for sponsorship. Whoever you support good on you - and if you yourself are doing something - all power to you!

Shepherd's Bush Market to grow

Excellent news from the Council - our Market is set to expand eastwards to cover a bigger area, and get a refurb in the process. The plans have been hatched by the Council with landowners the Peabody Trust and Broadway Centre.

The Council's press release goes a little bit over the top, claiming that the Market is a one of "..West London's leading cultural icons.." which I doubt, but it's always struck me as being a really under used gem on our doorstep and something that had the capacity to be so much more.

Better still the authorities seem to be in a rush to get this sorted, there is only a 6 week consultation process which in my books is plenty. The meetings will be as follows:
  • Wednesday, December 9, 1pm-4.30pm

  • Thursday, December 10, 4.30pm-8pm

  • Tuesday, December 15, 9.30am-1.30pm

  • Wednesday, December 16, 4.30pm-8pm

  • All taking place at the old Shepherds Bush Library, Uxbridge Road. I will go along to the Dec-16th one and report back, since its my firt day of an elongated Christmas break from work!

    Good weekend everyone.

    Friday 4 December 2009

    Pray the devil back to hell

    I have just spoken at a screening we hosted of this film. It is the story of a group of Liberian women who came together to end one of Africa's longest, most intractable and brutal armed conflicts. We had several of the women on the panel who answered questions from the audience.

    It's at times like this I really appreciate how lucky I am to do the job I do - but also how lucky we all are to live in the Bush. There are worse places to be. Much much worse.

    Thursday 3 December 2009

    Save Shaun Bailey from Thames Water!

    You will by now have read about Shaun Bailey's somewhat less than convincing performance on the Politics Show. I described Thames Water's representative at that encounter as being a "sharp media operator" - but one of you pointed out to me that there was a reason for that.

    As poor Shaun, who in fairness was trying to defend a pretty weak position, struggled .. have a look at who he was up against from his Wikipedia entry. Step forward .. Richard Aylard, or should I say Commander Richard Aylard, Director of Thames Water:

    Commander Richard Aylard, CVO Royal Navy, was Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales 1991-1996.

    He was born in 1952, and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Barnet, the University of Reading, where he graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Applied Zoology with Mathematics, and the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.

    Aylard joined the Supply and Secretariat Branch of the Royal Navy in 1972. He served on HMS Shavington, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Fox 1974—1977, and was promoted to Lieutenant 16 November 1975. From 1977 to 1979 he was on the staff of FOSM, and 1979-1981 was Flag Lieutenant to Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT).

    He was Captain's Secretary on HMS Invincible 1981-1983, when he received the South Atlantic Medal. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander 16 November 1983. In 1984—1985, he was Supply Officer on HMS Brazen, where he also served alongside Prince Andrew. In November 1985 he was appointed Equerry to Diana Princess of Wales, an office he held until 1988. He became a Commander 30 June 1987. From 31 May to 30 September 1988 he was temporary Assistant Private Secretary to the Princess.

    He left the Royal Navy in July 1989, and from May 1989 to 1991, was Assistant Private Secretary and Comptroller to the Prince and Princess of Wales. From May 1991 until his retirement in 1996, he was Private Secretary and Treasurer to the Prince of Wales. He remains an Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales.

    He was made a CVO in 1994. From 1996 to 2002, he was a consultant on environmental issues, and public affairs. Since 2002 he has worked for Thames Water and is currently their Director.

    So in other words they put Shaun in with someone who'se been eating people like him for breakfast for the last 30 years! Shouldn't the Tories be looking after their candidates!?

    Shepherd's Bush Library: spanner in the works

    The new library at Westfield has had rave reviews, and is apparently running out of books it has been so popular. The building is indeed very impressive but I have to qualify the rave reviews bit by saying I read that in the propaganda-dressed-as-news so it might not be quite right.

    I wrote a long time ago about what this might mean for the historic Passmore-Edwards building just north of the Green and one of you wrote back to me about this to point out that this building has to be used as a library under a 'covenant' that remains in force to this day.

    Several more readers, who currently work at the Council, have also pointed out that this is more than a simple problem about a building however. What it means is that part of the Council's plans - to sell the building to developers as we know they like to do - cannot go ahead. Further, what this means is that they have not therefore made the budget savings they were hoping for with the new library - this will probably mean yet more staff cuts. Its hard to see where they could make any more cuts in the library staff they have left after the last round of cuts - so council staff are asking where the axe is going to fall.

    According to propaganda-dressed-as-news the story of the new library is of a brand spanking new service at no cost to taxpayers. The reality however seems to be all of that - but also budget savings not having been made because of a slip up over the old building, staff morale at rock bottom (they were actually all asked to sign new less favourable contracts by the 30th September this year or be dismissed!) and the likelihood of further redundancies.

    And you wonder why I think the lack of an independent local media, to show us the true picture of what our Council is doing instead of a one sided propaganda sheet, is a problem?

    Wednesday 2 December 2009

    Record sewage into Thames from Hammersmith pipes

    Figures released today by the Environment Agency have revealed record amounts of poo being disgorged into the Thames as a result of the rainiest November in years. I can't reproduce the entire table here because its a cumbersome spreadsheet but the key result for us is that a record 12.75 million cubic metres of untreated sewage flowed into the Thames during last month.

    That in volume terms is the equivalent of 3401 Olympic size swimming pools, or 129 Albert Halls.

    That's a lot of poo. And it's perhaps one more reason why the white flag now flies over Hammersmith Town Hall, and the Thames Tunnel - or Super Sewer - is here to stay.

    I think our Conservative Council has played this about as badly as they could have done - ending up with even the Conservative Mayor against their campaign to stop the tunnel is evidence enough of that. Their performance at this meeting was probably in hindsight their last stand, and Shaun Bailey's performance on telly last week-end was probably about as good as he could manage under the circumstances.

    But it's not all their fault. Lest we forget, now that a beautiful park in our borough - Furnival Gardens - is going to be lost as a huge borehole is sunk to start the tunnel, Thames Water could have been building this tunnel in land right next to the park that they owned. But they chose to sell that disused pumping station to property developers to be turned into penthouse falts instead at huge profit. So a clever local politician might now be thinking about getting central government to insist that Thames Water pay for this tunnel themselves, or at least a very large proportion of it. Otherwise we lose our park and get hit in the pocket too.

    Reading the blog

    A housekeeping post this one, really.

    Just to let you know that you can now follow this blog on your mobile, it should work with a web browser thanks to the boffins at Wordpress.

    You can also sign up to the RSS feed which I know a number of you do already, and last but not least I have just added a Twitter account, which is @chris_underwood

    Twitter away my Bush brethren. (or just keep reading in the way you always have done!)

    Recession Bush


    A sad sight on the Askew Road today, another shop that has been there for as long certainly as I have been in the area has been closed due to its owners going into administration. I remember the shop was Threshers before but then changed from red to blue and became WineRack.

    I've seen quite a few of these in W12 in the last few months, and hope those who lost their jobs land on their feet.