Damian White and Viddy Persaud’s ‘Rent-A-Cop’ scheme

Let’s imagine1 Damian and Viddy are hard-nosed ruthless negotiators who know the Metropolitan Police are cash-strapped after Conservative Austerity cuts. An offer is made which is turned down. Damian and Viddy say, “Yes, we want more Metropolitan police in Havering but on our terms.” Our terms are: five police officers for three years. A total of 5475 days. And we’ll pay £900,000.2

Let’s imagine Damian and Viddy aren’t hard-nosed ruthless negotiators and capitulate to smooth talking police salesmen.3 What do the Metropolitan police offer? A maximum of 3285 days, because – there’s an annual minimum of 10 days per officer (150 over three years) of, High Demand Days4. Police sick leave averages 5-7 days annually plus 25 days holiday, plus an unknown number of court appearances, training days, compassionate leave and they work a five day week. £900,000 is the teaser rate to get Damian and Viddy hooked not the final bill. (addendum one)

The police sales team made an offer Damian and Viddy couldn’t refuse:

If the Met PartnershipPlus was not supported the ability to secure additional Police resource for activity locally would be subject to East BCU priorities.5

Or: Pay up or we’ll do what we did with police stations. This really is hard-nosed negotiating.

This cabinet decision will be reviewed by the Crime and Disorder Committee. They won’t want to look ‘soft’ on crime, so Commissioner Dick will get her deficit reduced. Well done Damian and Viddy the citizens of Havering are paying twice for the same service. (addendum two)

Addendum one: The £900,000 opening gambit

Provision for police overtime can be made within the agreement; this will be required particularly where there is an expectation for the officers to work on bank holidays. Additional resources to support the officers, such as vehicles, may be funded by the London Borough. These arrangements may either be included as part of the scheme Agreement or formalised within a separate agreement, subject to consideration of the requirement, funding available and the term of the funding.6 (my emphasis)

Addendum two: Havering’s police precept

To keep Londoners safe, the Mayor has decided to raise the police element of his council tax precept by £12 for a typical Band D property. This will help to keep officer numbers as high as possible within the resources the Mayor has at his disposal.7

Basically their figures were wrong in the first place as government cuts were bigger than expected.

1 “It isn’t hard to do.” John Lennon Imagine

2 Damian also agreed £250,000 on up-grading the CCTV system. The Home Office have cast doubts on CCTV’s effectiveness.

3 Officers purchased under the PartnershipPlus Scheme will be additional to the BCU Establishment. (my emphasis)

http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/g6171/Public%20reports%20pack%2008th-May-2019%2019.30%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10 p359

4 loc.cit

5 ibid p360

6 ibid p361

7 https://www.havering.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/1856/gla_budget_full_version_2018-19pdf.pdf

Cranham By-election 9th May 2019

Cranham is an ultra safe Residents Association (RA) seat and following the tragic death of Clarence Barrett a by-election was called. Former councillor Linda van den Hende was the RA candidate and she triumphed. With 2421 votes she was 2109 votes more than the second placed Green candidate. Turn-out was a respectable 35.7%.

This appears entirely uninteresting. However if the Cranham RAs were a vibrant campaigning group there’d be no problem getting a candidate. Indeed eager candidates from the RA membership should have been looking forward to representing Cranham. This wasn’t the case. Linda retired from the council in 2018 after 12 years. She’d rounded off her ‘final’ year by being mayor and so that was that. So what could have happened to Cranham RAs that brought Linda out of retirement?

The RAs have become a clique. The RAs in Cranham, Upminster, Harold Wood, and Rainham are the Establishment. Three Harold Wood councillors decided to vote with the Conservatives. Why? Michael Deon Burton committed political suicide by becoming Conservative immediately after the 2018 election. All four are elderly and have no idea why they’re RAs apart from the joy of being a councillor.

The problem with cliques is that without new blood they wither and die. Linda’s triumph should be a warning to the RAs. Nothing is for ever in politics. Don’t forget the remote second place candidate was a member of the Green Party.

Keith Prince and Havering’s ‘Living in Havering’ magazine, April 2019

Keith Prince is Havering’s1 Conservative GLA member and was awarded a full page in Havering Council’s taxpayer funded Living in Havering magazine, April 2019.2 As he wrote this himself he must believe it puts him in a good light, in which case he’s made a tragic error of judgement. It shows him to be an appallingly ineffective representative for Havering.

Keith’s article begins by quoting himself. “On a daily basis, I fight for the transport upgrades that we so desperately need in Havering.” This is to get the reader in the mood for his dynamism. Even allowing for the hyperbole of a politician on the make, this is ludicrous. Keith was chair of the GLA’s Transport committee in the year 2017- 8. He was a ‘mover and shaker’ but nothing moved or shook, at least not so far as Havering was concerned. Perhaps Redbridge benefited?

Keith, rightly, identifies two major problems in Havering. The ‘perennial’ Gallows Corner fly-over and Ardleigh Green Bridge roadworks. Keith claims to have been ‘banging the drum’ over Gallows Corner. Well I went through the papers for his year as chair and found nothing.3 Perhaps I missed something- “a drum being banged” “…TfL’s feet being held to the fire”- for example.

Keith has moved out of the shadows with this article. In broad daylight he looks ineffective. Now he has a motive for improving his performance. He’s got exactly a year before the next election, which in a post-Brexit atmosphere might be bracing.

1 Strictly speaking he is Havering and Redbridge’s GLA member. So perhaps he’s putting in more time on their problems to Havering’s detriment

2 https://issuu.com/haveringcouncil/docs/5617_living_185_issuu_ p18 This full page ‘advert’ would normally cost £1400.

3 All I could find was an exchange between Mayor Johnson and Roger Evans, Havering’s previous GLA member, on the 22nd October 2014, where Johnson promised to come to Havering to look for himself. Evans grovelled to Johnson in an entertaining way.

The sale of ‘Hall Lane Pitch and Putt’: Conservative Revenge?

Declaring the ‘Hall Lane Pitch and Putt’ redundant is political revenge by Romford Conservatives. For them everything is political and they hate the Upminster Residents Association (RA) for consistently denying them a majority in Council. Conservatives are in endless minority administrations because of RAs. When challenged, they piously pointed at Havering’s housing plan,1 as a justification for the sale.

RA councillors made fifteen objections to the sale. These reflect the concerns of their constituents.2 House prices weren’t included amongst those objections. However house prices are the life and soul of people living in Upminster. They pretend ‘Pitch and Putt’ is important but no-one’s fooled.3

People who’ve spent a million plus on their homes don’t care about London’s housing crisis. They comfort themselves with the thought that the crisis is an inner-city problem. It isn’t. Many ‘children’ in Havering earn substantial salaries but can’t live near their families. Thirty year old ‘children’ living in the family home is well known.

The re-designation of Hall Lane Pitch and Putt site reflects political muscle. Romford Conservatives actively dislike Upminster RAs. By re-designating this iconic site as development land and forcing it through the democratic process, they’ve illustrated their control of Havering. Inadvertently though, the decision also goes some way towards meeting Havering’s housing needs.

1 The council’s position is here:-

https://havering-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/pp/lp/lp?pointId=4645265#document-4645265

2 http://democracy.havering.gov.uk/documents/g6182/Public%20reports%20pack%2002nd-Apr-2019%2019.30%20Overview%20Scrutiny%20Board.pdf?T=10 see especially pp232-3

3 Hall Lane, The Fairway and Holden Way all have houses in 2018-9 that have been sold at £1 million plus.

Living in Havering: Councillor Damian White’s Personality Cult?

Living in Havering magazine is remarkable.1 Damian is featured in an astonishing seven photographs on page three. Iffy leaders of third world countries routinely do this to establish their personality cults but that can’t be the case in Havering. Or can it? Is this publicity onslaught right and proper in a taxpayer funded Council magazine? Colchester’s Centurion magazine on the other hand sets a benchmark to which Living in Havering should aspire. There are no photographs of their Leader or any cabinet member.2

In Damian’s Living in Havering magazine, we read that council spending on roads and pavements will be £40 million over four years.3 Twenty-two projects are specified. Damian’s ward, Squirrels Heath, garnered 27% of the projects, about £11 million if everything is pro rata. The allocation could have been a surprise for Damian. Maybe it was a fluke. A fluke like the one where all the road repair money is to be spent in Romford constituency.

That Living in Havering is a taxpayer funded Conservative magazine seems fairly clear cut. This is a surprise as Damian leads a minority administration.

1 April 2019 edition. The front cover of Living in Havering has Osman Dervish and Robert Benham alongside Damian. https://www.havering.gov.uk/info/20050/council_publications/155/living_in_havering_magazine

Two other council magazines are included in this site and neither are devoted to the stellar qualities of their Leader or cabinet members

2 https://cbccrmdata.blob.core.windows.net/noteattachment/Centurion%20March%202019.pdf

3 Living in Havering April 2019 edition p15

Brexit means Brexit: Conservatives Triumph Again!

Damian and Roger will be canvassing in the next six weeks. Don’t worry. They’re harmless. You’ll know them by their blue rosettes with ‘Vote Europe’ across the middle. They’re canvassing for Conservative MEP candidates for the Euro elections.

Smiling and saying, ‘Good morning’ is fatal. They’re programmed like a washing machine. Once they start they’re very hard to stop. Roger will tell you the only way to Brexit is voting Conservative. Don’t mention 29th March, 12th April, 23rd May, 30th June or Halloween Night. It agitates him.

Damian will tell you Brexit will stop us being slaves and the NHS will get £350m a week as a bonus. He’s working hard at understanding this, so cut him some slack.

Damian believes seamless international trade is worse than customs checks and tariffs. Don’t argue. Shout through to the empty room behind you, ‘Is dinner ready yet?’ It always worked with Jehovah Witnesses in the old days, so why not now?

Meanwhile the Conservative Party is gearing up to greet Prime Minister Theresa May at their Party Conference in Manchester on 29th September. She’ll revive her catch phrase, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ getting rapturous applause from Damian and Roger.

Late News: David Cameron’s autobiography Theresa May: my part in her downfall will be on sale at Conference from 29th September and at all good charity shops from 5th October.

Winston Churchill’s Wartime Politics: Lessons to be Learned

Churchill detested the Labour Party and their trade union allies but knew Britain needed a government of national unity in 1940. The Labour leader Clement Attlee became his deputy. Attlee brought trade union leaders with him as part of the bargain. Churchill directed the war effort and Attlee the Home Front. This continued until May 1945.

Churchill made many unpalatable decisions during the war. Entering coalition was one of them. He worked with Attlee for five years. An indication of just how hateful he found this came immediately after the war. His infamous ‘Gestapo’ speech showed him at his rhetorical worst.1 Campaigning in the post-war election, Churchill said voting for Labour was a vote for Gestapo style politics. Churchill said this about the men he’d successfully worked with throughout the war years.

churchill-at-omdurman

Churchill aged 23 prior to the battle of Omdurman, 1898

Churchill was a Victorian imperialist. In 1898 he took part in a cavalry charge at Omdurman, in the Sudan. He had Eisenhower imposed on him as Commander in Chief in December 1943. British Armed Forces in Europe were henceforward under American command. All principal military decisions were made by Eisenhower and Roosevelt. Strategy was discussed with Churchill but the ultimate decision was theirs. It was Eisenhower who had the final say over the D Day invasion of France for example. Britain lost military independence permanently from 1943 because Churchill accepted Eisenhower as C-in-C. ‘A price worth paying’, he rightly believed.

The lessons for Julia Lopez and Andrew Rosindell are obvious. Churchill did things he detested in the national interest. Why can’ t they?

1 https://oedeboyz.com/2015/07/10/winston-churchills-gestapo-speech-4th-june-1945-2/