Eight elections since 1990 have resulted in No Overall Control. Conservatives have ruled Havering since 2002 but only once as a majority party. On every other occasion they’ve used HRA councillors. The last Administration used Harold Wood’s three councillors for four years. The 2022 election has put the Havering Residents’ Association (HRA) in the driving seat.
Damian White was aware of the challenges of getting a majority in Havering and acted accordingly. He believed Rainham was vulnerable. He put in place a team of local Conservatives and won it. The Rainham result was announced and Damian was vindicated. Unfortunately, he hadn’t thought the unthinkable. Romford wasn’t the citadel he imagined and Conservatives lost three seats. Bang went his plans and the ‘nightmare’ of an HRA – Labour Friendly Understanding became a distinct possibility.
Andrew Rosindell could tell Damian a thing or two. In 1996 Havering had a Rainbow Alliance.2HRA’s Louise Sinclair led an Administration that included Conservatives and Socialists. The Socialists were, by Havering standards, hard left. Andrew was voting with Socialists in a joint Administration. Goodbye political purity! Labour enjoyed watching Del Smith influence them for two years.
Havering has spoken. And what they’ve said is they like Friendly Understandings. If the young Andrew could do it for the greater good then so can anyone.
Dr Luke Evans (Con)“While masks are of course inconvenient, they are a relatively easy way of reducing the risk of not only covid, but other viruses such as flu. Let us not forget that the number of flu admissions places a huge amount of pressure on the NHS, so a reduction in both conditions—as evidenced—makes sense to me.”1 Hansard 14th December 2021
Andrew believes making mask wearing compulsory is an infringement of liberty. Let’s see if Andrew’s position is coherent.
Enoch Powell was a philosopher-politician and a true libertarian. In 1973 he argued against mandatory helmets for motor cyclists because suicide wasn’t illegal.2 Powell’s position was that reckless behaviour sometimes results in death but so what? That’s the price of reckless behaviour sometimes. Wearing masks during a pandemic isn’t being reckless with your own life, it’s being reckless with the lives of other people. In brief, it’s a Public Health issue.
Let’s imagine Andrew’s infected, unknowingly, with Covid-19’s new potent form, Omicron. A simple way of reducing his capacity to infect others is to wear a mask.3 He’s against this and refused to vote for mandatory mask wearing. He claims it’s an infringement of his ‘liberty’. The liberty to infect others.
Covid-19 effects people differently. The impact ranges from nothing to death. The Public Health response is to protect the population from known danger. Protective measures includes wearing masks.
Dr Evans said masks are “inconvenient” but “a relatively easy way of reducing…risk”. Not a magic bullet but important during a pandemic. Andrew is indulging in political posturing.
Responsible leadership demands that the public good triumphs over personal inclination. This is especially true for our MPs.
1 Parliamentary debate on Public Health with four votes on regulations for the current pandemic Public Health – Hansard – UK Parliament For the actual resolution on face masks see “That the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI, 2021, No. 1400), dated 9 December 2021.”There were 41 No votes including Andrew
Andrew went to Marshalls Park school. He was passionate about politics, becoming a councillor at the earliest opportunity for Collier Row.
Thrillingly he became MP in 2001, despite another Blair landslide. Then it went wrong. Twenty years have passed and he’s still a backbencher. How do bored MPs kill the time? Andrew’s preference is foreign travel, especially when it’s free and legitimate.1 A recent week to San Marino involved a £1,000 for food. This is bad politics but Andrew’s calculation is he’ll escape electoral punishment.
Andrew’s become a right-wing Maverick. He joined the European Research Group (ERG). They campaigned for Brexit and against Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May. Andrew recently joined the Covid Recovery Group.2 This is an unsuccessful version of ERG. Unsuccessful because people die from Covid but are only economically unwell from Brexit.
His comments on Universal Credit were a car crash, “I think there are people that quite like getting the extra £20 but maybe they don’t need it.“ He then defended MPs with second jobs. “We have to be careful about this, we have to realise we are dealing with human beings who have families and responsibilities.”3 This is toxic. One MP earns a million pounds annually from his second job.
The purchase of Debenhams by Asian businessmen was unfortunate, “Because the Asian mall does not merit a change of use for the building, both the council and I are unable to prevent the centre from going ahead, I am afraid.” (my emphasis)4This is ‘dog whistle’ politics where politicians silently appeal to racist opinions.
Andrew is a very capable constituency MP. But is he losing his touch?
Andrew rebelled over Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations. He joined the European Research Group (ERG) with Julia Lopez to force a change.1 Then Covid-19 struck. Once again he rebelled as successive lockdowns were inflicted. Restrictions are probably going to be extended missing the 21st June target date.
Andrew has been disappointed by Conservative prime ministers twice. He said in parliament, “….I cannot justify…a fundamental assault on….liberties and livelihoods. Removing people’s most fundamental rights and freedoms and confining them to their homes is a political decision.” (my emphasis)2 Andrew objected to Johnson’s focus on Covid-19. He said other illnesses were neglected causing untold harm.
Johnson sacked him, “Romford MP Andrew Rosindell….called his sacking “counterproductive and bizarre” as he hit out at Mr Johnson in a Twitter rant. Over the past week he has been highly critical of the Prime Minister’s three tier lockdown plan, which he said would inflict huge damage on the economy and people’s mental health.”3
Andrew believed in Johnson and has been disappointed. Johnson’s sell-out Brexit deal has left agriculture, fishing, northern Ireland and Wales in total disarray.4 Meanwhile Covid-19 has shown him at his dithering (corrupt?) worst. Johnson has out-sourced policy to advisors to Andrew’s dismay.
Twenty years ago Osman was in Andrew Rosindell’s ‘Brat Pack’, now he’s a forty(ish) councillor with cabinet responsibilities for Environment.
Assuming Osman is a full-time Accounts Manager, this raises an important issue.1 His substantial salary as a cabinet member/councillor is £37,750.2.. For many Havering employees this is a full-time salary.
Zoom’s been kind to Osman. He reads pre-prepared statements fluently, unlike Damian White. Osman also looks the part. At the March 24th, 2021 Council meeting he read officer prepared answers. Osman’s answers were on dog ‘poo’, APCs, roads, parks, flooding (2) and pot holes (2).3
He reads pre-prepared answers and what else? Directing environmental policy means rising to challenges locally. Osman should exercise leadership. Major challenges are:
chemicals on roads and pavements,
the climate emergency,
electric vehicles (the Council procurement policy?),
Osman’s laissez-faire attitude ignores them all.
If Osman did develop policies they should be discussed with the Environment Overview and Scrutiny committee. He’s never attended that committee. He’snever faced probing questions with multiple follow-ups. He’s always been protected. Osman is a very expensive puppet.
His £37,750 is an insult to Havering’s employees. Many of his employees earn less than him for an actual full-time working week. Osman doesn’t do the job that he’s handsomely rewarded for.
The Gallows Corner flyover is a notorious ‘temporary’ structure.1It’s so old it could be listed as an architectural treasure for permanent preservation. Andrew Rosindell, MP for nineteen years, hasn’t solved the problem. He’s been thwarted by Boris Johnson.
Andrew said in 2018, “Gallows Corner is one of the most dangerous road junctions in Greater London, after having made representations for its improvement over many years, I am happy to see it shortlisted as one of first five improvement schemes in Government’s Major Road Network.”2 (my emphasis) Chris Grayling made the promise, which proves central government holds the purse strings.3
Ever hopeful, Andrew used a 2020 PMQ to elicit Johnson’s intervention. Johnson said,“I can ensure my honourable friend that we are working with TfL to see what we can do to resolve the issue of Gallows Corner, and we will update him in due course.”4
Obviously Johnson’s 2014 prediction was forgotten. “[Johnson]….confirmed that work by TfL to improve the Gallows Corner junction will be completed in 18 months.”5 And Roger Evans, Conservative chair of Transport, got this from him, “Thank you very much, Roger. The issue is topmost in TfL. Thank you very much for raising it on behalf of your constituents….improvements should be completed by the spring of 2016.”6(my emphasis)
Johnson has squandered £43 million on an unbuilt ‘Garden Bridge’. Johnson’s other fantasy project is the cable car link in Docklands at a cost to London of £23 million, which continually loses money.7 The Gallows Corner flyover improvement is costed at £50 million for thousands of users each year. Traffic jams are incredibly expensive and there’s a huge environmental cost.
Andrew didn’t go to Eton or Oxford and isn’t a Johnson crony. Need I say more?
3 For the source of funding he said, The programme allows councils to bid for improvements to local A-roads and it’s part of the biggest road investment since the 1970s as each of the shortlistedschemes will be eligible for up to £50m of funding.“(my emphasis)In 2018 in Parliament Andrew identified the government as the solution but was brushed off by the minister A12: Gallows Corner Roundabout – Thursday 5 July 2018 – Hansard – UK Parliament
There were three Covid-19 debates on 6th January and the principal one was led by Boris Johnson. The other two were Education and Health. Andrew Rosindell made two contributions. One briefly in the Education debate and the other at greater length in the Matt Hancock led debate. But astonishingly the most pertinent contribution for Havering came from Barking MP Margaret Hodge.*
My local hospital, Queen’s, is one of many that is facing critical pressure on the supply of oxygen to patients. Demand for oxygen is running at 100% or more of the supply available. Will the Prime Minister assure me and my constituents that action is being taken to ensure a safe and secure supply of oxygen? Will he tell me what contingency plans he has in place to ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed and closed, critically ill patients are not moved, and every patient receives the right amount of oxygen when needed?
Boris Johnson replied
I am very grateful to the right hon. Lady. I will immediately look into the matter that she raises about oxygen at Queen’s Hospital. It had not been drawn to my attention before, but we will make sure that we get back to her as soon as we can.
Margaret Hodge showed how powerful a parliamentary debate can be, especially when the Prime Minister is present.
Councillor Perry said: “We were at a meeting on January 14th, Councillor White shouted across the room that we all had to go out and go campaigning or we would lose our chairmanship position.
“Someone then stated ‘what happens if you are ill?’. Councillor White responded by saying that they had to bring in a doctor’s note.
“He is a bully and a dictator. I have decided to speak out and go public in the hope that the Conservative Party decide to do something about this.” [quoted in Havering Daily]
Damian is an ambitious politician whose power base in Romford is the Conservative party in Havering. There’s very little chance that any political party will get a majority in Havering so he must wheel-and-deal to shore up support. He’s done this rather well. Michael Deon Burton, Sally Miller and John Mylod were bagged and three Harold Wood councillors completed the set.
Damian looks to the future. And the future is bleak. The political stability of Havering is creaking. Romford is under attack from both east and west. Following Andrew Rosindell’s techniques, Damian has introduced constant campaigning to, ‘get the Conservative message’ across. This aspiration is unlikely to succeed.
About a quarter of Damian’s group are over 70, including Bob. They like sitting around, picking up allowances and pontificating. They don’t want to ‘do’ anything. Bob is outraged that he’s expected to work. Bob thinks that turning up at meetings is pretty good going.