Havering’s Democracy and Romford Conservatives

The Romford Conservative gravy train derailed in May, 2022. After 20 years of ruthlessly exploiting the Allowance system, they were booted out. Romford Conservatives really like gravy train politics but are less keen on public service.

In an unprecedented denial of democratic duty, the 18th January Council meeting had no motions for discussion.1 Romford Conservatives were on strike. There were a few questions, only one of which could be regarded as critically important.2 There’s a wealth of experience in their ranks, including councillors who are quite able, which makes this even worse. Their Leader, Damian White, went AWOL for the first three council meetings. In essence, he’s in total denial of the May, 2022 outcome.

The childish anti-democratic sulk continues. In the ten months that HRA/Labour have held office, Romford Conservatives haven’t even filled all their committee places. The council is legally obliged to allocate positions on a pro rata basis. The Places Overview and Scrutiny committee should have four Conservatives. Damian White has filled just two of those places. He’s simultaneously undermining scrutiny and deligitimising democracy. Meanwhile David Taylor spouted off about the need to be, “Not afraid of a late night”, at the Budget Council meeting.3 It would be hilarious if it wasn’t serious.

Romford Conservatives should take a hard look at themselves. They’ve ceased to be a political party.


1 (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Council, 18/01/2023 19:30 (havering.gov.uk)

2 Question 8. There were other questions, which mattered, but this one went to the heart of the performance of a contract  impacting on every tenant of LBH. The answer deserved a debate on its own, which it didn’t get because the Conservatives didn’t put down any motions.

3 Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) Go to 30 minutes in

Damian White gets the Post-Election Blues

Damian has defeated a challenge to his leadership by a single vote. He was challenged in a WhatsApp message from Robert Benham,1 who spoke of ‘in-fighting’. He and his supporters lost and the Conservative ‘pot-of-gold’ politics might inflict a punishment beating on Robert and his supporters. Who knows? Damian might be magnanimous and they’ll all live happily ever after.

The galling fact for Damian is that he leads the largest party but needs five more votes. Havering Residents’ Association (HRA) have 20 seats and are negotiating for Labour’s nine votes to create a Friendly Understanding. HRA have 29 votes in sight but that means taking responsibility. HRA like permanent opposition. It’s painless and well-paid. All of which means that they might actually prefer a seductive offer from Damian.

In 2018 Damian mopped up HRA councillors. He’ll try again but this time it’s harder. Why? Sally Miller, John Mylod and Michael Deon Burton all lost. Their fate is a warning to renegades.2 Individual HRA councillors might take Damian’s offer. It is, after all, a few thousand pounds, for doing little else than agreeing with him.

Can Damian heal? The challenges will test his mettle. The nest of vipers that’s the Conservative group have had a very public split, which could result in flaky members drifting to HRA. Throwing gold around solves some problems but there are some Conservatives with ambitions. And they’re lean and hungry.

The excitement is building towards May 25th when a new Administration is brought into being.


1 Damian’s deputy in the Conservative group

2 The Harold Wood Three bucked the trend and prospered