Thursday, December 28, 2006

Respect Areas and Hibs up and down form!

I was interested to hear of the Governments plans to target high crime areas with more resources in what they are calling "Respect Areas". This sounds like a very positive move to me and is reward to local authorities who are making a real effort to combat anti-social behaviour using the rangeof new powers given to them by this Labour Government.
Unfortunatley I dont think that Southwark Council will be included thanks to the heel dragging prevarication of the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition who have failed to tackle ASB in the borough thanks to their political dislike of the Government. In fact the Lib Dems are committed to reverse all of the Legislation if they were ever in a position of political power to do so! (not a realistic proposition I admit!)
So we may miss the boat again thanks to this pathetic bunch running the Council at the moment!

My advice to them is that they need to start using the powers given to them in a more effective way and really start tackling anti social behaviour on the Estates. I also suggest that they review the efectiveness of the Community Wardens against the cost, curretly nearing £6Million per year of Council Tax Payers money! The Labour Group position on this is to reduce the wardens scheme and have them focus on enviro crime in the Town Centres, freeing up funds to employ more PCSO's for target "Hot Spot" Wards nd to invest in better street lighting and other anti crime initiatives.

I am back in Edinburgh with my parents for the festive season and the Scottish Parliamentary Elections are already in focus. I hope to come up and help out during the Elections and hopefully keep labour in control. The prospect of an SNP Executive and a Referendum within a year on Independance would be catestrophic for the Scottish economy so I hope that my countrymen think very long and hard before voting SNP in May and think of the long term consequences of an Independant Scotland!

Hibs had a great 5-1 victory over St. Mirren and followed up with a 2-3 defeat to Hearts in a game that they dominated, snatching defeat from the jaws of Victory through bad goalkeeping (again!!!) and ill discipline(AGAIN!!!!!!!!).

Two more home games to go and a couple of cup games in January with a host of players suspended or looking to move so the ship needs to be stabilised soon or we could wreck our season in the space of 3 weeks!

Friday, December 22, 2006

ASBO's and Naming and Shaming

I have just come across the Tory/Lib Dem apologist Andy Mayer's Blog today whining on about the evils of ASBO's and Naming and Shaming based on SLP coverage of the Woodene murder trial.

The Southwark Labour Group strongly supports a "naming and shaming" policy (although I personally dont like the tag as it suggests Wanted Posters on bus shelters) as it can be effective in notifying local people of exclusion zones of ASBO recipients and more quickly identify breaches. The East Dulwich Estate situation was a perfect example and even the Executive Member softened his opposition in this case.

The Lib Dem policy if they ever were to get into a position of power ( hard top contemplate I know!) is to repeal all of the Government's ASB Legislation so the question to Mr Mayer and his virtual cronies is "what would the lib dems do?".

It is a bit like the "wwjd" wrist bands that some Christians wear as we really have no idea how the Lib Dems would fulfill all their empty promised as well as reduce the basic rates of income tax and cut public spending by over £21 Billion! Of course their current bed fellows in Southwark Town Hall are also promiseing similar cuts in public spending but even the tories have gone quiet on reducing basic rates of income tax!!

Being vague just wont cut the mustard as we run up to a general Election with Gordon Brown as Prime Minister and I look forward to them arguing economics with him in the House as there will only be one winner!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lib Dem/Tory Council acting unconstitutionally!!!

Today the Labour members of OSC have called in the decision to delete the Strategic Director of Housing Post as it was taken by the Executive obviously completely unaware that under the Council Constitution such a decision can only be taken by Council Assembly!

This bunch are so pathetic and amatuer that they dont even understand their own Constitution!!!

I attended a feedback session with the new Chief Executive which was very pleasant and she announced follow up walkabouts in the Spring to "fix things"?

I really am not sure that that is the best model for action in the Borough with the CEO pointing to things and shouting "fix that!" to her bag carriers!

I would love things to get "fixed" in Camberwell Green Ward through a Council that is actually working effectively rather than through the personal patronage of a Senior Officer. This is the same management style being operated by the Deputy Leader and Housing Executive Member with teams of staff cleaning up prior to arrival and a brief visit captured in full by his personal photographer!!

This really cant be the way forward can it????

I am back in Edinburgh for a couple of weeks with my parents and hope to catch Hibs 3 home matches.

In January there is the Legaue Cup Semi Final against St. Johnstone and an away Scottish Cup tie against Aberdeen.

Charlton put in a £3 Million for both Scott and Thompson which was rejected by 20 minutes but I fear that they will go in the January window possibly to Bolton or Spurs! As long as it not Celtic or Rangers!!!

I am looking forward to a good rest before battle commences once again in early jan with our OSC Call-In

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Banging heads against brick walls !!!!

I spent much of Wednesday night banging my head of the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition wall, not a very pleasant experience !

They are out of control and dont give a single thought to democratic accountability as can be seen by them tagging on the Special meeting on Housing at the ned of the Ordinary one, hence it began after midnight and the Lib Dem moved straight to the vote after both motions had been proposed!

They are all a very poor excuse for local politicians and really deserve nothing but contempt!!!

I can only hope that there are a few within their ranks who will not tolerate this over the next three and a half years but I am not holding my breath!!

I attended OSC last night, my last meeting before the Christmas break and am looking forward to going to Edinburgh for a couple of weeks.

Hibs play 3 times at home and the only other game is away to Hearts at Tynecastle so we are hoping for a good haul of points to keep us in the hunt for 3rd place. I am not sure that either Thompson or Brown will be around at the end of the Transfer window but hope that they go to Bolton or another English club and stay well clear of the Old Firm who have been responsible for destroying a lot of young scottish talent over recent years!!!

I am looking forward to the London Hibernain Supporters Club Burns Night when I get back on the same day as the League Cup Semi Final against St. Johnstone so hopefully we will be in a party mood!!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Serious Violent Crime in Camberwell, Housing Chaos and Hibs rejuvination!!!!

In the past month we have had the shooting outside of Aristocrats and another gun and knife incident amongst gang members operating in Southwark and Lambeth but apparently focussing their gang warfare around Camberwell.

I had a bullet go through my bedroom window which the police are soon to extract from my window frame so i am conscious of the problems first hand and how insecure it makes you feel.

I have lived in Camberwell for 22 years and love the place for lots of reasons but the Council and the police really have to target resources in the area to resptotoond adequately to the current level of vioelnt crime. Yet to date we have neard nothing from the Council and that is why I am seconding a motion to Council Assembly demanding that they do so! Of course the Lib Dems oppose all legislation aimed at tackling violent and anti social behaviour and would revoke it all if they were in charge!!!

This is an area of policy that really shows the Lib Dems at their dithering worst unable and unwilling to take any decisive action prefering to leave everything to the police and blaming the Government!

Within Southwark Council complete chaos ensues with the break up of the Housing Department(strange from the largest landlords in London?)and managment changes on an almost daily basis emailed through to our blackberries without any notice or consultation( apart from occassional leaks to Southwark News!!!

The Council is now being run by the Tory rump led by Kim Humphries who has promised a transformation in 100 days! At this rate the transformation into a complete shambles will occur a lot quicker than 100 days! the pathetically weak Lib Dems are being poulled around by the nose by the Tories and I am glad that Cllr. Danny McCarthy has had enough, and if rumours are true more are likely to follow!

Of course it is the residents of Southwark who will suffer the longer that the tories are given cart blanche with the Housing Department and the Council Finances and hopefully things will come to a head at Budget setting time early in 2007!!!

We are putting our Christmas card out across the ward. I think that they look good and we should repeat it each year.

Hibs continue to win under John Collins and I am looking forward to the Christmas break and seeing Hibs play 3 times over the festive period.Yesterday I saw Dulwich Hamlet win at Champion Hill to keep on top of the Ryman Division 1. Fisher Athletic have been wobbling and Justin Edinburgh's departure wont help so they may struglle to stay in the top 3 in the Conference South.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Firework Terrorism and Hibs beating Hearts!!!!

We have had lots of problems in Camberwell with youth gangs using fireworks as weapons and we have a 3 week period when local people are terrorised by them.

Local shops are illegally selling fireworks and we caught a shop red handed and are are now prosecuting but i do wonder if it is now time to legislate against the public sale of fireworks outside of organised events? It sounds extreme but these large fireworks are being used as weapons in the inner city and whilst I am sure that the current Private members Bill will fail, I hope that time is running out for the public sale of fireworks!

Hibs meanwhile created some fireworks of their own kicking Hearts out of the Scottish League Cup. With Rangers and Celtic out as well I may well have an appointment to keep at Hampden Park early in 2007!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Leadership, the veil and beating France!

I was not able to see much of the Labour Party Conference but do hope that we can move to a new leader in a way that does not cause long term harm to our electoral chances. I am supporting Gordon Brown for Leader with my own MP Harriet Harman as Deputy Leader and look forward to them leading the Labour Party to a historic Fourth Term.

I am interested in the debate on the wearing of the veil by Muslim women sparked by comments from Jack Straw. My view is that it is a matter of choice and I would never ask a Muslim women to remove the veil. However I am not convinced that it is always a matter of choice and am reminded of my flight back from Tehran a couple of years ago when every women removed the veil as soon as they took their seat and it doesw make me wonder?

What concerns me more is the hostile response from some Muslim leaders to any discussion, be it from Jack Straw or the Pope as I beleieve that the future of multiculturalism relies on tolerance on all sides. I have Muslim friends and work with many Muslims and am clear that most do not share the radical views expressed by some on the national media.

The Lib Dem/Tory Council has really get itself into a tangle with the privatisation of the internal building workers. they put the decsion off for a week, met at lunchtime to avoid a demo, and put it of again! Clearly tensions between the Tories and Lib Dems are already coming to the surface!

Finally Scotland pulled of a historic 1-0 victory again World Cup Finalists France yesterday and have a maximum 9 points from 3 games and are top of the group.
A difficult away game against Ukraine in Kiev awaits on Wednesday but we are beginning to think the impossible, that Scotland could actually qualify from the toughest Group in the Euro Championships Qualifiers!!! COME ON SCOTLAND!!!!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I am please to see that my local MP, Harriet Harman, has declared herself interested in the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party ( and of course Deputy Prime Minister!)position as I think that she would make a very good partership with Gordon Brown .

I note that the Lib Dem, tax plans have gone through their Conference and I am sure that many Lib Dem Councillors must be wiondering what is going on!!! In Southwark, this alongside the Lib Dem Coalition with the Tories, I hope, will make some Councillors wonder what sort of party they are in. Well I can help them with that! The Lib Dems are an unprinciples bunch of career opportunists who will say and do anything for power, something most of us have known for years but perhaps only now dawning on Lib Dem members and Councillors!!!

I urge them to join the Labour Party, and Labour Group,and kick the Tories out of power from Southwark Town Hall!!!

On a brighter note Hibs have had 2 stunning victories, a 2-1 Victory over Rangers at the weekend and a 6-0 drubbing of Gretna in the League Cup last night, a potential banana skin team!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I was dissapointed if not surprised to see the disrespectful way in which the TUC Conference treated Tony Blair and it sometimes makes me wonder what i am doing in a trade Union if these idiots are the ones that are representing me.

I sometimes think that they would prefer a Tory Government in power as it would increase their power base?

The people behaving so badly yesterday have very short memories and appear to have forgotten was life was like under the Tories for workers in the UK.

Tony Blair has been the most successful Labour Leader in history and I hope that his legacy will be added to by Gordon Brown next year as we move forward to a fourth General Election victory.

Labour Party members need to grow up and shut up and let the Prime Minister get on with running the Country. They could yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!!!!!

On a brighter note Hibs had an excellent 3-0 victory away at Dundee United and look like they are finally geting into their stride. They have however lost a lost of points already and need a few back to back results including Hearts.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My calls for a review of the Community Wardens in Southwark appeared in today's Southwark News and I was pleased to read that Green Councillor Jenny Jones supported my position. I was not surprised to see my comments dismissed by Nick Stanton, Lib Dem Leader , as they never listen to any other view on anything so no change there then!

The costs will continue to escalate and more posters will be plastered around the borough telling us how much safer we are now under the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition !

We will put a motion to Council Asembly to gauge exactly what the Tory view is as they surely cant justify this expenditure with so much need about?

In terms of the Labour Party I am pleased that a timetable is taking shape for the transition of Leader from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown but the press will chase this one for the next year to fill up column inches and there is probably nothing that we can do to stop it! The Government just need to get on implementing the Manifesto and I am sue that people will focus on that when they vore next may. When I was in Scotland I see that Labour was polling well ahead of the SNP with the Lib Dems and Tories nowhere. The Scotish Socialists have now split into the Judean Popular Front and the Popular Front of Judea so they will no doubt spend the next year squabling about whose line on the Middle East is the most politically correct!

The Labour results in Southwark and Lambeth in May show that the Lib Dems have reached their high water mark and the only way is down!

So all in all I think that the future is bright as long as we behave ourselves in the Party and dont allow self indulgance from back benchers who have more of an eye on their personal careers Post-Blair than the good of the Labour party and the Country!

I watched Scotland play well against Lithuania last night and get a second win in the Group with France coming to Hampden Park on the back of a good win against Italy. It is a very tough "Group of Death" and we need to win in Georgia and Ukraine to really have any chance of going though and splitting the top 2, at the moment the Italians look vulnerable but most of them a have a World Cup Winners medal in their pocket and dont seem interested in the Euros so there is hope!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Edinburgh Festival Fireworks 2006

Last night I went to see the end of the Edinburgh Festival Firworks Display at Edinburgh Castle. It was as spectacular as ever and a great end to yet another great Festival!!!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hello from Councillor John Friary - Labour Councillor for Camberwell Green Ward

Hello from me as I am finally taking the plunge into Blogging!

I was re-elected as one of the 3 Councillors for Camberwell Green and you can see the results bleow:

Camberwell Green Results 2002

Camberwell Green Results 2006

I am also a Member of Camberwell Community Council

I am the Labour Group Spokesperson for Community safety on the Southwark Labour Group Shadow Executive

I am a Member of
Southwark Labour Group

I am Health & Safety Advisor at
London Metropolitan University Health & Safety Home Page

London Metropolitan Who's Who Entry

I am a lifelong Hibernian fan and a member of the
London Hibernian Supporters Club Entry

I am also a Trustee of
Camberwell After School Project

Some of the things that are currently occupying my mind!:

Southwark Council :

  • "Naming and Shaming" of ASBO Recipients - There has been a lot of local press coverage on this in both the SLP and Southwark News. in my view local residents should be made aware of, by the Council, of any ASBO recipients living locally and the conditions of the ASBO. The recent problems in the East Dulwich Estate highlight the problem of not enforcing ASBO's and local people can report breaches only if they know what the conditions, such as exclusion zones, are. The position of the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition as voiced by Cllr. Jeff Hook, the Executive Spokesperson for Community safety, makes no sense and perhaps he should have a look at Andy Meyer's site, the apparent Southwark Lib Dem "Official" Blogger who states "an intelligent 'resident information scheme' that carries strong safeguards, could, I believe, be agreed" I could not agre more!!!!!
  • Camberwell Green Ward in Top 5 for reported Serious Violent Crime in London. As one of the elected representatives I am extremely concerned by this and disappointed to have heard nothing form the LIB Dem?Tory Coalition on what they intend to do about it! East walworth was the other Southwark Ward in the top 5 although Coldharbour Ward in Lambeth also made it, which of course is a Lambeth part of Camberwell!
  • Community Wardens - I am really concerned that whilst serious violent crime and anti social behaviour seems to be on the continual rise in Camberwell, the main Lib Dem/Tory Administration strategy is still stuck on Community Wardens, now costing around £6M per year of Council Tax Payers money. They were developed on national Labour Government models and intoduced by a Labour Administration but in London things have moved on. Labour Mayor Livingstone has introduced Polic Safer Neighbourhood Teams in every electoral ward since April and the real success of this initiative has been the role and performance of the Police Community Support Oficers (PCSO's). The Lib Dem/Tory Coaltion response is to slightly increase the numbers of wardens and give each tam a Community Council area to cover, equal numbers irrespective to need! The Labour Group will press for a much needed review which I hope will suggest smaller Community warden Teams focussing on Enviro-Crime in targetted areas and extra funding for street lighting in areas like Camberwell and the fundinsg of more PCSO's in Hot Spot areas. Community safety requires a flexible pro active approach based on current intelligence and this Administration and their Executive Member appear totally incapable of these key attributes in community safety and for that matter any other area of Council Policy!
  • Bullying Scrutiny - As Chair of the Education and Childrens Services Scrutiny Sub Committee, I am focussing on school bullying and the wider problems of shcool children carrying knives and other weapons and would welcome any views on this, especialy from school children.

London Metropolitan University;


  • At the moment Scotland are unbelievably 6-0 up against the Faroe Islands! Bring on Italy and France!!!
  • No Hibs match this week but mixed start to season and a tough League Cup game against Gretna coming up!
  • Still watching Fisher Athletic with Tony Ritchie and they have started very strongly and are at the top end of the Conference South. I recommend going to watch them as the standard is good and there are always plenty of goalmouth action!