Thursday, September 27, 2007

Camberwell on the Up? ASBO Capital of Southwark!, Danny "on the mend" and Hibs get dumped!!

There has been some interesting coverage on Camberwell recently suggesting a resurrgence despite a complete lack of interest and investment in Camberwell from the current Lib Dem/Tory Administration and perhaps their "hollowing out"
of Camberwell is working against the flow?
Southwark News is today describing Camberwell as the new Hoxton and the Metro last week reported House price increases of more than a third in Camberwell over the last year, the second highest hike in London, second only to Chelsea!! In fact only a week or so ago Jenny Agutter was telling me how much she prefers Camberwell to Chelsea!!!! Maybe the Camberwell Beauty will return to Camberwell???
I notice some sighnificant investment in some shops in Camberwell, Zara's Kitchen, KFC and a major refurb of the Redstar. We are also in discussions with the owners of the Butterfly Walk Shopping Centre about future investment and the interest of Tesco's !! It really is up to us in Camberwell to harness this interest and energy to make a real difference, despite the total indifference of this Lib Dem/Tory Coalition!!!

The Council released some stats on Community Safety as part of their "Enough is Enough" Campaign which I fully support. As usual I found out about it by being contacted by the press rather than any information sent out to me from the Council!!!
My comments which were reported in today's Southwark News are as follows:

ASBO’s – I am perfectly comfortable with Camberwell being the ASBO “Capital” of Southwark. A number of the ASBO’s in 2006 were targetted a t Street drinkers but I know that others were very successfully used to deal with gangs members and other anti social behaviour on our Estates, especially on the East Dulwich Estate!
We were pleased that the Executive u-turned on naming recipients but to date have done very little to make local people aware of ASBO Recipients exclusion zones!ASBO’s can and do work and I am surprised at the very low levels of ASBO’s in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe despite widely reported problems on the Four Squares Estate and in Russia Dock Woodland?
I am also pleased to see that the Alcohol Control Area in Camberwell is being enforced by very good Safer Neighbourhood Teams operating in Camberwell .
Fixed Penalty Notices – The numbers seem quite bizarre and don’t appear to represent consistent policy being applied by Wardens around the Borough? Again the numbers seem low in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe and it doe appear that the powers available to the Council are not being properly used across the borough.
These powers need to be applied vigorously and consistently to deal with serious anti social behaviour across Southwark and the lukewarm support from this Executive (the Lib Dems are still committed to repealing all of the Labour Government ASB Legislation if they ever were in power(?))!!!
Their lack of commitment to effectively deal with anti social behaviour across the borough is having a real effect as can be seen from these illuminating statistics!!!

Some other good Community Safety news reported this week is the indefintie jailing of the "Commander" of the Peckham Boys gang and the finding of a huge stash of automatic weapons inhis flat!! Good news indeed and very well done to the police!!!

There has been a very positive update on my good friend danny who is now described as "on the mend" by the Hospital which is a much better report than we were getting this time last week so well done Danny and get well soon!!!!

Almost inevitably after Hibs great vistory against Celtic we walked slap bang into a 4-2 home defeat from Motherwell and crept out of the CIS with a whimper!!

From the reports it looked like a good Motherwell played out of their skins and really deserved the win so John Collins does appear to have taken it as just one of those days!!!

it will be interesting to see how we respond in our next game!!!! Perhaps there wil be no trips to hampden this season but i still have the fantastic memories and pictures of last March!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Snap Election or not? Everyone is at Bournemouth, Youth Offer, Hibs beat Celtic and Scotland reserves hammered by all Blacks!!

As the Labour Party, both national and local, descends on Bournemouth speculation is at fever pitch over a snap election in October. Opinion Poll leads of 8% just add to the speculation but I think that Gordon Brown will just get on with the job and set his agenda in time for an Election next May!
Seemingly most of the Southwark Labour Group are down there so I really feel that I am holding the fort ! The Conference season always clashes with the start of the University Academic Year and it is never a good time for me to disappear for a week !
I have a few Arbitration cases this week and am attending a Session on the future of the Arbitration Service. I am still worried that the Lib Dem/Tory Coalition want to limit it or even clos it down so i am keen to have my say!!
I know of concerns at the European Treaty debate in the autumn all the way through to next Spring but am sure that the next election will be one of public confidence and with a choice of Brown, Cameron or Campbell I am confident that there is only one choice that makes any real sense!!!
Of course events can get in the way but that could easily happen in the course of a 4 week snap election so I favour a steady approach to a May poll which I am sure will help us in the european and London Mayoral and GLA Elections.
My thoughts are with my colleague and friend Danny McCarthy who is currently very ill in hospital and i wish him a speedy recovery as I really miss his wit and his great experience and of course his freindship! Get well soon Danny!!
Great news from the Government on the Youth Offer Initiative:£60 million boost for young Londoners
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, today outlined a £60 million ‘London Youth Offer’, which will fund services for young people in the capital. Ken Livingstone and Ed Balls met young Londoners during a visit to Salmon Youth Centre, Southwark today.
The £60 million funding programme from the Mayor and Government will increase the range of services for teenagers, provide more support for parents and give young people new opportunities to gain new skills and raise their aspirations.
A key element of the funding will encourage young Londoners to get involved in decisions about the provision of youth facilities across London.
The £60 million ‘London Youth Offer’ is part of a package of measures from the Mayor of London and Government to address concerns over the high levels of child poverty in the capital, increase funding for youth services and target the most deprived and hard to reach young Londoners who are most likely to be victims of crime and at risk of involvement in anti-social behaviour or street gangs.
The ‘London Youth Offer’ is also designed to provide additional resources for community initiatives, which are proven to work effectively and help turn young people’s lives around.
The £60 million funding package will run over two years, £20 million will come from the Mayor’s London Development Agency and £40 million from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The Government’s contribution is part of the substantial investment in places to go and things to do for teenagers announced in the 10 Year Youth strategy, ‘Aiming high for young people’ in July. This money will be made up of cash to fund positive activities for young people and money for the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Funds. Funding for other local areas will be announced in due course.
Ken Livingstone said, "The most common complaint that Londoners raise with me, in relation to the quality of life of their children, is that there are just not enough youth facilities any more. This £60 million funding will provide more places to go and things to do for young Londoners right across the capital.‘Just as we have invested in public transport and put police back on the streets, we are now aiming to reverse the decline of facilities for young people. Investment and planning for the future of our city has to include our young people.
‘This funding is not a substitute for the resources already being made available for the delivery of youth work by Government, but should be used to provide additional support and make a real difference to the lives of young people in the capital.
‘With the highest levels of child poverty in Britain, it is vital that every young Londoner is given the chance to fulfill their potential. The funding will give children and teenagers from London’s poorest estates, and communities right across the capital, opportunities to learn new skills through training, sports and cultural activities."
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls said:
"This money will give young Londoners places to go and things to do - but it is about far more than getting them off the streets. Teenagers need to take part in out of school activities to help them develop the life skills they need to get a job and get on – and this is especially important for the young people who might not otherwise get these opportunities.
"I are delighted to be working with Ken Livingstone to deliver real improvements in the opportunities available for young people after school and at weekends across the capital.
"Earlier this year we launched a Ten Year Youth strategy for young people and part of that was about giving young people a direct say in how the money is spent in their local areas.
"That’s why we will be working closely with the Mayor of London, the boroughs and crucially young people in their communities to make a difference and support for the positive work that is already going on in many parts of the capital. I hope this will provide a boost to all of London’s children and young people."
I watched Hibs get a stunning 3-2 win over Celtic at Easter Road to remain the only unbeaten team in the SPL and third in the League!
Dad was at the game and full of praise for the Hibs performance! The whole team played well but Brain Kerr was excellent and recieved the Man of the Match award but Antoine-Curier looked very good and strong up front and Fletcher again was excellent. Then ews is that his injury is not as bad as first thought so he may not been out for too long!!
In the Rugby World Cup Scotland made 13 changes for the Test against New Zealand and not surprisingly lost 40-0, that's what happens when you play a reserve team against the best team in the world!!!

It really is all about Italy on Saturday at St Etienne! If we win all will be forgiven as getting through to the last 8 is all important but if we dont...........!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another murder in Camberwell, Saving Camberwell baths and unveiling the Camberwell War Memorial! Hibs drops points at Falkirk!!

Another young man lost his life in Camberwell this weekend to a knife attack, coming shortly after a man was shot dead in Burgess Park!! In many ways knifes are the real scourge in society today due to the apparently large number of young men carrying them and I am sure that the day will come when police wil be carrying metal detectors as a matter opf course on our streets.
This murder actually happened on the Crawford Estate in my own Camberwell Green Ward so it is especially sickening !

The Council are running campaigns around this but the truth is it really wont make any impact on young men who are living violent destructive lives in our community and for many of them a bleak future as either a victim or a perputrator of exteme violence!!
The Council also has a campaign called "Enough is Enough" which i feel acturately reflects the community's frustration at the levels of serious violent crime in Southwark!!

On Saturday I joined a large crowd of people on a March to the Town Hall to present a signed banner to the Mayor asking the Executive to spend the money required to save Camberwell Leisure Centre. Jenny Agutter was our guest speaker and joined us on the March to present to the Mayor. All in all a fun day and succesful event in the Camberwell sunshine!!!

On Monday I attended the unveiling of the Camberwell War Memorial after many years of effort to get it erected. On the left is a family picture taken months before most of them lost their lives. The baby in the front is Barbara Seaton who was at the unveiling!!
The Guardian covered the story on their online paper at the following:,,2171148,00.html
The Independant also covered the story over the weekend and of course the Southwark News and South london Press have been following the story for some time and gave some excellent coverage so many thanks to both of them!! Bernie and Barbara seaton were clearly overwhelmed by the day and it was great to have them both at the unveiling !!

Interestingly there are also plans to erect a new memorial (picture left) at the site of the Bethnal Green Tube bombing incident where 173 people were killed including 62 children in an air raid on the 3rd March 1943. the new structure will cost £750,000 so our £10,000 memorial seems pretty good value for money!!

Hibs dropped 2 points in an very poor match against Falkirk away on saturday with Clayton Donaldon scoring his first goal for Hibs and then getting sent off before the half time whistle!!!!
I think that after Scotland's exploits last week the whole league was on a bit of a negative reaction and rangers looked especially poor losing 4-2 to Hearts!!
Hibs play Motherwell on Wednesday in the next stage of their CIS Cup defence!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Council Assembly, the Iron Chancellor meets the Iron Lady! a Family Funeral in Luton and Scotland beat France again!!!!

I had a bit of a hectic week with a family funeral, a work Conference in Coventry and rushed back for Council Assembly on Wednesday (whilst missing Scotland's match against France in Paris!!) It was a surprisingly good natured meeting considering the troubled times in the Lib Dem ranks over the summer but began with the inevitable but much delayed resignation speech from Denise Capstick. I do really feel for Denise as I have always had a lot of time for her but this whole matter has not been handled with much political sensitivity or dignity I am afraid! Her speech was straight out of the Political resignation handbook, starting with apology for situation, gratified by support from Lib Dem group, overwhelmed with hundreds of letters of support from constituents but resigning for the good of the Council blah blah blah!!!, such a shame that it bears so little resemblance to the truth! An attempt to hide the problem, rushed mia culpa the day before press published, Lib Dem vote just won with many members absent, voting against or abstaining and nervousness that Labour motion would have been won (with Tory abstentions) and which would have been a de facto vote of no confidence!! Not very principled or dignified way to go was it??? If they had known that two of our members were off ill the Lib Dems may have risked the vote who knows?

The Labour Group rightly pressed Cllr. Blango on the implementation of the Ousley Report Recommendations and once again got a set of incomprehensible and incoherent responses from the Executive Member which were quite cring inducing even amongst the members opposite!! Ignorance of his Portfolio is one thing but matched with a bewildering arrogance it really is pretty atrocious to behold and the Lib Dems must surely look at his suitablitiy for that position, if not before then at their next AGM?
The rest of the Council Assembly was the usual nonsense of the Lib Dems amending everything to say "Lib Dems great, Labour Government rubbish and Labour Mayor even worse!! It really is quite pathetic and I cant believe that they think anyone could possibly take them seriously. the most ridiculaous example of this was a two line motion from Jenny Jones amended by a 2 page diatribe from the Lib Dems, quite laughable really if it was not so serious!! It is actually quite embarassing to be in the same room as them as they can make youy be ashamed of being a Southwark councillor and I have never ever felt that before....until now!!!!!!

On the bigger picture I cant honestly say that I found the meeting of Brown and Thatcher and Gordon's positive words on her reign a very edifying sight!! I cant think of anything positive to say about the woman or her politics and time in office and the damge that she did to this Countr,y and memories of the Miners Strike and Wapping should be at the forefront of all Labour members and Trades Unionists minds. I dont like to disagree with my leader or previous leader but in this matter they are wrong, even Cameron distances himself from her so why we invite her to No.10 I honestly dont know?? So far as being a person of political principle I am sure that Stalin or Hitler could fill that criteria but I would not have wanted them in my house !!! Who will we be praising next?? Norman Tebbit?????

I attended my Aunt's funeral in Luton with my dad earlier in the week and met a lot of our extended family! My aunt had 9 children and I took a picture of them all together as well as my dad singing "The Fields of Athenry" with some of the family of the pub Karaoke (My aunt's favourite song!)
Of course whilst I sat in the Town Hall Scotland were getting one of their best ever football results beating france 1-0 in Paris to complete the double over them!! An incredibel strike from James McFadden winning the game! Some great pictures below of the goal and the celebrations, not least from the 20,000 Scottish fans who were in Stadt De France!
We are now top of the Group with 3 games to play, Georgia away and Ukraine and Italy at home and if we win the first two then the Italy game could be easy for both clubs as they may have already both qualified??

Monday, September 10, 2007

Southwark Labour Party Conference a brilliant success and Scotland win in Football and Rugby!!!

On Saturday we held an extremely successful first ever Southwark Labour Party Conference with around 100 members attending. We had great speeches from Harriet Harman MP QC, Tessa Jowell MP, Hazel Blears MP and Valerie Shawcross AM, as well as our very own Peter John and Kirsty McNeill. Some of us facilitiated Workshops looking at our key policies and how we should further develop them for the next election and it was an extremely positive and enjoyable day for us in a lovely venue in St, Peter's Crypt. loads more pictures on my Facebook page!

The Council swings back into action with the Council Assembly on Wednesday night with a very unhappy and split Lib Dem Group facing us so it will be very interesting to watch the body language as much as the words as they really dont like each other!!!
I have a busy week going toLuton with my dad for my Aunt's funeral, going to a Conference in Coventry University on Wednesday and getting back for the Council Assembly in the evening. I will be glad when Friday comes but will be on the Camberwell baths march on saturday and may even go to the Circus with Shauna in Peckham Rye Park on Saturday ?

Scotland had a good weekend on the Football front with an excellent 3-1 victory over Lithuania at Hampden Park. It was especially good to see them score 2 goals late on after a dodgy penalty had brought the Lithuanians back level! Now all we have to do is go to Paris on Wednesday and get at least a point against the French!!! if we do then we really will have a great chance of qualifying and knocking out one of the big 2, Italy or France!!

On the Rugby World Cup front we beat Portugal 56-10 but it wa all a bit sloppy and we really will have to improve to make any impact on this World cup. Luckily the draw seems to favour us as we have Rumania next then the New Zealand at Murrayfield and finally the crunch game in St. Etienne against italy and this will decide if we make the final 8, something we have never failed to do in any World Cup before!!

It is even rumoured that we may put out a weakened side out against the All Blacks to keep our top players fit for the Italian game? i dont know how the home fans will feel about watching the All Blacks embarras us at Murrayfield with a humiliating battering??
The Lamont brothers did look good and the side picture is Rory scoring one of his 2 tries!