Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tragic news about Ivan Cameron, the Do-Nothing Budget, Violent Crime Summit, Museums are packed, Hibs are shocking and Scotland getting better!

First thing to say is how tragic the news is today at the reported death of David Cameron's disabled 6 year old son Ivan. The loss of a child is really unimaginable and David Cameron has been very positive in his media image of a parent with a disabled child and to be in the public glare must make it all the harder so my thoughts are with the Cameron family at this time! Terrible news!!
Back to normal business and Monday's Council Tax Setting Council Assembly and the passing of what we are calling a "Do-Nothing budget".
Whilst we all agreed a freeze on Council Tax we did not agree on how the budget was allocated with huge cuts in childrens', adult care and elderly services , the Tory Lib /Dem Coalition declaring that it made clear what their priorities were!! Exactly!
Furthermore many services are suffering "death by a thousand cuts" as charges are raised , in some cases by 70%!! Also some bizarre things like £500K for the new Canada Water Library running costs when it wont open until mid 2010!, £50K for Community Warden bikes (gold plated?) and the "burying " of millions of pounds of additional Government money aimed at economic regeneration and employment in reserves no doubt to build up a "war chest" for next year's pre-election giveaway budget!! Shameful and shocking and all done with Lib Dem,s cackling and guffawing their way through the meeting ably led Linda Manchester who acted like a cross between Cruella de Ville and Widow Twanky!! All chat and clear party political bias from the Mayor who interrupted every Labour Member speaker all evening and played footloose and fancy free with Standing Orders all night!!! We all were very angry and I did have a bit of a rant at the end but even for the Lib Dems they were too much !!!
I attended the Violent Crime Summit in Glaziers Hall on Monday and was abit disappointed not to see more community involvment but in the most part a re-hash of the ground already covered in the pre-summit last December. I am happy to support the intiative as long as it brings about real and measurable results and a couple of things became clear to me during the day. Firstly that there is a lot of good practice but it is not been shared or replicated adequately and developed as key elements of any strategy within Southwark. Secondly not enough clear performance or outcome indicators which are importnat in understanding what works and what does not!! Anyway I will continue to support it as long as things progress but will be quick to criticize any stagnation, this in the week of course of a a fatal shooting in Dulwich!!

On a more positive note I spent a few days with my Finnish Cousin Merja visiting every Museum virtually in London and was gratified to see them absolutely packed, just look at the picture I took! Highlights were the Darwin Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, The Tzars Exhibition at the V&A and the Ian Fleming/James Bond Exhibition at the Imperial war Museum (more pics on my Facebook page). It really does show that the Labour Government policy to make Museum entry free was the right one and that the great British public have a great appetite for Museums and our history and heritage!!
Another highlight was going to see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace, a fantastic show with great songs from Sir Elton with brilliant lyrics from Ben Elton including a great one called "Happy Christmas Maggie Thatcher!" . Merja was a bit surprised by the kids swearing on stage but a really great show and thoroughly recommended and it brings back all the pain of the Miners Strike and reminds me (if ever I needed reminding!) why I hate Margaret Thatcher and all her evil deeds so much!
Hibs were absolutely shocking against Inverness last week going down 2-0 with comedy defending and players who really looked like they did not give a toss!!! shockingly bad and at this rate we wont make the top six never mind third spot!!! Atrocious!!!
Scotland take on Italy in the Six Nations at the weekend with a much better performance against France so hopeful of a first win of the Campaign.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Council Budgets being prepared, London in the Snow, Camberwell Green awaits the results of the Mayors Bid and Scotland go down to the Welsh!!

The Tory/Lib Dem Administration are putting the budget together for surely their last year in power for many years with the traditional "bribe" of a Council Tax Freeze but of course millions of pounds of cuts in vital services the inevitable result. We are looking over their proposals and will be putting together our Labour Group Budget for the Council Tax setting Meeting of Council Assembly coming up soon!!
Another great picture of London in the snow that I did not take but liked it all the same and took it from Flikr!

It really did look beautiful and when I went up to Bath University on Tuesday the snow was still on the ground but the University is at the top of a very long very steep hill!

This is a nice picture of the Camberwell Green Tree Lights which I like and still have my fingers crossed for the Mayors Fund which we should be hearing about within the next month!
Scotland went rather tamely down to Wales at Murreyfield last weekend 13-26 which disappointed me as we usually do well against them at home.
Max Evans did get over for a score at the end but a bit of criticism directed at Coach Franck Hadden so he has something to prove in Paris this weekend against France and is playing the Evans brothers together for the first time, yet another set of rugby union brothers playing for their country. Still I don't fancy their chances against the French in Park Des Princes!

Friday, February 06, 2009

London in the Snow, Refreshers Fair and the 6 Nations kicks off!!

The weather meant that it was a pretty easy week for me but I did manage to get into work every day apart from Monday of course!!
There were some really fantastic scenes about and whilst I was snapping shots of Camberwell the more famous sites around my workplace, ie the Tower of London and Tower Bridge looked fantastic!
At the University we were plying our wares at the Refreshers Fair at the Rocket on Holloway Road and were kept busy and even had an obligatory "Awesome" from one of the many US students who arrive in Semester B!!

No footie interest this week as it is Cup week and we were knocked out in the last round but the 6 Nations Kicks Off with Scotland against Wales at Murrayfield!
On form it should be a Welsh win but we have a good record against them at home so a good chance for a winning start!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snowy Camberwell, Camberwell Green Park await the outcome of Mayors Fund and Hibs draw with Fletcher wanting away!!

Woke up on Monday morning to be greeted by a Winter Wonderland in sunny Camberwell.Rushed out to take some pics!!
No way into work on Monday with all the buses out but made it in today!
Fiona Colley took this great picture of Snow Boris outside City Hall today!! Incredible resemblance and just as intelligent !!

The Voting for Camberwell Green Park is over for the Mayors Park bids so we now have to wait for the results! I am hopeful and I have to be fair to the Council who have run a very good high profile campaign so if we don't win it wont be their fault!!

Derek Riordan scored for Hibs against Motherwell but again we were unable to keep a lead ending up a 1-1 draw which is really not good enough at home!!
After rumours of real Madrid, Man City and Newcastle, it was, surprise surprise, Celtic who put in a last minute bid for Stephen Fletcher and it was rejected so not Fletcher is unhappy and we probably get much out of him now for the resat of the season!!!