Some of you voted for a man who fell off his bike...
Thursday was a pretty full day, starting with a friendly and relaxed conversation with people from the Shepherds Bush Housing Association: they knock on doors of all their tenants once a year and seek feedback and they involve every member of staff in it.
In Brentford they had a couple of IT techies who are probably normally confined underground as well as local staff and senior managers. One of those simple, sensible things it would be nice to see done more often, and actually surprisingly reminiscent of councillors knocking on doors and annoying people (before you say it, NOT just when there’s an election on!).
Then it was into the civic centre to help a resident with her benefit query, followed by several hours of hearings with an employee appealing against dismissal. Quite inappropriate to comment, other than to say I am very satisfied the council goes out of its way to be fair, and members reach their own conclusions from the evidence presented.
In the evening was my Planning début. Most of it didn’t seem too contentious to me, though the Chiswick extension generated some passionate arguments both ways. On my trip the previous day I had sampled the delights of Lidl in Feltham. Good job too, as we gave them permission to knock it down and build a better store, so it will be out of action for a while.
Nearest to my heart (and ward!) was the river path under Kew Bridge. As regular readers of this tripe will know, I have a bit of a thing about the Thames Path and I consider a dingy narrow tunnel involving steps to be unfit for its purpose, even with the proposed cosmetic improvements (as did various objectors). So naturally I pontificated upon this until the Chair asked me if I had a question. Hm. Well I will get to understand how it works with experience but I was a bit deflated by that, though not enough to support the proposal. Mel Collins is probably more realistic and voted for, having wrestled with this issue for a while. But I wasn’t happy and voted against, together with a couple of others: we will get the small improvements, but I’ll have to fight on with other campaigners for the bigger picture.
Of course, Thursday cannot go by without mention of the appalling murder of Jo Cox. This was a real tragedy – I’d barely heard of her but she was one of the few Labour women who won their seat for the first time last year, two of them very close to home so naturally it makes it particularly shocking and upsetting. As a politician you put your head above the parapet and the more prominent and passionate you are the more it sticks up. It’s easy to forget that alongside the 99% of people who (in my direct experience) are perfectly nice and courteous even if they hate your policies there are some very horrible ones. This nasty referendum certainly hasn’t helped, nor has the convention to rant on in cyberspace about them all being corrupt. There are a lot more MPs whose ethics are near to those of Jo Cox than the few whose ethics have led to them going to prison.
Friday and Saturday were subdued, with no campaigning but on Sunday I was back delivering leaflets. Sunday afternoon, if anybody noticed a minor earthquake in North Brentford this was caused by yours truly falling off his bike on the canal towpath. There was an interesting graffito underneath the M4 flyover – something about hippies but I never got to read it because… BANG. If anybody can enlighten me do tweet me @guylambert or email firstname.lastname@example.org . And before you get to feeling too smug and falling about laughing, remember that I may be a prat but some of you lot VOTED for me. Anyway I cut a dash riding back through Brilliant High St with a muddy bloody leg and arm but it wasn’t till I got home that I realised that the funny looks were more for my face – bright pink on the left and dark brown with mud on the right. Handsome.
Monday was mainly a credit union day, preparing for the monthly board meeting I chair in the evening. Tuesday, a visit to my doctor to get some treatment for my leg etc, then a meeting about the estate I live in. In the evening, to the Civic for discussions about ICT and the continuing saga of Lampton 360, the council’s new trading arm, the latter involving some open and passionate debate.
Intermingled with all this I’ve been trying to get ready for the big day, Thursday, where the country makes a very big decision. I know they call it Project Fear but I didn’t need politicians, economists, business people, trade unionists and world leaders to tell me what a disaster Brexit would be – I knew it before they opened their lips. By the time anybody reads this we will likely know the awful or (I expect) otherwise, truth. So Wednesday morning I manned the quiet side of Lionel school gates whilst Ruth and a colleague womanned the busy side, encouraging people to vote tomorrow and I hope vote Remain.
The rest of Wednesday I was running around town with leaflets, delivering them to colleagues and to a few doors up around Chestnut Avenue. Must go now and get ready for tomorrow. If you see a big bloke limping round Brentford saying REMAIN – give me a wave (and a VOTE)
June 23, 2016