"No ifs, no buts, no early elections"
Well now, interesting times. An odd week for me, what with Easter and still being a touch handicapped with a lingering cold and bad back. Still, he is so brave and stoical, getting on with his life despite his crippling handicaps.
As I previewed a week ago, Thursday afternoon was a licensing panel. The heavy mob were wheeled out for this one, with the panel comprising three heavies: myself topping the scales, Steve Curran topping the council and Genghis Todd topping the panel. Steve and I immediately decided to defer to John, who has a natural authority for these kind of proceedings – you could imagine him as the judge in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta – and a forensic attention to detail to boot. Anyway, we elected him chair of the panel, and he did an excellent job. We ended up refusing the licence, for reasons that are in the public domain and which I probably shouldn’t comment further upon.
A much more pleasant duty followed, welcoming some of our local community groups to a reception hosted by the Mayor, Ajmer Grewal and her trusty Prince Philip, Pritam Grewal, who sadly failed to make any dodgy comments about foreigners, or anybody else. Anyway it was a privilege to be involved and to see a number of our local community champions getting a bit of acknowledgement. These included the Friends of St Paul’s Rec Ground, Air Quality Brentford, The Brentford Community Council and a number of others from Brentford, Isleworth and Osterley. Cllr Louki was banging on in his usual boastful way about Osterley being the biggest ward in the Borough: this may be true but he can’t argue that Brilliant Brentford currently houses the biggest councillor. Talking of which, I’m very partial to samosas, even though so many you get are a bit on the greasy and limp side. Whoever supplies the samosas for council events (I think it’s Café Parkside which operates in the Civic Centre) knows a thing or two about making excellent ones. Prince Philip is encouraging people to take the leftovers home – otherwise they will go to waste – but I decline this invitation on the grounds of not having a budget for replacing trousers.
This tipped us into the Easter break, which I took pretty quietly with various family type activities, laced with deciding whether I wanted to put myself forward for re-election next year (I decided I did, and put in my form to seek reselection) and what council committees I wanted to stand for for the final 12 months of this administration. All of these are subject to election within the Labour group over the next couple of months so I’m not going to tell you what I put myself forward for, for fear of public humiliation.
Tuesday was one of those rare blank days with nothing at all in my calendar so I was able to accommodate my daughter’s request to lurk in her flat waiting for a man who was coming to repair her very un-Magnus Magnusson washing machine (I think I just invented a new adjective) which was in the habit of starting but not finishing. Turns out that the clown who installed it didn’t turn the tap on properly: not enough water coming in, so the machine thinks to itself “no, this is thirsty work, the service in this bar isn’t up to scratch, so I’m going on strike”
Whilst I’m sitting waiting, the phone rings. It’s one of our party members. Theresa (read my lips, there will not be an early election) May has announced an early election. I check my watch. Yes it’s April: no, it’s not the 1st. I decide to seek corroborating evidence. Blimey, it’s true and another one to add to ‘No ifs no buts, no third runway’ in the catalogue of mendacity. A lot of entirely unconvincing arguments are trotted out and everybody is perfectly clear that she’s seen the opinion polls and decided to grab the opportunity before it all starts falling apart. Well, our job is to make her regret this opportunism, and we couldn’t have a better candidate to help us in this endeavour than Ruth Cadbury (though technically I don’t think she’s confirmed as the candidate until later). My email fills up with offers to help with the campaign which will undoubtedly be upon us, to add to the usual councillor casework correspondence.
Wednesday the Melvinator and I have another meeting about the sainted Kew Bridge pontoon. This time it’s with people who just as passionately believe it should be retained as those other people we met a while ago believe it should be removed. They only found out about the threat to it by reading this blog a few weeks ago: sometimes I wish I would just shut up, rather than causing myself all these darn problems. Meanwhile (as I probably mentioned before) we have some American students studying this issue on some kind of exchange project, and we are due to meet them next Monday to hear about research they have done about moving this pontoon to Lot’s Ait. Anyway, there’s a danger of being caught in crossfire here so I will be seeking to heap all the blame on Mel.
It’s going to be a busy few weeks, with our schedule of going out door knocking once every week or two no doubt becoming a lot more intensive. I expect the Tories will have had a very strong inkling of this U-Turn for a while and no doubt large sums of money will be flowing to printers and media companies and professional leaflet distributors (one hopes they won’t breach electoral law like they seem to have done in many constituencies across the country at the last election – I’d hate to see them locked up!) so we will have to crank up our army of volunteers.
Anyway, a bit of Ferry Quays management committee work to do this morning, then a session with Hounslow Highways this afternoon, so I’d better go and prepare.
April 20, 2017