Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

Councillors old and new get ready to start a new year


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

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That sly old car was kept in hospital overnight, and has come back with hip replacements (known as suspension arms) and various other things, all very expensive indeed. The suspension and air con were fine whilst in hospital and, as predicted are now not working again. I know I should get a nice Fiesta but I still like the old geezer and can’t be parted, despite the fact that my annual mileage has now dwindled to about 4000, when not so long ago I was doing 25000.

On Thursday I had an ‘end of term lunch’ with her ex-worshipfulness and our pal Councillor Louki at the Syracusa – always a pleasure. We would have liked the Melvinator to join us but he seems to have picked up a virus which makes eating a luxury to be avoided (more anon). In the evening a ‘Welcome Reception’ in the Civic Centre where all the new councillors, remoulds and retreads, meet with senior officers (and each other) to set the new administration going. In the absence of the old geezer (the car, not Mel) I am obliged to cycle to the Civic, something I haven’t done for a while. The A4 cycle tracks are the same as before – passable, in my opinion, except at the Syon Lane crossing (and of course Ealing Road, but I was going t’other way).

Friday morning I’m down at the Watermans for a meet with a resident who is having difficulty getting a student loan. We have a good chat, though it’s not obvious whether I can really help him. He is planning also to talk to Ruth Cadbury, plus I introduce him to www.thamesbank.org  - our community bank which I shamelessly plug at every opportunity.

The weekend involves a couple of splendid dinners, including one to celebrate my birthday. People ask me what I do on my birthday and I answer that in general I follow the lead of my late aunt Nini. She said her age was ’38 and sticking’, so no subsequent birthdays count.

On Saturday I drop in to see The Melvinator, who like my car is having a brief spell in hospital (in his case West Middlesex, not Capital Motors). As far as I know they are not fitting any spare parts but his digestion problems have led to a few side-effects so he’s being made to rest and have a few tests. He’s cheerful as ever, and disappointed to miss the fun coming up on Monday. He’s mainly interested in making sure he gets picked for some of his favourite committees, and I promise to do my best for him.

Anyway, after all these dinners I decide on Monday to renew acquaintance with the gym, which has been neglected during election season, however I am still sufficiently awake to take part in Labour Group AGM II – The Empire Strikes Back. This whiles away an evening with a series of votes. I’m never quite sure if these things are secret so I’ll break the habit of a lifetime and keep mum until after Borough Council on Tuesday. Everybody seems to know anyway.

Tuesday I repeat my gym exploits before going off to the Civic again to reveal all my extensive business interests (none), conflicts of interest (not really), sponsorships (I wish) etc. to be published in the Register of Members’ Interests. After that it’s compulsory training for all councillors about the code of conduct and all matters about doing the job honestly and being seen to be honest. I did get given a brown envelope at the count, but sadly it just contained weighty volumes of data and rules etc, no tenners.

When I first arrived in Brentford I sat on the seventh floor of what was then Honeywell House, gazing out of the window, as office workers will, at a building that then said it was Turriff Corporation and Badger Ltd. I had no idea what they did (something in construction, I learned later). After a few years they spruced up the building and one of our competitors moved in. They were called Wang and their service brand, imported from America, was called WangCare, which caused plenty of mirth. Mind you Bull, as we were later called, caused mirth in America too. Anyway, at some point the building became The Mille and this trip down memory lane has been because I visited the building on Wednesday for the launch of a new floor of serviced offices provided by a company called UBC. Stephen Fry from Hounslow Chamber explained how these serviced offices fit in with the incubator for new businesses he is involved in at our friendly neighbourhood university, providing the next step for new businesses once they have grown sturdy enough to leave the hatchery. He also told us how Hounslow has been shortlisted to be one of three Creative Enterprise Zones across London. Well, it’s really Brentford that has been shortlisted, and it’s rather exciting. I have to say, though, that Stephen’s presentation was but a pale shadow of the presenter who preceded him – David Brent himself (or was it just a lookalike) – who motivated us all with a dance routine.

In the evening, the Labour party branch meeting was held down in Isleworth and being good politicians we raked over the entrails of the election and criticised ourselves for not doing better. Then someone pointed out that we had won two extra seats, so that we now have 51 out of 60 and we increased our vote share in 15 out of 20 wards – including, just, Brentford – so our campaign must have done something right. We also passed some motions, as politicos will, including one about Gaza, where we are calling upon Ruth Cadbury to support the early day motion condemning the brutal attacks on mostly unarmed protesters, and to support strong concrete action to end the blockade of Gaza by both Israel and Egypt. I then partook of some strong liquor in that Isleworth tavern, the Red Lion.

This morning, Thursday, I met a resident who has some exciting ideas for improving our community engagement and civic pride – not yet announced so I’ll keep my trap shut, except to welcome the idea. I’m really pleased that in my three years as a councillor we have seen the birth of Friends of St Pauls Rec, Air Quality Brentford and the Brentford Towers Residents Association. I have also heard this week of progress towards the setup of a Watermans Park friends group. All of these initiatives are beginning to improve our environment in modest but important ways, and I think momentum is gathering. Now if I can just persuade Myra to start a Friends of Carville Hall Park….


Councillor Guy Lambert

May 18, 2018

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