Red Dawn - The Lewisham Elections in Review

You think you're tough for eating beans every day? There's half a million scarecrows in Denver who'd give anything for one mouthful of what you got. They've been under siege for about three months. They live on rats and sawdust bread and sometimes... on each other. At night, the pyres for the dead light up the sky. It's medieval.
- The Colonel, Red Dawn


The high turnout for this year's general elections has wiped nearly every party other than Labour off the map in Lewisham. With Grove Park subject to a recount Labour has 38 Councillors, the Liberal Democrats have 12 and Brockley Ward's Darren Johnson stands as the only representative of any other political party in the borough.

So Lewisham politics has become a lot less colourful and diverse. Debates will be less interesting and fewer perspectives on local issues will be represented. Even Labour supporters would concede that that's a loss.

However, whether the shifting balance matters greatly to the Council's decision-making processes is less clear. The Mayor's power and autonomy means that the Councillors can do little to hold him to account.

The Mayor's re-election, therefore, is the most important story and he was returned with a massive margin, giving him a mandate to push through his most ambitious plans, in Lewisham, Deptford and Catford. The size of the victory means that he can probably look forward to a fourth term too - let's hope he doesn't need one to get some of his Grand Projets off the ground and sort out the mess that has been created in terms of both primary and secondary school provision.

But returning to our Councillors, the results still matter, because what is beyond doubt is that we have lost some great public servants, like Dean Walton and Sue Luxton and missed the opportunity to bring committed citizens like Max Calo and Patrick McGinley in to the Council.

In our view, at ward-level, the party you stand for is of secondary importance to who you are. A good Councillor works hard to represent their constituents' views to the Mayor and Council officers, to communicate the work of the Council back to constituents, to chair Ward Assemblies efficiently and to act with fairness on the committees they sit on. In this work, strong ideological beliefs or party political allegiances can be a hinderance.

Above all, Councillors need to be smart and trustworthy. We have lost some Councillors like that as a result of this election. The Green Ladywell website - an invaluable community resource - has already fallen silent. The good news is that we have not lost them to the Community. We hope that everyone who stood at this election will continue to play an active role in local life.

Which brings us to our new Councillors. All change is also opportunity. We don't know a great deal about them yet - we hope they will maintain the open dialogue that their predecessors maintained with Brockley Central readers and we look forward to hearing about their ideas for the area and reporting on their work.

The red dawn may also improve relations between Brockley, Ladywell, Telegraph Hill and Crofton Park wards, which have not been co-operating effectively as they should. Political tribalism clearly played a part in this.

Finally, where many local people believed that Brockley and Ladywell slipped down the Mayor's list of priorities as a result of going Green. This election is an opportunity to put that theory to the test - to see whether our new Labour councillors will be able to exert more influence with the Mayor on our behalf on pressing issues like crime and anti-social behaviour, improving the high street and planning enforcement.

Above all, we hope that the new Councillors will work in a collaborative way with the many passionate and active community groups that do so much for local life in our area - from Brockley MAX to the Ladywell Village Improvement Group - and together seize the opportunity created by the arrival of the East London Line, which will serve our new political landscape.

Thank you to our departing Councillors. Welcome to our new Councillors.

101 comments:

Marisa said...

I am sad too that we have lost some good local councillors, also it's a sad thing for Democracy not to have independents and minor parties on the council with different view points.

There was a low turnout In the 2006 local elections and I suspect they were probably disillussioned traditional Labour voters who were fed up of Tony Blair invading other countries and hijacking the Labour party.

love detective said...

because what is beyond doubt is that we have lost some great public servants

i'm sure a lot of people here would add ian page's and chris flood's names to those listed in the article

name said...

You don't have to be in elected office to make changes/improvements to local life. If you are truly comitted to your area, you will work with whomever to get things done.

Steve Bullock indicated on a television broadcast that he would look to the voters in determining his priorities. Take him up on his offer.Attend Local Assembly meetings, councillor surgeries, talk to people in your community.

Complaining about things on the internet is of limited effect.

If you don't turn up the you need to ask yourself how much do you really care?

Brockley Nick said...

@Name - lots of people do organise themselves locally (and use the internet to do so), but the flip side is that the Council actually has to work with these people too. To say it has a mixed record in this respect is not a party political point.

maxink said...

Love Detective is correct, Chris Flood and Ian Page were fabulous Councillors, always extremely well prepared on the subjects discussed, very hard to replace.

And Name, it's incredibly patronizing to tell people that they should think about doing community work instead of looking at what the Council does.
Where you born in Pyongyang or something?

Monkeyboy said...

The Internet has been around a while now. Blogs like this are excellent forums and reach far more people than fit in a cold church hall in November. I would turn it round and say that perhaps councilors should activley engage
here as well as encouraging traditional forums. The greens did, others (Max excepted) less so.

Good to see max back with the plebs!

maxink said...

Hi MB, back and free to call a spade a spade.

Anonymous said...

As opposed to a black man?

I josh, you're obviously not a racist. The pun was on the tip of my tongue and fingers, is all.

Welcome back.

Donkey said...

@ name.

"Complaining about things on the internet is of limited effect."

I really think you're on to something there.

Bill Ellson said...

How many of the new Labour councillors actually want to be on the council and how many merely agreed to be 'paper' candidates? I doubt if Labour will even manage a full turn-out at the Council's Annual General Meeting.

There will be bye-elections and opposition numbers will increase long before 2014.

The Cat Man said...

I'm abit confused actually, don't we re-elect councillors on a rotation basis? How does this work?

Jim Connell said...

Why does Brockley Nick take so many words of absolute waffle to say, in the immortal headline of the Lewisham Outlook (council paper) some years ago:

LABOUR WIN BIG

Not very grammatical but the message was clear.
The people of Lewisham have decided who they want to look after them as regards Councillors and MPs.

monkeyboy said...

because some people welcome a more nuanced view. Still if your satisfied with a three word summary you needn't read the whole article.

Now Then said...

@jim Connell because theres more to be said about this result, maybe, than 3 triumphalist words. What did you think about his positive analysis of labour economic policy BTW, Waffle as well?

Brockley Nick said...

@Jim - the point you wanted made was made in two words in the headline: Red Dawn. Perhaps it was too subtle.

But there are other points to be discussed too - the implications of that win. What happens next?

Monkeyboy said...

I think that's dealt with. Next.....

Donkey said...

What happens next?
Easy.
Business as usual I guess. Real change might have been brought about with a Tory Mayor, but most of the voters prefer the status quo, and will pay for it literally over the next four years. There is a deep vein of conservatism in even the so-called radicals in this country I find. They are mostly knockers and blockers, who would not have the discipline to actually take real responsibility in their hands. Budgets are going to shrink considerably, so what @name says about getting involved makes a lot of sense to me. And the whinging, the whinging, that's one thing that never changes.

Btw. What do Lewisham councillors actually do? Since we have Tsar Bullockovich to decide on all the important stuff.

Anonymous said...

I thought "red dawn" referred to the meteorologically tried and tested method, correlating the sky's hue and the degree of sheep farmers's delight. That was untill I red the so called "waffle". How wrong I was...

Anonymous said...

Where's the chinese porn spam on this blog? All the talk of 'red dawn' is making me frisky. Someone should tell her: lewishhh-ham, 'you don't have to put out a red light tonight...'

name said...

With Brock Soc, BXAG, LVIG etc its a given that people organise themselves to affect change. The fact that these groupings exist, is a comment on the council in an of itself.
With the introduction of Local assemblies the council is seeking to address the disconnect between it and the community. The council wants people, the community to work with it to deliver what THEY (the community want). If encouraging people to engage in that process, a process whereby you SEE and interact with your neighbours directly is patronising, well that's an interpretation that says more about the person making that comment than my comment.

As for this blog reaching people, yes it does reach certain people. But this blog caters for, it written by, is used by self selecting middle class, as you all know. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that. But it is NOT reflective of the diversity of the of community in which we live.

Look at the difference between the voting in the poll on this blog and what happened in local election.

My comments were about focussing on the potential positives- (people CAN acheive in their community if not elected), rather than the possible negatives (I don't like the political persuasion of the council, therefore all is lost).

Monkeyboy said...

Which demographic do local assemblies reflect? No one forum is truley representative. Whether the brocsoc, blogs or ward meetings. I suspect they all tend to attract the sharp elbowed middle class. They're all useful but you're right in that they are all limited.

It's good that the local and national elections led to a big turnout but did everyone seperate the local from the national issues? I'm not so sure

Monkeyboy said...

More importantly I've forgotton to put mushrooms in my stuffed tomatos and now feel slightly cheated. Ah well, what would Nick Clegg do in such a situation?

Now Then said...

Not have mushroom for manouvre? Coat. Got.

Monkeyboy said...

I suspect cleggy would love his dinner to be his only issue. Must be a nightmare, he could screw his career whichever way he jumps.

Brockley Nick said...

@name -

"With Brock Soc, BXAG, LVIG etc its a given that people organise themselves to affect change. The fact that these groupings exist, is a comment on the council in an of itself."

No it isn't, they might have formed because or in spite of a collaborative Council.

"With the introduction of Local assemblies the council is seeking to address the disconnect between it and the community. The council wants people, the community to work with it to deliver what THEY (the community want). If encouraging people to engage in that process, a process whereby you SEE and interact with your neighbours directly is patronising, well that's an interpretation that says more about the person making that comment than my comment."

Yes, Assemblies are good - not sure the relevance of your point here. BC does a lot to promote attendance, btw.

"As for this blog reaching people, yes it does reach certain people. But this blog caters for, it written by, is used by self selecting middle class, as you all know. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that. But it is NOT reflective of the diversity of the of community in which we live."

You make a lot of assumptions here about who reads this blog. It's likely that this blog will get40,000 visits in May. That is a very broad cross section of people, by no means all one type, as the range of discussion and level of argument shows. Remember, most people who visit never comment, they just read. More people read this site in one day than have ever been to the Brockley and Ladywell Assemblies put together.

"My comments were about focussing on the potential positives- (people CAN acheive in their community if not elected), rather than the possible negatives (I don't like the political persuasion of the council, therefore all is lost)."

The last five paras of this article were pretty much devoted to looking at the positives...

maxink said...

Name, this is a thread about the elections, to tell people that to discuss electoral results is not constructive because you should do community work instead is indeed very patronizing.

Because let me remind you your post ended with this:
"If you don't turn up the you need to ask yourself how much do you really care?"

And I take issue with that, people may be busy, or ill, or whatever, or just uninterested, but still have the right to an opinion about the local Council.
It's good to have an interest in community matters but you don't lose your civil rights if you don't.

We're now stuck with an overwhelming Labour majority and an executive Labour Mayor, this is not good and local assemblies will not change this.
This is what we used to have before 2006 and it was awful.

It's rare that Labour Councillors step out of line, when the Mayor decided to close Ladywell Pool for example none of them opposed him, at election people got rid of them, but now most of them are back, only elected in other wards where people didn't remember that they didn't represent their interests last time round.

By the way I've a member of my local assembly steering group from the start and I've been so involved with local associations in my area for so long that my wife is even annoyed by it so I won't take any lesson from you about it if you please.

Anonymous said...

Term limits for elected mayors anyone?

Electing councils yearly with tight spending limits on campaigns anyone?

would help democratise local government perhaps.

Anonymous said...

PR for local government???

Tamsin said...

No - you need the local link - and undiluted PR is a bit dangerous, look at the range of MEPs (UKIP and (?) BNP) and there would have been BNP MPs if straight PR had applied in the General election.

Just the rotation system that was mentioned earlier and not on the same day as the General Election so the canvassing and voting is on the genuinely local issues.

Anonymous said...

The observer has a summary of the different systems. Ther are various shades of PR. It's difficult to argue that what he have works unless we are happy to live with a two party system, throw in a credible third and you'll get problems.

Anonymous said...

Anon 21:40
Im talking local government here.
If the London Assembly can be elected by PR why not Lewisham Council (and all other councils)?

Anonymous said...

It's understandable that there would be a lot of debate about the local council results, given the pretty dramatic turnaround, but let's give the new councillors a chance to make their mark before we judge them.

The existence of this blog is a good thing, in that it will be able to hold them to account and report on their performance. If, as people suspect, they don't put their heart and soul into it in the way that their predecessors did, then at least we'll know about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 22:12
I'm not judging the new councillors I just feel strongly that such a massive wipeout of all opposition isn't representative of the local population or good for local democracy.
I hope a new government in Westminster reforms local government. I believe it is as broken as Westiminster and needs reform.

Now Then said...

@Tamsin. Oh dear, oh dear; I really thought we were getting somewhere with PR. Doesnt 'The Alternative Vote', as used in the Lewisham Mayoral preserve the 'local link', moreover there is'nt one system: Saint Lague, Bader-Offer, or D'Hondt (Albanian variation) or even election by increasingly hot charcoal from the Solomon Islands which would have given the BNP a sniff of a parliamentry seat. Those BNP and UKIP seats were taken when very few came out to vote i.e. Non 'critical' election days. How did the marmalade go?

Compulsive Liar said...

My name is red dawn! Googling it sent me here to this quaint roysten vasey-esque blog site. Couldn't be bothered to read all of the red dawn stuff. Seems promising at parts. Though not really sure what its all about. I'm trying to do a dave gorman, so anyone else called red dawn - let it be known or forever hold your peace.

Anonymous said...

Regarding involvement, under the elected Mayor the original constitution allowed Local Assemblies the right to put items on the Mayor's cabinet agenda.

When a local assembly decided to use that right, an individual at the meeting declared the assembly was acting illegally.....I see that individual is now a counillor.

Headhunter said...

May seem a stupid question but how do I find out who my new Councillor is? It was Dean but apparently may not be anymore. Joan Ruddock and Steve Bullock are back in of course but I want to know what happened at Councillor level...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the lack of any real visible improvement to our high street is partly why people didnt vote Green. Apart from Crofton Pk, SE4 is still looking shabby, and not in a 'trendy' East London way.

Stumbled across this web page recently on google and thought some of the responses were very interesting - shows peoples opinion of our area:

http://use4free.com/blog/is-brockley-south-east-london-safe-at-night-for-two-girls

Anonymous said...

@headhunter

Results are here

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/DemocracyAndElections/

Anonymous said...

Headhunter - perhaps try reading some of the previous posts on this very website? Just a thought ...

Tamsin said...

@ Now then. Indeed - I must read up on electoral systems. I was just passing on my other half's concerned rumblings. The mayoral system I could certainly go for. Keeps the local link and will keep out the total lunatic fringe. I do sincerely hope that in any referendum we get a chance to opt for it rather than PR from appointed party lists. My worry is that the party machines will want more central control and, under cover of "fairness", go for the system that gives it to them.

Marmalade OK, last time one lot turned out more like toffee! So much that I had to boil it up in two batches. At my son's suggestion I flavoured one lot with star anise - which I think was probably a mistake.

Now Then said...

@Tamsin. The List systems are, as you say, not as transparent as some of the others. An Aunt of mine gives her marmalade a little dash of single malt whiskey as a final 'blessing'

Anonymous said...

@ anon 9.46. Just to add to your comments, here's a pretty succint summing up those londoner's views on our little town as posted on the blog mentioned... (Have elaborated on some bits) "No don't go into brokly. One foot into se4 and you won't be seeing that foot again. Except on crime watch. Being used as some sort of crazy, criminal, sexual tool, by brockley's famously perverse ladyboys (who have a track record of attacking ONLY women). Also, if you really need to go through that most horrid of place, I recommend you invest in a gun / gang. Lots of shootings. Mostly 'cultural' occurrences according to their MP. Talking of politics, the bnp gets a few thousand votes there each election, there are only a few thousand people who live there - you do the math (s). Be safe, don't just take a taxi - take a tank. It's urban bedlam. Hell on earth. Crack dealers waiting on every pavement square - literally. Can get so crowded for all the crack. Good crack though. Bit moreish..."

Anonymous said...

Brings a new meaning to "minding the cracks in the pavement"

Lee Newham said...

I'm sorry to see some local councillors go who were good to me when I lived in Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Anon 09:46
You tell me how 6 councillors can get things through council easily then I will take you seriously.

Tressilliana said...

Anon 15.42: after the 2006 council elections Lewisham didn't have enough councillors of any one party for that party to be guaranteed winning a vote. If all the opposition councillors had got together they could stop the majority party. That's why having 6 Green councillors made a difference. Put together with the LibDems, the Conservative, the Socialists and any independents, they could ensure that Labour didn't steamroll its plans through. That's why Lewisham Council stopped planning to replace Ladywell Pool with a school long before the new pool was ready. Now it will be back to business as usual in this borough.

Anonymous said...

You can't complain about electoral reform if it means a party you don't like gets, well, proportionately represented. You're either for it or against it!

Junkman said...

I too am very disappointed to see the loss of some very committed councillors. However, the most worrying thing for me about these elections is the number of people who didn't understand the instruction "vote for no more than three candidates". More than 1 in 8 of those who voted failed to cast three votes for their councillors.

love detective said...

from what you have wrote there, it shows they understood the instructions perfectly well

you'd have to give the stats on how many people voted for more than 3 to prove your point about people not understanding the instructions

i only voted for two councilors

Mushroom Diet said...

did everyone seperate the local from the national issues? I'm not so sure

Monkeyboy, I think you're spot on. In the two days preceding there was huge media hype about the Tories getting in and betting shops already paying out on a Tory win. Those who may have voted Lib Dem or Green were panicked into tactical voting to keep the Tories out, perhaps without realising the difference between national and local...

Plus, the wait for local results was gruelling...was there any explanation for the delay? Maybe somebody was busy with a rubber and a pencil, changing the results?

I am gutted.

Anonymous said...

@love detective - the number of ballot papers rejected for "voting for more Candidates than voter was entitled to" is shown at the bottom of each results page on the council web site

e.g. see http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/DemocracyAndElections/LocalGovernment/Ladywell6May2010.htm

Tamsin said...

Speaking to one of the presiding officers at a polling station and people where apparently asking why Nick Clegg's name was not on the ballot paper!

I suppose that is what happens when democracy=America and people talk about "Prime Minister Blair".

Primus inter pares and all that - the "leadership" debates should perhpas have been split between key cabinet, shadow cabinet and spokesman representatives, leadership/home office, foreign policy and economics. But then that is not adequately "personality" driven for the media

maxink said...

Just wanted to add the name of John Russell to the list of the excellent Councillors that didn't make it.

Anonymous said...

@ Tressilliana. It seems you only want 6 extra anti-labour councillors. So long as they oppose the labour "steam-roller". Well then what's wrong with 6 BNP or english democrats instead? Otherwise all their role is to make our local council impotent. In that case, what's the point of a council? In life, there will always be a mix of ideas, with many being contradictory. The compromise in this society is to allow the majority to have the final say. Last I heard that was called democracy. Labour won with a huge turn out. The majority have spoken. Be glad they aren't BNP or tory.

Anonymous said...

Now we have a New Labour dictatorship in Lewisham they have no excuse for not getting things done and fast. If it's 4 years of inaction the whole lot should be thrown out next time round.

Anonymous said...

can someone work out what proportion each party got Lewisham-wide?

Anonymous said...

If Brockley Central likes to promote the SE4 area above all then these are our local representatives:

Brockley

* Darren Johnson (Green)
* Vicky Foxcroft (Labour)
* Jimi Adefirayne (Labour)

Crofton Park

* Jackie Addison (Labour)
* John Bowen (Lib Dem)
* Pauline Morrison (Labour)

Ladywell

* Vincent Davis (Labour)
* Helen Gibson (Labour)
* Tim Shand (Labour)

Telegraph Hill

* Paul Bell (Labour)
* Joan Millbank (Labour)
* Dan Whittle (Labour)

Anyone know anything about them?

Anonymous said...

How many good things are there that are red? My brief attempt at listing some... Tomatoes, tomato ketchup, tomato soup, tomato puree, gezpacho soup, peppers, chillies, fire engines, strawberries. Now bad things that are red... Facial achne, genital warts, sunburn, stab victim, raddish, smarties, skittles.
9 good vs 7 bad. I'd say labour are 1.29 times good as they are bad. How's that for a proportion?

Donkey said...

On and on it goes. The endless whinging.

How did the people get it soooooo wrong?

I bumped into Democracy last weekend and she told it was a bad day for her: kicking seven bells out of all the excellent candidates and letting all the 'paper' candidates from the big bad Labour Party in really made her sad.

Those pesky voters, they are all such thick plebs, why they even expected Clegg to be on the ballot, what idiots. Why do we even give them a vote, if they are not going to use it for a Mung Bean or a Trot?

And now incredibly before the poll, we even have reports of "betting shops already paying out on a Tory win." Where is this bookmakers? You have obviously never been in a bookies, Mr Mushroom. As to your risible claims of electoral fraud, I won't waste the pixels.

It's called democracy people. Get over it.

Wise Old Sage said...

Lewisham wide results were as follows:

The Labour Party 116387
Liberal Democrats 78494
Conservative Party 45944
The Mung Bean Party 32568
Community Need... 4306
Socialist Alternative 3455
Independent 1187
Defend Council... 1071
Lewisham For People... 870
Vote For Ordinary... 759
Bring Back Democracy 410

Anonymous said...

@ anon 21.08 - you use the term "dictatorship" as though the labour party have seized power through a bloody and violent coup. Need I remind you, local people just like yourself (one presumes), went to a polling station and penciled a cross besides those dictators you so detest. Whether they'd exercised sound political judgement has yet to be discovered. In the meanwhile save your hyperbolic melodrama for another issue. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

@tressilliana

you imply the new regime may put the needs of Lewisham's children and their education before that of the borough's leisure swimmers. what an outrage!

Now Then said...

@monkey. Paddy Power had already paid out on a conservative win pre polling day. They also did that on Arsenal to win the premier league in 03, so presumably this is some well costed publicity stunt. Your nearest Paddy Power if you live in Brockley will shortly be at what used to be The Deptford Arms

Donkey said...

@Now Then
I stand corrected. Though if the odds they were offering online are anything to go by (on all outcomes) it would have been a cheap (literally) publicity stunt. I did take 10-1 on Ken Clarke as next chancellor - not looking such a clever flutter today.

maxink said...

"Anonymous said...

@tressilliana

you imply the new regime may put the needs of Lewisham's children and their education before that of the borough's leisure swimmers. what an outrage!"

Let's remember that the decision to use Ladywell Pool was announced as a fall back options after the MET decided to sell the Ladywell Police Station to a developer instead of the Council.

Only that at the sub-committee of the Overview and Scrutiny on the new school shamble when the Mayor was asked about the negotiations to acquire the police station it emerged that the negotiations had never really got anywhere.

But people were told that the option was real and negotiation advanced.

Paul Bell said...

I am Paul Bell, one of the three Labour councillors for Telegraph Hill and I have been posting comments on my blog for quite some time and reading this blog since I moved to the area a few years ago.

To read some of the comments on the elections, you would think we just got elected by turning-up on election day - we did not. In Telegraph Hill, we campaigned for over a year talking to residents about their issues and concerns.

More information can be found about me at: www.paulbell.org and all three Telegraph Hill councillors at: www.telegraphhilllabour.org.uk.

I will be updating these sites over the next few weeks.

Name said...

Well this is the thing, some people are so indignant about the result they can't entertain the idea, that Labour worked hard to get the result.

Now Then said...

@Donkey I kind of liked Vince Cable at 9/2 for that as a kjnd of each way. Still running, both of them.

Anonymous said...

@name

Labour this, labour that. If you love labour so very much, go and bloody marry labour and have labour's kids and all live in a seven roomed, semi-detached labour bungalow. Jeez louise, you'd think they took over our council or something.

Now Then said...

Thanks Councillor Bell. On the matter of 'just turning up' and getting elected, I have asked Labour supporters on another thread for anything they might be able to tell about our three new Ladywell Ward Labour councillors or whether anyone has for example seen their campaign literature. Nothing so far.

Labour supporter said...

Maybe on Telegraph hill - but here in Brockley I've seen neither hide nor hair of the labour councillors

Anonymous said...

"Let's remember that the decision to use Ladywell Pool was announced as a fall back options after the MET decided to sell the Ladywell Police Station to a developer instead of the Council.

Only that at the sub-committee of the Overview and Scrutiny on the new school shamble when the Mayor was asked about the negotiations to acquire the police station it emerged that the negotiations had never really got anywhere.

But people were told that the option was real and negotiation advanced."

tell that to the kids with no school places in the borough

maxink said...

Exactly, before people looked into it the Council's line was that the police had betrayed an agreement and the only place left for a school was the pool site.
It later emerged that the Council was not considering sites for a variety of reasons not connected with suitability (including because developers had shown interest in them) and the police deal had never really existed.

By the way, that sub-comittee unhearted an awful lot of malpractice that was causing major delays to the Building Schools for the Future program potentially risking to jeopardize much of that program.
A few years have passed now and people have forgot but there was a series of embarrassing setbacks, including the incredible time when it became clear that the Council had earmarked the same building for two different uses at the same time (former Ennersdale Primary proposed as both temporary site for the new school and decanting site for Northbrook school in the funding bids for both these two projects).

If the Council in the end managed to deliver on those school refurbishments it's in large part the merit of the Council that decided to finally scrutinize the work of the Mayor and the Chief Executive and pushed them to change the way they were working.
But it took an awful lot of people's pressure to move them to do this.

Tressilliana said...

@Anon 20:53 - if we lived in an area where virtually all councillors were Tory or LibDem I would be equally unhappy. I'm not in favour of one-party government because I don't think it does much to encourage rigorous scrutiny of what the ruling party wants to do. Of course it's democracy in action that we've ended up with hardly any councillors in Lewisham who aren't Labour. It would be democracy in action if the majority of voters in Lewisham voted BNP, English Democrat, Monster Raving Loony Party, you name it. However, if you look at the total number of votes cast for other parties in this borough it's clear that Labour voters are not in the sort of majority that the number of seats gained would suggest. I think we need PR at local level as well as at national level so we get a more balanced form of government.

As for the idea that I'm more interested in leisure swimmers than education, sorry, that's not so. The reason so many people were against that plan was not just because it would have left us without a pool for several years but because the Ladywell Pool site was not a good one for a new school - too cramped, too near existing schools, would have led to traffic chaos.

Lewisham has had a huge shortfall of school places at secondary level for at least 15 years and now has a shortfall of 500 places for Reception places in September. We desperately need new schools, or at any rate new school places in existing schools. It's not easy to find suitable sites in an area that's already very built up but it's extraordinary to me that in the decade since Lewisham Education Authority first started trying to identify suitable sites for a new secondary school they haven't succeeded in getting one built.

When I was a school governor nearly ten years ago, Lewisham was looking at four possible sites - Ladywell Police station/Playtower, Ladywell Pools, Lewisham Bridge school and the Brockley site of Lewisham College (the plan then was for the College to move to Deptford). Not a single one of those has come to anything. I don't know why they've never looked at Convoys, which is the only large site in the borough that might have room. Expensive, I would imagine, but that's where central government should be intervening. You can't keep building new homes and not providing more school places.

Anonymous said...

@Paul Bell - you in the right party?

"NHS – I believe in the NHS, our greatest advancement. We must stop the creeping privatisation and the neo-liberal concept of the market in our health service.

PRIVATISATION – I believe in state ownership of transport and the water industry, along with the banking sector. PFIs and other forms of experiments with the market should end immediately in our public services."

Anonymous said...

They think it's all over....but still in Grove Park the counting continues 5 days after the election.

The BBC has a report that 300 people were 'locked out' from voting last week.

Anonymous said...

limey looks like Paul Bell is opposed to most everything the Mayor has done since 2002.

PFI's in housing and education for example.

I look forward to his contributions at debate's and in particular questions to the Mayor.

I don't think Paul will challenge that councillor who ranted about Telegraph Hill residents with rolled up Guardians, but could come a close second.

Jo said...

@anonymous 8:02

The Grove Park recount (I've heard its the third one) is scheduled to start at 11am today.

The 300 voters reported on the BBC were at Manwood Road polling station in Crofton Park. They were brought into the Polling Station and issued with ballot papers before 10pm (Lewisham council staff were telling us this at the count on Friday night).

name said...

The idea that because Labour were ELECTED and have control of the council that this means a single view on all issues in an unreasonable assumption.

name said...

The idea that because Labour were ELECTED and have control of the council that this means a single view on all issues in an unreasonable assumption.

harryhatz said...

Re The 300 voters at Manwood Rd.

Its not as straightforward as its being reported .I had arrived to vote around 7.25 and it took until 8.45 (!) to vote .At this stage the presiding officer was frantically calling for more resources as the queue was a few hundred strong .

I returned around 9.30 to see what was happening and the police were telling people they could join the queue but there was no guarantee they would vote.
It was only following argument from other voters / election agents etc - and references to calling the BBC- that it seems they called Lewisham again and the later decision was made .

Of course by then many had given up anyway.

Finally - it was NOT late arrivals causing a "surge" as has been reported elsewhere (and spun by the council) .It was clear from early evening that problems were building.

Anonymous said...

If these are the Lewisham wide results (excluding PBP) then the Council would clearly be somewhat different if it was elected by PR:

The Labour Party 116387
Liberal Democrats 78494
Conservative Party 45944
The Green Party 32568
Socialist Alternative 3455

Anonymous said...

considering the opposition near wipe out perhaps we should call our mayor Bullockini...

Anonymous said...

I hope if the Lib Dems are brought into government that they will bring in PR for local elections.

mintness said...

The Grove Park result is finally in. Two votes in it for the third and final councillor, hence the multiple recounts: Clarke (Labour) 2312, Allison (Conservative) 1937, Britton (Conservative) 1885, Moore (Labour) 1883, and then onward down the line.

name said...

Well batten down the hatches, the Con-Dem coalition is about to come into force.

Martin said...

I have to say that the new Labour (or should that be New Labour) councillors for Ladywell were not names I recognised.

Perhaps because one was campaigning elsewhere, as Labour candidate for Guildford (unwinnable in Labour terms).

Another shares a name with the daughter of former MP Ian Gibson who was caught out in the expenses scandal for letting his subsidised flat rent free to her. She may also be a Labour Party full timer for their student organisation, though it's a common enough name so maybe not, but if so she's another career politician. I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. Nothing on Vincent Davis so far.

In other wards, Jimi Adefiranye, Pauline Morrison and Jackie Addison have all been councillors before.

I suspect that Labour did better in these elections than they expected and there will be plenty of by-elections in the next few years, especially as a number of the new councillors have all stood for general election.

Labour is a ruthless electoral machine that will crush opposition if it gets the chance. A rising turnout has offered them the chance to do that, and they've taken it. The Greens probably don't have the inclination to become a machine to fight back, and the Socialists are too small locally. Though I think Labour have probably overstretched themselves, and the fact they have selected a candidate (Cllr Bell) who actually believes in some sort of socialism shows that there weren't enough party-liners willing to do it.

name said...

Were you there for the 2006 election and the Greens election machine they bussed in campaigners from all over the country?

name said...

Just saw David Cameron coming out of Buck House. Dear me, it's hard being gracious.

Martin said...

Of course they bussed in campaigners in 2006. As do the SP and for by- elections, practically everyone. That doesn't detract from the fact that Labour (and the Tories/LibDems) are primarily organisations geared to winning elections.

name said...

I just hope Cameron delivers on what he says on fairness.

Now Then said...

@name. Never mind Cameron, how about some details of our new councillors, would'nt that be fair?

Name said...

Here you go.
Give them a call, express your concerns. Work with them to get things done. That's what 'the big society' courtesy of new Tory leaders
is all about.

Initiative, enterprise...
http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/ElectedRepresentatives/Councillors/Brockley

Now Then said...

Yes Name, the names we have, but a little biog would be hepful. This is usually considered a bare mimimum, through the doors pre election. At the site you toss out two of the three Ladywell ward councillors dont even have photographs. You cant really expect to treat simple requests in this way and remain camped out on the moral high ground regarding 'fairness'

name said...

Can you explain why you expect 'biog'? What has this to do with Tory policies?
I know my councillor Jimi but I am not here to speak for him.

They have been elected, you either work with them or you don't. If you attend local assemblies, you'll no doubt encounter them and you can put your questions about campaigns to them face to face.

Now Then said...

@name, I really dont know what 'Tory policies' has to do with it. I know that this is probably a difficult evening and I cant say I'm doing somersaults with joy either. My concern is how difficult it is to find out anything about the three and their local connection/views. People have tried by all sorts of means. Theres something undemocratic about that dont you think?

Anonymous said...

If there really are going to be fixed term parliaments of four years starting now, as is being reported, then Local and Parliamentary elections will from henceforth always coincide. Bad news for the Mung Beans.

Is there anything Lempik Opik won't do to get on TV?

Anonymous said...

Anon 23:15 I think the said 5 year fixed term. At least I blooming well hope so.

Now Then said...

Lewisham has updated its Ladywell ward councillors with photographs. Helen Gibson would appear to be the 'National Secretary of Labour Students' Helen Gibson rather than the other. The M.B's will be a tough act to follow. Good Luck to her and her fellow Labour councillors.

Paul Bell said...

@Martin - for your information I had to be win a selection contest against other candidates!

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