Jul 04 2014

Council Thumbs Nose at Ex-Mayor Over Fairtrade Status

harrow_council_logoWe wrote about Harrow achieving Fairtrade status, thanks to the hard-work of past-Mayor, Nana Asante, chair of the steering group.

The Council has now published it’s own press release, with no mention whatsoever of Ms Asante’s work, letting Cllr Sue Anderson give a quote about it:

“This is fantastic news, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed and helped the borough secure Fairtrade status. This just goes to show how communities, businesses and the council can work together to achieve something really positive. The work doesn’t stop here, we will continue our Fairtrade campaign and we hope to see more businesses and communities join the campaign.”

The Council’s investigation into Institutionalised Racism found none whatsoever. Perhaps it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that it might, just possibly, want to think about running through that exercise once again, just to make sure.

Regular readers will know that Ms Asante was a a founding member of the Independent Labour Group, when it split from Labour amongst claims of racism. The administration now running the Council? Labour.

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  1. Awula Serwah

    Thanks for this.

    It would have been gracious of the Council to acknowledge the effort and hard work Ms Asante put into Harrow achieving Fairtrade status. Thanks to Linda Robinson for acknowledging this.

    Well done to Ms Asante, Harrow Fairtrade Steering Group, and all who worked on this achievement.

  2. james bird

    As it would have been gracious of Ms Asante to have acknowledged,at the Annual Meeting the effort and work put in by the hardworking and dedicated staff who had to endure such a turbulent year.The council staff had to put up with behaviour and treatment which was totally out of order from a first citizen and consort. They would do everyone a favour by withdrawing from public life for a while. I neither work for the council nor do I hold any position in Harrow but have followed the antics of this egocentric couple over the year.The voters of Edgware got it absolutely right. The ILG were interested in their own personal promotion, and lacked any ability to achieving even the lowest standards expected of serious politicians.

    1. Dame Betty

      The original post was about Fairtrade…

      It is unlikely that Mr Bird knows the inner workings of the Mayor’s Office better than Ms Asante and the ‘hardworking and dedicated staff’. The former Mayor thanked the Macebearer whose professionalism is exemplary. Ms Asante is known for her plain speaking and approachability. Ego is not a trait I have observed.

    2. N. Lathia

      Whatever is driving you, Mr Bird, to make such comments about a person who has dedicated her life for the people of Harrow. My circle of friends and associates have found the former Mayor Nana Asante and Mayoress extremely approachable and straight talking.

      I have personal experience of benefiting from Harrow Community Choir and Flash Musicals both of which are fully supported by Nana Asante. I have had mental illness issues and had it not been for the work of Nana I would still have been suffering. You, sir, comment on political issues. Is it a case of sour grape, I wonder!

      Harrow Council’s investigation into Institutionalized Racism is like asking an offender to prepare a report on the offense.

      Nana Asante & Awula Serwah please keep up the good work and do not stop tackling difficult issues, like racism, in Harrow.

    3. Eamon O'Connell

      I first met Nana Asante in the mid-2000s during the campaign to save Wiseworks ( the mental health day centre) from closure. Her valuable advice made a significant contribution to its remaining open.She has maintained her interest in mental health, as well as other subjects, since then, especially by her support for Harrow Community Choir in her mayoral year which raised substantial funds. Long may her influence continue.

    4. Nana Asante

      Pastor Rick Warren once said “Insults are the last resort of insecure people trying to appear confident in their weak position.” Thank you for all the positive messages. Public life needs people who will stand up for what they think is right and champion causes. In an age where apathy rules, we need more people to engage. Important that we do not leave politics and political action to a few, it is everyone’s business. ILG exists because there was a need. We need to stay engaged and active in order to create a society we are proud to live in.

    5. Karen

      Dear Mr Bird,
      Unfortunately for you, most of us know which staff member you are linked to. There are enough flagrant, racist bigots who exhibit ignorance beyond intelligent human comprehension. There are also those whose prejudices disable them from being gracious and honourable. The present Labour council is rife with such vindictive nincompoops. Nana Asante doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as such political idiots. She has rendered an exceptional and exemplary service to the Harrow, the community and more people than you can imagine. Most of us are better people for having her presence in this world. Unfortunately ignorance is difficult to cure and some people will just have classify under the “NONSENSE” file. Have a good day.

  3. David Phelops

    Nana Asante has been a truly dedicated Mayor of Harrow, by supporting, listening to and actively encouraging vulnerable people who need help, not only in our local community, but globally, through her passionate efforts to bring Fairtrade status to Harrow. By putting mental health and vulnerable youth at the top of her agenda, with her generous support of the Harrow Community Choir and Flash Musicals, Ms Asante has shown what can be achieved on a personal level to improve people’s lives. As director of the Harrow Community Choir, I have seen this at first hand… More power to Nana Asante and Awula Serwah…

  4. Awula Serwah

    “Insults are the last refuge of the out-argued.”

  5. Joi With An Eye

    Nana Asante & Awula Serwah did a wonderfull job for Harrow council.

    As an ordinary member of the public I really appreciate how they reached out to us & in so doing rekindled my faith in those in public life & politics.

    Thank you Nana Asante & Awula Serwah I hope others will follow your example & Harrow continues to be inclusive & forward thinking.

  6. Natalie Tobert

    Nana Asante and Awula Serwah behaved impeccably during their term in office, to the benefit of all people in Harrow, of all walks of life, and inclusive of all faiths. Neither needs to refute the way they spoke, or acted, nor about the insights suggested for discussion. It seems their insights may have struck a raw nerve among some people: time will set the record straight.

  7. Margaret McHugh

    I write to thank Nana for her amazing contribution to Harrow Council and the wider community, over many years. Nana supported the Community Choir as well as Confidence for Life. Both are close to my heart. In my experience a decent politician, a caring woman with integrity and compassion in equal measure

  8. Krishna James (@CllrKJames)

    Mr James Bird I can clearly see you have neither worked for the Council nor seen or experienced what I have for the last 6 years. It was following the Health Scrutiny chair having to resign for conflict of Interest that I became Health Scrutiny Chair. It was following split from Labour that I became portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care Health and Wellbeing. As chair of Independent labour Group and as someone who has always fought for justice and fairplay I take axception to your description of the ILG group. There has been a lot of misinformation about people who left to form ILG. It is time to put the record straight The instigators of misinformation are telling a lot by being out of the ‘Picture’. Let me tell you the status quo continued when I was surrounded by 4 police and questioned at a polling station, false allegations had been made to the police, who were dutybound to come and investigate. The people making allegations are well practised. One only has to look at the ditching of the Harrow constitution last year. The Integrity of the ILG is being questioned when they should be applauded for standing up to injustice and inequality be it racial or health ( that prevails within Harrow political parties) in Harrow the very values that the Labour party was set up for. Having been a foot soldier for countless years with support from friends and family and dedicating numerous chunks of time to Labour party most of us are dumfounded though not surprised by the behaviour of the Labour party as an institution. At the time the 8 of us had left the Labour Group not the Party….It is a massive shame that the investigation into racism never took place in the mode it needed to, both within parties and the Council at large,one can put anything under the carpet……if one wishes to. The allegations against Nana Asante are equally unfounded, she is one of the most dedicated grassroots worker I know, who stands up and for the vulnerable and most needy, for this she is pilloried,what a shame but that we in Harrow have never been able to value Diversity and Talent where we see it, racism comes in may layers and forms ask any acedemic in this field, this is the history of Harrow, I moved to Harrow from Buckinghamshire in 1976 and have seen the historical non-development especially culturally, libraries have been closed by both parties! especially the jewel in our crown the reference Library Alas now gone, a much needed resource. The spave was very valuable for thoes who needed to use it and also state of the art architecture. The former Mayor has always championed Fair Status for Harrow and it tells a lot when she is not rightfully aknowleged for all the work she has put in. We are all poor for this behavior by our so called politicians who are in charge now. It was never going to be easy for ILG to win seats but the fact that misinformation has gone around has made Harrow a very poor place, I for one while being a Marlborough Councillor was asked by the then and now chairperson Nana Asante to Lobby my buisness community.
    These are indications of discrimination for me. Some people do not have to prove anything others can never prove anything despite tremendous self sacrifice. Nana thank you for all the people you have helped over the last thirteen years, had you been a portfolio holder you would have been able to help even more, but then you and I know the internal story, some people dont have to be able to read and write but they are deemed suitable, for some reason you despite possessing a MA are not suitable. You and I need to a lot of work outside! Mr James Bird please check the true happenenings before you accuse people of being ego driven and self interested. I think the responses you have got speak for themselves.

    Readers please excuse any mistakes or shortcomings.

    Former Marlborough Councillor

    Mental Health Champion and
    END worker Rethink

    Chairman Independent Labour Group

    1. Integrity?Really?

      Krishna, I have the greatest respect for Nana Asante, but ILG, integrity? Really?

      Perhaps you can tell me why then Willy Stoodley put on his canvassing literature that he… “used his casting vote to support the expansion of Vaughan School – helping local children go to their local school and providing continuity in their education”.

      This is total tosh, trying to make himself out to be the hero of the hour and clearly a ploy to get the local vote.

      The official line from the Council is;

      “The casting vote was not applicable as there was not an equality of votes. Procedural Rule 19.2 states ‘If there is an equal number of votes for and against, the Chair will have a second or casting vote.’ The casting vote is therefore used in the event of a tie. Four Councillors voted for the application and three voted against so there was not a tie. As there was not a tie the Chairman was unable to use his casting vote and so a casting vote was not mentioned in the minutes. The minutes record the voting.”

      So is Willy a feeder of misinformation? An incompetent? A liar?

      Whichever, he doesn’t seem to be a role model of ILG’s so called integrity.

      1. Willy Stoodley

        Three Tories voted against Vaughn School. Three Labour voted for. The decision as to whether or not it went ahead therefore fell to me. I voted for it. That is minuted and is a public record. So sorry but I’m not seeing your point?!

        1. Integrity?Really?

          My point Willy is that you claim to have used your casting vote is complete tosh.

          The vote you used to approve the planning application was the vote afforded to you as a member of the planning committee. You have no right to claim the decision was down to you any more than any of the Labour Councillors.

          The casting vote is an additional vote given to the chair in the event of a tie. For instance if three Tories voted against the application, you and two labour voted for the application and one Labour abstained then there would have been a tie. You would then have had the casting, or additional vote, to allow a decision to be made.

          As the official line from the council says, the casting vote was not applicable.

          It is minuted that Councillors Mrinal Choudhury, Keith Ferry, Ajay Maru and William Stoodley voted to grant planning permission – no mention of you using your casting vote there either.

          As you have now entered the debate, perhaps you could confirm whether the claim made in the ILG canvassing literature was made;

          a) to feed misinformation,
          b) because you were an incompetent chairman,
          c) you are a liar, or
          d) did you just make a mistake ?

          Which is it Willy?

          By the way you spelt Vaughan wrong.

          1. Willy Stoodley

            I could have voted either way – I voted to grant; it went through. Had I voted against, it would not have gone through. Labour were always going to vote for it & the Tories were always going to vote against it so the decision as to whether it was granted or refused fell solely to me; so I cast my vote in favour because I wanted it to go through. Simples!

  9. Willy Stoodley

    James Bird you seem a little outnumbered!

  10. iharrow.com

    This arrived by email…

  11. Integrity?Really?

    Oh dear, oh dear, you really don’t get this do you Willy?

    We know how you decided to side with your Labour pals and vote for the proposal, we also know you could have voted for or against, but to be fair, so could any of the other members of the committee.

    However you want to spin this though the fact is that you did not have the casting vote as claimed in the ILG literature. I cannot explain a casting vote any clearer than I already have, and which the council makes perfectly clear in their statement.

    Of course it is far too much to expect you to admit to intentionally misleading the voting public or indeed that you just made a mistake – is it any wonder people lose faith in local politics and don’t bother to vote?

    Which brings me back to where this started – the integrity of ILG.

    Quite clearly, in your case, there is none.

  12. Willy Stoodley

    Oh dear, oh dear you really don’t get this do you Integrity?Really? Perhaps it’s SOOOO simple that it’s too difficult for you to understand so I shall endeavour to explain it again as I am a patient soul! If I witness 3 Members vote FOR, or 3 Members vote AGAINST, it leaves me in the position of casting my vote such that the application is either granted, or refused. This often happened while I was Chair of the Committee and a member of a third party.

    Oh and by the way – NOBODY CARES lol!!

    1. Interity?Really?

      Willy, if it massages your ego to think that your vote was the deciding vote then so be it. But you rather give the game away when you talk about “casting your vote”, because that is all you did.

      You did not use your ‘casting vote’ because there was no ‘casting vote’ needed. Unless of course you are saying the council is wrong as is Procedural rule 19.2 !

      ..and you’re right nobody cares because how many people bothered to read the ILG literature anyway. LOL !

  13. N. Lathia

    As an independent reader of these comments who does not know either Willi Stoodley or ‘Integrity?Really?’ the aim of ‘Integrity?Really?’ is to hammer it, twist it, mangle it but do what you will to [throw false accusations at Willi Stoodley!]

    For ‘Integrity?Really?’ to throw accusations [from behind a screen] is abhorrent! But to do it with words like

    “a) to feed misinformation, b) because you were an incompetent chairman, c) you are a liar, or d) did you just make a mistake?”

    Totally stinks of some really really ‘sour grapes’ [somehow/somewhere].

    And as for ‘By the way you spelt Vaughan wrong’ is worse than kindergarten stuff.

    Please check the above for spelling errors, ‘Integrity?Really?’. Thanks!
    And thanks for enlightening me on how to create a mountain out of a molehill !

  14. Integrity?Really?

    N.Lathia, if you’re happy for local councillors to falsely claim they did something which they didn’t actually do then fine I will shut up.

    But as I have proved the claim that Willy “used his casting vote” is not true, I was merely trying to establish the reason behind the claim.

    He had the option of admitting it was a mistake or perhaps he didn’t understand what the term ‘casting vote’ meant, but as he continues to admit neither, the question over his integrity still stands.

    Additionally I am not sure how long you have been following this site but Willy is well known for picking people up on their spooling and pinctuation so I apologise for sinking to his kindergarten levels.

    1. N. Lathia

      Firstly you might like to come out from behind the ‘Integrity?Really?’ LIKE ALL HONEST CITIZENS OF HARROW, before I even entertain the idea of replying to your posts!

  15. Integrity?Really?

    What difference would it make if you knew my name?

    How do I know your name is N.Lathia You could be WIlly Stoodley posting under a different name for all I know – LOL !

    If you don’t want to entertain the idea of replying then please fell free not to – it’s not compulsory. LOL LOL LOL !!!

  16. Willy Stoodley

    Yes the irony on an anonymous blogger calling themselves Integrity?Really? is not lost on me. And no it doesn’t massage my ego-quite frankly I couldn’t give a toss-I was just doing my job!

    Oh my goodness how on earth do I explain this Int. You don’t mind if I call you Int. I hope? Only it’s a lot easier to type on a G2! Int. you are talking about something completely different and trying to spin it into a libellous slight on my character-but I don’t care nor does anyone else!

    Now about Vaughan School-let me ask you a series of questions:

    Q1: Did I see 3 Labour votes in favour of grant? Ans = yes.
    Q2: Had I voted at that time? Ans = no.
    Q3: Could I therefore have kept my hand down and voted in favour of refusal? Ans = yes.
    Q4: So at that point in time do I have the power single-handedly to use my vote either to cause this application to be granted or to cause it to be refused? Ans = yes.
    Q5: In the English language is this called a “casting vote”? Ans = YES!
    Thank you for your comments N. Lathia. Shukria!

  17. Integrity?Really?

    The dictionary of the English language says a casting vote is “an extra vote given by a chairperson to decide an issue when the votes on each side are equal,”.

    Note the word “extra”.

    This is what is written in Procedural rule 19.2.

    If your interpretation of ‘casting vote’ is different then fine, but it is not the definition used by the council to define the rules of the committee you chaired.

  18. Willy Stoodley


  19. Willy Stoodley


  20. Willy Stoodley

    Int. – note the ABSENCE of word “extra” in all of the above definitions. There are loads more on the ‘net but I got bored and I didn’t want Paul’s readers to lose the will to live!
    With all due respect, Int., you’re talking about a completely different sort of casting vote, otherwise known as a second vote. I was in rather an unusual situation being the Chair and a party representative of 1, and it did leave a lot of split planning committee decisions up to me, and me alone, to decide. That is a casting vote, whether you wish to accept the fact or not!

  21. Integrity?Really?





    Note the use of the word “extra” or “additional”.

    With all due respect Willy, you may well have cast a vote which you could consider to be a casting vote. However, as the Council has stated that it uses the definition that I am quoting (in their Procedural rule 19.2), it was wrong of you to claim that you used your casting vote.

    You weren’t given a casting vote as in this instance it was not needed.

  22. Willy Stoodley

    Int, dear boy, I am not disputing that a casting vote CAN be an “extra” or “additional” vote. You, however, are claiming that it HAS to be an extra or additional vote, which quite clearly, it does not and indeed I have backed this up with evidence. Therefore I am perfectly entitled to state that I used my casting vote, because I did! The Committee Procedure Rules refer to a completely different sort of casting vote, as explained supra.

    Hopefully this time you will understand?!

  23. Integrity?Really?

    I have never said it HAS to be and extra or additional vote, I have only said that that is how the council interprets it in relation to voting on the planning committee.

    I repeat – the official line from the Council is;

    “The casting vote was not applicable as there was not an equality of votes. Procedural Rule 19.2 states ‘If there is an equal number of votes for and against, the Chair will have a second or casting vote.’ The casting vote is therefore used in the event of a tie. Four Councillors voted for the application and three voted against so there was not a tie. As there was not a tie the Chairman WAS UNABLE TO USE HIS CASTING VOTE AND SO A CASTING VOTE WAS NOT MENTIONED IN THE MINUTES. The minutes record the voting.”

    Now do YOU understand?!

  24. Willy Stoodley

    Int. you need to reread your post of 8 July! And I refer you to my most recent post above. At least now you are understanding that a casting vote does not have to be an extra vote, so at least we’re half way there with you now! So if you accept the fact that a casting vote doesn’t have to be an extra vote then it necessarily follows that you are now conceding that by definition what I did with Vaughan School was use my casting vote! Which is what I said in my leaflet. Which you have now agreed with. I have explained to you ad nauseam that Harrow Council’s Committee Procedure Rules refer to the extra casting vote, which of course they would-they don’t have to refer to the situation I was in re Vaughan School because the Rules already covered it. You are blinded by this one CPR which you clearly do not fully understand and are as a consequence getting tied up in a semantic misunderstanding failure. But don’t worry, Int., I never give up and we’ll get there in the end I’m sure!

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