Jun 08 2013

Harrow – A “Tory-led” Council?

library_book_shelfWhen Cllr Sachin Shah (Labour, Queensbury) described a recent Harrow Council meeting as “Tory-led” on Twitter I put it down to a touch of jealousy, maybe sour grapes – you know the sort of things that politicians say when they’re a bit miffed. But then I got to reading a quote from Harrow’s Conservative Group about the recent libraries and leisure contract.

“We’re uneasy…” said Cllr Susan Hall, in reference to the contract, “…and we are uncomfortable…”

Mild words, no?

However, if we cast our minds back, before the Labour implosion, Conservative Cllr Paul Osborn wrote a few words about it:

“…it’s not just the betrayal, the very term ‘privatisation’ was described in their manifesto as ‘cheap and nasty’ and nearly always ending up ‘inferior and more costly’. It’s a decision they promised they wouldn’t make, carried out via a process they say they hate.”

Cllr Hall, herself, was once on record as saying: “…the fact is that he and Labour have broken their promise not to privatise Harrow’s libraries. Labour said three times in their manifesto that they wouldn’t do it, and now they have.”

She continued, “I’m also very concerned…”

Harsh words, yes?

Does anybody detect a softening of the Conservative group in recent times here? We’ve gone all the way from “betrayal” right down to “uneasy” and “uncomfortable.”


Which brings me back to Cllr Shah’s tweet. Although the Conservatives have only two (non-voting) seats on the Cabinet, I’m wondering if now, finally, we’re going to see all councillors starting to work together, cross-party, for the good of all Harrovians (to use a Malkani-ism). Or are the Tories just going soft?

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  1. Susan Hall

    Susan Hall going soft? Now that’s a new one! It is true to say that we do want to work with colleagues from across the political divide to ensure that we have some sort of stability in the Council to enable our frontline services to be maintained, frontline services that our residents rely upon.

    My comments regarding Labour’s privatisation of our libraries still holds; it was the Labour manifesto that claimed that they would not be privatised and yet their Group Leader, David Perry, led the privatisation work! Are my group happy with the two contracts? No, especially not the leisure contract! However, sadly we have been kept away from so many documents during the past three years of Labour control that we are going to have to catch up fast now we have total access and, hopefully, we will then be able to raise more concerns and earlier about anything else going forward. I am exceptionally lucky with my group, we have some real talent to call upon when looking at contracts, finance papers and expertise and experience in many other areas – and we want to use that for the benefit of the people of Harrow.

    It has been constantly said that we are a coalition; we are not. If we were in a coalition, then I would be the Leader of the Council reflecting the size of our group (25) compared to the Independent Labour Group (9). Instead, we have stepped in to bring some stability to the council; ‘steadying the ship’ is the term I have used and this indeed has happened. The members of the new ILG have taken a lot of unjustified stick and abuse from their former colleagues; just this morning Labour Councillor Bill Phillips referred to them as ‘ this embarrassing shower’ on Twitter. We councillorsare here to serve the people of Harrow; and we should not forget that. Sadly, though, the mud slinging continues.

    We Conservatives will continue to do what we think is right for our residents. I am personally incensed by Labour’s vicious and needless cuts to our frontline services: we will see even filthier streets, our parks not being locked, dog mess bins scrapped,and potholes in greater abundance. Labour’s cuts to the environment department are a complete disgrace and I, and my Conservative colleagues, will continue to shout about it until someone listens and adjusts funding appropriately. This, I must make clear, is not the fault of the staff; it is purely down to the poor choices made by the previous Labour administration which cut services even as they increased our Council Tax by 2%.

    The Conservatives will continue to monitor the situation – and we will continue to speak up robustly to challenge things that we don’t think are right. Be assured, ‘soft’ is not a term I generally recognise when holding elected officials to account!

  2. Mike Bradley

    I don’t know if the Tories are going soft; most probably they are, like all politicians, trying to make the most of their opportunities, such as they are. What they should be doing is getting together with the other parties to tackle the serious problem of public apathy, typified by pitiful turnouts at local elections.

  3. ricky123

    I dont think Cllr Hall is going soft by any means, she has never been soft. I was at the Cabinet meeting last Thursday, that was the most transparent cabinet meeting I have been to by far. Cllr Hall and Cllr Macleod asked some very good questions which the portfolio holders responded to. At least now they can ask questions and see documents etc. It seems now they are all working together for the good of the Borough instead of just towing the party line. By the standard of the cabinet meeting and the way it was conducted I think the new administration with Cllr Hall will do more in the next six months than the last Labour administration did in three years. All this mudslinging should stop now and let i Labour get on with the Job because I think they are here to stay and Labour should concentrate on trying to win the next election.

  4. john hobbs

    My Tory councillor said he couldn’t push my objection to Harrows stealth camera at Wealdstone station as it may upset labour!!! whos ward it comes under as he wouldn’t like it if they did similar to him ,My flaber has never been so gasted , many of his elderly and infirm costituents are being caught on this and having to pay up to £110 fines . J P Hobbs .

    1. John Hobbs

      My MP Bob Blackman has been asking on my behalf for several months for the statistics on Harrows stealth camera at the front of Wealdstone station there is no legal drop off point and many elderly and infirm people are getting fines up to £110 .
      I have also asked Michael Lockwood myself to no avail . I am being passed from pillar to post .

  5. john hobbs

    Please see BBC one tonight 7.30 Harrow is the Champion for stealth cameras . 12 – 06 – 13

  6. John P Hobbs

    Harrow Civic Centre should be renamed Harrow Mafia.com .

  7. john p hobbs

    Guess what ? I had my pocket picked between getting of a bus beside one of the stealth cameras and walking to my opticians near the second camera at 10.30 am .
    The police took details and said they would check the cameras but they didn’t think there was much point , they were right nothing seen on camera ,!!!! sorry that’s it investigation over .
    I must say the police were very kind and supportive and gave me a lift home as my bus pass was one thing taken .
    I bet the camera didn’t miss any OAPs being dropped off at the station ,
    I wonder if the fines are linked to the fat cats bonuses ?

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