Aug 05 2014

Harrow Council Fails to Respect #lightsout Event

harrow_council_logoHarrow Council promised their residents it would be supporting the LightsOut event, to remember the First World War. In a piece of PR-spin, it said:

Lights at Harrow Civic Centre will go out on today (Monday, 4th August) from 10pm to 11pm, to remember the outbreak of the First World War. Harrow Council is participating in the LIGHTS OUT remembrance event and will be lighting a candle as a moment of reflection.

So, did we see the Civic Centre in anything approaching darkness? No, of course we bloody didn’t.

One iharrow.com reader dropped by, to see if the Council might keep it’s word, and, having asked the Security Desk why the lights weren’t turned off, was met with total indifference.

Luckily, @praxisreform over on Twitter made the effort to go along, and reports that there were “enough lights left on to play football by.” He took a couple of pictures, which are below:


We’ve asked the Council to comment on what happened, and why it failed to show respect to those that gave up their lives in the war. But perhaps broken promises are the way things are going these days…

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  1. Rupika Dave

    I would be very interested in our leader Dave’s explanation for this.

    1. mike mcfadden

      Could be that far too many people working in the council don’t have any knowledge of our history or culture and no nothing of the sacrifices made for their freedom!! Too many seem to believe they are owed something for nothing. I’m afraid this will all end in tears because you couldn’t make it up. Shame on them all.

      1. the red mirror

        looks like being blown to bits or dieing in agony in a shell hole slowly filling with water for a future generation to sit open mouthed in chicken hut out of their nut on skunk doesent mean much to anybody mike but mate we remember and care and as long as at least some of us do those fearsome brave brave souls will never be forgotten .

  2. Rupika Dave

    I think you are right Mike McFadden, I resisted the temptation to say that Harrow is probably playing it safe in order not to upset the diverse community in the borough. I am Asian, and my Uncle and Grandfather fought on the side of the British and I had no problems with observing lights out yesterday. It is a shame that our Council did not see it fitting to do the same. Unlucky for us that we do not have the luxury of a leader with a conscience. This single act of observance would have gained him some respect from the local community of Harrow.

  3. Concerned Harrovian

    Does Cllr Dave work on a Monday? Perhaps he wasn’t around to issue the instruction as the security guard obviously knew nothing about it and could not have cared less. I thought Tuesdays and Thursdays were the days Cllr Dave worked.

    Who is Cllr Dave”s deputy? Why wasn’t the deputy giving civic centre workers a history lesson and issuing instructions that the public of Harrow would expect the lights event observed.

  4. Angelina

    This is a monumental mistake by the Leader of the Council. I as many others I know observed the call for light outs in commemoration of millions of soldiers who died so we could maintain our freedom. I actually find it quite upsetting that Harrow Council did not participate……….may you hang your heads in shame. An apology and an explanation is the least the Council can offer up now.

  5. Rupika Dave

    I would like to thank Praxis for actually taking the trouble to bring this to our attention. We need more people keeping close eye on this Council for us.

  6. Mike N

    Harrow councils ruling party, who have only been in power a few months, don’t seem to have endeared themselves to a lot of the residents of the
    borough and seem to be
    making one c**k up after another. Prehaps they should forget the chief exec. issue and employ a PR guru

  7. PraxisReform

    Paul picked this story up from Twitter a bit earlier than I would have hoped, so I can expand on it a little more than the few tweets he used.

    First up, there’s another picture he missed, which shows the other side of the Centre:

    Next, for probably the first time ever, I’ve actually managed to get a response out of Harrow Council, who say:
    Council spokesman: “We hold two 24-hour operations in the Civic Centre, our helpline call centre, and the CCTV operation. Some lights had to stay on to allow staff to work, alongside lighting for some stairwells. We dimmed all the lights we could.”

    Now, I know nothing at all about the size of the council’s call centre or it’s CCTV operation, but I can appreciate that if they turn the stair lights completely off, it becomes a health and safety issue with staff possibly tripping over and falling down stairs in the darkness…

    But, I wonder just how many people are actually at work in the civic centre at 10pm on a Monday night? A receptionist, the CCTV operator, surely there can’t be that many call centre staff… For me personally, if you start phoning after 9pm I assume you’re going to be telling me that someone has just died…

    So, I’m counting about a dozen rooms from the front / side views, and I didn’t even bother walking round the back to look further, although Civic 7 seems like the builders just left the lights on and cleared off home – it’s empty offices with no furniture in.

    Therefore, can anyone more experienced with the room plan of the civic centre shed any light on the matter?

    Two final thoughts:
    1) If they weren’t going to turn all the lights out, why didn’t the press release say they were only going to dim them a bit?
    2) Surely they could have turned off the big illuminated “Harrow Council” sign for the hour?

  8. sonoo malkani

    Many have felt terribly hurt by this inaction on the part of Harrow Council.Explanations only go some way to justify this basic failure to SHOW RESPECT for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.An enormously costly oversight which many will not forget!

    The whole day we were bombarded with poignant pictures and images of those brave ones and heard touching speeches from so many from Europe and the UK which seem to have fallen on deaf ears in Harrow Council.

    Just because some of our diverse communities may not have taken part in that war directly,one cannot assume they are not affected.That’s a cop-out!I thought we had always held the slogan
    “UNITY in DIVERSITY” with much pride in Harrow.

    Some from my own family may have fought in that devastating War.It matters just as much even if no one has fought from one’s own family since people all over the world were impacted greatly by what happened.

    We all salute the fallen soldiers with as much affection and hold them very dear like the rest of the community of which we are an integral part.This is home for us now.Marking our respect is a given.We ALL live here and owe so much to those who made it possible for us to live freely.

    Switching off lights for an hour collectively,was SYMBOLIC of our ONENESS in that hour,to help us remember and reflect on the enormity of what had happened a century back.Even dimming some lights or whatever would have helped.

    A sincere apology,from the heart,to the people of Harrow is well overdue from those who forgot this important duty,causing so much hurt..

    I trust our Council will,in future,pay a great deal more attention to such important community issues and accord them the respect they richly deserve.

  9. PraxisReform

    Although I can’t trace direct relatives in Commonwealth war graves until WWII, I do have a great grandfather that was gassed in the trenches (he survived, but his lungs were wrecked). However, in that research, I’ve seen an astonishing number of records of people who died, often in rather unpleasant ways, which were arguably brought about by the failure of Politicians to resolve their differences.

    Since Harrow’s Observer had expressed an interest in the pictures, I asked that they make a donation to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission(1), with the idea that Harrow Council might match it. However, what with talk of money changing hands, they seem to have become rather shy.

    But, maybe Harrow council might like to go ahead on their own with a gesture, rather than ducking, diving and arguing about who was or wasn’t responsible.

    (1) CWGC maintain the graves of the war dead, in case anyone wasn’t aware, and I have no connection with them, apart from having made use of their records many years ago.

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