Tuesday 20 May 2014

Did David Cameron Mess Up Or Was He Deliberately Trying To Mislead Residents About H&F’s NHS?

Mr. David Cameron looking uncomfortable
in H&F as he talks about the new
new clinic that he wants to replace
Charing Cross Hospital. He kindly
pledged we could call his proposed clinic
"hospital" - although it isn't,
it's a small clinic.
A leading Conservative politician in his fifties recently told me he thought David Cameron was the most “policy-light” Prime Minister of his life time. Mr Cameron’s blasé approach was again on show last week when he made a last minute, change-of-schedule and rather panicky election visit to Hammersmith and Fulham – commonly known as “Cameron’s favourite council”.
It has apparently come as a surprise to Mr. Cameron that the public have seen through the Conservative/Lib-Dem government’s plan to demolish Charing Cross Hospital and replace it with a GP-led clinic just 13% the size of the former hospital. Rather cunningly the government and our local Conservative run council have agreed to call this new clinic a “hospital” - which I guess they must have thought would do the job and get them through this controversial hospital closure. It hasn’t and residents are rightly furious.
This is the deal Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative councillors signed up to.
They know what they’re doing is wrong. They put the attached letter (click to view) out on the 8th October 2012 criticising the government’s proposals which have barely changed. Back then Conservative councillors rightly wrote:
  • “Charing Cross Hospital’s A&E department would close, as would the hyper-acute stroke unit, intensive care, all surgery, and all major functions.
  • The nearest A&Es would be at Chelsea & Westminster and St Mary’s, Paddington.
  • Only the Urgent Care Centre and some local functions would stay at Charing Cross.
  • It is likely that the entire site would be rebuilt, with three-quarters of the land sold off and redeveloped as blocks of flats.”
This is what Conservative
councillors were telling residents
before they switched sides
That letter went out two months prior to a journalist telling me how they had briefed him that they planned to leave the residents-led, cross-party Save Our Hospitals campaign.

H&F’s Conservative councillors formally switched sides two months later on 7th February 2013 and became the only council in London to actively support the hospital closures. 

As you can see here, they then set about bombarding local people with tens of thousands of pounds of tax payer funded propaganda falsely claiming the Charing Cross Hospital has been “saved” and that our A&E has been “retained”. Mr Cameron’s emergency trip to our borough was no more that the latest chapter in this long line of subterfuge.

It’s not the first time David Cameron has taken this unusual approach for a British prime minister. In 2010 he said that H&F Labour’s exposé on the Conservatives' plans for social housing were “appalling lies”. I wrote and challenged him – he didn’t respond but within a year the Conservative/Lib Dem government he leads had introduced everything we said it would and our local council had confirmed proposals to demolish hundreds of council homes - which is what David Cameron had wrongly claimed we were lying about.
On the last occasion I took the view that David Cameron hadn’t been on top of the subject and didn’t know what he was talking about. This time, it really is very hard to give such a generous assessment of the reasons Mr. Cameron blatantly tried to misinform the residents of Hammersmith and Fulham.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Addison

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Addison. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Adam Connell
Adam was born in London and moved to Addison after graduating from the London School of Economics. He became involved locally by campaigning against the sell-off of the Milson Road Health Centre - raising a petition against its redevelopment into an oversized property development. Adam determined to stand for election when similar proposals to demolish Charing Cross Hospital were backed by his three local Conservative councillors.
Adam is a human resources manager for a leading supermarket group. He is keen to use this experience to make the local council more efficient and take a better approach to customer service.
Sue Fennimore
Sue has lived in H&F for over 30 years. She is a governor of two local schools and was elected by all the parent governors in the borough to represent them on the Council's Education Select Committee. For the past twelve years, Sue has volunteered for the Youth Offending Service, working on restorative justice with young people who have become involved in the judicial system.
Sue also volunteers for the Hammersmith Winter Night Shelter for the homeless, which has seen a dramatic increase in use over the last two years. She has two children and lives in Shepherds Bush.
Khafi Kareem
Born and raised in Hammersmith and Fulham, Khafi serves as a special police constable and a school governor. Khafi has lived, worked and volunteered in France, Italy, China and America and speaks five languages (French, Italian, Yoruba and British Sign Language as well as her native English). She is a Multilingualism Ambassador for the British Council.
Khafi believes there should be opportunities for everyone to achieve their ambitions to build a better life. She is keen to reform local housing policies so new homes to buy or rent are available for residents rather than investors.

H&F Labour's Candidates For North End

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for North End. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Daryl Brown
Daryl is Irish and has lived with her husband and three children in the borough for 25 years. She is excited at becoming a first-time grandmother. Daryl has been a North End councillor for the last four years and is standing as a councillor again as she thoroughly enjoys meeting and helping people and wants to continue fighting for local residents.
Daryl teaches at Hammersmith & West London College. She has been actively involved in the Save our Hospitals, Save Earls Court and West Kensington and Gibbs Green campaigns.
Larry Culhane
Born in Hammersmith, Larry has lived in the borough his whole life. Since 2010, he has worked mentoring students at Phoenix High School, where he also serves as a governor. In summer months you’ll find him volunteering at Shepherds Bush Cricket Club, coaching 5-16 year olds.
Larry says: “I’m appalled Conservative councillors have refused to listen to residents and fight for Charing Cross Hospital. They gleefully approve luxury properties aimed at overseas investors, forcing young professionals and local residents out of our borough. I hope to give residents their voice back on May 22nd”.
Ali Hashem
Ali Hashem grew up and still lives in North End Ward, where he has campaigned on health, housing, youth and enterprise issues. He is a management consultant and community organiser and leads a voluntary team which won the Faith Forum for London Hope and Peace Prize for pioneering work in social enterprise.
Ali works with charities, social enterprises and NGOs and hopes to use his experience to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the council. He is a keen cyclist and last year cycled from the Netherlands to London, raising over £1,800 for the homeless and disadvantaged.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Fulham Reach

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Fulham Reach. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Iain Cassidy
Iain has worked for local MP, Andy Slaughter, for over five years from his office in Greyhound Road. As Andy’s Senior Caseworker, he has helped many of the poorest and most vulnerable local residents affected by the policies of the Conservative-run council.
Before working for Andy, Iain volunteered with young people with learning difficulties in his native Scotland and has also volunteered with Age UK in Brentford and Isleworth. He is a keen cyclist and wants to improve the borough’s cycling infrastructure to make it safer for cyclists of all ages.
Vivienne Lukey
Vivienne has lived in Fulham Reach on Ellaline Road since 1984. She was a hospital social worker and social services manager for 30 years, where she had a lead role in supporting victims of the 7/7 London bombings. She is a founder member of Save Our Hospitals.
Vivienne is Chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Mind, the local mental health charity. A governor of Bayonne Nursery School for over 20 years, she is also a governor at James Lee School. She serves on the Fulham Reach Crime Panel. Vivienne loves the area, especially the local river walk.
Guy Vincent
Guy has lived in the borough for 35 years, most of that time practicing as a solicitor in central London. For nearly eight years, he ran a legal practice with a turnover of more than £30 million. He was a director of Hammersmith & Fulham Homes, the company responsible for renovating and upgrading the social housing in the borough.
Guy has been a governor of Woodlane High School for many years. He is an active supporter of the Save Our Hospitals campaign.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Fulham Broadway

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Fulham Broadway. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.
Ben Coleman
Ben has lived over 20 years in the borough, where he runs his own communications business. He is a governor of Queensmill School for autistic children in Fulham and was a governor for eight years at Jack Tizard School for disabled children in Hammersmith, playing Father Christmas every year. He helped found the Big Splash charity for disabled children and their families in west London.
An ardent supporter of small firms, Ben is on Labour's national Small Business Taskforce. He says, “We need to stop North End Road being swamped by betting and loan shops and get it thriving again.” He speaks French, German and Spanish.
Alan De’Ath
Alan lives in Fulham and is Head of Year at a local secondary school, St Thomas More Language College, where he has overall responsibility for the pastoral care and academic progress of the students in his year group. Alan has run basketball and cricket clubs for young people and is currently managing the school’s football team.
Alan has volunteered for the Scouts and for the mental health charity Mind. As part of the National Citizenship Service, he has mentored 16-17 year olds. Alan is a passionate Chelsea FC fan and enjoys watching Formula 1, reading and walking.
Sharon Holder
Sharon is proudly of Caribbean descent and was born and bred in Hammersmith and Fulham. She lives with her husband and two children. Sharon worked as a home help and housing caretaker before going on to become a national trade union official.
Sharon feels strong loyalty to the area and very much wants to represent residents’ interests. She believes local housing policies need drastic change so residents can afford to buy or rent new homes, which are currently being targeted at overseas investors. She is determined to fight for Charing Cross Hospital and protect our local NHS.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Ravenscourt Park

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Ravenscourt Park. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Jasmine Pilgrem
Jasmine has lived and worked in Ravenscourt Ward for 30 years. She ran her own music management company for 20 years and now works in arts administration for a local theatrical agency. She is married with two children.
Jasmine has been an active member of her local residents’ association and other amenity groups for many years, successfully campaigning on conservation, heritage, development and planning issues. For the last two years, Jasmine has campaigned with Save Our Hospitals against the downgrading of local hospital services. This inspired her to stand as a Labour council candidate.
Rowan Ree
Rowan has lived in Ravenscourt Park since moving to London as a student, initially in Verbena Gardens and now in King Street. He is a governor at Wendell Park Primary School.
An economics graduate and postgraduate, Rowan works as an adviser to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). A regular in the Cross Keys pub on Black Lion Lane, he enjoys walking along the banks of the river and visiting the ward’s excellent restaurants and cafés.
Alexandra Sanderson
Alexandra lives along King Street near Ravenscourt Park, where she likes to feed the ducks. She is a governor at Flora Gardens primary school and has been active in the residents-led Save Our Hospitals campaign.
After studying Archaeology at Durham University, Alex volunteered in locations from Lourdes to her native Bristol, working with children, the homeless and the elderly.  She is now senior manager at a charity that works to promote good money management.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Avonmore & Brook Green

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Avonmore and Brook Green. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Hannah Barlow 
Hannah’s family has lived and worked in Hammersmith and Fulham for many year and she has lived in Avonmore and Brook Green for the last two years. She works as a health consultant and cares deeply about public health. 
Hannah is standing because she is passionate about protecting and defending our schools, hospitals and other services now and for our future. In her free time she enjoys a cup of tea in one of the local cafes or a jog in Bishops Park.
Michael O’Sullivan
Michael was born in Hammersmith and Fulham and has lived here proudly for 20 years. He runs two businesses and hopes that his experience as an entrepreneur will benefit the council. He wants to bring a fresh perspective and an expert understanding of how to maximise income while reducing expenditure and waste. 
Michael is a keen supporter of Charing Cross Hospital and will fight to prevent the scandalous plan to close it. He understands what local people need and will work tirelessly to ensure our borough is a better and more inclusive place. 
Zarar Qayyum
Zarar has lived in Hammersmith & Fulham for over 15 years. He runs a welfare-to-work company, specialising in improving people’s skills and getting them into sustainable jobs. He has worked for public, private and third sector organisations.
Zarar has a proven track record of combatting youth unemployment in Hammersmith and Fulham and across west London and of partnering with local volunteer and community groups to tackle barriers to employment and economic regeneration.  He feels particularly strongly about the closure of A&E at Charing Cross Hospital and has been actively campaigning to stop its demolition.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Hammersmith Broadway

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Hammersmith Broadway. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Michael Cartwright
Mike Cartwright has been a councillor since 1992 and served as cabinet member for the Environment for eight years. His main interest is in planning and he is looking forward to making changes so that developers no longer drive the planning system and residents can be fully involved in the planning process.

Mike takes a keen interest in education and is a governor of two of the Borough's outstanding schools, Sacred Heart High School and Larmenier and Sacred Heart Primary School. He is also a Justice of the Peace, sitting at Hammersmith Magistrates Court.
Stephen Cowan
Stephen has represented the area for sixteen years. He enjoys working with residents to get things done. Over the years he has, introduced the 20 mph Grove Home Zone, successfully campaigned to overturn ward police cuts, supported residents objecting to developers’ oversized property schemes and negotiated  thousands of pounds in extra compensation for hundreds of his constituents when they were let down by a utility firm.

Stephen is the Borough’s Leader of the Opposition. He runs his own management and negotiation training business and lives with his wife and two children. Stephen enjoys cycling and going to the cinema with his family.
PJ Murphy
The energy, diversity and vibrancy of Hammersmith Broadway attracted PJ to live in the ward 14 years ago. He has served you as a councillor for the past four years. PJ is a senior manager in a leading insurance company.
Charing Cross Hospital trained members of his family to become doctors and has cared wonderfully for his family and friends over many years. PJ strongly believes this is our hospital, serving our community. He will continue to fight to stop it being demolished and sold off for expensive housing for overseas investors.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Shepherds Bush Green

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Shepherds Bush Green. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.
Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones has represented Shepherd's Bush Green ward for the last four years, having been heavily involved in community campaigning in Hammersmith and Fulham for more than a decade. He has supported residents in opposing the closure of the borough’s A&Es and the Conservative council’s flawed sell-off of a large part of Hammersmith Park. 
Andrew is a university professor in London, teaching and researching the economy, environmental studies and urban regeneration. He has served as a school governor in primary and secondary schools in the borough.
Natalia Perez Shepherd
Natalia has lived in Hammersmith for nearly ten years. She loves Shep herds Bush Green – its multicultural riches, its small independent shops and the market. She works in the advice and charity sector, helping residents who facing homelessness and other hardships.  
As a mother of a 31-month-old toddler, Natalia greatly values Hammersmith Hospital children's ambulatory service. The Conservative council’s support for hospital closures inspired her to become a Labour candidate to help protect our local NHS. 

Mercy Umeh
Mercy has lived in Shepherds Bush Green for 38 years and managed her own café in Shepherds Bush Market for 14 years. She loves the area because it is diverse and full of character. Her children attended the local primary and secondary schools. 

Mercy wants to ensure residents are fully consulted about the redevelopment of Hammersmith Park and BBC Television Centre. From her own experience as the mother of a sick child, she knows that Hammersmith Hospital’s A&E is excellent and is dedicated to the fight to keep our hospitals open.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Askew

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Askew. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Lisa Homan
Lisa has lived in the borough for over 30 years, representing Askew since 2006.  Among her achievements, she has got new play equipment for local parks and exposed the council’s entrapment of drivers in Askew. She is the shadow cabinet member for Crime & Anti-Social Behaviour and is active on the Transport, Environment and Residents Services Select Committees. 
Lisa is a trustee of the local Citizens Advice Bureau and was a school governor for 13 years. A former Cabinet member for Housing, she is concerned about the lack of affordable new homes for residents. Lisa is married with one daughter. She rarely misses a Chelsea home match and enjoys running.
Caroline Needham
Caroline was born at Queen Charlotte's hospital a few months before Labour created our great NHS. She has lived in the borough for 40 years, seven of them in Askew, representing the ward since in 2010. As the shadow cabinet member for Education and Children's Services, she has campaigned for better education for all our children.
Caroline became interested in social justice as a welfare volunteer in Shepherds Bush Market. She has run services in the voluntary sector and local government. Her last job before retirement was managing social policy research for Help the Aged - a good preparation for later life!
Rory Vaughan
A Shepherds Bush resident, Rory has lived in the borough for the past 16 years. He has been an Askew councillor since 2006 and is a school governor at Pope John in White City. As the shadow cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, he has helped lead the fight against plans to close the A&Es at Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals. 
Rory works as a financial regulator and his hobbies include football, reading and travel. He is married with two children.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Wormholt And White City

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Wormholt and White City. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.
Colin Aherne
Colin lives in Wormholt & White City Ward, where he has been a councillor since 1986. He has been the Chair of governors of Wormholt Park Primary School for nearly 30 years, working closely with the headteacher and other governors to provide the best possible education.
Colin enjoys an enviable reputation for being a hard-working councillor who has helped hundreds of people over the years. He would welcome the opportunity to continue to serve his community as one of their councillors.

Sue Macmillan
Sue is a Governor at Wormholt Park Primary School. She works As Commercial Director for a leading parenting advice website. A long-time campaigner, she has led campaigns for Labour all over the country. In her spare time she enjoys both watching and playing football.

Max Schmid
Max has lived in the Borough for eight years and has been a councillor for Wormholt & White City since February 2013, following the tragic death of Jean Campbell. Max has just completed a four-year term as a governor of the borough’s Queensmill School for autistic children, which is moving into the ward.

Max works for an environmental charity that advocates on behalf of some of the world's most vulnerable communities. He is H&F Labour’s “cost-cutting tsar”, charged with identifying wasteful Town Hall spending to free up resources for services for residents.

H&F Labour's Candidates For Collage Park and Old Oak

Here are some details about H&F Labour's candidates for Collage Park and Old Oak. You can find your polling station by putting your post code into this link.

Elaine Chumnery
Elaine Chumnery has been a councillor since 2010 and lives in College Park and Old Oak, with her 11-year-old daughter. Elaine is an active councillor and works hard for those who need support. She sits on numerous bodies, including the Old Oak Housing Association and the Old Oak Primary School governing body.  

Elaine has a keen interest in children's services and has served on the scrutiny committee for four years. She has worked for local government for nearly 12 years and brings a wealth of knowledge about how to deliver services effectively and efficiently to residents.

Wesley Harcourt
Wesley has been an elected Councillor for College Park and Old Oak Ward for 20 years. He is the shadow cabinet member for the Environment and a member of the Planning Applications Committee. He is also Chair of governors at the Good Shepherd RC Primary School and a governor at Phoenix High School.

Wesley works for a charity that provides support to legal advice centres and is a trustee of the local Citizens Advice Bureau. He is a keen photographer and in his spare time can be found digging his allotment.

Sunday 11 May 2014

London Live TV: Larry Culhane On Supporting Young People's Aspirations

Last week the Standard's new London Live TV channel asked the main political parties contesting H&F's local elections to take 60 seconds to set out what they will do for young people should the public vote them into office. You can watch Larry Culhane, who is one of our three excellent candidates for North End ward, make his debut TV appearance and set out our case here.

Larry quite rightly identified how young people's concerns and priorities are often brushed aside and how that will change if he is one of the team elected into office in 11 days time. You can watch the other parties' responses too by following the links underneath the Larry's appearance.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Feathers Fly As H&F Conservatives’ Chickens Come Home To Roost In the Run Up To Save Charing Cross Hospital Day

The Charing Cross Hospital commemoration plaque
On 22nd May 1973 Her Majesty the Queen opened Charing Cross Hospital. In what is an encouraging incidence of serendipity, the local elections that will decide its future will take place 41 years later to the day on Thursday 22nd May 2014. May 22nd is Save Charing Cross Hospital Day.
H&F’s Conservative councillors are more than a little rattled by this. They have come in for some acute criticism from residents – many of them usual Conservative voters who have switched to us for this critical election.
Other Councils have used their legal and planning powers to save their local hospitals. But H&F Conservatives voted to support the demolition of Charing Cross Hospital and to sell off the majority of the site. They propose to leave the Borough with what will mostly be a GP-led clinic, just 13% of the size of our hospital. You can read more about that here.
I guess H&F’s Conservative councillors calculated that if they spent enough council funds on propaganda they could fool most of the people most of the time. They couldn't. It’s now fifteen months since they left the residents-led, cross-party campaign to Save Our Hospitals and put out the first of many tax-payer funded council leaflets falsely telling residents they had “saved” Charing Cross Hospital.
So how do they explain all that to voters now?

Conservative council leader
tried to deny this untruthful
leaflet was from H&F Council
Surprisingly, at the Fulham Society hustings on Wednesday night Council Leader Nick Botterill (Con) took the unusual approach of publicly questioning whether this attached leaflet (I brought a copy with me) was anything to do with him or H&F Council. That was ill-judged considering he spent £20,000.00 of public money posting it to every household in the Borough and many in the audience remembered getting it. That approach is clearly not going to work.
H&F Conservatives’ next tactic is not to talk about what they plan for Charing Cross Hospital at all. So, they have put out literature (which they have paid for this time) falsely telling people H&F Labour will put up council tax. They know that’s not true and have said as much to me privately. For the last year my colleagues and I have been publically campaigning to cut council tax, cut waste and tackle many of the Conservatives' £64.5 million of stealth taxes. We’ve said it on thousands of pledge cards and leaflets and here, here, here and many times more.
They are failing to convince people of that too so are now saying H&F Labour supports the tube strikes. We do not. Indeed there is an RMT activist, presumably a strike organiser, helping H&F Conservatives' attempts to stay in power in this Borough by standing for election against us in a Labour ward.

I suppose it’s easy to understand their desperation. Our Conservative councillors chickens are coming home to roost. People are really angry.

Our long standing promise to cut council tax
The Charing Cross Hospital demolition proposals have put lives at risk. If the A&E goes it will mean ambulances will be stuck in traffic to Paddington or Chelsea. Losing 450 acute care beds will mean the local NHS will not be able to cope.
This cannot be allowed to happen.
As The Independent reported, ”Hammersmith and Fulham council is the only council out of 11 in London affected by the hospital closures to have supported them".
If elected in three week’s time, my Labour colleagues and I will cut council tax, cut £20 million of waste and modernise council services. We will give residents new powers to influence their neighbourhoods on planning and other matters and will ensure homes are built for residents and not overseas investors.
22nd May is Charing Cross Hospital Day. If residents use all 3 votes for Labour’s council candidates, then the very next day they too will have a Council committed to saving their hospital and defending the local NHS. Just like others across the country whose councils have already saved their local hospitals.