On Tuesday I noticed a beautiful pair of blue eyes, so I took a photo;
I then thought; “with eyes like that, her hair must be stunning”…OMG
Leonardo, seems to be back, took a hiatus maybe, went to ‘sarfend’ for a break, I dont know, but he’s back. Brightening up our day’s, daubing up every bit of female flesh that appears to be exposed, on bus-stops up and down the land, well at least up and down the East India Dock Road……….Sorry I got away with myself a bit there.
Anyway this time hes Banksy-ied up the bus stop (east-bound) across the road from All Saints Church, next to the DLR station on East India Dock Road in Poplar.
Thought that this had ended but it seems that ‘Leonardo’ is out there still. Passing along East India Dock Road, I noticed that his fine art additions to our vibrant community are still confusing the residents of Tower Hamlets.
This time, it seems hes actually trying to paint what looks like a burqa over the female form. The game is still afoot, he’s definitely still out there, if you see him, or his fine art skills take a photo, or contact me and I’ll take one for you.
Got to the rally today in Stepney Green Park about 30 minutes late, and wandered around talking to people I met, some I already knew others through friends.
I was complaining that I thought the sound system was a bit crappy, and then asked someone if Council Leader Helal Abbas has spoken yet?
Two ladies holding collection buckets for ‘Unite Against Fascism’ told me that he’d already been on and had apparently been booed off stage.
I asked why, and they told me that this was because of him banning the conference at the Troxy. I told them that I didnt think he’d banned it, and that it was because of people pressure. Playing dumb I told them that I’d heard there had been some sort of conference or something that had been going on that had caused some controversy.
One replied no, going on to say that;
“The EDL were going to attack the Troxy, just because there was a muslim conference there”
I then told them I thought it was going to be a protest not an attack. Telling them also that I done some minor research, and found some quite disturbing statements about some of the speakers, none of which i knew the truth of. The first I reiterated that I’d read that one of the speakers, seemed to condone violence towards women, and another called for the death of homosexuals.
Then one of these women just looked at me and walked away, the other then started to argue her position that we;
“live in a country of free speech,”
and kept parroting on about the evils of the EDL. I could see all of her points about the EDL, but to be honest it felt like some party political broadcast.
For an hour or so I watched speakers get up and make some excellent speeches regarding unity, rascism, jobs, and some other great debatable topics. Sorry if this was rather short, I was more engrossed in the people in the crowd, talking to them and getting their views, and sampling the gorgeous bombay mix that people were selling with salad and lemon juice i think. One thing I would say is that I thought the sound system for the rally in stepney park was poor, and I had trouble hearing most things said.
Later on, I watched George Galloway walk off stage, where he was called over by a young asian guy. I overheard this young guy, state;
“George, why dont you tell them what happened this morning?”
George replied “what?”
and the young guy went on;
“Two white men, raped a muslim woman in Roman Road this morning”
George just walked away, and one of the stewards in the yellow jackets, told the young guy;
“Dont say shit like that!”
I was at a loss, realising that the bullshit hailer was in full swing today.
I then followed the march out of the Park, up the road, left down Jubilee Street, right onto Commercial Road, right onto New Road, then left down Whitechapel Road past the mosque, and finally into Altab Ali Park.
At the park I watched everyone gather into a peaceful group , packing the park, and all united against the EDL. Then I heard ‘Lutfur Rahman’ speak, he went into a long diatribe about the Troxy, and what was going to be a peaceful islamic conference, informing us that this was cancelled by our Council. That the council had no right to do this, and we must boot out these people and vote for strong leadership for our borough. Thats when it finally hit me, thats when I finally realised two things.
One that ‘Lutfur Rahman’ supported the Islamic Conference and apparently by castagating the council in this way, that this was an admission that he could see no harm in allowing this type of ‘hate speech’ (if the allegations are true) into the borough, and Two, that what I was witnessing was not solely about the EDL, it was about voting for our new soon to be elected Mayor. I also understood that most others there in the park today, could not see what I could, maybe I’m alone in this, maybe my suspiciouns are wrong. Maybe there all paranoid delusions, maybe I’m sullied by my own twisted mind, but I felt dirty then, like I’d been used.
Galloway who came on next talked, and although I’ve admired the guy in the past, I could not hear him because I was lost in my own thoughts (luckily i recorded the whole speech), and I think Abjol Miah came on next. Then we were all told to go home. What a waste, a few thousand people, that went nowhere, what did we achieve but a short walk through East London, shouting out our unity against percieved rascists attacking the borough.
After taking in the excellent Brick Lane, and gorging myself on an even better Indian meal, I made my way home. I’m now sitting here typing this and flicking through the news channels. I’ve not watched every channel, but havent noticed any reports on this apart from Press TV, an Iranian news channel that managed to attend, but apparently the BBC couldn’t be bothered. At the moment I’ve not seen any reports either online regarding the rally or its substance. So really what was the point? Did we achieve anything but have a peaceful wander through East London all under the banner of anti-rascism, all standing together. Or did something more sinister occur, was this in fact a political rally, organised by members who’s sole concern, could in fact be the upcoming Mayoral elections?, and dressed up in such away, that some speakers present came across as the saviours of Tower Hamlets?
Whos really stirring up racial tension in Tower Hamlets at the moment? Is it the EDL who publically declared their protest against Extremist Hate Speech at the Troxy to be cancelled, when the council pressurised the venues owners to call off the event.
Why are the Unite Against Fascism Groups, still calling a march that could inflame tensions in the East End?
What really happened on Tuesday night at the Grave Maurice pub on Whitechapel Road? Were the EDL really there?, were these people really that stupid enough to really turn up with just 20 people and start attacking pakistani stall holders in the most concentrated asian heart of the entire borough?
The Respect Party, claims in their article English Defence League fascist thugs bring violence to Tower Hamlets that they have eye-witness testimony to a racial attack (the only eye-witness testimony I can find) at the scene on Tuesday when
“Dilwara Ali was getting off a bus to do some shopping in the Whitechapel market when she saw a group of white men shouting insults about “Pakis” and “We are the EDL”. Then she saw them attack the stallholder before being chased back into Whitechapel station. A number of police vans arrived and police drew batons, allowing the EDL thugs to proceed through the station and back on to a tube train.”
Just wondering if this is the same Dilwara Ali who stood as Respect Party Candidate for St Katherines Ward this year, and lost to two labour, and one conservative candidate. Now that would be an amazing coincidence wouldn’t it?
Why are there no other reports from other sources regarding this ‘Dilwara Ali’? Surely an attack of this sort, that apparently inflamed local people to surround the Grave Maurice pub that day would have been reported in the local press?
IndyMedia at 6pm on Tuesday put out an “Urgent Message” telling its readers that the EDL were in Barking earlier that day and that they;
They punched Muslims, threw eggs and pork meat at Muslims. They have now gone into Whitechapel. If you live in East London defend your Muslim friends and neighbours in case the EDL attack.
I can find no evidence of egg slinging or porkmeat, but there is evidence of an attack on muslims;
which shows men dressed in black shouting ‘EDL attacking a group of protestors at a march for Allied Forces in Barking that afternoon. These protestors are reported to have
“shouted ‘murderers, murderers, murderers’ and ‘British troops go to hell’ as members of the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment paraded down the streets of Barking, Essex.- British Muslim leaders must condemn Islamist anti-troop protests: The Telegraph 15 June 2010”
Another video of the day shows both sides getting extremely agitated;
Headlines such as “EDL to Attack Tower Hamlets 20th June! What will you do? put out by MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Committee) do nothing but inflame tensions in the borough. Even claiming that East London Mosque is to be attacked, some comments on blogs argued that text messages sent about during the day are even spreading vile filth linking the recent rapes of 2 women to the EDL.
Not that I support the EDL or anything its just that there seems to be a lot of misinformation and ignorance of the facts being spread about recently regarding the EDL. Even the Advertiser article ‘Police urge calm as anti-fascism fears rise in East End’ reported yesterday the 16th June 2010 that
Tower Hamlets deputy Police Commander Colin Morgan said in a statement that: “There are rumours of anti-Muslim activity. But there is a big difference between what is actually happening and what people say is happening.
“I would ask community leaders to do all they can to call for calm and for people not to believe rumours which have no basis in fact.”
Even our local MP Jim Fitzpatrick has concerns regarding this march and its purposes;
The Poplar & Limehouse MP is accusing the organisers of using the EDL for their own propaganda when the danger has passed.
– MP accuses anti-fascists of stirring up East End over EDL ‘threat’: East London Advertiser 16 June 2010
So did anything really happen as the Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism, and members of other organisations claim? or are certain sections of the community just stirring up racial tension, for their own political purposes?
Whats more to top it all off today our council leader Cllr Hellal Abbas who agrees that this march should be called off;
“We still believe that it would have been better not to hold an event this Sunday as it could provide a focus for those who want to come into our borough and cause unrest.”
..but then does a complete turn-around stating quite clearly that he now condones the march;
” However given recent events I will be attending the United East End demonstration to provide reassurance to residents that the council in its leadership role will do everything in its power to prevent outside elements from causing instability and unrest in Tower Hamlets. I will work with the organisers and the Police to ensure a safe and peaceful event.”
I may or may not attend myself, but either way I just hope that the march goes by without any trouble, no one gets hurt, and the event hopefully puts an end to the recent tensions.
If you really thought about the whole situation deeply, the public display of Anti-Hate campaigning by the council and the Troxy, then the announcement of the extremist preachers turning up a the Troxy, the EDL determined to protest there, the Unite Against Fascism response, the cancellation of the event through public pressure, the EDL cancelling because they didn’t see the point, the UAF still determined to march for no apparent reason, the council castigating the UAF, Fitzpatrick accusing them of stirring up tension, an apparent attack by the EDL in the heart of Whitechapel, and the council leaders, now joining the march this Sunday 20th June. You may start to think the whole thing had been planned from the start, like some elaborate game of chess…
Is Tower Hamlets Homes being slowly and purposefully destroyed from within, in anticipation of a takeover by private organisations?
Repeated ‘mantras’ sold to us as ‘great improvements to the service’ or streamlining measures, are just reflections of the fact that ‘Tower Hamlets Homes is facing dire consequences and is just simply running out of money. As far back as August of last year it was reported that ‘THH’ had spent their ‘Major Repairs Allowance – MRA’ for 2010/2011 in anticipation of the promised Decent Homes Cash that Gordon Brown then removed.
Our own cabinet in January had emergency sessions to deal with a damning report carried out that highlighted a £4 million pound deficit in the Housing Revenue Account, and a £2.4 million pound overspend by Tower Hamlets Homes. which also had an impact on setting rent levels this year. Go through the cabinet reports yourselves, dont take my word for it. The evidence is right there, since the creation of the much-appraised ALMO service that was going to be a way for the council to improve our services and was the only way government would bring in funding. In reality they have cost us more, and then have simply gone about cutting our paid for services.
To blame part of the overspend on “changes in capital financing costs” is just fancy terminology for saying we’ve employed too many consultants. Insiders from THH, tell me that since its creation consultants have been employed more and more, within the organisation. These consultants who come mainly (I’m told) from the ‘Pinnacle Consulting Group’, are highly overpaid, some recieving as much as £700 to £800 pounds per day. Members of THH staff tell me that they seem to come up with ‘crazy ideas’ which regular staff who have been in the job for over 20 years completley disagree with.
There have been calls by ‘Pinnacle Consultants’ to require all ‘Neighbourhood Housing Officers’ in fact all staff to adhere to a strict dresscode. No casual clothes, favouring suits & ties over jeans an trainers, which has been deemed ridiculous by regular THH staff as well as Neighbourhood Housing Officers. Many of the residents come from inpoverished communities, and diverse ethnic backgrounds, and seeing a uniniformed officer at their door could make them look intimidating.
Some resident-leaders from our ethnically diverse community who have been consulted also fear that elderly residents frequently associate ‘suits & ties’ with police officers in their countries of origin.
We probably also have ‘Pinnacle’ to thank for the fact that now you cannot simply call up THH and ask to talk to your Housing Officer. Now when you call, your name, address, and the nature of your problem are taken down, before then being told;
“Sorry, your Neighbourhood Housing Officer is out of the building at present”
“they are in a meeting”
Since their probably running around like speedy-gonzales, trying to visit each Housing Officers allocation of 700 residents within 10 days, another great Pinnacle strategy more than likely, then its no wonder residents complain about the system.
Complaints have even been thrown at some of these so-called consultants themselves with regards to their behaviour toward THH staff. One consultant was even forced to resign due to their conduct with a disabled employee. This consultant urged this employee who was disabled, to actually resign, to take early retirement after long service, telling them that
“Dont you think that its time you took early retirement, do you think that someone in your condition can really keep up with the work”
The employee took great insult at the insinuation, and rightly so, they complained to their manager, and the consultant was removed. In what was a highly volatile time for THH, which almost led to revolt this consultant was removed as a way of assuaging the anger of colleagues and friends of the long-term THH employee.
Reports of what staff seem to call harrassment are highlighted dailiy, and many staff have resigned from the organisation with many years of service under their belt. One telling me that they cannot understand the direction THH is taking, and that their position was made entirely uncomfortable, so that what they felt was maybe a ‘redundancy’ coming down the line, they chose to take early retirement. Hoping that in the next few months to take positions back with the council, securing their pensions and continuing in working within the system.
I’m told that each member of staff that has resigned so far has been replaced by a ‘Pinnacle’ consultant who then becomes a permanent member of Tower Hamlets Homes. These members of staff are in Housing officer positions right up to senior level. Sources tell me that they virtually occupy all senior levels. Placed pepperpot fashion throughout the organisation.
I’ve done a little digging around and come up with some rather sinister evidence. If what my sources are saying is true, expressing their concerns that ‘Pinnacle’ seem to be taking over, then their must be some sign of this within the system.
Firstly who are ‘Pinnacle’? Well their own website defines them as a ‘manager of social housing’, who were also the first private housing management company to win the Housing Corporation accreditation back in 2007
. Wait a minute though, why are we consulting a Private Management Company of Social Housing when our ‘Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) ALMO’ was set up for this express purpose? From THH’s website;
“Tower Hamlets Homes manages homes and estates owned by Tower Hamlets council….The council is still the landlord and the owner of the homes. Tenants are still council tenants and leaseholders are still council leaseholders, with the same rights and responsibilities. http://www.towerhamletshomes.org.uk/home/about_us.aspx“
So why are the the not-for profit company THH set up by Tower Hamlets Council consisting of employees transferred under TUPE regulations, some with over 20-30 years or more of experience in Social Housing, consulting a private social houising manager?
Hackney council it seems also have links with Pinnacle. In fact the managing director of Pinnacle ‘Neil Euesden’ used to work for Hackney Council. The reality since Neils departure and becoming Pinnacle’s Managing Director is that Pinnacle now
“manages all Hackney Council housing services in Shoreditch and the NE Neighbourhood.
…Hackney Council remains the landlord and is still responsible for setting rents and deciding what money is spent on repairs. Pinnacle is responsible for reducing rent arrears, ensuring that estates are cleaned, voids are turned around as quickly as possible, and anti-social behaviour and nuisance neighbours are dealt with.”
Hackney Homes 5 Housing Offices are now managed entirely by the Private Sector. Pinnacle are managing 2 of them.
Hackney Homes, Hackney’s own ALMO set up to take control of their housing services has its own Pinnacle representative on Hackney Homes Management team – Elliot Brooks
Newham also has Pinnacle psg managing at least 1,200 homes in Canning Town as part of the private finance initiative (PFI) scheme signed by the Council with London City East Partnership. Pinnacle PSG assumed management responsibility in June 2005
John Gibson who left Newham Council and became Pinnacles Director of Housing in 2002, went back to residents in Newham the following year 2003, and was reported in Cabinet Minutes from 23/10/2003 in their report on consultation persuaded council tenants that letting Pinnacle manage their homes would be in their best interests.
Browsing around ‘THH’ website i stumbled upon the Management Teams page, and found the entry for Barbara Brownlee, directly below the CEO Gavin Cansfield;
Barbara Brownlee, Director of Housing and Customer Services
Barbara’s career started with Lewisham Council, where she was a Housing Advisor providing homeless advice and support. She moved to Haringey Council, where she worked with private sector tenants and landlords to improve and adapt their properties and on to Hackney where she developed neighbourhood services and ran Estate Regeneration for the Borough. This was followed by eight years in the private sector delivering service improvements for a number of housing organisations in the South East.
In the highlighted section above, it fails to mention exactly which company she has worked for. On the ‘linkedin’ website which is almost like a networking CV for business proffessional, she has personally filled out her own page; http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/barbara-brownlee/a/264/4a7, which tells us the name of the previous company and her time at that company;
“Barbara Brownlee’s Experience
Director of Housing and Customer Service
Tower Hamlets Homes (Non-Profit; Civic & Social Organization industry)
September 2009 — Present (10 months)
Director of Consulting
Pinnacle (Management Consulting industry)
August 2005 — August 2009 (4 years 1 month)
Head Of Regeneration
London Borough of Hackney (Management Consulting industry)
1997 — 2002 (5 years )”
Funnily enough it doesn’t say that she worked in the private sector for 8 years, like her statements on Tower Hamlets Homes Website, but only for 4 years with Pinnacle. Not only did she ‘just’ work for Pinnacle, but she was in fact the ‘Director of Consulting’. How much of her influence and contacts within Tower Hamlets Homes has she used to bring in more and more consultants from the Pinnacle Group.
Pinnacle the company that my own contacts within THH tell me that most service personell have huge concerns regarding their motives. Asking me to look into this company i have found various disturbing pieces of evidence that lead me to believe that they are in the process of a corporate takeover of Tower Hamlets Homes, not by accident but by design.
It seems with only a days digging around that Pinnacle amongst other groups seem to have their hands in so many different social housing authorities, providing services and in some cases managing the homes. How much is this extra level of public baggage really costing us as tax-payers?
So the questions remain are ‘Pinnacle psg’ in the process of taking over the management of Tower Hamlets Homes Housing Offices?. Were they behind the recent closures our local housing offices? that were highlighted on this blog, that required no real consultation, and has aggravated residents.
How many consultants are already in the system which already has overspent by around £2.4 million? What percentage of the budget is allocated to these types of organisations?
I could go on and on, but these are all questions you as residents must be asking not only yourselves, but your elected members.
Anyone out there with more information or just to highlight errors in this post feel free to contact me.
The Troxy in Commercial Road has finally seen the light and bowed down to public pressure and cancelled the planned Islamic Conference that was cause of so much tension.
Ted Jeory’s blog broke the news yesterday in his piece;
with a quote from Will Poole the operations mangager at the Troxy;
“We have cancelled the booking because we had signed up to the No Place For Hate campaign and we felt that some of the speakers did not fit in with that. We have lost the booking so we lose some money, but this was the right thing to do.”
Not too sure if it was actually the Troxy getting a consciounce all of a sudden or the council leaders threat yesterday to
‘review our working relationship’
with the venue.
Too back this up, the East London Advertiser also reported today that;
In a joint statement Cllr Helal Abbas and Cllr Josh Peck said: “We called for the event to be cancelled because of concerns about the reported views of some of the speakers and the divisive impact it was having on our community.
“We are delighted that the Troxy’s management have now listened and acted in a manner that supports their original commitment to the council’s ‘No Place for Hate’ campaign.”
The EDL in the face of what the Troxy obviously now have also done the right thing, as they have lost their prime focus of the march and have decided to withdraw. Now all we need is for the UAF opposers to withdraw, and we can happily go back to things as usual.
What I cannot seem to get my head around about the opposing march, as well as more competant bloggers than myself is that;
‘Unite Against Fascism’ who were to march against the EDL (English Defense League) accusing them of links to the BNP have been silent on the whole affair of the conferences apparent links to extremism. I wonder why this is?, an organisation (UAF) that sets up a counter protest to oppose another organisation (EDL) for what they view to be the EDL’s use of hateful language and divisivenes in the community, do not seem to care that the EDL protest was itself a protest regarding the apparent use of hateful and extremist views at the now cancelled event at the Troxy on the 20th June.
The organisers of the event the UK-IC still plan to go ahead on the same date, at the same time, but are at present stuck for a venue (obviously).
Two reporters from the Evening Standard have been trying to get in contact with me regarding my blogging on the painting over of women in advertisements on Bus-stops.
Just got off of the phone with one of them, who informs me that todays edition of the Evening Standard is going to run a story regarding this vandalism. Although I’ve not noticed any other attacks recently, he told me that the Police are aware of the situation, and that so far there had been around 14 of these incidents.
He informs me that there is no proof or evidence showing a link between the attacks and religous fervour. He went on to tell me that he thought it had to do with something similar that was going on in ‘Pakistan’
Now I’m not too sure of what he means by this, but I do know of the controversy surrounding the movie ‘Kites’, hailed as the first truly big blockbuster bollywood movie.
Apparently the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) event held in Sri Lanka is being boycotted by the South Indian Film Industry. Heres a quote from the blog link above;
“They have been campaigning against the island government and the alleged killing of civilian Tamils during the conflict between Sri Lankan army and the rebel Tamil Tigers. “
Which the leading actors of the film have still attended in their quest for stardom. I watched this myself on the news the other night at the IIFA event, where one beautiful asian actress, told the camera that she feels that;
“politics shouldn’t be brought into it”
The Asian Tribune as well as a vast number of asian blog sites are highlighting the fact that screenings of the film at cinemas across the Indian Sub-continent have been stopped because of the fear of reprisals.
“This is immediate reaction to the Pro LTTE activists stopping the screening of a Hindi Film starring Hirthik Roshan in Chennai on Friday. The much-awaited Hindi film ‘‘Kites’’ was stopped following objections by Pro- LTTE and Tamil outfit ‘Nam Tamizhar’ party headed by film director Seeman and also by V.S. Kuhanathan – both from Sri Lanka. – Asian Tribune“
Some are even calling for reverse boycotting of ‘Tamil’ led films.
If this is what the reporter I talked to is referring to, then I disagree. Maybe a small number may be to do with this boycott, but its not just the Kites film posters that are being painted over.
In Tower Hamlets this seems to be something far different. Anyway read todays Evening Standard, I maybe wrong but I think the reporter said they may be using a quote from my blog.
Anyone else interested in these blog articles should click the ‘Painted Ladies’ catagory on the right -> where all of the articles will be neatly placed on the same page..
Chrisp Street Local Housing Office is now officially closed. All 3000 homes which came under the umbrella of this local community housing office in Chrisp Street Market have still not officially been informed of the closure. Officially the Office closed on 27th April 2010, and now the site operates only as a one stop shop. Poplar’s Local Housing office is now no longer in Poplar, but is situated now in Bow at 542 Roman Road
Most Council residents in South Poplar are completly unaware of the closing of their local housing office. None were consulted for their opinion on whether they agreed with the proposed closure, which has now been in the pipeline for some months.
At a Tenants Federation Commitee Meeting earlier this year; Tower Hamlets Homes Board Members, Iain Lawson & Cllr Alex Heslop were dumbfounded to realise that members of the federation knew of the proposals to close Chrisp Street Housing Office at that time and were being pumped for answers by those present regarding consultation.
Jamie Carswell, Director of Strategy and Performance who also attended the Tenants Federation Meeting informed those present that there had been consultation by a resident questionaire that had been sent out.
One member attending asked the basic question of whether residents had been directly asked in the document;
“Would you like to see your local housing office closed?”
, which Jamie replied “No, we had come to that decision by summarising the answers from different questions”. When pushed again on whether any of these questions hinted at the proposed closure, again Jamie replied “No”
When pushed to reveal figures of returned/eligable questionaires, Jamie’s response prompted those present to calculate that at that time there was something like a 2% response from sent out questionaires. Jamie quite rightly hung his head in shame, and could not really face those asking these very simple questions.
To be fair, those present representing ‘Tower Hamlets Homes’ were not expecting this barrage of questions regarding ‘Chrisp Street Housing Office’. The fact is, most members of the meeting were only made aware of the fact that evening in Jan/Feb of this planned closure.
The response from ‘Tower Hamlets’ just recently, from queries regarding what the consultation involved was;
“Our consultation with residents, including through the development of our Customer Access Strategy, told us that it is important to residents that they are able to get in touch with us in person, on the phone and online and have their query dealt with quickly and successfully – these changes have been put in place to deliver that. “
Just as non-descript as Jamie’s answer at the Meeting in Jan/Feb.
I would go so far as to say that Residents had not been consulted in any way whatsoever. To quote that;
“it is important to residents that they are able to get in touch with us in person, on the phone and online and have their query dealt with quickly and successfully”
putting forward this as an official answer as to why you closed our housing offices, is completly out of touch of what what people really feel on the ground.
No worries though because one of the new strategies of our new ‘ALMO’ is that;
“In addition to opening a new office, we have also introduced a new service; guaranteeing residents a home visit from their local Neighbourhood Housing Officer within 10 days. – LBTH Communications Officer”
If you take into account that most ‘Neighbourhood Housing Officers’ have on average ‘700 residential addresses’ on their own rounds, then
the maths looks something like this;
10 days X 8 hours = 80 hours (Assuming Officers work 8 hours a day)
80 hours X 60 minutes = 4,800 minutes
4,800 minutes divided by 700 residents = 7 minutes per resident
Thats right; 7 minutes allocated to each resident or around 68 residents per day. This has to include report writing, travelling time between homes, even travelling to and from the office nearly two miles away. I know this is a rather simplistic, over-stated and rather sarcastic version of the whole affair, but still these statistics offer a rather scary scenario. This promise by ‘Tower Hamlets Homes’ is impossible to really guarantee. I would urge readers that this proposed security hinted at within this promise, is entirely unobtainable in what most would deem an emergency. This is what happens when you let a private corporate mind-set conduct the affairs of what is essentially a social public service.
The local housing office system has been replaced by housing surgeries which only operate 2 days a week. Tuesday and Thursday seem to be the favoured day for most estates. This has been in the working by Tower Hamlets Homes since at least January, if not before, and has now been in effect since April 27th, and yet no residents have been made aware of this, in fact sign-posting for this has only been put up today June 7th over a month later;
Notice that no dates or times are shown for surgeries.
Taking place in what used to be community facilities, but now being taken over by other interested parties in most cases. As in the case of Robin Hood Gardens Training center;
which used to be a Training Centre provided much needed skills to an already impoverished community, and homework clubs, has been taken over by the ‘Blackwall Reach Regeneration Team’ on Tuesdays and Thursdays (these guys are a whole different story), who have deemed to let THH in on the same days, to run housing surgeries.
The problem’s faced already and reiterated by those tenants who know about the surgeries, are that the computers at these surgeries do not connect to the Tower Hamlets Home network, and more importantly because these venues are already occupied by other organisations, time allocated to each venues computer usage is already a huge bone of contention, creating tension and arguments between teams, within each venue. Other problems already surfacing are that since there is usually only one ‘Neighbourhood Housing Officer’ allocated for each estate, the reality is that as these ‘officers’ already have a huge caseload of work to get on with (estate visits, home visits, anti-social behaviuor notices, evictions, and all manner of other official distractions), then what we’re finding is, is that unnofficially these surgeries are in fact closed, the majority of the time.
Case in point last Thursday 3rd June, THH had a Neighbourhood Action Day, on the St Matthias Estate behind Story House, Cottage Street E14;
As you can see from the picture above, not many residents turned up, and was seen as;
“not worth the effort”
by those attending.
Why the low turn-out? Well maybe this had something to do with the fact that this was due to be held with another event on the grass within the Robin Hood Gardens Estate, and was advertised as much the week before. At the last minute for some unexplained reason, the day before, a small number of virtually invisible amount of posters were pasted up hurriedly around the estates changing the venue. Most residents who actually saw the posters got confused, the others only had their originally leaflet to go by and went to the original venue. This one was set up by the team of volunteers at SPLASH & Neighbours In Poplar, who have been looking after the people of Poplar and providing a support structure independently for over 40 years.
The event at Robin Hood went fine with dozens of people attending, face painting, games for kids etc, also attending were the local police force’s ‘Blackwalls Safer Neighbourhoods Team’, dealing with issues surrounding crime and handing out leaflets etc. The Police attending the event were also confused as to why ‘Tower Hamlets Homes – THH’ decided to pull out at the last minute and hold their own disastrous event at a different location down the road.
More to the point as I’ve already pointed out, the ‘THH’ event went on from 12:30 to 4:30, and as most Neighbourhood Housing Officers were present, then again the surgeries had to be closed for that event. Leaving those who knew about the surgeries, and the times, and not understanding that there may have been this ‘Action-Day’ were left again with no access to their services locally.
Residents and employees alike are complaining that the system since the Housing Office closures and centralising them at Roman Road at present is just not working. In fact Residents No:1 complaint so far is
“Why dont you bring back the Local Housing Offices?”
Hundreds of complaints are being dealt with by the ‘resident engagement team’ who are having trouble explaining to resident’s the new system, and how in a perfect world (well, maybe the old system) should actually be working.
Is anybody listening?…..
Tower Hamlets Homes has employee ‘fun day’ at venue hosting controversial conference.
This mornings edition of the Councils Gleichschaltung-like progaganda rag ‘East End Life’ had this article;
TOWER HAMLETS IS NO PLACE FOR HATE (Sorry for the link to another online news site, for some reason EastEndLife doesnt publish its main articles) emblazoned across the front page, which went into a diatribe of utter tripe about how the council.s ‘No Place for Hate Campaign’ which intend’s to
“send a clear message to the small minority who try to stir-up tension in the borough that they are not welcome here.”
The article praises the efforts of the
“The Troxy – a multi purpose venue on Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets is the first commercial organisation to sign up to the No Place for Hate pledge.”
including a quote from;
Will Poole, Troxy’s Operations Manager said: “To strengthen the Troxy’s commitment to the No Place for Hate Campaign we have added additional clauses to our venue hire contracts, with specific reference to hate crime.”
The original article in this free propaganda sheet even includes a photo of one of the owners of the Troxy; Mohit Sharma, signing the pledge;
surrounded by from left to right; Taibah Shah, Hate crime project officer at the council; Abdal Ulla, lead councillor for community safety; Troxy director Mohit Sharma signing the pledge; deputy borough police commander Colin Morgan; Fran Jones, acting equalities manager at the council; the Rev Alan Green, chair of the interfaith forum; and Mohammed Aslam Uddin from the Council of Mosques
Tower Hamlets Homes (sources inform me) are so impressed by the newly refurbished ‘Troxy’ in Commercial road that this Wednesday 9th June, they are hiring the place and every member of Tower Hamlets Homes is to attended a ‘staff conference’ there. As this conference is for every employee, then essentially this Wednesday ‘Tower Hamlets Homes’ is being shut down providing none of its promised services, as the conference is going on from 9 to 5.
But how really commited are the first commercial signatories (The Troxy) to the councils ‘No Place for Hate’ campaign?. Ted Jeory on his blog over at ‘trialbyjeory.wordpress.com’ has alluded to the fact that there seems to be trouble brewing for the Troxy. His article ‘The art of persuasion’ has highlighted that on June 20th 2010 a conference is be held there that will provide a platform for speakers that some think highly controversial, even bordering on Hate-speech. The very thing that this venue and our council have signed a pledge to stop. Read Ted’s article, and the links to the ‘Harry’s Place’ blog article that he links too. Harry’s Place blog, goes itself into detail about two of the speakers; Bilal Philips and Hussein Yee.
Mr Jeory’s article also lets us know that members of the ‘English Defense League EDL’ seem set to turn up to protest. Probably at what they term ‘hate-preachers’. Going into some detail at what he seems to think could spark violence in Commercial Road on that day, Mr Jeory’s article explains that;
“As well as attracting their own hordes and, no doubt, secret squirrels from the intelligence services, there’s also likely to be another couple of groups mingling outside. One will be the thugs from the English Defence League (who are reportedly sizing up Tower Hamlets for their next demonstrations), the other from Unite Against Fascism. They don’t like each other very much and the mingling is most unlikely to be of the “How nice to meet you” variety.”
The writer of the Harry’s Place blog goes on to state that;
“It seems that none of this matters to the managers at the Troxy. If the police do not intervene, they will allow the event to go ahead. The police are not likely to act. Nor should they in this case, in my view.
So to support Ted Jeory’s call for Tower Hamlets to basically have nothing to do with the Troxy and stop any proposed conferences there paid for with public money, and the Harry’s Place blog’s view that;
People can make a difference…….in Sweden earlier this year when people protested.”
Informing us that these type of events can be cancelled through people power, or at least curtailed to weed out people who’s agenda’s may inflame a borough with such diverse and at times volatile history.
I would go further though and threaten to publicly humiliate the owners of the ‘Troxy’ into withdrawing their support for this conference, by threatening to remove their signature from the ‘No Place For Hate’ pledge in a publicized event outside the venue. With Immediate effect, Tower Hamlets Homes should cancel their own ‘Staff Day’ this Wednesday, as the controversial June 20th event could have an unforeseen backlash in bad publicity on themselves.
For all of the Hate Crimes statistics reported in this borough, which I wrote about just recently show that although the diversity of this borough is something that should be cherished and encouraged as a form of symbolism of what can occur when people of different nationalities come together, that we still have a dark underbelly to our local culture.
The need for the ‘No Place For Hate’ campaign only solidifies this problems of Hate Crime within the borough, and yet allowing venues to provide platforms for so-called ‘Hate Preachers’ at venues that the Coundil hold Anti-Hate rallies comes across as extremely hypocritical. This form of hypocrisy is the most dangerous, and could lead the borough into having to deal with some unpleasant fall-out, that endangers people’s lives. I’m sure none of those present in the photo above realised that this venue would harbour these type of events, and if what they purport to represent, then in my opinion they should remove themselves of all support for this type of segregation of communities.
The other dangers are that this ‘No Place For Hate’ campaign by the council comes across as nothing but ‘words’ and ‘signatories’ something to make the borough look good, but is nothing but empty promises. Something for people in elite circles to have their photo taken at, that supports their own self-interests, while residents in this borough are getting attacked on a daily basis.
All profiting on others misery, while our principles are sold to the highest bidder…….
Today I’m absolutely fuming, I would express myself far more explicitly than this, but I dont know who is reading.
I’ve recently been party to two patients stories this week regarding Tower Hamlets version of our NHS system called ‘Tower Hamlets PCT’. Both are of pensionable age, and both in my opinion are in great need of care. Both have worked in this borough all of their goddamed lives, and IMO have been cast aside, because the system just doesn’t seem to bloody care anymore.
The first story is of a lady (lets call her Sally), who has just had a major piece of surgery on her bowels at the Royal London at Whitechapel. You know the one, the one where their spending £1,000,000,000, yes thats a billion pounds on fixing up, and bringing us ‘Neanderthals’ in Tower Hamlets upto date into the 21st Century. I’m not too sure how much of that Billion pounds is actually allocated to after-care though, if any?
The morning after her surgery a physiotherapist turned up at ‘Sally’s’ bed while she was still literally unconscious from the oral morphine, and in extreme pain. She stayed for less than 2 minutes, enough time though to explain to her that ‘Sally’ must follow the excercises in a pamphlet that she had left on her cabinet. She then informed ‘Sally’ that she had to leave as she was due to see another patient in 10 minutes. The physio went on to say that “if there were any problems to call and she would be right up”.
‘Sally’ called for the physio over the next couple of days numerous times, just so she could understand the excercises correctly. Seeing that she was in pain and had internal stitches, she was worried about causing further injury. No physio actually turned up again for the duration of the stay.
What I cant understand is, is that this ‘ physio’ was with a patient, so why was she rushing to another one? and just importantly did she say the same thing to the last patient before attending this one? Following this form of logic, if you say this to every patient, and your on a rota of a certain number of patients a day, then spending a minute or so with each one, you could probably be finished before ‘McDonalds’ breakfast menu closes.
On the second day after surgery when she was taken off of the morphine, ‘Sally’ was then told that she wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital until at least she had passed a bowel movement. They were concerned enough to consider giving her opening medicine to ensure the process. The doctor’s and also Ward Sister, all expressed their concern to Sally. Yet over the Bank-Holiday weekend, she was asked to leave as they needed the bed. This person who was a ‘Bed Manager’ of some sort apologised saying that they were “extremely sorry about the situation”, and confided in Sally quite seriously that;
“If we had our way we would have 2 patients in a bed, thats how bad things are……..the situation is that bad that if we had our way we would have people placed top & tails”
Now ‘Sally’ still had not passed anything, and explained this to ‘Bed Manager’ who was with the Ward Sister. Expressing her own concern, explaining also that throughout the night that she had been sick, in fact was still so, and really didn’t feel up to leaving.
This was excepted by the ‘Bed Manager’, and she left on her way. The Ward Sister returned after, apologising for the request, and explaining her self that she personally didn’t feel as if ‘Sally’ should leave just yet, and neither did her doctor.
Over the next day or so, opening medicine was prescribed and the results although medicated had the desired effect.
‘Sally’ soon expressed concern regarding the operation, as a ‘hard-lump’ had developed just under the skin where the operation had occured. This ‘lump’ and I’ve felt it is rather quite large. A specialist doctor, who attended the surgery, expressed their concern regarding this lump, and was at a slight loss. Their hypothesis, was that this was congealed blood, and that hopefully this would start to release itself from the ‘open wound’ left by the drainage tube.
They went on to state that they thought it;
“would be better for you to leave and go home, as staying in Hospital would increase the risk of infection. You have an ‘open-wound’ and couple this with the fact that any infection would spread through congealed blood like lightning, then I would advise that you would be better off leaving the hospital.”
They went on to state, that;
“not to worry, that there would be a safety net in place through a ‘district nurse’ if you wanted one, or to just attend your local GP, for after-care.”
Sally decided to leave, with no complaints, and took the advice of this Doctor, and decided that she would take the ‘district nurse’ option as she was still uncomfortable. One of the nurses who was there with the Doctor promised to refer her case to the District Nurse team, and that she would be seen by this Thursday (Yesterday) at home by the Nurse.
This morning ‘Friday’ the district nurse had still not arrived. ‘Sally’ had felt throughout the night sickness and feverish and also this lump was now becoming quite warm. I took it upon myself to call her GP, who told me to phone the District Nurses. I phoned the District Nurses, who were not available and it kept going to answer phone. I then phoned the Hospital Ward directly and talked to a senior nurse there who could not recall Sally being there only a few days before. I understand they cannot remember everyone, but it is frustrating none the less. After a short conversation, she said that there were no notes on Sally, and that waiting for the correct Nurse to turn up would be wrong. Instructing Sally to call her GP (which I’d already phoned) or attend the Accident & Emergency. I asked about the District Nurse, and she told me she had no way of influencing the proces, and gave me the same number that kept going to answer phone.
I can tell you, I was about to explode.
Eventually today an extremely pleasant District Nurse turned up, and informed us that there had been no referral from the Hospital. No one had contacted them, and that they had only came from our repeated attempts at contact through everyone we had contacted. Now I ask you, how many others, not as lucky as ‘Sally’ to have people around her who care, are there out there who are now just being neglected in this way?
Sorry for the long post, but if your still here, I’m going to tell you about patient number 2.
This other patient will will call ‘Fred’.
‘Fred’ who has been in and out of hospital recently for breathing difficulties, and also someone i know, has had his own story to tell this week. ‘Fred’ woke up on Wednesday morning, getting up he felt some pain in his stomach, and reached down to find what he thought was a small piece of metal sticking out of his stomach. Although not really too painful, obviously ‘Fred’ was extremely concerned at finding this. ‘Fred’ called up his local GP, explaining the situation and was told to attend the ‘Walk-In’ clinic outside the A&E at the Royal London.
Let me just explain that ‘Fred’ told me that the only personal explanation he had, and that he’d reiterated to all of these medical proffessionals, was that over 20 years ago he’d had a stomach operation. His own personal diagnosis was that this could be some remnant of surgical equipment left behind after the proceedure.
‘Fred’ attended as instructed at this Clinic. After waiting and being seen, he was told that he would have to attend hospital, but was given no explanation of what this foreign body sticking out of his stomach was? As the ‘Walk-In Clinic’ is just outside the A&E department of the Royal London, ‘Fred’ asked whether he should just walk across the way?
He was surprised to hear that ‘No’, he should go back to his GP and get him to give hime a referral letter to the Hospital and that he could then come up and be seen straight away. On complaint at the time, he asked
“why dont the staff at the Walk-In clinic just write a referral letter now and he hand it in just across the road?”
he was told that this was;
“just the way things are dealt with these days, its more efficient that way”
‘Fred’ then dejectedly and actually flabbergasted took him self home again, phoned his GP who arranged an appointment for the following morning. ‘Fred’ attended his GP surgery, was examined, and a flabbergasted GP told him that he thought that it was actually ‘sutures’ from this operation inside his stomach over 20 years ago that should have been disolvable but obviously they were not, and that somehow they had not only pierced the stomach lining, but also through the skin of his stomach.
What gets me, is this, this fuckwit of a GP did not give ‘Fred’ an emergency referral letter for the Hospital so that ‘Fred’ could attend a physician immediately, he told ‘Fred’ he would contact the Hospital under the normal contact proceedures and arrange an appointment. Now as anyone knows who has waited for a hospital appointment, this could take weeks if not months, so again ‘Fred’ left the supposed care of a system that was set up to look after emergencies, and run by people who are supposed to help you. As one who can see no ‘wrong’ in the system, but like all english doesn’t want to make a fuss’ – ‘Fred’ as another of the residents of this borough, is left to now fend for himself. With an open wound in the side of his stomach, caused apparently by a 20 year old mistake from a previous operation, which could IMO lead to infection. They never gave him any medication in the form of antibiotics, or any advice on keeping the area clean.
So as the title of this rather long and probably boring post goes,
What the Hell is going on with OUR NHS?
Bumped into an event today in Pennyfields in Poplar. A chinese looking lady who i now know as ‘Peggy’ was sitting cross legged underneath the window of an Estate Agents in Birchfields Street.
She was approached by two policeman who asked her what she was doing there?
I waited by the newsagents and overheard her tell them that;
“they took my money, and wont give it back, and that I’m telling everyone that goes in, that they wont give me my money back”
The Police there told her that she couldn’t sit there because she was blocking people from entering the shop. They went on to tell her that it was illegal to sit here as it was a hazard to passers by, and that if she didn’t move she would be arrested.
One of the police officers went into the shop after ‘Peggy’ told them what was going on, and was in there for several minutes. He then came out and told her that she would have to remove herself from the area completly, not just from outside the shop but entirely from the scene.
I could not see anything wrong with what she was doing. She was peacefully sitting there, not shouting, but just informing people that this shop basically stole her money. She was not blocking their entrance, and was sitting just under the window, quietly informing them of her experience. I’m not a lawyer and do not claim to know the law, but being asked to completley leave the area seemed a bit over the top.
She quietly pleaded with these Policemen that she didn’t think they were right to ask her to leave, but they insisted. Another Policeman turned up on a pedal bike, and then two more community police officers. Still ‘Peggy’ remained extremely calm, but obviously upset about the whole situation. She begrudgingly left the scene walking towards Limehouse.
I overheard two young mothers laugh, and say, that
“You want DVD”
in a chinese accent, and felt extremely sorry all of a sudden, for this lady, that no-one seemed to be on her side.
I followed her just across the road to just past the Oporto Pub and asked her quietly what went on. She informed me with broken english that;
“they took my deposit for a flat, but then wanted 6 months rent in advance. I do not have the money, and asked for my money back, they refused. I started today, to protest outside the shop by sitting and telling people quietly that they took my money. Most just ignored me. The people in the shop then came out and told us that I cannot sit there because I’m embarrasing the shop, and then they called the police”
I found ‘Peggy’ to be pleasant, if not a little upset about being treated in this way, first by the loss of money, and then by the Police. She then asked if I knew if this was right or not. I replied that I felt that this was completly wrong in my opinion, that I believe the police dont have the right to move you on like this. But then what do I know. In this day and age, a peaceful honest protest like this surely cannot be any harm to anybody. Why would the police take the side of a private shop like this?, when she wasn’t harming anybody or doing anything that I could see anyway, that could be honestly deemed illegal, and forced to leave the area?
Anyway, we both left and said our goodbyes. Not to sound overly dramatic but my day felt a little heavier at seeing her walk out of the area. I turned around and the Police stood their watching her walk down towards Limehouse. Surely they had better things to do than stand there watching her walk the entire length of West India Dock road? Dont get me wrong I completly respect the police, but somehow what I witnessed today, just didn’t feel right.
‘Peggy’, I hope you find some peace to all of this, Karma sometimes has a way of catching up with the best of us.