Thursday, 15 March 2018

Richmond Council elections Thursday 3rd of May

https://www.richmond.gov.uk/council/elections_voting_and_registration/electoral_data/scheduled_elections/local_council_elections_2018

UPDATE
Councillor Brian Marcell from the majority party has just canvased me about voting on Thursday 3rd of May. He is on the social services committee of the council, which apparently spends 58% of the budget. "It should be more", I said, and mentioned Mears Care as well as spending on nasty anti-gay-cruising tactics on Barnes Common. And I promised to email him some alternatives to Mears Care, so this is the Writetothem.com email. I wish I'd written "spend more on the niceness budget and less on the nastyness budget", but I got close. You can see that the niceness budget is under-spent if you read the bit in red further down the page.


MEARS CARE ALTERNATIVES

We met on the doorstep at 2 Avenue Gardens just now and I promised to email some alternatives to Mears care. 
My googled notes of care quality commission reports on agencies in the council booklet of local care agencies are on http://bit.ly/homecarerichmond 
They quote the care quality commission reports on any that did well or badly, and the ones contracted to the council do badly. 
Some newer agencies have spent money on public relations and got themselves quoted in newspapers, claiming that more automated management allows more money to go to the carer and provide a better service. The names I googled are 
  • https://supercarers.com/ 
  • https://supercarers.com/ https://myhometouch.com 
  • https://vida.co.uk/ 
BARNES COMMON NASTYNESS
On another subject, the council had found tens of thousands of pounds for car park security off Rocks Lane, and work by Continental Landscapes for Friends of Barnes Common to cut down trees and clear undergrowth in the area. 
Looked-at closely, the work is a very expensive project to discourage gay cruisers on Barnes Common at night. Trees hundreds of years old have been felled to reduce shadow. Large areas have been cleared of smalller plants. Search lights are installed on the car park and the sports ground next door. There is also a hieight restriction on the car park to stop gypsies. And an account of Friends of Barnes Common visiting Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetry to compare notes, which are quite clear on the Tower Hamlets site: they want to discourage gay people from cruising. 
I really think the council should spend less on nastyness and more on social care. After all, the kinds of voters who ask for anti-gypsy gates and anty-gay search lights are probably not marginal voters anyway. 
I will try to take the subject up with Richmond and Hounslow parks department and find out if they can take gay peoples' opinions into account and save a bit of council spending at the same time.
Yours sincerely,
John Robertson, 2 Avenue Gardens, London SW14 8BP 0208 286 9947

Someone has just knocked on my door to ask about "local issues", which always sounds like something out of League of Gentleman.

I came-up with one or two, starting with the idea that "local people" can vote on what council money is spent on, even if is is earmarked for an insurance-like service that people have paid-for over decades. Such as social care. I think this is a bad thing.

The candidate looked like someone forced to be patient, so I got specific to social care in Richmond.
He wasn't a candidate for the party in power, so I don't think I bothered him too much. It would have been more embarrassing to say this to the face of someone from that party, so maybe, if you're mixed-up with that party, you don't hear about this....

Council social services offering a legal minimum minus what the council can get away with.
Assessments don't always happen unless a high priority. The chance of an elderly person getting an assessment like this...
http://www.housingcare.org/information/detail-1621-housing-options-for-older-people-hoop-a-selfassessment-.aspx
... are low

For example if you don't have the money for social care, the council contractor gets this report from the care quality commission. Not many agencies get bad reports. One or two are "outstanding". So presumably the council has picked the worst ones because cheapest, although even that may not be true because worse home care will increase demand for residential care so it's a false economy financially.

Care Quality Commission report on Mears Care


Mears Care 114b Power Road, Chiswick W4 5PY
Tel: 020 8987 2350
Email: richmond.care@mearsgroup.co.uk
Web: www.mearsgroup.co.ukhttp://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-138291078


Some aspects of the service were not safe.

There had been improvements in the way in which the staff were deployed and care visits were scheduled. However, further improvements were needed to make sure people always received the right care at the time they needed this.

Some aspects of the service were not responsive.

Some people did not receive care visits at the right time to meet their needs and there was variations about the timings of calls each day. In addition the provider did not communicate when care workers were running late or when there were changes in care workers.

Some aspects of the service were not well-led.

There had been improvements at the service and these had made a difference to people's care. However, further improvements were still needed to make sure people received a consistent service which always met their needs.

Most care quality commission reports on Medacs Healthcare offices are bad on more than one point. The web site is mainly about recruiting staff.

My source for this is the care quality commission and the booklet listing care agencies. The booklet which is about all you get off the council if your savings are about £23,500. If you or someone you know are learning how the system works, there is a set of notes that I did for myself here which may be useful. It is basically the council list of home care agencies plus annotations from the care quality commission, and I think it might include a link to housingandcare.org list of residential care options
http://bit.ly/homecarerichmond


Oh and I mentioned that gay cruisers on Barnes Common now face cut-down trees, cleared undergrowth and floodlights at council expense.

Cartoon image of local people in any area such as Richmond upon Thames

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 07.4.18 Local people are against dogs: official. Kennel Club’s Worry Over Richmond’s Restrictions on Local Residents and Visitors The Kennel Club is concerned that following its Public Spaces Protection Order consultation, the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is still planning to introduce measures which will seriously restrict not only the freedom of dog walkers, but also of any other member of the public who chooses Richmond’s large open spaces for recreation. London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has consulted with its residents on Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to help the police and council tackle anti-social behaviour on public land. A PSPO is a new measure which replaces existing legislation and introduces wider discretionary powers to deal with any particular nuisance or problem that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life. The orders can be enforced by fixed penalty notices or prosecution by police or council officers. When Richmond opened up its consultation period earlier this year, it was met with great concern from many dog owners in the area especially in regards to restrictions on the number of dogs which may be walked at once. A large petition was carried out by residents of Richmond, which gained over 1,700 signatures, and 59% of respondents to the consultation also disagreed to the council limiting dogs being walked at any one time to four. However, Richmond has still taken the decision to impose a four dog restriction on dog walkers. The council is proposing a 12 month pilot scheme to license up to 15 people to be exempted from this restriction; however, there appears to be no obvious reason why this number has been decided upon. This potentially leaves some dog owners having to take their dogs out on separate walks. The Kennel Club is further concerned by some of the other byelaws that are being suggested. For example, a byelaw is being proposed that a person in charge of a dog on any of Richmond’s open spaces where dogs are permitted, must not cause or permit annoyance to any other person or animal, or cause damage to any council structure, equipment, tree, shrub, plant, turf or other such council property. The Kennel Club is in complete agreement that dogs should always be kept under suitable control, but is concerned that there is no clarification by the council to what constitutes an annoyance. Would the occasional bark be constituted as an annoyance, and how will annoyance to another animal be measured and assessed? There is concern that annoyance to people is a very low bar to pass. The second clause about damaging turf and trees is also very ambiguous and worded so that any typical dog behaviour could fall under this. While the Kennel Club wouldn’t expect enforcement in this manner, it cannot be taken as a given and tough enforcement could take place under these new protection orders. There are many other restrictions to be put in place, such as restrictions on anyone disturbing any animal, digging, damaging or disturbing the ground or removing or displacing any stone, soil or turf. Questions need to be asked to what these restrictions would include, for example, would swatting a mosquito, shooing away a pigeon, throwing a skimming stone, feeding the ducks fall under this? Would walking across a park disturb the ground, especially if wearing studs if playing sport? Other clauses include not throwing or using any device to propel or discharge any object which is liable to cause nuisance, injury or damage to any other person, animal or structure. This would therefore include throwing a ball or frisbee around a park, which could lead to injury or nuisance. Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary said: “While the Kennel Club can support reasonable PSPOs and is happy to help work with councils and advise on dog issues to try and ensure responsible dog ownership, we are very concerned to read Richmond’s proposals which seem not only extreme but very restrictive on its many residents. If enforced to the degree it implies, it will seriously limit any enjoyment that members of the public can enjoy in the London Borough of Richmond.” A meeting by London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is being held on Tuesday 11th July to provide the opportunity for the councillors to review the proposals and consultation responses, and the Kennel Club will be present to voice its concerns. For further information on the results of the consultation and the proposed PSPOs, please go to https://consultation.richmond.gov.uk/environment/pspo/. The Kennel Club runs KC Dog which is a dog owner campaign group, free to join, which keeps members updated on dog access issues, and other relevant Kennel Club campaigns, which may affect dog owners across the country. Visit www.kcdog.org.uk for more information or join us on twitter @KC_political.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Social Services and the new Richmond Rapid Response and Re-ablement team

(Update - Greater London Authority's contribution is dance)

There is no money for social services, housing benefit or health but there is still a National Tennis Acadamy down the road and, I read £100 million for one of several unpopular higher education colleges to build a Cultural and Education District in Stratford. That's University College London that is 79th most popular out of 83 colleges for teaching economics. University of the Arts is the least popular of any higher education institution on unistats, using the Complete University Guide or Guardian University Guide to the figures. And Saddlers Wells, who dance apparently. Don't you want to string these people up from a lamp post? It's still illegal, but if you did it in artistic form to an orchestra you might get a grant for it.

You could write to them - there is a web site to find your GLA member who is probably Tony Arbour and send an email, or it can find london-wide assembly members as a list that you can compare against the GLA budget committee membership. I found one with a long-term interest in the arts who is on the committee and wrote to her. No reply after a week.

I have suggested to the GLA that they get their lobby briefs from these agencies checked and put them up for comment by the public before believing every word about public benefit and repeating every world class cliche.

Social services don't exist on a scale to match demand

It turns out that neither Richmond council's social services nor Richmond Rapid Response and Re-ablement Team exist on a scale to match demand. Council social services can find private visiting help and send a list of details, or manage it for a £50 weekly admin fee. They might offer a free assessment, and they can post a list of agencies which provide home visiting staff, leaving a patient or carer to check them against care quality commission reviews and find out the price.

Richmond Rapid Response and Re-Ablement team, part of a new local NHS trust, was unable to make appointments or keep-up with requests for decisions from West Middlesex hospital for most of 22nd of December 2017.

There used to be some kind of home service run from Barnes Hospital, but this doesn't appear to exist either

In a country that can afford Trident, MI5, and the Commonwealth Games with a local council that can afford new street furniture as part of a local village plan.
Can I have my tax back, please, if it is not going to be spent on sensible things?

Social care without social services

From someone who has to do a little bit of work as a carer, I understand this

There is a machine called a pivotelli that can open a pill box, ring a buzzer, and text a carer if the person who needs pills forgets to take them.

A simpler version from a couple of suppliers has no mobile texting system built-in

There is a flat-screen clock that displays day, date, and time in a simple way once set-up.

An offer of these, free at the point of delivery, to anyone suspected of bad memory problems by hospital staff or a GP, could automate some of the problem-solving that social services are asked to do. Patients differ, but if the things are doled-out to the wrong person, that's only about £100 cost and no great human stress, except maybe to the patient who has to turn the thing on and can't work-out how.

If anyone who works in social services could try to get together a list of tasks that need automating or simplifying by making free at the point of delivery, then I am sure a lot of the work could be reduced.

Lifts: I am no so sure about this idea but think there is something in it

Another relatively cheap solution is the fitting of a straight-line stair lift. These things are not very good. They are slow. They are beige. Frail people can fall-off them, so in some situations a carer could be needed as well as a lift. Wheelchairs do not slot-on to the things as far as I can see. But they are often available second-hand for next to nothing, and the ones that go round corners are only a few hundred pounds more.

I suggest that everyone over the age of 70 or who is thought at risk of needing a stair lift should be offered one, with fitting, free. That way, when the time comes, they can come home from hospital with less work from social services (who don't exist) to get a lift fitted.

More practical is a through-floor lift, or one fitted out of doors. The price for a through-floor seems rather elastic. I heard of a quote of £11,000 for one delivered months after payment and after much pushing from an unstable company (British Homelifts), but the cutting of the hole in the floor and the assembly of large macano-like devices is contracted-out, and the lifts themselves from Pollock, Terry, Wessex, or ? Dolphin often come-round second-hand for free. About half the ads on ebay say in the small print that they are from contractors and that you can contact them for a quote to install.

http://www.for-sale.co.uk/through-floor-lift

There is a UK firm that makes in China called Stiltz as well. A lot of the skill seems to be assembling local contractors willing to cut a hole, install a lift, and check it works; the cost of the lift itself is not the problem.
https://www.london.gov.uk/in-my-area/richmond-upon-thames

On another subject I should mention this in a future post some time. Greater London Authority's page for Richmond on Thames



voterpower.org.uk/richmond-park

I started a post about voter power a year ago and though it wasn't worth pressing "publish", but my next post about absent services makes it important.

For my vote, I think we have this PR system now:
  • Vote for one of the top two candidates in any marginal constituency
  • Vote for a favourite candidate in a non-marginal constituency, just to save their deposit and encourage.
The current system has no chance to say who I would like to be the runner-up candidate in a marginal constituency; it is down to tradition. There is no chance to encourage a new splinter party, or for a big old party to split in two. There is no signal for a non-marginal constituency, where the two runners-up get more votes than the winner, to know that it should vote like a marginal constituency with nearly all votes cast for the top two.

Voters in Richmond Park are used to this and you see "Labour for Lib Dem" posters or similar at elections. The Labour vote of 5773 was less than the party membership in the constituency.

MPs are used to putting-up with large political parties that don't reflect their views.
They simply remain silent about views that the party does not want known.
Labour MPs have had to work with Blair and Corbyn; Conservative MPs have a Brexit split. One group can become the majority in a party, or another. The more right wing group in each political party, I think, are rather similar. They don't want the state to run compulsory insurance-like services such as social care or non-emergency health or unemployment pay or anything like that, but they keep quiet about it. Here's the proof:

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24911/zac_goldsmith/richmond_park/votes#welfare

Anyway this post was saved and not posted a year or two ago, and it seems relevant to the next one
http://election-richmond-park.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/social-services-and-new-richmond-rapid.html
I think it's a problem that
  • council social services don't exist for most of us (nor pay a decent care home fee for those who run out of money)
  • NHS services for people with dementia or learning difficulties barely exist, and the home support part of the service seems not to exist. That's the service based at Barnes Hospital which is being redeveloped for housing - the subject of the last post
  • The new Hounslow and Richmond health trust and it's Rapid Response and re-ablement service for people leaving hospital in Richmond doesn't seem to exist either, or at least not on a bank holiday when West Middlesex hospital tried to use them

If any of the 5773 labour voters change their mind in the next election, and want one less MP under the Conservative Party whip, I hope they come out and vote.

Here is the stuff I wrote a year or two ago without pressing "publish"

MP Election results in Richmond Park

voterpower.org.uk/richmond-park

electoralcalculus.co.uk/cgi-bin/seatdetails.py?seat=Richmond%20Park

cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/mgElectionAreaResults.aspx?XXR=0&ID=82&RPID=19098753

The voter power people seem very keen on more proportional representation between parties over a large area like the UK . An aim which, at the Greater London Authority, has led to party list candidates who refuse to do any work for a voter unless "a constituent", as the green list member's secretary fed-back to me, so I'm not keen, because he did nothing. (All I needed was a way to meet British Fashion Council to suggest how to help UK manufacturers. He needed to come-along. The conservative directly elected member and the liberal party list member turned me down as well)

The UK Alternative Vote referendum in 2011 was about more proportional representation in each constituency, achieved by giving fringe party voters a chance to re-allocate their vote after voting Labour or Green or whatever candidate is a likely number three four or more in each constutuency. Sadly, an expensive party advertising campaign blasted voters with untrue facts, each made clear as nonsense in The Independent at the time, but blasted loudly enough to win them the vote. I think it would be great to get alternative votes at least in the areas that voted for them in the referendum. Southwark is the example I know. There are probably others. Meanwhile, all UK MPs are elected by one constituency with third and fourth candidate voters unable to say "I wanted number 1 or 2 but also wanted to help choose who comes second next time".

Some people think we don't have a constituency PR system, including some of the 5,773 labour voters last time. I don't understand their reasoning - is it to cheer up the Labour cause and save the candidate's deposit? Or do they see Liberal and Conservative as so similar that there is no point encouraging one over the other? Maybe they see the Swingometer on TV and want to show support for a party that doesn't get in in their constituency. All sensible reasons to vote, but I just don't understand why 5773 people voted that way when the Lib / Con margin is so narrow.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Public consultation on the plans for Barnes Hospital

Public consultation on the plans for Barnes Hospital

Short response in black; full text of the presentation from here in green with red annotations below. An earlier draft of the short bit, and about the same version of the rest, has been dropped-off in the trust's consultation box at one of their meetings.
Try the "classic" link to read this without links down the side.
The only team that uses these buildings just now has about 700+ outpatients according to
http://www.swlstg-tr.nhs.uk/our-services/find-a-service/service/richmond-older-people-community-team

Short response

Don't waste the 2003 in-patient building if it's useful

The large 2003 building looks suitable to let as a private nursing home with space for intense care. I think this is the most important point. [added 8/12/17] The rooms are large, according to Friends of Barnes Hospital (fobh.org.uk), built as 6-bed wards,  but that could be a good thing. It could allow space for a loo & shower in each room - something that care homes often lack.

People who aren't quite conscious and can't leave their beds might do better in shared rooms.

I can't find the planning application for the building online under the postcode SW14 8SU, so I don't have any plans except the outline further down the page

Short-life housing is a way of securing the site

https://uk.cameloteurope.com/contact-us/uk-south-east-office can find short term tenants for any usable buildings, as can short-life housing associations.
Westminster Housing Co-op is the nearest one on search engines.
Either or both agents could handle the letting of hard-to-use property, if it is possible at all, leaving the completely un-usable property easy to identify and develop bit-by-bit, with less pressure to sign-up to large contracts and possibly get them wrong.  See "next consultation" "new name" and the next paragraph for why I think a large project will go wrong.

added after printing a copy for the health trust
Workshop space, film sets, art studios, a laundry...
Camalot Europe have no success letting for work in the UK, according to their web site and impressions of Ruffells Garage next to Barnes Hospital, which they managed for a while. They might find someone willing to live in a workshop, but not to work in it.
Another quick search throws-up this link
http://self-help-housing.org/directory-existing-projects/#London
including Meanwhile Space, which promotes good jobs in a town that's very short of workshop space according to a glance at this...
https://www.london.gov.uk//about-us/london-assembly/london-assembly-publications/helping-small-businesses-thrive-london (formatted report:
https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/helping_smes_to_thrivefinal.pdf )

There are also agencies who let car-parking space in small units, which are easy to search for. I don't know how to search for agents who let large units.

Short life GP surgeries possible

I hope there is a supply of GPs looking for surgery space and patients who want to sign-up with them. I know from Behind Closed Doors that existing GP waiting lists are full, but I don't know if that's down to funding or job applicants or space or what. Anyway,  I vaguely hope that the GPs can be offered space in existing buildings if they want. It may not be necessary to build a new building. Once they have moved-in, they could give an opinion about the cost and the benefit.

I rather like the idea of some local GP surgeries running from converted private houses and prefer it to more corporate buildings, but if there is a genuine reason to subsidise a GP landlord, like a demand for a GP and a psychiatrist working together, that's better still and I am sure that staff in hospital clinics who get one diagnosis over-and-over again would be interested in working with a GP surgery where there are loads of different problems. (I get this information from contacts at an HIV clinic which has just been separated from related sexual health services - anyone in a clinic that's like Ford of Dagenham would want their skills used a bit more).

Copper Door Handles

One small suggestion. I read that copper door handles are anti-bacterial. Either copper or coppery brass. So I suggest copper or coppery brass door handles in any new buildings for sick people and a gradual change-over in others.

I saw this on a Dara O'Brian TV show, and dont more technical references than a quick online search, but I expect that an NHS trust has plenty of well qualified people who know almost off-hand whether it is true.

Access: left turns at the level crossing from South Worple Way

I think the site suffers from a no-left-turn rule at the level crossing to the north east.

This has recently been imposed under pressure from local residents, because of the risk of squashing people who wait at the level crossing in the path of any car that needs to turn left. (A primary school is round the corner,)

I think that a bollard would do the same job as the no-left-turn law.

Ideally with help from Railtrack who might allow more land at the corner to be un-fenced to allow space for pedestrians waiting. I think that a bollard with tyres round it would be good to reduce damage for drivers negotiating a tight bend. I think that the cameras and no-left-turn rules are a hazard for people leaving the hospital, from experience: my mother is an outpatient and was caught on camera trying to do a left turn with slightly bad memory and concentration.

Access: need another gate into the site at the north

I think more access points are required, with one at the north, at least for pedestrians and preferably for vehicles, because I don't see much chance of getting a bus-stop to work in South Worple Way or White Hart Lane.  White Hart Lane is narrow; South Worple Way is single track.

I doubt it's possible to persuade Railtrack to narrow the strip of land next to their railway track, in order to widen South Worple Way, but maybe someone more expert knows for sure..

Why I think a big development will go wrong and suggestions that follow

Next consultation in a different style, please

The wall boards for consultation include attempts to mislead, paid-for by  taxpayers, who cannot claim the money back for working to un-pick the deceptions in order to reply. I hope the next consultation is more straightforward. The boards also use buzzwords like "modern" or "excellent" which make critical thought harder. My buzzwords back: "red flag", "machiavellian". The last one sounds a bit harsh, but the team at Barnes have 1.5 psychiatrist posts of which  the half is vacant, a home support team of un-known purpose, and none of  the buzzwords like "memory clinic", or "recovery college", that are used on other sites. So it's worth asking whether services are deliberately managed badly on that site to encourage people to say they'll travel further just to escape.

Everybody knows that there is not enough money for mental health services. (https://www.nhs.uk/Services/hospitals/Overview/defaultView.aspx?id=3042). The next suggestion is similar - about the name of the team.

New name "Improvement and re-use team" or "improvement and letting"

There is a team at St Georges Trust called "Estate Modernisation", and I think, after talkling to one of them, that the name reduces critical thought by the team members. It was the sort of language used before bad housing developments in the 1960s. It reduces the need to question what is being done.

I think this only adds to the impression that  health trusts can get building plans wrong, as for example at Queen Mary's where clinics now have to pay a high rent to Sodexo, or at St Georges Tooting where some obsolete wards are left unused, rather than let as offices or converted to flats.

Party Donors as public sector business partners

I suggest trying to be very open, transparent, and accountable if dealing with any party donor as a business partner if it can't be avoided altogether.

The current consultation isn't just a planning consultation; it is a consultation with NHS patients and taxpayers by a health trust, but it doesn't say anything about money. It is not transparent.

I don't believe the view of politicians, that parties need extra funding beyond the subsidy they already get. I think that donations to central parties should be capped to a total, just like funding for local campaigns. I think that would make it easier for public contractors to stop making party donations and political parties accepting them.
Meanwhile, while it is still legal for an NHS trust sign a contract with a party donor, it think it's best avoided.

Green text, below, is consultation quoted from here; red is point-by-point notes
Welcome

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (the Trust) welcomes you to our consultation event to showcase the initial plans for the Barnes Hospital site.
In the last few years the Trust has been developing options for our Barnes Hospital site as part of our Estate Modernisation Programme (EMP). The EMP, which has been approved by our local authority partners, will modernise our built estate – replacing outdated buildings with state-of-the-art facilities – and will facilitate improved service delivery, particularly in terms of our community services.

This is untrue.
The trust has a large building built in 2003 on the site, that takes a large proportion of the area. - the one with blue window frames you can see on the aerial photo.

.
This is worrying
Anyone who says "modernise" is ducking a chance to say something sensible, but the team is called "modernisation". A point about language, but also about the quality of decision-making at a time when it's known that these decisions are often taken badly. For example the old Queen Mary's Hospital site was replaced by a much smaller site and a Private Finance Initiative building owned by Sodexo, who charge a very high rent to each clinic. I know the Private Finance Initiative has ended, but worry about general money management. The remaining land at Queen Mary's has gone for very upmarket housing for people who like to live in old buildings - nothing too modern. I suppose they find old buildings relaxing to live in if the things are well insulated and easy to maintain.

Meanwhile the St Georges site is ringed with empty wards, which I guess could be turned into flats or let as office space. The problem isn't that they are old, but that they look too cold without a lot of insulation and to isolated from other buildings.

I suggest that the department should be re-named "improvement and letting"so that they ask themselves "how is this an improvement?" or "why is this space not let?". They do not talk like this at the moment. I spoke to one official who really seemed to believe that new bricks were better than old bricks, or that's the argument he used.

One small suggestion copper door handles
I read that copper door handles are anti-bacterial. Either copper or coppery
brass. So I suggest copper or coppery brass door handles in any new buildings and a gradual change-over in the others.

Explanations about this blog
This blog page has got "election" in the title to attract politicians' attention, that's all.
And the blogging software doesn't seem to encourage printing, but control+P might do it from the "classic view" that doesn't have titles of other blog posts down the side. It fills about 10 or 11 pages on minimal margins

Short version
I picked out the red points and cut-out repatition to make a short summery at the end


As the leading provider of mental health services across south west London, we are committed to delivering the highest standards for the 1.1 million people we serve in the boroughs of Richmond, Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton and Sutton.
We have representatives here today from across our organisation and the EMP team.
We hope we can answer your questions, whether it is about the future development of the Barnes Hospital site or the work we do across the five London boroughs we serve

What is an outline planning application?

An outline planning application seeks to establish the principle of a proposed development. The detailed aspects of a scheme, specifically access, appearance, landscaping and layout in scale are called ‘Reserved Matters’. It is possible to seek outline permission with all or just some of those matters reserved.


In the last few years the Trust has been developing options for our Barnes Hospital site as part of our Estate Modernisation Programme (EMP). The EMP, which has been approved by our local authority partners, will modernise our built estate – replacing outdated buildings with state-of-the-art facilities – and will facilitate improved service delivery, particularly in terms of our community services.
for future consideration.

Further down the page it says that this will be a "new healthcare facility on the site of the Garden House", and, when asked, it turns out that this depends on getting a government grant to build the thing. There is nothing on the plan to say how this will be better.


Subject to outline permission being granted, we intend that a further community consultation would be held before ‘Reserved Matters’ submissions are made to the local planning authority


We hope we can answer your questions, whether it is about the future development for the Barnes Hospital site or the work we do across the five London boroughs we serve

Background

First opened as Barnes Isolation Hospital in 1889, Barnes Hospital joined the NHS in 1948 and is now being managed by South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

Mental health inpatient services have not been provided at Barnes Hospital since 2013 and the site is significantly underused, with approximately 25% of the site currently in use to provide healthcare services.

The remaining buildings are unsuitable for modern mental healthcare services.


This is misleading

The blue-window building covers a lot of the site. It was built in 2003. I guess that it is an inpatient building that could be converted for use as a private old peoples' home for people with advanced dementia.

After dropping-in to an exhibition and asking someone from Friends of Barnes Hospital, it turns out that the 2 stories are built with 6-bed wards, so there could be a cost in conversion to a care home, but care homes tend to have rooms that are too small, and room for walk-in shower in each one would be good, so maybe the six-bed rooms are the right size for one person, rather more conscious with lower care needs, now. Then there are people who aren't very conscious and can't leave a bed unaided. That's a group who might suit a shared ward.

I'm told that the building called Elizabeth Lodge - a wing of the 2003 building, was built as a tall hall or ward, but converted later into half a dozen bedsits.

These are photos from "lost hospitals of London", before boarding-up, which says that the older barn-like buildings were built to keep fever patients in beds twelve feet apart with maximum ventilation.



Also, just looking at the site, I saw that there are some two-story house-like buildings as well as the barn-like ones and the H-shaped building still in use.
Some planning applications, later withdrawn, mention staff accommodation on the site.
https://www.richmond.gov.uk/media/11630/barnes_site_forms_march_2014.pdf
[page 9 of 21, "planning application history"] but don't say how much is there and ready to let. I guess that the two story house-like buildings were once staff housing.


Whilst the Trust has added security to the building, with the buildings being vacant, they unfortunately continue to be a target for vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
This is misleading.
There is very little evidence of vandalism so far.


The associated costs mean that we are having to spend money on floorspace that we don’t need – money that we would much prefer to spend on patient care.


There is a simpler solution.

https://uk.cameloteurope.com/contact-us/uk-south-east-office can find short term tenants, as can short-life housing associations. I think Westminster Housing Co-op is the nearest one. Someone at Richmond Housing Partnership might be able to suggest which ones are easy to deal with.


One of these agents could handle the letting of hard-to-use property, if it is possible at all, leaving the completely un-usable property easy to identify and develop bit-by-bit, with less pressure to sign-up to large contracts and possibly get them wrong.

The gate house looks as though it is built to house a caretaker and could be re-opened and let just as it is. It has steel shutters on it at the moment, but there is a photo of it in use by the last occupier who were a psychotherapy organisation here .


OS Map extract 1896 –appearance of hospital site
OS Map extract 1920 – expansion of hospital site
OS Map extract 1936 – expansion of hospital site
View of the existing site View of the existing site


The views don't show the large 2003 building which is to be demolished

Did you know?
The Trust employs over 2,000 staff to provide care and treatment for approximately 20,000 people in South West London and beyond. 

What is the Estate Modernisation Programme?

The EMP is an exciting programme which will revolutionise the way mental health services are delivered in south west London for generations to come and will also provide new facilities for our local communities.

?.

We are working with local people and service users to transform mental health services in south west London through a multi-million pound investment in our services and facilities.

Barnes Hospital patients have not been consulted directly.

What does this mean for Barnes Hospital?

Earlier this year the Trust carried out an initial stage of marketing to help us to understand the potential options for the Barnes Hospital site and to inform our next steps.

We are now bringing forward outline plans for the site, which will maintain excellent mental healthcare services alongside new homes and community uses. We hope this will enable us to appoint a preferred bidder for the site, who will deliver excellent value for the NHS and allow us to reinvest all funds from the sale of the site into our services.

I think the trust needs to be very transparent about appointing party-donors as builders, whichever party they donate to. I don't see why a political party needs donations from anyone, and think the practice of large govenment contractors donating to parties should end; government should not do business them.

An update about Springfield and Tolworth Hospitals

In October we were delighted to announce the selection of Springfield and Tolworth Estate Partnership (STEP), a partnership between Kajima Partnerships and Sir Robert McAlpine Capital Ventures Ltd,

McAlpine are party donors
as our preferred development partner to deliver the new hospitals at Springfield and Tolworth. STEP will work alongside the Trust to progress the EMP and transform the way we deliver mental health services for generations to come.

?

The announcement of the preferred development partner marks a significant milestone in the development of the EMP, and enables the proposals to be finalised for a full business case to be submitted to the Government for approval.

View of the new hospital at Tolworth
View of the new hospital at Springfield

“ We are now bringing forward outline plans for the site, which will maintain excellent mental healthcare services alongside new homes and community uses.”

Our commitment to delivering high quality care

The Trust provides a wide range of inpatient and community services to over 20,000 people each year. These include local services for children/adolescents and working age and older adults, as well as a range of specialist mental health services on a regional and national basis.

Our values are to be respectful, open, collaborative, compassionate and consistent. We work in partnership with those who use our services, their relatives, carers and friends, and other stakeholders to ensure that we uphold and promote these values.

Crucially, we will be retaining a presence at the Barnes Hospital site. Staff and service levels will not be reduced in the borough as a result of the EMP and we are working closely with Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to develop the services we can deliver in Richmond.

Will my care be affected in any way?

While we transform our estate, care will continue to be provided throughout. Any
relocation will be agreed with the input of clinicians, to ensure new locations reach
the needs of our patients and carers. Minimising disruption to our patients is a key
objective of both the Trust and STEP.

Some teams may be required to work from another location within the borough and
staff will work closely with patients and carers to ensure they are fully aware of any
changes to their services.

The clinics at Queen Mary's Hospital have to pay a high rent to Sodexo. It could be that some of them would be cheaper to run at Barnes if patents are able to get to Barnes.

Access would he hard without a northern gate to the site, so that people could walk from more bus stops; at the moment there is access for drivers and fit people but not for ill people.


Once any relocations have been agreed the Trust will provide regular updates and
work with key external partners such as service user/carer groups, Healthwatch, local
GPs and the CCG to ensure that all the people we serve are aware of the changes.

Our values are to be respectful, open, collaborative, compassionate and consistent.

Opportunities and constraints

We have been considering options for the future of Barnes Hospital for a number  of years.

The site offers an opportunity to deliver a mixed-use development that would positively contribute to the local area while retaining a valuable healthcare use.

Opportunities

  • Bringing back into use an under-utilised site to provide much-needed housing for the borough as well as to support investment in new healthcare facilities
    This isn't what happened at Queen Mary's; the risk is that demolishing and building for its own sake will waste a lot of money. For example Queen Mary's moved to a building with very high rents to Sodexo who built it under the Private Finance Initiative.
  • The site is well connected, conveniently located close to transport links, shops and local facilities
  • Retention of a significant number of existing trees will contribute to high quality amenity space as well as acting as a green buffer
  • The northern part of the site is away from neighbouring properties and provides a good opportunity to deliver a new healthcare facility
  • It is an ideal location to deliver high quality new homes of varying size and tenure
  • There is a possibility that the site could accommodate other community uses, such as a new school

Principal Planning Considerations

  • Relationship with neighbouring properties and the railway line
  • Proximity of the nearby Queen’s Road Conservation Area
  • Adjacent Old Mortlake Burial Ground
  • Existing locally-listed buildings on the site
  • Availability of funding for potential social and community uses on part of the site

Land for social and community uses

We are currently in dialogue with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames for part of our site to be made available for an alternative community use, such as a new school.
This area of land, to the south of the site, is not included in these plans and any proposals would be subject to a separate planning application.
The total site is approximately 1.45 hectares and would be divided as follows:
  • New homes - 0.68 hectares 
  • Healthcare - 0.23 hectares 
  • Land for alternative community use - 0.54 hectares

Proposed Site Layout

New homes

As part of this development, we aim to help meet a pressing need for new housing in the borough, and a mix of both private and affordable homes is proposed.

I don't see anything concrete about a number of affordable homes and suggest that initial planning permission state some kind of condition.

A quick google found me a planning report  (page 9 of 21) quoting "Barnes Working Group" with this suggestion:


It suggested the site is best used for the provision of accommodation for working age adults as well as affordable accommodation for other groups. It reported Richmond Council's priorities for the site as affordable housing, extra care housing and adults' mental health housing.



We are proposing a total of 76 homes, including:
  • 64 apartments, featuring a mix of one, two and three bed units
  • 12 terraced four bedroom homes
All new homes will have outdoor space, either balconies or private gardens, and  have been designed to meet the London Housing Design Guide standards for size and residential amenity.

A modern healthcare facility

The new healthcare facility will be delivered to the north of the site, in the location of Garden House (the H-shaped building) , which is currently being used to provide healthcare. The Trust is committed to provide out-patient services on the site and this facility will enable the Trust to continue providing excellent mental healthcare services ...

"excellent" is a PR word that just confuses; NHS Choices don't quote staff or patients as using that word.

We have all seen reports of acute mental health service wards where the psychiatrists share phone calls each week about the least unwell patient to discharge, and we all know that there is more demand for acute mental health services, as for dementia care, than there is money to pay for it.  So to say that the trust provides excellent mental healthcare services, or that any trust can provide sufficient mental healthcare services, is untrue
...for generations to come.

This is an easy way to help people.

Most of us live less than 100 years and value our property in proportion.
Health trusts live longer - the fever hospital was built in the 1880s - so health trusts are  interested in returns more than 100 years away. So I propose 100 year leases rather than freehold sales.


The development of a new facility would improve patient experience, moving away from the current buildings which are outdated and unsuitable for modernisation.

This is untrue and important.
The 2003 building is the largest on the site. A large brick building with blue window frames that looks weatherproof and well insulated. The two-story part of it, to the South West, is in the area of the current planning application, and a "proposed vehicle and pedestrian access plan" shows it replaced with housing and a turning circle.

Another  plan shows four parts called "lodge" with different names, and a central "esl unit" as well as office space, reception and a large laundry.

After a quick look at a couple of dementia care homes with high-care units, I guess that the 2003 building is the same kind of thing; it could be let as it is, maybe for conversion, rather than demolished to make way for something else.

I read that the trust no longer funds many dementia beds, and so the ones at Barnes were abandoned to maintain a "critical mass". This is not the same as their being no demand for dementia care; there is obviously growing demand with new care homes being built all the time. I saw one called Atwood House being extended by Barchester Healthcare just recently.


Illustrative view of the proposals looking from the north east
Proposed site layout
Illustrative view of the proposals looking from the south west
Key
  • Shared Surface
  • Street/Parking Zones
  • Communal Gardens
  • Private Gardens
  • Defensible Space
  • Existing Trees to be removed
  • Existing Trees
  • Proposed Trees

Design precedent

  • South Kilburn Masterplan - Alison Brooks Architects
  • Anne Mews - Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  • Newhall Be - Alison Brooks Architects
  • Newhall Be - Alison Brooks Architects
  • Elmwood Court - C.F. Møller
  • Culverin Court - Hawkins Brown
  • Ham Close - BPTW Architecture

Highways and access

I think the site suffers from a no-left-turn rule at the level crossing to the north east. This has recently been imposed under pressure from local residents, because of the risk of squashing people (including children) who wait at the level crossing in the path of any car that needs to turn left.

I think that a bollard would do the same job, ideally with help from Railtrack who might allow more land at the corner to be left for pedestrians waiting. I think that a bollard with tyres round it would be good to reduce damage for drivers negotiating a tight bend. I think that the cameras and no-left-turn rules are a hazard for people leaving the hospital, from experience: my mother is an outpatient and was caught on camera trying to do a left turn with slightly bad memory and concentration.

A specialist transport consultant, Motion, has been appointed to undertake assessments of the local highway network, alongside an assessment of the potential changes in the number and types of vehicle movements.

Access

I think more access points are required, with one at the north, at least for pedestrians and preferably for cars, because I don't see much chance of getting a bus-stop to work in South Worple Way or White Hart Lane. So there is good transport nearby, but none very near.

There is a single-track road called South Worple Way on the south of the site. Drawings show it as a wider road - maybe two track. This is a sign of something wrong; the people who commissioned that picture should do their jobs differently or not remain in post.


The site currently has three access points from South Worple Way and a one-way vehicular system is operated within the site due to the width of the road.

The proposals would retain two of the three existing access points and maintain a one-way circulation, with a dedicated entrance and an exit serving both the new homes and healthcare facility.

There is no clarity about the healthcare facility yet. Central government may fund a building for a GP surgery, if a GP wants it, and existing outpatient clinics will probably continue in the same building or a new one.

Parking provision

All residential parking for the scheme will be accommodated within the site and will have no impact on local parking provision. A total of 86 car parking spaces are proposed,including eight disabled parking spaces, at a ratio of 1.17 spaces per home.

30 of the parking spaces would be provided at street level and another 56 would be in basement parking below the apartment blocks. New residents will not be issued with parking permits and will not be allowed to park in existing local Controlled Parking Zones.

To promote sustainable travel, the plans include 142 cycle spaces for the residential properties and a further 30 cycle spaces associated with the non-residential floorspace.

Dedicated car parking spaces will be provided for the healthcare facility.

Local links

South Warple Way is a single track road.

I don't know if RailTrack would allow railway land to be used for road-widening; I haven't seen it done before, and they need space for signals, so I guess they wouldn't allow road widening onto the edge of railway land.

I think they might allow one corner of land - the odd square meter - to be used to allow more pedestrians to stand on the corner by the level crossing, without risk from cars turning left on the sharp corner.

I think the council could put-up a post or a removable bollard, maybe with tyres round it for padding, to separate pedestrians and cars.

I think the current no-left-turn sign and camera could go, which would be a great benefit to people using the hospital site.


The site benefits from excellent public transport links, being approximately half a mile

from Mortlake train station and 0.7 miles to Barnes train station.

There are a number of bus stops a short walk from the site which are served by bus routes providing links to Richmond, Hammersmith and Wandsworth.
Proposed vehicle and pedestrian access plan

To promote sustainable travel, the plans propose 142 cycle spaces for the residential properties and a further 30 cycle spaces for the commercial units.”

Monday, 20 November 2017

State of the Nation Address from neighbouring boroughs

https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/opera-protest.jpg
Oh this post started-off as a transcript of a speech from Zimbabwe seen on TV then googled via the Daily Express online, which I thought worth trying to format and blog. Please don't think I approve of Zanu-PF for that reason. Anyway only 4 people glanced at the blog post and I doubt any of them were really looking for the President of Zimbabwe's State of the Nation speech, so I have added another post above to save filling the internet with un-read pages. Going-off on a tangent I have a web site spawned by anger at how Unite treats ordinary members with ordinary but important employment law disputes with ex-employers who are often rather like Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Mangement Organisation, which is called employees.org.uk, but that's a digression on a digression. Back to digression number one.

Fellow Zimbabweans,


I address you tonight on the back of a meeting I held today with the nation’s security forces command element.

This meeting which was facilitated by a mediating team… followed an operation mounted by the Zimbabwean Defense Forces in the week that has gone by, and which was triggered by concerns from their reading of the state of affairs
  • in our country, and
  • in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Whatever the pros and cons of the way they went about registering those concerns, I as the President of Zimbabwe and as their Commander in Chief do acknowledge the issues they have drawn my attention to, and do believe these were raised in the spirit of
  • honesty and out of deep and patriotic concern for the
  • stability of our nation and for the
  • welfare of our people.
As I address you I am also aware of a whole range of concerns which have come from you all, as citizens of our great country and which deserve our untrammeled attention.
Today’s meeting with the command element has underscored the need for us to collectively start processes that return our nation to normalcy so that all our people can go about their business unhindered, in an environment of perfect peace and security, assured that the law and order prevail as before, and endure well into the future.
  • If there is any one observation we have made and drawn from events of the last week it is the unshakable pedestal upon which rests our state of peace and law and order, amply indicating that as Zimbabweans we are generally a peaceably disposed people and with a given-ness to express our grievances and to resolve our differences ourselves and with a level of dignity and restraint so rare to many other nations. This is to be admired. Indeed such traits must form the path of our national character and personality.

Yes, a veritable resource we summon and draw upon in times of vicissitudes.
  • The operation I have alluded to did not amount to a threat to our well-cherished constitutional order, nor was it a challenge to my authority as head of state and government, not even as commander in chief of the Zimbabwean Defense Forces. To the man, the commend element remained respectful and comported themselves with diktats and mores of constitutionalism. 
True, a few incidents may have occurred here-and-there, but they are being corrected.

I am happy that throughout the short period the pillars of state remained functional.

Even happier for me and arising from today’s meeting is a strong sense of collegiality and comradeship now binding the various arms of our security establishment. This should redound to greater peace and offer an abiding sense of security in communities and in our entire nation.

Among the issues discussed is that relating to ...
Our economy, which as we all know is going through a difficult patch.


Of greater concern to our commanders are the well-founded fears that the lack of unity and commonness of purpose in both party and government was translating into perceptions of inattentiveness to the economy.

Open public spats between officials in the party and government exacerbated by multiple conflicting messages from both the party and government made the criticisms leveled at us inescapable.
Amidst all this, flagship projects already adopted by government stood stalled or mired in needless controversies. All this needs to stop as we inaugurate a new work culture and pace which will show a strong sense of purpose and commitment to turning around our economy in terms of our policies. The government remains committed to improving the social and material conditions of the people.

Government will soon unveil an entrepreneurial skills and business development program which will empower and unleash gainful projects at our growth points and in rural areas.

Fellow Zimbabweans:
we are a nation born out of a protracted struggle for national independence. Our roots lie in that epochal struggle whose goals and ideals must guide our present, and structure our future.


The tradition of resistance is our collective legacy, whose core tenets must [be] subscribed [to] by all across generations and across times. Indeed these too were a concern of our commanders who themselves were makers of that revolution and often at very tender ages and at great personal peril.

We still have in our various communities veterans of that founding struggle who might have found the prevailing management of national and party issues quite alienating. This must be corrected without delay, include ensuring that these veterans continue to play central roles in the lives of our nation. We must all recognize that their participation in the war of liberation exacted lifelong costs that, while hardly repayable, may still be assuaged and ameliorated. [hint] 

In respect of
  • the party &
  • the party issues raised both by
  • the commanders & by
  • the general membership of Zanu-PF,
- these too stand acknowledged.
They have to be attended to with a great sense of urgency.

However I am aware that as a party of liberation, Zanu-PF has, over the years, written elaborate rules and procedures that guide the operations of all its organs and personnel.

Indeed the current criticisms raised against it by the command element and some of its members have arisen from a well-founded perception that the party was stretching, or even failing, in its own rules and procedures. The way forward thus cannot be based on swapping vying cliques that ride roughshod over party rules and procedures.

There has to be a
  • net return to the guiding principles of our party as enshrined in its constitution, which must apply
  • fairly and equitably in all situations and before all members. The era of
  • victimisation and arbitrary decisions must be put behind [us], so as we all embrace a new ethos  [sic] predicated on the
  • supreme law of our party [sic] and nourished by an 
  • abiding sense of camaraderie.

To all, there must be a general recognition that:

Zanu-PF is a party of traditions and has been served by successive generations who are bound together by shared ideals and values, which must continue to reign supreme [sic] in our nation.
  • Hints of inter-generational conflict must be resolved through harmonized melding of old established players as they embrace and welcome new rules through a well-defined sense of hierarchy and succession.
  • Indeed all these matters will be discussed and settled at the forthcoming Congress within the framework of a clear road map that seeks to resolve once and for all any omissions or contradictions that have affected our party negatively. The Congress is due in a few weeks from now.
  • I will preside over its processes, that must not be prepossessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public.
As I conclude this address I am aware that many developments have occurred in the party or have been championed and done by individuals in the name of the party. Given the failings of the past and the anger these might have triggered in some quarters, such developments are quite understandable, however we cannot be guided by bitterness or vengefulness, both of which would not make us any better party members or any better Zimbabweans. Our hallowed policy of reconciliation which we pronounced in 1980 and through which we reached-out to those which occupied and oppressed us for nearly a century and those we had traded-fire-with in a bitter war surely cannot be unavailable to our own, both in the party and in our nation.
We must learn to forgive and to resolve contradictions, real or perceived, in a comradely Zimbabwean spirit. I am confident that from tonight our whole nation at all levels gets refocused, as we put our shoulder to the wheel amidst the promising agricultural season already upon us.

Let us all move forward reminding ourselves of our wartime mantra:
[You and I have work to do].
I thank you and goodnight.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Reason for boogling and transcribing: I am not sure. Nobody much glances at this blog so it is a public set of notes of things I am sometimes not sure about.

This is a murderer of thousands with the opposite of skills to be a president, hanging on in hope of dying before sent to the same court as Slobovan Milosocic, but someone is still writing speeches for him, in the style of a Queens Speech of a US President speech.

My hunch read from the hunches of much better-informed people is that he wants to avoid being lynched but avoid being sent to The Hague as a criminal, and that the army want to promote a sense of constitution and law not previously known in Zimbabwe, including a new freedom to protest now encouraged by Zanu.



Thursday, 1 December 2016

here are some suggestions why the liberals might loose

Good Morning Sarah
I am voting for you but if you don't get the job, here are some suggestions why.

  • There was no adult conversation in the leaflets about NHS claims. Liberal coalition ministers were keen to promote an income tax cut on low earners. There is a vague suggestion in the leaflets that Liberals are more in favour of NHS spending than conservatives. So there needs to be an adult conversation with voters with links to the manifesto or statements about what is a lower priority than the NHS.
  • There was no adult conversation in the leaflets about Heathrow - the alternatives, the detail, and what Vince Cable MP did specifically about the issue when a cabinet minister.

  • There was no adult conversation in the leaflets about single markets and tariffs; the candidates' blog post was simplified, the differences between herself and the other main candidate not spelt-out.
  • There was huge spending and effort put-in to a Dame Edna style of politics that lost the last Liberal MP her seat. She was caught absolutely un-deniably pretending that there would be a hospital closure in order to "campaign" against it, whatever that means. Her claim and name are repeated in current Liberal literature and she has been appointed to the House of Lords with a junior trade minister position in the coalition dispite being thrown-out by voters. Just before being thrown-out she held a series of seminars around the constituency, I remember. I asked about national politics. She said "most people are interested in local issues - we may have another meeting about national issues later-on". This was extraordinary. There were also individual accounts of voters asking her to lobby about some issue or other - fairness at work or social care spending - and finding that she lobbied one way for individual constituents while voting the other way in the house of commons. This sounds a bit vague, but I tried to find a contact in the Lib Dems to raise a concern in clear detail and got no reply.

If anyone in the Lib Dems would like to speak in detail, I live a few hundred yards from the party office and could drop-in any time.
good luck

John Robertson, 2 Avenue Gardens, London SW14 8BP 0000 286 9947
(no reply recieved yet dispite email and paper copies sent)


Richmond Park by-election: Liberal Democreat leafletsGood evening John,
I’m not a career politician. It was never in my plan to stand for Parliament. But after Brexit and after seeing the direction the Conservatives were taking our country in, I couldn’t just sit idly by.
By-elections can really change things and tomorrow, you can use your vote to send the Government a powerful message about the direction they are taking the country.
The choice you face is simple.
For many years Zac Goldsmith has been one of the strongest voices calling for Britain to leave Europe. In this campaign he is backed by UKIP and many of the most Eurosceptic Conservative MPs.
If he wins it is a green light for this Government to continue its plan for a hard Brexit. Britain out of the single market – regardless of the damage that will do to our economy.
If he loses, we will send a strong message to this Conservative Brexit Government that will force them to change course.
Like so many people here, I voted Remain and I still believe that being a member of the European Union is what is best for Britain.
If you elect me on Thursday, I’ll take that as a personal mandate to vote against article 50, oppose Brexit and protect our membership of the single market.
So, if you want an MP who will stand up for you on Brexit and if you want to change the direction of our country, please, vote for me tomorrow.
Thank you,
Sarah,
Sarah Olney
Liberal Democrat candidate
Richmond Park and North Kingston by-election
PS: Some of the polling stations have changed since the last election - make sure you know where you’re voting tomorrow and check your polling station here: saraholney.org.uk/plan


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Zac Goldsmith's pitch to be an experienced independent MP

The man invited anyone on his email list to turn-up to the Bear Kick this morning, listen to an explanation of why he's resigned and re-stood (which everyone knows) and answer questions. 
What a lot of words all in a row! Issues and details have this effect on people.
I won't vote for Goldsmith because if his line on welfare benefits - on the state as a kind of national insurance company. He doesn't seem to vote for that, so I suppose he only suits voters who want to pay for services privately and some of them donate to charities for those who don't have medicare. Somewhere more like India or parts of the USA.
Face-to-face you get an impression of a highly rational man, rather than a slogan-driven one or a point-scoring one. For example he talked about work to reassure EU passport-holders working in the UK (I forget the exact point but it was a rational reasonable one).

I got the same impression as a constituent: he forwarded a few emails for me a year or two ago, understood my unclear language, found exactly the right people to contact, and got a very clear reply.

The same impression comes from the leaflets his supporters put through letter boxes (the other party's ones loose them votes I think, by assuming the voters are mentally deficient).

Speech and answers: Heathrow.

Any of the other options would be better than Heathrow; Gatwick is the main one at the moment.  (I think the Gatwick Obviously ads in papers make the point)

Well-informed, obviously. Willing to work cross-party which some colleagues don't do.

Notices the blurred devision between Heathrow and HM Government in peoples' career-paths, which would be illegal a lot of European countries. Hence the default position which has always been Government = Heathrow.

A colleague noticed 20% Chinese ownership of Heathrow which is part of the strange George Osborne pattern that's emerged these past few years; we have to wait another 20 years till papers are released to find out.

Gatwick can build another runway but can't use it at the moment (someone asked about this). Heathrow might soon be allowed to build another runway but can't pay for it: loads of issues in recent estimates aren't costed and aren't going to be paid-for by Heathrow. The airport is already one of the most expensive in the world; if it wants free money it has to put-up prices even more or pay to borrow it. I didn't follow this closely because the argument seems to be won; it's just the habitual default position of government that has to change.

"Open for business" as a slogan is now the deciding issue for the cabinet, one questioner said, but, if it's good for business for people to fly more openly, then Gatwick surely answers that need.

Speech and answers: Non-Heathrow.

Nothing to add to what he says in his leaflets. No great "difference between Hard Brexit and Soft Brexit" as he sees things. A couple of people asked what other issues the independent MP might persue. He referred them to his record. His opinions are conservative with a small c, he has a track record of working on environmental issues. "The whips will tell you that I regard every vote as a free vote", he said.

"Zac Goldsmith is a Conservative MP, and on the vast majority of issues votes the same way as other Conservative MPs" - The rest of this page is pinched from the url below where it might be easier to read than here. The red ones put me off. Skip the T-shirt point to see his voting record below.

"I want a national social care budget" - T shirt statement

I printed that on a sheet of A4 and paperclipped it to my T shirt at the meeting. It seemed efficient and polite. Nobody complained, but I wore draft 1 instead of draft 2 by mistake. Draft one has the words "national social" on one line, which looks a bit alarming
https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24911/zac_goldsmith/richmond_park

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Social Issues #

  • Consistently voted for equal gay rights Show votes
  • Generally voted against smoking bans Show votes
  • Consistently voted for allowing marriage between two people of same sex Show votes
  • Generally voted against laws to promote equality and human rights Show votes
  • Consistently voted for allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Foreign Policy and Defence #

  • Almost always voted for use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas Show votes
  • Almost always voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system Show votes
  • Generally voted against more EU integration Show votes
  • Almost always voted for a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU Show votes
  • Consistently voted against strengthening the Military Covenant Show votes
  • Generally voted for a right to remain for EU nationals already in living in the UK Show votes
  • Generally voted against UK membership of the EU Show votes
  • Consistently voted for military action against ISIL (Daesh) Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Welfare and Benefits #


  • Generally voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the "bedroom tax") Show votes
  • Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices Show votes
  • Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability Show votes
  • Almost always voted for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support Show votes
  • Almost always voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits Show votes
  • Consistently voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed Show votes

This list ends "miscellanious"

Goldsmith's work is great. I subscribe to something or other - probably theyworkforyou - and get the odd update when he is recorded in parliament which I usually delete without glancing. Even I noticed that antibiotic resistance is an important subject which I doubt other MPs are interested in, and that he asked what a waste Hinckley Point is in a rather informed kind of way. Anyway, the automated result for "misc." is at the bottom of the page.

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Taxation and Employment #

  • Generally voted for raising the threshold at which people start to pay income tax Show votes
  • Almost always voted for increasing the rate of VAT Show votes
  • Generally voted for higher taxes on alcoholic drinks Show votes
  • Almost always voted for higher taxes on plane tickets Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against lower taxes on fuel for motor vehicles Show votes
  • Generally voted against increasing the tax rate applied to income over £150,000 Show votes
  • Consistently voted for encouraging occupational pensions Show votes
  • We don’t have enough information to calculate Zac Goldsmith’s position on automatic enrolment in occupational pensions. Show votes
  • Almost always voted against a banker’s bonus tax Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against higher taxes on banks Show votes
  • Consistently voted against an annual tax on the value of expensive homes (popularly known as a mansion tax) Show votes
  • Almost always voted for allowing employees to exchange some employment rights for shares in the company they work for Show votes
  • Almost always voted for more restrictive regulation of trade union activity Show votes
  • Has never voted on reducing capital gains tax

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Business and the Economy #

  • Generally voted for reducing the rate of corporation tax Show votes
  • Generally voted for measures to reduce tax avoidance Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against stronger tax incentives for companies to invest in assets Show votes
  • Almost always voted for new high speed rail infrastructure Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Health #

  • Almost always voted against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS Show votes
  • Almost always voted for reforming the NHS so GPs buy services on behalf of their patients Show votes
  • Generally voted against smoking bans Show votes
  • Consistently voted for allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Education #

  • Consistently voted for greater autonomy for schools Show votes
  • Consistently voted for raising England’s undergraduate tuition fee cap to £9,000 per year Show votes
  • Almost always voted for academy schools Show votes
  • Consistently voted for ending financial support for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education Show votes
  • Consistently voted for university tuition fees Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Constitutional Reform #

  • Generally voted for reducing central government funding of local government Show votes
  • Consistently voted for an equal number of electors per parliamentary constituency Show votes
  • Generally voted for fewer MPs in the House of Commons Show votes
  • Generally voted against a more proportional system for electing MPs Show votes
  • Generally voted against a wholly elected House of Lords Show votes
  • Generally voted for local councils keeping money raised from taxes on business premises in their areas Show votes
  • Generally voted against greater restrictions on campaigning by third parties, such as charities, during elections Show votes
  • Almost always voted for fixed periods between parliamentary elections Show votes
  • Generally voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords Show votes
  • Generally voted against transferring more powers to the Welsh Assembly Show votes
  • Generally voted against transferring more powers to the Scottish Parliament Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against more powers for local councils Show votes
  • Consistently voted for a veto for MPs from England, Wales and Northern Ireland over laws specifically impacting their part of the UK Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against a lower voting age Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Home Affairs #

  • Generally voted for a stricter asylum system Show votes
  • Almost always voted for the introduction of elected Police and Crime Commissioners Show votes
  • Generally voted for requiring the mass retention of information about communications Show votes
  • Almost always voted for stronger enforcement of immigration rules Show votes
  • Generally voted for mass surveillance of people’s communications and activities Show votes
  • Has never voted on merging police and fire services under Police and Crime Commissioners

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Environmental Issues #

  • Voted a mixture of for and against measures to prevent climate change Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against lower taxes on fuel for motor vehicles Show votes
  • Consistently voted against selling England’s state owned forests Show votes
  • Almost always voted for higher taxes on plane tickets Show votes
  • Generally voted for financial incentives for low carbon emission electricity generation methods Show votes
  • Almost always voted against culling badgers to tackle bovine tuberculosis Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against greater regulation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas Show votes
  • Almost always voted for new high speed rail infrastructure Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Transport #

  • Generally voted against greater public control of bus services Show votes
  • Consistently voted against slowing the rise in rail fares Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against lower taxes on fuel for motor vehicles Show votes
  • Almost always voted for higher taxes on plane tickets Show votes
  • Voted a mixture of for and against a publicly owned railway system Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Housing #

  • Almost always voted for phasing out secure tenancies for life Show votes
  • Generally voted for charging a market rent to high earners renting a council home Show votes

How Zac Goldsmith voted on Miscellaneous Topics #

  • Generally voted for greater regulation of gambling Show votes
  • Consistently voted for capping civil service redundancy payments Show votes
  • We don’t have enough information to calculate Zac Goldsmith’s position on Labour's anti-terrorism laws. Show votes
  • Consistently voted for the privatisation of Royal Mail Show votes
  • Generally voted against requiring pub companies to offer pub landlords rent-only leases Show votes
  • Almost always voted for restricting the scope of legal aid Show votes
  • Generally voted for allowing national security sensitive evidence to be put before courts in secret sessions Show votes
  • Generally voted against a statutory register of lobbyists Show votes
  • Almost always voted for limits on success fees paid to lawyers in no-win no fee cases Show votes
  • Generally voted against restrictions on fees charged to tenants by letting agents Show votes
  • Generally voted for the policies included in the 2010 Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement Show votes
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