Saturday, August 18, 2018

Radio Jackie interview

I was interviewed earlier today by the lovely Henry Riley at Radio Jackie.  He was epitome of professionalism - particularly as we discussed some particularly difficult issues. You can hear the full interview here.

Friday, August 17, 2018

100 days and counting - an update

Today I am resigning from the Liberal Democrat group on Kingston Council.  I remain a Liberal Democrat and strong supporter of Ed Davey MP and will sit as an independent Lib Dem in the Guildhall.

My reasons for leaving the Lib Dem group are as follows:

After 100 days it is clear there is a lack of vision at the top of the administration.  Manifesto and other commitments have been junked in favour of uninspiring, bureaucratic, more of the same.  It’s as if Kevin Davis is still in charge.  I was particularly upset at Liz Green and other very senior councillors breaking their promises to the elderly residents of Murray House and on the failure to reimburse the initial fines for drivers on Surbiton Crescent which was dismissed without even a feasibility study into the cost.  However, cost wasn’t an issue when dismissing former Chief Executive Charlie Adan.

By resigning the Lib Dem whip I can speak up more strongly for the residents of Alexandra Ward
  • Local school budgets are at breaking point and councillors of all parties need to work together – with Ed Davey MP – to demand a fair deal from government.  Sitting back and wringing hands is not a solution.
  • People in Alexandra and across Surbiton have repeatedly demanded a 20mph speed limit on residential streets – we shouldn’t be wasting money on yet another consultation when it is clear local people want action now.
  • We need real action to cut air pollution.  I’ve argued within the Lib Dem group (and before I became a councillor) that we need to do much more – but my ideas were dismissed.  I will be speaking out in favour of increasing car parking charges for the most polluting vehicles and using this revenue to build up a fund to pay for the radical initiatives we need to make a difference on air pollution.  Initiatives like no idling zones outside schools.
  • I want to see real community engagement on the Tolworth Area Plan.  This important plan will determine the future of Tolworth Broadway and shouldn’t be rushed through by officers.  I have been urging Cllr Malcolm Self to properly consult on this but so far he hasn’t listened.
  • Earlier this year I organised a crime summit with Ed Davey MP, the local police and Alexandra residents.  There has been a spate of burglaries - particularly along the A3 – and we must do more to give the police the support they need.  I’ll continue to back Ed Davey’s campaign to get the Mayor and the Government to properly fund the Met Police.
I know some of my fellow Lib Dem councillors will be let down by my decision – which hasn’t been easy – but I can’t sit back and see all the goodwill the Lib Dems had from local voters be frittered away without making a stand.  There is huge talent and experience among the 38 strong Lib Dem group – particularly among the 26 councillors elected for the first time in May.  But the old heads remain in charge and this talent and creativity isn’t being used properly – instead the officers appear to be in charge.  And that’s bad for democracy.