Local elections in Hillingdon – my view

The people of Hillingdon go to the ballot box in less than two weeks time to vote for their local councillors who will make up the Hillingdon council chamber for the next four years.

Four years ago I was heavily involved as the Chairman of UKIP Hillingdon and a council candidate in the Charville ward in Hayes End – we ended up as the third largest party in the Borough but with no councillors to show for it, in part due to a faulty strategy imposed on us from above to bolster the EU elections that were held on the same day and in part due to a complete mismatch of firepower on the doorstep in terms of activists and cash. Despite this, we came very close to winning in a couple of wards and affected results in others.

Fast forward to 2018 and there are no UKIP candidates standing, leaving around 18% of the total vote up for grabs. (I toyed with standing as an independent but current circumstances would have made that extremely difficult so decided against it.)  The Liberal Democrats are fielding fewer candidates (13) after their disastrous showing last time out, whilst the Greens have surprisingly managed to stand 38 candidates, up from the 22 they stood in 2014.

Labour and the Conservatives are, as usual, standing a full slate of 65 candidates across the 22 wards in the borough, with Labour claiming that they have a good chance of taking control of the council and promoting the idea through the hashtag #MarginalHillingdon.

So,as somebody who is politically homeless at present and with no UKIP candidates to vote for, I can cast my beady eye over the proceedings and with an independent outlook give my predictions for what may happen, cutting through the spin from the respective parties and candidates. Here is my take –

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London Mayor nearly doubles marketing spend while complaining of cuts

The massive increase in violent crime in London under Mayor Sadiq Khan has finally been commented on by the mainstream media, with murder figures in the last few months outstripping New York.

After hiding away for days after the initial headlines (A point brutally exposed on LBC Radio by presenter Tom Swarbrick), Khan has ventured out to apportion much of the blame to ‘Government Cuts’.

Whilst I will not defend Home Secretary Amber Rudd on this (Or her predecessor, Theresa May) who have both defenestrated our Police Force, it is interesting to note where Mayor Khan deploys the budget that he has at his command.

It has been much commented about that he now has 900 officers looking over ‘hate crime’ on line, something far less dangerous to life and limb than the knives and guns that have resulted in over 50 deaths on London streets this year and many more cases that have required hospital treatment.

Tonight saw another revelation in the pages of the London Evening Standard about his use of public funds, namely the increase in taxpayers cash spent on the GLA ‘self promotion budget’.

Political editor Joe Murphy reported on a freedom of information request that showed a rise in spending on publicity from £1.3million to £2.5 million in the past year, including a £300,000 increase in staffing for the Mayor’s media relations and marketing, taking it to a whopping £1,392,000 spent of YOUR money.

Mayor Khan’s spokesperson pointed out that cash had been ‘switched between different budgets’ in an attempt to defend the increase but the basic truth remains this – when lives are being lost on a daily basis in the Capital, for the Mayor to complain about cuts when spending the money he does have on self promotion is a total disgrace and a betrayal of the Londoner’s he has pledged to serve.

It is time for Sadiq Khan to put the wellbeing of the people of London before his Political ambitions or do the decent thing and resign.

A community victory in Hayes End?

I have received the following email from Hillingdon Council democratic services following two petitions on the Charville Lane Estate to sort out the persistent flytipping around, Hoppner, Romney and Raeburn Roads

Dear Mr Dixon

Having liaised with colleagues in Residents Services, I understand that the proposal for a fencing and gating scheme for Hoppner Road has been agreed in principle and that financial approval is now being sought and consultation for the proposed works will be carried out with the residents.

As officers have addressed the issues that you have raised, unless I hear from you by 26 October 2017, no further action will be taken by Democratic Services in relation to your petition.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Nikki O’Halloran
Democratic Services Manager

 

With local council elections next year, I feel sure that the councillors representing the Charville Ward will want to get on board and make sure that this initiative is followed through on with the funding it deserves – after all, the council spend over £100k each year on their ‘Hillingdon people’ self promotion magazine and over £80k last year on the pretty flower baskets that now adorn the visible routes through the area.

UKIP – Job done or only just started?

With the resignation of both Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, many in the media are now saying that UKIP has achieved its goal and it is no longer relevant on the political landscape.

Indeed, the aforementioned Mr Carswell has been gloating on his Twitter feed about a council byelection in his area where the Tories have taken a seat from UKIP , claiming that many Kippers think ‘job done’.

So, what is the reality? With the triggering of Article 50 and the initial founding reason for UKIP (Leaving the EU) looking like a reality, what have UKIP got left to offer?

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Kinder, gentler politics?

Shortly after the Stoke byelection I received the following email from Momentum, Labour’s left wing grassroots movementA year and a half ago I was a teacher. My life was rowdy kids and bundles of paperwork. I got involved in Jeremy’s campaign because I believe in a creating a fairer society. 

Since then I’ve come to realise that if we’re going to win, we all have a part to play. We need to build a grassroots movement of millions that are willing to fight for the world we all believe in.

Winning won’t be easy. We saw that in Copeland last week.

But during these last few weeks in Stoke, I have seen everything we need to win across the country.

That’s why I’m asking you to join Momentum today

If we’re going to win the country back, we’ll need to repeat the energy, passion and tactics that worked in Stoke, hundreds of times across the country. 

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Energy, passion and tactics that worked?

Let’s look at some of them –

Bullying and intimidation – where UKIP have a chance of upsetting the Labour applecart, you will find their cohorts from the ironically named ‘Hope Not Hate’. Mobilised en masse, they attacked a number of female members of Young Independence, tearing their rosettes off and screaming abuse.

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A reply to Cllr Janet Gardner

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In the Uxbridge Gazette on 23rd November, Cllr Gardner wrote in to the letters page with a piece called ‘Remembrance and our town’s solidarity’. I reproduce the letter below –

I would like to thank PC Emma Reed and her Police colleagues for organising yet again an event in Hayes for the community that live in Hayes and to again prove to the narrow minded critics of Hayes that rather than be a fragmented town as is often claimed, we are in fact ‘in solidarity’.

The event was conducted on the frontage of the Social Centre in Botwell Lane with prayers said by some of the local clergy and a PCSO, the local faith centres were represented by members of their congregations – Christians,Muslims,Buddhists,Sikhs,atheists, all observed the two minute silence.

Over 100 people attended the event, some with their little children,in remembrance of those who have died and are still dying in wars all over the world, and of course with emphasis on those who are affected by wars, many of who live alongside us in the community that is Hayes. Something we all tend to forget.

Children from the local school attended and I am sure some have family members who know first hand the horrendous effect of war.

So again I would like to thank the local Police teams and Emma especially for their ability to make many of the cynics realise that people who live in Hayes are all part of one community and not just many diverse groups living in isolation.

Firstly, can I express my whole hearted agreement that we are all one community – indeed, I have said as much on leaflets we have put out across Hayes. My grandfather served in the Western Desert and Italy during World War 2 and fought alongside Australians, Sikhs and Gurkhas to rid us of the Nazi menace – brave men all.

But a number of things about her letter have caused me to write this reply.

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UKIP Leadership election – Why I am backing Peter Whittle

 

UKIP battle busThe BREXIT vote of 23rd June was a momentous occasion for UKIP and a seismic shock for politics in our country.

With the mainstream media and the establishment predicting a victory for the remain campaign and doing their best to ensure it, the people of the UK showed belief in our ability to not just survive but thrive as an independent, outward looking and globally trading nation.

But with the achievement of UKIP’s founding goal , those same commentators quickly turned their sights on the party and questioned whether we had a future with this core plank of our policy apparently removed. What next for UKIP?

Nigel Farage, the driving force that caused the referendum, stepped down as leader of the party – after 20 years of fighting against the EU elites and ridicule from many quarters he stated that he wanted to get his life back. Having seen how hard he had worked to the detriment of both his health and family, only the hardest heart would begrudge him the chance to rebuild some sort of personal normality.

A leadership election swiftly followed but many of the biggest names within the party did not stand and the victor, Diane James MEP, felt that she could not do the job after just 18 days in charge – to her credit, she acknowledged this early rather than persevering with a position that could have quickly become untenable and damaged the party further.

This has led to a second election where some of the ‘big beasts’ have joined the fray and an interesting contest has ensued.

Peter Whittle – 

I first encountered Peter Whittle at the Party Conference in London in 2013. His speech as a representative of the New Culture Forum, a think tank he heads up, not only hit a chord with me but also with those in the hall who gave him a standing ovation at the end of it.

That speech can be viewed here –

 

I contacted Peter shortly afterwards and asked him if he could come and do a public meeting in Hillingdon – he was only too happy to do so. Indeed, since then he has spoken at three meetings in our area in Hayes End, Uxbridge and West Drayton. His willingness to engage, even on a cold night in the middle of Winter when we had a relatively poor attendance at one of the events, speaks volumes. That particular event garnered two new members who have gone on to be amongst our best activists because of his inspirational oratory.

His interest in the grassroots soon became apparent to us in Hillingdon. When we were looking to do a fundraiser and asked party luminaries for donations to the raffle, Peter very kindly posted us signed copies of the six books he has written on cultural issues which helped to generate the cash for our general election campaign.

The New Culture Forum

brexit-revolt-bannerPeter has a background in the media and when he returned from the US he set up a think tank in London based around cultural issues.

He has invited both myself and other rank and file ‘footsoldiers’  to a number of the events where a range of speakers have been present. Amongst the highlights have been a talk from Rafe Heydal-Mankou on the erosion of London culture in the face of the globalisation of our City, Douglas Murray on the threat to our country from Radical Islamism and the launch of the the ‘BREXIT Revolt’ book shortly after the EU Referendum which was attended by a number of those involved in the campaign including Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. It has struck me at these events that Peter values the input of the ordinary member and that invitations have not been restricted to the ‘great and the good’ – he has invited those who have worked with him on campaigns, irrespective of background.

The GLA Elections

Many have said that London is a world apart and not ‘UKIP Territory’. As our Mayoral candidate and head of the party list in 2016, Peter tore that particular myth up and together with David Kurten got our first seats on the London Assembly for over ten years.

Working with active branches in London, Peter was not afraid to meet people on the street in areas where the media would have you believe that we would not be welcome. One particular event in Uxbridge sticks with me where we were accused of being ‘homophobes and racists’ – after Peter and David spoke with the three individuals in question, they engaged and left with UKIP manifestoes in hand, quite shocked by the difference between MSM rhetoric and the reality. His calm demeanour and willingness to engage certainly made a mark.

In the face of a hostile media he also garnered good reviews as the party spokesman during the campaign – even the likes of The Guardian found it hard to say a bad word!

After election, Peter also came back to the area and spoke with residents on a demonstration in Harmondsworth against the Third Runway – this was commented on by campaigners who were not used to seeing politicians when they did not need votes to put them in to position and has helped us immensely where some would have questioned our commitment to the cause.

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Since assuming his position as the leader of the UKIP GLA group, Peter has made a fine start in holding London Mayor Sadiq Khan to account. His team have been in constant touch with our branch to find out what people in our area need and to this end have questioned the Mayor over PHV drivers in Harlington, the Third Runway (Forcing Khan in to endorsing Gatwick) and his reluctance to confront Islamist extremists from Hezbollah on the streets of London. When EU flags were raised over City Hall after the election of the Labour Mayor, Peter and David pushed a motion asking for them to be removed and replaced with the Cross of St George – to the shame of the other members of the Assembly, the Tories abstained and Labour opposed.

Peter has also grilled Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on the lack of convictions for FGM, a crime that is now unfortunately prevalent in our part of London.

Whilst UKIP need to be ready to fight for a proper BREXIT it is to Peter’s credit that he not only acknowledges that but with his partner on the GLA is ready to look beyond a successful outcome and build a fighting force that confronts the establishment parties on domestic issues that affect us all. In interviews with the BBC he has also confirmed that UKIP needs to build and fight Labour in the North where the next major breakthroughs will be made as we push on to replace Labour as the main opposition in Westminster.

Why Peter Whittle?

I mentioned before that we now have a proper leadership election. I have worked with Paul Nuttall before and am a big fan. especially on his stance over an English Parliament – he would make a fine leader of our party.

I know very little of John Rees-Evans but have heard good things from those who have worked with him in Wales.

However, having worked with Peter over the last few years I would like to think that we have developed from colleagues to friends. He speaks my language when it comes to putting the pride back in to our country, working to establish a community based around a shared vision for our future. A future where working class people like Peter, a grammar school boy from Shooters Hill, can fulfil their potential.

A leader who acknowledges the work of the grassroots and is there to help us build the party from the ground up as he has done for our branch since our first meeting.

We can have a ‘safe pair of hands’ or we can reach for something more, achieve UKIP’s potential and change our country for the better in a post BREXIT world.

I believe that Peter Whittle is the man who can lead our party and our country to a better future – that is why I am endorsing him for leadership of UKIP and would urge you to do the same.

Peter Whittle and CD