The more things change, the more they stay the same

May’s local elections saw the Conservative Council in Hillingdon returned to office with an increased majority, making a mockery of the Labour campaign centred around the hashtag #MarginalHillingdon.

In 2014, UKIP had stood in all 22 wards in the Borough, falling agonisingly close to picking up seats in Harefield and Yiewsley whilst affecting the outcome in many other marginals and establishing themselves as the third force in the locality. With no candidates standing this time, it reverted to a straight fight between the ‘big two’, with the Greens and LibDems not even making a dent despite aggressive campaigns in some target areas.

In my ‘home’ ward of Charville where I have stood before, the Conservatives took two seats from Labour in an unexpected clean sweep and their new team here have already made an impact in terms of getting things done on a local level – a welcome change from the invisible Labour Councillors during the last term of office. (It helps that all three are Charville residents)

However, whilst individual councillors on both sides of the floor are making an effort it would appear that there is no change at the top in terms of the running of both the ruling and opposition groups with Hillingdon residents the poorer for it.

The start of the year saw a familiar occurrence when an election is in the offing, notably the ‘special ward edition’ print runs of the Hillingdon People council magazine (Or ‘Pravda’ as many of us refer to it). This was also bolstered by banners appearing on lampposts proclaiming what a great job the Council is doing for residents with slogans such as ‘Council Tax frozen for 10 years’, neglecting to mention that in January 2016 the Council tax benefit for the low paid and disabled was cut.

With such propaganda being paid for out of your pockets, I once again submitted a Freedom of Information Request to find out how much had been splurged as my former colleague Jack Duffin had done previously in 2014.

The results are below and quite damning –

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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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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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The truth about Hillingdon Council’s ‘Financial Prudence’

Hillingdon council cabinetOur national debt recently exceeded the £1.5 trillion mark – We spend more money in interest payments on the debt annually than we do on defence. Locally, our Conservative Council constantly tell you about their outstanding financial record in much the same way as their national party do at Westminster. ‘Council tax frozen’ is one of their favourite cries, neglecting to mention that Hillingdon levies one of the highest council tax bills in London already.

Their ‘financial prudence’ claims are further tested by the write off of £2.5 million of your money in 2011 in a failed Icelandic Bank, with millions still owing from Landsbanki and Heritable.

 

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Ray Puddifoot – Strong leader, aloof bureaucrat or poor communicator?

Yesterday I highlighted a number of issues in Charville ward in Hayes surrounding potholes, flytipping and lack of grasscutting on the UKIP Hillingdon website. Because of the council website constantly flagging up ‘error’ when reported, I wrote the post and as stated sent a link through to relevant people by email to address the problems.

Romney Rd alleyway H3 dumping 2Those people included the three ward councillors, the local MP, the councillor listed as being responsible for heritage and environment and the council leader, Ray Puddifoot MBE.

Below is the email that I sent

Good afternoon
As the LB Hillingdon website is once again refusing to allow me to notify issues in Charville ward, please find below a link to said issues that we have highlighted on our website
I would appreciate it if these can be passed on to the relevant departments and email addresses for said departments made available so I can rectify future issues with them directly
A local resident would also like to bring to your attention a skip that has been outside Romney Parade for 6 months and is now a serious rodent hazard. (Pictures attached)
I have copied Cllr Markham in as environment champion at the council
Thanks for your assistance

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Is Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot calling Boris Johnson a liar?

UKIP Hillingdon press release 31st March 2015

Ray PuddifootIn The Gazette dated 25th March, Ray Puddifoot (Left) responded to UKIP criticisms of council spending on self-promotion by stating that “Hillingdon Council is not responsible for Police budgets” and accused our Parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Jack Duffin, of having a ‘Lack of understanding’

Freedom of Information requests by Mr Duffin had revealed that Hillingdon Council had spent £8435.54 for on line advertising in financial year 2013/14 to add to the nearly £100,000 spent on their promotional magazine ‘Hillingdon People’ in the same period.

UKIP policy in Hillingdon is to scrap the magazine and redirect that money to front line services including Policing.

Jack Duffin profile high res

In reply to Mr Puddifoot’s statement, Jack Duffin said, “ If the council is not responsible for Police budgets, then why did Boris Johnson state in his 2012 Mayoral campaign that for every extra police officer funded by a local authority he would match that in a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer from the Greater London Authority (GLA)?

Indeed, Boris stated in the document ‘Fighting Crime in London’ that twelve London Boroughs, including neighbouring Harrow, had taken him up on the offer.

If this is the case, then either Ray Puddifoot has a ‘lack of understanding’ of what is available to him concerning policing in Hillingdon or he is calling Boris Johnson a liar.”

 

Press Release Ends

Related documents –

http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Boris-Johnson-2012-Crime-Manifesto.pdf

Fighting Crime in London – Boris Johnson manifesto 2012 (Relevant info on page 12)

 

More Taxpayers Money spent on Council self-promotion

hillingdon council noticeA freedom of information request submitted by UKIP Parliamentary candidate Jack Duffin has revealed that Hillingdon Council are spending further taxpayers money on propaganda rather than services.

 

It reveals that £8435.54 was spent in 2013/14 on social media, with spend to date in the current financial year at £6389.07.

 

420237_346537172116972_1380866219_nMr Duffin (Pictured left) said, “ Our previous investigations revealed that Hillingdon Council spent nearly £100,000 on their promotional magazine, Hillingdon People, in 2013 – Now we see that they are topping this up with additional spend in on line advertising. Meanwhile, they have cut front line policing numbers and the maintenance teams who look after our social housing. Is this a proper use of local taxpayer’s money?”

UKIP would axe the Hillingdon People magazine and redirect this cash in to front line services such as extra Police officers, street cleaning and the NHS, whilst encouraging more interaction by local councillors with their constituents and engagement with local media outlets to get information out.