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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Hillingdon Council and Charville ward – A Repairs update

Lake Farm protest Nov 13 CD and Ilyas with bannerYesterday, I returned to the Charville Lane estate to follow up on some issues I had reported to the council last month.

I am glad to report that the overgrown skip on Romney Road that I reported that was concerning a pensioner has been removed and that the housing repairs that were requested for a young lady on Hoppner Road have been scheduled – Well done to the Council team for that.

However, the petition that was submitted to clear up the rubbish and flytipping in the alleys and garage spaces around Hoppner Road, Romney Road and Raeburn Road does not appear to have been acted on and I have not had a further reply after the initial acknowledgement letter of receipt from the Democratic Services team.

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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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The Housing Crisis – Time to put our community first!

Homes in HayesMuch was made in the recent General Election of the impending shortage of housing in both our area and England as a whole.

In Hillingdon, we have seen an 82% increase in population since 1939 (From 159,000 to 289,000) with the GLA estimating that we will see 316,000 people resident in our borough by 2039. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the population grew by 30,000, three times the amount that was predicted.

Despite the building of new estates in Ruislip and West Drayton, with another currently underway on the old RAF site in Uxbridge, the shortfall in supply has seen prices to both buy and rent spiral to such a degree that the average age of a first time buyer is now nearly 40 and many of our children are unable to afford to leave home.

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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)