Conservative candidate for
Today Marcus Christian Sebastian Llewellyn-Rothschild is hoping to maintain the Tory legacy keeping the blue flame alight against fierce competition from the Residents’ Association (the main opposition group on the council) and Labour (who came second losing only by 52 votes in 2010).
Marcus’s campaign is based on attacking Labour’s “Horizons” project in Harold Hill and bigging up what the Conservatives have brought to the area through their project “Ambitions”:
In 2006, the Conservatives gained their first majority victory on Havering council for 20 years, winning 34 councillors against 19 from all the other parties. In practice, this means motions being pushed through with little consideration for the views of other groups.
When Tony Blair did this in our national Parliament, some people termed this sort of system as “electoral dictatorship”. Of course, democracy is the best flawed system out there, but despite being democratically elected by the people of our borough, Residents’, Labour and Independent Residents’ councillors have very little influence.
Harold Hill has unfairly had a bad reputation in the media. It was built at the end of World War 2 to move large sections of the population from the poor conditions in the East End to the more pleasant surroundings of outer London. With that migration also followed some of London’s criminal underworld, and the area has since been dismissed and ignored by successive council administrations.
|The Queen visiting Drapers' Academy in October last year|
In recent times though, schemes have been introduced such as “Horizons” and “Ambitions” to improve the area, and as a result it is officially the fastest improving ward in the borough. So much so that last year Her Majesty paid a visit to Drapers’ Academy, and a new youth centre MyPlace has given young people greater opportunities.
However it is worth noting that both MyPlace and the Swimming Pool in Central Park were paid for – not by the administration – but by a Lottery grant.
Also as someone who regularly visits friends on the Hill, the reality is the state of the roads and parks is visibly much worse than other areas in our borough, so unfortunately the legacy of neglect continues to this day, despite the odd token improvement here and there.
Let’s not forget those parking charges at Hilldene shopping centre which were voted in by the local Conservatives and which have had fierce resistance from local traders:
|The Conservatives have introduced unpopular|
parking charges at Hilldene shopping centre
“What the council proposes is too restrictive. All it’s going to do is push local customers to Tesco, which has its own car park” - Michael O’Meara who runs The Diner on Farnham Road.
“It’s not a positive thing to be doing with the economic climate” - Duncan de Wyche who manages Iceland on Hilldene Avenue. “I think taxing people to come and do their shopping isn’t a good idea”
When it comes to saving money for council tax payers, we’ve learnt this week that in the last 3 years our administration has splashed out £40,000 on refreshments for councillors. We pay the third highest council tax in London. And just last month all 29 Conservative councillors who were present voted down a proposal to cut their allowances which would have saved us £134k in council tax.
When the late councillor Bull was elected in 2006, the people of Gooshays were fed up of almost a decade of Labour government.
Today, the Conservatives have run our country for almost 3 years, and there are only so many times David Cameron can blame Labour for the economic crisis our country is in.
If we want economic growth, if we want better value for money and to pay lower council tax, and if we want a councillor who answers to residents and not to a party whip or central office, I would not recommend sending another Conservative councillor into our Town Hall.
Next on the list is Christine Anne McGeary standing for the Labour Party...