PLANET LAMBETH

If anyone wanted final proof that Cllr Lib Peck and her Lambeth Labour lemmings are living on another planet it came at Thursday night’s election hustings in Vauxhall.

Regular readers will be aware that within Lambeth council’s Labour group dissent is not tolerated. So it was ironic that Supreme Leader Peck shared a table at the hustings with Cllr Rachel Heywood, a Lambeth Labour councillor until she was suspended from the main party and is now standing for re-election as an Independent in Coldharbour, the ward she has represented for the past 12 years.

Cllr Peck’s comments at the meeting included the following:

“I’m proud of our record.”…before going on to highlight how they had kept 23 children’s centres open, been the first council to build homes in a generation (“LIE” shouted someone in the audience), Business Improvement Districts, working with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to massively improve clean air (no mention about financing estate demolitions**) parks best in London (actually joint top with Lewisham and Southwark), funding for violence against women, pioneering work around black mental health.

“They are the result of hard-working Lambeth” she declared.

“We’ll be looking for more trees (to replace the ones chopped down in the community garden of the Carnegie library Herne Hill?) and better housing.

“It’s really important that we have councillors stand up to the whole community”  To laughter she added ‘With’.

So: Important we have councillors who stand up with the whole community. Hmmm… In the same way Gipsy Hill ward councillors have stood up with the people on Central Hill estate whose homes Lambeth Labour want to demolish.?

And that also goes for the councillors in Tulse Hill (Cressingham Gardens estate); Clapham Town (Westbury estate); and the ward councillors for Fenwick estate, Knights Walk estate and South Lambeth estate. All estates scheduled for demolition. And not one of these councillors stood up at any council meeting or committee meeting to support them.

Then there are the libraries who councillors have failed to stand up for. Especially the Carnegie library (Herne Hill ward) where the existing councillors have not lifted a finger to support library users and library campaigners. But that didn’t stop them putting out an utterly appalling Herne Hill Labour party leaflet headed: “Carnegie to reopen after push by Labour councillors”.*

Plans to merge Durning (Prince’s ward) and Tate South Lambeth (Oval ward) were quietly shelved. One Oval ward Cllr Jane Edbrooke is seeking re-election in Labour’s safest ward Thornton (with Lib Peck and Ed Davie.)

Cllr Peck did admit they had got it wrong on the Minet library first time round. What they had got wrong was not explained. Durning is a listed building, Tate South Lambeth isn’t. Both libraries are currently being funded from a separate council account – but no-one knows from where that money is coming from. Something a council with a proper committee system would be asking – and asking very forcibly.

“It’s important we stand up against the cuts” she declared at the end of the two minute opening speech all six candidates were allowed to give.

(Not the cuts Lambeth Labour have made – all these Government cuts. Insert photo of yawning cat.)

Responding to the question: “What would each candidate do to turn Lambeth into a genuinely democratic council?” Cllr Peck said: “I don’t believe in the committee system.” Local politics needs to be about getting things done, she declared.

At this point she took the first of two swipes at People’s Audit Lambeth:

“They refused meetings with cabinet leaders. “They made some good points which I’m happy to make sure are adhered to by officers. “But when they get something wrong they need to admit it. ***

“If you want that constructive element it needs to work both ways. (Yes – like listening to and discussing with, views and comments of people and organisations who disagree with you).

“We’ve got lots of community organisations that are backing us. “Over 70 organisations worked with us on the Mayor of London’s community fund.” (Wow. Over 70. Out of how many thousands?)

There then followed a question about openness. Someone had submitted a Freedom of Information request about the numbers of council employees on £80,000 a year or more – which Lambeth council are unable to provide. Is this reasonable? panellists were asked.

Cllr Peck said she had no problem about openness – but she had issues with People’s Audit Lambeth. (see above).

“They have had correspondence from the auditors from 20 points they raised. “We can’t publish it – they can. “I’d really like to see that published.****

“In terms of high salaries MOST (this column’s emphasis) of the people referred to in the statistics are teachers – that’s not decided by Lambeth.” (On this point News From Crystal Palace takes and has taken Cllr Peck’s view – but take that word ‘MOST’…..)

“It’s repeated information people know is wrong” she said. “I have an issue with that.” Referring to the FOI part of the question she added: “I genuinely don’t know the barrier to that.”

Questions on homes and housing followed.

Cllr Peck told the audience: “We can’t borrow to invest in council homes. “We don’t get the money when people exercise their right to buy. “That’s the only way we can start building.”

She continues to peddle the lines that no-one but Lambeth Labour continue to believe:

That Lambeth still have ten libraries.

“We had 10 libraries. “We’ve kept 10 libraries open. “Waterloo is now in a building that’s much more accessible and it’s not in a temporary hut.”

((No mention of massive reductions in library staff, why security guards spend more time in the Carnegie library than library staff – which Lambeth cannot afford to pay for, etc etc.)

Residents satisfaction: “In our last residents survey we had the highest satisfaction rate across Lambeth ever.” Er………

From News From Crystal Palace October 14th 2018:

LAMBETHWATCH: THREE MOCK THE WEEK

A Lambeth council report to this week’s meeting of its cabinet includes the annual ‘Residents Survey’ where a marketing company surveys more than 1,000 residents from different areas of the borough.

The report to the cabinet based on the survey says: “The results show very high levels of satisfaction with the council at 72 per cent and approaching six out of 10 (57pc) agree Lambeth council provides good value for money.

(The actual figures are: Very satisfied 14 pc; Fairly satisfied 58 pc; Fairly dissatisfied 11pc; Very dissatisfied six pc.)

And then there is this bizarre fixation about Cllr Scott Ainslie (Green) not joining the council’s overview and scrutiny committee.

What this has to do with anything is anyone’s guess. Labour have tried to make out the battle is between them and the Conservatives. So why do they continue to target the Greens?.

Cllr Ainslie told the hustings meeting: “Lib Peck did offer me a place on the overview and scrutiny committee. “I was new to the role. “I was one of two opposition members.” He took the view that nothing was ever going to get through.

Cllr Heywood told the hustings meeting: “Every meeting I have been to recently Scott Ainslie has been beaten round the head for not being a member of the overview and scrutiny committee.”

At the end as councillors made their winding-up comments Cllr Peck said: “I started by talking about the proud record we’ve got in Lambeth.

“On libraries we have had to work with people who are interested in doing things differently and if you work creatively and well with the community….” (Her words were drowned out in a mixture of boos and applause).

Among questions not asked or reached:

Who is doing building work in the Carnegie library that’s not being done by the company installing the gym in the previously-used basement? It can only be someone working on behalf of Lambeth council. Or burglars.

The estate ballots scandal.**

See News From Crystal Palace March 26th this year:

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan secretly agreed GLA finance for the demolition of five estates across Lambeth – and a further 29 across London.

The appalling revelations – finally made public in response to repeated questions from GLA Green party member Sian Berry – show that Lambeth council did secret deals before Christmas which will deny people living on five estates – Cressingham Gardens, Fenwick, Knights Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury – from getting a democratic right to vote on the future of their homes.

Consultants – and the vast amounts of money being paid by Lambeth to them.

CATCH A TIGER….

At the end of the meeting News From Crystal Palace approached Cllr Peck to ask about the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ item in Private Eye magazine. She implied that she couldn’t respond because of election purdah.

Talk to the communications team, she said.

“Your communications team don’t communicate” I told her.

She looked genuinely surprised.

News From Crystal Palace had asked the council’s ‘communications’ team for a response to the Private Eye article late on Wednesday afternoon.

We’ve given up waiting on responses but we still have to ask and – surprise, surprise.

On Friday lunchtime we got a reply from the communications team, directing us to the council’s official response, which has been posted on the council’s Love Lambeth website.

The press release accuses Private Eye of inaccurate reporting.

Catch a tiger by the tail……..

Further reading:

*NOT THE HERNE HILL LABOUR NEWS Summer edition (Draft version) September 15, 2017 (which you may like to read in conjunction with)

Herne Hill Labour News: DINOSAURS SAVED FROM EXTINCTION AFTER PUSH BY LABOUR COUNCILLORS September 14, 2017

**ESTATE BALLOTS SCANDAL: KHAN DID SECRET DEALS WITH LAMBETH LABOUR TO FUND DEMOLITION OF FIVE ESTATES – REVELATIONS ONLY MADE PUBLIC AFTER EMPTY ‘VOTES’ PLEDGE March 26, 2018

***LAMBETH COUNCIL FINALLY RESPOND TO PEOPLE’S AUDIT: Report “does raise issues which the council will examine” say Lambeth – after branding it a ‘pack of lies’! August 10, 2017

**** (Please see: PEOPLE’S AUDIT LAMBETH’S RESPONSE TO COUNCIL LEADER LIB PECK below – Ed.)

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