Skeletons And Wreaths!
A week in the life of a local councillor as told by Sam Hearn
Cllr Sam Hearn who represents the Riverside ward in Chiswick, is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum. He has written this account of his week as a busy local councillor
Friday 19 th June: A plausible explanation plops into my email in tray for all the complaints that I have been receiving from residents about missed waste collections. The Leader Member responsible is profuse in his apologies. He explains that the Council’s waste removal contractor SUEZ (formerly SITA) had “stopped collecting rubbish from residents’ properties where they (sic) were not placed on the front edge of the property.” Unfortunately as the Lead Member puts it “residents were not told of this change in practice”. You cannot make this stuff up.
Saturday 20th June: Reviewing the papers for next week’s Audit Committee meeting. Just for fun I do this in reverse order to the agenda. Why is the Annual Governance Statement “to follow”? As the sole Conservative on this Committee I have to try and make a real effort to understand all the papers.
Sunday 21st June: Attended an afternoon drinks event for residents who had helped fund Mary Macleod’s election campaign. Mary was on good form as was Ed Vaizey MP who made a short speech. His mother lives in the constituency and he therefore had had a special interest in wanting Mary to be re-elected.
Monday 22nd June: To the Civic Centre for the Hounslow Audit Committee. The previous meeting in March was classed as informal because it was inquorate. There were lots of queries on the draft financial accounts. Many of these turned out to be because the accounts were still in draft! The Head of Internal Audit found himself unable to give us “full assurance” on the Council’s overall control environment and management of risk. Another skeleton fell out of the cupboard marked Hounslow Homes/Housing and clattered noisily to the floor.
Wednesday 24 th June: To Westminster with members of the John Hampden Society to lay a wreath beneath the statue of John Hampden MP at the entrance to the Central Lobby. Hampden the hero of the battles of Brentford and Turnham Green died of his wounds on this day in 1643. After a short walk down Whitehall to the Banqueting House I lay on my back to contemplate the remarkable Rubens ceiling with its hubristic propaganda for the “divine right of Kings’”. In the evening to the Chiswick Pier Trust for a Man Com meeting. Great to hear of planned improvements to the building and an exciting programme of events. Mogden briefly raises its ugly head again.
Thursday 25 th June: In Brentford this evening for a canvassing session. Proving once again that with a little chutzpah you can gain access to large blocks of flats. Concierges in private blocks are however firm but polite and although we are allowed to leave literature access for canvassing is denied. Pressing buttons and whispering sweet nothings into entry-phones seems a weird way to spend the evening. One nice South African lady asks if what we are doing is legal. It is hard to know what to say to her.
June 26, 2015