I'm Sorry, I'm Not Being Negative or Anything But...
Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week
Friday 27th October : I find myself reflecting on last night's briefing for Conservative councillors and candidates by Hounslow's Head of IT, Balvinder Heran. With my ten years-worth of councillor perspective I find it amazing how many new systems have proved ineffective and have had to be scrapped. So much has been promised by Labour over the years that not happened or has proved to be slow to arrive even in part. A new telephony system is on its way. We still cannot integrate our systems with Hounslow Highways.
So called channel change remains a key priority for the move to the new Civic Centre. If residents and staff are unable to make basic changes to entrenched behaviours everything will grind to a halt. We were told that the way that councillors process casework and receive reports is due to change radically. Paper-lite is the word. As before no one has asked councillors what they actually need. I think I will audition for W1A.
Saturday 28th October : I send a final request to councillors and candidates for their thoughts on the Cycle Superhighway consultation. I have received several so far – none in support of the scheme as published.
I look at feedback from the candidates on our selection process. There is clearly still “stuff” that we need to work on. UK political parties are largely staffed by volunteers and this can often feel like the proverbial herding of cats.
Sunday 29th October: Off with friends to walk another stretch of the South Downs way. We drive through central London on our way to the start of the route. As we cruise along the Embankment I idly take in a good view of the Cycle Superhighway. As we get to a junction where we are to turn left I notice a cyclist drawing level. He ignores the red traffic light on his carriage way and drives straight across our path. We miss him by inches. The walk begins near Otford passing close to the remains of Archbishop Wareham's palace that in its prime was larger than Cardinal Wolseley's Hampton Court.
Monday 30th October: Another Group Meeting for Councillors. We run through the agenda for the Borough Council meeting. Proceedings are enlivened by a briefing from a local business leader. A fascinating insight into what the Borough and its many businesses have to offer the world.
Tuesday 31st October : To the Civic Centre for the Borough Council meeting. Surprise, surprise - Labour have submitted radical last minute amendments to our motions on the Cycle Superhighway and the abuse of HMOs in certain parts of the Borough. This has become a regular wrecking tactic by Labour. Cllr McGregor decides to withdraw his now banjaxed motion on CS9. In answer to a formal question the Council Leader confirms (eventually) that he has no knowledge of any proposed closures of local hospitals.
We were asked to ‘note' that a waiver has been granted on medical grounds to allow two Labour councillors who have not attended any council meetings for six months to remain as councillors and presumably to be absent until the election in May 2018. Labour councillors refuse to pass a vote extending the meeting to discuss the HMO issue and have a vote so we all have an early night.
Wednesday 1st November : In the morning I attend a filming session for a short video. The idea is that residents will be able access clips of all our candidates in the May 2018 Elections.
Thursday 2nd November : I have submitted a detailed response to TfL on CS9 on behalf Chiswick Councillors and candidates but I am now being asked for something more “pithy” and concise. Off to the Western Eye Hospital for the final check-up after my cataract operations. The surgeon is pleased with results and so am I. We see eye to eye.
Cllr Sam Hearn
November 4, 2017