Sunday, January 31, 2010

A glimpse of the future....


Imagine if you will that we have fast forwarded a year - February 2011 - rather than 2010.

The BNP now control Barking and Dagenham Council but after the euphoria of the last eight months and their shock victory they are finding things tough.

With weeks to go before they present their first budget to the council assembly they are in deep trouble.

They face the second all-out strike by council workers since their victory following a succession of localised walkouts by staff in the last eight months. The main unions in the council have called their members out after a string of complaints by black and asian staff about victimisation.
Staff complaints against members of the new BNP administration have trebled and the council now has the worst industrial relations record in the country.

Since May 2010's victory there has been an exodus of staff - not just from the Town Hall and the Civic Centre but from social work, children centres and schools.

The borough is haemoraghing teachers at the rate of eight a week. And the council is finding it is unable to fill vacant positions, leading to Headteachers having to explain to pupils that certain subjects will be unavailable and fears that the borough's schools will plummet down London comprehensive school league tables because of the teaching exodus.

Despite promising before May 2010's elections to cut council tax - Richard Barnbrook's executive is finding that the council is unable to meet the pledge. After the largesse of the last Labour government, the BNP are finding that as the council now has pariah status, cash from David Cameron's government has dried up.
Three BNP councillors have resigned - two from Barnbrook's executive blaming him for failing to introduce all white policies across the board.

Following the BNP council's decision to completely axe funding to voluntary groups supporting BAME communities and their attempt to introduce a 'whites only' housing p;olicy - senior BNP councillors have been threatened with prosecution for discrimination.

The Times and Evening Standard have both run stories describing the borough 'in meltdown.'
Barking and Dagenham has just been named England's worst run borough by the Audit Commission's CAA report.

And there is talk at Westminster that the Tory government may have to intervene to run the authority as a succession of senior council officers have either refused to work with Barnbrook's executive or have taken sick leave.

The New York Times, Le Monde and newspapers across Europe have written articles about the Borough that shames Britain.

Last month Barnbrook had to put out a staff email reassuring staff that they will be paid.

Both the Police and Mayor Boris Johnson have expressed their disquiet at the rocketing rate of racial violence in the borough and have refused to commit funds for extra policing and regeneration until the BNP'clean-up their act'.

Ford have announced that they are planning to abandon the borough completely because of its worsening reputation.

Fantasy? Or a glimpse of the nightmare future that Barking and Dagenham could face if the BNP did succeed.

Maybe local people think that everything would be fine if Mr Barnbrook and Mr Bailey got their way.

Time to think again - a BNP borough would be a recipe for disaster. Services would be cut, staff would leave and in reputation terms - Barking and Dagenham would be the borough everyone - from business to government - would want to avoid.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stone cold sober?

Councillor Bob Bailey is a man of his word - or at least we are expected to accept what he says is true.

On Wednesday evening, councillor Bailey was expected to speak in support of the Royal Anglian regiment at a ceremony to grant the regiment Freedom of the Borough of Barking and Dagenham - along with former West Ham and England favourite Trevor Brooking and various others who over the years have made their contribution to Barking and Dagenham.

Councillor Bailey never made his speech.

Put simply, he was drunk before the event began. A fact that was clear to senior British army officers, council staff and members of the public who encountered the BNP group leader at the function prior to the Freedom of the Borough event.

And it was for that reason, and for that reason alone, he was subsequently turned away by council staff when he attempted to re-enter the Freedom of the Borough event later in the evening.

On Thursday when approached by the media he "flatly denied that he had been drinking and said the claims about his behaviour were “total rubbish.”

(source Andrew Gilligan's Telegraph blog:

Instead he claims he "was barred from attending the event because they were worried I would say something against the war.”

The reality as ever with the BNP and Mr Bailey is rather different.

Councillor Bailey has form when it comes to conjuring up conspiracies.

He blamed ‘a conspiracy against the indigenous people of this country’ when he was banned last year from driving for 18 months, after the former Royal Marine and BNP London organiser, was spotted driving last May without his lights on and refused to take a breath test.

Councillor Bailey also turned up outside his local newspaper the Ilford Recorder in April 2008 and used a megaphone to hurl abuse at a reporter. He called the journo “a nazi”.

When he subsequently apologised he said: “I am not a yob, I'm not a thug or anything barely resembling anything like that. I was a little bit disappointed and I’m sorry for some of the things I said to you. We all have our moments sometimes, I’m sure you agree.”

Maybe we've all got Councillor Bailey wrong. Maybe he was stone cold sober on Wednesday and was barred because he could have made an embarrassing speech about the need for the British army to vacate Afghanistan.
Maybe.. then again, he could just have been pissed as a fart, rude and offensive to staff prior to the event and in no fit state to deliver any speech.

Maybe he was drowning his sorrows because his party had overlooked him as their Dagenham candidate for the General Election. And maybe he's never got over the fact that his colleague Richard Barnbrook unilaterally decided to replace him as BNP group leader after May's local elections.

Whatever the facts (and in this instance there are no shortage of witnesses), one thing's for sure, Councillor Bailey is walking on eggshells. No amount of peppermints can hide the fact that someone has consumed one over the eight.

And word reaches this blogger that council staff in recent days have made several complaints to council officers about the way that Councillor Bailey has spoken to them.

If he was stone cold sober on Wednesday night then that makes his treatment of council employess even more inexcusable.

Then again it might all be an establishment conspiracy....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nick Griffin on Haiti

The Haiti earhquake - the aftermath

"Britons donate millions to help earthquake-stricken Haiti"

"Haiti: 'A tragedy beyond imagination'"

Nick Griffin's humanitarian response on his twitter feed?
"While the Haiti earthquake is terrible, the winter death toll in Britain
will be similar. No aid here though. "

Monday, January 11, 2010

Working on your behalf?

Porky pies....

Busy, busy, bees the BNP. They've been hard at work in recent days, distributing a glossy leaflet, 'Barking and Dagenham Patriot - working on your behalf,' in key wards in the borough (paid for by the European taxpayer no doubt).

The leaflet claims to be 'the real truth behind your BNP councillors'.

Apparently "BNP councillors spend their time working hard on your behalf on the streets of Barking and Dagenham..."

And it goes on: "The fact is that BNP councillors attend more meetings than the lazy Labour councillors.."

Well fact is, surprise, surprise, the 'facts' don't really back that last BNP assertion.

Looking at their 2008-2009 attendance record where:
Total expected attendances is the number of meetings that a Member was expected to attend in their capacity as a member of a committee.
Where present is the number of meetings that a Member attended in their capacity as a member of a committee.
And where Absent is the number of meetings not attended by a Member who is a member of a committee.

Councillor Expected Present (% of expected) absent(%of expected)
Councillor R W Bailey 53 39 (74%) 14 (26%)
Councillor R J Barnbrook 34 26 (76%) 8 (24%)
Councillor R J A Buckley 40 23 (57%) 17 (42%)
Councillor Miss C L Doncaster 17 5 (29%) 12 (71%)
Councillor Mrs S A Doncaster 18 7 (39%) 11 (61%)
Councillor R W Doncaster 18 6 (33%) 12 (67%)
ouncillor J K Jarvis 18 5 (28%) 13 (72%)
Councillor Mrs C A Knight 33 27 (82%) 6 (18%)
Councillor Miss T A Lansdown 18 12 (67%) 6 (33%)
Councillor L Rustem 38 31 (82%) 7 (18%)
Councillor J Steed 29 12 (41%) 17 (59%)
Councillor D A Tuffs 18 6 (33%) 12 (67%)

It's clear, the attendance records of some BNP councillors in this, the last year where there is a complete record - are at best variable and do not compare favourably with their largely Labour opponents.
Cllrs Claire Doncaster and Jarvis's attendance records in particular, are hardly impressive - but hey, why let the facts get in the way of a BNP assertion.

But it gets better....

Apparently, the leaflet says, when "we take full control of the council next year you will see:

Housing given to local people
Jobs and contracts given to local firms
More facilities for the elderly and bringing back meals on wheels
More facilities for youths to deter anti-social behaviour
More bobbies back on the beat, stopping knife crime
Turn the mobile smart car camera on to villains not motorists
Freeze council tax and cut it
No to the prison on the Ford site - yes to a hospital
Reject bogus asylum seekers and illegal immigrants
Clamp down on fly-tippers and graffiti."

So in the depths of the recession, the BNP will spend, spend spend and somehow manage the spectacular feat of simultaneously freezing and cutting council tax.
A first for any political party.

They also promise a fair deal for all (but presumably not asylum seekers or immigrants?)

And apparently: "There has been a flurry of activity by the Council in an attempt to make things better in the Borough. However all these changes were brought about by BNP councillors pressurising the Labour council to get things done."

"All these changes that you see around you have been won and brought about directly or indirectly by your 12 BNP councillors.

And... "If we had not got 12 BNP councillors elected, Barking and Dagenham would still be in the doldrums that it used to be..."

It strikes this blogger that the BNP can't have it both ways - they can't claim that Labour is failing Barking and Dagenham and the Borough is going backwards in one breath and in the other, assert that the changes to make things better in the Borough are THEIR handiwork.

The Borough can't both be out of the doldrums and be worse at the same time.....

What's it to be folks - are things getting better - or worse???

To read this leaflet all their councillors have been hardworking - doing everything from rehousing local families, installing traffic lights, removing graffiti, championing the council tax freeze, reducing crime in the borough and establishing new police stations etc etc etc....(there was me thinking the council did all this)

Problem is - it's all total baloney......a mirage of imaginary activity.

It's not the BNP that have improved the Borough. It's not the BNP that have brought down crime or any other claim they make in this leaflet - and the ones that will undoubtedly follow it.

On this evidence, there are fewer porky pies in a Barking butcher than there are on display here.

Voters be warned.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Logic or the lack of it

In last week's Time Out magazine, in a feature on the forthcoming Barking election battle, BNP leader Nick Griffin, commenting on his party's chances in the Borough in the forthcoming council elections says:

"Once the BNP gain power there, the Government will be so desperate to get rid of us they'll be throwing money at the area to bribe back voters."

Putting aside the conceit that the BNP have May's elections in the bag in January, there is another small failure of logic in Mr Griffin's argument - namely, that if the BNP really did seize the local council - that any government, Labour or Tory, would want to continue to plough millions of pounds of taxpayers money (in the depths of a recession) into the hands of a local authority run by fascists who - it should also be remembered, have never run anything in their party's existence.

A party, that as the Times reported on the 6th January, that faces prosecution for submitting 'misleading accounts'to the Electoral Commission and has failed to give a “true and fair view” of its financial circumstances.

Worth remembering too that the BNP have also been fined £1,000 for filing its 2008 accounts in December — nearly six months after the original deadline.
And even then, the Electoral Commission concluded that the accounts were inadequate and requested further information.

The Times reported last week that: "In his report, which prefaced the accounts, Mr Griffin blamed poor accounting on changes in the party’s treasury department."

So the notion that any government after the next general election would want to hand over lots of taxpayers lolly to a political party that admits it can't even manage its own accounts - is like most of the rest of the BNP's prospectus - total fantasy.

Should the voters of Barking and Dagenham throw their lot in with the far right - they could be in for a very rude awakening indeed.

The notion then that the Borough would be flooded with UK government cash to repulse a BNP advance is so much wishful and dangerous thinking.....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How they laughed.....

Who said the far right didn't have a sense of humour?

Not content with large advertising hoardings across the borough wishing all a merry christmas - on behalf of Nick Griffin and the BNP (paid for by the EU taxpayer) - some far right wags thought it the height of fun to carve a giant swastika in the snow outside Dagenham Civic Centre this morning. How they all laughed.

Still, goes to show what the good people of the Borough can expect if the BNP ever did win control of the council - more of the same - but not in snow - instead hanging from the entrances to every council building.

And there was me thinking the BNP had changed its spots and no longer identified with nazism.

Like I say, that leopard clearly finds its difficult to break the habits of a lifetime - or a thousand year Reich.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NEET news for Barking and Dagenham

It's not every day that Barking and Dagenham Council gets praise from the Financial Times, but yesterday the Borough's efforts to reduce the numbers of NEETS - teenagers not in employment, education or training - got just that.

In an FT story: Innovative thinking cuts number of idle teens - Barking and Dagenham's efforts to deal with the problem are recognised.

The FT notes:"Several local authorities have bucked the national trend by consistently cutting their numbers of idle young people, in spite of the recession, the Financial Times has learned.

These councils have continued to make progress during the past year thanks to innovative methods.

The local successes will give hope to politicians and labour market experts who argue that to become a “Neet” – a teenager not in employment, education or training – permanently damages an individual’s contribution to society and makes him or her vulnerable to a range of problems...

"Barking and Dagenham, a London borough with high unemployment, has also trimmed the proportion from 11.4 per cent to 8 per cent over the same period.

Nationally the Neet rate has remained remarkably steady for more than 10 years, despite billions of pounds of targeted government spending, making it one of the most intractable of policy issues. The proportion of 16-to-18-year-old Neets in England has recently edged up to 13.4 per cent – but analysts emphasise the Neet conundrum is at least as much an education problem as an employment problem.

Neet specialists who have reduced rates locally underlined the importance of a highly activist approach to finding and helping these young people, with a broad strategy that also involves parents.

Barking and Dagenham Council developed “a Neet risks tool” to work out whether individual children as young as primary school age were likely to become Neets, says Alan Lazell, the council’s head of skills, learning and employment. The model looks at children’s attendance and educational attainment, and whether they come from workless households....

From 2015 teenagers will be obliged to be in education or training up to the age of 18 – making it illegal to be a Neet. Local experts say that could cut numbers by putting more pressure on local and central government to earmark resources.

Paul Bivand, head of analysis and statistics at Inclusion, the think-tank, said: “If young people are not engaged in learning or employment, then the available evidence is that costs are likely to mount up [through] trouble with the police, teen pregnancies – a range of social problems.”

So here again - evidence that Barking and Dagenham is working hard - and in this case bucking the national trend - to give young people hope and genuine prospects for the future.

Would the election of a BNP council help or hinder this approach?

Monday, January 4, 2010


Who's in charge?

One of the men above is group leader of the BNP opposition on Barking and Dagenham council - but which one?
Technically it should be Councillor Bob Bailey, but his colleague Councillor Richard Barnbrook seems to have other ideas.

At the last council assembly before Christmas the two came close to blows when Cllr Bailey forcibly intervened telling his colleague Mr Barnbrook to "shut up" before Barrnbrook made potentially embarassing remarks about "Africans in Essex" in the council chamber debate. Barnbrook reluctantly withdrew, mumbling he would say what he liked.

Bailey told his colleague that he was out of order and would not say what he liked while "I am leader".

Councillor Barnbrook, who once directed a gay porn film, HMS Discovery, appears to have got his own back by announcing unilaterally that Bailey will take his place in the London Assembly, so he, Barnbrook can lead the BNP to glory in the local council elections.

Who can forget Councillor Barnbrook's comments on his London Assembly blog last month when he said:

"“In order to serve their interests in the best possible combination, we have formulated a unique and inimitable double-act – the dream ticket, no less – Nick Griffin is to stand as MP for Barking, and myself, Richard Barnbrook, as Leader of what will be the new BNP controlled Council of Barking and Dagenham…..together we will be able to work effectively to serve those who live here, by implementing real and radical change that will not only transform the Borough, but will blaze a trail as a radiant model for the rest of the country."

No mention of Bailey.

Apparently Bailey wasn't consulted about Nick Griffin standing in Barking at the General Election and was told after the event that he would replace Barnbrook on the London Assembly if Barnbrook leads his Barking and Dagenham stormtroopers to local election glory.

He must have loved Councillor Barnbrook's briefing to the Barking and Dagenham Post (16th December 2009)and specifically the line: "Mr Barnbrook said the swap would give Cllr Bailey more experience."

Muat be galling for Bailey to find out he needs 'experience' when he was the person who had to stop his council deputy from making a fool of himself.

On this evidence Bob Bailey is fast becoming the forgotten man of the BNP in Barking and Dagenham.

It does beg the question though - just who is in charge of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham council - and with leadership like this - does anyone really believe they could run this local authority?



Just after Christmas in his Sunday Mirror column, local Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas wrote the following:

Eyesore Gardens hotline restores my faith in politics

"It sounds odd but my faith in politics has risen this year.

I know, I know expenses, gravy train and all that. Yet one simple idea miles from Westminster shows what can be done. It's all about front gardens.

We have all seen the evidence - split bin bags, grass 2ft high, bushes out of control, a mattress dumped outside the front door.

I remember a chat with a lovely 86-year-old lady who only wanted to talk about the garden opposite, which looked like Steptoe's yard. She had given up on politics because she had lost hope.

We elected a new council leader in Dagenham - Liam - a few months ago. His first idea: people must look after front gardens. Or else.

Residents can ring the Eyesore Gardens hotline. A team asks the landlord or household to clear up. If they don't, the team issue a legal notice which can mean court and a hefty fine. The council can move in to sort out the garden and bill the owner or landlord directly.

Simple stuff but the results are dramatic with 15.5 tons of rubbish cleared. Well over 2,000 properties visited, over 90 per cent have voluntarily cleared up gardens.

Dagenham council has served nearly 200 legal notices and is in the process of prosecuting the worst culprits. And even the local MP (me!) joined in a cleanup day.

The area now looks totally different and hope has been restored. The 86-year-old lady I chatted to is overjoyed.

There is a message here for all Westminster politicians for 2010: This is Labour is at its best - local, on the side of residents and not prepared to tolerate behaviour that disfigures our communities.

If Labour nationally could just come up with some common sense policies like the "Eyesore Gardens" idea in Dagenham then we could still stick it to the Tories over the next few months - and even in the aftermath of the expenses scandal, rebuild faith in politics."

High praise indeed...