Dear All

The debate regarding the Bell pub and the proposed opening hours provoked a good and healthy expression of opinions from all sides. However, Gareth has hijacked this discussion with another political tirade, very much in the style of his previous contributions to Voxpop, of the joys(?) of the LibDems.

I suggest Gareth et al post their political twitterings under another heading entitled in a way that allows others not so interested to avoid the postings.

Incidentally, i do admire anyone who puts their head above the parapet regarding local poilitics especially if they are an Independant, not just following like sheep.



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Hardly a tirade, Thomas, and hardly a hijacking. A point was made to which I responded.
That's the nature of boards like this, Thomas. Some contribute much, some contribute little. You get people from one side of the political divide, you get people from the opposing side. Views are aired, ideas exchanged. Some views and ideas may be palatable, some views and ideas less so.

I think that in defence of those of us who have a political bias we've been pretty restrained over recent months; we appreciate that message boards become pretty dull if the only thing to be offered is politics, politics and still more politics. However as the election is just a few weeks away and not everybody will be at home when John or I or our colleagues come knocking on their door soliciting their opinions I would have thought that it wasn't too far beyond the mark to allow some political discussion, and I dare say knockabout, for just a few weeks.

As for the suggestion that any of the party affilliated candidates standing in Hampton are 'sheep' that's rather unfair, wouldn't you say?
Hi Everybody,
I for one have no objection to the 'Party Faithfull' waving their party flags, just so long as they declare their own agenda. That was often not the case with 'VoxPop'. Gareth, has long been a champion for the Lib Dems and everybody in Hampton knows this. I see he now has his sights set on bigger things and good luck to him. For my part I always vote, I hasten to say, very reluctantly !!! I vote for individuals never the party, I have lived through a number of both Conservative and Labour Governments. Conservative and Lib Dem Councils. None have ever been interested in what local people or I want. When I was young we had an Ice Rink in Richmond, I don't think I knew anybody that did not go there. The Council was complicit in the demolition of the Rink and it's replacement with luxury flats. They gave an undertaking the Rink would be rebuilt, that never happened. They now wring their hands, because young people have no where to go and nothing to do. (Oh they can always get drunk in The Bell !!!) If you ask the people what they would like on Twickenham Riverside. The last thing is luxury flats, I bet that's what they get. I could write a book about MPs. The title would be 'Don't do as I do, do as I say'. I will shut up now before I give myself a heart attack!!! Regards. Bryan
No need to apologise, Thomas. If I had a pound for every time I went that step too far on Voxpops I'd be a rich man!

I can see where you're coming from on the separate politics heading but that does tend to lead to a ghettoisation of the subjects and if people make a conscious decision to avoid that area then they may miss out on important information.

I'm afraid that there aren't any independents standing in Hampton this year. You have the choice of the three main parties, the Greens seem to have written Hampton off though they have a candidate standing in Hampton North. So I suppose you're left with the option, as Bryan suggests of voting for the man, or indeed woman, not the party. Modesty forbids that I should suggest anybody who has shown a long standing interest in Hampton even if you don't necessarily agree with his party..........
Thank You Thomas for reminding me of Richard Meacock. Richard owned a shop on Richmond Hill, he was a permanent thorn in the side of Richmond Council. Right up until he died, he kept on reminding the Council of their going back on the promise to rebuild the Ice Rink and that the young people of the Borough had been robbed of a place for healthy exercise. He too wondered where the 22 Million which was supposed to go towards the building of the new Rink ended up. I cannot remember which party had control of the Council at that time. Maybe somebody will. Regards. Bryan.
Lib Dems, Thomas. But they ain't sitting on £22million.

However, before the black cap is popped on, if I may approach the bench with a spot of mitigating circumstances, the sale went through in 1987 according to online sources. I was sitting my O Levels in the East Midlands at the time.
Well £19,500,000 (less tax) of it will have gone into the pockets of the private company that owned the land and property (it's a common misapprehension that it was council owned)

The remaining £2.5million was paid to the council as compensation for the loss of the amenity. I imagine that was ploughed back into schools, roads, adult social services, etc, etc, etc.
Sorry Gareth,

I cannot let you get away with that one. We all know the Council did not own the Rink, but just like Twickenham riverside they agreed to this development, on the condition the developer provided the cash to re build the Ice Rink. The Lib Dem Council promised to re build the Ice Rink. The money was there, why did'nt they use it? The whole affair was a big cover up. Richard Meacock contiued to embarrass the Council right up until the day he died. What ever the reasons this should never of happened. At the very least it was gross mismanagement Bryan.
Well it's difficult to know what to say, Thomas. It was a decision taken two decades ago, approximately two people have raised it with me as an issue on the doorstep in this campaign. It's something which Bryan obviously has an opinion on but what can I say?

Now ask me about whether I support the new academies in Hampton and Whitton and the chosen sponsors, ask me about the the £32 million pound capital investment plan for our schools, ask me my opinion on providing an additional 2000 primary school places within the next five years, ask me about keeping council tax level with inflation over the last four years, ask me about how recycling rates have improved by 12% over the last four years, ask me about plans to introduce greater plastics and food waste recycling, ask me about how the borough has gone from third from the bottom of the league table in funding youth services to the high end of the London Average in four years, ask me about how we have been successful with the support of Vince Cable in getting a new fleet of quieter 111 buses to operate along the route thus benefitting the residents who have had to put up with noise nuisance late at night; any of those things and more which have kept me busy on the doorsteps these last few months and I'll do my level best to answer them but a planning decision taken 20 years ago over a private enterprise when I was still sitting my O Levels is a bit unfair.

Best Wishes

I'm not in the habit of letting people down, Thomas, that's why I'm seeking to be elected as a councillor for Hampton.

Although your friend may well have been the first to suggest quieter night buses and I'm sure has campaigned hard (and well done to him for doing so - local action is always excellent) I think it would be churlish to suggest local councillors or activists had no support or input into the demands raised. Certainly I know that Hampton Councillors were part of the meetings, also attended by Vince, that were involved in getting TFL's agreement to bring in the new scheme. As I think I said in another post, credit needs to be shared around.

What I think is more of an issue here, and a genuine impediment to the democratic nature of websites such as this is your reporting of the comment attributed to Carol. There's no context, nor is there any follow up of further comment in the conversation. Of course I know Carol and, as a fellow lib dem I can, and no doubt will, be accused of bias, but it doesn't strike me, as somebody who knows her style of conversation, as the type of thing she'd say in isolation. The way it reads in your post, Thomas, is displaying an 'I'm alright Jack' attitude which isn't Carol at all; in fact the number of people I've spoken to on the doorstep who have expressed a very real regret that Carol isn't seeking re-election is quite impressive. I don't for one moment doubt your friend's accuracy but context is everything; just because a councillor isn't directly affected by an issue doesn't mean they don't lend their whole hearted support to a cause which is causing distress to their constituents.

The reason why I think it may be an impediment to democracy is that reporting comments like that must surely give councillors and some candidates pause for thought before contributing on websites such as this. The wrong word here, the wrong sentiment there will be served up on a plate with a salad garnish, quite often out of context, whenever somebody has a point to make or an axe to grind. I've experienced this myself. If a verbal comment is held up for example, who would dare put anything in writing. A letter, some months ago, in the Richmond and Twickenham Times took an old posting of mine on Voxpops, filleted it and attemped to portray my comments out of context. The RTT was good enough to post a response putting the record straight. The irony is that my full Voxpops post was all about how we really need to think twice before we become mini Paxmans and if we're not careful we'll end up with a bunch of politicians at York House who only communicate with us once every four years, either because they're careerists or they're too damned scared to give an opinion for fear of it being thrown back in their faces three years later about a totally different subject. If we want to encourage genuinely locally interested citizens to stand for council rather than faceless career drones who see it as a stepping stone to Downing Street we need to pause and take stock. Yes, I was over keen in my early voxpops postings but I mellowed!

I want to see more councillors on pages such as this. I give a guarantee, here and now, that I will continue to contribute if I'm elected in May; I'm sure John will do the same as, irrespective of the colour of the rosette, we both want the same for Hampton, give or take the odd policy tweak.
Sorry for the delay in response, Thomas. Thanks for your good wishes, just over a week to go now!



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