Free Lunch or Convert?

On Sunday, Woodley Conservatives and I enjoyed a lunch to thank helpers and celebrate the successes of Shahid Younis and Abdul Lloyd, elected in Bulmershe Whitegates and Loddon respectively.  The photo below was taken during the lunch.

First left is Wahid Kashir.  I was surprised to see him at a Conservative function since in Park Ward (where I was a councillor until May this year) he supported the Greens.  My question is, was Mr Kashir at Sunday’s party because he’s joined the Conservatives again, or has he deserted the Green Party merely for a free lunch?

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Consequences of Greens Helping Labour Regain Control of RBC

Read this from Cllr Warren Swaine:

Green at the Gills

 The first direct consequence of the Greens propping up Labour has been revealed… the end of year student collections have been stopped.Of course, Labour and the Greens didn’t come out and announce this to the public via a press release. they let it leak out via a Neighbourhood Action Group. As a ward councillor affected by this decision, I’ve not been told about it. Shear cowardice.

These collections are essential in student areas like Katesgrove, Park and Redlands to prevent the build up of rubbish which are a natural result of students packing up to go home. It’s not the students’ fault but is something that really winds up residents if it is left around for weeks on end as used to happen and let’s be clear, the Greens have let it happen.

Why can I blame Rob White for this cut? Simple, it was not in my budget savings. A coalition administration would not have cut this service. Labour have and Rob White let Labour form the administration. He is just as much to blame as Paul Gittings. In fact even more so because his negotiations with Labour demanded the reversal of the charges for green waste collection. Cause and effect.

In the Greens’ world of pestering Mummy at the supermarket checkout for sweets she can’t afford, their “victory” has come home to roost and will directly impact the residents of Park ward. Nice one Rob. Labour’s Caversham and Norcot based councillors have also been remarkably quiet about this first unnecessary cutting of services to their constituents. Fingers on the pulse as ever in their homes miles away from their wards they claim to represent.

The delay to the implementation of the green waste charges has already lost the council £80,000. This is not theoretical, it is real money that pays for staff salaries and has to be found from somewhere else.

We also see the first example of how Labour react to budget pressures, as I predicted, by slashing services. They are incapable of keeping to a budget and you will see throughout the year even more services cut to pay for their financial ineptitude and short-termism – the majority of which will be unnecessary and caused by their own incompetence.

I made some pretty tough decisions to protect the long term future of council services but which would not only guarantee their long term future but would also have enhanced the services offered by the council. I had constructed a 5 year business plan that protected waste services and allowed for the introduction of kerbside glass, mixed plastic and eventually food waste collection as a sustainable services by reconfiguring the service to make the environmentally dubious green waste collection pay more for itself and to create alternative income generation streams by commercialising the trade waste collections which are currently overpriced and underused. The irony that the Greens will be ultimately responsible for the council’s failure to introduce these new recycling streams would be laughable if it wasn’t also so bad for Reading residents.

The Green’s don’t like responsibility. They are incapable of making any decision so it is hard to work out whether the Greens behaviour has been a case of lambs to the slaughter or Labour’s obedient sheep but which ever it is, in this case the losers are the residents of Katesgrove, Park and Redlands.

In the Green’s little world they believe that an absence of decision making absolves them of culpability. Wrong. Threatening to squweam and squweam and squweam until they’re thick will not abdicate them of that responsibility. Every cut, every stopped service and every closure is just as much their fault as it is Labour’s and I will hold them to account for each and every one of them.

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Vote Green: Get Labour

Greens have announced today they are going to deliver a Labour administration.  Rob White is going against his promise to support the current Deputy Mayor Cllr Jenny Rynn.  Instead Rob White has now pledged support to Labour’s last-minute candidates for Mayor and Deputy Mayor.  See GetReading’s report here

To gain their 2nd Park Ward seat earlier this month, the Greens told residents to vote Green to keep Labour out.  When my party put out a leaflet stating “locally the Green Councillor normally just votes with Labour so vote Green get Red”, Rob White responded on Facebook that it was all lies.  White might have conveniently forgotten his voting record, but we hadn’t.  Sadly he’s confirmed we were right

Vote GREEN get RED

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Save Our Grammar Schools

Rob Wilson MP has released a press release today about a challenge ten people have made to change Reading’s two grammar schools to non selective.  Rob says

“I urge parents to sign up to vote in the ballot and ensure their voice is heard. We must not allow excellence and aspiration to be destroyed by the misconceived action of a small number of people. Anyone wishing to join my campaign to support our Grammar Schools should contact me at

 I agree and support Rob’s campaign.  My sons went from Katesgrove Primary to Reading School.  Discipline was good and they had an excellent education.  The grammar schools are for children who have academic ability from all walks of life regardless of the status or background of the parents.

I do not want to see the grammar schools destroyed and I hope you will support Rob’s campaign.

Update: my good friend Isobel Ballsdon has posted on this here

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Who will the Greens choose to support?

To quote from the Green Party’s literature:

“After the mess Labour left the economy in we must not put them back in power.  The devastating cuts that the Conservatives and Lib Dems are making to bus concessions, care and children’s services mean that they can’t be trusted either.”

Reading Borough Council has a total of 46 councillors.  Following Labour failing to take control last Thursday the Council is now finely balanced with Labour on 22 seats; the Coalition 22 seats, and the Greens holding 2.  The decision of who forms the next administration lies in the hands of the latter – the newly elected Melanie Eastwood and Rob White (elected 1 year ago).

It will be interesting to see if Rob White follows his usual course of voting with Labour, especially since the Greens’ doorstep rationale to win support in Park Ward on 5th May was “we’re the only party able to keep Labour out”.

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Withdrawal of unpopular licence application

I am delighted with this afternoon’s news that this application has been withdrawn.  I’d written with my objections to the Licensing Department and am glad the applicant has responded to my, and others, objections. 

Dear Sir/Madam
 As you were aware Reading Borough Council had received an application for the GRANT of a Street Trading Consent at the above location on 1 April 2011. We have received a letter from the applicant stating that they wish to withdraw their application.   
 Should you have any queries or concerns regarding this matter, please contact the Licensing Section on 0118 9373762.
 Yours faithfully
 Jean Champeau
Licensing & Environmental Protection
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Election Result

I would like to thank everybody who helped with my campaign, in particular my wonderful wife who could not have done any more to support me. 

My wife & me after the polls closed

There are too many others to mention here, but I am thanking them in person.  I am only sorry their hard work was not rewarded with success.
Thank you to all the residents who voted for me. I will continue to help Park Ward residents as best I can, so do contact me with your concerns.
I wish Melanie Eastwood all the best as the new Park Ward councillor.
The results were:
Green – Melanie Eastwood – 1585
Cons   – Wazir Hussain         –  732
Lab      – Richard McKenzie – 1213
LD        – Hoyte Swager         –  123
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My Pledge To Park Ward Residents

I have enjoyed helping you as best I can over my 4-year term as your Conservative Councillor.  It has been an honour to give something back to the local community for all the opportunities I’ve been given since I came to Reading in 1984.

Rob Wilson MP, Nicole & me


I am glad to have been able to help with all sorts of problems and hope you will re-elect me so that I can continue to work hard for you.

There are many unfinished campaigns I will continue to fight for including increasing school places, continuing to support Maiden Erlegh parents by providing them with advice, solving the parking problems in Newtown so coming home late isn’t a nightmare; cleaning up the environment; as well as all the individual, personal cases as well.

Thank you for all your support and best wishes for my re-election campaign.


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Maiden Erlegh Academy 2

The legal advice to RBC’s School Admissions Department is that any legal action (to overturn the Academy’s admissions) would be very unlikely to succeed in the High Court.  There is no case-law on this.  To win, a precedent would have to be set, which would be extremely expensive.

Expensive legal action without a reasonable chance of success is not justified; and the legal advice is not to proceed with legal action.

The election Purdah period has prevented RBC putting out a press release.

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Allotments are Safe

The Independent on Sunday claimed that the review of local government’s statutory duties could threaten the future of allotments.  This is not true.  You can read Eric Pickles’ announcement here

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