Category Archives: News

Tory race for Brent & Harrow GLA seat

Brent and Harrow Tories are to select their London Assembly candidate on this Thursday from the three candidates shortlisted earlier.
Molly Irene Samuel-Leport MBE, England born east Londoner, is well known for her sports achievements, including 1987 Jamaican Jubliee Award for Excellence. She is impressive orator.
Molly Samuel is a member of the Conservative Way Forward advisory board along with Harrow councillor Paul Osborn, leader of the Tory opposition group. She is a six time karate world champion, and was the unsuccessful candidate for Walthamstow at the general elections.
She has been active in community matters and is well known for her interest in homelessness and social justice issues.
Molly Samuel believes that schools need to change to include self-defence and self-awareness education for young children of primary age.
George Currie, the “son of working-class parents” who progressed to have a PhD in political philosophy, has helpfully worked with the Brent’s diverse community. He is chair of Brent Central Conservative Association.
Mr Currie’s manifesto is to reduce crime by securing more police officers and working with local communities to introduce ‘safe zones’ across Brent and Harrow.
He would work to improve the availability of affordable housing by working with councils and developers to identify suitable sites and remove unnecessary blockages, and  improve the local environment by working with local residents and businesses to tackle issues, such as poor air quality and the illegal dumping of waste.
Kanwal Toor, self claimed Indian actress associated with luxury jewellery and fashion outlet, seems to have little political profile.
Social media research in her case reveals qualifying comments like “I am proud to know Bob Blackman. Bob has done a huge amount work for Kashmiri Dogras” – Kashmir issue is very sensitive and a matter of grave international concern.  Brent/Harrow could do well without it.
However, she stands a chance where her success could depend on the extent of the support by using certain block votes, the strategy, carried out in Harrow West and brought to Harrow East, that seemingly defeated Cllr Susan Hall at the parliamentary selection in Harrow West and GLA selection for Brent and Harrow.
Last time such a Kashmir specific credit was given to the divisive Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East who has been repeatedly exposed for his alleged interactions with far right elements [i] [ii], was by his previous assistant from Kashmir background  [i] [ii] who has now left Harrow.

Then, and now!

We reported water build-up around a Wealdstone bench, near Baptist Church bus stop, seemingly due to the slop towards the bench or the earth around the bench sinking .IMAG0297_BURST007
This was promptly but temporarily repaired. Pleased to see that this area has now been redone.HW2

Government defeated in disability benefit appeal, credit to Harrow Law Centre!

PamA local councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick (photo), Director Harrow Law Centre and Labour parliamentary candidate for Harrow East, is delighted that a key policy of the Government’s Hostile Environment policy has been declared unlawful in a ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal today.
In April 2013 the Coalition Government introduced a host of regulations as part of its hostile environment policy.  One such amendment the ‘past presence’ test meant that a person with a disability would have to wait two years before being eligible for certain disability benefits notwithstanding that they had genuine links to the UK.
Harrow Law Centre which has long argued that these rules were discriminatory and in breach of EU law, challenged this restriction and the Court of Appeal agreed the Government had acted unlawfully in denying disability benefit.
The law centre  client, 67 years old German national and severely disabled, came to live with her daughter, a British Citizen, in the UK when she was no longer able to care for herself.  She later claimed Attendance Allowance, but it was refused under the new legislation.  As a result, her daughter was also excluded from claiming carers allowance despite being a British Citizen.
This  case was joined with another involving an Irish national represented by Child Poverty Action Group where the British Citizen mother, of a disabled child was refused disability living allowance for her child under the same rule.
In its judgement handed down today the Court of Appeal ruled that both claimants had a genuine and sufficient connection to the UK when they claimed disability benefits and that the approach taken was flawed and unduly inflexible because it failed to take account of all the particular, personal circumstances and motives of the claimants, which in the round, proved the required sufficient link.
Commenting on today’s judgement Solicitor David Martinez of Harrow Law Centre said:
“This judgment makes clear that once again the government’s interpretation of European Union law has been far too restrictive.  This time those suffering from severe disabilities were denied the assistance they so clearly required and were entitled to.  This was despite the strong family links to the UK and the clear intention to settle here that both clients had.  At least for those disabled EU citizens and disabled UK citizens returning or relocating from the EU the decision-making process for those who have carers strongly connected to the UK will now be done within a fundamentally more benign environment.”

 

‘Visit My Mosque’ event well attended but some missing

Well publicised Visit My Mosque event in Harrow last Sunday was widely attended, including by community leaders, clergy and many Labour councillors.
This could only be good for community cohesion and togetherness. However, concerns have been expressed that the event was hardly attended by the Tory councillors.
Given the possibility that Tory councillors might have attended the event at a Harrow mosque but were not noticed, we asked the leader of the Tory opposition group Cllr Paul Osborn to clarify whether he or his councillors attended.
Days have gone but he has not come back, perhaps to save embarrassment.
Although there is no compulsion to attend such events, local Tory position needed clarification in the light of the national outcry* about Islamophobia in the Tory party [1], [2], Harrow East Conservative Association selecting and nurturing divisive elements [1], [2], and no Muslim representation at the Tory councillor level in Harrow.
While there are some Tory councillors who are professional enough to appreciate that they are paid to represent wider population in Harrow, there are many, mostly in Harrow East, who don’t and use their councillor title to promote themselves within their tight community, and therefore give poor value for public money.
*JF

 

Blackman challenged!

Both Labour and Liberal Democrats parliamentary candidates for Harrow East assert that the sitting MP Bob Blackman position is very shaky in this marginal constituency because of his undesirable doings and lack of interest in Harrow matters.bb4
Declining support for him became obvious at the last general election when despite all his divisive moves to attract Indian and Jewish background voters, Mr Blackman majority was slashed from 4,757 in 2015 to 1,757 in 2017 by Labour. His position will be under further threat once the boundary changes take place.
PamLabour parliamentary candidate for Harrow East Harrow councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick is determined to unseat Mr Blackman as at the very time local people need more help, Mr Blackman has consistently voted for budget cuts meaning budgets of local authorities has been slashed as well as a huge reduction in funding to  schools, police service and benefit system.
“All this has an impact on the residents of Harrow East. For example, in Harrow diverse community the two-child restriction on benefits and the hostile environment have had a particularly harsh impact” said Cllr Fitzpatrick.
Also “homelessness has soared and the numbers of looked after children is unprecedented. In once a borough with the lowest level of crime in London, now Hate crime has increased and many families are fearful for the safety of their children” she said.
“A housing crisis and the worst level of homelessness in decades are not accidental but because of the benefit cap, universal credit, the restriction of housing benefit to below rent levels, the huge increase in benefit sanctions for people who are seriously ill or have a disability” reminds Cllr Fitzpatrick.
“We are desperately in need of a Labour government that will invest in our schools, provide affordable homes and protect our NHS” Cllr Fitzpatrick said.
adamLiberal Democrats parliamentary candidate Adam Bernard, born and brought up in Edgware, focuses on the appallingly divisive nature of some campaigning in Harrow East.
“I’m proud to live in Harrow, which is lucky to have people from so many cultures. It’s sad to see divisive political campaigning here; pitting Hindus against Muslims against Jews, or people from the EU against people from the Commonwealth” said Mr Bernard.
“A community like ours can only thrive because of its inclusive spirit. I and the Liberal Democrats will always stand against racism, Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and xenophobia. None of these should have a place in our society or our politics” he said.
A long standing Liberal Democrat, Mr Bernard  works as a researcher teaching computers to read medical research papers and was a Harrow East candidate in 2017 election.

Developments around Harrow Town Centre

Some years back when the previous chief executive Michael Lockwood rejoined the council and accelerated Harrow regeneration programme, the Harrow Monitoring Group suggested study of how Brent attracted the developers and addressed the social housing shortage.
He listened and just in four years the Harrow that struggled to attract investors is now bubbling with developments and impressively progressing towards its housing target. Credit to the council, particularly the regeneration and planning team.
Following is a snap shot of developments around the Harrow Town Centre:

 

Harrow over-75s could lose free TV license

BBC is set to scrape free TV license for over-75s from June 2020 as Tory government has refused to accept the £745million-a-year cost of the benefit to pensioners last Sunday.
Currently, all households with someone aged 75 or over are entitled to a free licence, worth £150.50.over 75b
Harrow has 17,000 over 75 residents according to the Harrow Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2015-20 by Harrow Health and Wellbeing Board (7% of 243,500 residents). Many are living in poverty or just above the poverty line and the TV is vital companionship and entertainment.
Introduced by the Labour Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2001, the cost of the free license was initially borne by the government but later the Tories stitched up a deal in 2015 to make the BBC responsible for funding the benefit from June 2020.
Now, Age UK, the National Pensioners Convention and the National Union of Journalists have written a joint letter to BBC chairman.
“The BBC leadership must be brave. It must say ending free licences for the over-75s is wrong-headed and divisive, acknowledge funding this welfare benefit would trigger an end to our public service broadcaster as we know it, and say it must now be down to Government to take back responsibility for this benefit” the letter said.
Perhaps a Harrow council resolution could support the call not to cut this benefit to pensioners.