The recent Labour Leadership contest in Waltham Forest: a tale of Grace Williams, Liaquat Ali…and Clyde Loakes

As local news outlets have reported, in the election to find a new Council Leader following Clare Coghill’s resignation, the Labour Group has plumped for Grace Williams, with Liaquat Ali a close second. The general feeling on the Labour benches is that Ms. Williams will provide short-term stability, though many also believe that after the 2022 local elections, there will be a further Leadership contest, with both of this year’s candidates very likely to stand again. Given such a scenario, it’s a good moment to put Ms. Williams and Mr. Ali under the spotlight, and try to understand who they are; their achievements, inside the Town Hall and out; and perhaps even whether they are a good fit as ... »

LBWF, the London Fire Brigade, and ‘controlling the narrative’ over fire crew response times in Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

As this blog has reported over the years, LBWF spends a good deal of time and money attempting to ‘control the narrative’, that is burnish its reputation through fair means or foul and, crucially, head off legitimate criticism. Previous posts have looked in detail at how this works, focusing on spin (‘the selective assembly of fact and the shaping of nuance to support a particular view of a story’) and manipulation of the Freedom of Information Act (FIA), the latter recently provoking a firm rebuke from the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, a short sequence of e-mails lately obtained by redoubtable Walthamstow resident, Charlie Edwards, apparently shows that LBWF use... »

Has LBWF followed the relevant ‘technical advice’ when addressing the flat entrance door scandal? It’s a key question but one the Town Hall finds difficult to answer

In correspondence earlier this year, Darren Welsh, LBWF’s Deputy Strategic Director, Resident Services, stated that the strategy adopted for dealing with the 217 fake FD60 flat entrance doors (FEDs) at Northwood Tower and four sheltered housing blocks conformed with ‘the technical advice’ that the Town Hall had been supplied with. What follows describes my tortuous efforts to establish whether this claim stands up to scrutiny, and well illustrates the depressing fact that asking LBWF a straightforward question by no means guarantees a straightforward answer, largely because of the debased way that it operates the Freedom of Information Act (FIA). The story starts on 14 January 2021, when Mr.... »

Cllr. Clare Coghill steps down as Leader

Cllr. Clare Coghill has announced she is stepping down as Leader of LBWF, and not standing as a councillor at next year’s election. In the past few months, sources have told this blog that she was being seen in the borough less and less, and her departure may be related to a previous post here, ‘Love amongst the Leaders: Councillors Clare Coghill and Simon Blackburn’. How history will judge Cllr. Coghill’s four years in office remains to be seen. Unsurprisingly, she appears to believe she has been a success. But as this blog has documented at length, she has presided over a number of controversies, not least the fire safety scandal at Northwood Tower and four sheltere... »

Private Eye reports the Cann Hall mural fiasco

From Issue 1549, 11-24 June 2021 »

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