Major kerfuffles on the tweeter webs this weekend surrounding the increasingly contentious ‘Liveable Streets scheme in Bow. Tower Hamlets Labour Councillors turned up en masse to Skew Bridge in Bow to draw pictures on the tarmac in chalk.
Did we mention the location? Skew Bridge? In Bow? We did? OK, just checking.
Peak pomposity was reached when Cllr. Kevin Brady (Labour, St Peter’s) went into full Blackadder ‘roaring thesp’ mode and declaimed to the world that the Liveable Streets scheme was an example of “… how mature, responsible democracy works.” Seriously. He said that.
So you have to imagine this tweet…
Delivered in this manner…
Got that? Scene set let us continue.
Mature, responsible democracy
And did we mention this all took place on Skew… we did? Oops! What is it with this bridge? Roman viaduct?
Moley, not being overly familiar with Bow, was confused and thought that the whole chalking on a road along which cars can’t drive thing was 500m away at site of the Liveable Street Bow consultation site at Parnell Road junction with Old Ford Road.
Not Ske… Why Sk…? What is special about a bridge? This particular not particularly straight bridge?
Then Moley remembered. A few weeks back a kind resident (thanks @RichLlo56556309!) drew Mole’s attention to a curious exchange of tweetlets between his good self and Cllr. Val Whitehead (Labour, Bow West).
The issue at hand seemed to be that Rich had worked out from her Twitter profile photo that Cllr. Whitehead lived somewhere called Chisenhale Road in Bow – but she denied this as you can see. Why Mole wondered? Everybody has to live somewhere.
Here’s a composite of the tweetle exchange.
As you can see Rich pointed out to Cllr. Whitehead that he knew she lived in Chisenhale Road because she had previously declared this on her Register of Interests.
But for some odd reason Cllr. Whitehead had changed her Register of Interests on the LBTH website so that if you want to find out where she lives, say for a possible clash of interests or something maybe, you have to go to the Town Hall to find that out. Perfectly legitimate thing to do.
(Not only legitimate but for some odd reason this hiding of property addresses is very popular with Tower Hamlets Labour Party councillors recently. Go and have a look yourselves.)
Thing is that Cllr. Whitehead was unaware that if some cheeky chappy (looking at you Rich!) need only Google “val whitehead register of interests” and up would pop a cached copy (kept in the Big Wide Memory of the World Wide Web) from July 2019.
We have redacted the house number and post code ‘cos we nice.
But who cares where Cllr. Whitehead lives? Unless you are a member of the dreaded and catchily named Sicilian organised crime gang ‘Ndrangheta (Bow branch) intent on kidnapping a Labour councillor, natch.
Skew Bridge! It’s Skew Bridge!
And where on earth is Chisenhale Road?
Right next to the Skew Bridge, that’s where! Look, the council even published a map!
Which highlights how considerate so many of Cllr. Whitehead’s Labour Party colleagues were to come from all over the borough to draw chalk pictures on the road only 100m from her house.
All round to Val’s for tea and crumpets and lashings of hot toast and butter! Hurrah!
Air pollution reduced – to whose benefit?
Cllr. Whitehead seems quite keen on Skew Bridge being pedestrianised which is fine as long as, being an elected representative, you declare any potential clash of interest. She even wrote a letter along with some other councillors. Open letter: why Skew Bridge on Old Ford should be permanently closed to motor traffic and here is an extract.
(Notice the two mentions of Skew Bridge being closed to traffic because of Covid-19. Interesting, huh?)
“By closing Skew Bridge to traffic, the council has taken a bold step to protect us from the risk of Covid-19. Shutting the bridge has also reduced commuter traffic on Old Ford Road to a tiny proportion of what it was pre-lockdown. Air pollution and road noise have been dramatically reduced.
Like other Covid-19 measures, closing Skew Bridge has shown us that a different world is possible after the pandemic is over. Commuter traffic from Essex and Kent has found other routes in and out of town, and more local people have discovered that cycling and walking around London are both possible and enjoyable.”
A different world is possible! Cue emotional Mole weeping.
“A fantastic oasis for residents of Chisenhale Road”
Here is part of an email sent to us at the East End Enquirer.
” …it really annoyed me as I would think that a public figure should not be partisan to their immediate local area and should be subject to a high-level of disclosure and independence.
It took two seconds to find that Val has to disclose [REDACTED] Chisenhale Road as her main residence on the Tower Hamlets website (and another rental property on Old Ford Road), plus she has disclosed [REDACTED] Chisenhale Road on Companies House when she registered her company.
So I flagged the address being on the Tower Hamlets Website to her, but she hasn’t responded to that comment. I am astounded that a councillor would deny on a public platform that they have a house in an area, when the full address is publicly disclosed.
This particular road closure has created a fantastic oasis for residents of Chisenhale Road, so that they can have no road noise and can walk to the park via Old Ford Road within 100m from their doorsteps.”
Or as Cllr. Brady might roar in an indignant tweeteroony, this is how a “mature, responsible democracy works”.
By deliberately attempting to hide the fact that you live right next to a key part of the Liveable Streets Bow scheme.
Cllr. Whitehead was approached for comment but only this morning when we started writing this. As ever we will add her response when it is received.
On a serious note why do we bother with this sort of stuff? It’s just trivia isn’t it?
No it’s not. Because it illuminates the lack of honesty which seems to be the norm in Tower Hamlets Labour Party. One councillor gets away with something then the rest think they might as well do the same.
That this is allowed to happen is due to the complete failure of any corporate governance from the CEO down. Does Will Tuckley get paid by the Labour Party? No. He gets paid by you to work for you.
This small, weary story sums up everything that is wrong with Tower Hamlets Labour Party and why our borough continues to be one of the most deprived in the entire UK.
Don’t believe us? Oh you ain’t seen nothing yet.
And it explains why so many residents are getting so very angry with Tower Hamlets council’s ‘Liveable Streets’ scheme.
Because nobody in their right mind would trust any of this bunch to tell the truth about anything. So why should Liveable Streets be any different?