Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Getting fruity with Bush and Blair

I spent Saturday selling rotten tomatoes to people to throw at Bush and Blair... Not the actual politicians, unfortunately, but cartoons of them drawn by Doreen Zerdin. Doreen is a talented artist and a Lib Dem member in Ealing Common. This took place at 'Paddy's Party' an annual Lib Dem fundraising event on Turnham Green in Chiswick and we gave two thirds of the money raised to a Landmine charity.

It was environmentally sound as well, as the fruit was boxes of left over stock from the wholesale fruit and veg market at Western International Market in Southall which would have been thrown away if David and Doreen Zerdin hadn't persuaded the Market to let them have it. Tomatoes and figs made the best missiles. A guy from one of the other stalls even took away the squashed tomatoes that had been used as ammunition at the end of the day so that he could try to grow tomato plants for next year from the seeds!

I took the photos here, and this one shows from left to right John Mitchell (Secretary of Ealing Southall Lib Dems), Doreen and David Zerdin and Nigel Bakhai (Vice-Chair of Ealing Lib Dems).

Traditionally we've done bottle stalls at these fundraising events, but it was great to do something that was both fun and had a bit of a political element instead!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Planning and plotting

On Saturday we had planning site visits and on Wednesday we had the actual planning meeting. I like planning as it is one of the few areas where a backbench Councillor can actually change things for the better. Planning committee is a quasi-judicial process, or in other words we should make decisions based on the facts of the case - like a judge would - rather than just blowing our political trumpets. On Wednesday, for instance, no vote split along Party lines - this is in stark contrast to Full Council meetings when every single vote goes along Party lines! We were unanimous in throwing out a roof terrace in Acton that would have caused very severe overlooking and noise issues to neighbours, which made me feel like it was an evening well spent, although I was in a minority of 2 in opposing a basement in the Bedford Park Conservation Area.

I was at City Hall on Thursday for a meeting with the Lib Dem group on the GLA and representatives of other Boroughs. It's very useful for us as a small group in Ealing to learn more about what our friends in the rest of London are doing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hello, good evening and welcome

I've had a personal website since way back in 1998 but that is largely static content that stays the same for year on end, so I decided to join the blogging throng. The idea is that this blog will give a little insight into what's going on in the exciting(?) world of Ealing politics and hopefully do a little to bridge the gap between what goes on in those arcane meetings in Ealing Town Hall and issues that effect local people. I will no doubt touch on national politics from time to time but I want to keep it mainly local.

I did a couple of blog postings on a group blog for Lib Dem conference the week before last., and I decided to finally start my own blog when I got back. It's taken me longer than I hoped but here it is.

I dashed back from Brighton on the Thursday to attend the Ealing Police and Community Consultative Group meeting, where we heard some interesting info about Operation Rainbow and I asked about Safer Neighbourhoods staffing numbers levels to be told that the Sergeants and PCs for all the wards in Ealing should be in place by December but no date could be given on achieving the promised level of PCSOs.

Then I held my ward advice surgery on Friday. My surgery dates and venues are on the Ealing Council site. The ones I hold on Fridays are at the Grange School which is being rebuilt currently. I think having to venture on to what is basically a building site puts people off, but hopefully the new school will be completed before too long! If anyone in Ealing Common would like to come along next time to discuss a problem with the Council, please feel free - no appointment is necessary.