Friday 11 July 2008

Empty chair politics from our elected representative

So what is the role of the elected representative in Hampstead, for Camden and across London?

I don't take that close or especially active role towards the Greater London Assembly: I vote, I campaign in the run-up, I know the result, I know who my representative is, I look at the website occasionally. So I'm active but not obsessive.

I would rather hope that my elected representatives were a little more engaged.

So, on Wednesday I went to see the GLA in Plenary Session for the session of Questions to Deputy Mayor and Assembly Member Kit Malthouse on policing and crime issues .

This has been a major topic locally in Hampstead and Kilburn with the proposal to close Hampstead Police and reduce services at other stations with a central warehouse.

Indeed the whole MPA Estates Strategy has been contentious, badly handled etc etc. And the major development was the confirmation on Friday that the Consultation has been so poor that it was being suspended - so this was the first and only chance to discuss this in public with the Deputy Mayor responsible.

So when I arrived at the GLA session my elected representative saw me and nodded hello, he clearly must have known why I was there, so it was to my amazement that when police questions started he left. I sat open mouthed - he then returned as questions carried on and then when Dee Doocey started questions on the Estates Strategy he left the chamber again!

Now look, I don't expect miracles but this (policing) has been the single biggest issue facing our local patch and yet our elected representative left the room. He did it knowingly both to the topic and our presence (it wasn't just me watching).

So I photographed his empty chair (pic top right and right - immediate in foreground - Dep Mayor Kit Malthouse can be seen at the far side of the room taking questions) so he can't wriggle out of the self evident truth.

In a nutshell I'm furious - I think he let down the people of Hampstead and the Borough of Camden, I think he has proved the words of the local Conservartive Party to be shallow and hollow, I think he has shown himself to be ineffective, disinterested and revealed for being aheckling grandstander. it's poor form and it's poor representtaive democracy.

Sorry Brian Coleman - it was embarrassing and given a chance to stand up and be counted - you failed.

On this issue and for the future I now know and have seen for my own eyes that you can't be trusted. You're happy to stand up on a street corner and shout through a megaphone for the camera's, yet when faced with the job you are elected and paid to perform for us - namely to hold officials and the administration to account for us - you chose to have an empty chair. Pathetic!

I should add for the record that no other Conservative Assembly Member asked a single question on the estates strategy which was proposing the closure of 60 Police Stations across London - so much for the principled stand they claim to be taking!


Anonymous said...

It is completely outrageous that the self styled 'King of Bling' could not pay more attention to the real issues facing local residents than his pretentious gold chain. Crime is a concern for all Londoners at the moment and it is disturbing that it seemingly does not concern the Mr Coleman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to fellow bloggers for the coverage of this piece:

Ed Fordham said...

Gosh, much appreciated praise from one of my closest friends:

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