Sunday, 18 June 2017

Now we know the impact of deregulation - people perishing unnecessarily in horrendous blazes

Brandon Lewis was the Tory Housing Minister in the Conservative/LibDem Coalition. In 2014 as Housing Minister, he declined to require developers to install sprinklers. Instead he told Parliament:  

“We believe that it is the responsibility of the fire industry, rather than the Government, to market fire sprinkler systems effectively and to encourage their wider installation. … The cost of fitting a fire sprinkler system may affect house building -- something we want to encourage -- so we must wait to see what impact that regulation has.”

Well Mr Lewis, how does 58 lives sound, for openers? How do several hundred lives sound? Will that be impact enough?

Safety has to become our watchword

This is an email I've sent to my HO, housing manager, local RMO, Lambeth cabinet members across a number of disciplines, Lambeth Community Police and Fire Services as well as my MP.

"To Who it May Concern

I have lived in ******** Road for three years; and in that time have been concerned with the flouting of parking regulations. From 8.30 to 16.30 Monday to Friday motorists need to display a parking permit to park on ******** Road.  So during these hours parking rules are generally obeyed. This allows a clear passage for vehicles to use even with cars parked on either side of the road. For instance should the need arise vehicles such as fire engines could access the whole street from end to end.

However, from 16.30 and 8.30 on week days and at weekends as there is no permit system in play. During these times parking becomes a free-for-all. Those of you familiar with the lay-out of the part of ******* Road that runs from xxxxxx Road to xxxxxx Walk, around 100 meters, will know this quite a narrow road. Therefore, when people double-park it completely blocks the access for larger vehicles such as fire engines. As a disabled person and a tenant of ******** Road I have grave concerns for my safety and that of my neighbours, many of whom are children, elderly and disabled people.

Parking restrictions are not frivolous rules just put in place as a money spinner for councils. No, as well as allowing the free flow of traffic they have a health and safety dimension. They allow for clear roads that enable any vehicle, including emergency traffic, access. Night times and weekends, the very time when the road is blocked by double parking, are the times when most domestic fires occur.  

The other issue related to this is the parking of vehicles on pavements. As a wheelchair user it is very frustrating to find my path blocked by a car fully parked on a pavement. This causes me the inconvenience of turning around, if I'm able to on a very narrow pavement, finding a dropped kerb crossing over to the other side of the road, providing there is a negotiable pathway.

Parking for me is not so much of a problem as I have a carport on the forecourt of my flat. Convenient as this may sound, it becomes totally ineffective when, as is too often the case, other motorists park on the pavement across my carport denying me access to the road; in effect imprisoning me in my home.

While I'm sure my neighbours are not meaning to endanger life, their inadvertent actions could put the safety of others at risk. It is with this in mind, and of course the horrendous events of Grenfell Tower earlier this week that has triggered this email. 


Sean McGovern

26 Fiveways Road
London SW9 7LY"  

Saturday, 17 June 2017

If a situation gives you concern, it should be reported

Thankfully we can now discuss health and safety without the right-wing media and reactionary political commentators demeaning our fears. Therefore, I’d like to take the opportunity to discuss a possible safety issue where I live.
There is a portion of my street, around 200 meters, over which I have concerns. I live in a residential street. The street is very narrow and lined on one side by three-story social housing with five-story on the other.
As the pavement is quite narrow parking is available in cutaway bays, with no permissible parking on the rest of the road. During the day, Mondays to Fridays, from 8.30 to 16.30 parking rules are heeded. Outside these days and times, they are ignored.
The reason I'm posting this at this time is because of the danger this free-for-all parking poses. A fire in a property in the middle of the street could lead to life-threatening situations.
Most house fires occur at night and over weekends, the very times my street is impassable. During these times, my PAs find it very difficult to negotiate the road in a Peugeot Tepee. Illegally parked cars and vans narrow the road to a perilous width. A fire tender would not be able to pass along the road; an ambulance would struggle.
In an emergency, time is of the essence. The time lost by fire-fighters trying to reach the seat of the fire due to illegally parked cars could be critical, the difference between life and death.
Given my concerns I am going to write to the Angell Town TMO, my landlord NHHG, the Fire Service and the Met. Given the awful tragedy of Grenfell Tower earlier this week I am hoping my concerns will be heeded.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Stop your treachery Lord Mandelson.

“I try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn 'every single day'”. Bragged Lord Mandelson a Labour peer in February this year at event held by Jewish Chronicle. “Something, however small it may be – an email, a phone call or a meeting I convene – every day I try to do something to save the Labour party from his leadership.” He poisonously added.

As many of Corbyn’s detractors within the PLP and wider Labour Party concede that his, and Labour’s, performance during the election campaign were exceptional. This is when even the anti-Corbyn media is acknowledging Labour’s positive campaign; and agreeing that Labour’s manifesto had greater resonance with the public than the Tories indecisive and uncosted effort.

But not Peter Mandelson. No, if we fast forward to May 11th, Mandelson appears to be a lone voice railing against Jeremy Corbyn. Writing in the Mail last Sunday Mandelson insisted, My party’s moderates must stand by the wounded PM”.

He ignores Labour’s transformation from dead-in-the-water about to be obliterated from the political map 6-weeks ago, to their gaining 30 seats in the election. This was achieved by presenting a positive campaign underpinned by a progressive manifesto that appealed across the generations as well as social demographics.

Instead of supporting his leader Mandelson instead concentrates on pushing the line that there are some Labour MPs who consider it is more important to prop up a moribund Conservative/DUP government by supporting PM Theresa May. He finishes with these pathetic words: “Mainstream Labour MPs, who worry about the impact of the continuing Corbyn revolution on centrist voters, should be prepared to stand by the wounded PM, and likewise she should welcome their approach in the national interest.”

Mandelson is a maestro in the dark art of treachery. Here we have a leading figure in the Labour Party not only vilifying his leader, to the point, I would argue, of bringing the Party into disrepute. He is also guilty of giving the enemy succour. Instead of recognising the Conservatives as a busted flush, he ignores this instead urging Labour MPs to get behind a minority government. Rather than condemning the Tories for endangering the fragile peace in Ireland by considering a deal with the DUP, he would rather serve to divide his own party by using sectarian labels such as ‘mainstream’ and ‘moderates’ when referring to the anti-Corbyn section of the PLP.

Mandelson has a choice. Support your democratically elected leader, a man who has proved himself worthy of the leadership of our great party, or go away. The Labour Party needs to be unified under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and can do without the poisonous Lord Mandelson.