Wednesday, 20 October 2010

One Day Left To Save The Right To Buy in Tower Hamlets

Last night I took part in a candidates’ TV debate on Channel S. Aside from the usual tiresome squabbling over Labour’s selection processes, one real issue that had not emerged so far in the campaign leapt out. It emerged that the Labour team view the right to buy as a “disaster” and when pressed, would not confirm their commitment to the right to acquire in new social housing schemes. The Green party voiced their opposition to this cornerstone of social mobility and the Lib Dem candidate even threatened to use new legislation to suspend the right to buy in Tower Hamlets altogether.

I was the only candidate to stand up for this groundbreaking, fair and crucial policy, even though I myself am not able to benefit from it.
I am staggered that a policy that has helped countless East Enders get on the property ladder, and that many sitting Labour councillors have taken advantage of, is now under threat for ideological reasons. The hypocrisy of pulling up the ladder on those saving towards the dream of home ownership, when so many members of the Labour party own more than one ex-local authority home, is staggering.

Tower Hamlets voters need to be clear on one thing: To protect the right to buy and right to acquire on Thursday, they can only trust the Conservatives.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

My Five Priorities For Tower Hamlets

It is now just five days until Tower Hamlets residents have the opportunity to vote for change in our Borough. If elected I will ensure a fair deal for all local residents.

I will cut council waste, including the £2 million 'newspaper' East End Life, and slash the half a million pounds frittered away on the Town Hall's electricity bill! Why can't they just switch off the lights at night?

I will instead use this money to make sure we have the best front line services possible.

My latest newsletter includes all the details of my priorities and plans for the future.

Neil King For Tower Hamlets Mayor Election Address 2

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Big Society In Tower Hamlets

David Cameron’s speech in Birmingham on Wednesday talked about the power of the Big Society ideas and how the Conservatives are set to revolutionise our country. But what does this mean for Tower Hamlets and how will it apply to the mayoralty? Well, on Wednesday night I had the opportunity to address TELCO, a coalition of local faith groups, trades unions and other community bodies. For those who struggle to understand the Big Society, well this was it writ large. These are the people who day in, day out work in the community to deliver change and improve lives. These are the groups, not the distant Town Hall, who can help deliver on the agenda of employment, education and crime reduction that I have been championing since day one, before all the other candidates (some have decided to join the race now) began talking about them.

I am quite clear in my Contract with Tower Hamlets about how I will go about running our borough if elected. I am not running to try and turn into the fat controller, ordering about the local authority as if that can deliver change. Backed by a cabinet of able people who share my ambitions, I will deliver real results in Tower Hamlets and the Big Society will empower churches, mosques, synagogues, residents’ associations, charities, volunteering organisations and businesses to help deliver the change. This isn’t government abdicating responsibility, but arming the responsible.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

My Contract With Tower Hamlets

I believe Tower Hamlets needs real change, and that this change needs to start from the very first day that Tower Hamlet's new executive mayor takes office. If you would like to know more about how I would do this, and my Contract With Tower Hamlets, please read my election address below:

Neil King For Tower Hamlets Mayor Election Addresss

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Dealing With Tower Hamlets' Budgetary Mess

There is a recurring theme in this campaign that the opposition candidates are obsessed with. Rather than talk about their limited vision for the borough or their lacklustre track record, they instead claim that they will fight the Coalition government’s cuts, as if this means that LBTH will be exempted from the austerity measures.

This is simply unrealistic. Getting angry won’t get us more money. I have laid out many of the areas where I will be forced to make austerity budget decisions; council media and publishing, councillors’ allowances and the number of councillors, leaving Anchorage House, pooling back office support with neighbouring boroughs. What will the other candidates cut? Silence, save a promise to ‘slim down’ £2million a year East End Life.

The other candidates say they want to remind voters as to whose faults these cuts are. Let me save them the trouble. These are Labour’s cuts. The government is scrambling to save our AAA credit rating after 13 years of Brownenomics and locally, before we even approach any necessary austerity measures the government imposes on us, we have to deal with 18 years of a Labour council that has left us with a £60 million black hole in our budget. All of this happened on Labour’s watch, indeed under the leadership of two of the candidates for this election.

Voters may want to bear this in mind, too. When we have to negotiate with the government, who is Eric Pickles going to believe when they say they’ve made all the savings they can? A candidate whose party as previously run Tower Hamlets into this mess, or a Conservative?

Sorry for the silence!

The only good blog is a busy blog, so I apologise for the delay in posts of late. Rest assured I have been busy in other ways though! I have been to Eid celebrations (and a belated Eid Mubabrak to all my readers), residents’ meetings and to TV and press interviews. As well, of course, as hitting the streets, meeting people and campaigning. You can find some of the links to my coverage in the links section of the site.

My latest leaflet has just arrived from the printers (which I hope to post online as well) and it contains two important pledges. First, my 10 actions in 10 days which will outline just how I intend to start my mayoralty, and my contract with Tower Hamlets, which sets out the principles I will abide by for the remainder of my term in office, should I win.

I hope to meet as many supporters out and about in this last run up to polling day, so if you’d like to help, please drop me a line.

Friday, 10 September 2010


On Monday night, supporters of the King for Mayor campaign from across Tower Hamlets came together for an Iftar gathering. It was a lively gathering of enthusiastic people of all faiths and none, of all races, ages and genders with one thing in common; the real desire to see the sort of change, transparency and common sense that only a Conservative mayor can bring to Tower Hamlets. No doubt, they were also drawn in by the prospect of hearing from the always worthwhile James Cleverly (the London Assembly member whose majority can be seen from space) and they were not disappointed. At least we were able to fill a significant hole in his Londoner’s life, this being James’ first curry on Brick Lane!

The inestimable Muquim Ahmed provided his restaurant (Cafe Naz, a true Brick Lane institution) and the food. As I was organising the Iftar, I kept the fast too for that day. Muquim’s chefs made it well worth the wait, with an array of astounding dishes, proving why Brick Lane really is a destination for tourists in its own (culinary) right. Thank goodness I’m hitting the streets so much, otherwise all the jalebis (particularly the extra portions the Millwall Bangladeshi Association treated me to on Saturday) would really start to take their toll!

Hopefully I’ll post some photos soon, but thank you everyone who came, thanks to Ahmed Hussain and Muquim for organising the evening and to James Cleverly for speaking. Thanks also to the MBA and I hope they find a permanent home soon.