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.

Monday, 23 August 2010

A time to reflect

This year has seen many second world war anniversaries pass by, recently the 65th anniversary of VJ day. Today, I also read the obituary of Lord Lovat's piper who played the troops ashore on D-Day. It led me to thinking about that conflict that did so much to shape modern Britain. Few parts of these islands bear the physical scars of those dark days as much as the East End, which had to take it from the Luftwaffe night after night as Britain stood alone against tyranny. But greater even than these are the scars it left on the people. I've met many locals whose memories are still searingly vivid; they remember the night the lighters had to take everyone off Wapping when the bridges were up and fire took hold; the smell of burning sugar or treacle that takes them back to the night that Tate's got it; those who can't walk down the steps of Bethnal Green station without getting goosebumps.

As this generation fades to join their colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice, as the Flos, Dots, Sidneys and Ernests that I met on the doorstep when I first campaigned here a decade ago become fewer and fewer, I reflect on whether East London today has deserved their sacrifices and hardships they endured. Pessimists will say that the borough has become divided by race and class more than it ever was in their time. That may have some truth in it. But I'm an optimist. I believe that this borough is not irreconcilibly divided. All communities share the same aspirations; they want a good education for their children, opportunities for work and to feel safe in their homes and on their streets. I believe with a leadership that speaks to and for all sections of the new East End, the future will do the wartime generation proud. If ever I come to doubt that our communities can work together, it is only a short walk from my home to the Merchant Navy memorial at Tower Hill. Embossed in bronze are the names of the crewmen and their vessels that were lost at sea for the cause of freedom, and there amongst the Smiths, MacDonalds and Joneses are the Ahmeds, Rahmans and Hussains who represent the Bengali seamen who served and died alongside them. The survivors formed the kernel of our Bengali-British community here in Tower Hamlets.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Is Summer back even if Flo isn't?

At the risk of jinxing things, the weather seems to be looking up again.
A perfect time to enjoy some of the borough's parks and open spaces. It's a shame that residents won't be able to see their Henry Moore statue Draped Seated Woman, famous as 'Old Flo' to those who can remember when it was in the borough. This valuable sculpture now sits in a field outside Wakefield, Yorks. The Conservative group on the council have been lobbying hard for the council to either bring her back to the borough or if she can't come back, sell her and use the proceeds for the good of residents.
In fact, they plan to raise the issue again at the next meeting of the full council and hopefully a secure but accessible location can be found to bring Old Flo back. If not, then at least let's raise some much needed capital to do some good for Tower Hamlets.
Let's hope the Tykes take advantage of the sun to enjoy our statue for the last time before she comes home!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Tim Archer writes in the Wharf

Second term Blackwall and Cubitt Town Councillor, parliamentary candidate, tireless local campaigner and all-round good egg Tim Archer has written an article about the upcoming mayoral election in this week's edition of The Wharf (which you can see online here)

I am very proud to have Tim's endorsement and the article came as a very pleasant surprise! The display of Conservative unity sits in marked contrast with the fuss Labour seem to be having over their mayoral candidate selection. They are now on their third shortlist (at the last count), have had to go to the High Court and now, it seems, have put their selection date back to 4th September. This means electors will have far less time to judge Labour's candidate before polling date; perhaps this isn't accidental. If they can't sort out something as straightforward as a candidate selection process, it makes you wonder if they can really be trusted to run a billion pound budget borough.

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello and welcome to my blog.
My name is Neil King, and I'm the Conservative candidate to become Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

This is the first time Tower Hamlets has ever had a directly elected mayor, after residents approved the move to this system in a referendum in May.

Many of the council's powers are transferred to the mayor after the election on 21st October. It is an enormously challenging role, but one I would relish doing; being able to put common sense principles and policies into effect, in order to improve the lives of everyone in Tower Hamlets.

I'll try and keep everyone updated as much as I can, when I'm not out and about meeting people in the borough. Check out my biography, the photos and the links to see more,
Thanks for reading,