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,