Monday, 28 April 2008

Can East London produce a solid London Mayor?

As the day for Londoners to elect a mayor draws closer,
Alan Craig (pictured) of the Christian People's Alliance appears to have stuck out as the better known mayoral candidate to come out of East London this time round.

Craig has lived in East London for many years and is based in Canning Town. He is also a Councillor in Newham.

He is touting family values: he believes that many of the problems London is facing today, i.e. crime and teenage alcholism, are because of the breakdown of the family unit.

He is also known for strongly opposing plans to build a mega-mosque in West Ham. His manefesto states that ‘it is forwarded by the secretive and separatist Tablighi Jamaat Islamic sect … and it will also foster fundamentalism’.

Can Craig upstage Ken?

YOU can decide that on May 1 when you make your way to the polls.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Flats or Flair: what’s the priority for Hackney?

Priorities, priorities, priorities. This could soon be the buzz word for artists and homeless people in Hackney.

The Hackney Gazette reports that a group of artists are against plans for high rise developments because they fear the place will become a ghetto.

The paper claims that artists including Tracey Emin and Dinos Chapman have expressed their concerns in an open letter to the London mayor, Ken Livingstone.

With all due respect, Shoreditch (and Bethnal Green Road) already seems to have traits of a ghetto, nevertheless …

Have these artists considered that for an area currently experiencing serious levels of overcrowding, these very ‘detestable’ tall towers may house several families and homeless people?

According to Team Hackney, overcrowding in Hackney in the social rented sector is serious and worsening.

But on the other hand, maybe the artists are right. The towers could look ugly in trendy Shoreditch - and who knows what their presence would bring?

This is where the ‘priority’ word comes in: is housing or recreation a priority for Hackney at this point in time?

Whose cry will matter most to Ken Livingston or his colleagues at Hackney Council: artists or those in need of accommodation?

Interestingly others in the area, like supporters of the Hackney Independent, believe such high rise buildings will not benefit ordinary working class families or the homeless.

They say such flats going up in the area are aimed at rich middle class professionals.

This ropes in the possibility that the need for new flats are actually a priority for another group: rich property/building companies with an aim to build flats for yuppies.

They are unlikely to help the many families in need of basic accommodation or the homeless. They may not even impress the angry artists.

At a time when Ken Livingston is trying to win the hearts (I think I mean votes here) of every Londoner – artists, homeless, rich property developers – we may not know whose voice will be heard for a long while.

Meanwhile, above is a video of other folk who decided they had another priority for high rise flats in Hackney: operating pirate radio stations.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Teenagers hobbies to be funded by Council

Life is not as miserable for teenagers as our newspapers – or some teenagers themselves – would have us believe.

Havering Council, together with Havering College, is offering youngsters money to invest in their favourite hobby or sport.

Called the Havering Talented 30 scheme, the fund aims to assist teenagers develop their skills fully. Those who are selected will be given £200 for this purpose.

Havering cabinet member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Andrew Curtin, said: “Excellence in the arts and sport is an absolutely basic part of a well-educated and civilised society.”

For more info on the scheme contact Havering Council (

Monday, 7 April 2008

Olympic torch celebrations in Newham

While thousands of pro-Tibetan protestors gave the police grief over the Olympic torch in Central London, residents in Newham played it safe.

The local council organised games, music and other entertainment to mark the torch's passing through London.

Somehow I couldn't bring myself to join in the fun and games.