A tale of two Chancellors

Here’s Tory Liberal Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne getting booed at the Paralympics.

In complete contrast, here is the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown who served for 11 years as the Chancellor of the Exchequer greeted with cheers at the Aquatics Centre at the Paralympic Games.

Paralympic athletes should get equal treatment by Royal Mail

I am extremely disappointed by Royal Mail’s decision not to give British Gold medal Paralympic athletes equal treatment when it comes to producing stamps with pictures of successful athletes on them.

Paralympic Games
Paralympic Games (Photo credit: Martin Deutsch)

To celebrate every gold medal that Team GB wins, Royal Mail has been painting a Postbox gold in the home town of athletes that win gold medals. It is welcome that this practise will also be carried out when an athlete in the Paralympic games wins a gold medal too.

In addition, Royal Mail has been issuing special stamps with pictures of the winning gold medallists every time Team GB wins one. However, they will not be carrying out this practise for disabled athletes when they win gold medals. Instead, all Paralympics winners will feature across a series of six stamps. The reason cited for this is that it would be “logistically impossible” to have this equal treatment of Paralympic athletes as in Beijing, they won 42 gold medals over 10 days of competition.

In a statement on the British Paralympics Association’s website, they say that they are “very pleased with the final plans” and the reason for not having gold medal stamps for Paralympians is “very good”.

If it logistically impossible to provide equal treatment for all our gold medal winning athletes, then Royal Mail simply should not have printed stamps for any athletes. The Olympic and Paralympic Games should be seen as part of one London 2012 Games. It may just be stamps, but there is a bigger picture – it symbolises that there is still a long way to go in the struggle for disability equality.

Partnership and Place committee meeting last night

English: Brent Town Hall (detail), Wembley

It was great to have the opportunity to ask questions to Brent’s Borough Commander Matt Gardner last night at Brent Town Hall.

I took the opportunity firstly to thank him for the community reassurance role he played after the tragic fire on Sonia Gardens in my ward last year.

Some of the challenges that the Police are facing in Brent are profound but they are determined as are the Council in delivering the best for our residents despite the challenges we have with resources. Our job is to get on with what we have.

Last night it was revealed that Brent has the largest ‘success rate’ in London when it comes to stop and search. The police are adopting an intelligence based approach to stop and search targeting hotspot crime areas.

They are doing a lot more cross border work which is crucial in areas that neighbour other Boroughs.

We are already 6 sergeants down. Numbers should be ok for PCs. After next week there will be 35 PCSOs in Brent. Based on a formula which recommends that amount that a Borough should have in order to effectively police the streets, Brent should have 75 PCSOs. There is no recruitment drive for PCSOs. When asked what the Borough Commander would do about the recruitment of PCSOs, he honestly said there’s nothing he can do and that he’ll continue to do his job and manage to effectively police Brent with the resources he has.

He admitted that there will have to be a review into what the Police do and that some things they may just have to stop doing. He addressed the perception that we will be short of police in Brent over the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will actually get more resources in terms of police officer numbers because we are an Olympic Borough with the Wembley National Stadium and Wembley Arena hosting sporting events.

The Borough Commander said that 84% of his budget is spent on wages and given that there is a 20% to the Brent police budget, it’s not rocket science to see that there are challenges. He drew comparisons to the cuts that Brent Council is making to libraries and said that the Police may have to look into the future of Willesden Police station and whether they can afford to have it. There’s only so much that can be saved from cutting back from buying paper clips.

When I asked whether frontline staff were spending time doing back office functions such as administrative tasks, the Borough Commander replied “not yet”, but that he could see it possibly happening in the future, which is why the Police had to look at what they do.

The challenges that the Police and the Council are facing means that there will be greater partnership and pooling of resources between the two.

EXCLUSIVE: The final set of weekend closures for the northern section of the Jubilee Line will be between Sunday 15th May and Sunday 26th June

Northern entrance to Dollis Hill tube station

Transport for London has revealed that the final set of weekend closures will take place between Sunday 15 May and Sunday 26 June.

We were promised that the works would be completed first of all last year and then by Spring 2011. However, it seems that Spring will be arriving later than usual this year, with the works now expected to be completed at the end of June.

It is however a huge relief that it look like the line will be running in time for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, but I am hugely disappointed that Dudden Hill residents have had to endure years of no Jubilee Line service at weekends from Willesden Green, Dollis Hill and Neasden Station.