That’s Life!

Four more years!” was the rally call coming out of Lambeth Town Hall during the local election count in the early hours of Saturday morning. I didn’t think the local politicos were talking about four more years of Lambeth Life.

Oh Lordy.

So yeah, following the 44 seats and massive 43% share of the vote enjoyed by our friends @LambethLabour, the @LambethLibDems manifesto pledge has been reduced to just that – paper talk to get rid of a ‘newspaper’ that many in the Rotten Borough could well do without.

Now that we are officially out of purdah (were we ever actually in it?) and not surprisingly, Lambeth Life leads with the local elections:

“It was a nail-biting time for many at the town hall, with a swarm of vote counters, politicians, council officers and journalists local bloggers all hotly anticipating the results.”

Hotly anticipating” the results is stretching it slightly. As soon as the red bundles started to mount up on the counting tables shortly after 4pm, the resumption of the Red Flag flying over Lambeth Town Hall was never in any serious doubt.

But just in case you want to check who to hold to account over the pledges made on the doorstep over the last month, Lambeth Life helpfully adds:

“For the full local results breakdown go to: www.lambeth.gov.uk/elections2010.”

*ahem*

Gotcha!

Speaking of truth and accuracy, post election and we see a return of @cllrstevereed‘s Leader’s Column in Lambeth Life – hurrah!

“There is uncertainty nationally and funding for local services will be tighter, but we will work with the new national government to make sure we win the best possible deal for the people of Lambeth.”

Really?

Looks like the @LambethLabour leader may have a few bridges to build first with the ConDem coalition, before the best possible deal for the people of Lambeth can be put in place.

@cllrstevereed signs off with the optimistic:

“I am determined that we will deliver on the promises we have made.”

Me too, my friend, me too. I am determined to see that the public consultation promised back in February regarding the mutualisation of local government is actually implemented. I look forward to seeing how the doorstep election pledge of “free swimming for every resident” is also rolled out.

But what of the Little People of Lambeth? The Letters page puts forward the case from a local Herne Hill resident, who shares in my observations that the new Brockwell Park junction has left us with a great big bodge job down in SE24:

“While the borough is aiming to encourage greater use of public transport and greener policies, the road works at Herne Hill demonstrate a complete failure to maintain the simple and congenial integration of bus and rail travel which existed earlier.”

The right of reply offered up by Hayden Tuck [ACE name] the Principle Transport Engineer at Lambeth Housing, Regeneration and Environment states:

“The Herne Hill Junction Regeneration scheme is already delivering major benefits including better pedestrian crossing facilities, improved access to Brockwell Park, upgraded provision for cyclists, faster movement of buses through the junction and a much more attractive public environment.”

Blimey.

Where’s the empirical evidence for this, Mr Tuck? My analysis of the bodged Brockwell Park junction, on a busy Saturday morning, suggests the exact opposite of this observation.

Sticking with the Letters page, and it is a return to that old South London favourite that refuses to be silenced within the Rotten Borough:

Streatham Hub.

Oh Lordy…

Sally Knocker [ACE name #2] um, knocks the knockers that say NO! to a temporary ice rink being dumped on the green land of Streatham Common:

“Just when we thought a solution might be in sight for a temporary ice rink on the common in order for the much awaited new Streatham Hub to progress, it looks like a small but vociferous group might thwart the temporary planning application.”

Fair point, but the New South London Politics (get you) that has seen the formation of the Hands Off Our Common group is pretty much a Who’s Who of resident interest groups in Streatham.

“Whilst no one would want to permanently reduce green space (which obviously a temporary planning approval would not allow in any case), it seems a shame that those who protest do not realise that an even more precious community resource could well be lost. The Ice Rink provides enormous joy even in its current neglected state.”

Overlooking the subjective analysis that an ice rink is “more precious” than a historic piece of public land, Mss Knocker doesn’t address the local concerns that the temporary may become the permanent.

Tesco hasn’t exactly got a tremendous track record down in SW16 of telling the locals the truth. Failing to send a representative to the Hub meeting is hardly the sign of a constructive, local partnership. The power balance in the deal remains with the multi-national. Tesco can walk away from the scheme at any period in the next two years, leaving a bulldozed old barn of a rink, and a temporary pad on the Common, that then becomes permanent.

But anyway – I’m not alone in such an underhand analysis of how the Hub deal may develop over the coming months. @CllrMarkBennett, the local Streatham South @LambethLabour Councillor, and @cllrstevereed, both told me at the election count in the early hours of Saturday morning that “other options” are now being explored by cabinet for the location of the temporary rink.

Phew.

p7. in Lambeth Life and my heart (and foot) was in my mouth when I read
The headline:

New Twist for Classic Game…

“Young people on Lambeth’s peer education scheme have come up with a new version of a popular board game to help teach others about sexual health.”

Eeek!

Sexual health? Teenagers? Twister?

Surely not…

“The team have developed a giant version of snakes and ladders that they will be taking into secondary schools around the borough.”

Ignoring the schoolboy humour about giant snakes in a sexual health game, and the project does seem to be addressing a key issue for young people in an imaginative way. I wish them well.

The Eco Matters feature on p.10 address the farce that is the Cycle Superhighway that is being rolled out across the borough. Essentially a scheme championed by Boris, the aptly coloured blue carpet approach to bicycling has been badly conceived.

Any colour blind bicyclist could be forgiven in not noticing any difference in the provision for cycle safety. The Cycle Super Highway is simply a painting of the existing (and inefficient) cycle lanes blue.

Job well done, Boris.

The Clap’ham Road has already rolled out (incomplete) stretches of the blue carpet, with a further stop / start stretch also in place heading up Larkhall Rise. Urban Cyclist has highlighted the folly that is spending a small fortune out of the transport budget on a scheme that still fails to address the fundamental issue of crap car drivers.

And finally…

The Lambeth Crossword on p18. had me stumped at the first hurdle:

1. Across – They’re simply revolting, six letters.

I don’t think it started with an L and ends in an R, but you never know…

That’s Life!

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