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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

SHACKLED TO THE STATE

@10.47. Being shackled to the state for housing has not served anyone well in the history of Council housing in Kensington and Chelsea. 
In Local Government housing models, officers are supposed to be accountable to elected councillors in the discharging of their duties. 
In Kensington and Chelsea, this theoretical construct did not happen even when the Council ran the service in-house. Prior to the creation of the TMO, the Tory Controlled Council had little interest in housing and abrogated all housing management responsibility to the Director, Mr Kingsford, a man who enjoyed his battles with tenants and who showed everyone who challenged his authority, (except his favourites Mr Beverley and Mrs Besant come to mind) who was boss.

For the last twenty-one years, we have had the Tenant Management fiasco; a beast devised by Mr Kingsford. 

The Tenant Management Board did not devise policy in any sort of practical way it just rubber stamped the policy proposals of the TMO Executive. 
I am amazed that the intellectuals who served on that Board over the years even managed to do that. 
One former Board Member comes to mind for his involvement in the rubber stamping of policy. 
This man could not read or write and eventually went to prison for many years for child abuse!

The Tory Councillors loved the unaccountable TMO because they could wash their hands of housing management and abrogate all responsibility to TMO with its democratically elected Board that was accountable to no one. 

One former Board member told me that he believed in God but was not answerable to God for anything to do with the TMO. 
So power at the TMO was concentrated in the hands of a few Executives most of whom lacked talent.

In view of all this, I think it time to move away from socialist dogma about the housing management service being accountable to Councillors and to try the housing association model instead. 

We have had Labour Councillors on the TMO Board and their efforts have not improved much for those dependent on the service.

In theory Council housing should be wonderful but there is a massive tension between the theoretical construct of officers being accountable to Councillors and its implementation.

Set the tenants free.

90 comments:

  1. No to any housing association like Notting Hill who've plundered for their own bonus benefit, worse than the KCTMO.
    A new well thought reimagining of the whole sector should come from the TMO's fall.
    Council Housing services for the time being should come inside the Town Hall, it'd be good if the Lords Of The Swamp to meet the great unwashed again...

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    1. No to Socialism. .10 October 2017 at 17:06

      No! Tory and Labour Councillors collectively supported public ownership of the housing stock in K&C and 80+ people were cremated alive. I don't believe any housing association has ever burned 80+ people alive.

      Experience has shown that Councillors in RBK&C are incapable of running housing services - both before the creation of the TMO back in 1996 and during the TMO's 21 year management of housing in the Borough. Councillors Emma Dent Coad, Maighread Condon Simmonds and Judith Blakeman lacked the talent to do anything purposeful with the publicly owned housing stock that they oversaw management of as Board members of the TMO.

      BEST LEAVE IT TO A HOUSING ASSOCIATION, BUT NOT NOTTING HILL.

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    2. Housing Associations are the root of all evil with no compunction to look after residents - look at the attitude of Kate Davies,NHH, Catalyst, Affinity Sutton / Clarion, lining their own pockets at the expense of residents . Had their noses in the trough for too long - exploitative organizations who lie to residents . No No Never.

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    3. Well said . Enough of Tory Gerrymandering and social cleansing .

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    4. 11.42. And RBKC has been a perfect Landlord with its corrupt TMO managing the housing stock. If you don't believe me ask Emma Dent Coad MP as she was on the TMO Board for four years.She knows about TMO and RBK&C corruption better than most.

      Just look to The Guinness Trust for an example of a good social landlord.

      Municipal Socialism is dead.

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    5. @14:44 If The Guiness Trust can be a good social landlord, so can RBKC theoretically. We need to get rid of the cancerous cells.

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    6. In theory anything is possible but not in Council housing in the Royal Borough. In practice 80+ people were, in the Royal Borough, cremated alive

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    7. Under the TMO - Council Housing needs to brought in-house , that is the only way to get proper accountability . Only a Tory wouldn't want this .

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    8. Accountability and pro-tenants approach is the key. If they want to invest, go invest elsewhere!! Social housing must stay.

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    9. Social housing must stay but not under the control of K&C Councillors

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    10. 12.02 Only a dogmatic socialist wants what you are proposing. 80 people died in Council housing under the watchful eye of the Councillors.

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    11. @ 12.02. Break the bonds of state control and make a break from those who allowed 80 people to perish. Your attitude concerns me - shit happens but as long it happens in state-socialist control then it's ok.

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    12. Lack of Trust

      The TMO earned its unenviable reputation as an organisation of profound incompetence in the administration of its basic functions: management, maintenance and tenant relations. They should go.

      The question remains as to what the replacement should look like.

      The Council have demonstrated over the years that they cannot manage their own property, their procurement history reeks of waste and they are unfit to take over this byzantine construct, furthermore, they have not understood, controlled or curtailed this multi-headed monster that they have created.

      Housing Associations have become big businesses and have lost their core focus of providing affordable and social rented accommodation and now we are now in the position where Housing Associations are selling off property and becoming developers — the net gain of additional social rented houses in RBKC is so low it’s hard to find the figures but from the trend of Catalyst, Family Mosaic, Notting Hill and others they are selling off units and investing elsewhere and disposing residents.

      Perhaps we should be looking to go back to basics and consider the need that existed when some of these Housing Associations were set up, which was to provide affordable and safe homes for residents to live, and set up the appropriately funded structure.

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    13. 00.30. I like what you are saying.

      A "Community Housing Trust" might be an idea. The Guinness Trust used to have one in Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney where a Community Housing Trust was set up to take over the Northwold and Southwold Housing Estates which Labour run Hackney had allowed to deteriorate in to a municipal dump. Originally, three Housing Associations were in partnership to form the Trust. Two of them dropped out and left Guinness holding the baby. Guinness is a very moral social landlord and I have a lot of time for them. Guinness may not be perfect but they are very well intentioned (paternalistic) and tenants are not treated like sh*t.

      The trouble with the Community Housing Trust model is that there are tenants on the Trust Board and given the calibre of Resident Directors on the TMO Board, over the years, the Community Housing Trust might be a problem in K&C.

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  2. The poor and dispossessed won't apply for a Council flat in Kensington and Chelsea if the management of Council flats in the Borough is going to be overseen by Councillors- Councillors who must take responsibility for the disaster.

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    1. Yes they will - they have no choice - there is a housing shortage .

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    2. They won't apply for Council housing because they know just how piss poor Councillors in this Borough are- from all three political parties. What a shower they all are!

      80+ were burned alive under this Council. If the service is taken back in house by RBK&C, the same people who work at the TMO will be transferred under TUPE.

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  3. The Royal Borough's two thousand Leaseholders should be worried if the housing service is brought back in house and run by Council Officers accountable to Councillors.

    Would anyone in their right mind offer to buy a flat from an existing leaseholder knowing that the property they are buying is going to be managed by the same people who currently work for the TMO? The same people who will be TUPE transferred from the TMO to the Council if the service is brought under the beady eye of Councillors. Not everyone at the TMO would be TUPE transferred to a new provider.

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  4. Housing Associations are not fit for the job of this - they are turning themselves into property developers with no regard for residents. Absolutely No . Council Housing run by the Council - That way there is accountability.

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    1. Struth, mate, you must be joking: there is NO real 'accountability' to anyone for anything. If you had seen the youtube link yesterday, the speaker said that since the abolition of the Audit Commission, the matters got worse. Indeed, they may have. But remember that even with AC, there was NO proper 'independent' audit of Council business. It was and again will be up to the Council to appoint its auditors and work together to define the scope of the audit process. well, mate, business as usual, than..

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    2. How about Council run but staffed by tenants? Those that takes calls are tenants and we know what is best for us. I have been asking tenants and it is apparent that there are common but obvious problems. No.1 is repair's not carried out as expressed by ex-housing officer on camera, No.2 even after 4 months on from Grenfell, high rise blocks have not been kitted with no extra fire safety measures such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers on each level, god knows if dry risers work....

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    3. Neither are RBKC Councillors fit for managing housing. They are also turning the Borough in to a property developers' dream. I used to think that with Labour Councillors on the TMO Board that the impact of some of the excesses that the Council and TMO Executives were driving would be mitigated but I was sadly disappointed.

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    4. Sad Badger at 12.32 above surprises me.

      I remember the TMO getting a three star rating after the Audit Commission's Housing Inspectorate inspected the TMO back in 2007.

      Can anyone explain how the TMO got three stars when less than a year after that inspection the Council appointed Maria Memoli to investigate the TMO who found 28 systemic failures in the Organisation. Her Independent Investigator, a former Police Officer, turned up a very dodgy situation that never saw the light of day.

      I went to see Greg Hands MP about the TMO getting three stars and a further £ 12 million of central government grant for improving tenants' homes because it was impossible to justify the three star award, and the additional £ 12 million of grant, in the light of what Maria Memoli unearthed and the Audit Commission's Housing Inspectorate managed to overlook.

      I asked Greg Hands MP to take this matter to the Minister and he refused point blank to do so. If I had reported Labour run Hammersmith and Fulham to him, I bet he would have gone to the Minister. Instead he suggested that I should go and see Councillor Coleridge with him in attendance and I declined to do so.

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    5. My god! See Councillor Coleridge. Of course you declined to do so. What could he do about the Council getting £ 12 million that it did not deserve.

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    6. Greg Hands is no fan of Social Housing .

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    7. He's a social cleanser . He'll find out at the next General Election - he's not fit for purpose . He would be betting as a sports teacher at Eton. Time for new people. He's outdated.

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    8. Its really simple . Conservatives wanted to rid the Borough of Social Housing . They gave the TMO the properties to run down. Their mates at the audit commission gave them 3 stars and £12 Million - where did that go ? Conservatives batted off complaints as their plan to socially cleanse was working . It still is . The blame lies with the TMO , Conservative leaders and Councillors and now Greg Hands for not questioning the viability of the audit commission's report . Where was Lady Borwick. This is called a stitch up. May election next year . Labour administration . Council housing run by the people for the people .

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    9. 12.16. I wish I knew your identity. I agree entirely.

      I think Greg Hands MP should be censured for his unreasonable failure to question the "viability" of the Housing Inspectorate's work which resulted in K&C be singled out as a special case worthy of an extra £ 12 million of public money. Emma Dent Coad MP has been roundly criticised for her involvement with the TMO and, in the interests of fairness, Greg Hands should not be allowed to get off scot free for failing to act. When I went to his surgery about this situation, I gave him information that should have been of concern to any Member of Parliament regardless of party political affiliation.

      I am of the view that all politicians love their parties more than the people they represent.

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    10. @12. 16 wants to know where the £12 million went. I'll tell you straight!

      The total paid to the TMO by the Labour Government for the Decent Homes' Partnership was a massive £ £ 36 MILLION.

      The TMO did not exercise proper budgetary control over that money and discovered in the middle of the Decent Homes' Programme that it was running an overspend of £ 9 MILLION. Some tenants did not get their kitchen and bathroom upgrades as a result.


      I raised this matter at a TMO AGM and Juliet Rawlings MBE denied all knowledge of it. She was reported to the TMO Standards and Ethics' Committee who said her denial was misleading rather than a bare faced lie. Well they would, wouldn't they .

      Councillor Julie Mills JP investigated my claim and found it to be substantiated. Councillor Mills is a decent, honourable, person and wrote to me about the situation.

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    11. Shane's right about Councillor Julie Mills. So much integrity. That's why she is a magistrate.

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    12. Good heavens. Greg Hands MP suggested that Shane should go and see Coleridge. I am a Labour Party Member and Labour Councillors nicknamed him "Exceptionally Dim Tim"

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  5. Housing Associations = Asset Strippers. Working for shareholders not residents .

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    1. 11.24. The same applies to RBK&C. Ask Emma Dent Coad she has complained about it often enough.

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    2. Good - at least she tried to raise concerns but was over ruled.

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    3. She could have done better. Not impressed with EDC. I think Blakeman and Atkinson are very good.

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  6. Its really easy . Build Council houses , run by the Council for people that need social housing end of.

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    1. 11.43. There was a time when I would have agreed with you about building Council housing where the needed. I changed my mind when I lived in an RBK&C Council flat. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. I lived in an RBKC Council flat when the service was run in house by the Council and after it was managed by the TMO. I had a nervous breakdown and needed years of psychiatric treatment. I even wrote to Cockell but nothing changed.

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    2. Many people are traumatised by TMO treatment for sure.

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    3. 19.14. How right you are. What the Grenfell survivors have gone through is far worse than anything that happened to me. The cost to the NHS of treating patients affectedTenant Management in K&C must be astronomical.

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    4. We cannot let a housing association get their hands on RBKC assets

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    5. 12.05 Oh yes we can have a Housing Association. We cannot have the dross of the RBK&C Labour and Tory Parties running our housing. We have tried that an 80+ people died the most dreadful death. Remember Dent Coad was on the TMO. Blakeman and Simmonds are on it at the moment.

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  7. The TMO have changed the venue of the AGM for "security reasons". Probably also to make sure that not many people turn up for the vote. When and how are they going to tell all 5,000 TMO members where it has been moved to?

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    1. Can you therefore just remind us of the date, time and venue please?

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    2. Bloody hell.

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    3. The new company secretary has just confirmed me that the new venue is Great Hall @Town Hall, same day/time, same agenda. There will be someone at the Royal Garden Hotel to re-direct people to the Town Hall in case they don't receive the new communication which is to be sent out 1st class today.

      Apparently, the hotel didn't want any trouble and cancelled it. TMO truly has a bad reputation!

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    4. But what date and time?

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    5. The Hotel heard that dogs and security guards were being brought in and it did not want the great unwashed getting too lively in their five star place.

      Black has told the Company Secretary to abandon the meeting and close the ballot boxes if the AGM is stroppy. He won't be there to take the flack

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    6. AGM a night to remember13 October 2017 at 05:46

      Let's make the TMO go down with a bang, not a wimper, not a shout but a bloody great bang. Let us make the last AGM one of the best for tenant participation and put the TMO to bed forever.

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    7. Native showdowner13 October 2017 at 09:21

      I am hoping for a right good showdown like the one we had at the EGM when Helen Evans was running the tMO.

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    8. I remember the EGM in 2008. A burly, butch, Black Security Officer made his way over to a trouble maker in the audience, and a Black member of the TMO told him, "Leave it bro" and he did as he was told alright.

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    9. I wonder of they'll have two minutes' silence to remember the Grenfell dead before the meeting gets going properly.

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    10. Now don't forget, this AGM is for TMO members. Not for the Councillors who want to tell us what to do, not for TMO staff who have treated us badly. The TMO has always been able to dish it out but now it's our turn to see if they can take it.

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    11. The TMO's Bully Boys have no experience of when the membership revolted in 2008. If i were Black, I would phone up Rawlings to find out what happened.

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    12. Do we need to dress up for the AGM? e.g. riot gear including helmet?!

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    13. If you're looking for a way out,
      Don't miss the TMO AGM,

      If you're looking for a winner,
      say good riddance to the TMO
      at the AGM,

      If you're looking for a show down,
      I won't stand in your way

      It's time to be honest
      and say the TMO is trash,

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  8. Surely some other Council that performed properly has been deprived of that £ 12 million grant in favour of Kensington and Chelsea TMO getting it undeservedly.

    How could the Audit Commission get it so wrong and think that the TMO was even remotely satisfactory?

    Although this was along time ago, this situation must be investigated. It will be cathartic for the Grenfell Survivors if all skeletons come out of the TMO's cupboards. There must be many.

    Shame on Hands.

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    1. @12.17 That's exactly what they were back in 2007 and 2008

      I suspect that there is much more to this.

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  9. Last week Ruth Davidson made a speech and said that London Tories need to look and think differently from the national party otherwise they will be obliterated at the next local elections in May 2018 (only 7 months away). We need to look and act like the London resident base.

    It is not only the Dame who has put a finger on Cllr Elizabeth Campbell. Ruth and the Dame both think she needs to be removed immediately. She is a disgrace to herself, the local Tories and residents at large.

    Get rid of the trash woman from Sloane Square

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    1. Cllr Campbell is not "bad" or a personal disgrace. She is just the wrong person in the job - not her fault, she was elected. However one could question her wisdom in putting herself forward in the first place.

      The Tory Councillors voted for Cllr Campbell on the basis of "who do I dislike least of all". They should have been big enough individuals to think about the task ahead, the needs, and then made their choice. There were other options.

      Cllr Campbell is an opportunist. She saw her chance and was blind to the pitfalls in front of her. Which she is not equipped to manage.

      A tale of greed and ignorance. The biggest challenge of all, to establish empathy with the North Kensington residents, is not something that the Conservatives are sensitive to. Or even aware of.

      Kensington Conservatives need to raise their game.

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    2. Campbell is also a bird brain. Let there be no doubt about that. "Holland Park School cost nothing" she said. It cost £100 million dear - and the average cost of a British secondary school is £30 million.

      You are stupid, stupid, stupid. Pig ignorant.

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    3. Vote Conservative and get burned.

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  10. Actually Airhead Campbell is growing into the job. She has stopped making silly comments, has stood up to serious personal abuse at public meetings and is showing a far more humane face to the whole borough than either of her two predecessors - Cockell and Paget-Brown.

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    1. Person (not) Familiar With The Situation12 October 2017 at 14:55

      I am in shock to hear this

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    2. Celebrity Watcher13 October 2017 at 08:25

      Is there any more evidence/reports of Campbell becoming less of a liability?

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    3. She looks tired and shagged and has told friends that she is not sure how much longer she can carry on.

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    4. @10:38 tell us about it! What do you think Grenfell survivors, victims and the communicty as a whole coping? Only just. They have no choice but carry on. :(

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  11. Reference the comments by Ruth Davidson that the Tories need to get real or perish, the Evening Standard published a poll today showing that Labour is 57% in central London and the Tories are 29%.

    In Kensington and Chelsea, Grenfell needs to be factored in. Message? Obliteration for Dizzy and her crowd of clowns.

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  12. The need to save the TMO (for NOW)

    https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/kctmo-the-need-to-save-the-tmo/

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  13. Oh, hit counter to the blog is 2,299,998!

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  14. THANKS for KCTMO AGM advice, that makes sense and I will vote accordingly.

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  15. May be Pier Thompson is right you know. Split the North and South of the borough, Lab vs Cons respectively. Everyone would be happy. If RBKC is to become bankrupt, this could be a possibility.

    https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-kensington-chelsea-autonomy-for-north-kensington/nftexp/ex5/v4/187413656?recruiter=187413656&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=share_for_starters_page&utm_content=ex5%3Av4

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  16. RBKC and KCTMO staff have a sense of entitlement which has led to a culture of entitlement, this must be broken down and removed.

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    1. Helen Evans fought tooth and nail in 2008 / 2009 to save the TMO from oblivion. She was supported by Rawlings, Collet, Harris, Beverley and Kerr Bell.

      Robert Black in 2017 managed to do what the TMO rebels never managed to do. He brought to the TMO to its knees, not single handedly, with the help of Jevans, Birch, Maddison, and Matthews. Well done, Robert.

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  17. Sack them. Dent Coad and Hands must act. Get Javid to intervene.18 October 2017 at 10:11

    So the TMO has had a stay of execution.

    Why is Black still there and being paid to assist the Inquiry?

    We need to see the back of Black, Jevans, Maddison, Birch,and Matthews. They are all responsible for the mess at the TMO and need to go before they do any more damage. These people are all culpable in the mismanagement of Grenfell. By still being there they may repeat all of their ghastly mistakes - with potentially disastrous consequences.

    They are all hanging on in a most undignified way because they are now unemployable. What Council or HA is going to take them with Grenfell on their CV's.

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    1. @10.11 They should be out on their ears by now. We cannot run the risk of another disaster. What do they have to do before they get the sack.

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    2. If they can get a temporary to cover for Black whilst he ASSISTS the Inquiry then they can temporaries to replace Maddison, Matthews, Birch and Jevans.

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    3. It appears that the TMO might exist for quite some time to safeguard the interests of Grenfell Survivors. WE cannot allow BLACK, JEVANS, MADDISON, MATTHEWS AND BIRCH free reign indefinitely. They must be let go so that some decent people may run the TMO until winding up proceeds

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    4. Agree @10:55 & 17:59. The company secretary is an interim one too, so can they be. Let us put pressure on it.

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    5. out on their ears.........18 October 2017 at 22:34

      10.55, 17.59 and 19.46. All of those mentioned must be got rid of forthwith. I cannot see Dent Coad, Hands or Dizzy Lizzie doing anything to bring about any of them getting the sack. Perhaps, residents will have to get a petition up.

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    6. 10.11 If you think Hands or Dent Coad will call for the heads of the TMO Executive - forget it. Neither of this pair called for the TMO to fold. Theresa May was the one who said it had to go.

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    7. HAS Emma Dent Coad demanded sackings? She was on the radio yesterday referring to how bad the TMO has been for years and how well paid TMO Executives are. Time she was accountable to her constituents who want sackings.

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    8. @08.59. Jeremy Corbyn MP would disown Councillor Emma Dent Coad MP if she campaigned for anyone to get the order of the boot. Socialists think bad workers just need retraining. The trouble is Black, Birch, Jevans Maddison and Matthews will never cut the mustard, like so many at the TMO, no how much training they get.

      Emma has never impressed me as a great socialist thinker, she is a political sloganist not an intellectual, but as she wants preferment in the Labour Party we are lumbered with the aforesaid until the dissolution of the TMO.

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    9. 10.47
      Tony Benn was a great "socialist thinker" and a good socialist.
      Emma Dent Coad MP does not come close.

      If Tony Benn made the case for a Republic, he would never resort to personal attacks on any member of the Royal Family. Emma is quite different. Her personal attack on Prince Harry was a bit like the personal attack that Hazel Blears MP levelled against Boris Johnson by saying, "We don't want a middle class twit for Mayor of London." Hazel expressed an opinion about Boris. In contrast Emma lied about Prince Harry.

      We are told that Emma spoke out against the TMO. If she spoke out against the TMO in the same vain as she spoke out against the monarchy no wonder the TMO continued to go on unchecked.

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  18. Black and his bully boys and bully girls have had the upper hand for too long. They are now having a dose of their own medicine. The more higher and more arrogant they come, the harder they fall. It is a pity that no one listened to those people who complained about the TMO. If they had been listened to, 80+ people may not have perished.

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    1. Maighread Condon Simmonds, Judith Blakeman and Emma Dent Coad did not listen. If they listened instead of putting the interest of their political parties over and above the interests of tenants, we might not be where we are now.

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  19. Hands MP, Borwick MP, Dent Coad and Blakeman all raised problems of the TMO both with the TMO Board and in the Council Chamber and at the Housing Committee. They were all ignored - and Blakeman was even gagged on a procedural matter. Condon-Simmonds is a huge fan of the TMO and will hear no ill of them - even after the Fire. Look at how she ignored residents when she chaired the AGM the other night.

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    1. Incompetence triumphs when good people do nothing19 October 2017 at 13:10

      @ 11.14 So why didn't Dent-Coad and Blakeman resign from the TMO Board and raise the profile of their well-founded concerns about an Organisation that caused the deaths by burning of 80 people. Blakeman being gagged should have been the catalyst for more purposeful action by Labour.

      I have a low opinion of Simmonds.

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    2. Interested to learn that Victoria Borwick spoke out against the TMO when she was an MP. Pleased someone has credited a Tory in this way.

      Maighread Condon-Simmonds is as daft as a brush.

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    3. 11.14
      Unable to get to the AGM. Would you please tell The Dame what happened?

      Delete

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