Dear Demsoc and CfPS,
Being abroad I was unable to attend your workshop.
I have been a resident of RBKC for more than 50 years and in the last 10 years or so have been a vocal critic of the failure of the ruling Party to connect up with residents. This is in spite of an elaborate expenditure on processes and procedures intended to “consult”.
All too often these procedures are abused in order to broadcast decisions instead of to consult. And opportunities to listen to residents are frequently suppressed or bypassed. For example, the three minutes given to objectors to make their case at Planning Meetings.
The ruling Party (I am a Conservative by the way) also suffers from a weak opposition and the perils of monopoly, which has existed for more than 50 years. All too often resident opinion is ignored and the Leadership deludes itself with hubris and Opinion Polls that show high resident satisfaction ratings. Much of this delusion was brought tumbling down by the Grenfell Tower disaster which laid bare the gulf between Hornton Street and the people.
There is a high degree of voter disillusion with the Council and democracy in Kensington and Chelsea. I hope that your work will not result in another self serving study. There have been too many.
We are now in the internet age and local blogs are a rich source of data mining regarding “issues” and “opinion”. I do not know how expert MCS10 is in analysing such information and extracting relevant input and perspectives. But I would recommend one such blog to you-now in its eighth year
(the blog is published in the Royal Borough - the .co.za address above merely reflects that this is where I currently am)
We established TheHornetsNest blog to expose “The everyday workings of RBKC and those who claim to represent it”. The initiative resulted from resident frustration and anger over certain planning decisions and developed into the exposure of corrupt and improper behaviour in the Council.
The blog was set up after a meeting with the Tax Payers Alliance to brainstorm our frustrations.
Their Chairman suggested the initiative. To date, we have had more than 2.4 million unique visitors.
I am quite certain in my mind that the blog has had a profound impact on the climate of opinion in Hornton Street and has produced a number of important changes. We know that it is widely read by the majority of Councillors and is frequently referred to in Council debates.
I hope you find these comments helpful.