Will Marshall: Reactions to Terror

A guest post from Will Marshall.

Last night’s terrorist attack in Manchester has horrified our nation.  It has once more reminded us both of the challenges that the world presents us, and of our greatest strengths.

First reactions to tragedy are always telling.  From the hate-mongering columnists demanding a ‘final solution’ to acts of terror, to the tin foil-hated tweeters retweeting what should be untweetable, tragedy lays bare the person within, artifice and second thoughts stripped away.  Nowhere is this more obvious than in the actions and reactions of the people of Manchester last night.  From those who opened their homes and their hearts to strangers, to those who offered transport, safety and a chance to call their families, the people of Manchester have shown us everything that is great about Britain.

I was reminded this morning of the lessons so many politicians swore to learn after the death of Jo Cox.  To demonise less, to end the mongering of fear and hatred, and to celebrate our common passions as people and as a nation.  #moreincommon and now #standtogether  are ideals – ideals so many of us cling to in these uncertain times, and ideals that we can be proud of. They are the aspiration for a better public discourse, an aspiration that acknowledges viciousness to be the problem in our country, and not the solution.

There will be many stories yet to tell of last night’s attacks – of the heroism and sacrifices of our emergency services, of the many kindnesses shown, and of the grief of so very many yet to mourn.  But let us also not forget that we are not just observers.  In our recounting of the tales that tell our country at its best, and in our mourning of the memories of those taken before their time, we speak to our highest ideals, and we point the path to the country we long to continue.

Suspension of Campaigning in Hammersmith following the Manchester terrorist attack.

Following the devastating and cruel terrorist attack in Manchester last night we will have suspended our General Election Campaign today.
All our party political activity in Hammersmith will be put on hold until further notice as a mark of respect for all those who died or who have been badly injured.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this awful attack.
We stand ready to help the people of Manchester in any way we can at this most difficult of times.
Charlie Dewhirst
Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate
Hammersmith Constituency
Councillor Joe Carlebach 
Hammersmith Conservative

Charlie Dewhirst: Why Hammersmith needs change

A guest post from Cllr Charlie Dewhirst, the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith.

Many residents in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush are unsatisfied with the way Labour are representing their constituency at both a local and national level. Why? When Theresa May called the snap general election in April I knew this was our chance to make real change happen for this excellent area I have served as local Councillor for the past seven years.

I know there are difficulties and so, like Theresa May stipulated so firmly in her manifesto speech, I am not afraid to tackle them head-on. But local residents deserve better. Labour have held onto power here through a campaign of fear and uncertainty, which they continue to pursue even though formal complaints have been made against them for breaching regulations and wasting Council money on misleading political propaganda. Simultaneously, the Labour Council are failing on almost all of their responsibilities and therefore failing the people who need help the most.

Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush deserves security and stability, not fear and uncertainty. Having spoken to thousands of residents on the doorsteps over the years, I know I can be the person to deliver it if I am elected MP.

Having grown up in Yorkshire, I wasn’t interested in party politics at an early age. I studied at Edinburgh University and moved to London shortly after graduation to pursue a career in sports, starting in sports journalism. Like many young graduates, I settled in West London, and together with my peers, experienced the shortage of affordable housing here first hand.

In my mid-twenties, I realised that I wanted to make a change, and followed my head and heart to the only party which I felt could deliver it: the Conservatives. I was enthused to be elected as Councillor for Ravenscourt Park in 2010, whose residents I have proudly represented since, fighting on their behalf on a number of local campaigns: the Hammersmith flyunder; speaking out against Labour’s proposed abolition of Council housing in the Borough; and fighting for the retention of the most basic local authority services like weekly refuse collections.

I worked for UK Sport for a number of years, the organisation responsible for delivering British success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was thrilled and honoured when I was selected as the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith for the first time in 2015, securing the largest number of votes ever achieved by a Conservative candidate in the constituency. I now work for England Rugby, and I’m still balancing work around my campaign. I believe that sport can be such a force for social change in our community, with fantastic initiatives from organisations such as QPR in the Community Trust, which I recently visited at Loftus Road. I’m proud to support our local sports teams for the invaluable work they do effecting social change.

That is why I am seeking election as MP. It is my priority to ensure that everybody who needs my help the most will receive my fullest support if I am elected as MP; whether that is through affordable housing; adult social care; or community cohesion. I got into politics to make a positive change to my community, and after seven years as a local Councillor, I believe I can give a strong voice to local residents and their concerns in Parliament.

We are faced with a crucial decision at this election: a strong and stable government with Theresa May; or the chaos and uncertainty of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. I believe that I can deliver the stability that Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush so desperately needs both locally and nationally, and we can make our area an even better place to call home.

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Joe Carlebach: Rest In Peace Jo Cox

Cllr Joe Carlebach is the Chairman of the Hammersmith Conservative Association.

Jo Cox MP. 22nd June 1974 – 16th June 2016

Politician, wife and mother.

Today all political parties have agreed to suspend campaigning for one hour. The hope is everyone will focus on what we have in common not our many and varied differences. This rare event will be dedicated to the memory of Jo Cox whose life was so brutally taken last year in a barbaric and senseless act.

I am asking all our Conservative activists, supporters and volunteers to take a moment today to remember Jo and keep her family in our thoughts and prayers. We had differences with her but she will always have our respect. As Jo said in her maiden speech in the Commons “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.” How true this is and yet how easily we all forget these wise words.

I hope the supporters of all the other parties currently engaged in the rigours of the current general election campaign here in Hammersmith will join with us in this rare moment of cross party unity. I believe Jo would have been pleased at this one positive outcome of her death.

I am republishing the article I wrote in her memory after the news broke of her murder as a tribute to her and her family.

16th June 2016

Many of us are desperately trying to make sense of the devastating news of the brutal murder of Jo Cox in her constituency.

No words can adequately express the shock and sadness we all feel at the loss of Jo. She was by all accounts a gifted and passionate politician who had friends across the political divide. She was vocal in supporting the vulnerable not just at home but around the world and in particular the long suffering people of Syria.She died doing what many of us regard as the bed rock of representative democracy, holding a surgery and talking to her electorate in the constituency she represented.

The brutal attack on her is an attack in all of us. It is an attack on the hard won rights of our representative democracy. It is abhorrent and unacceptable in so many ways.

The untimely death of anyone is a tragedy. The unwarranted violent death of a parent of young children is disastrous. The brutal murder of an elected member of our parliament is a catastrophe.

As politicians we will have many and varied disagreements. That is the nature of our business. However on this matter (this catastrophe) we are united as one in condemning this violence, in paying respect to Jo, her achievements in life and her legacy now she is gone.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, her two young children and her friends and family.

Rest in peace Jo, your passing has united our fractious and divided country. You may have left us but you will not be forgotten.

Charlie Dewhirst: The Conservative Manifesto offers good news for Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush

Cllr Charlie Dewhirst is the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith.

I am delighted by the vision that Theresa May has set out in the Conservative Party manifesto today. The next five years will be the most challenging our nation has faced in generations and so now more than ever Britain needs strong, stable leadership under Theresa May to make the most of the challenges that lie ahead. There are three commitments that I am particularly pleased about as they will directly affect all of us in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

On NHS funding:

We value our NHS deeply and will increase spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of population for every year of the parliament.  Over the course of the next parliament, we will embark on the most ambitious programme of capital investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen. This is a huge commitment to the NHS by the Conservatives, which goes further than Jeremy Corbyn’s plans, and will ensure that our local health services continue to deliver for the people of Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush. This is yet more good news following the NHS’s recent firm commitment to Charing Cross Hospital.

On school funding:

We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion in real terms by 2022 and ensure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new, fair funding formula. The previously planned funding formula would have seen local schools in London receiving less money so this change is hugely welcome.

On our long-term plan for elderly care:

We are making a commitment to a long-term plan to make the social care system fairer, better funded and more sustainable, ensuring elderly people receive the dignified and high quality care they deserve.

Unlike Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, we are not promising huge sums of new public spending in this manifesto because we believe in a strong economy founded on sound money. There are some things which will cost money – but also things that will save money. We are not afraid to take the difficult decisions to address the long-term challenges this country faces.

You can read the full manifesto here.

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Box hedges across Hammersmith are being munched to death

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

Box hedges across Hammersmith are being munched to death 

While out and about in Hammersmith this spring I have noticed that in garden after garden, box hedges, large and small, are being destroyed by the box tree caterpillar.

This is a new arrival into this country – only arriving in force in 2011.  If left to its own devices, it will completely destroy a box hedge.  As I walk around it is evident that many households take great care of their front gardens, creating a community asset for all to enjoy as they walk past.  So it is sad to see their efforts being destroyed.

Please look at the attached photos below and pass the news to any friend or neighbours whose box plants and hedges you see in a terrible condition.

This blog post from the Royal Horticultural Society tells you more about the caterpillar and how you can deal with it.

Utterly destroyed

box hedge destroyed – neighbour untouched!





too late to save

H&F Council spends £13,765 on fake news

Nearly £14,000 of Council Taxpayer’s money in the past year has been spent by Hammersmith and Fulham Council on “fake news”. The scaremongering propaganda about Charing Cross Hospital was rebutted by the NHS for being “incorrect and misleading” – a highly unusual move. A complaint has been logged for a breach of the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, “specifically around objectivity and even-handedness.”

An FOI request reveals the Council has spent the following pushing their “alternative facts”:

Costs of Charing Cross publicity since June 2016:

* Nov 2016 letter to all homes – £6,876.

* Letter to all residents via the April 2017 council tax mailing – £2,312.

* Posters – £422

* Promotional materials for November public meeting – £4,155

Total – £13,765

The figures don’t include the costs of staff team of the Council’s press officers.

The NHS says that “it is difficult to understand why the Council would choose to spend significant sums of public money fighting ‘closure plans’ that do not exist.” Indeed.