Labour MP for Hammersmith backed Venezuelan regime

Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, was among those who backed the regime in Venezuela.

The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign patrons include the Labour MP Diane Abbott. It boasts it has 18 national trade unions affiliated to it (as well, naturally, as those champions of free elections the Communist Party of Britain.)

Their magazine in 2012 included a statement from Andrew Slaughter, then Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister, that a Chavez victory was:

“A great result for the people of Venezuela, progressive politics and the democratic process.”

The independence of the judiciary under the “progressive” arrangement commended by Mr Slaughter is indicated by this report from Amnesty International:

“Judge María Lourdes Afiuni remained under house arrest throughout 2012. In September, unidentified gunmen drove past the building where she lives and opened fire, aiming towards her apartment. In November, she disclosed publicly that she had been raped while in jail. Judge Afiuni was detained in December 2009 and remained imprisoned for over a year. She was charged with offences including corruption, abuse of authority and association to commit a crime. She had ordered the conditional release of a banker who had been held in custody awaiting trial for more than two years, a decision within her remit and in line with Venezuelan law.”

Will Slaughter now renounce his backing for this regime?

Community gardeners are at it again

Cllr Caroline ffiske writes:

Earlier in the summer W6 Garden Centre kindly donated more plants for community gardening.  This time plants went out to community gardeners on the Cheesemans Estate, the Lytton Estate, and to St Andrews Church in Barons Court.

The plants, of course, make these areas more beautiful.  But they also help create communities as people come together over a pleasurable activity.

Thanks, as ever, are due to W6 who not only donated the plants, but delivered them free of charge to a central pick-up place.  W6 are located close to Ravenscourt Park and if you have not tried out their lovely cafe – you must.  A perfect place to escape the heat of a hot summer’s day.

Here are some of the plants dropped off to their new homes or on their way.

As Rudyard kipling wrote:

There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,
There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.





Hammersmith Academy named as RHS School Gardening Team of the Year

A 31-strong group of secondary school pupils from Hammersmith Academy has been named RHS School Gardening Team of the Year 2017. An award designed to identify an outstanding school team that has shown excellent teamwork and made a difference to their school environment.

The Hammersmith Academy team was commended for not just establishing a garden from scratch in a previously grey area of the school grounds, but their work in the local community. They have greened areas outside the school and have made the garden of a local care home more wildlife friendly. This year, they have started to run workshops to share their gardening skills with local primary schools.

Patrick Kirwan, the KS5 Science Coordinator at the school said:

“In just two years our students have made an outstanding horticultural contribution to our school and local community. Our inner city school lacked a much needed area for nature and wildlife and our students have created a tranquil setting where people gather to unwind and relax.”

Zephaniah Lindo, competition judge and a lecturer in horticulture at Capel Manor College, London said:

“It’s wonderful to see a group of secondary school pupils so enthusiastic about gardening. They are always encouraging other students to join the gardening club and embrace opportunities to get involved in the wider community.”

Hammersmith Academy’s winning team will be presented with their prize of a Classic ‘Eight’ cedar greenhouse, donated by Gabriel Ash at an event later in the year. They will also receive £500 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers and a celebrity gardener will spend a day at the school to work with the gardening team.

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.