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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Link below to a list who is standing in each ward in Haringey.


Edit 29 April.  Link stopped linking so I’ve renewed it.

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Hi Rae,

I'm very sorry to have missed you on the various times that we've been knocking on doors.

If you'd like to send a phone number to me at harringay@haringeylibdems.org I'll be delighted to arrange for one of us to come and see you.

And indeed, that goes for anyone else who wants a word, whether before or after the election.

All the best,

David Schmitz

Former Councillor and current Lib Dem candidate for Harringay Ward.

Thanks David!  I'll do that!

Here's the link to the 2021/22 record of councillor's attendances at formal meetings.
https://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/mgUserAttendanceSummary.aspx. You can change the date range as well.

Comments in this thread about some very poor attendance records appear to be confirmed by the latest list.
I use the word "appear" because I've little or no idea about illnesses, childbirth, family bereavements etc etc.  Having said which, the very low turnout by a few councillors does seem - to borrow the phrase used yesterday by Chris Bryant MP - to "tarnish not burnish" the reputation of this elected body. I realise that resignations and by-elections cost money. But hey, if that well-reviewed show turns out to be not your cup of tea, who hasn't left politely at the first interval?

On the other hand, as a former Haringey councillor, I'd add that many councillors attend a wide range of meetings which are not listed. So what really counts is not always counted. Especially as some of the big "set piece" meetings may be bad theatrical farce. Lots of talking ; not much listening. Never mind thoughtful reflection and learning.

 Rae Spungles mentions the need to "change the culture" of the Council, I agree that's a vital task.  Rae and I may not entirely agree on the specific changes needed and how to set about advancing them.
We'll also have to wait and see who is elected and whether they understand and practice teamwork. Or want to be someone important rather than do something to tackle the many problems crowding in.
My political declaration is on my profile page here.

Hi @Alan - I have no idea of the specific changes to be honest!  I'd love to hear some suggestions.  At the moment I'm thinking protest vote for a change in leadership but maybe there's another / better way?

@Hugh - Interesting to hear about the videos... Could candidates perhaps do a tik-tok style self-video video in 2022?  (I'm only slightly joking here.)  Or I don't mind reading something if it's a bit more personal and not the manifesto leaflets rehashed!

They’d be very welcome to. 

I'll stay tuned :)

... I think I may have accidentally pressed the wrong button and deleted Alan's reply. Really sorry of that's the case. 

Don't worry, you can't delete anyone else reply.

P.S. My suggestion about Emma Chan is serious.
PPS. I am not a Green Party Member.

For those saying that the borough needs a change in the culture - the way it does things...

It is very interesting to read this interview with Andy Donald, the just-appointed, Haringey Chief Exec. It dates from 2020 when he was at Redbridge. I don't know what 'he's worth' and whether local Labour's rotten political culture will do him over or whether he can tame and change it.

He is a planner by training but described at having been in tranformative regeneration...You can see why he has been appointed in Haringey (read for Tottenham/Wood Green?) This blog states that "His approach to regeneration has often been controversial as a result of his view that the role of the Council is to smooth the way for developers." Read the comments in the blog! I sthis whjat Lanbour wants for our borough?

But looking at the lists of Labour candidates, I see many 'elephants' - that's what, in France, we call the 'hangers-on from way back when' *- still on the list. Some of them that I have seen 'in action', definitely have a negative impact on local decision making but unfortunately continue to hold power of influence over constituents.

I face difficult choices in May. I cannot vote for any Tory. Anyone still active in that party is part of the problem. And claiming that the election is local is lending support to the malign, lying, untrustworthy Tory scumbag we have as PM, all his sycophantic supporters and cynical enablers. The effects on the country as a polity and economically are disastrous and will be felt for some time.

Can I forgive the Lib Dems for their disastrous collusion with the Scumbags?? Hmmm.

I have no info from the Greens.....

Extracts below from the article in the above quoted link:

"If I am honest, then I think there had become a culture that matched the outdated perception of cosiness. That it was too difficult to do transformation or change and so the organisation had got a little stuck in its ways and relied on traditional ways of thinking and operating, because that felt safe."

"I was honest with the administration and leader when I was interviewed for the role, that the potential of Redbridge was incredible, but to deliver on what they had set out in their manifesto needed a major shift and change in culture."

* - I myself am over 60, so I am not necessarily referring to age.

As usual your comments and the links you gave are food for thought.

Will the new Chief Executive Andy Donald want to take Haringey in a direction that you appear to disapprove of? Although actually I'm unclear what your own prescriptions would be. I'd be interested to see - or hear - your own views set out. I assume the job of a Chief Executive is to carry out the overall strategy and plans of the Majority Councillors' Group in the Boroughs where he worked. a number of years ago.

The days of free hotels, luxury boats, and boozing in Cannes with MIPIM, well that ended in Haringey with the departure of Claire Kober. I can't imagine for a moment that Mr Donald has misunderstood the change.

Nor that it has escaped him and others that a wide coalition of residents came together to oppose the social cleansing of Council estates. My own views about that have if anything strengthened. I haven't changed my own view on, for example the John McAslan giveaway; nor the Chicken Town fiasco. Both one of many symptoms of a previous rotten regime. Do you think I was wrong? I'm always open to listen and consider your views, JJ.B

I don't know where A Donald will take the place. I suppose that he will have been recruited by ‘the powers that be’ to take it in a direction agreed upon with him and those that count within that group.

My big disappointment with HaringeyLabour is with the physical state of the east of the borough and the systems that HL puts in place to manage their council responsibilities. I know that they rely on the officers and coucnil employees to actually run the council services and that they must work within the constraints of national legislation and funding. But I believe that the overseeing politicians DO have enough power to influence these and the outcomes. That is why we are allowed to chose them at local elections.

I moved to Bruce Grove some 13 years ago having lived in London for some 15 years before that. I have seen the changes in other places of the capital which face similar challenges to Haringey. I was born and have lived in a so-called developing country, have the nationality of another one of those, as well as citizenship of an EU, ex-world-colonial-power. I observe how things are organised and work when I travel and mentally note what I like, what seems to work and what doesn’t. I am constantly comparing these - local and foreign examples - with my home places. Like you I suppose, I read a lot about this kind of stuff because I am interested in it and because it has a direct influence on my quality of life.

What has often disappointed me here in Tottenham, is to almost always systematically see money and resources being spent on ‘improvements’ or system change but with very poor outcomes or even and often subsequent reversal of the short-lived results.

Also, when I have spoken to or tried to speak to my elected reps I get counterproductive responses or a ‘glazed over’ look that explains why the place is in such a mess. Of course, my exposure to the politicians is limited and I am not saying that all my local Labour reps have malign intentions. Some, maybe even many, well-intentioned and others very active. I do think that some have alternative agendas to that of representing the place for the best possible local outcomes, especially for the less well off residents, here in the east of the borough. And, you may well know that I was actively involved in several local resident/groups campaigns for a part of my life in Tottenham.

My references:

The council’s attitude toward ‘regeneration’ where they allow major developers to set the narrative but also importantly determine the physical outcomes.
- Ward’s Corner - I really do not understand how this could have even been been allowed to start. But also when Haringey had several opportunities to ‘reset’ at each of the earlier stages, the council persisted and went on to use sometimes underhand, developer-supportive, anti-community measures to ram through the destructive crap that was going to masquerade as ‘regeneration’. What a tremendous waste and years of set back for Seven Sisters. Eachntime supported by HaringeyLabour councillors!

- The Hotspurs stadium where we lost important place-making, unique, historical architectural heritage along the High road, in exchange for an incongruoaus, unattractive thing that physically and economically dominates the whole of North Tottenham. It just was not necessary to do it that way. But, again, the council and the local MP, for whom I don’t have much regard either, had such little faith in the strength, abilities and resorcefullness of locals, thta they allowed themselves to be taken in by the arguments and lobbying of a multinational offshore company that continues to cynically engage in speculative property development with only their own gain in mind and not that of the communities around them.

- The horrible, emerging cityscape/skyline around Tottenham Hale = a spatial disaster given how the road network has not been reworked and how taller buildings e.g see the very ugly white tower, have been built to the south of the sites blocking out light to all the homes and other buildings in the rest of the huge redevelopments behind them and we’ve gotten a set of dark tunnel, windy hodge podge of streets.. We’re being ‘regenerated’ but with homes being sold, not to locals or even incoming Londoners but speculative ex-pat investors.

- the reinstating of 2 way traffic at the ex-gyratory and CS1 between Seven Sisters and T Green. Traffic on Broad Lane is still bad. We now have a 5 lane (in places 6) racers track on this short stretch, the cycling lanes have been foisted onto what was once The Broad Walk and for pedestrians, where we lost planters (green respite) and mature trees. I am aware that these are TFL schemes but do look at other boroughs and see how similar schemes are implemented with better outcomes and where the physical improvements do result in nicer places to be in or pass through. Can that be said about the Tesco stretch? It has also physically deteriorated since it was implemented and so was it really worth spending the money when we don’t even seem to make small incremental gains?

- the refuse collection and the imposition of all these oversized bins everywhere. Visit the upper part of Steele road N17 where none of the houses have space to fit one wheely bin far less the 3 or 4 bins, if they opt for green and food waste. The bins line the narrow pavement and have done so for years! Is it acceptable? Does no councillors actaully walk along here?

After years, the council is still unable to solve to rampant fly tipping and refuse dumping in residential streets, in front of shops and alongside street bins.
Small but illustrative point - when they were introducing the additional green wheely bins, I remember, in a stakeholder meeting, asking that they find a way to mark to bins with hose numbers/addresses to get away from the inaesthetic sgrafitti we see covering most bins in our streets. The politician smirked and the Veolia rep acquiesced. So we now have a tiny white square on each bin. What a result! So the politician and Veolia rep ‘ticked their boxes’ but completely missed an opportunity to bring a small but useful improvement to our street scape. Do councillors not walk their constituency and see all of this with their own eyes?

- Let’s not talk about the public realm. Rotten pavements - I still cannot understand the basis on which some streets get pavement renewal and others not. On Belton N17 they renewed the only stretch where there are no houses , which is less used and which was not in as bad a state as other stretches. Go figure! Go and visit the intersection between Lawrence Rd and Philip Lane N15. The north pavement is dangerously uneven. There are several juxtaposed versions of bollards and bike racks, despite being in a conservation area, but not that that should determine whether we get decent public realm provision! It looks like a place in one of my so-called developing countries, and that has an influence on people’s psyche. Not just in how some perceive the place they are visiting and the message they carry out, but how local residents abad stakeholders perceive the place they live/work/play in and what they can and should do to their own homes or businesses! And that is on the patch of the previous council leader!

- Inaesthetic signage is everywhere - the council is itself often responsible for crap signage. It is they that set the poor standard and example for others to follow. They rushed to put up signs all around Tottenham Green and T Green East, as they were going to inaugurate the ‘improvements’. In my opinion the signage, with the most recent logo, is inappropriately placed and affixed on lamp posts, is badly designed and so has a detracting effect on these green spaces that are also in a conservation area and at the heart of a set of outstanding, listed heritage assets. Contrast this with e.g Islington and Newington Greens. I understand that resources are stretched. But MONEY WAS SPENT HERE! The outcomes are poor and the council in their expediency have forced us to settle for  mediocrity and more missed opportunities. Once again as soon as even these improvements are made they are left to deteriorate or be dismantled by subsequent, unsympathetic or inappropriate interventions. Sigh!

In front of CHENEL the yorkstone pavers, restored a few years ago, are now broken and unstable and have been for years. In Bruce Grove our now defunct stakeholder group asked for stone pavers when the pavements were being renewed - visit the High Rd in Stokey to see why I had actually aspired to. After all, this too, is a conservation area! Not only are the ‘stone’ pavers we did get, not yorkstone, but they are hardly ever cleaned and are regularly being replaced with concrete pavers every time there is an intervention. As a result the pavement is returning to a hodge podge of mismatched ‘stone’ and concrete pavers. When I pointed it out to a councillor she said that it was TFL's responsibility and wanted ME to contact TFL! As if we deliberately want to live up to our 'deprived' status.

This just serves to reinforce the negative perception that people get when they visit - think of all those fans that walk up the High Rd for every Spurs event. Why is it so hard for Haringey to do what is done in Hackney, Walthamstow, Islington - all Labour councils? Money and resources were spent here. So it is not lack of means. Is it poor political standards, lack of will OR ineptitude?

Do our local reps and the local MP not walk up and down their constituencies and the High Road and experience just how poor and rotten the place looks? The entire High Road in Tottenham is composed of conservation areas but you would not know it.

I have much, much more and I have’t even mentioned:
- the Haringey children services and possible corruption debacles - I have little experience with the former and no concrete evidence of the latter.
- the High Road West plans to demolish homes and displace, long-standing, local businesses along with their valuable local jobs and the economic diversity, synergies and dynamism they bring with them.

There is loads of money being spent in Tottenham. But the results are not good relative to other places. The council-driven ‘regeneration’ - really speculative property development - taking place will result in the destruction of one of the redeeming things we do have that makes it a great place to live in, the rich and diverse community we have here. All this is happening under Haringey Labour sometimes even at their behest.

The council's recent positive LTN implementation and spate of effusive street-tree planting and cycle-shed installation are too late for me to lend my support in this round. I NEED TO SEE  a definite change via results.

I don't care if people think I am negative and harping on about details. I think that I continuosly harpo on these 'details' precisely because they should be easily resolvablen with more care and attention to systems and culture at the council level. That is why I harp on about them again and again and  again. It is why I am frustrated to see the many missed opportunites or little results at a council level.

I believe we deserve much better too. So I am seeking alternatives to Haringey Labour on the 5th May next.



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