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Gunnserbury Park Bowling Club

Some readers may have read the very sad and alarming news that the bowling green at Gunnersbury Park is to be "repurposed" as a putting green (also known as a crazy golf course).Much has changed since the incorporation of the Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2015. In that year, as part of a leisure strategy for the Park, it was stated that "the location of the bowls club and its green is seen as a positive to the scheme in terms of development of the club, membership and participation. For example use of the sports hall for indoor short matt bowls and general increase in footfall to the site. The councils have met with the bowls club committee and will continue to work together in developing these proposals."There is no question that the CIC faces formidable financial challenges, greatly exacerbated by the Covid crisis and by the fire at the cafe. However other significant problems, including the one year delay in the completion of the Sports Hub, appear to be due to poor project management rather than to bad luck.The CIC is a not-for-profit community interest company set up to manage Gunnersbury Park and Museum. The CIC is managed by a board of 6 people, supported by an executive arm comprising the CEO and other salaried staff. Amongst other things a CIC is statutorily responsible for ensuring that the company is run in a way that satisfies the community interest test. In practice, this means that it may be required to give more weight to the interests of the community than to financial returns although, like any other company, it is required to remain solvent.A matter of very significant public concern is the "democratic deficit" which characterises the CIC's activities. This is manifested in a lack of transparency, accountabilty, and reluctance to engage with the community. For example, the CIC publishes no lists of meeting dates, agendas, minutes, or agreed action points.This latest announcement by the CIC presages the wanton destruction of a precious community facility which was founded in 1931 and which could still be reinstated. It is clear that the CIC is bent on the cynical engineering of a situation whereby they hope that a planning permission for a cafe/restaurant at the bowling club pavilion will be be granted in due course.Descriptions of events over recent years have been characterised by misunderstandings, blatant misinformation and, like any other sports club, some internal dissension. At the end of its life the Bowling Club had 25 members, of which 22 were active. The Club was fully aware of the need to grow its membership, of all ages. To this end, the CIC were approached and a strategy was presented to them. A 2-year plan, allowing for completion of the new Sports Hub building, then 1 year exposure to all the visitors to the Hub, and then 1 year of open days and free training and associated publicity. It was felt that as a result the membership could easily be raised to 60 or more particularly as there were positive signs of a revival in the sport.The CIC rejected the plan out of hand.The club was given notice to quit the site by 9 January 2020. The CIC had reneged on an agreed extension of the Licence to Occupy and thereby forced the departure of the bowls club.All of those involved in the CIC's decision should hang their heads in shame. Brentford Voice wishes to do all in its very limited power to rescue the situation. To that end we would welcome any comments, suggestions, and expressions of support.Please post your replies on this Forum or send an email to info@brentfordvoice.co.uk

Jim Storrar ● 1d2 Comments ● 33m

Left-wing indoctrination in schools?

Left-wing indoctrination in schools? The decolonising project Following an earlier thread in respect of this matter, I have submitted a list of questions to the council officer, Julie Lewis, who is responsible for the decolonising project.  As yet, it is not even clear what it comprises.  There is no official statement in respect of it.    The Black Lives Matter Movement, however, appears to be its spring-board and at the centre of its interest.  One of my questions was which manifestation of the movement Ealing Council was in step with.  The movement has recently taken a sinister “black-shirt”, paramilitary-style turn.  We shall have to be on the look-out for Julian Bell goose-stepping down the Uxbridge Road, not likely, but, if the price was right -----Here are the questions.   1. THE DECOLONISING PROJECTI learned about it only from an item on the Ealing Today website.  I tried to find an official statement about the project but failed to locate one.Does Ealing Council have an official statement about the project?  [Q1]If so, may I have a copy and will you publish it?  [Q2]2. THE EALING LEARNING PARTNERSHIPThis is an association of Council officers and head teachers. You are its director.   I hoped I might find further information here but I am denied access because “full access is only available to registered users” and user accounts are only available for Ealing maintained schools and academies staff and Ealing LA staff. Why are they not available to the people who are funding it? [Q3]Do you consider it appropriate for the Council or ELP to operate in this covert manner in respect of children’s education, avoiding scrutiny by the public?   [Q4]Will you give me access to all the information about this organisation that I am presently denied?   [Q5]If not, what is your reason for refusing?  There is no issue of confidentiality involved. [Q6]3. THOSE INVOLVED IN THE DECOLONISING PROJECTThis initiative was arranged “in a meeting between education union representatives and Ealing Council on Tuesday, June 30” and you “welcomed the steps from the unions”.    “A union rep at Twyford High School” was also involved.Will you please supply a list of the other organisations and pressure groups whom you have consulted?  [Q7] This is to reassure us that this is not merely a one-sided, left-wing inspired endeavour but one that takes into account a spectrum of political opinion in respect of matters educational, the present issue in particular.Why did you not consult the people of Ealing?  What is taught in our schools, how it is taught and who influences what is taught is a matter of concern to all the people of Ealing. [Q8]Are you a member of a union?  Which?  One would not normally ask this question, but, in the circumstances, it is necessary in order to establish that you are behaving with the impartiality required of you as a public servant and by the council’s code for employees.   [Q9]4. THE “PROBLEM”You allude to government data in which “black Caribbean students’ attainment was below the average for England in all subjects and at all key stages.”   This was your reason for selecting this issue to act upon.There is also ample evidence that white working-class boys are underachieving.   The problem was discussed in Parliament on 12.3.20.  Statistics were reeled off and the opening speaker concluded by saying: I am concerned that this issue has been brushed under the carpet … by modern society, which refuses to see the plight of young white males, even those from disadvantaged backgrounds.Why are you concerned with one racial group and not another?   The two matters could surely be pursued in parallel, instructively so. There is no evidence of any similar endeavour in respect of white working-class boys. Your present approach, if not racist, is manifestly RACIALLY-DISCRIMINATORY.   What is your explanation?   The reason you give for pursuing the one matter applies equally to the other. [Q10]5. THE PROBLEM LOCALLYYou are concerned that black Caribbean students’ attainment is below the average in England.  What evidence do you have that this is the case in Ealing? [Q11]Which schools in Ealing are operating the curriculum to the disadvantage of black Caribbean pupils so that it is necessary to “decolonise” the curriculum in their case?   Please name them.  [Q12]If you have no such evidence, why burden schools with this issue at a time that is difficult enough for them as they prepare to reopen?  [Q13]Why are you acting upon generalised data and mere assumption?  [Q14]6.THE CURRICULUM  It is difficult to understand how the manner in which mathematics is taught at GCSE or A level can disadvantage black Caribbean-heritage pupils as, while socio-economic factors may affect their diligence, success in the subject essentially depends upon a capacity for abstract reasoning.  How does one decolonise a quadratic equation?  With other subjects, though not all, it might make more sense.Please supply a list of subjects with an explanation of what “decolonise” MEANS in the context of each. [Q15]The union representative, has some suggestions. LiteratureHe writes: “The English curriculum has a lot of dead white men in it, and yet whilst those suggestions are literally very good examples, there is a wealth of other authors and poets that can be studied that would be just as good, just as relevant, and perhaps more engaging for our population.”Which, in your opinion are the “dead white men”  - and let us not forget the ladies - whose works are no longer considered relevant?  Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Milton, Dickens, Austin, the Brontes?   And, more importantly, the names, please, of the “authors and poets who are just as good”.  [Q16]GeographyHe refers to progress being made by a rep who set up a WhatsApp group now with more than 100 geography teachers, academics and professors looking how to make the subject anti-racist.  More information, please. In what way is geography as presently taught in Ealing schools racist?   Which schools in Ealing are guilty of this racism? [Q17]HistoryYour union man asks: “Will Ealing and ELP work with the NEU in putting together a curriculum which has been decolonised and has got anti-racism threaded through all parts of the curriculum and not just having a Black History Month?”This sounds very much like what we were promised had Labour won the last election. Even the phraseology resembles Labour’s Race and Faith manifesto. (“The history of colonialism should be ‘part and parcel of what our children learn all year round’” and "not just in Black History Month".   A Trust was to be set up to ensure “the historical injustices of colonialism, and the role of the British Empire was properly integrated into the National Curriculum, to teach powerful Black history which is also British history”.)Which schools in Ealing have been failing to teach the “dark side” of the history of the British Empire?  Please name them. [Q18]Is it the opinion of Ealing Council that the British Empire had no good effects? [Q19]Will you explain how the Ealing Council will make sure that a balanced account of the British Empire will be presented in the classroom?   The indications are that it will not be. The very terms of discussion suggest the matter is already settled. [Q20]The analysis of the content of any part of the curriculum can only be plausibly carried out by a person qualified in that subject.  Please state in respect of each part of the curriculum, each subject, the name, status and qualifications of the person who will be examining that part of the curriculum in order to decolonise it. [Q21]7. TWYFORD HIGH SCHOOLTwyford School is singled out on the local website. It is an Academy.  There is no reason Ealing Council should not have discussions with academies along with its own schools, but an academy is free within the law to determine its own curriculum.  What business is it of Ealing Council, to seek to pressure schools into going along with your decolonising agenda?   I say “pressure” because head teachers may well feel intimidated into going along with it for fear of being called racist, which is the bullying ploy of left-wing agitators. Twyford High School was not put in the spotlight by a communication from the school but by a “union rep” at the school.  The latter “revealed” that a letter has been received from 700 current and former pupils urging the school to “decolonise” the curriculum and support Black Lives Matter.  A working group is being set up at the school for September. The suspicion is that the union rep might have been behind organising the letter and be behind setting up the working group. Who is the “union rep”?  His name, please.  To whom did the rep “reveal” this?   To you or some other officer of Ealing Council?  Or to whom? [Q22]The union “rep” appears to be distracting pupils from their education at a time when concentration upon it is particularly difficult and attempting to set up a posse of left-wing BLM activists?  Irrespective of his obligations as a teacher, it is difficult to see how this activity conforms to the proper purpose of a students’ union as defined in legislation.Is it Ealing Council’s opinion that the proper purpose of a students’ union is to facilitate politically-motivated activism as against allowing it to have input into the “domestic”, day-to-day affairs of the school? [Q23}Twyford School has an excellent report from Ofsted.   It did particularly well in respect of black pupils.“A well-above-average proportion of pupils are from minority ethnic backgrounds, mainly Black or Black British, mixed race, Asian or Asian British, and White other than British   ---  Pupils of all backgrounds and abilities make excellent progress in tir studies and achieve well in almost all their lessons  --- The gap is also narrowing significantly between the performance of certain minority ethnic groups, such as Black African and Caribbean pupils, and their peers at Twyford. They have done well in the past compared with national averages for their heritage group, and are now catching up with national norms for all pupils …. Exclusions of Black Caribbean boys has been higher than for other groups in the past but a specific focus on these pupils’ needs, responding with an effective curriculum, has reduced the number of incidents.In the light of this, what reason is there to interfere with the curriculum in this school? [Q24]8. BLACK LIVES MATTERYour project is floated on the tide of enthusiasm for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.  Indeed, your ELP “provides information and guidance relating to Black Lives Matter and anti-racism, and presentations addressing George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matters protests”. This was a statement made with “partners in Hackney and Brent on changing what youngsters learn in schools”.In any case, we are clearly not talking about BLM as a slogan or sentiment (about which there is no dispute) but as an organisationWhat advice have you given and are you giving in respect of presentations “addressing George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matters protests”?  Please may I have a copy? [Q25]What guidance are you as a council officer or director of ELP giving to schools in respect of the BLM movement?  Please may I have a copy? Which “Black Lives Matter” organisation is Ealing Council supporting?  Please respond in respect of each of the following. [Q26](i) Is it the original organisation formed by three black feminist lesbians?(ii) Is it the present USA organisation with its Defund the Police agenda and at the moment devoted to the political purpose of influencing the USA election? (iii) Is it an English version?   If so, details of that, please. (iv) Is it the recent “Black Trans Lives Matter” variant?  (v) Is it the Black Lives Matter movement in its Marxist manifestation in which the black/white polarity is interpreted as the oppressed/oppressor scenario of the “long march”?  This was voiced recently in Oxford by an activist.   “Racism is based on Capitalism”, she began.  She continued, “We need a black militia.   They have pepper sprays.  We have a pepper spray.  The police is no different from the KKK.   British values do not exist.  Put you fist in the air. BLACK POWER!  Don’t let a Jewish man make you unheard.   Free Palestine!” Does Ealing Council endorse these views? If not, reject each one specifically and in turn. Failure to do so will indicate that Ealing Council is in agreement with these sentiments and aims.(vi) Is it the BLM we have seen in action, rioting in Central London and injuring members of the police force, attacking and abusing black officers, committing acts of criminal damage in Bristol, rioting again in Brixton, whose members interviewed on TV have stated that its aim is to destroy capitalism?Will you dissociate yourself unequivocally and in specific terms from the manifestations of the BLM movement I have described?   If you do not, I shall assume you approve of them and are approaching your work in a politically-motivated manner and that their views are your politics. [Q27]9. POLITICS IN EDUCATIONThe BLM movement, however it manifests itself, is a political movement. Council officers are allowed to reflect council policy, for instance the Borough Plan in considering planning applications.  In respect of education and politics they are not, nor should they seek to influence schools and teachers in respect of a particular political outlook, neither should a local authority, neither should schools.Schools have a legal duty to teach children about politics in a balanced way.  The Education Act 1996, Part V. Ch IV at 406 1 (b) prohibits “the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the school” and at 407 requires that (1) the local education authority, governing body and head teacher shall take such steps … that where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils (b) they are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views.“There is no reason why a teacher should not discuss the BLM Movement, but it should be done in an objective, non-partisan manner.  That is not what is proposed here. Here, we have a union-led endeavour supported by Labour MPs, with a left-wing doctrinaire agenda, evident in, for instance, the “corbynated” attitude to the British Empire and your adding “BLM” to the ELP’s list of committees as though it were one of its functions. Will you explain how your present activity conforms to your obligations under the Act? [Q28]Within in each section I have numbered the questions and requests in square brackets so that you can keep a tally of them.  Please answer them by number, rather than by generalised, catch-all comments. 

Andrew Farmer ● 1d2 Comments ● 14h

Major Squeeze on Parking Spaces in the Borough

It is disappointing not to have had the opportunity to have commented on the plan to convert lots of parking spaces in the borough to electronic car charing stations. I'm not against it in principle as it is clearly necessary that if there are more electric cars they will need more places to charge them. However, more consideration needs to be given to the implications of the sharp reduction in the number of parking spaces in the borough.We would all, I would hope, by now have reduced the amount we use our cars by and cut out unnecessary short journeys. However, it is only a small proportion of families that can dispense with a car altogether and the rest of us need somewhere to park them.The LTNs planned across the borough all seem to be taking out quite a few parking spaces.All those new flats being built, while notionally car free, will inevitably cause more pressure on available parking space. We all know the dodges used by people - dubious blue badge claims, business permits etc. to be able to park.Once the number of parking spaces falls below the number of cars needing to park in the area then you will see an increase in traffic in residential areas as people circle round looking for space. Combined with LTN restrictions this could mean some roads that were previously quiet will have a constant stream of traffic.If you think it is worth the price consider the position of a woman who works irregular hours and needs a car for her work coming home at night and not being able to park particularly close to her home.

Tricia Arbuthnot ● 14d20 Comments ● 2d

JULIAN BELL HONESTY TEST UPDATE

Julian Bell Honesty Test.  Update. I asked Bell a simple question over a month ago.  It concerned the circumstances in which Mr Najsarek gained employment with Ealing Council?  It was: “Did you already know anything of what appeared in the press on June 30 2016 in respect of Mr Najsarek’s behaviour in Bolton when you appointed him?”  Bell must have known the answer.  All he needed to say was yes or no.   A dilemma.  If he said “yes”, he would reveal that he had been dishonest with the people of Ealing when he praised Najserak’s wonderful record of public service.  If you said “no”, he would confirm that Mr Najserak had successfully deceived his way into Ealing Council.A test of integrity for a public servant!   Not Bell.   He ignored the email.  He was guilty of a LIE BY OMISSION. As an avowed Christian, Bell, I am sure, would have been familiar with the Epistle of St James, the origin of this concept. It was his obligation as a public servant to make himself accountable.  He failed. It is was his obligation as a public servant to be honest.   It is my opinion and allegation (which I believe is supported by the simple evidence of this case) that he is a public liar and, as such, unfit for public office. I have told him to understand that every working day from now on I am asking the same question.  HOW OFTEN WILL JULIAN BELL LIE TO ANDREW FARMER?  FIVE DAYS SO FAR – AND COUNTING.

Andrew Farmer ● 26d14 Comments ● 2d