The news that the RMT is once again balloting its members for strike action will come as no surprise to Londoners, well used to Communist Bob‘s use of the union to further his political goals at our expense.

What seems to be different about what now appears to be the inevitable wave of strike action that will probably cripple the tube next month is that London Underground appears ready for the fight. A leaked document that appeared yesterday with details of discussions amongst managers about how to ‘ride out’ the strike are intriguing for two reasons.

First, the RMT’s strikes are a bit hit and miss these days. This strike for example completely flopped, and our Bob was forced to crawl away trying to pretend he’d won some magnificent victory. So if London Underground stuck to its guns and the strike was weak to start with, they’d probably win hands down.

Second, if the RMT was really embarased by that sort of flop, could it lead ultimately to the end of the Bob Crow regime at the Union? It seems like eons ago now, but the union didn’t used to be this ridiculous. Under the leadership of Jimmy Knapp its members got a good deal without needing to constantly bellow and threaten. The contrast between the hard left thuggishness of Bob Crow and the tough but principled and intelligent leadership of Jimmy Knapp speaks volumes.

One of the most telling remarks made in the leaked document is the observation that tube workers are well paid and ‘insulated from the recession’. Very true. I remember comments on this blog from some RMT members who were apologising for striking as they watched passengers who’d lost their jobs struggle to fit through the ticket barriers with the boxes they’d cleared from their desks that day. Bob couldn’t give a flying composite motion about that.

I wonder if Communist Bob has taken just one liberty too far with Londoners this time around.

That purveyor of raucous Irish music on a sunday night, the Coningham Arms, is up for sale. You can see the advert here.

I’ve had the odd drink in there in the past, albeit not for a long while. Usually before a QPR match – and also being a Celtic supporter I appreciated the fact its as much a green hoops pub as a blue one. But it never seemed particularly busy, even on match day.

So its hard sometimes to put everything down to the recession, but so many businesses seem to be folding completely or selling on it’s got to have some connection.

Either way, good luck Coningham and all those who sail in her.

Our Council have responded to me regarding this campaign by the Fulham Chronicle, which calls the Council freesheet H&F News “propaganda” and calls for it to be scrapped.

A Council spokesman said: “H&F News is a very popular newspaper with residents and advertisers because it supports their community. Our residents want to know what their council is doing. They expect us to promote community groups, theatres, businesses and schools. H&F News was launched to fill a communications void because, for more than ten years, Trinity Mirror had no interest in our borough and produced newspapers that very few residents wanted to read. While we welcome The Chronicle going free, it is still very much early days and their readership and circulation has yet to be proven. H&F is a vibrant borough that deserves a strong, vibrant media.”

They also pointed out that H&F News is published under very tight legal restrictions, which prevents any local authority from publishing anything that is deemed to support any one political party. He argued that overall H&F Council continues to bring down the cost of communicating to residents and spends less on communicating than the vast majority of other London councils.

I think regular readers will gather what I think of most of that statement but in the interests of balance I thought it important to present the other side of the argument. Their point on circulation figures might be the Chronicle’s Achilles heel in all of this, given the issues they seem to be experiencing with delivering the paper. Although I did in fact get a copy last week!

Just as I rail against, say, H&F News for being one-sided I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into that trap myself. So here you are!

Wonder what the Chronicle makes of what the Council have to say?

1400 UPDATE: The Chronicle have been quick to respond to the Council’s comments. Speaking to this blog a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “This council is quite clearly deluded. They are not media and what they publish is not journalism. They can not hold themselves to account, only independent reporting can do that.

“It is time for them to stop sidestepping the real issue. h&f news is not a  newspaper and they should stop pretending to be so. Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s propaganda sheet goes far beyond their statutory duty and threatens the survival of local newspapers, local democracy and freedom of speech.” 

So we have the Council accusing the Chronicle of being previously uninterested in the Borough and with questionable circulation figures, while the Chronicle responds that the Council is ‘deluded’ and denying freedom of speech. Expect this one to rumble on..

What looks like being the only other chance now to see the parliamentary candidates debate in the Battle of the Bush is on April 22nd at 1930 at St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith. It should be a date for anyone who cares about the future shape and character of the Bush. Entry is free and at this point you do not need to pre-register. If that changes I’ll update you.

Some big issues are going to be discussed, among them housing and planning, but also a range of others – I plan on asking about the action that they plan on taking if elected to stick up for local businesses in recession-hit W12. You’ll have your own questions of course. But do make an effort to go.

On a lighter note, what on earth is this rubbish poster all about advertising the event?!? They could have done better with an kids after-school club doing it for them!

This article is now at


Anyone who was caught up in the July 7th bombings can’t have helped being transported back there very vividly this morning, as the reports continue to come in of the suicide bombings on the Moscow Metro.

Images of the foil wrap on the injured, medical staff tripping over security forces and that dazed expression on the faces of those that were just trying to get to work, but were confronted with terror instead. I remember it well, and now I’ve just seen it all again on TV.

It came to Shepherd’s Bush once. Let’s hope it never does again.

We’ve had our fair share of gang related killings in the Bush in the last year or so, and we continue to have a problem with young lads wandering around looking for opportunities to prove their manliness by carrying blades. On my way home from a run a few weeks ago I saw someone who happened to be standing in the way of two wasters running to get on a bus threatened. The lads, no older than 18 or 19, stopped the closing doors of a 207 to yell “if you f. with us, we’ll open yer throat up“. This was on the north side of the Green at no later than about 7pm. They didn’t seem remotely bothered that they were shouting this stuff in front of hundreds of people on and off the bus.

We don’t actually have such a major problem in the Bush. I work in Stockwell in south London, which is an area that has a much worse problem. It’s quite normal to see the police suddenly pull up in force to search groups of youths hanging around the shops. So we should keep our issues in perspective. But we should also be concerned that of the two gangs who arranged to meet for a fight at Victoria station which left one schoolboy dead, one of them was reportedly from next door Acton, just up the Uxbridge Road. The victim was Sofyen Belamouadden, who lived in Acton and went to Henry Compton School in Fulham. He was 15.

Back at last year’s otherwise excellent Acton Carnival we even had to push a buggy through a knife arch because of this threat, which the police to their credit take very seriously. They seem to have a handle on who is responsible for the Victoria incident, with 20 people having been hauled in for questioning already. Let’s hope some good comes out of it and some very dangerous people are taken off our streets.

Twelve people have been charged with Sofyen’s murder and will appear at West London Youth Court later today.


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