Waltham Forest Council related stories

Regional Conference report 1984
My selection speech July 1985
Forest branch minutes July 8, 1985
62% rates increase 1987
Neil's affidavit and judgement on legality of 62% 1987
Two MPs April 14, 1987
Thank you for your letter

I am trying to save the local Parliamentary seat for Labour in the face of the current considerable Rates flack. any suggestions how this can be done?

Yours sincerely,


PS Surely you, as a journalist could have done a better communications job that the Group & Council have so far done.

London Borough of Waltham Forest


TELEPHONE: 01-527 5544

May 1, 1987.

Dear Harry,

You are right to admonish me for failing to persuade the group torun a better communications exercise.

However, I would point out that I have only been on the council forone year and in addition to the work I do for the council I also have servedas a member of the District Health Authority (sometimes this on its own seemslike virtually a full time job), a member of the London Waste Regulation Authorityand the North London Waste Authority, a member of the London Ecology Authorityand an active deputy (the member rarely turned up) at the London Boroughs GrantsScheme (the Richmond scheme). At the council I chaired the Allotments Committeeand averted possible legal action against the council and got the Children'sPanel off the ground as the first chair. I am a member of the Planning Committeewhich meets twice a session, the Safety & Public Protection Committee, theLeisure Committee and (until recently) the Land Strategy Committee. In my unionI was recently nominated as an NEC member and am about to stand as chair ofmy branch (about the largest in the union). I also have to work for a livingand spent two of the last 52 weeks abroad as part of my job.

I do surgeries, follow up case work and sometimes I even have a beeror two.

Nevertheless, I did move the following motion at my branch during themiddle of last year:"This party calls on the Labour Group on Waltham ForestCouncil to improve publicity. The council should be running poster campaignsand adopting a much higher profile. Harringey Council, for example, seems tohave a poster on virtually every lamp post. The council should also producea magazine advertising its services and provide a range of leaflets about servicesand aid available at points where the public use council buildings (for exampletown halls and libraries). A leaflet giving dates and time of all council meetingsshould also be available at these points."

This was carried by my branch and went through Leyton GMC on November28 , through LGC and arrived at group on January 13.

I also urged the setting up of a publicity committee (this was set upbut only met once) and was appointed a member of this committee. When it metI urged that rapid action be taken but the leadership took the view that wehad to wait until we got our publicity officer in post before we could expectvery much action. It was agreed by the publicity committee that we should gooutside to produce a leaflet on the/rates to be delivered at about the sametime as the rates demands. The last I heard about this was that the leaflethad been produced and could be expected soon. I haven't seen it and don't knowwho the outside consultants were.

By the way the reason I went through the branch, GMC and LGC to geta motion to Group was that when I tried to short cut the procedure on thesmoking ban at council meetings (that also was my motion) I was ruled out oforder by the chair of Group, Mike Macnulty.

Having said that I feel that even if the council had launched the verybest pr campaign money can buy it would have had a lot of problems with therates increase. There is no way to justify a rates increase of 62% when peopleare not having their bins emptied, when libraries are going out on strike andwhen black councillors are going to the press (notably Paul Foot) to implythat we are all racists.

Partly for this reason but mostly because I believe rates are a taxwhich hurt people down the bottom of the scale much harder than people at thetop, I campaigned very strongly in the party and in group against the rateincrease. It was Richard Slack and myself who made speeches at the key group/lgcmeetings and group meetings attacking the rates increase. We always said itwas a stupid thing to do because it would inevitably lead to rate capping whichwould create worse problems than taking action to reduce costs straight away.

As a result of this campaign Richard and myself have lost a lot of credibilityin the group. It would, therefore, seem unlikely that I will be any more successfulin persuading the group to act sensibly in future than I have in the past.

But no doubt you are right that I should have tried harder and if Ihad it all to do over I would certainly have made this my key activity.

Secondly, in your letter you as me to suggest how you can save the local parliamentary seat. If I were you I would certainly stress that as an MP you are involved in quite a different field from the councillors. Councillors have only limited powers and can only dowhat the Government allows them to do while an MP in a Labour Government couldgenuinely improve the material conditions of everyone locally. Secondly, Ithink you should attempt to persuade Walworth Road to change its mind aboutthe constituency aiding Ilford. For myself I will work mostly in Ilford andnot locally unless the national party changes its mind. The local party hasno right to challenge the decision of the national party on this issue.

Finally, I believe that you will be re-elected. In fact I have neverwavered from that view but I did warn that Eric would be in trouble and intruth I now believe he has very little chance of being re-elected.

Yours sincerely,
Jo Brind
Eric Deakins loses the Walthamstow seat