Five to Rule Them All: Labour members choose our Mayor

Heavy is the head that wears the crown
The election that will determine the next Mayor of Lewisham has entered its final leg.

Five Labour candidates are currently vying for their party's nomination, which will guarantee that they replace Mayor Bullock when he stands down at the end of this term. Voting closes on September 19th.

Although it is frustrating that a relatively small number of party members will determine who will occupy the most powerful role in Council, the candidates have at least been actively campaigning beyond local hustings, so we can all see what they stand for.

Labour's insurmountable lead in Lewisham means there is little point campaigning on the centre ground. References to socialism and unions abound in their campaign literature and it is fairly hard to spot the differences in their policy positions and priorities.

Housing tops their manifestos, they all oppose outsourcing health services to the private sector (see the interesting Save Lewisham Hospital campaign Q&A) and they all want living wage policies to be expanded.

While the policies are similar, the characters are not. So here is the roster that Labour members have been choosing from:

Paul Bell - The Radical

A familiar name for regular readers of Brockley Central, the Telegraph Hill Councillor has been an active contributor to the site for many years, most recently using it as a platform to campaign on the service provided by housing associations. He also wound-up the local Remain lobby by not being sufficiently upset about the referendum result.

Currently a national officer for UNISON, he pledges a 'radical socialist' set of policies, an 'interventionist' approach to the local education system and has promised reform of the Mayoral system if he is elected.

Website here

Brenda Dacres - The Includer

Brenda is a New Cross councillor and a prominent campaigner, who opposed the cuts to Lewisham Hospital and encouraged the Council to return the blessed Deptford Anchor.

Brenda majors on the principle of 'inclusive politics', including a bigger role for unions (she's a Unite member) in the decision making process.

Website here

Damien Egan - The Metropolitan

Union employee Damien pitches himself as the 'pro-EU, pro-migrant' candidate. He wants to expand refugee support and puts more emphasis on environmental measures than his rivals.

Egan also broke ranks to withdraw his support for the Millwall regeneration scheme after Alan Hall's scrutiny revealed grounds for concern.

Website here


Alan Hall - The Statesman

A senior figure within the Council, Alan pitches himself as the experienced statesman - a continuity candidate who was sufficiently independent to hold the Council to account over its plans for the compulsory purchase of land around Millwall's stadium. He really wants to protect Lewisham's post office services.

'Ambition' has traditionally been a dirty word in Lewisham politics but he places greater emphasis on local regeneration and aspiration than his rivals.

Website here

Paul Maslin - The Maverick

Deptford gallery owner Paul is the outlier. He eschews a 'triumph over adversity' personal narrative. He likes to write lengthy articles on his blog (rarely a winning strategy) and is willing to give answers that may not be popular (see his answer to the question about Forest Hill School, here).

Maslin supported the Council's regeration scheme for Millwall. He avoids describing himself as a socialist and he believes the Council has a duty to fall into line with national Labour Party policy by implementing local cuts.

Website here

Saturday Night Jam, October 7th

Philippa writes:

I am hosting an open mic night and jam session as a charity fundraiser on 7th October at The Hill Station in Telegraph Hill.

I'm hoping to get together a diverse group of musicians from different genres, and of different ages, to play and socialise together, with all the money raised going to Child.org who work with kids in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

Tickets start at £10, depending on whether people want to play or just listen, and are being sold online here

Celebrate the Brockley Brewery's 500th brew

Andy from the Brockley Brewery writes:

500th brew celebration 22 September - I would brew 500 gyles and I would brew 500 more....!!

We've brewed our 500th brew (or Gyle as we say in the brewing world!!) and it will be tapped and ready to drink next week. 

We thought we'd mark the occasion with a celebration at the brewery 5.30-9pm on Friday 22 September and a special Brockley 500 brew (5% ABV).

Congratulations to the team on an extraordinary success story.

Zumba in Telegraph Hill

Open House London - Walter Segal Houses

Alice writes:

The Lewisham self-build houses in Honor Oak Park, designed by Walter Segal, will be open to the public on Sunday 17 Sept as part of Open House London. The FREE event will be extra special for two reasons:

It is the 30th anniversary of Walters Way - the houses were completed in 1987.

A new book about the streets, written by two of the residents, has recently been published: Walters Way and Segal Close, by Alice Grahame and Taran Wilkhu.

Both Segal Close and Walters Way will be open to the public: Segal Close in the morning 10-1 and Walters Way in the afternoon 1-6.

Visitors will be able to see inside at least four homes across the two streets. The day will include films about Segal self-build, a pop-up cafe, and a display from RUSS - the new Segal inspired community self-build project.

For full details, click here.

NHS considers closing Waldron Walk-in

The Waldron Health Centre, is an NHS centre built in 2008 next to New Cross station and home to the Amersham Vale Training Practice and the New Cross GP Led Walk-in.

As part of a consultation by NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the option to close the Walk-in Centre is being explored. The CCG writes:

We want to improve urgent and non-urgent primary care across the borough and as part of this we are looking at the future of the NHS Walk-in Centre service, at the Waldron Health Centre in New Cross.

We think the way people access primary care services could be improved. People tell us the way it works currently is confusing, and means people are not always seen in the right care setting or at the right time, with some duplication of service elements.  

We are committed to improving access to GP appointments and advice. Our priority is making sure that primary care services are easy to use, joined up and focus on helping people stay well. In order to do this, we need to:

- Remove the overlap and duplication in the services
- Provide clear and straightforward messages to people on how to access urgent and non-urgent primary care
- Get better value for money for all of our population
- Improve the provision and access to GP services for all Lewisham residents

We now wish to consult with patients, the public and other key stakeholders on our proposals, which includes closing the Walk-in Centre in New Cross.

The consultation runs for 12 weeks from Tuesday 8 August 2017 until Monday 30 October 2017, closing at 5pm on that day.

Read our full consultation document here. And complete the survey here.

Leathersellers Federation launches governor search

Andy Rothery is the new chair of governors at the Leathersellers Federation of Schools (Prendergast Ladywell School, Prendergast School and Prendergast Vale School). He writes:

Due to governor retirements we now have three vacancies for co-opted governors.

We are looking for committed people who live locally, have the capacity to devote time to the role and are passionate about improving our schools and providing excellent education for children from our local community.

We particularly welcome female applicants and those from an ethnic minority, as these are under-represented groups at board level and it is a key objective that our governing board better represents the diverse communities it serves.

The role is unpaid and demanding. The selection process is a skills-based application form and interview. For more information about the role and details of how to apply please see this link

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