Tuesday, 25 November 2008

local conservative deaths

Liz Taverner's death on Friday was a shock. It just really seemed that she would always be here. I visited about four weeks ago just to see her as full of the zest of life as any other person. Talking to people close to the family, it seems like Lizzie passed away as peacefully as possible. She was always, always kind to me and I will always remember that.

Mervyn died alone as a strong supporter of the conservative party. Working on trying to find his next of kin, I've learnt a lot about him that I didn't know. He did talk to a local racial equality officer about having children but it does seem from community and police contacts that they do not exist or do not want to be contacted. At this stage at least I know that his mother and cousin at least know that he is dead.

This is all the more important to me having attended Caanan Mutemasango's memorial service (canaan of course a socialist spending time in the Labour Party and more recently the independent socialist group) this weekend at which his daughter was only lately informed of his death. I do feel that if there is even one action that can help that not happening to someone else then all of us of us need to be doing that.

I've been doing some research in finding out about Mervyn. He was in the army, where he was injured which resulted in his limp that all of us in recent years knew as a distinguishing feature.

In trying to track his family down I called contacts in Peterborough. Even there the details of contacts drew a blank. One member of the local community said, "There were a lot of people who were impressed and supportive of Mervyn for his ability to speak out for local people. However, his general position that 'Margaret Thatcher could do no wrong',did lose him a lot of support in the community".

Maybe Mervyn had just not found his time. Hopefully Mervyn will now find his friends who want to be involved in his death. Not easy for the best of us, but still has to be done.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

With both Roger Conroy and Mel de Cruz (I'll vote for an increase in pay for me despite already earning over £1000 per meeting I attend) unable to do what they say they'd like to do for Spencer, Dallington and Kings Heath, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on who else had promised to deliver for the area. I came across an old leaflets from an erstwhile contender for the Spencer County seat which had the image of Tony Woods currently leader of the Council proclaiming his undying passion for ensuring that the goods were delivered in Spencer. This passion was demonstrated at the Council meeting a few weeks ago where he was quite triumphant about charging the Need 2 Know shop rent for the year even though the Council had agreed to supporting it in the same way as a community centre (without rent). Not to put too fine a point on this, the story about the Lib dems claiming to have saved the Need 2 Know shop appeared on a Kings Heath focus leaflet in April 2007. A lib dem friend so it seems is a fair weathered friend.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Mervyn Felix - Not Forgotten

I met Mervyn Felix about five years ago when he was Chair of Race Action Northampton, the Northampton locality group of Northamptonshire Racial Equality Council. I served as his Vice Chair until I became Chief Executive of NREC.

Mervyn was aways a political animal that saw an agenda outside of anti-discriminatory practice, and this brought him into touch with a variety of people.

I believe this link,


illustrates his commitment to racial equality and his approach to campaigning in Northamptonshire.

Councillors ambition to be lady bountiful

The current to and fro about local councillors pay increases seems to be a story that will run the distance. What is really shocking is the lack of political foresight by so many of the players.

Clearly, offering the people who are employed by the council a 2% pay increase, and offering Borough councillors substanstially more, is a circle that can never be squared. Labour Councillor, Cllr. Joy Capstick was the first Councillor to suggest the only plausible alternative which was to spend it in her own ward.

Strangely, two of the political groups on the Borough (Lib dems and Conservatives) then suggested that they would set up trust funds to distribute the resource. Quite rightly both have been admonished by the effective and efficient Northamptonshire Community Foundation Chief Executive, Victoria Miles here. Given the very work of the Community Foundation which has made real and genuine differences to Northamptonshire communities, particularly in the way that they use funding they receive for leverage (making your pound, two pounds or even three) it's crazy to think about setting something up, unless it was simply to get political leverage. Not what Northampton communities need, not what Northampton communities want.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


The world is ready for change. We just have to believe it.