Embankment, London Assembly, economy, racism and Iftar

Workers at the London Bridge railway station construction site.

The railway embankment near Grange Hill station is being cleared - Credit: PA Images

Stop cutting embankment foliage

Morris Hickey, Long Green, Chigwell, writes:

This is to update you on what is currently (not) happening on the railway embankment near to Grange Hill station.

The contractors were on site again at around 8.30 last week and beginning to manoeuvre the shredder into position at the top of the embankment adjacent to my garden fence.

They began using their chain saws on foliage to the rear of my next door neighbour. I contacted Cllr Huggett and Keith Prince AM and gave them details.


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After a fairly short time work stopped, but not before removal of the crown from a tree in addition to all the shrubbery that had been cut previously. 

The result has been to partially expose the ugly parapet top of a wall of a flat-roofed building at the end of the station platform that was previously masked by the existence of the tree and the shrubs.

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Work has not (thus far!) recommenced, although I have seen some people walk from time to time along the road in high-vis suits and protective headgear, so they appear still to be present in the area.

The shredder and the contractors appear to have vacated the embankment area. Thankfully the vegetation to the rear of my home appears largely to have remained untouched - for now, anyway!

I must repeat that this has taken place without prior notice to residents.

This high-handed behaviour is typical of TfL as it was also of the former LRT during the many years that I served on the council’s Public Transport Liaison Group.

Political history

A Goodmayes resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I am reading that Andy Walker is now offering himself as a candidate as the GLA member for Redbridge and Havering, as a separate additional London-wide GLA assembly member and as a candidate as a Seven Kings local council member.

To be a GLA member is a full-time job. To be a GLA member and a Seven Kings councillor would tax the fitness, health and mental capacity of Superman.

As a deselected ex-Labour councillor, now standing on a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition platform, does he not feel it is time to put aside his political aspirations? 

Andy, do yourself a favour, leave the active political arena and offer your advice and support to younger heads.

Weaker currencies

File photo dated 20/09/19 of the Bank of England, in the City of London, which has left interest rat

Will Podmore says that "without the Bank of England’s control over public debt in Scotland or Wales, its ability to manage the pound would be undermined" - Credit: PA Images

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

Our priority now must be economic and social recovery.

But the SNP’s policy of separation would jeopardise our recovery by causing hugely damaging economic disruption and social division.

How could tearing our country apart not damage all prospect of recovery?

The economy is based on mutuality across the whole country. Taxation, spending and monetary policy remain largely coordinated. Risks are pooled with a common insurance against uncertainty.

Separation would destroy that risk sharing and would destroy that pooled exposure to risk. 

Without the Bank of England’s control over public debt in Scotland or Wales, its ability to manage the pound would be undermined. Without the pooling of risks across Britain, currently secured by all British taxpayers, English taxpayers would have to support the pound alone.
That would lead to a weaker, less stable currency – which would be bad news for everybody in Britain.

Alex Salmond says he would create a stable new currency. To have a strong currency, you need a credit rating built over a long history of fiscal reliability and probity. The pound is one of the world’s reserve currencies, based in one of the world’s biggest financial centres and in one of the world’s largest economies. 

A new currency would have no record of reliability and therefore no credibility. So a separate Scotland would not get access to funding at the rates enjoyed by the UK government.

Polls last year showed that if the pound was replaced by a separate Scottish currency, 42 per cent of respondents were less likely to vote for separation.

Anti-racist city

Thomas Clarke, Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for Havering and Redbridge, writes:

I was gladdened to hear of the news coming from America that justice has been done and Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd.

The fallout from his brutal crime has been felt across the globe and of course in our own capital.

I hope that the guilty verdicts that he received will be the catalyst for communities to start putting differences aside and to start working together.

London’s diversity is its greatest strength. We should all be tackling racism in all of its forms - from prejudice against black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, to Islamophobia and antisemitism, and to the worrying rise in hate crimes against European citizens.

I hope to work with businesses, voluntary and community organisations, as well as the council to help ensure London is a proudly anti-racist city.

Iftar cancellation

FORMO (Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations), writes:

We are writing to express our utter dismay at the decision of leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer to withdraw from attendance at a recent Ramadan virtual Iftar event, hosted by the Ramadan Tent Project (RTP).

Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims globally and Iftar is a particularly auspicious time, and to withdraw due to the event host’s support for boycotting dates is incredulous.

It flies in the face of members of the Labour Party itself, where 61 per cent in a recent YouGov poll supported Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a movement which is completely peaceful, with similar movements having led successful campaigns in the past to secure political goals.

We consider this action Islamophobic in its very nature and another example of how ordinary Muslims are marginalised and healthy debate stifled, both inside the political system and in wider society.

We ask him to urgently review his position on BDS, to issue an unreserved and immediate public apology to the RTP and attend one of their events before the end of Ramadan this year.

  • FORMO Affiliates: Al Huda Welfare UK, Al Madina Masjid-Barking, Al Misbaah Academy, Al Noor Primary School, Apex Primary School, Dawat Ul Islam Masjid, Gardens of Peace, IG-Soc, Ilford Islamic Centre, Ilford Muslim Society, Masjid Al Falah, Masjid Ansar, Masjid Owaise-e-Qarni, Muslimah Sports Association, Newbury Park Islamic Centre, Qur’ani Markaz Trust, Redbridge and Chigwell Muslim Association, Redbridge Islamic Centre, Redbridge Muslim Parents Association, Salaam Education Centre, Seven Kings Muslim Educational Trust.

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