Tag Archives: Windsor

Windsor homelessness spat shows Theresa May is a follower, not a leader

Stuart, 39, has been living on the streets in Windsor for four months [Image: David Levene/the Guardian].

Please don’t tell me people will see this as a sign of strength.

Theresa May has reluctantly spoken up to oppose a call by Windsor and Maidenhead Council leader Simon Dudley for police to clear homeless people off the streets in time for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

It’s a bit late, isn’t it?

If she was a real leader, the first we would have heard about this issue would have been Mrs May issuing a veto on the whole idea, and demanding that Councillor Dudley’s local authority enact the multi-agency approach to attack the causes of homelessness advocated by Thames Valley Police.

As it is, she just comes across as some ‘Janey-come-lately’.

Theresa May has publicly challenged a call by the leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for police to take action against rough sleepers in the town ahead of the royal wedding later this year.

The prime minister, who is the MP for Maidenhead, said she disagreed with comments made by Simon Dudley on Twitter and in a letter to the Thames Valley police and crime commissioner.

Asked about the remarks during a visit to a hospital in Camberley, [Mrs] May said: “… I think it is important that councils work hard to ensure that they are providing accommodation for those people who are homeless, and where there are issues of people who are aggressively begging on the streets then it’s important that councils work with the police to deal with that aggressive begging.”

Thames Valley police have made it clear that they do not view legal action against rough sleepers and people begging on the streets to be effective, and have called for a multi-agency approach to find solutions to the causes of homelessness and destitution.

Source: Theresa May opposes Windsor council leader over homeless people | Society | The Guardian


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Tories have made thousands homeless – but don’t want them to be visible during Royal Wedding

Stuart, aged 39, has been living on the streets in Windsor for the past four months [Image: David Levene for the Guardian].

This is typical of the Conservative Party and its representatives at all levels of government.

They are perfectly happy to use their privileged positions to engineer harm to anybody less well-positioned than themselves. We have seen recently that Conservatives simply could not care less about the thousands more people who have been forced to sleep on the streets since their party took office in 2010.

But they cannot bear to see the results of their cruel work.

So Simon Dudley, Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, wants the police to clear homeless people off the streets, presumably in order to give an entirely false impression of his area to the rich and powerful people attending the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Clearly he wants these people to think Windsor and Maidenhead are glittering examples of perfect societies, where nobody could possibly be in such dire poverty that they are forced to live in the gutter, their belongings carried around in a few plastic bags.

He wants them to believe a fantasy.

If it were within This Writer’s power, I would encourage as many homeless people as possible to make their way to Mr Dudley’s council area by May 19 and put in an appearance on the big day – just to ensure that he doesn’t get away with his big con.

The leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, home to Windsor Castle, Eton College and Ascot racecourse, has demanded police use legal powers to clear the area of homeless people before the royal wedding in May.

Simon Dudley, the council’s Conservative leader, wrote to Thames Valley police this week seeking action against “aggressive begging and intimidation” and “bags and detritus” accumulating on the streets.

The letter, seen by the Guardian, follows a series of tweets sent by Dudley while on a skiing holiday in Wyoming over Christmas, in which he referred to “an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in Windsor” and said “residents have had enough of this exploitation of residents and 6 million tourists pa [per annum]”.

He tweeted that he would write to Thames Valley police “asking them to focus on dealing with this before the #RoyalWedding”.

Tens of thousands of wellwishers and tourists are expected to descend on the picturesque town on the banks of the River Thames for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May in St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle.

(Source: Windsor council leader calls for removal of homeless before royal wedding | Society | The Guardian)

Simon Dudley (left) [Composite: Evolve Politics].

News website Evolve Politics has elaborated on Mr Dudley’s position, which seems, in fact, to be delusional:

In a separate tweet posted whilst he was on a skiing holiday in Wyoming, the heartless Tory Council Chairman also claimed that some of those on the streets of Windsor have made a ‘life choice‘ to be homeless.

Dudley went on to claim that homeless people in the area were “marching tourists to cash points to withdraw cash, hanging out near car park ticket machines to get discounts and ask tourists for money”.

However, replying on Twitter, Thames Valley Police quashed the Tory Council leader’s claims, saying:

“We deal with reports of begging proportionately but we have not had reports of anyone being marched to cashpoints to take out money.”

Dudley responded by saying the issue was ‘voluntary homelessness’, and the leader of Windsor Council then went on to shirk any responsibility for the crisis, telling Thames Valley Police that ‘It is time for you to deal with this issue.’

The Labour Party has rightly demanded that minority prime minister Theresa May should condemn the comments by Mr Dudley. As the MP for Maidenhead, he is the leader of Mrs May’s own local authority:

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne has slammed the government’s record on homelessness as a ‘national scandal’ which ‘can’t be swept under the carpet.

The shadow local government minister said: “While many families spent this Christmas without a home to call their own, the leader of Theresa May’s Council was pleading for these people to be treated like criminals.

“The Prime Minister needs to immediately condemn these comments.”

But it seems the appeal is likely to fall on deaf ears.

After all, Mrs May recently denied the existence of the NHS winter crisis. She’ll have no problem applying her blinkers and earmuffs to this.

It is as I suggested at the top of this article:

Tories love to cause harm but hate to see the results of their mischief.


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Flooding: Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab? There’s an EU fund!

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

It seems that David ‘Money Is No Object’ Cameron is unnecessarily forcing British taxpayers to fork out for flood relief while European officials scratch their heads and wonder why he isn’t taking advantage of a huge EU fund that is available to us.

We should all know why the comedy Prime Minister is avoiding Europe – he doesn’t want to lose face.

Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party across the UK criticise our membership because we pay so much in and take so little out (in their perception); this argument would be defeated if Cameron actually used the fund in the manner for which it was created and he would then lose support from members of his Parliamentary party.

Also, at a time when the UK’s future in Europe is being questioned, it would be “politically sensitive” (as Reuters describes it) for Cameron to go there and ask for a handout.

But governments are judged on the way they deal with crises (as the Political Rant blog put it) – and this one has put Cameron, figuratively as well as literally, between the rock and the river.

According to Reuters: “Asked whether Britain would ask for EU money, Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters on Wednesday the government was looking at every source of possible funding, playing down the idea that there was anything political behind it.

“Under EU rules, a country has 10 weeks from the first damage caused by a natural disaster to request aid.

“A person close to Cameron said there were technical grounds to do with spending thresholds that determined when to apply for a grant. Britain had no desire to get into a war of words with Brussels on the matter, he said.”

The news agency added that the government had deployed the armed forces to evacuate residents and shore up river defences, while under fire from critics for what ministers have acknowledged was a slow initial response.

Political Rant is less diplomatic (as you might expect): “Ken Clarke said it was just a normal winter and people complaining about flood defences were just a ‘lynch mob’. Eric Pickles criticised the Environment Agency while the Environment Agency criticised government cuts and Owen Paterson criticised Eric Pickles.

“David Cameron has undertaken several jaunts in his nice clean wellies, first to Kent just after Christmas where he was harangued by people left waist-deep in water without power for a week, then Somerset which he only visited after Prince Charles had been the day before, making it look rather silly the Prime Minister hadn’t bothered, and … to Cornwall where, a friend tells me, Railtrack diverted engineers who were supposed to be fixing the washed-out rail line at Dawlish to shake hands with the PM at a rail depot.

“The same PM has talked sadly about how a power cut interrupted his viewing of The Sound of Music on New Year’s Day while staying silent about two SSE engineers who said they were diverted from reinstating the power for 11,000 people to locate his trip switch.

“When the floods recede, we are more than likely to find a few people who died.”

Yes, and they’ll be in rural areas because the increased funds Cameron has announced amount only to a slightly smaller cut than he had originally intended, and the funding formula for flood defences demands £8 of economic benefit for every £1 spent – meaning a concentration on densely-populated urban areas.

Add to that the fact that Cameron only bothered to act when Conservative-voting areas were affected – the Somerset Levels, Windsor, Reading, Oxdfordshire, Surrey, Kent – and couldn’t care less when the waters were hitting places like Scunthorpe (as revealed on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday) and Cameron has put himself in a serious political mire.

He has made it clear that his is a government that only looks after its own supporters.

Everyone else can drown.

We won’t forget that.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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