Friday 8 April 2011

Mayor on the run

According to the ever excellent HubBub newsletter, Newham's Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, is stopping cycling campaigners from attending the next cabinet meeting, presumably because they may be less than happy with his "efforts" with regards to cycling. Apparently, this includes a group called the "Woodcraft Folk". Unaware of this organisation before reading the newsletter, I had images of angry hobbits picketing the council offices, but on closer investigation, they are a children's / young adult community group.

Newham's mayor appears to think that making cyclists face the misery that is the Stratford gyratory and A11 without any provision at all is acceptable, whilst facing some questions on said policy by some well meaning cycling campaigners - well that is simply too much.

I would like to suggest that any cycling questions would be better illustrated by the great and the good of Newham council responding to them whilst also trying to cycle the A11 from the Bow Flyover to the other side of the Stratford gyratory. I would provide a change of underwear to anyone completing the route. For extra bonus points they could attempt this road with their children, since they clearly think that this route is fine without modification to accommodate families attempting to cycle to the "green" olympics.


  1. The state of Newham's cycle lanes is also terrible, with Green Street a particularly nasty dice with death.

    Kevin Mansell

  2. The Woodcraft Folk are a kind of politically correct boy scouts/girl guides movement. Not intended to be pejorative - they came about as a response to the rather militaristic tenor of the Baden-Powell version.

    No doubt if the Baden-Powell version of scouts and guides wanted to attend they would be welcomed with open arms, but can he exclude cycle campaigners? Surely the meeting is either open to the public, or it is closed to the public, and the latter is only permissible for reasons of public order, or for certain classes of confidential business defined by the Local Government Acts?

  3. Hex,

    Hubbub newsletter is a single page local flyer sent with the LCC bi-monthly magazine. It is very good, and packs more information in a couple of sides of A4 than all the cycle online council web pages.

    Although I always intend to attend an LCC meeting in WF, I am never around when they happen, so this newsletter is an invaluable source of information.

  4. Re: closing meetings to the public, the current Mayor of Newham seems to be able (judging by many reports in Private Eye) to do whatever he wants.

  5. Stopping someone from coming to a routine business cabinet meeting (which may well be behind closed doors, or by invitation, as many other meetings in any organisation are) isn't the same as turning someone away at the doors of a public meeting, such as Full Council. The reporting around this one is sketchy. Certainly it seems that WC were invited, then disinvited, but to what, and under what pretext, remain unclear. If you're interested in pursuing this one, I suggest you put in an FOI request to ask for the Mayor's precise wording for the rescinding of the invitation. Then you have firm ground to stand on.