Freedom Passes are, like the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund, another budget threatened with being cut in half.

In this case it’s local Labour MP Sadiq Khan who is going to be signing the death warrant – looking to take out £29 million from the budget that provides free travel to London’s older and disabled residents.

If you think the government should think again, there’s a petition on the Number 10 website. It’s already got over 11,000 signatures making it one of the most popular on the site, why not add your name.

You might notice a remarkable similarity with Lesson 1 – Taking credit and with good reason.  It’s basically the same lesson.

Rectory Lane residentsThis lesson comes from the Liberal Democrats via the Wandsworth Guardian.  I won’t deny I’m a little mischievous posting this.

And that almost makes me a Liberal Democrat.

Many years ago they published their handbook ‘Effective Opposition’ which advised, amongst other things, that candidates should “be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly”.  It’s one of those things that came back to haunt them, even a few months ago it was still being quoted in the national Guardian blog (and I should point out that there are comments disowning the publication after the article). I’m being wicked and stirring by highlighting this particular shameless political trick.

The story is simple:

Residents are concerned about the noise and damage caused by lorries using roads they shouldn’t be on. They organise a petition. The council responds by increasing enforcement against the lorries and repairing damage caused.

The Liberal Democrats, acting shamelessly, put out a leaflet taking credit for it all.

And there we have our lesson, if you’re a Liberal Democrat don’t worry too much about the facts – just take credit.

Eccles Road Thames Water worksThames Water, like Jack and Jill, have headed up the hill for their flood alleviation works. I confess I dont understand the logic (doesn’t water run downhill?) since I’m not an engineer, however I do know it’s caused huge disruption for the residents.

On Tuesday I presented a petition to the full council on behalf of over 100 of them, a significant proportion of the road’s residents.   The petitioners raise some of the problems they’ve faced during the works and ask for the council’s support and commitment in getting the problems addressed and residents suitably compensated by Thames Water.

The problems have been fairly horrendous, you can get a feeling for the noise and size of the works from YouTube videos residents have posted here, here and here.  But aside from the noise disruption the works have impacted on parking, restricted the pavements (creating refuse collection problems) and potentially caused damage to the neighbouring properties.

Thames Water haven’t handled this at all well.  While no-one would dispute the need for essential works to take place, the residents who have to suffer during them deserve to be consulted and the impact on them taken into account.  Thames Water have only just started undertaking consultation meetings with residents, even right at the beginning the council was only told the precise location and scale of the works shortly before they commenced.

The petition will be presented, along with the council’s response,  to the Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee.