MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Well – back from a few days in Southern Spain – bliss! And given the lack of sun on our shores – fantastic to feel the sun beating down on (obviously) sun-screened body!
So – back to business. First thing I hear on news is ‘leaked’ memo from Jacqui Smith about the probably side affects of an economic downturn causing possible increases in crime, terrorism, etc. etc. And the hoo ha that the Tories (to whom it was leaked) were making and the media frenzy over it. Perhaps because normality has seeped back into my bones – all I could think was that I actually want a government to be prepared from any side affects of the knock on consequences of the credit crunch. I mean – I think Labour’s handling of almost everything economic from Northern Rock to the 10p basic rate of tax being abolished has been abysmal but I don’t think the Home Secretary sending a memo which acknowledges the problems likely to be encountered is a bad thing. Would we really prefer the alternative of the Home Office not thinking about such things?
In fact – I felt really unhappy about a culture which leaks such memos to the opposition. Leaks are sometimes the manner in which facts in the public interest come to light. But nowadays the leaks seem to be just to politically embarrass the side the leaker opposes politically. It’s just a nasty bit of work by someone – and for the wrong reasons. Well – that’s what I think.
But back to work yesterday – and visits to three sheltered accommodation venues: Stokely Court, The Priory and Jubilee Court. I have to reschedule the last one as on arrival they hadn’t notified residents – anyway – the modus operandi is now that I go in and meet the assembled residents, spending a bit of time getting to know them and generally chatting. Then we get on to any issues that they are worried about. I don’t deal (obviously) with private and personal matters – for that I ask that they contact me privately and come to surgery or if they can’t get to me – I will come to them.
Many issues come up in the groups – things yesterday like lights that are needed for safety outside haven’t worked properly for years (and Council has done nothing to sort out); lots of concerns over digital switchover; Post Office closures; bus driving behaviour; where bus stops are needed and extra transport; foot care; broken paving and so on.
It is proving a very worthwhile and enjoyable summer project – and is something I would never have time for when Parliament is sitting.
A quick update on parking: for those who remember the parking ticket fiasco a while back – I have now received a letter from Haringey Council firstly acknowledging it was their mistake and the wardens were in error; that secondly the advice given to the wardens by local shopkeepers who tried to tell them it was wrong to issue tickets was indeed the right advice; thirdly – an apology and lastly (and most importantly) an assurance in terms of training of traffic wardens. So – result!
And a quick update about foot care which I have also been banging on about – there is a small but useful service which Mun Thong Phung (Haringey Council’s Director of Adult Culture and Community Services) has written to me about having spotted my blog entries.
The ‘say and drop-in centres’ for older people which will deal with hard skin as well as cutting toe nails – but not corns. Training is given to staff by the podiatry service and individual services are provided at no charge to service users once they have laid out for their personal set of individual podiatry tools (which makes sense).
So – given that outside of the sheltered accommodation it would seem that older people are not necessarily aware of this service – perhaps some work is needed on advertising. I have heard from time to time about toe nails – but was told that no hard skin would be dealt with. Anyway – it’s something and will do some more work to find out who uses, who knows and whether in reality hard skin is removed on request.