10 November 2006

Victory!

Wow! At Wednesday's mayor and Cabinet meeting the Mayor of Lewisham Steve Bullock decided to keep our swimming pool open.

The Mayor's decision was based on a very detailed analysis of the options and everyone praised the 'finely balanced' job done by the officers and especially the acting Head of Regeneration Malcolm Smith.
Here's a sketch of his delivery, he's got a good face for drawing, next to him the Head of Law chews a pen.


Then the Head of Law (Council's Solicitor) put her pen down and gave her run-down of the legal implications.

The officers' recommendations finished with a report from the Head of Children and Young People.
Then it came the turn of two members of the Council.
Councillor Andrew Milton representing the area most affected by the decision urged the Mayor to act more like Bill Clinton and less like George Bush. This was followed by Cllr Darren Johnson, that is also the group leader of the Green Party and spoke on behalf of the opposition (now majority) at Council and gave his reassurances to the Mayor that if he changed course of action the opposition would support the new decision and help him delivering it.

At this point the Mayor made a pretty good speech and announced that the new school will be built on an alternative site and therefore the swimming pool will keep on existing until in a few years time the forecast new pool will actually be delivered, whenever that will be.

Applause, jubilation and party at the Catford Ram pub followed.

Here's a photo taken at the pub of me and some local politicians celebrating the victory.


From left to right Cllr Chris Maines (libdem), Cllr Mark Morris (libdem), me, Cllr Darren Johnson (Green).
To make the thing even more bipartisan we had invited to be in the picture also some members of the Labour Group that were also there but they declined (maybe still a bit bruised by the electoral result).
The hand behind the camera nevertheless was that of Cllr Helen Klier, a Labour Councillor and Cabinet Member for Resources.

Maybe they could have been in the photo after all. Yesterday the Council came out with this press release and check out what the Mayor had to say about our campaign:
"I feel the passionate and enthusiastic campaign by Save Ladywell Pool, although challenging at times, is a great example of how local people can get their views heard.
Their work is an example to all communities and shows how people can get together and make a real difference."
Quite a difference from what he had said to the Time Out magazine last week and that was published in this week's issue on the same day of the decision:
"The campaign is pathetic. It is led by a very small group of backward-looking people."
But we all know that he doesn't really mean it, this is just politics, as I said, in reality the Mayor is quite ok.

I finish this post with a sketch of Jon, a swimming pensioner and campaigner as he witnesses the mayor's decision.

I believe that it's the daily swim that makes him one of the happiest persons I know. Little wonder that when the Council threatened to close his pool he moved into action as a lot of other people did too and I'm really proud of having coordinated all this real-people-power into a positive result.

3 comments:

Elliot said...

Hooray for justice!

max said...

It's champagne time Elliot!

bob said...

Fantastic!