A selection of older posts

BW Labour screengrabUntil May 2014  I blogged extensively about public services, politics and local news at the Blackheath Westcombe Labour website, in my capacity as a Labour councillor in Greenwich.

Here are links to some of my posts there:

After 16 years as a Labour councillor in Blackheath and Westcombe Park, Alex Grant says thank you and goodbye – my reflections on standing down from Greenwich Council in May 2014

Labour offers a fairer deal to those renting their homes privately – how the growth of buy-to-let has profoundly changed many districts of London, and why the sector needs better regulation

Police stations closed, police numbers down, crime up: how the Tories are ruining neighbourhood policinghow centralisation and cost-cutting are putting Londoners’ safety at risk

OnBlackheath: getting the balance right between music and nuisance – why Blackheath should take a big new music festival in its stride

Safe in their hands? Coalition changes law to make it easier to cut services at Lewisham Hospital – why the fight to stop cuts to maternity and emergency services at Lewisham Hospital must go on

All is forgiven, planners: you are now needed more than ever – forget about bureaucratic meddling: sensible planning is key to making sustainable suburbs 

Blue badges: another botched Coalition “reform” – how well-intentioned rule changes have left disabled people waiting weeks or months for their Blue Badges

The Greenwich Foodbank: helping those who the Coalition forgot – foodbanks may do great work, but they shouldn’t be needed in the first place

Taking pride in our streets and public spaces – how simple, uncostly changes can go a long way to improve the liveability of London’s streets

Coalition consequences: soon Greenwich Park visitors will have to pay to use the loo – how funding cuts are forcing the Royal Parks to make some difficult decisions – such as charging people 20p to visit the toilets

TFL puts advertising income ahead of protecting A102 neighbours from noise and pollution – how Boris Johnson’s TFL are mismanaging one of Britain’s busiest urban motorways

Is IKEA a good idea for Greenwich? – why I’m sceptical about the proposed demolition of Greenwich’s famous Sainsbury’s just 15 years after it was built

Great news about Lewisham Hospital – but what’s happening to GP services in Greenwich? – how the coalition’s NHS changes are creating havoc in primary care, not just hospitals

Invicta: a great school deserves a great building – how Michael Gove’s obsession with Free Schools means that existing schools could be rebuilt on the cheap

Blackheath: a birthplace of rebellion, not just Golf – a new history of the Heath reminds us of the key part it has played in London’s radical history

Mycenae House: from nunnery to New York deli – how a community centre has been transformed thanks to imagination, energy – and a new cafe

Coalition Consequences: Benefits Cap hits those in private rented accommodation hardest – how the cap could force many people to move out of areas like Blackheath and Westcombe Park

What the 2011 Census belatedly tells us: home ownership levels down since 2001, private renting up by 50% – how the census reveals that in one part of south London, home ownership levels are falling

Seren Park finally gets its gate to Maze Hill Station unlocked – why it took the privatised railway four years to unlock a gate from a station platform to a block of flats next door

London Bridge Station rebuilding: lots of questions, few answers – how the rebuilding of one of London’s busiest stations will cause five years of chaos, and why so few passengers have been told about it

One Nation Education: Roy Preston’s memorial conference – the real legacy of former Labour stalwart Roy Preston is the ongoing fight to ensure all young people reach their full potential

“After Woolwich”, it’s time to reflect quietly, not take to the streets – my reaction to the murder of Lee Rigby – and the media stigmatisation of Woolwich that followed

One person’s ‘freedom’ is another’s nuisance: what Cator Estate parking tells us – for all its rhetoric about “freedom”, coalition policies will in fact make it more costly for people who have parked their cars wrongly 

Baroness Thatcher: why the best reaction from the left is dignified silence – whatever damage Thatcher may have done to this country, it’s reasonable to  expect her critics to remain silent during her funeral

Back to the 1830s: Greenwich town centre may lose its Police station – how Boris Johnson’s  misguided reforms will leave a busy south London suburb without a police station for the first time in 180 years

Community comes together to open a new library in Blackheath Village – how a community saved its library in spite of, not because of, Big Society rhetoric

Coalition Consequences: forcing children to move home isn’t fair – and won’t save a penny of public money – how the Benefits Cap and Bedroom Tax are inefficient as well as cruel

Is it back to the 1990s? – how so-called Tory modernisers are more interested in refighting battles of the 1970s, 80s and 90s than in finding solutions for the 2010s

Olympic memories – and hopes for the Paralympics – how the London Olympics in 2012 proved the cynics wrong

Remembering Roy Preston – my obituary of Roy Preston, proof that not all politicians are egotists

Greenwich Pier: remember everything looks a bit shiny when it is new – critics of new buildings would do well to keep quiet for a few years until their materials have had a chance to weather

Don’t believe what you read about millionaires in Council Houses – why scaremongering about fatcat council tenants is all about grabbing headlines, not freeing up homes

Four more years of Boris the Oxbridge underdog – how the Old Etonian’s re-election as London mayor was helped by being spun as a victim of class prejudice

Three reasons why I am falling out of love with the Guardianhow a lifelong Guardian reader is growing tired of its laziness, snobbery and stilted language

1992 and all that20 years on, my memories of the first election I was old enough to vote in

Tackling the loan sharks – how people in Greenwich are being ripped off by sharks lending money at interest rates a hundred times higher than the local Credit Union

Remembering Stephen Lawrence – after two of his killers are finally convicted, I recall the aftermath of Stephen’s murder in 1993, and how south London has changed in the two decades since

What’s to be afraid of at St Paul’s? – why self-righteous critics of the Occupy London camp should learn to live and let live

Two cheers for journalism – if there is anything more unpleasant than tabloid journalists, it’s sanctimonious politicians using phone-hacking as a pretext to close down a free press

We are all vigilantes now – the 2011 London riots should prompt us to rescue vigilantism from the far right and reinvent it for the 21st century 

Tories threaten hundreds of private tenants in Blackheath and Westcombe Park – how Coalition Housing policies are putting London’s rich social mix – with millionaires living next door to the poor – at risk

How to keep the Labour flag flying in the suburbs – how Labour defied the odds  and fared remarkably well in many suburbs at the 2010 General and Local elections

How 9+2 = 9 in TFL’s arithmetic – how Boris Johnson’s obsession with speeding up traffic meant it took two years to make a pedestrian crossing a bit safer

New or Old Dover Road?how a south London high street survived the economic downturn

“Open Source”? – an Open Question – far from giving more power to local communities and their elected councillors, the Tories’ proposed shake-up of planning law would take power and responsibility away

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