Boxing Clever

I just want to be a righteous man

bring love ‘n’ peace to where I can

cannot live by your twisted rules

made by those I see as fools

 

no matter your race, faith or creed,

accent, class, LGBT…

whatever you are is fine with me

Yer, we’re all being played

like a cheap violin

Same old tune – same old din!

 

Identity politics

fed by emotion

told what to think

deluded devotion

accusation – the new weapon of war

Thought Police now coming

to kick down your door

 

Utopia creators

mind mutilators

shifting sands of ideology

must control new technology

left-wing fascists? How sad

Political fashionistas chasing a fad

 

Into the sunset – slowly I ride

away from madness – brains that are fried!

This much I know – this much I’ve learned

lonely are the brave – respect is hard earned

 

I know my enemies – they come with a knife

know where I stand – they want my life!

You come as a friend – offer your hand

take away our freedom

give away our land

My faith in my God

will always be true

whatever my journey – it will carry me through

so all aboard this final last train

full of men and women

who’ve learned to live with their pain!

 

Like Lenny I see rabbits

running round inside my head

yesterday’s dreams, as George shoots him dead!

Like an Autumn leaf

crushed inside a small child’s hand

Nothing but dust – blown away like sand

My time is over – my time is done

this shy peaceful man – forever on the run…

 

 

©M.C. Bolton, November 2018

 

KCTMO: Who, What, Where, When & Why – Part One

The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) was responsible for running the Lancaster West estate, including Grenfell Tower, in North Kensington. This year, its responsibility for Lancaster West was terminated following the Grenfell Tower fire of June 14th 2017, which killed 72 people. But what is KCTMO? Has it really ceased to exist? And why do these initials provoke such antipathy in North Kensington?

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A Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) is traditionally a small, tenant-led group that takes over some of the landlord management responsibilities and oversight for an estate from a local authority. Of the 200 TMOs in Britain, the KCTMO was distinct in being an Arms-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) and therefore, by its very design, not representative of residents. KCTMO was created to directly take over the council’s management of its social housing, rather than to provide representative oversight.

Creation

The KCTMO story takes place against the backdrop of Conservative party predominance over the Kensington and Chelsea council. This was no different in 1996, when the council feared it might lose control of its social housing stock, which was subject to a compulsory tendering strategy from national government. To maintain its control, the council created the KCTMO, with its management team of 20, including, initially, 13 residents. In the plan, KCTMO would take control of the borough’s 9,000 social housing properties, but for major works (costing over £400,000, such as the Grenfell Tower refurbishment) liability was shared equally with the council.

Change

In 2002, to access the Labour government’s Decent Homes funding, KCTMO became an ALMO, reducing the number of tenants on its board whilst maintaining the TMO designation in its name. By the late 00s, serious issues were emerging. An independent report in 2009 identified “substandard” repairs and a need for major works, recommending the Tory council take a greater role in monitoring KCTMO.

In response to the alarming report, newly appointed KCTMO chief executive Robert Black pledged to build trust between the TMO and tenants. But this did not come to pass.

In 2013, when I lived on the estate, the Estate Management Board at Lancaster West was wound up. There were “terrifying” power surges at Grenfell Tower and plans for the Kensington Academy secondary school and new Kensington Leisure Centre, next to Grenfell Tower were not received enthusiastically by residents, the sense being that KCTMO and the council were out of touch with, and even dismissive of, residents’ voices.

Refurbishment Continue reading

RAT

I won’t be herded

Only to be murdered

By the feudal rules

Bootprints on my head

Leaving me for dead

 

Could turn any man to drink!

To stop the over-think

Of swimming against the tide

Universal truths denied

 

Left drowning in this madness

Hiding from the sadness

That futility brings

Like a never-ending Autumn

Where everything’s decaying – dying

Those of us who have stopped trying

Picking plastic flowers

Fighting against dark powers

This the eleventh hour

Such terror it will bring

 

Yet deep within my soul

A constant song I sing

Of hope, of love, of freedom

New life – forever Spring…

 

 

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©M.C. Bolton, October 2018

 

Photo by Angel Lewis, All Saints Road, October 2018