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!
fed by emotion
told what to think
accusation – the new weapon of war
Thought Police now coming
to kick down your door
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
©Urban Dandy Ltd
©Urban Dandy Ltd
©Urban Dandy Ltd
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?
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.
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.
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
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…
©M.C. Bolton, October 2018
Photo by Angel Lewis, All Saints Road, October 2018