Anyone with an ounce of knowledge about our local area will know that the fight to save King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) has been a long and torturous one.
Save King Edward Memorial Park
The fight to Save KEMP has turned into something much more than a fight to save our precious green space.
The struggle has seen a community coming together, united, with one voice.
It was us, the little people saying “No!” to Thames Water’s scheme to destroy our wonderful park.
Their plans evoked anger and disgust but also generated a community spirit that this borough has not seen for many years.
Although the Labour party was the first to offer support to the campaign, the fight has claimed support across the political spectrum, unique in a borough where a steel barricade separates Left from Right.
Invaluable support from Tower Hamlets council
Tower Hamlets council took another look at the project, which in the very early days they had sanctioned, saw the error, and soon was right behind us, giving us the experts and officers that we needed. This has been invaluable.
The community roared on, and we were impossible to ignore. As with any campaign, there is a core group of activists, a very mixed bunch; the Italian, the Kiwi, the East Ender, the American and the Bengali; politics, race, religion and class didn’t come into it, we all wanted the same outcome, to save KEMP.
So, now we have the local elections, and the Mayoral election coming up, and the whole ethos of what our fight stood for has been sullied.
Using Save KEMP to score political points
Wannabe politicians are trying to splinter our one voice and claim it as their own. I for one won’t have this!
Each one of us has given to the campaign what we could. If it was handing out a leaflet, signing a petition, waving a banner or sitting for hours of endless meeting with officers and the enemy each has done what they can. It was OUR campaign.
Since the start of campaigning for the local elections on 22nd May there have been at least three prospective councillors that have claimed to have been involved in the campaign.
Farhana Zaman (Labour, Shadwell) was the first to claim a part of our fight, but once it was pointed out that we had never heard of her, she quickly apologised and removed her claims from her campaign leaflets. Thank you Farhana.
Now we have Ahad Miah (Tower Hamlets First, St Katharine’s and Wapping) claiming on his publicity flyer that he is ‘particularly proud to have been involved in the campaign to Save King Edward Memorial Park’.
Yes, I do know Ahad, yes, he has come to a meeting or two, but this was as a resident who was as concerned as the rest of my neighbours, so why should this be a selling point in us wanting to vote for him? He did no more than you or me.
Flip flop Madewell strikes again
The most laughable claim came from our dear Stuart Madewell (Tower Hamlets First, St Katharine’s and Wapping), who is trying to parade himself as a staunch believer in the cause.
What he fails to tell you, the voter, is that he actually stood against the campaign when our preferred brownfield alternative site at Heckford Trading Estate was offered.
Why is that? Because it was too close to his back yard, that’s why. [Editors note: Stuart lives next to Heckford at 507 Cable Street.]
A fight of the people
Our fight was a fight of the people, irrespective of individual political beliefs. Some politicians did a lot more than others, and I am grateful to them but if you get a leaflet through your door from someone claiming to have been involved in the campaign, ask ‘Hold up, so was I, what makes your involvement so special?’.