This has been an extraordinary month, for horrible reasons. At last, after years of futile letters, the arrogant officials that supervise the lives of many in Kensington and Chesea have been exposed, and forced to resign. You would imagine that Kensington and Chelsea was a delightful area, but sadly those of us who live here because we love its history, have been let down by arrogance – from hospital administrators to Council officials.

When I got cancer I expected to be operated on at a local hospital calling itself a ‘world famous cancer centre’, To my surprise, my eminent surgeon, one of its top people, said to me “it’s not good enough for my private patients”. I wenr to another hospital, and he bought his anaethetist with him from this cancer hospital, who caused me no end of problems. When I transferred to this hospital for post-op treatment, I soon found out what he meant, with its top Dermatologist trying to convince me side effects from Tamoxifen were “due to your age”, and arrogance from Oncologists who ignored information from American cancer centres when I came down with horrendous side effects from the drugs I was given. I wanted to survive, so took myself to top cancer centres in Europe, but one would expect better from a Royal Borough hospital.

A neighbour works at the Grenfell Tower nursery, and I live in a KCTMO managed building, so we know exactly how thie arrogant Council and its tenant management organisation ignored the rights of tenants. Is it something in the air, that anyone with a authority in Kensington or Chelsea, treats tenants patients and residents as though we are medieaval surfs? Well, the top Council official and his deputy have been made to resign, as has the head honcho at the KCTMO.

But I wonder if this is such a good idea? I would have preferred them to be told they had to clear up the mess, rather than get the usual ‘pay off’; after all, who better than this trio to know where the proverbial skeletons lie ? Someone else is going to have to spend hours delving into paperwork.

The Governent has called the Council and the KCTMO to book, although I hear the Council is using its funds (contributed to by residents now clamouring for accountability) to hire a massive team of QCs to defend its reputation – and skins. My residents’ association wants to ensure that officials are held accountable, as do many, many embittered residents.

I grew up believing that old-fashioned virtues were important; you automatically looked after vulnerable people in the community, and voted Conservative. How the party has changed. Once run by the Women’s Institute type of female, who ‘got on with helping others’, didn’t allow the Blitz to faze her, and was more than capable of running anything from a soup kitchen to a refugee camp at a moment’s notice; it’s now full of self-seeking officials and to hxll with principles.

The ‘old’ type of Conservative/Philanthropist who built model communities here in Victorian times has long since gone, and RBKC is run by ‘new’ Conservative’: what a self-seeking, arrogant bunch they are. The Council has Bentleys so its top staff travel in comfort, but couldn’t even produce a Boy Scout tent as a focal point for destitute residents to meet an official. Once keen to send Inspectors into any building project run by the ordinary person, and charging a massive amount to supply a ‘licence’, it ignored clamour from residents worried about their safety. I once tried to report a major health issue to the Council, only to be told by its EHO he couldn’t touch this because “you live in a KCTMO-managed building”.

Where is the old-fashioned Mayor who had the guts to stand up to a crowd – and convince them their Council were going to address their wrongs? And to add ts mis-deads, Healthwatch, closely associated with RBKC has wiped cancer concerns off its map and disbanded the voluntary group looking into local cancer services, to save money..

Residents have shown they know how to behave, and got themselves organised without any guidance from RBKC. My neighbour says they are looking after themselves, but it worries me that when the volunteers have run out of time, RBKC won’t have support systems in place. They should take note of St. Mary’s Hospital, featured in the latest eposode of “Hospital”. They had a 170 page document to work from, detailing what to do in an emergency. The staff read it, digested and then formed their own emergency team. And Boy, didn’t they perform well when faced with Emergency on top of Emergency – the usual overcrowding problems of NHS hospitals and then having to deal with the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge, They even had a doctor who spoke French to one of the victims. This was ‘ordinary’ people who had thought out what to do – and did it. RBKC take note.

My residents association is about to meet, talk through the concerns we have about a Council money-making scheme to dump a Street Sweepers’ depot in front of our bedroom windows (they think we will welcome this!) and now we worry our concerns about Health and Safety will be brushed aside – or as is a favourite ploy with RBKC – announced over a Bank Holiday so no-one notices or is around to object.

There is a lesson to be learnt from the marvellous community volunteers in Kensington – ‘ordinary’ people can organise – so perhaps RBKC will listen to them. Incidentally there was snide media comment about celebrities jumping on the bandwagon to help – but they live in our Borough and that’s what neighbours do.

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