Q&A: John Walker, E7 Now & Then blogger
PUBLISHED: 07:45 27 September 2017
Done well, bloggers make online conversations challenging and interesting and JOHN WALKER is no exception. Here he explains his love for Forest Gate but craving for a clean-up of the streets
What is your connection with the borough?
I have lived in Newham for 35 years, the last 30 in Forest Gate. I have run a largely local history website (E7-NowAndThen) for the last four and a half years.
What’s the best thing about working or living in the borough?
We are fortunate to live in Forest Gate. So, it’s a 10 minute walk to Wanstead Flats every day for some great dog walking - and a bit of exercise. Plus, we are only 15 minutes by train from central London. What could be better? Oh, CrossRail coming, of course. Yippee!
What one thing would you change?
The borough is filthy - street rubbish, fly tipping, anti-social behaviour from litter louts. It is one the dirtiest places I have encountered in Europe. Newham’s recycling record is among the worst in Britain. So - a major shake up on the environment front by the council. Others can do it - why not Newham?
Use three words to describe the area Cosmopolitan, lively, dirty.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?
Geoff Thomas, former Crystal Palace and England footballer. I’m a Palace fan, so that helps. But,
since contracting, and defeating leukaemia in 2002, Geoff has
dedicated himself to raising money to fight the disease - £150m at the last count. He has just cycled the Tours of France, Italy and Spain, non-stop. If that isn’t inspiring, what is?
What new law would you introduce, if you were Prime Minister?
A second referendum on the EU, once the leaving terms are known. The first one was: do you want what we have now, or something else (you decide what)? A second one, where people could make an informed choice - based on reality rather than fantasy - is important for the longer term prosperity and stability of the country.
If you were the editor of this paper, what issues in the borough would you focus on?
Newham Council is a one party state where decisions are made behind closed doors, with no public discussion and almost no public accountability. The council has its own, council tax-funded, mouthpiece. The Recorder should dig deeper, investigate more and give a voice to the many - well-informed - alternative voices, about council affairs.