The Twickenham Tribune


Letters from Edition 286

The following residents' letters were published in Edition 286 on 29th April 2022


Dear Tribune,

“TwickWatch” Edition 285

It thought that the piece by “TwickWatch” (which can be viewed HERE) in your last edition provided a very useful public service, particularly as the electorate’s knowledge about how our democracy works seems woefully thin.

Suggesting the sort of things that voters ought to consider and ask candidates about when choosing who to vote for at this local election was useful and commendably independent.

However, I was less comfortable when I came to TwickWatch’s own evaluation of the parties and selection of 2 councillors for special mention, especially as there was no mention of the Green Party which won 4 seats at the last election and may well be on course to become the official opposition after this one. The table showing the changes in the performance of the parties over time, how they rise and fall, was particularly interesting.

Two Green councillors, Andree Frieze and Richard Bennett, are seeking re-election alongside 4 other Green candidates. I believe that both meet the standards that you applied to Geoffrey Samuels and Martin Elengorn, although admittedly without the length of service they have given. Being a member of a small team of Councillors is particularly challenging as their time is spread thinly to cover all the committees and other duties. Andree and Richard’s attendance and performance has been exemplary and, with their Green colleagues, they brought a less adversarial, more collaborative tone to the chamber. If you were to pick one then maybe Richard’s support for your campaign to deal with anti-social behaviour on Twickenham Green, a cause close to The Tribune’s heart, might stand him in good stead. However, having a woman acknowledged might be fairer!


Ben Makins, Strawberry Hill


Note from the Editor:

The Tribune also commends the excellent TwickWatch article in edition 285 of the Twickenham & Richmond Tribune “We the People” pages 6 and 7.

However, the editors would like to point out that TwickWatch is not written by the editors of the Tribune, but is contributed by a respected resident of our borough. The Tribune accepts articles from readers, including regular contributors such as TwickWatch and Lucilius, but have no editorial input.

I would draw attention to the reason the Tribune was first published on 11th November 2016:

The Tribune was founded as a local online newspaper for and by local people in Twickenham and the surrounding towns. A place where people can have their letters published, have their say and where their articles can be published online.


Dear Tribune,

Guilty until Proven Innocent

Jeremy Hamilton-Miller, in his letter to the Tribune on 15 April, asked: ‘What are LibDems for?’

My experiences may go some way to answering this excellent question.

On 7 July 2020, Cllr Michael Wilson, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities, made a speech to the Council in which he stated: “The murder of George Floyd sent shockwaves around the world”.

As it is an established principle of law that a person is innocent until proven guilty, I was shocked because that speech was made eight months before the trial and thus intention (Mens Rea) was yet to be proved, murder being the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.

The speech was published on the Council website and partially reproduced in the local newspaper so I immediately lodged a formal complaint with Richmond Council about the obviously prejudicial misuse of the word ‘murder’ by a public servant.

My complaint was upheld and the word ‘murder’ was changed to ‘death’ on the Council’s website. No reason for the change was published with the website misleadingly stating that Cllr Wilson had used the word ‘death’.

I then asked whether Cllr Wilson would publicly apologize at the next online Council meeting on 22 September 2020 but, instead of a simple apology which would have ended the matter, he refused, instead subjecting me to an aggressive, irrelevant tirade about the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Neither the chairman of the meeting, Mayor Cllr Geoff Acton, nor Council Leader Gareth Roberts who was also in attendance, made any attempt to moderate the unwarranted and offensive rant.

My attempt to reply was blocked by the meeting’s chairman although I did manage to say that: ‘ALL lives matter’.

On 8 March 2022, I answered my front door to find a female LibDem canvasser who asked me whether I would be voting for them. I asked what their plans were and she said: ‘We want to improve things’. With that in mind, I recounted my experiences shown above.

Her reply, which astounded me even more than Cllr Wilson’s original speech, was: ‘Well, he was right in advance, wasn’t he?’

Her two male colleagues said nothing. The question is, if he was right in advance, why did the American legal system bother with a trial costing some $3.7 million?

The fact that the accused was eventually found guilty is completely immaterial because the presumption of innocence is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11.

Even the Nazi war criminals who killed millions were given fair trials at Nuremberg after the Second World War. And in 1949, the editor of the Daily Mirror was sentenced to a three-month prison term for contempt of court for describing John Haigh as a “murderer” while the trial was still underway.

But it now seems that the Liberal Democratic Party finds it acceptable to not bother hearing the evidence before pronouncing someone guilty. Equality and Communities? A slippery slope indeed.

Just one instance of just one councillor, but the tip of the iceberg when considering some equally unpleasant examples from some other senior un-democrats on this Council.

Liberal? Democratic?

Now we know.


Yours faithfully,

Michael Jay, Hampton


Dear Sir,

Nasty Tweets

Frankly, if I was Amanda Plattell (sic) I’d be asking my plastic surgeon for my money back” tweeted Lib Dem Cllr Gareth Roberts - on 18 April 2013 - before he was their current leader - regarding Ms Platell’s appearance on BBC TV’s “Question Time”.

Former Conservative adviser, Ms Platell had, indeed, seen a surgeon - a cancer surgeon - who had operated on an eye.

A year earlier, Cllr Roberts had got into a twitter spat with BBC London radio presenter Nikki Bedi - while she was on air - and - when the story was covered by a local newspaper - Ms Bedi was quoted as saying: “it’s not funny and he’s just being incredibly rude to me, and a little bit nasty”.

The recent hot topic about misogynistic comments - in the political arena - brought these tweets to mind.

Cllr Roberts should take heed of the wise words of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns who said: “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us; To see oursels as others see us!” in his famous poem “To a Louse”.

Yours faithfully,

Teddington resident
(Name and address supplied)


Dear Editors,


Have you noticed that in some areas of the Borough over the last month there has been a sudden flurry of pothole repairs in our roads?

Maybe we should have local elections every year, not every four years. That way we may have a chance of getting our broken pavements repaired as well!

Best wishes,

Name and Address supplied,


Dear Tribune,

Liberal? No! Democratic? No!

Can anyone now be in any doubt that promises made by the current Council leaders count for nothing?

Not only do they make decisions based on so-called ‘consultations’ that never actually happen, but also fudge the figures to give the impression that the so-called ‘majority’ of constituents are happy. We are NOT!

Just look at the misery caused by the ruination of the borough, such as in Kew Road, where unnecessary road-narrowing cycle lanes, 20mph limits, road humps everywhere - all causing extra pollution, plus the loss of residents’ paid-for parking spaces in their obsession to accommodate free parking for the e-scooters which have now proven to be so dangerous.

Cashless parking and the inefficient RingGo system force people to pay by phone app or credit card. It’s not only the elderly who struggle with technology or don’t have a smartphone so why should we all be forced online just for the convenience of Councils who collect huge amounts of money in fines as a result.

Whilst I appreciate that this is a London-wide problem, more and more services are declining cash, disenfranchising millions of older people because only 59% of people over the age of 65 use a smartphone. All ignored by our ‘listening’ council.

Shops and businesses are already suffering but our Council is making things even more difficult for them.

Why are we all subjected to this constant bullying by Richmond Council who should be there to serve residents, not fleece them and make life as difficult as possible?

Time for a change.

Time for a new Council.

Yours faithfully,

(Name and address supplied), East Sheen



Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of the Twickenham & Richmond Tribune, its Publisher, its staff or its advertisers.

Letters of approximately 500 words of body text will be printed at our standard 14pt font size, which will publish as a single page.

All letters must be submitted by the end of Thursday, prior to publication the following day on Friday.

The Tribune prefers letters to include the writer’s name, but will publish anonymously provided details are supplied.



These residents' letters were first published in Edition 286 on 29th April 2022


View our complete archive of back editions dating from 11th November 2016 HERE