True Time is Over at El Brute

The 4th of July marks the final day of the Blue Baron bossing the show at El Brute.  Conservative Council Leader Nick True, aka The Blue Baron aka The Duke of York (House), is stepping down from the role after 7 years in the hot seat. True will also bring to a close his position as Councillor for East Sheen by not standing in next year’s local elections.  He is being replaced as leader by Councillor Paul Hodgins who has yet to be assigned an appropriate twickerati nickname.  Hodgins is Councillor for Barnes and has been gracing the corridors of York house since 2006 where he has most recently been Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools. We’re not privy to the workings of the Council or the local Conservative Party but we might have expected a more high profile name such as Pamela Fleming to get the gig but that’s not the case. Is it a case of going from Lord True to Mr Who?

True’s legacy will be the subject of debate for years if not decades to come. OK, probably not but his quotes in assorted El brute press releases were always entertaining and irritating in equal measure.  He certainly did a lot of “slamming” and of course who could forget his withering request for “A period of silence from certain all too well ventilated local voices”.

He has been vocal in opposition to Heathrow expansion, has presided over the merger of the administrative and commissioning functions of Richmond and Wandsworth Councils and has led an authority which largely kept Council tax flat whilst making savings to its operational budgets and services. In Twickenham the early part of his Baronial Reign saw the redevelopment of the derelict swimming pool site to create the Diamond Jubilee Gardens.

He generated his fair share of controversy too. A campaign against LBRuT’s approval of Solum’s large scale development of Twickenham station was defeated in law.  He also championed the creation of a new Roman Catholic Secondary School with ‘voluntary aided’ status. That also went to legal fisticuffs in which the Baron triumphed again. But he didn’t get his way when it came to the Battle of the Gloriana. When True announced that the park at Orleans Riverside would become home to a large boat house for the former royal barge owned by fellow Lord, Lord Sterling, the locals weren’t impressed.  A very vocal campaign rallied against developing (and paying for) a new greenfield riverside home for the boat and eventually the plan was dropped. True’s dream of a “crystal palace for a fairy craft” (yes real words!) had turned to dust.

True’s Council took the positive step of aquiring the rest of the old pool site and nearby shops to improve Twickenham Riverside but now it will be left to Clls Hodgins and Fleming to carry the torch for Francis Terry’s retro-themed riverside scheme as the debate on the best use of the site rumbles on.

Twickerati van gets LBRuT branding and a special server

We hope that new Leader Paul Hodgins does what’s best for Twickenham, whatever that is and of course only you know that.  And we say, best of luck to Lord True in new ventures… although we’re not sure he’ll take up our suggestion of serving up ice creams from the van. Nice idea though eh?



Hodgins (or is that Paul “Whodgins?”) has already announced his own reshuffle of the El Brute Cabinet.  In ‘selected highlights’, David Marlow (South Twickenham) will become Deputy Leader while remaining as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health.  Pamela Fleming (South Richmond) will also become Deputy Leader and continue as Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community. Stephen Speak (North Richmond) takes on the expanded role of Strategic Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance.  Children’s Services and Schools (Hodgins’ former brief) goes to Susan Chappell (Twickenham Riverside).  Two new roles have been introduced: Martin Seymour (Hampton North) takes on the new role of Cabinet Member for Planning and Strategic Development. He’s the lucky lad who will need to help Pamela Fleming sort out Twickenham Riverside, and Gareth Elliott (Whitton) will take up the new post of Cabinet Member for Digital and Technology. What a time to be alive eh?


And finally here’s something that is totally unlreated and was definitely not filmed at York House. It’s not a tribute or even a “Trubute”.  We find it amusing though, eh Ted?



Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

18 responses to “True Time is Over at El Brute

  1. Alexis

    Here’s an interesting item in the R&TT – sadly there are very few these days.
    I’m mildly amused to note that Sir David Williams, once LibDem leader of our Council and soon to be an ex-Councillor (retired) has been awarded the freedom of the Borough, whatever that means – can he now drive sheep over Richmond Bridge? If so, he can admire the Quinlan Terry design of the Richmond Riverside development – probably the only high point of his reign.

    Perhaps nostalgically, he may note the flats on the St Margarets side where the Ice Rink used to be and wonder whether he met his match with the Beckwiths. It must really annoy him that they got away with a trifling compensation payment rather than a replacement ice rink. Let’s not forget the late Richard Meacock who fought a tireless campaign but was finally ground down by the party machine – this makes interesting reading for anyone who is also sceptical/cynical about those who used to rule us.

    Gareth Roberts, the new clean-cut Lib Dem leader and reformed cyber warrior is a bright young man and may well give Paul Hodgins a run for his money. Sadly I fear he will revert to his bad old ways so, I rather hope he doesn’t get anything more than a sniff of power.
    PS: I hope my links don’t crash the system.
    PPS: I thought he had already been honoured by a tree in York House gardens for Weimaraners to pee against – wasn’t he?

    • demokrat

      With Sir David the Borough was always free, next time you get a chance, ask him how much he gave the Ice Rink site away for??

      I have been told it was for 30 pieces of silver.

  2. twickerman

    Lord True made the following comment in his leaving statement:
    “I am glad we were able to save Twickenham Riverside from the concrete mixers”

    Ironically, his Council have just submitted an EIA for 50 flats on #TwickenhamRiverside!

    The EIA also advised of 55 underground parking spaces. This would be OK if they weren’t IN ADDITION to the 73 car park spaces on the Riverside.

    Can we please have a Riverside Park Not a Riverside Car Park?

    Please let the council know what you want in the Riverside consultation. It’s your last chance to be heard (see twickerati’s latest post for details).

    EIA = Environmental Impact Assessment

  3. I was asked to remove a comment (by the commenter) but I have decided to post the link to the film mentioned which, while not entirely relevant to Lord True stepping down (well, not at all in fact), talks about a local charity working to support children with disabilities and their families and to make sure their voices are heard. It warrants some airtime:

  4. In my experience Lord True had a very poor memory with regard to Twickenham Riverside. He also forgot to consult the electorate about the merger with Wandsworth. Let’s give Paul a chance. I think there was a coup against Fleming which can’t be a bad thing. The. Party must be thinking about the election.

    • Sally

      I have noticed that when M’Lord True amd Councillor Fleming were pushing one of their terribly unpopular development wheezes at open meetings the other Councillors present all assumed one of two set expressions. There is the “wholehearted agreement in whatever the Leader says even before he has said it ” expression -as modelled by Councillor Samuels. (Upraised face shining eyes a la Nancy Regan.)
      Then there is the twisty wry expression which they hope will signal both agreement to Fleming and True and reservations to the voters. This expression requires great strength as the Councillor’s mouth needs to go up and down at the same time..
      Councillor Hogkins seemed to be in the second group. He has never stood up to Lord True but has done his bidding while looking not entirely keen . What will,power do to him ?

    • Sally

      Apologies for the misspelling of Hodgin. It is oddly difficult to write the man’s name without a K creeping in . I blame Demokrat

    • anonymouse

      Did Barry Viktor Edwards put the K in Twickenham?

    • demokrat

      The people of Twickenham have been treated like lemmings.
      When are you all going to wake up and realise, they don’t care about you.
      They just want to use our public asset for their own corporate gain.

      The only people that should run the Borough are the residents. These old selfish parties have to go. Only direct democracy has the answer. The residents decide and the politicians just do want they want. That’s what I believe in.

      In fact if the Peoples Town Square plan, now on display at the River Thames Visitor Centre in Richmond was implemented, Twickenham Live could run it and have the natural home they deserve for events and community work.

      Its up to us, or you will just be exploited.

  5. anonymouse

    Let’s not forget Lord True’s TAP (Twickenham Advisory Panel) comprised of the town’s finest minds hand picked and much trumpeted by True.
    You may recall that they were quickly shunted into the sidings by his Lordship for none other offence than providing him with expert advice
    (about the station).
    In best railway tradition it must have been ‘the wrong type of’ advice!

  6. Sally

    When I read this piece,as in a movie ,the screen went misty and so may True scenes came back to me. There was his famous “modest man ” speech which will one day surely be inscribed on a column and put near…oh, St RR , or outside the station high rise. There was the inspiring sight of Lord True doing an il Duce in his freebie executive box at the Rugby. And who can forget M’Lord taking it such good part when being compared to Stalin over the Gloriana plot at that fateful council hearing? Memories….

    We all must feel a bit silly now. So many Riverside Boroughs surely leapt at the chance to construct and pay for a vast shed to house the fairy craft, so many people,have already paid to visit said shed and thus provide the lucky winner with a wonderful tourist attraction. It’s all as Lord True assured us I am sure. Just can’t seem to find. the details..

  7. anonymouse

    Along the lines of Where’s Wally, we’ve now got a council leader who might as well be known as Who’s Hodgkins!

    • Just lets hope he has not been given ‘true’ orders!!! :O :O

    • Riverside Voter

      We know Councillor Fleming only too well because the issues the Blue Baron has kicked up for us more recently have been with Planning but you do not have to go very far back on these threads to a time when it was schools that were generating all the same palaver, strong feelings that our interests were being ignored, community activism, petitions, consultations and Judicial Reviews, the whole shebang. Hodgins (no K) is the Wally that is everywhere to be seen on those threads, in the Press, on Council webcams, defending and implementing the Lord’s plans. As with our Councillors on the Gloriana, it is hard to believe he fully supported it in his heart of hearts though, especially having grown up in Canada where most people attend their local inclusive state school. He always looked like he was ambitious to be Leader in Waiting.

      I am sure many parents, especially ones who are involved with parent and governing bodies, or are teachers themselves are very well aware of where Paul Hodgins is now. The parents for instance in Richmond and Barnes who were / are fighting the proposals for their schools to be taken over by Multi Academy Trusts led by secondary schools, with the Councils own business Achieving for Children securing Consultancy on improvement, another of the Blue Baron’s other less than popular projects that has caused the peasants to be revolting. Or the parents at Nelson which is already addressing the issue that being partnered with a secondary school and A for C proved not to be the answer to providing effective strategies for improvement. Or, I could go on ………

    • Paul “Whodgins” perhaps?

    • anonymouse


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