Thursday, March 02, 2017

Riot hit area looks like a riot hit area.

London Road, West Croydon

I was on a bus going passed the 2011 riot hit area of London Road, As I was sat on the upper deck I was able to see over the hoarding which surrounds the site. 

It has moved me to submit a question to the next full council meeting:

Nearly 6 years has passed since the 08/08 riots in 2011. The site near the junction of London Road and St James Road in West Croydon still remains derelict. Why is this, and why doesn't the council open up the area into a community garden like the Sensible Garden in South Norwood?

Over the years there has been much fanfare about money being invested in the area but nothing has really changed. All the focus is on Westfield rather than West Croydon. 

London Road, West Croydon (from Daily Mail)

It is important to compare then and now to recall the extraordinary events of 08/08 . See here (courtesy of the Daily Mail). I also took some photos the day after the riots and produced the montage below.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chimney for the incinerator is lowered

My wife spotted the chimneys being escorted by 4 X 4 outriders along the Purley Way. In this video, shot by Peter Alfrey, they are being lowered on to site.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Donald Trump elected.

Just three points I would like to make:

1) On the morning that Trump was elected I was speaking to a Pakistani gentleman in Croydon. He showed me a meme which was circulating among Pakistanis. See below.

It basically says - and I know this from asking him for a translation - the following:

  • President Clinton resulted in Taliban
  • President Bush resulted in Al Qaeda
  • President Obama resulted in Daesh
  • President Trump will result in the end of time

2) Later in the afternoon I heard Green Party candidate in the Witney by-election Larry Sanders - brother to Bernie Sanders - explain how and why Trump got elected. I couldn't agree more with his analysis.


3) I sent Larry Sander's analysis to my learned cousin in San Francisco to which I got the following reply:

I believe there are some racist folks out there in America, who would identify with a candidate who spews xenophobe mantra apologetically to the world; who began his campaign by equating Mexicans to rapists, and Muslims to terrorists; who threw out a silent Muslim woman from his raucous rally to wildly cheering crowds; who didn't disavow the entreating of the KKK; who supported the former Imperial Wizard of the KKK and Holocaust denier David Duke to run for the Senate; who was sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against blacks in 1973; who opposed the first ever black president with the most ridiculously protracted allegation that he wasn't born in America...need I go on? 
For these people - and I don't know how many there are - I would argue that they voted not against but along their interest for a candidate apparently harbours their own view of race and society. But to be clear, not all people who voted for Trump are like this, the fringe. The financially depressed people of Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, trying to make ends meet paycheck to paycheck, want a change from the current politics that saw to it that their jobs went to Mexico and China, and here comes the Orange Knight who says he will bring coal and steel jobs back, build roads and bridges, tax all products made outside America, and doesn't sound like a two-faced spin-doctor politician. The alternative - a woman who's philandering husband took their jobs away with NAFTA. Their choice is clear. 

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Did anyone think about light pollution??

Photo by Peter Alfrey

Stick light pollution to the list which already inludes noise, air and dust.
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Saturday, November 05, 2016

Result of the Kingswood and Burgh Heath By Election

Fifty five votes doesn't sound like much but on a 20.5 per cent turnout, in an ultra-safe Tory seat it represents 4.8 per cent, which in my humble opinion is creditable given we ran a very limited campaign. If the High Court judgement on BREXIT came out two weeks earlier, I would have expected UKIP to be nearer 20 per cent.

Conservative: 73.3% (+6.6%)
UKIP:             13.5% (-8.1%)
Labour:           8.4%   (-3.3%)
Green:             4:8%   (4.8%)

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Is a Trump Khan double possible?

From Surrey Mirror web site
Local party site here.

Today, five days before the leading country in the *free world* elects a new president, there's the not insignificant matter of the Kingswood and Burgh Heath By-Election.

I put my name forward, and was chosen by the local party to stand. My personal statement has been published on the Surrey Mirror web site, along with the other three candidates (no LIB DEM standing).

It is a very safe Conservative seat. Given my usual patch is Thornton Heath in Croydon, it has been an interesting experience knocking on the doors in Kingswood, where some streets are fully gated and houses go for £2.5m.

One resident in Kingswood explained that this government and the last one have made a right mess of the country. He was referring to BREXIT. He pointed out that the people who lived in this gated community had predominately sourced their wealth in the City of London, which in turn is essential for the prosperity of the UK. Hence, in his eyes, David Cameron was foolish in calling the EU referendum and risking it all, and Theresa May is equally foolish now for embracing a 'hard Brexit line'.

However, the only election that matters in most peoples eyes takes place next Tuesday on the otherside of the Pond.

The world is watching and wondering if Donald Trump will become President of the USA.

My cousin lives in the US. He put it quite succintly in a message to me:

I think in the privacy of the voting booth (and mail-in) people will vote Trump. Because they are fucking stupid. "Bigly". Clinton isn't perfect and it makes it a not-so clear cut decision, but the choice between a pussy-grabbing, lying, misogynist, tantrum-prone, racist, multiple-bankruptcy burdened business failure with more than 3000 lawsuits, AND a lying shrewd politician tied to Wall Street excesses with email issues, shouldn't be that difficult. 

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Support local reporters in their strike action

Over the last couple of weeks, Jason Lemin, Maeve Tomlinson and I have visited the picket line opposite Quadrant House in Sutton which also happens to be the pick up/drop off point at Sutton Railway station. 

Newsquest (owned by US media giant Gannett) is the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers in the UK. It has editions all over South London from Bexley to Richmond. The publisher has put its entire south London newsroom on notice of redundancy. Newsquest want 12 reporters and one content editor to produce 11 newspapers and their related websites. (see NUJ web site for more information)

I spoke at length to reporter Chris Caulfield when I visited the picket line. Incredibly, Newsquest aim to reduce the journalistic spend on each page of its publications to £50. Given it can make thousands of pounds through advertising per page, this smacks of overzealous profiteering. Admittedly, this might bump Gannet's share price or make Newsquest an attractive proposition for purchase BUT, this ignores the vital role local and regional newspapers play in holding councillors to account. Cutting reporters at our local papers is like cutting the oxygen of accountability that helps our local democracy breathe.   

In addition to these terrible job losses, and let's be clear striking is the last resort for all the newsdesk staff, I am really worried about how knowledge of any corrupt activity by Croydon, Sutton or Surrey council will find its way to the electorate.  

This whole episode reminds me of a twitter spat between Gareth Davies and his former bosses at the Croydon Advertiser (read Inside Croydon). Gareth Davies over the years, like Chris Caulfield, reported extensively on the incinerator. However, it was only when he had left the Croydon Advertiser (owned by Trinty Mirror), was he really able to let rip on his former bosses about the cutbacks and redundancies. 

I have emailed my MP to sign EDM 511 

I have also written to Newsquest boss Henry Faure Walker - who seemed to be answering incoming calls when I rang the newsdesk last week: 

Please reconsider the cutting strategy

Sat 22/10/2016 09:00 ;
Dear Henry,

I write to you today to reconsider Newsquest's corporate strategy of cutting the number of reporters and to put its entire south London newsroom on notice of redundancy.

Over the last 13 years I have got to know many of the reporters at the Croydon Guardian and Sutton Guardian. This is principally through my community activism. In 2013 I took the big step of challenging Sutton Council in the High Court to stop the commencement of construction of the South London incinerator. I can honestly say that without the coverage in Newsquests papers' I would have struggled to raise the funds to even get to the High Court.

Additionally, such was the complicated nature of the High Court challenge, I am concerned that a single reporter covering a whole edition would struggle to report on such a case. At the time your reporter, Chris Caulfield, was able to attend the trial to see and hear the arguments put before the judge at the Royal Courts of Justice first-hand.

In my opinion, Newsquest are risking its position as brand leader in South London because there are already community based news sites like Inside Croydon providing excellent investigative reporting, and dumbing down the quality of its publications will only affect Newsquests footing and eventually its advertising revenue.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Green Party

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Viridor on edge during Open Days

I went along with my daughter to one of the two Open Days organised by Viridor on Beddington Farmlands. I hadn't the slightest thought to disrupt proceedings but Viridor employees, Dan Cooke (Director of Communications), Andrew Turner and a bloke who remember as Ed were certainly watchful of me.

It was a baking hot day and we were advised to wear PPE for the tour as we were walking through the landfill site. The advice regarding the PPE was given during a powerpoint presentation at the start. It was mentioned within a short health and safety briefing, and it was at that point the visiting group were advised that any "disrupted behaviour" wouldn't be tolerated and those involved would be "escorted of site".

It made sense given, Cllr Nick Mattey's threat of chaining himself to the incinerator .

Throughout the tour the three Viridor employees were ever so charming and unsurprisingly attentive towards my daughter and me. We talked about football, politics, and family life. Andrew Turner even revealed he was a member of the Conservative party.

I could honestly say these Viridor guys would be good fun to go for a drink with!

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