Saturday, July 04, 2015

Tom Voute

One can gauge how active or flourishing a local party is by the number of people who leaflet homes regularly, volunteer for officer roles, write letters to the paper, attend and contribute at business meetings, support fundraisers, attend socials, donate to the local party and stand for elections.

Tom Voute did all of the above.

Moreover, as other active Greens know, the more active you become, your colleagues in the local party become your friends.

That it why we were all sad to hear the news that, after a short illness, Tom had passed away on 19th June 2015.

I first met Tom at a local party meeting in Carshalton. Back in 2003, our local party meetings were in Sutton. Croydon had conjoined with Sutton when activity in Croydon had all but ceased at the back end of the last century. It was about the same time that Tom, Bernice Golberg and I started attending meetings in Sutton, as Croydon members.

Tom always made himself available to stand as candidate in his home ward of Kenley. It's a shame we never targeted Kenley because the headline of our pre-election leaflet would obviously be:

VOTE VOUTE!


Until very recently he was our local party treasurer and London Federation of Green Parties representative. Despite his illness he was active as ever this year.

He was wise man with a great Dutch accent and an infectious laugh. We will miss him.




A good number of our local party attended his funeral, His son, James, made a moving tribute to his father, detailing all the things his father had taught him. He, his brother Nick, and their mother Beth are in our thoughts.

I've searched my PC, laptop and phone and found some photos of Tom over the years. I've put them together in a vid.





Tributes to Tom have been circulating on social media and emails. Here a couple from Tracey Hague and Martyn Post.

"He was a great man, full of experience, enthusiasm and humour but also a great lover of life (who can forget his Argentinian tango at our eco-disco?). Everyone has fond memories of him; he will be sorely missed both locally and at London Federation meetings. In the meantime he would probably want us all to get on with Green Party work in making this world a better place to live for everyone. RIP Tom - I hope I can emulate a fraction of what you embodied so wonderfully." 

"This is such terrible news.  Tom was such a lovely person.  He was always happy to talk about any subject, he was wise, friendly and will be such a loss to the whole local party.
I will always remember meeting up with him and Gordon on pretty much a daily basis last year delivering leaflets across Croham and going for coffee afterwards.  Tom and Gordon would discuss buildings and art, while I sat there listening, unable to add anything to the conversation.
I first met Tom in 2007, a year or so after I joined the party and straight away I liked him. He was very welcoming and so inteligent.
My heart goes out to his family.  I hope we can get a fitting tribute for him."
Tom's occupation was local authority waste management. Last year he wrote a piece on flytipping for Inside Croydon. 

There's a lovely picture of him on the Croydon Green Party Facebook page here and one of his letters to the local paper can be found here.

RIP Tom.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Letter received from UKIP

Following the press release (post below and here) which ended up being the most read article on Inside Croydon last week, both Inside Croydon and I received an email from Paul Oakley, UKIP London Regional Organiser Team.

The emails says a lot including:

"UKIP have not the slightest idea whether or not Mr Morgan is responsible for the actions about which you complain. Please note however that his membership of UKIP was rescinded some weeks ago. As such, it is false to suggest as you and Mr Khan do that this is a UKIP campaign."
Also, it appears that the UKIP web site is not approved.

"All UKIP websites must be officially-approved. There are no UKIP websites for these areas." 
So it appears Peter Morgan is too extreme for UKIP. Quite an achievement. Moreover, the UKIP Croydon North web site is not approved. Does anyone in UKIP know what is going on in Croydon North? What a joke.

After an exchange of emails, Inside Croydon has posted this article on Morgan: http://insidecroydon.com/2015/06/22/coulsdon-roads-campaigner-morgan-is-kicked-out-of-ukip/

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Friday, June 19, 2015

20mph consultation turns into a referendum

Selhurst family hustings at the Peppermint Centre

The first I got wind that UKIP's Peter Morgan*** [see arrow in above picture] was against 20mph in an almost fanatical way was at the first Croydon North hustings, which was strange in itself because he lives in Coulsdon (Croydon South). 
He asked each of the candidates on their views on 20mph speed limits. He is an interesting bloke, and whilst I don't agree with his politics, he has told me on two occasions he admires the stand I have taken with regards to the incinerator. Maybe he did that so that I didn't get riled by his activities. Inside Croydon has many articles on him.  



As we approach the end of Croydon Council's 20mph speed limit consultation for Croydon North zone , we can see just how fanatical Peter Morgan is about stopping the transition to a 20mph speed limit. He has been active on twitter under many guises including Calvin Mantell https://twitter.com/croydoncyclists/status/609271776573530112 as well as the main Noto20mph account https://twitter.com/SayNOto20 
His activity has not been limited to social media, all across the consultation zone, his stickers and posters can now be found. I have today asked a public question to the Council asking if any action will be taken given there is clear evidence there is a connection between North Croydon UKIP and SayNoto20mph
For more info see press release at the bottom of this post.
Somewhat taken aback by Morgan's active misinformation, including leafleting the whole of consultation zone with at least two leaflets, local Greens are working with Croydon Cyclists to try an achieve a YES vote. Peter Underwood has written an excellent letter which was published in the Croydon Guardian.
I understand Labour's Councillor Kathy Bee has also been active. However, whilst there maybe individual councillors in favour of 20mph speed limits I don't detect massive levels of enthusiasm from Croydon Labour.

*** See here regarding UKIP and Morgan: http://croydongreens.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/letter-received-from-ukip.html

Press release immediate (18.06.15):
Starts:
Croydon Green Party today criticised a campaign to try and stop Croydon Council introducing 20mph speed limits on residential roads in the borough.
The http://saynoto20.org.uk/ web site is identical to the No to 20mph page on the http://www.ukipcroydonnorth.co.uk/ web site. The twitter account also appears to be run by a UKIP member.
Croydon Green Party spokesperson Shasha Khan (1) said, “Just like on Climate Change, UKIP are once again going against public opinion and common sense by disputing the overwhelming and logical evidence. They say that reducing speed limits to 20mph will have little if any impact to road safety but research shows that, on average, for every 1 mph speed reduction there is a 6.2% accident reduction (2).”
We are pleased the Labour council are following other councils in London, such as Islington and Southwark, in moving to 20mph limits. 20mph speed limits on residential roads has long been a national policy for the Green Party.”
Shasha continued “Unfortunately, the feedback I am getting from many mums and dads is that they thought the notices pinned on lamp posts were more of a notification rather than a consultation. They don’t realise that they have to tell the council that they support 20mph limits so that they are brought in.”

The no campaign have also been illegally flyposting their spurious messages on lamp posts in the area. We must not allow UKIP to hijack this consultation It is vitally important people go online and complete the survey at http://www.croydon.gov.uk/20mph or obtain a paper copy from the council.”
The consultation ends on 24th June. Croydon Council state that evidence has demonstrated clear benefits from lowering speed limits in residential areas, including
  • Improvement in road safety
  • Discouraging passing traffic
  • Encouraging walking and cycling
  • Improving the local environment
Ends

  1. Shasha was the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Croydon North
  2. http://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/drivers/speed/inappropriate/


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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

South London Incinerator: evidence of corruption


From PRIVATE EYE 1st May-14th May


There was also some additional coverage that I helped instigate just before the election. Private Eye carried a piece on the latest revelations in the infamous Rotton Boroughs page. Councillor Nick Mattey has been excellent in exposing this stuff. As someone who quietly cajoled Nick to come out in the way he has, I am so pleased with the results!

Jim Duffy from Sutton Greens has written an excellent letter to the CEO at Sutton Council which explains where we are at now.

Niall Bolger
CEO Sutton Council
 
Dear Sir

Introduction:

I read with some dismay, but not with surprise, that Viridor has donated £275,000 to the Holy Trinity C of E Church Hall in Wallington which is used routinely as a meeting venue by Sutton Liberal-Democrats.  The figure is so high that it draws attention to the fact that the local Lib-Dems have also been pushing through the planning application for the company's incinerator and it makes one wonder if this, in some way, is a reward for the council's co-operation in this matter.             
I would be grateful if Sutton Council could set up an independent inquiry into the whole process with a wide scope allowing investigation into any connected areas.               
 
In asking for this inquiry I would submit the following points:             
 
1. No other local churches or charities have received anything in the order of £275,000 from Viridor Credits, the committees allocating monies from Viridor's land-fill tax revenue. All Saints church, the nearest to the planned incinerator received just £15,000 despite being considerably less well off than Holy Trinity church hall. Apart from the church-hall, only national-level monuments such as Canterbury Cathedral and Glastonbury Abbey have received six-figure sums. Although there have been claims that the money is for the church building restoration, it does in fact appear destined to go to the adjoining well-appointed church-hall, for a car-park, landscaping and drainage. One must question the justification for such a huge donation to an already affluent church hall and how it is possible to spend so much on a car-park.            
                         
2. I understand the £275,000 was allocated to the church hall shortly after the three Lib-Dem councillors of the Wandle Valley ward had run a campaign promoting the Viridor incinerator. Two of the councillors are apparently regulars at the Church. The third one also sat as liaison person on 'Viridor Credits' at Sutton Council, helping advise how Viridor money should be best spent. Elaine Drage, the wife of John Drage, one of the Wandle Valley councillors is also an elder of the church and, like her husband, a major sponsor of Tom Brake who has from the beginning promoted the incinerator. It is now public knowledge that John Drage (and Elaine Drage) has had a long term personal friendship with Colin Drummond the recently retired chairman of Viridor but it is not clear at what stage in the promotion of the incinerator this declaration was made. Apparently he did not declare this conflict of interest to the SLWP, on which he served, until after substantial contracts had been awarded to Viridor.
 
3. It is believed that Viridor may hold some sway over the Viridor Credits Scheme.  Or perhaps pressure was applied here from some other quarter. It is perhaps here that special emphasis  of the inquiry needs to be focussed.

Points on the broader planning process:
 
4. National Lib-Dem policy is against waste incineration. Many Lib-Dem councils have fought against such planning applications on the grounds of health-risk to the public and that incineration would undermine recycling. It was in this respect somewhat 'contrary' for Sutton Lib-Dems to support the incinerator.             
 
5. At Sutton's second planning meeting to decide on the incinerator the Chief  Planning Officer wrongly stated that "there's a strong economic case" for a heat supply system from the incinerator to the Felnex estate. This statement seemed to sway the argument in a meeting delayed due to a split vote at the initial meeting. However a London conference of waste experts called "Where there's muck there's money" had previously unanimously agreed that such heat transfer systems are not economically viable. Also it was already known that the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) incinerator was not supplying heat to local residences for economic reasons, despite the incinerator being in existence for some twenty years. Recently a Sutton Council document has come to light, through the Sutton Guardian, showing the heat would be more expensive than from conventional boilers, not less expensive as had earlier been claimed, thereby throwing further doubt on its viability.
 
6. Councillor Stephen Fenwick has said publicly that he was coerced into changing his vote to favour the incinerator.              

7. Councillors Margaret Court and Monica Colman also changed their votes. It is not known what pressure if any was applied to them and all the councillors and officers involved in the planning process.
 
8. Viridor has been tardy in implementing timetabled planning agreements in Beddington Farmlands, due for transformation to a regional wildlife park, resulting in the loss of some rare species. Sutton council for its part seems to have let Viridor 'off the hook' in applying these crucial habitat agreements. As the unimproved land consequently had less ecological value this arguably balanced the planning application in favour of the controversial incinerator. Eleven local bird species were defined as rare and important in Viridor's planning applications. Two have now disappeared from the site, four are dangerously low in number and two were predicted to colonise but didn't. Viridor felled trees used by rare Tree Sparrows two years ago but this was met with impunity by Sutton Council.       
Lost birds: Redshank, Yellow Wagtail
Dangerously low in numbers: Tree Sparrow (Beddington is only one of two habitats in the South UK), Little Ringed Plover, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting
Predicted to colonise but didn't: Common Tern, Ringed Plover             
 
Summary:              
There appear to be numerous inconsistencies and opportunities for a conflict of interest which need to be questioned and I believe it would be best if Sutton Council could undertake a thorough means to clear up what might to outsiders seem like corruption. There is firstly the narrow question of how the Viridor Credits scheme could possibly justify such a large donation to an affluent resource which is so intimately linked with the ruling political party. Then there's a wider question of whether suspicious-seeming planning decisions could be linked to this (and any other unknown) donation, or pressures or coercions. 
 
The inquiry should be open and transparent and, in my view, should be undertaken by a local authority not involved with the South London Waste Plan, or otherwise by some other entirely independent agency with respected experience in this type of investigation. I would like to see representation from the Stop the Incinerator campaign in setting the parameters and agreeing the executors of the inquiry. I'm happy to help with any aspect of the investigation.
 
Please acknowledge receipt of this request by return and copy all replies to Paul Pickering from the Stop the Incinerator Campaign (above) as I may be off-line during the half-term break.               

Yours



Jim Duffy 

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Coverage in the final week before the election

When this site first emerged from cyberspace in June 2006, this blogger got quite excited when a letter of his was published; more so when he was making a contributory comment in an article; and if he ever had a photo of him in print, well two copies of the covering newspaper were purchased! All press cuttings at that time were scanned and posted on this blog. Getting coverage in the local papers around election time was much harder.

Fast forward to 2015. All three of us Green candidates received good coverage in the local papers. However, during the week before the election, this blogger found four different photos of his mug in the final edition of the Croydon Advertiser before the actual election. He also appeared on the front page of the Croydon and Sutton Guardian, the news page of the Croydon Citizen, and last, but not least, he was the subject of a revealing piece in Inside Croydon.

Croydon Advertiser (Friday May 1st) - Online version here

Croydon Advertiser (Friday 1st May) - online version here

Alongside the sublime Wilfried Zaha in Croydon Advertiser (Friday May 1st)

Croydon Advertiser (1st May) - Online version here

Croydon Guardian 29th April - online version here

Croydon Citizen (April 2015) - online version here


Article in Inside Croydon (April 29th) - online version here





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Friday, May 22, 2015

Analysis of #GE2015 vote in Croydon

This is the election that the Green Party moved from being a party described as an 'Other', to a party that has become a genuine threat to the established Westminister cabal. Credit must be given to Natalie Bennett for moving the Green Party away from the single issue identity that has limited our electabilty.

Results in Croydon:

Croydon North (62% turnout)

REED, Steve          LABOUR - 33,513 (62.6%)
MOHAN, Vidhi        CONSERVATIVE - 12,149 (22.7%)
MCKENZIE, W       UKIP - 2899 (5.4%)
KHAN, Shasha     GREEN - 2515 (4.7%) - Up from 2% in 2010
CORBIN, Joanna   LIBDEM - 1919 (3.6%)
HART, Glen           TUSC - 261 (0.5%)
BERKS, Lee           IND - 141 (0.3%)
STEVENSON, B    COMMUNIST - 125 (0.2%)

Croydon Central (68 % turnout)

BARWELL, G        CONSERVATIVE - 22,753 (43%)
JONES, Sarah       LABOUR - 22588 (42.7%)
STAVELEY, P       UKIP - 4810 (9.1%)
SUTTON, Esther  GREEN - 1454 (2.7%) - Up from 1.1% in 2010
FEARNLEY, J        LIB DEM - 1152 (2.2%)
ASHLEY, April       TUSC - 127 (0.2%)
CAMDEN, M          UK PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRACY PARTY - 57 (0.1%)

Croydon South (70% turnout)

PHILP, Chris         CONSERVATIVE - 31,448 (54.5%)
BENN, Emily         LABOUR - 14,308 (24.8%)
GARNER, K          UKIP - 6068 (10.5%)
HICKSON, Gill      LIB DEM - 3348 (6%)
UNDERWOOD,P GREEN - 2154 (3.7%) - Up from 1.7% in 2010
SAMUEL, Mark     PUTTING CROYDON FIRST! - 221 (0.4%)
BIGGER, J            CLASS WAR - 65 (0.1%)

All three of us Green candidates more than doubled our share of the vote. Labour candidates blamed Greens for their defeat in Croydon Central. The delightful Steve Reed tweeted:

Labour lost #CroydonCentral by 167 votes. 1545 people voted Green. So voting "progressively" for the Greens let the Tory in. 



It should be noted over and over again that Steve Reed is not progressive. He is indistinguishable to a standard Tory as this article on Inside Croydon explains.


Who are you calling geeky?

Our nation appears to have moved ever more to the right, hovering around the new Conservative position on the political spectrum. Labour took a Tory lite manifesto to the nation and still failed to win! History will show that Ed Miliband was too geeky, the electorate were worried that Labour needed the SNP to form a coalition, and the Conservatives somehow managed to conjure the idea that the economy works for everyone when one million use food banks.

I think the best way to analyse the election is to highlight the voters themselves. In each instance the conversation says it all:

The Green voter

Stall outside Sainsburys at Crystal Palace with Paula and Camillia. 


I met young Jade outside Sainsburys in Crystal Palace on the final Saturday before the election. She came to our stall. She explained that she couldn't decide whether to vote Labour or Green because her priority was to not let the Conservative in. Like so many, she was under the impression that the polls nationally probably mirrored the Croydon North constituency. I was at pains to explain to her that Labour had a 16,000 majority and that she lived in one of the safest Labour seats in the country.

However, she was still worried about the potential result. To someone who doesn't know the size of the constituency, how would one know if 16,000 was contextually a small number? I asked her to follow me on twitter so I could give her live updates from 10pm at the Count detaling the size of the Labour win, but she wasn't on twitter. At the end I took her mobile number and promised to text her updates from the Count!

The next day I texted her the results from the Selhurst by-election, adding I expected "the result in Croydon North to be a similar ratio". I didn't get a reply

I should have realised that texting her live from the Count would have been one extra thing to do too far. I only remembered to text her on Friday evening.

Thankfully she replied:

Hi yes me and my mum voted green. I unfortunately caught Cameron walking back into number 10 this morning. I know Steve reed won croydon north.



The Labour voter (in fact two Labour voters)

At 6pm on Election Day (7th May), donned with a rosette, I was greeting commuters outside Selhurst station when I met a young middle class professional couple exiting the station using the front entrance. They both approached me to say they had voted Labour in the morning, they would have voted Green but the risk of a Tory MP and government was too great. 

They started walking off towards the bus stop when I asked them, "Are you in favour of the privatsation of the NHS?" They turned back and both replied of course not. They walked back up to me. I showed them a transcript from BBC Newsnight where Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham states the private sector has a "supporting role" to play. I then explained that the Labour candidate is not the Labour candidate everyone thinks he is. He has co-written a paper championing the opening up of all public services to the private sector. The couple were shocked. I then went on to say that the Tory candidate is never going to get in, Steve Reed has a 16,000 majority. The faces of the couple dropped. She was first to speak. "We didn't know that, had we known we would have voted Green. We only moved to the area 6 months ago, and we assumed it was quite a mixed constituency." 

I could see a bus was now approaching in the distance. The young man spoke up to say their bus was coming. I then said I could tweet them an article detailing what I had just explained. The young lady gave me her twitter handle, her name was Lucy. The bus was now almost at the bus stop but they were keen to read the article. Frantically, I found Lucy on twitter using my phone and followed her. I said I would tweet her the article as they both rushed off to catch the bus which was still at the stop due to the volume of passengers boarding. I tweeted them the Inside Croydon article  as they got on the bus.

They must have read the article because 5 minutes later I got a tweet from Lucy saying:

Thanks. Next time....Good Luck. 



The Tory voter

Again outside Selhurst station, I met a slim fit suited, well groomed gentleman in his early 30s. He initially blanked me as he exited the station with the latest throng of commuters arriving from London Victoria. He was waiting for lift. A couple of minutes had passed by where we were the only ones outside the station. I went up to him to hand an A5 leaflet. Usually, Tories don't give away their voting intention, this one did straight away. "I am voting Conservative." He then told me, "you're not getting elected, this is a safe Labour seat." I asked him why he was voting Conservative? His reply was to do with the economy. He was particularly anxious about Ed Balls being in charge of the Exchequer. The economy was safe in the hands of Osborne and to him it was working.


 The Non Voter (in fact five non voters)

Stall outside Croydon mosque


For the first time ever, I ran a campaign table outside Croydon mosque. It will now be remembered as the trigger for the clash between Steve Reed MP and me over his tweet about the Gaza shelling by Israel.  

I walked along Dunheved Road handing out leaflets after friday prayers (Jummah). As is common, many of the congregation were catching up with friends outside the mosque. I approached five lads aged around 18-21. 

"Are you voting in the election?"

They all laughed.

"Nah mate." one said.

"I am the Green party candidate for this constituency?"

"What's that Labour?" one queried genuinely. [This happens a lot]

"No, Green Party"

Queue more laughter.

"What weed?"

"Yes we want to legalise weed"

Roars of laughter.

One of the five seemed to be more switched on than the others, said, "What's that other party, UKIP?"

"No I'm Green party." I gave them each an A5 flyer.

The main guy of the group, scanned the policies and with air of disbelief, said

"Boy, £10 per hour minimum wage." He definitely liked this policy.

I briefly started to talk about poverty wages and then I noticed their eyes were glazing over. I should have realised from the start that these guys viewed campaigners and the political class as rocks from another planet. They were totally disinterested in the political process. Moreover, voting was somehow viewed geeky and uncool.



The Lib Dem voter

I canvassed Dixon Road in South Norwood. After a series of Labour doors, I started to adapt my initial pitch by saying, "I assume you are a Labour voter, 62 per cent of voters in Croydon North vote Labour, even more in this street." One lady answered her door and to my surprise she said, "No I don't vote Labour."

"Are you Conservative voter?"

No

"Are you a UKIP voter?"

No

"You're not a Green are you, because I'm hoping you'd have told me by now?

No

"Oh, you're Lib Dem." [exclaimed in genuine shock] 

Yes.

We talked about the incinerator  and privatising the NHS but she wasn't budging. The only Lib Dems left in Croydon North, bearing in mind there are less than 2000 now, seem to be lifelong LibDemmers or have moved from areas where Lib Dems are strong, like Bemondsey and old Southwark. 


The UKIP voter

Again outside Selhurst station on Election Day, a young black girl, definitely a first time voter, came up to me to say she had voted UKIP. Somewhat amazed I asked her why? She replied a UKIP leaflet had come through her letterbox and she liked what she read. I asked her if she realised that many people feel UKIP is a racist party. She was the one now amazed. 


The TUSC voter

About a month before the elections I was handing out leaflets outside Norwood Junction, A commuter in hurry to get a train explained he was usually a Green voter but there's a TUSC candidate standing. I actually replied fair enough as dashed he into the station.


The voters have spoken:

Image from the Declaration at 5:30am on 8th May

This election unlike any other in history has flagged up the unfairness in our voting system. The election has delivered an unrepresentative democracy. I met many Green voters who were being "forced", as one Swedish voter told me, to vote tactically to keep the Conservative out. Yet, in Croydon North there was no need to vote tactically. Reed was sitting on a 16,000 majority, but Labour peddles the politics of fear to persuade voters to vote tactically. In my speech after the declaration I told the knackered audience that tactical voting was the winner in this election.

What is clear is that we are a live and genuine threat to Labour in Croydon. A few weeks after the Selhurst by-election one well known Labour councillor told me that it was the rise of the Green Party in Croydon North that his party were wary of, and not any Conservative challenge to their power base.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Have I smeared Steve Reed MP?


On 5th May, Steve Reed (Labour candidate for Croydon North) tweeted:

Two people from mosque hustings have now joined Labour, say they were angry about Green candidate's smears. Great to have them on board!

A smear is an unfair or untrue political attack designed to undermine someones credibility.

I myself and others have asked him for details but he hasn't responded. I feel it is appropriate to explain what I assume is he is referring to.

Firstly, I would say this is not a religious issue, this is about recognising what is right and what is wrong.

Last summer during the Israeli/Gaza conflict I noticed, by chance, a tweet sent by Steve Reed MP which had failed to capture the mood of what everyone was thinking.


@SteveReedMP to @NuriaCorbi in yr view how shd a country [Israel] respond if over 2000 rockets are fired at it in a year from launchers placed in populated areas?


I recall listening to phone-ins on the radio and nearly every fair-minded individual could see that Israel's shelling of Gaza and the resulting number of deaths, 2000 in comparison to 75, was disproportionate. Moreover, I spoke to a Jewish person who enlightened me on a her perspective on the crisis and she said that Israel possessed the best weapons in the world. She couldn't understand why if Israel was targeting the leaders of Hamas that civilians died, including the four boys playing football on the beach.

My point is this: I want the MP for Croydon North not to seemingly attempt to justify Israel's actions but to condemn her excessive use of force unequivocally.

These are the facts which I assume has lead to Steve Reed's 'smears' tweet:

FACTS:

1) On 17th April, I ran a stall outside the mosque at Friday prayers. I wrote out the ill-judged tweet on a piece of card.

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2) I shot the footage above after Friday prayers. About 45 minutes earlier, Steve Reed walked passed the stall and spotted the card which carried his tweet. He read it carefully and asked me in  a surprised fashion, "Did I say that?"

3) On 26th April, Croydon Mosque held a hustings for Croydon North. I sat next to Steve Reed. A question came up on the unconditional withdrawal from the occupied territories from a younger member of the audience.

Croydon Mosque hustings. Steve Reed (third from right) with me beside him

I commenced my answer by saying that we all have to recognise the anxieties that Jewish people carry about their security, especially after what happened during WWII. I finished answering the question by reading out Steve Reed's ill-judged tweet to @nuriacorbi, reminding the audience all fair minded people could see that Israel's reaction was wholly disproportionate.

His reaction was incredible. He went ballistic. I can't recall the full tirade but he did wag his finger in my face saying, "you claim to be someone with integrity, you should be ashamed of yourself." The word, "smear" was also used. Reed implied people should look at the full exchange and quoted a previous tweet he sent to @NuriaCorbi.

Presumably, Reed had realised that his tweet, which I had drawn his attention to on my stall, was ill-judged and he had taken the trouble to look back at the exchange with @NuriaCorbi in anticipation it could come up at the hustings.

Now, I happen to think bringing up the full exchange of tweets is the only defence of what he tweeted. However, his reaction, for me, was one of how dare you bring this us up because it looks really bad - and it is.

Immediately after the hustings, I went up to couple of the younger members of the audience and asked if I was wrong to read out the tweet? They replied I was right to read out his tweet and "his reaction said it all."

4) I contacted @NuriaCorbi via twitter to  actually find out what the person on the other side of the exchange thought. She kindly sent me the following Direct Message:

Yes, very disappointed in him because he was defending the indefensible in my opinion. I expected a more courageous stand from Labour. For me, the issue is very clear.

[After re-reading the ill-judged tweet]

I think his tweet needs no further explanation, it speaks for itself. He doesn't address why these rockets are fired in the first place. 
It is a typical textbook reply you get from people who support Israel's view. The next thing people come up with is that 'you're anti-semitic or anti-Jewish'. Nothing could be further from the truth, but they run out of arguments and it's a quick way to end the conversation. 
I'm just an ordinary person who tweeted something I felt strongly about and got I reply from a politician! It surprised me and it's nice he responded, but I'm still disappointed in his reply.

[I pointed out that he feels that I took his tweet out of context]

I guess that's easily done, but he never actually said what Israel were doing  is wrong, that's most what I was disappointed about most.  
I was hoping that some politician would take a clear stand on what was happening, and I saw that nobody was as outraged as they should have been, nobody was expressing any outrage or condemnation, I had just watched a report about Gaza and was in tears seeing the images.

5) On the final Sunday before the election I was canvassing in Thornton Heath and I bumped into an elder who was at the hustings. I asked his opinion about Steve Reed's reaction. He replied, "we saw his real character."

Conclusion

Is it accurate for Reed to say I subjected him to smears? Well, it is perfectly reasonable for me to inform people what Reed has tweeted. I have not deliberately lied because the tweet is clear to see. Therefore, I can only be accused of being unfair, in that I have misrepresented Reed's tweet. If I have misrepresented Reed's tweet then the error is my misinterpretation of it. If this is the case, then why not simply say this? Instead, Reed's initial reaction outside the mosque and Nuria's message to me leave me feeling Reed simply hated being exposed again.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crowdfunding




Crowdfunding continues to be a great tool for many Greens to raise money.

Not wanting to miss out, I've got a project too:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/green-party-mp-for-croydon-north

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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR