Monday, March 20, 2023

Norbury Park Memorial Walk (26/02/23) to remember Bob Steel and Peter Hickson

Beau walk through woods

Pausing at the coffee van

Graham reads a poem for Bob Steel

A circle at the viewpoint

Petals ready

Speech for Peter Hickson

Petals thrown in memory

Horse queues for coffee

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Grace Onions - Rest in Power

I received a text from Grace Onions' husband in late September that Grace had died. I had heard that she was battling with cancer. It's very sad news.

I didn't make it in person to the funeral but I was able to watch the live stream. The funeral was properly a celebration of a wonderful person who has been taken from us at the age of just 56.

Grace will be always remembered for her environmental campaigning. She was the embodiment of a committed campaigner. 

The celebrant at the funeral talked about Grace being long time supporter of Dignity In Dying. I didn't know about here involvement in this campaign. Then as fate would have it, she ended up fighting for the campaign from a lived experience. There is an article in the Metro newspaper about this.

Green Party activists in 2014. Grace in yellow.

If you were involved in any of the environmental groups in Croydon in the early noughties, it wouldn't be long before you came across the name Grace Onions. Probably via an email group. I have to admit when I saw her email address I wondered whether Onions was her actual surname! Maybe she was a horticulturist who had penchant for onions! 

When I first met her, I think at a Friends of the Earth Christmas do, I just felt I was talking to someone who was absolutely focussed on the cause.  I asked her if she was interested in standing as a Green Party candidate in her home ward of Waddon. She didn't take much persuading. 

The other thing I picked up on when I first met Grace was her accent. Fellow Green member, Chris Sciberras, later told me Grace described it as a Caledonian accent. 

Her close friend Ann said a few words at the funeral.  She recalled that when she had her children, Grace was pretty much the first person to go to see her and the new-borns. I had similar experience too. When our first child was born, Grace got in touch to come and see us all. I think apart from family, she was was first to congratulate us in person!

Whenever there was a demonstration, Grace was always there, usually with a newly made placard. At the funeral the celebrant reminded us all there was even one about bras! On that day she was highlighting a shortage of bras in a far off country devastated by war. 

Unsurprisingly, Grace was also active with XR. In April 2021 I got a message from her saying that she was going to do a sit-down protest in the street - on her own. I've still got the message:

So tomorrow, I'm actually going to do this, although am extremely nervous.  If you would like to support (photos on social media) or avoid,  I will be sitting down in the road, on my own, to raise awareness of the climate and ecological emergency at the entrance to Selsdon Road  (B275) by the post office at 11am.

There was coverage in Inside Croydon about her protest.

Take It To The Limit by The Eagles was played at the funeral. Grace certainly took it to the limit with her campaigning.  Rest in power Grace.

My thoughts are with the her two daughters and husband.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Muriel Passmore

This week I heard the sad news that Muriel Passmore had passed away. I exchanged messages with her sister-in-law Jackie. 

Muriel was a key environmentalist in Croydon in the early noughties. She was an active member of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Green Party. 

In 2010 she was part of the full slate of Green candidates in Croydon. She polled 507 votes in her home ward of Croham. 

I messaged Jackie that I remembered Muriel being a kind and gentle person, someone who was evidently ahead of the curve on green issues. Jackie replied, "She was passionate about what she believed in and as you say ahead of her time. She was recycling years ago."

Rest in Peace Muriel.

Continued: 14.09.2022

Organised by Aishah Mehmood, Croydon Peace Tree is now in its 10th year.

Muriel used to put messages on the tree. Here is a selection:


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The best results, ever!

Finally got a moment to type up what happened in the local elections.

Personally, the elections on 5th May were going to be interesting because areas that I have a strong connection with could - if all went to plan - could return their first Green councillor.

In Croydon, Ria Patel, Esther Sutton and Peter Underwood had been working all year round to make the breakthrough in Fairfield ward, and in Horley East and Salfords, Victoria Chester was hoping to add  her name to the seven green councillors already on Reigate and Banstead council.

This year I stood in my home ward of Chipstead, Woodmansterne and Kingswood:

425 EALES Labour
530 KHAN Green
1562 PARNELL Conservative

Last year I had stood in Horley East and Salfords and fell 340 votes short. During the campaign, Victoria Chester - a long standing Horley resident - came and helped during the campaign. We knocked on doors together. Just a year earlier she was "totally disengaged with politics." This time around, she won through the selection process and was aiming for victory.

Having been mega-active in Croydon from 2003-2015 I knew how unforgiving the first past the post system is in those densely populated wards. 

On 6th May I saw this amazing result on the Reigate and Banstead council website :

  • Victoria Louise Chester
  • Robert David Marr(CON)1,025
  • Tom Latter(LAB)444

I received a text from Victoria Chester:

OMG, I'm in total shock! And I need to go to work now!! Thanks for everything, will message later. 💚

On 7th May I got a text from Croydon Green, Martyn Post. He was explaining how the whole count was poorly organised - mainly because the Mayoral election was taking place at the same time.

His text read:

But watch out in Fairfield on Sunday counts at verification put it close between Lab and Grn. It actually caught me by surprise how it was going. 


On Sunday evening I got a text from Croydon Green Tracey Hague:

Ria and Esther have made history 💚💚💚💚💚

Eventually the results came trough a full 69 hours after polls closed:

Ria Patel (Green) 925 elected

Robert Clark (Labour) 923 elected

Esther Sutton (Green) 913 elected

Peter Underwood (Green) 890

Jose Joseph (Labour) 883

I exchanged texts with Esther, reminding her that back in 2009, I talked to her about joining the Green Party! I also exchanged texts with Bernice Golberg - who for many years did so much for Croydon Green Party.

I also received  messages via Twitter and Facebook saying "how much we all owed to people like you who spent years building Croydon Green Party" 

WHAT A RESULT! I feel so proud for Ria, Esther and Victoria. Tough on Peter, as he didn't make the clean sweep.

Across the country Green councillors won seats in the most unexpected areas. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

For Chipstead, Kingswood and Woodmansterne.


When looking at posts on Next Door, I sense that residents in Chipstead, Kingswood and Woodmansterne are very keen to avoid senseless infill development which gradually changes the appearance of an area.

Green Party councillors in Reigate and Banstead Council sit on various committees of the Local Authority and try to shape policy implementation in a fairer and more sustainable direction. Greens sit on Planning Committee for instance where we are keen to avoid overdevelopment - protecting the green belt but also the green character of many areas is a core value. However, Greens recognise this often means there is infilling such as back garden schemes which over time changes an area's character and quality, as has been happening at places like Nork.

Greens are also forced to navigate Government imposed targets for housing numbers (which are based on out of date statistics) in the Local Plan whilst at the same time pushing hard for for truly affordable homes ie Council Housing or socially rented provision across our Borough. 

As Greens have to work with the policies set out in the Local Plan we cannot reject things outright but we do ensure that where for instance back garden sites are proposed for development these are very carefully scrutinised - layout and design notably density, loss of trees and biodiversity, building lines and so forth - to avoid overbearing and cramped development impacting on the community. We favour the concept of the 20 minute neighbourhood too (now in the NPPF) to encourage access to local amenities on foot and by bike ie other than the car. Avoiding unnecessarily high density infill schemes in such accessible areas is important since existing minimum standards would otherwise require high parking provision, or worse, generate off street parking and potential neighbour conflict. 


I live on a road which suffers from potholes. Potholes need to be fixed properly and that means not waiting until the whole road needs resurfacing. I will make sure broken streetlamps, blocked drains and flytipping also get sorted.

Addressing the cost-of-living and climate crises 

More help to insulate homes is a simple win/win policy here.

Democratic deficit

Conservative councillors represent our ward within a Conservative dominated council, where the Greens are the leading opposition party. More Green councillors can give residents principled opposition, and hold the Conservative Council to account.


Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Sutton Council now joins residents in opposing the incinerator

I had to do a double take when the link above was circulated: Sutton Council opposes Viridor.

It is thought the new owners of Viridor, KKR, want to increase the level of waste by 10 percent, in addition to the 15 per cent granted last year. 

Inside Croydon did a good piece on this - there's even an old photo of me! 

Sutton Guardian have also covered the issue. 

From Sutton Guardian

It seems Councillor Abellan has now resigned.  Before he handed in his notice, I was copied in to  a letter Cllr Nick Mattey sent to him:

Dear Councillor Abellan.

I have to admit that dealing with the barrage of lies that spew from the mouths of Sutton Liberal Democrats is not just nauseating but stressful as well.  So much so that my GP has advised me to distance myself from anything to do with Sutton council. Having to confront people who are incapable of telling the truth .when you have spent your life avoiding such people takes its toll.  Nevertheless, I feel compelled to write to you regarding Viridors decision to dump Sutton Council with its deluded aspirations to go carbon neutral and get on with the serious business of burning as much waste as possible. 


From Viridor's point of  View, Sutton Liberal Democrats are now surplus to requirements.  Gone are the days when they would make sure that their charity made donations to churches connected with the Liberal Democrats.  Gone are the times they would donate  £100,000 to help the fledgling SDEN  make its first tentative steps on its way to insolvency.  Gone are the times when Viridor would go hand in hand to fight Shasha Khans judicial review,  that alleged conflict of interest. That was the JR where Viridor and Sutton council forgot to tell the judge that as soon as planning permission for the incinerator was approved £275,000 would be on its way to Holy Trinity church.

By withholding this information  Sutton and Viridor got their desired incinerator and Sutton Council was able to screw £5000 out of Shasha  Khan. What a victory,  taking money from a family man who was just doing his bit for the environment? 

                                                          The Incinerator is like a malignant tumor that is growing out of control.  From it emanates millions of carcinogenic particulates that then start cancers in innocent residents. .Residents hoped their council would protect them from harm. Instead, Sutton Council has created a cancer hub in Beddington that simultaneously pushes millions of tonnes of Green House Gases into the atmosphere.

Please do not reply that the incinerator only emits steam, if this was the case why would it require a permit from the EA. ?

Please do not reply that it's better than landfill, the only reason Beddington had a landfill is that the Liberal Democrat approved it.

In fact, 51% of the material burnt in incinerators is plastic and if plastic is landfilled it emits no GHCs it is inert.


                                                   What you and the rest of your Liberal Democrat Incinerator apologists fail to understand is that  Viridor has seen eight years of reverential praise for their incinerator from the Liberal Democrats.  Sutton Liberal Democrats are forbidden to call the incinerator an incinerator just in case anyone might discover its true purpose. This groveling support for incineration has emboldened Viridor.  Sutton is regarded as a soft touch.   They will be soon burning 500,000 tonnes a year. They know Sutton Liberal Democrats can never sto0p them, after all, councilor McCoy says Incinerators improve air quality. 


 You can read more lies put out by  Sutton  Liberal Democrats in 2013 to support  Viridor in the attached file .. Many of these leaflets were lovingly delivered by members of the congregations of the All Saints church  Hackbridge and Holy Trinity church. Wallington, They hoped a combined total of nearly £500,000 would come to their churches from Viridor's Charity, and miraculously it did. 

The  £500,000 of taxpayer's money  Viridor donated, has brought great prosperity to Viridor. Viridor knew that the 275,000 tonnes a year to be incinerated claimed in the leaflet by the Lib Dems was false. Why should they intervene to correct it? When you have councilors who are prepared to lie to help your business it's best to stay quiet.

Can you remind me? when has Viridor told you that Sutton can go carbon neutral? 

As  Councillor Zucheska has said I am one of the most obnoxious people she has ever met, somehow having strict regard for the truth in Lib Dem parlance equates to being obnoxious.  



Kind regards

Nick Mattey 




Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Correspondence with Crispin Blunt MP

Crispin Blunt MP ( image downloaded from Wikipedia)

The Simple Question

From: Shasha Khan
Sent: 9 December 2021 20:39
To: BLUNT MP, Crispin
Subject: 1 simple question:

Dear Mr Blunt.

Can you please give me a hypothetical example of something the Prime Minister may do that causes you write to the Chairman of the 1922 committee calling for a leadership challenge?

The reason I ask is, I realise that Mr. Johnson is unrivalled in his capacity as a vehicle for winning elections. I have no doubt other parties would jump at the chance to have him as leader, but winning elections isn't everything. Honesty, integrity, trustworthiness shouldn't be completely thrown under the bus in order to win elections.

Kind regards

The Response

On Fri, Dec 17, 2021 at 2:49 PM Crispin Blunt MP > wrote:
Dear Mr Khan,

Thank you for your email, and I agree that integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are of the utmost importance.

I understand the anger that you and other constituents felt at recent events such as allegations over a Party at Downing Street. Many of us have made enormous personal sacrifices throughout the pandemic and it is deeply uncomfortable to think that the people responsible for setting the rules may not have been following those rules. It is of vital importance that those making the rules are seen to be respecting them if the legitimacy of public policy is to be upheld.

I welcome that the Prime Minister apologised for the offence caused and the impression it gave. Furthermore, he confirmed that he was not present at this party, and directed the Cabinet Secretary to investigate this matter, establish the facts, and report back as soon as possible. I have been reassured that if it is found that Covid rules were broken, then there will be disciplinary action for those involved.

Yours sincerely,
Crispin Blunt

The Reply

From: Shasha Khan
Sent: 17 December 2021 16:12
To: BLUNT MP, Crispin
Subject: Re: 1 simple question: (Case Ref: CB17568)

Dear Mr Blunt,

I appreciate your reply but I wanted a hypothetical example of something the Prime Minister may do that causes you to write to the Chairman of the 1922 committee calling for a leadership challenge?

With the absence of an example, and your focus on the allegations of a "Party at Downing Street", am I to assume that the "Party at Downing Street", something you mentioned in your answer and something I didn't refer to you in my question is the point of no return?

Or, is the question unfair to ask? Please advise if this is the case.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

The Additional Response

Crispin Blunt MP

Jan 9, 2022, 
to me
Dear Mr Khan,

Thank you for your email before Christmas, and I hope you and your family had a good Christmas and New Year.

I am not able to answer this hypothetical question. What I can say is that my colleagues and I continue to scrutinise the Government and Ministers to ensure that the strictest standards are upheld, and I have not refrained from speaking out or voting against Government policy in the past when I felt this was not the case or that Government policy would not benefit the public interest. I hope it will reassure you to know that I will continue to do so in future.
Yours sincerely,
Crispin Blunt

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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Bob Steel mix

  1. Sidi Diabate and Ensemble - Sori

  2. Fela Kuti – Teacher Dont Teach Me Nonsense

  3. Spartacus - Freedom First

  4. The Specials – Ghost Town

  5. Poetry for B.Jones – Rolling Stones

  6. I'm yours and I'm hers – Rolling Stones

  7. Marc Bolan and T.Rex – Children Of The Revolution

  8. Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Oliver's Army

  9. Nena – 99 Luftballoons

  10. Woodstock – Stage Announcements

  11. Cat Stevens – Where Do The Children Play

  12. The Who – Who Are You

  13. Woodstock – Stage Announcements

  14. Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

  15. Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin'

  16. Wings – Mull of Kintyre

Mix can be heard here:

Above are the tracks I picked from Bob Steel's vinyl for a mix I've just done today.  The link will expire in 7 days :

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Standing up for what matters