Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Letter on Carpet Right's takeover of education in north Croydon


Dear Editor,

With regard to Dave Hill’s response to my letter, I am glad we are both in agreement that all children in Croydon should be provided first class education. To prove this point he champions the GCSE results of Harris Academy Crystal Palace but he fails to offer an explanation to how this has been achieved.

Harris Academy Crystal Palace is presently oversubscribed to the tune of ten applicants to one place; unsurprisingly the GCSE results are attracting parents north of the borough to select this school for their children. But how exactly has this improvement been achieved? The answer is the historical detail; something Mr Hill may not be too familiar with, as he is new to Croydon.

Twenty five years ago when I was entering secondary education north of the borough, the options my parents had were completely different to what is available now. Apart from the faith and private schools, Sylvan, Stanley Tec, Lanfranc, Norbury Manor for Boys, Selhurst and Ingram were all local to me.

Nowadays, Sylvan and Stanley Tec are part of the Harris Federation and Norbury Manor, Selhurst and Ingram are now closed. Immediately, one can see there is a shortage of boys places available north of the borough. Crucially, this gives the opportunity for Harris Academy to select the high achieving pupils from its wider catchment, and it can do this using its entrance examination. Maybe this is why the government’s own evaluation report on Academies published last month states "there is insufficient evidence to make a definitive judgment about academies as a model for school improvement".

The council has identified that two thirds of Haling Manor students reside north of the borough. Given that Harris is now the preferred sponsor for Haling Manor, are we witnessing the monopolisation of school places by a carpet dealer (Carpet Right), especially as now Lanfranc is earmarked for Academy status?

Seeing that this Tory council are defending Academies to the hilt by even relying on public servants to respond to letters, maybe they would like to offer a rejoinder on whether Lord Harris’ financial backing of David Cameron had a bearing when selecting his Federation as preferred sponsor?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party and Croydon SOS.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Comment given to Croydon Guardian on waste

Latest figures for 2007/8 on composting of household waste reveal the gulf that exists between the best and worst London boroughs. Harrow comes top, managing to send 18% of its household waste for composting. By comparison six London boroughs manage less than 1% (Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Lewisham, City of London, Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets).

"What these performance statistics actually show is that just under 95% of Croydon’s organic waste is dumped in landfill. This has a double whammy effect because not only are kitchen food scraps and garden waste a lost resource if not used correctly, the resulting methane emissions from this type of waste, if sent to landfill, is harmful to our climate.

Once again, we find that this council is short on ambition when it comes to waste management. Holding events like Eco Expo is all very well but if it is not backed up by policy with regard to the environment then voters will realise its all for show.

Why isn’t Croydon’s composting rate up there with Harrow? After all, it’s not Hamburg we’re talking about, with its 57% recycling rate – its Harrow another London borough!!!"

Local Authorities League Table below:

Percentage of household waste sent for composting or anaerobic digestion -
Harrow 18.20
Bexley 17.62
Hillingdon 12.58
Barnet 12.42
Richmond upon Thames 11.54
Enfield 10.11
Waltham Forest 10.05
Sutton 9.86
Brent 8.90
Ealing 7.86
Havering 7.82
Bromley 6.84
Kingston upon Thames 6.66
Haringey 6.57
Hackney 6.53
Croydon 6.29
Barking and Dagenham 5.58
Islington 5.41
Redbridge 5.00
Greenwich 4.78
Hounslow 4.26
Southwark 4.02
Merton 3.75
Camden 3.23
Lambeth 2.58
Newham 2.06
Hammersmith and Fulham 1.50
Kensington and Chelsea 0.90
Westminster City Council 0.84
Lewisham 0.58
City of London 0.38
Wandsworth 0.29
Tower Hamlets 0.15

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Monday, December 15, 2008

'How I brought the Provos' girl with a gun in from the cold' by Colin Smith

Colin Smith's piece in the Observer on Cllr Maria Gatland was factually incorrect with regard to events that led to Councillor Maria Gatland's connections with the IRA being made public. I did send in a letter to the editor to highlight the inaccuracies.....but alas it was not published. For the record:

Dear Editor,

Colin Smith's 'first person' account of Maria Gatland (formerly Maria Mcguire) contains one glaring inaccuracy and one astute observation. It was the 'Croydon Save our Schools' campaign that hinted at Cllr Maria Gatland's shady past during an education debate in Croydon council and not Labour. Additionally, the connection was mentioned in order to highlight the complete disregard that she and her Tory council had for the views of parents, pupils and teachers affected by her school closing agenda - and not for any "amusement". However, Smith's conclusion that back in the 70's she was "enjoying her notoriety" is most revealing. Throughout the aforementioned public meeting Cllr Gatland seemed to relish the opportunity to dismiss the concerns of anxious campaigners in the packed public gallery.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Save our Schools

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Written version of speech given to Croydon SOS Trade Union Rally

Below is the speech I gave to the Croydon Save our Schools Trade Union Rally.

Picture and report from event are on the BBC web site.

Green party councillor Romayne Phoenix was marked down to speak at this rally today. Regrettably, she is at a council meeting in Lewisham. She sends her apologies.

Nevertheless, you’ll be pleased to know you’ve got me to say a few words!

I wanted to talk about three aspects to this Secondary Review in Croydon. Firstly a more holistic look at what is going on; secondly an appraisal of the private sponsors selected; and finally the group Croydon SOS itself.

Now being a Green, I do like to look at things holistically. What we are seeing is this Academy programme is part of a wider agenda – namely the marketisation of our public services. I hope you agree with me that public services are best kept publically owned, publically funded and publically accountable.

But across a whole range of sectors including transport, health and education – which we are seeing first hand - there is a continued creeping privatisation. It’s important that unions, campaign groups and political parties continue to fight these changes – because once the public are informed - they are on your side. I’ll give you an example: a few months back, we the Green Party ran a stall at the Thornton Heath street festival. We brought along our usual leaflets etc and I also had a couple of placards which said ‘KEEP THE NHS PUBLIC.’ Within a few minutes people were coming up to our stall asking where to sign. My colleague and I who were manning the stall hastily put cobbled together a petition and by the end of the day we had collected three pages of signatures. It was made to clear to me then that at times the general public are aware of the issues and need at times a route to register the anger or concern.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to appraise the private sponsors that are preferred by this council. When the preferred sponsors were announced on Monday, my immediate reaction was that clearly there are only one or two sponsors coming forward, especially with no one still preferred for Selsdon High. Arguably, the combination of the lack of a life peerage in the offing and economic crisis is limiting the selection pool.

Seeing we are talking about education, I figured the best way to appraise these sponsors is maybe like report card.

So let’s start with Lord Harris or Baron Harris of Peckham – let’s look at his attendance. Well so far, Harris has taken on Sylvan and Stanley Tec. It’s fair to say that Harris is oversubscribed at present. But it’s important to look closer at the situation north of the borough. When I was 10 going on eleven years old, living north of the borough (as I still do), there were several local state schools I could have selected. Norbury Manor, Ingram, Selhurst, Lanfranc, Sylvan and Stanley Tec. Norbury Manor, Ingram, and Selhurst are no more and Sylvan and Stanley Tec are now Harris Academy. This leaves Lanfranc which is now also earmarked for Academy status. So essentially, what I am saying is that you haven’t got much choice if you live north of the borough.

Now if you factor in the statistic that, according to the council, 2/3 of Haling Manor pupils reside north of the borough AND now we find that Harris is the preferred sponsor of Haling Manor.
We can see your option is practically Harris or Harris as of next year.
Surely this is one for the monopolies and mergers commission.
This essentially allows Harris to cream the high-achievers north of the borough.

Now, what about the attendance of Oasis. Oasis Trust are the sponsor of nine secondary schools and now they are the preferred sponsor for Ashburton. It is important to remember that they only opened their first Oasis Academy in September 2007. We’re still in 2008. Where is the track record? The House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee recently criticised the expansion of academies because it is an untested model.

Going back to our report card, what about the behavior or attitude of Oasis? Now here, I have to say that Reverend Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis, is an incredibly charismatic individual – this worries me because you simply don’t know what the real motivation is behind the façade. What is his real background? What’s in it for him to take on so many schools? One thing that Gatlandgate has taught us is that we simply don’t know what the background is of an individual. Cllr Gatland had ability to continue a whole council meeting without letting on the strain she must have been enduring inside. One thing we do know about the Reverend Steve Chalke is that in a recent Radio 4 interview he reckoned that moral values could only originate from the bible.

What about the behavior or attitude of Lord Harris? Well what we do know is that he has made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party and is considered to be one of his personal friends. You’ve got to ask the question, has this influenced the selection?

Finally, I wanted to talk about the Croydon SOS group. What a relief it is to so many that we kick started this group. Before Croydon SOS existed, we the Croydon Green Party wondered how it would possible to fight these proposals. Like you we were astounded at the gall of this axe wielding council. We wondered how we could join up with like minded people from different organisations. Jay my fellow Green Party colleague who is the audience was receiving emails from British Humanist Association about their concerns. We have to thank the Croydon Trades Council for their leading role here. In fact, we should all give ourselves a pat on the back on getting this far – we’ve had some small wins - but we have to recognise the fight must continue.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Local Green member interviewed in New Nation

New Nation, the weekly newspaper for Britain's black community, recently interviewed Green party supporter Paul Macey and local Green party member Dr Stan Prokop on the South London Waste Plan.
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Climate Change March and Bike Ride

Approaching Parliament Square



Earlier in the day, reaching the end of the pre-march bike ride.



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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cllr Gatland is a former IRA activist.

Photo: Kent News and Pictures and Daily Telegraph

It's intriguing when something seemingly innocuous suddenly has a devastating impact. This story has hit national news now, yet when Croydon SOS activist Dr Peter Latham asked his question from the public gallery on Monday night - very few could have predicted this fallout. In fact in a meeting afterwards, the Croydon SOS group felt that Peter had maybe missed the opportunity to ask a pertinant question on Academies to Cllr Gatland. WELL, WE WERE WRONG.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Video of latest Save our Schools demo outside town hall



Large numbers of protestors again lobbied the council on their plans to 'Academise' three schools in Croydon. Following successful public meetings in Ashburton, large number of parents and pupils voiced their anger outside the town hall and in the public gallery.
It was announced last night that the preferred sponsor for Ashburton is Oasis Academy and for Haling Manor it's Harris (again).

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Letter sent to the editor on the Secondary review

Dear Editor,

Now that another informal consultation on Croydon Schools Secondary Review is under way, followed by the statutory equivalent in the new year; I sincerely hope that parents and pupils are able to have access to all the facts in order to participate in the consultations. The formation of ‘Croydon SOS’, a couple of months back, seeks to achieve just that.

Croydon SOS or to give the organisation its full title ‘Save our Schools in Croydon’ is made up of representatives from a variety of backgrounds including, the Croydon Green Party, NUT, NUSUWT and the British Humanist Association. Each one of the representatives has the same motivation as every parent in Croydon - to ensure that children in Croydon have the best possible education, and here Croydon SOS believes this can best be achieved when the schools are governed in the interests of children not through private individuals or businesses.

In the near future, I don’t want a mother from a local school asking me how it came to be that the Academy sponsor selected is now demanding that pupils study creationism. I also don’t want another mother asking me why the assets to a school, where her son attends, were handed over to a public limited company that is now affected by the financial downturn and wants to pull out. These are actual cases.

Unfortunately, this council is only presenting their side of the story and stifling attempts to have an open debate about the proposed academy status of Haling Manor, Ashburton and Selsdon High. Croydon SOS have tried to inform parents by leafleting outside schools and asked to use pupil post schemes but these methods have been blocked. It is paramount that parents are properly informed on the ramifications of Academy status. Parents should be balloted on these proposals. This has been the process in other parts of the country.

Given the obstacles Croydon SOS has experienced, I would urge parents to find out more through http://www.croydonsos.org.uk/ and http://www.antiacademies.org.uk/.

The public are being fed this Academy nonsense by both Labour and Conservative parties. This Labour government want to turn 400 more secondary schools into Academies. Meanwhile the Tories want to open over 1000. Data from an evaluation of Academies by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that the government claim that these schools raise standards is highly questionable. This research indicates that Academies skew their intakes in favour of those from higher-achieving backgrounds and exclude more children than maintained schools. As a result community schools are adversely affected. Local authorities can ‘direct’ maintained schools to accept special needs and looked after children but can only ‘ask’ Academies.

Other countries around the world have a good local school for every child, why can’t we?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party and Croydon SOS.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lobby councillors on 1st December.


The full Croydon Council meeting on December 1st will be discussing the proposed school closures and creation of academies. Croydon SOS will again be demonstrating outside the town hall to show their disapproval. Campaigners made their presence felt at the last council meeting.
COME AND SUPPORT THE LOBBY outside Croydon Town Hall, Katherine Street

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Climate March

Saturday December 6th 2008

March on Parliament to demand that the government acts on climate now !
Part of a Global Day of Action - see www.globalclimatecampaign.org
- last year 70+ countries were involved !

The march this year goes to Parliament Square to demand that the government act now on climate. The march will now start at Grosvenor Square (5 mins from Speakers Corner, Hyde Park - Bond Street or Marble Arch tube. Apologies for any confusion over starting point see more here) - assemble 12 noon. Full schedule here

Speakers will include Nick Clegg (leader Liberal Democrat Party), Caroline Lucas (leader, Green party), Michael Meacher (ex-Environment Minister) and George Monbiot (Honorary President, Campaign against Climate Change).

The march will be preceeded by a climate protest bike ride starting from Lincoln's Inn Fields at 10.30 am:

see more here.

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Letter from Chris published in local paper

Dear Editor

The axing of the Crystal Palace Tramlink extension shows just how empty the promises are that Boris Johnson made during the mayoral elections. He called for ‘new ideas and fresh thinking’ about transport in London. He also pledged to introduce measures to tackle congestion and improve public transport in outer London. The travelling public in Croydon have simply been duped by promises that should never have been made, which Steve O’Connell, Croydon’s Tory GLA member, at least admitted.

Croydon residents need the Mayor to ‘make our transport system better to improve our quality of life’(another mayoral aspiration shelved). In Croydon traffic congestion is making rush hour journeys by public transport in the borough longer, forcing people to abandon buses for cars and increase congestion. Has the Mayor given up on Croydon and why weren’t we told earlier?

Chris Sciberras
Croydon Green Party


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Monday, November 10, 2008

Save our Schools events

Lobby of council cabinet meeting - outside the Town Hall from 6pm on Thursday 13th November.

SOS - first in a series of public meetings at schools threatened with closure at Selsdon High School on 18th November at 7pm.

Save Our Schools web site
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Friday, November 07, 2008

Greens help save Addington High and Westwood Language School from closure


Well what a U TURN! Rumours had started to circulate that Addington High was going to be left alone in the councils’ revised schools shake up; but Westwood, being saved came completely out of the blue.

The flyer attached to this post lists the public meetings that had been organised by Croydon Save our Schools – it’s a good thing we didn’t print thousands of these.

Essentially, a group of like minded organisations - Croydon Trades Council, Croydon Green Party, NUT, NUSUWT, British Humanist Association, the Labour group and a host of other trade unions - formed Croydon SOS to stop this Academy madness in Croydon. It just goes to show what can be achieved if you mobilise and take on this the powers that be.

I am particularly pleased because I was given the task of securing the public meeting at Westwood Girls College. The principal of the school agreed to the meeting on 18th November. We had even secured Green Lewisham councillor Romayne Phoenix for the panel.

Additionally, having had discussions with experts in the field of discrimination, Croydon Green Party submitted a letter of concern about Equalities Impact Assessment to the consultation with regard to the planned closures (four schools closing – two super Academies opening) with reference to Westwood – a girls school.

Arguably, the council appear to be testing the water with regard to their plans for school closures and where they come up against resistance they shift their attention. The audacity of this Tory council is breathtaking.

So, the fight isn’t over. The council seem to be hell bent on this programme of madness and another school is now are being earmarked for Academy status. They have now shifted their attention to Archbishop Lanfranc . Looks like the council are simply going through the alphabet??

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Clever children vote Green as adults

I must admit this study, which I first heard this morning on Five Live, has put a smile on my face. In fact a Green Party supporter who lives in Thornton Heath told me today that she was not surprised to hear that clever children vote Green as adults. Her son (aged 10) has a Green party sticker in his bedroom and has been accepted into Wallington Grammar school with one of the highest scores in the entry exam.

The study by the Univeristy of Edinburgh and UK Medical Research Council essentially concludes that children with higher IQ's are more likely to vote Green than Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem in later life. They are least likely to vote UKIP and BNP.

What we need is an empath (Deanna Troi would be preferable) to seek out these potential Green voters and get them to join the party!
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Friday, October 31, 2008

Jean Lambert MEP meets Croydon shoppers!

Pictured: Gordon Ross, Shasha Khan, Jean Lambert MEP and Ms Swarovski
at the Eco Exhibitors Fair in the Whitgift Centre. A very successful event for us - loads of interest.
Shortly after this picture was taken we experienced a bizarre moment. In the box - which can be seen under the table - we had some spare leaflets and cotton bags that we were giving away. As I lifted the box from under the table to pack up the stall we were suddenly mobbed from all angles. The appearance of a stall closing down with only a handful of bags remaining, coupled with the fact we were in a shopping centre in an economic downturn.....AND WHOOSH all hell broke loose. It all happened so quickly we weren't able to put any leaflets in the bags :-(
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Urban roof gardening



One of the more insightful events within Croydon's EcoExpo was Croydon's 'garden in the sky'. Situated on level 6 of the 'Q' park in the heart of Croydon, this example of what can be achieved in the uber urban environment was very informative. The passionate and driven Paul Richens (Blue Dome Synergies) must have demonstrated the art of rooftop gardening to hundreds of adults and children over the passed week.
I got a chance to have a one to one demonstration as he was keen to convey the potential. Everything is possible: composting, organic herbs and vegetables and even wormeries. We talked about disappearing front gardens and the fact that council's do nothing to stop homeowners paving over their lawns to park their cars. Paul had an interesting take on this: if even the smallest of front gardens are going to be converted to drives then the homeowner should be required to use their roof or another part of their building to compensate for the resulting surface run off.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Acting Borough Commander admits "halfway house" needs to be found on Knife Arches.


Last Thursday's public meeting in Thornton Heath convened by Croydon Police, Croydon Community Police Consultative Group and the council arguably turned out to be a different kind of meeting than everyone envisaged.

Firstly, those attending were told Borough Commander, Mark Gore, was on a course and was unable to attend the meeting . Apparently, Commander Gore has been promoted up the ranks of the Met Police. The new acting Borough Commander filled in for him. The council and the met police began by explaining the new 'Safe for All' campaign to Thornton Heath residents.

However, the meeting changed direction when I pointed out that racial profiling, when using 'stop and search' powers could only have a negative impact on confidence and trust within sections of the community. Black Caribbean councillor Louisa Woodley also made passionate a comment after a resident claimed that she saw a group of 'black teenagers' unfairly targeted in central Croydon.

I was also was able to use this opportunity to question the incredibly poor process of recording a 'stop and search', when using using 'knife arches'. Earlier this year I was 'stopped and searched' and asked to walk through a 'knife arch' at Thornton Heath station and instead of receiving a completed form I was given a piece of note paper with a reference number and told if I wanted to view a full record of this 'stop and search', I would have to present the reference number to the local police station within the next two weeks.

I am pleased to say the acting Borough Commander agreed that this type of streamlined processing was not acceptable . He indicated that this procedure had been brought in to ensure that commuters did not experience delays at transport interchanges. He admitted that it would be difficult to follow routine 'stop and search' procedures when using a 'knife arch' BUT he recognised the need for a 'halfway house'.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Letter on small businesses

20.10.08

Dear Editor,

I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of Mr K Williams’ correspondence regarding the imminent closure of Turtles.

For so long Turtles has flown the flag for independent retailers in the town centre. I too wonder which clone town operator will now end up replacing them on Park Street.

There is no doubt that with the dark clouds of the economic slowdown looming on the horizon, Croydon’s independent retailers are going to be under pressure to maintain their presence on our parades. This was clear to me earlier this year when I knocked on a few shops to ask for sponsorship for a community event. I found that most were tightening their belts. I am particularly fearful for the borough’s convenience stores. Yet, we see in the news that the profits of some major supermarket chains are soaring. In times of uncertainty shoppers are flocking to where they perceive value to be had. In actual fact, convenience stores are competitive in many lines.

The reality is that the dominance that supermarkets have in the retail sphere threatens the very existence of convenience stores. The government doesn’t help the situation by proposing to remove the ‘need’ test when considering planning applications for more out of town superstores and the small ‘in town’ convenience format of the major supermarkets. I was shocked to see another one of these open up on London Road (near Mayday hospital) with no doubt more to follow.

What is needed is a complete overhaul of the local business tax system in favour of independent retailers. More often then not, their profits stay in Croydon rather than disappearing to remote corporate headquarters. Our local businesses need assistance to get through this period of economic uncertainty and beyond in order to thrive on the boroughs’ high streets and parades. Whenever and wherever possible we must all try and support them.


Yours sincerely


Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Footage from Indecent Exposure - part of Eco Expo


Well done to Susan and Jean Marie for organising the event.
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Eco Expo in Croydon



Last Friday (17th October) saw the private launch of the Eco Expo in Croydon at the Hilton Hotel; 10 days of stunning events which culminate in the commencement of a Climate Change Partnership in Croydon. Full credit must go the Environment & Sustainability Team at the council who are punching above their limited resources to change Croydon for good.

Tory councillors opened the event, followed by a presentation by TV presenter Oliver Heath. Awards were given out to the winners of the Eco Bags competition. A glamorous lady called Koreen won the over 19's design and Denny Gholami won the under 12's section, with his funky and simple design, 'Eco Bags Rule'.

The event also saw the opening of the Footprints Exhibition. A private reception of local artists’ work, "that will inspire us to take the necessary actions to move towards a sustainable future."

Unknown to me Mary Davey, Green Party candidate for Waddon in 2006, was exhibiting her work there! She explained to me that she deliberated for ages what she was going to draw and then she came up with the idea to remind us all about the disappearing bees.
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Cynics would argue that Eco Expo is not really a genuine attempt by the Conservative council to promote the green agenda but merely tokenism to woo green voters. We shall have to wait and see - breath and holding are two words that spring to ones mind.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

EuroPEACE Network Reception




At the back end of last month I attended a reception for EuroPEACE 2 on behalf of Jean Lambert, London's Green MEP. EuroPEACE stands for European Project for Cultural and Ethnic Equality. EuroPEACE 1 ran from 2005-7.
The project is funded by EU Youth Programme Action 5. Essentially, the project tackles the problems of oppression and violence affecting young people due to cultural, religious, gender, race and sexual discrimination. The project is run in Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia and the UK.

EuroPEACE was conceived by the excellent Pupil Parent Partnership (PPP) based in Acton, West London.

PPP experienced increasing levels of local violence linked to substance misuse, gang culture, and inter cultural violence. Young people’s feelings of fear, insecurity and disbelief were identified and explored at events organised in local neighbourhoods, thus creating a forum for those involved to share their experiences.

At the reception I had the opportunity to find out how representatives from the other five countries were tackling similar problems in their respective countries.
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Is D112 the mystery artist behind the shadow men?


Last week the Croydon Advertiser contacted the Croydon Green Party regarding the shadow men that are appearing around the borough. The hunt for the wannabe Banksy renegade artist led them to the proverbial doorstep of peace and environmental groups in the borough. A correspondent on the web version of the article suggested that the artist was using these images to remind locals of what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The power of the nuclear bombs in 1945 left shadows of men, women and children burnt into the walls of buildings.
As it happens, one of our local members was advised that Croydon CND has used this method of street art in the past to remind us of the horror of nuclear weapons. The web version of the article has received comments from a certain D112 who claims to be the artist behind the images.
Come on then D112, if you read this tell us what the meaning is behind them? One thing is for certain with more disused buildings resulting from the credit crunch, you've got a lot more blank canvases.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cynthia Mckinney US Green Party's presidential candidate



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Thursday, September 11, 2008

A small victory!

After sending letters to the local papers and campaigning at the Thornton Heath festival, Labour have now removed the offending NHS birthday card. :-)

We are now blessed with a picture of Malcolm Wicks MP!

Extract from the original letter:

"......multinationals will only pick off the profitable services on offer. As a result care for mental health and the elderly are now severely lacking.

We are sleepwalking towards an American system where huge chunks of health expenditure are wasted on the costs of operating in the market, i.e., making and monitoring contracts, marketing, invoicing and even tackling fraud.

If the Croydon Labour Party has any self respect they should remove the card from the window of their constituency office immediately."
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rejoinder to Labour's reply re NHS birthday card

Passer-by signs the petiton at the Thornton Heath Festival

7th September


Dear Editor,

I’d like to thank Cllr Mansell for her commentary on the Labour government’s response upon taking office in 1997. There is no doubt that NHS was starved of investment when the Tories were last in power.

However, Cllr Mansell regrettably fails to recognise that the guiding rule, namely the NHS must be ‘publically owned, publically funded and publically accountable’ has been broken by Labour; and with that the model national health service which was once the envy of the world is now reduced to a national health business.

Labour has failed to recognise that there is very little appetite for this rush to embrace multinational corporations who profiteer from the ill health of people in this country.

This strength of feeling to oppose the privatisation of the NHS was made clear to me today at the Thornton Heath Festival (Sunday 7th). On our Green party stall we had a couple of placards saying, “Keep the NHS public” on display. Early on in the day, a lady came up to our table and asked where she could sign? My colleague and I looked at each other quizzically and hurriedly started a petition on a pad I had brought along. We had simply expected to hand out leaflets to revellers who passed our stall.

Astonishingly, within four hours we had two and half pages of signatures under the handwritten statement: ‘We the undersigned would like to see the NHS remain in public hands’. People from all backgrounds were signing the petition, including former and current employees of the NHS. I will submit the petition to Labour’s Croydon North constituency office as soon as possible.

I wonder if Cllr Mansell would too have signed the petition if she still worked in the NHS and was not, as she is now, a Labour spokesperson on health.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Letters in the paper re NHS birthday card

The letter/s I sent out regarding the NHS birthday card in Labour's constituency office window were published. The intention was to highlight Labour's use of spin to convey that they alone are the 'defenders' of the NHS with this sort of imagery. My letter has prompted a reply (below) from Labour's Health spokesperson: -


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Media coverage on the changes to Croypost

BBC online coverage here
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Green New Deal

Tony Juniper speaking at the Green party conference.

At the recent conference Greens were advised about the new report called the "Green New Deal". This has been written by a panel which includes Caroline Lucas (Green MEP and leader), Co-director of Finance For The Future Colin Hines, SolarCentury boss Jeremy Leggett, Guardian Economic Editor Larry Elliot, and former Friends of the Earth chief Tony Juniper.

Essentially, the report acknowledges the triple whammy of credit crunch, energy prices/security and climate change and then sets out practical steps to deal with the problems.
Broadly speaking, the solution is a massive investment in energy efficiency and renewables funded by local authority bonds and cheap finance, which in turn creates tens of thousands of new jobs.

More can be found here.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Caroline Lucas elected Green Party leader




Many Croydon Greens attended the annual conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies this weekend. The highlight of the conference was the election of Caroline Lucas to the post of first ever Green Party Leader. Congratulations Caroline! She received 90% of the vote. Hopefully, many will have found her excellent acceptance speech inspiring. The auditorium was packed to the rafters for this historic occasion. She has always maintained that the Green Party needed a leader so that the party's message could be effectively communicated and there can be no doubt Caroline is an effective communicator.
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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Nilanthan Murddi


Dotted around West Croydon currently are eulogies to Nilanthan Murddi, the teenager who was stabbed to death on Sumner Road. As I only live a couple of roads away from where the incident took place, it is noticeable that the vibrant local Tamil community is unsurprisingly in a sombre mood, mourning the death of one of their sons. When you read all the messages and see all the flowers on Sumner Road, one only feels sadness. My deepest sympathies go to Nilanthan’s family and friends.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Green Party stall at Carshalton Green Fair


Thanks George for forwarding this photo taken at the Carshalton Green Fair. During a spare few seconds in between taking orders, washing up and waiting for the kettle to boil - the Sutton and Croydon Green Party gang had time to pose for this photo. Well done to everyone that helped run the stall.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Press release on Croypost facilities


CLOSING COMPOSTING FACILITIES IS BACKWARD STEP

Croydon Green Party spokesperson, Shasha Khan, today described the closure of composting facilities at Conduit Lane and Factory Lane as a “backward step.”

The compost, known as Croypost, is made from garden and green waste and is widely used by gardeners throughout the borough who collect it at the council’s site at Conduit Lane. Additionally, Croypost is available at the Waste Transfer and Recycling Centre at Factory Lane.

The Croydon Green Party has learned that the composting facilities at Conduit Lane and Factory Lane are due to close in October.

Croydon Council has signed a new contract that will see most green waste in the borough processed at a site in Beddington.

Shasha said, “Closing composting facilities at Conduit Lane and Factory Lane is nothing short of a backward step taken by this council. We should be heading towards a situation where Croypost is available from Croydon’s parks.

“By shifting services to Beddington, the council only succeeds in making it difficult for gardeners to collect the compost.

“Waste is a resource opportunity, not a problem. The council should adopt a zero waste strategy giving residents and businesses the opportunity to reuse, recycle and compost everything possible with minimum effort and maximum convenience.

I’ll be writing to the council demanding an explanation for what is a regressive decision.”

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What is wrong with this picture?

LOOK CLOSER....

It's prompted me to write a letter to the local paper:

Dear Editor,

I almost careered into an oncoming car when cycling past Labour’s Croydon North Constituency Office the other day. Whilst riding through Thornton Heath High Street I noticed a celebratory card in the window of the office. I had to double back to make sure my eyes had not deceived me. The card said, “Happy 60th Birthday NHS.”
I cannot believe the gall of this Labour Party. To put that card in the window is tantamount to a mugger slowly pummelling and battering their victim, only to have the nerve to send a birthday card to the victim whilst they lie bruised and condemned in a hospital bed – and don’t be getting too comfortable in that bed because the ‘Discharge Coordinators’ will be looking to get you out of the hospital as quickly as possible.

This Labour government are hoodwinking the public and privatising the NHS by stealth. They are actually demolishing the NHS at levels that even Margaret Thatcher didn’t dare contemplate. Goodbye to the founding principles of the NHS, because thanks to Labour we are now customers and not patients.

First the cleaning and the catering in hospitals were outsourced to private firms; now core services like GP surgeries are being run by private firms. Is it any wonder that the British Medical Association has collected 1.2 million signatures in an effort to protect surgeries?

A private firm operating within the NHS by its nature is taking public money and putting it into the pockets of their shareholders. They are attracted to the commercial provider role by the profit that is available and in effect are making money out of people’s ill health. These multinationals will only pick off the profitable services on offer. As a result care for mental health and the elderly are now severely lacking.

We are sleepwalking towards an American system where huge chunks of health expenditure are wasted on the costs of operating in the market, i.e., making and monitoring contracts, marketing, invoicing and even tackling fraud.

If the Croydon Labour Party has any self respect they should remove the card from the window of their constituency office immediately.

Yours sincerely


Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Comment given to the BBC

Its extraordinary to think that Oasis Academy Coulsdon will open in a couple of weeks time. It was only February when the council cabinet commitee deliberated for a mere 14 minutes the results of the consultation when coming to their decision. I am sure even the Oasis Trust would have preferred at least two years to takeover the school.

Link to the article in the BBC

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Coverage in the Croydon Guardian


Recently the Croydon Guardian has invited comment on non-environmental stories they have carried. For those people who have read the articles, I feel this blog is an opportunity to expand on what was quoted and explain what principles are behind the comment.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Guardian reporters obtained statistics which showed that despite high profile police operations there were actually twice as many arrests for possession of a knife in 2003-2004 than 2007-2008. Against a back drop of more police 'stop and searches', it does raise concerns about the quality of police initiatives.

A couple of months ago I was stopped and searched and asked to walk through a knife arch at Thornton Heath station. I was happy to oblige and answer all the questions put to me but I wondered about 15 or so black youths who must have been stopped on an earlier train who were ahead of me.

I hope that Croydon Police is not just sticking to perceived profiles when using 'stop and search' and that they are using intelligence to apprehend knife carrying individuals. Essentially, failure to work smart when using 'stop and search' will only lead to certain sections of the community to develop a mistrust for the police. Black people are seven times as likely to be stopped as white people and six times as likely as Asian people.

The other issue I was asked to comment on was the long running saga of the Croydon Gateway. I am pleased that the winning scheme, now announced, ensures that the Warehouse Theatre will remain in the area, albeit in a new location. But the issue is that current planning legislation is weak in encouraging a greater use of renewable energy. When one considers Chatham House's recent report: which predicts an oil supply crunch within 5-10 years, it is outrageous that new developments are only required to source 10 per cent of their energy on site in Croydon.

I predict that Croydon Gateway residents five years from now will be scratching their heads wondering why higher levels of sustainable provision were not considered when fuel bills really rocket.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letter sent to the South London Press about the troubles after the Lambeth Country Show

24.07.08

Dear Editor,

Of all the sights and sounds that I could have taken away from the Lambeth Country Show on Saturday 19th July, be it the sheep sheering; the stunts of the African Acrobat Company; the tunes of the South London Jazz Orchestra or the soulful songs of Omar; it is the events that occurred after the close that has occupied my mind.
After the event finished my wife and I walked to the 468 bus stop towards Croydon. Ahead of us we could see dozens of police some in full riot gear. To our amazement we saw the police appear to commandeer a bus heading towards Southwark and force dozens of young people on to the bus. There was a degree of mayhem in all directions on the corner of Herne Hill. At one point we were ‘steamed’ by around twenty youths running away from the riot police. For a moment it was terrifying but in an unusual way, I felt no fear because the youths that were running around were in their own world and we were unlikely to be victims of any violence. I must commend the police for the way they handled the situation, especially with so many families and children streaming out of Brockwell park. What could have been more than a flashpoint was swiftly dealt with.

On the bus on the way home, the top deck was buzzing with excitement with what had just happened at Herne Hill. We could hear mobile phone conversations and groups chatting. It appears that the gangs from Peckham were forced onto the bus to avoid any trouble with the gang from Brixton.

It is difficult to explain the gang phenomenon and I recognise that gangs have an organised crime element to them but most if not all those involved were juniors. Nevertheless, the events of Saturday have given me an understanding of how basic human traits were actually exhibited on the streets of Herne Hill. Arguably, status and pride coupled with a sense of belonging to a group were on display. Also for those youths who were involved in the ‘cat and mouse’ chases with the police and other gangs, for them there was a sense of excitement born from tension. Those youths who were sitting at the back of the 468 bus there was a similar sense of excitement which had materialised from the tension on the street.

It is not unusual to see young people wanting excitement in their lives. Similarly, it is clear that young people want to be known, respected and talked about. The gang that was bundled on to the bus heading to Southwark felt important – they were the centre of attention; they were being talked about.

What is a real shame is that these basic human traits are not channelled in a positive way and not through notoriety. Is it not possible for this drive for status and competitive spirit to be directed into sport or music or even education? It just goes to show how important genuine facilities for this generation of young persons are required to ensure that their potential is not lost to mindless gang violence.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

Images of the trouble at the close of the Lambeth Country Show can viewed at AW Balfour's flickr album

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Save our schools demo.


Sadly, the sham consultation looks like continuing in its present form despite the Labour group on the council positioning themsleves as defenders of secondary schools in Croydon. The Tory councillors reminded Labour at the council meeting that Schools Secretary, Ed Balls says these schools are failing.
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Friday, July 04, 2008

Stab victim dies in Thornton Heath

04.07.08

Dear Editor,

I had moment of ‘déjà vu’ whilst listening to the radio this morning. The presenter of the news headlines on the radio announced that a stab victim had died in South London. Automatically, I felt dismay and then I wondered where the incident had taken place. The report went on to say that the teenage victim was stabbed in Thornton Heath. Hasn’t this happened before?
A quick check on the Internet and reports suggest the victim was stabbed repeatedly by six hooded youths on Thursday afternoon.
To try and evaluate and analyse the spate of knife crimes in Croydon and London cannot be done in a single letter to the local paper. I am not even sure a thesis on the issue could address the complexities of this phenomenon. There are so many elements: community policing; media reporting; status and respect; self protection; relative poverty; demonisation of young people; tougher sentences, social mobility; school exclusions, family breakdown and peer pressure are just a few that are banded about. One other element that is put forward is the young persons’ unwillingness to take responsibility for their own actions. This idea interests me because you can take it further: the moment that a young person decides to carry a knife then somewhere along the line a malfunction has occurred. Someone or something has failed. If a young person deems it necessary to carry a knife, be it for their protection or to gain status and respect, then someone needs to take responsibility for this failure.
Therefore it is incumbent on parents, schools, police and the authorities to also take responsibility for their actions and work together with young people to tackle the root causes of this knife carrying phenomenon.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Shan Oakes - The real civil liberties candidate

Shan Oakes has been selected as the Green Party's candidate standing against the Conservatives' David Davis for the seat of Haltemprice and Howden on July 10th 2008.

Any offers of campaigning help can be directed to Martin Dean at sokuto12 'at' sokuto12.karoo.co.uk

Read Shan's new blog at http://shanoakes.blogspot.com/


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

School closures in Croydon letter

Dear Editor,

News that the Tories are mobilising their forces for a sustained attack on the four schools threatened with closure is to be expected. Leading from the front is trooper and former Tory candidate Tony Pearson disguised in parent governor garb. However, this trooper is not detached from his command. Moreover, he is being steered and led be senior Tories Cllrs Gatland and Barwell. If ever evidence was needed that a systematic underhand campaign was in place to rubbish Selsdon High, Addington High, Haling Manor and Westwood Language College to meet a preferred agenda, then revelations that Mr Pearson sought amendments and clearance from the Conservative hierarchy before submitting his letter to this paper is damning.
Yet, I for one am not surprised. Conservative party form indicates a history of running flawed consultations and mounting campaigns to misinform the parents on this issue of city academies. Evidence of a preferred agenda was on display when the cabinet committee deliberated for a mere 14 minutes Cllr Gatlands recommendation to close Coulsdon High School and reopen it as a city academy within seven months. Letters received that were opposed to the proposed academies were dismissed because they were perceived to be ideologically founded.
In reality, the fact that we have a Conservative party and a Labour party ideologically in favour of closing state schools and reopening them as privately funded city academies is threatening the quality of our boroughs education. Among the 70 councillors in town hall that are supposed to represent us, non are publically opposed to the concept because they all belong to the Conservative and Labour parties. This in turn means it is open season for city academies because no one is speaking out in council to raise concerns and objections and we get situations where city academy status can be rushed through.
In the case of Oasis Trust, the private sponsor selected to take over the public asset that is presently Coulsdon High school, what are the implications of that trust being funded by unnamed institutions and businesses. Only after some probing by yours truly at a public meeting did we discover that Oasis receives funding from the Indian government!! The Rev Steve Chalke founder of Oasis Trust declined to disclose any other donors.
If this council is under the impression that they can attack and destroy our state education system at will then they should be prepared for a vigorous defence from our party.

Yours sincerely


Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party
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Climate Change Partnership in Croydon??

On 29th May the Sustainability Dept at Croydon Council invited representatives from, green organisations, schools, businesses, charities and council departments to discuss the idea of a Climate Change partnership for Croydon. Presently Islington operates such a scheme; which essentially is an opportunity for institutions, organisations and businesses to sign up to a voluntary scheme to reduce their carbon emissions. Full credit must go council officers Kia Colbeck and Anna Eltringham for putting on the event.

Tory MP Peter Ainsworth was one of the guest speakers. He naturally painted his party as the vanguard of the environment to which I had to put my hand up and ask him why the Conservatives had only adopted 3 out of 100 recommendations from Gummer and Goldsmiths, 'Quality of Life Agenda'. He replied that this was not true and that more would be adopted. We not holding our collective breaths.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Heathrow No!











Chris Scibberas joined other local activists for Make a NOise!

Details of the event

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oak Tree saved in Upper Norwood

We have received a note of thanks (see below) from residents in Upper Norwood for our efforts ensuring a 150 year old oak tree was not chopped down. For our part we had a lengthy discussion with the council officer who is responsible for Tree Preservation Orders. In all, it was the combined effort of locals pulling together and voicing their concerns that saved this tree from developers' plans.

Link to article in paper

"Thank you for all your support in our campaign to save our Oak tree, in Harold Road.
On Wednesday night we were informed that this campaign reached the Cabinet Minister responsible in Central Government and we were informed that the council was then instructed by them to request that the developer re draw his plans so that it did not involved the felling of this tree.
The Wildlife Crime Unit in Scotland Yard also got involved and supported us in stopping this crime by contacting the developer and the tree surgeons and informed them that they would be prosecuting if the tree felled, after nesting birds and sightings of bats were seen in the tree, in addition The Safer Neighbourhood Team heard of our story and became involved and climbed the tree to make a report of the the wildlife in it to support any evidence if felled
."

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Breakdown of Croydon vote

Results taken from the London Elects web site shows that the Green vote in Croydon was very respectable.

Overall Vote for Croydon only

Constituency vote

Steve O'Connell (Con)------ 50028
Shafi Khan (Lab)----------- 27589
Abigail Lock (Lib Dem)-----11543
Shasha Khan (Green)------ 6364
David Pickles (UKIP)------- 5121
David Campanale (CPA)-----4971
Richard Castle (Eng Dem) -- 2239
Zana Hussain (Left List) ----- 972

Londonwide top up vote

Conservative - 45664
Labour - 27912
Lib Dem - 9636
Green - 6595
BNP - 5716
Christian Peoples Alliance - 4464
UKIP - 2764
Abolish Congestion Charge - 2314
RESPECT - 1442
English Dem. - 1251
Left List - 710
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Press Release: Croydon Greens celebrate Ruth's resounding victory







Croydon Greens are celebrating one of their former residing members being elected onto Norwich Council. Ruth Makoff, who had lived in Shirley since she was two years old, received over 50 per cent of the vote in Wensum ward, Norwich on 1st May 2008, to be duly elected as one of the 13 Green Party councillors on that council (1). She is studying for PhD at University of East Anglia.

She went to Benson Primary, Edenham and Archbishop Tennison School. Her mother Judith, who still lives in Shirley, was thrilled upon hearing the news.

Ruth Makoff is now one of 13 Green Party councillors in Norwich that now form the official opposition.

Commenting on victory, Ruth said:

"I was extremely proud to have been elected as a City Councillor in Norwich. I will be joining a strong team of 13 Green Party councillors on Norwich City Council where we will be pushing for more affordable housing, a strong, sustainable transport system and a resource recovery park where waste can be recycled at a local level, boosting the local economy.

Residents in Norwich have experienced the benefits of having hard-working Green Party city councillors who keep in regular contact with residents all year round rather than simply at election time. They have seen our dedication in taking up local issues, from litter and anti-social behavior to campaigning to save our Post Offices from closure.

As the first "official opposition" Green group on a local council we are building on the growing numbers of Greens on councils up and down the country - including Brighton and Lewisham, and I see no reason why we should not soon see a Green councillor in Croydon."

Ends.

(1) Election results
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

GLA Election campaign vid



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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tory leaflet


I personally would like to 'thank' the Conservative Party for distributing a leaflet promoting our national policies in Thornton Heath. Admittedly, it was designed to scare voters into not voting for the Green Party and/or Ken but we will overlook that for the moment.
Interestingly, the tactic is all the more surprising when one considers that 5 years ago David Cameron wanted a comprehensive discussion on alternatives to drug prohibition and Alan Duncan supported the idea of full legalisation of cannabis.
Currently, there is a worldwide trend towards the decriminalisation of cannabis. Countries such as Spain, Italy and Switzerland are prepared to have a pragmatic and mature stance on such issues but we appear to have elected representatives that wish to play politics with the issue rather than listen to experts. Even in USA, Barack Obama has pledged to decriminalise cannabis if he becomes president.
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Sunday, May 04, 2008

GLA results

The Ken versus Boris show certainly boosted the turnout in Croydon and Sutton. Occasional CONSERVATIVE and LABOUR voters came out to back their party. This caused the LIB DEM vote to squeeze but not the GREEN PARTY's! Our vote share actually increased to 5.17% - which meant the deposit was also saved!

Under the London-wide proportional system: again our vote held firm returning our 2 Green Assembly members (AM's). The LIB DEM's again experienced the squeeze and now only have 3 AM's!

In the Mayoral election, Sian Berry's vote also bucked the Red/Purple V Blue squeeze, resulting in the GREEN PARTY's share actually increasing.

A big thank you to all those that voted Green and contributed to the campaign. Onwards and Upwards!!!

Croydon and Sutton

Steve O'Connell (C) 76,477 (44.08%, +7.30%)
Shafi Khan (Lab) 33,812 (19.49%, +1.31%)
Abigail Lock (LD) 32,335 (18.64%, -1.49%)
David Pickles (UKIP) 9,440 (5.44%, -5.25%)
Shasha Khan (Green) 8,969 (5.17%, +0.83%)
David Campanale (CPA) 6,910 (3.98%, +1.00%)
Richard Castle (Eng Dem) 4,186 (2.41%)
Zana Hussain (Left List) 1,361 (0.78%)

C maj 42,665 (24.59%) 2.53% swing Lab to C Electorate 384,162;

Turnout 173,490 (45.16%, +9.13%)


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Friday, May 02, 2008

Redhill East - near miss for Jonathon Essex

A fantastic result, closing the gap from 366 to just 20 votes in one year.

Redhill East

Turnout: 38.10%

CandidatePartyNo. of votesElected
Barton, John WThe Labour Party Candidate274
Essex, Jonathon, C SThe Green Party763
Fox, Joseph BUK Independence Party159
Mendis, RohithaLiberal Democrat190
Moore, FrankThe Conservative Party Candidate783Elected


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Siân and the Giant Peach



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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Observer Leader Encourages Green Vote

From today's Observer Editorial

There is a stronger case to be made for casting 'first preference' votes for Siân Berry, the Green candidate. The party has already used its toehold on the London Assembly to wring green concessions worth millions of pounds out of the mayoral budget. A respectable score for Ms Berry, an intelligent and articulate advocate of her cause, would send a clear signal to whoever wins the mayoralty that London cares about environmental policy.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green Tory Tactical Voting Tip

Did you know that a vote cast for the Tory Party in the London-wide List is a wasted vote? This is because the Tory Party will inevitably win more than their fair share of constituency members, so none of their list will get elected.

This means that Tory voters can vote both Blue and Green in the same election, by voting Tory in the constituency and voting for the Green Party in the London-wide list.

Meanwhile Real Greens should vote Green Party in the London list and for Green Party candidate Shasha Khan in the constituency vote.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Press release on free insulation


PRESS RELEASE: GREENS PLEDGE TO INSULATE CROYDON FROM THE COST AND THE COLD.

Croydon residents could see their fuels bills slashed under a Green Mayor with Siân Berry's plan to provide free insulation for all homes that need it.


Green Party GLA candidate for Croydon and Sutton Shasha Khan said:

"At a time when Croydon residents are feeling their household incomes squeezed due to fuel price hikes and increased inflation it is clear to me that we need our homes properly insulated in order to save on heating bills and to cut CO2 emissions. Croydon households have the worst ratings for energy efficiency in London (1). Now that we are required to provide Home Information Packs when putting our houses on the market Croydon homeowners could lose out when selling their house.

"There's no excuse in a 21st century city for having widespread fuel poverty, with people having to pay huge chunks of their income just trying to keep warm. There's no excuse for winter deaths of elderly Londoners who could have been saved by something as simple as loft insulation. And there's no excuse for government failure to cut CO2 emissions, or for their willingness to blame ordinary people instead of their own inaction.

"Under our plan, every single home in London that needs insulation will get it, free of charge. This will slash fuel bills, making London living more affordable and healthier. We'll also put a real dent in our carbon footprint and help to ensure a future for our kids."

Siân said:
"As oil and gas get scarcer, we can expect to see more and more rises inthe cost of heating. Londoners have an opportunity on 1 May to insulate themselves from the cold and the cost by voting for my plan to insulate every home that needs it for free"40% of London's CO2 emissions come from housing, and more than 1 in 20 Londoners have to spend over 10 per cent of their income trying to keep warm. Fuel poverty like that belongs in Dickens' London, not ours. That's why, as Mayor, I would provide free insulation to every London home that needs it.
Londoners on benefits qualify for free insulation under measures introduced by the Green Assembly Members as a condition of their support for the Mayor's budget. Siân's scheme will remove this means testing, as well as introducing a comprehensive outreach programme to encourage take-up.

The Green AMs have also secured funding to pilot detailed help with paperwork for householders in Lewisham who wish to insulate their homes and generate their own power; Siân will extend this service city-wide, and make low-cost loans available to pay for small-scale renewable energy generation on homes and businesses.

ENDS

Notes to editors
1. Energy efficiency ratings for private housing in London are listed in the table below. Houses are rated on a scale of 0 – 120, with higher numbers being more efficient. Most new homes receive a score between 75 and 100. Table source: www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk.
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Standing up for what matters