Monday, November 30, 2009

Croydon Council digging for oil in Wandle Park

Projected cuts in central government grants have forced Croydon Council accountants to think outside the box. Last Tuesday contractors were found even digging for oil.

Okay, what these guys are actually doing is surveying the culvert . The objective is to return the River Wandle to the surface of the park but data on the water levels is 10 years old. The reality is that it might not be feasible or cost effective.
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Riddlesdown School wind turbine letter to the papers

Dear All

I would like to register my concern and comment on the fact that the
Residents Association adjacent to Riddlesdown School has blocked the
installation of a wind turbine. This proposed installation has many
positive points and very few (if any) negative ones
*Teaches the children about renewable energy and our energy needs.
*May encourage some of them to go onto careers in energy generation and
sustainability. Sorely needed
*Reduces electricity costs for the school thus easing their budget
*Any excess produced goes to the National Grid
*Wind turbines take up very little land area.
*At the end of the turbines life decommissioning is very easy ie unbolt
it and it is as if it never existed. No pollution, no damage to the land unlike
nuclear power I would add.

Given our current energy situation (and the fact that energy has to be
produced to power our consumer lifestyle) I feel that the Residents
Association's attitude smacks of NIMBYism ie not in my back yard.
Renewables to my mind are the way forward and future generations need to be aware of
the choices. The local residents must use electricity in their lives and this has to be
generated somehow.
Perhaps they would prefer the future installation of coal fired or nuclear power stations
or noisy energy from waste plants? I know that I would prefer a wind turbine installation any
day in my local area. I would urge them to reconsider.

Yours Sincerely

J Clugston

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Park Vs Park in Croydon

Paul, Bill, Gwen and myself looking like the (green) Space Sentinels

Six out a shortlist of eighteen parks are up for a share of £1.5 million. This process of competing for vital funding is increasingly the modus operandi used by the authorities. On the surface it seems fair but the reality is the most needy might not be successful.

I must give a plug for Thornton Heath Recreation Ground. Having missed out to Wandle Park last year in the Mayor's Vote for a London park competition, through questionable circumstances, the park I am involved with really needs your vote.

Croydon Advertiser ran a feature on the competition a few weeks back. Cuttings are from that piece.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Academy tactics revealed


Dear Editor,

Ms McDonald’s experiences are exactly what our Croydon Save Our Schools campaign had been warning with regard to the forced takeover of Haling Manor by the Harris Federation (Pupils being forced to take easy subjects). Private sponsors of academies realise that there are three cheap ways to bump up their position on league tables. Firstly, use an entrance examination to filter out weaker pupils and offer places to a proportionately higher number of brighter pupils. Secondly, push children into taking BTECs instead of more difficult GCSE’s as these count as two GCSEs. Finally, exclude pupils that are deemed ‘problem kids’ as they will bring down your league table position. On this point, figures released by the government reveal that academies are permanently excluding twice as many pupils as state-funded secondary schools.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Jim's letter in the paper

Dear Sir, Madam

There are some people that still deny that Climate Change is happening now and that we need to take action to stave off the worst effects for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and successive generations.

As a way of understanding it I use what I call "The Front Room" analogy. Imagine that your front room/living space is a closed environment (like the Earth) and that you have no other rooms. If you filled the room with toxic fumes, rubbish and lit a fire in the centre of the room you and your family would not survive for long.

This is the position all of us face as a result of human made climate change on earth. It is said that Europeans need three earths and Americans need five to continue their lifestyles BUT we all only have one to last us all!

I would ask everyone to please consider this and make small changes in their everyday lives such as recycling, less car journeys,
less flying, care in use of resources and so on.

We don't have to return to the cave just adjust to a low carbon economy and all generations can enjoy a full life with just a tiny effort.

Best wishes to all
J Clugston

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Croydon PCSO terror law letter

Linked to this article.


Dear Editor,

As a member of a Safer Neighbourhood Team ward panel I see the good work that PCSO’s do in terms of youth engagement in schools. However, upon reading figures your paper has obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, I am concerned that the benefits of this work are being undone. Like many, I was under the impression that PCSO’s did not have stop and search powers. So to find out that they have used this exceptional power 620 times in Croydon in 2008 under the Terrorism Act is nothing short of alarming. The Met Police maintain that stop and searches are intelligence-led, and rightly so, but I am afraid these figures smack of search under suspicion which can only adversely affect community relations.
The government continuously tells us that the Afghan war effort keeps our streets safe. Your report indicates a year upon year increase of usage of these powers and a mind boggling 62,000 per cent increase in stop and searches since 2004. Clearly one does not equate with the other.
Croydon already has more surveillance cameras than the whole of New York, and these stop and search revelations - coupled with the fact that armed police now patrol the streets of London to tackle gang crime - suggests that the direction of travel is towards a police state.
Should we not instead tackle the causes of terrorism and gang crime? Respectively, stop fighting unwinnable wars which act as recruiting sergeants for terrorist organisations, and address the sense of belonging, status, personal safety and peer pressure issues that push our young people to join gangs.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thornton Heath Library Redevelopment

Being part of the steering group to redevelop Thornton Heath library has been one of the more straightforward projects I have been involved in. Aileen Cahill and Chris Carey have been very competent project managers. Work is due to be completed in April 2010. Below is the latest update:

Programme Update.

The project seems to be on schedule, and there are visible signs of progress on the outside of the building. The stone work has been cleaned and looks as new, and openings have been created on the right hand side for the front glass pavilion to be attached. The side extensions, housing the lift & staircase, and the ICT suite and staff quarters respectively, are going up, and can be seen especially from the rear car park. Electrical work continues at pace.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Andrew Pelling MP dominating letters page

A selection of letters over the last few weeks

A couple of local residents have mentioned the dominance of Andrew Pelling related letters appearing in the local papers. A week doesn't seem to go by without one or two letters discussing the virtues of the MP for Croydon Central. There is little doubt he will stand as an independent in the next election even though he is still a Conservative Party member. The politics of his standing is intriguing:

  1. His success is dependent on the independent brand, which is becoming increasingly attractive to the electorate. Roy Hattersley said the independents' rallying call is, "Vote for me for who I am", but what do they stand for??
  2. He is a well known constituency MP with a band of dedicated supporters, mostly from within the Conservative party, who continue to write into the local papers. Surely, they are not planning to maintain this level of output right the way through to May 2010??
  3. Labour are no doubt rejoicing that he is standing as he will split the Conservative vote and allow their candidate Gerry Ryan to sneak in. Croydon Labour must cheer every pro-Pelling letter that appears in the paper.
  4. The Conservatives are in a tricky position because he is a Tory! What are they supposed to do? They can't criticise his voting record and they wouldn't dare discuss his arrest in 2007.
  5. Many people will remember Andrew Pelling's last minute leaflet designed for the BNP areas of Fieldway and New Addington back in 2005. The then incumbent Labour MP Geraint Davies showed me the leaflet at the hustings at Croydon College. I remember seeing a picture of Andrew Pelling cuddling a pit bull! The whole leaflet was designed to attract the 'narrow minded' vote. Geraint was absolutely livid.
  6. He has attended all the recent Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth demo's, yet at the launch of the Croydon Environmental Network he said he favoured airport expansion albeit not at Heathrow.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

"Heated issue reignited"

Very interesting to see Adam Kellett writing in..... He is a Conservative party member and was a candidate in Norbury ward back in 2006. The Tories seem to have adopted a new approach of making it look like residents are appalled by the apparent 'scaremongering'. Syd Cheeswright only succeeds in reaffirming the lack of public debate on this issue.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Veggie Fayre in Croydon

The Environment Panel. I've just realised I've got a missed call from Caroline Allen

Croydon's number 1 food campaigner, Tony Bishop Weston, is 'Five a Day' man!

Barry, Shasha and Danni on the stall

Last Sunday's Veggie Fayre in Croydon, YES CROYDON, was a scrummy treat! Lots of food stalls including the Green Dragon who kindly shared their stall space with Croydon Green Party.

The Environment Panel consisted of:

Chantal Cooke - Director of Passion for the Planet,
Ruth Andrade - Press officer for Lush
Michael Howard - Friends of the Earth
Shasha Khan - Green Party.

The Q and A session that got us all thinking. It was probably the first question time type event where I was preaching to the converted. Thanks to Caroline Allen for coming down from Hackney to take part in the Animal Welfare panel.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

London's Biggest Conversation tackles 'Green Beliefs' ruling

LBC: the radio station originally known as the London Broadcasting Company, now recognised as London's Biggest Conversation. I sometimes refer to it as London Bigots Conversation as it attracts some small minded callers. The presenters also take a stance to provoke reaction, mostly - from what I have listened to - from the right of centre perspective. Having said that, Ken Livingstone presents a show on Saturday mornings.

The night before last I fell asleep listening to LBC. As a result, yesterday morning I woke up to a Vitriolic Nick Ferrari discussing a story that a judge had ruled that green beliefs deserve the same protection in the workplace as religion. It was bound to rile the listeners. Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones was interviewed on the show to give weight to Mr Justice Burton's decision. Jenny managed to articulate how Greens (big G) feel when we see wanton disregard for green (small g) issues.

This seemed to be followed by a volley of callers who could at best be described as Climate Change sceptics.

I felt compelled to fire up the computer and go online and email the show with the following:

Do you or your listeners believe the planet has enough resources to provide for the predicted population in 2050? If everyone wants to live like an American we need four planets; An European three planets. Given the levels of economic growth in India, China and Brazil, can a business as usual approach seriously work? We're already going to war for resources…remember Iraq? I bet you don’t read this out.


Shasha Khan

I have emailed James O'Brien's show in the past but with no success. UNBELIEVABLY - because I simply wasn't expecting it - Vitriolic Nick read out my email within minutes. He omitted the last sentence though. Okay I lost the bet!

There is a bite size version of the show available here
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Market theory closed down public discourse about injustice

Here is Madeleine Buntings much talked about piece

Madeleine Bunting’s comment was relief to read. I have passed the piece to others in a hope to stimulate thought. The reality is that market based decisions do not take into consideration social and environmental costs. Political leadership needs to be creative and visionary to counter the levels of injustice so many of us feel and experience. Electorally, it seems only the Green Party recognises that the success of a society cannot be measured by GDP, but should take account of factors affecting the quality of life for all people: personal freedom, social equity, health, happiness and human fulfillment. In fact, it is one of the ten core principles of the Green Party.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Police oversee 'heated' talks

Linked to blog post here
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Standing up for what matters