Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May Day March in Croydon

11am Saturday 30 April - Croydon May Day march and celebration
To celebrate May Day this year Croydon Trades Union Council will be holding its annual march and celebration on Saturday 30 April.

We will be assembling at 11am Sat 30 April at Elmwood Road, West Croydon to march through the town centre to Ruskin House where we will have speakers and music from 1pm.

The march this year will support our ongoing campaign again the cuts to local jobs and services and demonstrating that there is an alternative.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unprecedented joint letter supporting AV

from Croydon Advertiser (Friday 22th April)

I wonder if this is an unprecedented joint letter for Croydon (probably never to be repeated!!), given there are four local parties represented? Naturally it took a little coordinating - but happily we got there.


Dear Editor

On 5th May voters in Croydon will join those across the country in voting on the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum to decide how MPs in future should be elected to the House of Commons.

In our 'winner takes all' electoral system the outcome is decided in a tiny handful of seats, and very few voters have a real say, having to resort to negative tactical voting. Currently it is possible to become an MP with just one-third of the vote! For many MPs a safe seat means a job for life.

AV is a fairer system and is better for the public becuase MPs will have been elected by a real majority instead of by the largest minority. It should make politicians reach out beyond their core supporters and good MPs should appreciate having truer mandate from their constituents.

An AV ballot paper will look exactly the same as it currently does. Instead of only putting an 'X' in just one box, you will be able to put a '1,2,3...' and so on in as many boxes as you please. You can rank as many or as few candidates as you like. If you only want to support one candidate, you can - just mark an 'X' as you did before. AV gives you the freedom to show support sincerely for any number of candidates you feel are up to the job.
We, the undersigned, have put our Party differences aside to show why a YES vote will give YOU a stronger voice in your constituency and create a more progressive and fairer brand of politics. We urge you to vote 'Yes' to fairer votes.

Yours sincerely

Gerry Jerome (Liberal Democrat)
Shasha Khan (Green Party)
Andrew Pelling (Labour)
Peter Staveley (UKIP)
Malcolm Wicks MP (Labour)
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Monday, April 25, 2011

More AV discussion

I keep hearing from David Cameron that AV is complicated. This is just one of several deceitful arguments that the 'No' campaign have been pushing. Once explained it is quite simply as easy as 1,2,3. That said, explaining AV to someone who has poor English is fairly challenging, at least that was my experience in Thornton Heath recently. With some useful aids, such as a Pizza topping comparison used by Lewes 'Yes' to Fairer Votes, we managed to get there at the end.

I read in The Times a clever analogy using 'X' Factor and Britain's Got Talent written by Dr. Alan Renwick. Green Party Councillor Rupert Read has blogged on this. It's certainly an explanation I plan to keep up my sleeve.

Further straight forward explanations and deceitful arguments will be espoused on 27th April in Croydon when Purley Baptist Church hosts a debate on AV. MPs Tom Brake and Malcolm Wicks will slug it out with Richard Ottaway and Gavin Barwell . Starts 8pm.

Stall outside Tesco's in Thornton Heath.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Letter on AV (responding to the Beckett and Barwell pose)

Dear Editor,

The Alternative Vote (AV) is a fairer electoral system than the current First Post The Post (FPTP) system. AV is preferable when there are several candidates. It forces candidates to appeal to 50% cent of the electorate and thus represent a wider cross section of views rather than just those of the usual party supporters. Hence, I found it bizarre to see Tory Gavin Barwell MP posing alongside former Labour cabinet member Margeret Beckett MP (Croydon Advertiser Friday 1st April) defending the FPTP voting system. The Labour Party uses AV to elect its leader and similarly, Conservatives use a form of AV to elect their leader. Which begs the question: if it's okay for you then why isn’t it okay for us? Historically, FPTP was reliable when this country had a two-party system, but we presently live in a multi-party democracy. One third of the electorate did not vote Conservative or Labour in the last general election.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cross party support in Croydon for 'YES' to fairer votes.

Croydon Greens joined politicians and activists from the Lib Dems, Labour, The Electoral Reform Society and even the Monster Raving Loony Party at the offical launch of the Croydon 'Yes' campaign on Tuesday14th April. Peter Staveley from UKIP was hoping to come along but work commitments meant he wasn't able to attend. So the only party that wasn't represented were the Conservatives - they are all in the 'No' camp. However, former Conservative MP, then Independent candidate, now Labour activist, Andrew Pelling, was in attendance. Credit due to Wicks, Pelling and Councillor Mark Watson (who arrived after the above picture was taken) for standing up for fairer politics in Croydon.

The above picture was also taken at the official launch. The last time Gerry Jerome (Liberal Democrat), Malcolm Wicks MP (Labour) and myself stood beside each other was on stage in the main hall at Trinty school for the results of the Croydon North constituency in last years General Election. In fact Malcolm joked in his own inimitable style, "Hang on where's Jason Haddon?". Mr Haddon was the Tory candidate who managed to enrage the Labour activists to such an extent, due to his questionable campaigning methods, that he had to cut short his speech - on said stage - due to the booing and jeering.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Referendum images PART 1

A wholesome photo taken in Wallington Town Centre. Our own Brendan Walsh and Phil Mouncey (Sutton) joined by Peter Morley (Electoral Reform Society) who is coordinating the Sutton and Croydon campaign.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Green Party Local Election 2011

There are no local council elections in Croydon this year. However, up and down the country candidates are fighting to win council seats. This PEB will help them. Well done all those who worked on it.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Press release: Veolia Binned


Press Release immediate


Croydon Greens welcome the South London Waste Partnership’s (SLWP) decision to eliminate Veolia from the procurement process, leaving just two companies (1) to advance into the final round of a controversial waste facility most likely to be on the borders of Croydon. (2)
Campaigners are angry because Veolia, a large French multinational, is involved in the building and operation of a new tramway linking illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with Israel. The tramway tightens Israel’s hold on occupied East Jerusalem, ties the settlements more firmly into Israel and undermines chances of a just peace for the Palestinian people.

Commenting on the decision, Tracey Hague of the Croydon Green Party said, “We in the Green Party are pleased that Veolia have been dropped as a potential provider of waste services, whatever the reason behind this decision, as they have been closely linked with the illegal settlements in Palestine. Many Croydon residents (as well as those from the other three boroughs) have written to their local councillors requesting their support for the Bin Veolia campaign and they will be pleased at this outcome.”

Unusually, this has been a campaign within a campaign. Croydon Green Party is also heavily involved in the Stop the Incinerator (3) campaign, which seeks to prevent the construction of waste incinerator, the desired outcome of SLWP’s public consultation.

The success means that the local campaign group joins human rights activists in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Iran and Australia who have successfully secured the divestment of Veolia from public sector contracts and pension funds.


(1) FROM SLWP’s own web site: Viridor and WRG have been invited to advance into the final round of ‘competitive dialogue’ meetings with the Partnership’s procurement team. This final stage will allow the two remaining bidders to put the finishing touches to their proposals before they submit Final Tenders in the summer.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Was an ambush the intention?

It's four weeks exactly until the referendum on the voting system. Treasurer of the Sutton & Croydon "Yes to Fairer Votes" Campaign, Gordon Ross, has been working hard to get the 'Yes' campaign's message out there. Gordon is also Membership Secretary of our local Green Party, and in 2010 he was our candidate for Croydon South.

So, it was Gordon whom I contacted when I received an email from the 'No' campaign asking if I would speak on behalf of the 'Yes' campaign at a meeting at Ruskin House. I was quite surprised to receive such an email given that a) there is an official 'YES' group, and b) I haven't really been active in the 'YES' campaign (NB. I'll be voting YES).

I contacted the committee of our local 'YES' group and asked if they knew about the meeting? After a couple of phone calls, I realised that the meeting was organised by the 'NO' campaign themselves. It seems the terms and format of any public debates on the referendum have not been agreed, nonetheless the 'NO' campaign has gone ahead and organised meetings which haven't been sanctioned by the 'YES' campaign.

As it turned out, I was unable to attend the meeting. The report in the Croydon Advertiser, who incidentally chaired the debate, says that Croydon North MP, Malcolm Wicks was also asked to speak for AV but "declined" the invitation. Its a bit cheeky for the 'NO' campaign to circumvent the local 'YES' campaign and set up a debate anyway. Why not simply have a 'NO' campaign rally? Or was the intention to secure an unsuspecting pro AV speaker to be set up for an ambush?? I ask this because initially I was not told that Margaret Beckett, President of the 'NO' Campaign, was going to be in attendance. I was only told that Gavin Barwell MP would be speaking in favour of First Past The Post. I use the words speaking in favour of First Past The Post loosely because their Advertising campaign has not presented any arguments in favour: "SHE NEEDS A NEW MATERNITY UNIT NOT AN ALTERNATIVE VOTING SYSTEM" and "HE NEEDS BULLETPROOF VESTS NOT AN ALTERNATIVE VOTING SYSTEM". Charlie Brooker cleverly highlighted the absurdity in this advertising campaign on 10 O'Clock Live: by the same token, the soldier must fight the baby for the bulletproof vests as well.

Come to think of it, it is entirely probable that a group that uses such imagery to present an argument would look to set up an ambush.

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Green Party finish second in mock AV election

Well done 5 Live on setting up a FPTP/AV 'compare and contrast' mock election using the constituency of Brentford and Isleworth. I could argue that the results were very encouraging for the Greens - AM Darren Johnson finished second under AV - but by the presenters' own admission the experiment was unscientific. What it does maybe show is that the demographic that listens to 5 Live during the day is progressive in thought. An interesting comparison would be to do the whole thing again with LBC or TALK SPORT listeners.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

March for the Alternative letter (unpublished).


Dear Editor,

On March 26th many thousands of Croydon residents will attend the TUC rally, dubbed the March for the Alternative in London. Those attending will feel in their hearts and heads that it is unfair that tuition fees are increasing, saddling those who do not have the vote presently with greater debt, whilst failing to tackle bankers’ bonuses. Equally, the marchers realise it is simply wrong that VAT is the fiscal instrument of choice to increase revenue from taxation whilst HMRC’s own figures show that £40 billion is lost through avoidance and evasion every year. And finally, the protesters know it is counter intuitive to cut 500,000 jobs to grow the economy away from recession.

The sense of injustice that will compel so many to take to the streets is similar to the emotion marchers felt on February 15th 2003. On that day, over one million demonstrated against the war in Iraq.

There is one notable difference: when in 2003 there were just isolated voices within the grey parties highlighting that injustice, there is now thankfully a party in the House of Commons that in principle believes in war as a last resort and advocates fairer economic alternatives – and that is the Green Party.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party Coordinator

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Friday, April 01, 2011

STOP PRESS! Vegan menu only at the Royal Wedding

Our candidate in Waddon Tony Bishop Weston reports on this amazing decision by the Royal family.
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Standing up for what matters