Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pics from Croydon Green Fair 2011

Great to see so many green businesses, shops, and organisations at the inaugural Croydon Green Fair on Saturday. Pics below. More pics can be viewed on our Facebook page

Organiser Andrew Dickinson (centre) asks for lights to be dimmed in order to check his LED safety vest is working

Gordon Ross and me

Councillor Graham Bass (Purley ward), the new Mayor of Croydon and Gordon Ross
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Monday, May 30, 2011

The post referendum letter that didn't get published

with Labour MP Malcolm Wicks - one of the small minority of Croydon Labour politicians that voted 'YES'.

Campaigning with former Conservative MP, now Labour activist, Andrew Pelling

I sent this letter (below) to the local papers but annoyingly it wasn't published.


Dear Editor,

May I take this opportunity to thank all those who voted ‘Yes’ in the recent referendum. I would also like to offer thanks to Labour MP Malcolm Wicks for supporting AV. He took a principled position on voting reform, whereas all bar two Labour councillors (Watson and Fitzsimmons) rejected this opportunity to introduce a fairer, more progressive brand of politics in Croydon. In doing so, these same Labour councillors showed their true colours. They sided with a ‘No’ campaign that was endorsed and paid for by the Conservative party; a campaign that said a vote for ‘Yes’ would lead to babies dying and soldiers being killed.

If Labour in Croydon were genuinely progressive in nature they would have voted ‘Yes’. AV would have been the step change to build a politics founded on fairness and not fear. I am sure this progression would have eventually filtered down to local level too. Instead, Labour chose their safe seats and salaries, and to preserve the twin kingdom scenario, where one group governs alone leaving the other group to wait for their opportunity to fight on the battlegrounds at the centre at the end of the reign; in Croydon’s case, the marginal wards of Addiscombe, Waddon, South Norwood. It all sounds like a tale from ancient times.

It is the only system the councillors know. They inherited it and they will preserve it for the next intake. It is important to remember, if all politicians thought like this, the vote would still be the restricted to landowners and men.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan

Croydon Green Party

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

George Webley 29 May 1957 - 07 May 2011

Today is George Webley's birthday!!! Big George, as he is more affectionately known, died earlier this month at his family home in Milton Keynes. He was a radio presenter on BBC London. When I first listened to his show, I was gobsmacked that someone with such an "in yer face" or rather "in yer ear" maverick style could be allowed to broadcast on the Beeb. In my opinion, his shows were nearly always engrossing. Many a time he would sail close to the wind, a consequence of allowing extreme views expressed by callers.

One particular show was very heated, with some very ugly views being expressed by homophobes. Big George just about kept it together, but it seemed like hard work, challenging the views of narrow minded ignoramuses. I was sufficiently moved to email George the following morning commending him on his good work. To my surprise I received the following reply:

I truly appreciate you taking the time not just for emailing me but being part of the solution. We have a beautiful world but we treat it so dreadfully. YOU keep up the good work too

Big George
The Croydon Green Party web site and this blog are tagged at the bottom of my email messages and George must have noticed it, and maybe had a root around. I always got the feeling he was 'green' minded.
Anyway, I continued to email him and also text his show. I also called his show live once:

I spent many hours listening to Big George's show, either live or on iplayer.

I remember him saying live on his radio show that he felt he would probably be remembered for writing the theme tune for a topical news quiz programme. George Webley composed/arranged the theme for Have I Got News For You........ How wrong he is.

He will be missed by so many Londoners. My thoughts go out to his family.
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Friday, May 27, 2011

First ever Croydon Green Fair tomorrow

Last year's Croydon Green Party stall at the Croydon Summer festival attended by 50,000 over two days

The first ever Croydon Green Fair will take place at the Bramley Hill Centre in Waddon on 28th May (tomorrow). The event has received good coverage in the local papers through letters and articles, and looks set to be a green cracker. The man behind the event is Andrew Dickinson. Andrew runs the Green Croydon web site. Croydon Green Party will of course be present at the event.

Many of the exhibitors and stallholders at the event periodically attend the excellent Croydon Summer Festival at Lloyd park, normally within The Green Village zone. The World Party, on the Saturday, has pulled in some excellent acts from around the world, including Candi Staton, The Lightning Seeds and De La Soul. Sadly as a result of the austerity measures, the council have pulled the plug on the Croydon Summer Festival this year. Therefore, full credit to Andrew for keeping the green flag flying in Croydon. From small acorns mighty oak trees grow; this might be the forerunner for an event to compare with Kingston Green Fair or the Carshalton Environmental Fair.

From memory, it seemed to rain nearly every year at the Croydon Summer Festival which put a damper on proceedings. No such risk at Croydon Green Fair - IT'S AN INDOOR EVENT!!!!!

Details of tomorrow's fair can be found here.

See you there!
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Letter from Gordon in the paper

Letter from local party Membership secretary Gordon Ross in the paper.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mobile Phone Mast on Boulogne Road

The mobile phone mast outside the garden of Boulogne Road Recreation Ground is now in operation. In erecting this cleverly designed construct which fades into the street scene to the point where it can hardly be distinguished from the adjacent trees, the mobile phone operator 02 has displayed a level of disdain which befits a profit hungry multinational company. 02 have repeatedly been asked for a report which shows that further work was carried out to source an alternative location. It is my feeling that there is no additional report and the Community Liaison Officer, Jim Stevenson, took the view that once the mast was erected and operational, the residents would just go along with it and maybe even rejoice in the zero increase in signal strength (02 iphone users already had excellent reception in this area). It should be noted that just this month the EU issued a report identifying the dangers of electromagnetic fields on school grounds. NB. the mast is yards away from two nurseries.


7th May
Reminder sent to Mr Stevenson.
25th March I requested again that Mr Stevenson forward the report from the radio planners.

4th March
Mr Stevenson agreed to forward the results of the radio planners in the area.

25th February Upon seeing the outline of the planned mobile phone mast, I contacted Jim Stevenson the Community Liaison Officer for Telefonica 02. At the public meeting Mr Stevenson agreed to go back to his 'radio team' to request another survey. The residents at the meeting had accepted a mast was going to be erected in the area, but wondered if a more suitable location, for all concerned, could be found. He replied with the following email:

Sorry Mr Khan I meant to send this mail earlier. We have not had any luck with finding an alternate site to this one, therefore we will be commencing work in Early March and continuing from there on in. I would like to thank you for your interest in this site and wish you all the very best for the future.

8th February I received the following email from Mr Stevenson:

We have been Looking Mr Khan, but have found nothing as yet. I have asked the radio team to extend the search as much as possible and let me know the result of this. I should be able to come back to you next week with a result.

Note: sarcasm in italics.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Streatham and Croydon V Asian Barbarians

A big thanks to the big guys at Streatham and Croydon RFC for inviting me to their friendly fixture against the Asian Barbarians on 22nd April. The game was played to celebrate SCRFC's 140th anniversary. The club is based in Thornton Heath on Frant Road. They are looking to promote their ample facilities to the local community. Anyone interested can make enquiries via their web site.

The match was quite a spectacle with Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan internationals playing for the Asian Babas. Tries, grunts and concussions were a plenty.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review of Elections 2011

It's amazing to think that just 50 minutes from East Croydon station the Green Party is the leading group on a council! Congratulations to our colleagues down in Brighton.

Party Seats on Brighton City Council
Green Party 23 (+10)
Conservative Party 18
The Labour Party 13
Liberal Democrats 0
Other parties and inds 0

Elsewhere (just 12 minutes from East Croydon), Sarah Finch was elected on to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. She joins our friend and colleague Jonathan Essex on that council. Their group is just one seat behind the Lib Dems. Well done Surrey Green Party!!

Party Seats on Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Conservative Party 35
Residents' Association 6
Independent 5
Liberal Democrats 3
Green Party 2 (+1)
The Labour Party 0

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Hunger strikers in Croydon.

I am concerned about the health of the three hunger strikers who are camped outside Lunar House in Croydon. I introduced myself to the three Iranians yesterday and was welcomed into the tent. They were pensive at first because just minutes earlier someone had verbally abused them.

Thirty Four days have now passed. What is the intention of the authorities? Are they to starve themselves to death? According to Dr Gill Gillespie from Iranian Refugees Action Network, brothers Mahyer and Mehran Meyari (pictured) and Kevan Bahari are intent on taking their own lives. Details of their protest has even been covered in the Grauniad.

The men claim they were beaten, tortured and in one case raped for their part in the Green Revolution in Iran. They said that Gavin Barwell MP had spoken to them (reported in the Croydon Advertiser). Lunar House falls in his constituency.

Whatever the conclusions their case worker previously reached at the Home Office, one additional factor needs to be now considered. I understand their protest has been reported in Iran. Arguably, they have now embarrassed the Iranian regime and once sent back they would be fearful of some action taken by the authorities, if they weren't already (which clearly they are).

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Thoughts on the AV Referendum

The Count at Trinity School

When the result of the referendum was declared, the only people who cheered were the count staff!


At present, the UK uses the first past the post system to to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the Alternative Vote System be used instead?”

YES---- 28,789 ----(33%)

NO ---- 58,475 ----(67%)

Turnout 36%

Considering our neighbouring borough, Sutton - with its Liberal Democrat MPs and Lib Dem controlled council - had an almost identical result with a 39% turnout, we in the 'Yes' campaign ought to give ourselves some credit for a 2-1 defeat. Ours was a scratch team, unlike our Sutton counterparts who had the Lib Dem electoral machine in situ. Equally, the Croydon electorate should be credited given that, apart from two Labour councillors (Watson and Fitzsimmons) and Malcolm Wicks MP, elected politicians in our twin kingdom borough were against AV.

Croydon Loony (John Cartwright) has posted an excellent piece on his web site about the referendum. At the count John kept a record of the imaginative (and some not so imaginative) comments on the doubtful ballot papers which needed adjudication. Most had a comment relating to proportional representation not being offered, although the most amusing one has to be:

Fuck Nick Clegg, his mum, his dad. Fuck Obama. Love Osama

The table above lists reasons given by BBC Newsnight on why the 'Yes' campaign lost - in order of preference [yawn]. They are all valid, especially the first one. A friend of mine messaged me on Facebook saying:

"i won't be voting, don't know enough or ultimately care enough!"

It doesn't say it all BUT it says enough.

The reason not listed is the one our friendly ballot paper spoiler [he circled YES - woooohooo] referred to: NICK CLEGG.
AV was seen by many as his baby, and many wanted to give him a good kicking. It should be pointed out, with particular reference to number 3, that in Croydon the right was not left out. Our joint letter was also signed by the local UKIP chairman.

Source: Betfair

The graph above shows how and when the odds on a 'Yes' win noticeably lengthened. The electorate only started to give a "flying fptp" about the referendum about a month ago, roughly about the time the 'No' campaign began their appalling advertising campaign. Thus, those non tribal voters, who were now starting to give a "flying fptp", had begun to formulate an opinion around 'No'. Once a voter settles on an opinion, its always difficult to change their view.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

AV - Croydon Advertiser coverage

Link to online version
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Greens at the Croydon May Day march

Big thanks to Jim Clugston and Nula for carry the banner with what appears to be a police escort!

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Monday, May 02, 2011

"Lies" peddled by the 'NO' campaign

The methods and tactics of the 'No' campaign, supported by their traditional newspapers, have been nothing short of unbelievable. A friend of mine, who is involved in compliance on television, advised me that the Advertising Standards Agency should be alerted to the lies that the 'No' campaign have been peddling on billboards up and down the country. IT JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW IMPORTANT PRESERVING THE PRESENT ANTIQUATED VOTING SYSTEM IS TO THE 'NO' CAMPAIGN. A CHANGE WILL BE THE START OF THE END TO THE TRIBAL POLITICS* THAT HAS DOGGED OUR DEMOCRACY.

*Vote for us or the other lot, you really don't want, get in.

The attached letter appeared in the Metro on 21st April. How is it that letters such as this are allowed without censure? METRO have placed this letter in their paper, arguably knowing that there is no basis in fact. However, by printing a letter they have undue influence in an important referendum. METRO wouldn't publish a letter saying a vote for Ken Livingstone next year is wasted because of changes to the Greater London Authority Act 2007. Why? because its complete nonsense, BUT apparently it is acceptable to publish a letter that is nonsense, yet can pass as fact to influence voters in a referendum. Is this fair?

Below is a letter I sent to the METRO which they haven't published:

Lawrence Barnett (Metro Mail 21st April) is apparently a victim of the misinformation surrounding AV that is in circulation. He wants to vote for only one candidate. Under the AV system proposed, you can. The 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.

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Standing up for what matters