Monday, May 26, 2014

Reflections on the local election in the style of a chess game

When two tribes goto handshake
The resignation

At sometime between 7:30am and 8:30am on 23rd May, halfway along one side of one of the sports halls [near Heathfield counting station] in Trinity School, Tory leader, Councillor Mike Fisher, conceded defeat to Labour leader Tony Newman and knocked over his king. It happened all of a sudden and I just happened to be facing in the direction where the handshake took place with hardly anyone else watching. Addiscombe Green Party candidate, Esther Sutton, who was also facing the same direction, was a little taken aback by the civility and mutual appreciation that was quietly being displayed.

Publicly these Grandmasters in Croydon are always at each others throats in the council chamber. Privately, they know each is leader of their pawns and territory, and both know that control of the council comes in cycles. Speaking to Tories at the Count, the postal votes, opened before the election day, seemed to be pointing to the present incumbents hanging on for another term, but that didn't materialise.

Raj Mehta and I appear in view at the count in Croydon in this BBC video - from election night

Full results here on Croydon council web site.

Our 70 candidates polled a fantastic 23,926 votes in total. Based on popular votes (using average vote) in Croydon:
  • LABOUR                   37%
  • CONSERVATIVE     34.3%
  • UKIP                         19.5%
  • GREEN                       8.2% - up from 6.5%
  • LIB DEMS                 5.6%
  • OTHERS                    1.9%

Board position at the end of the game.

The board

Apart from the estates in New Addington and Fieldway, the battlegrounds are the squares (wards) at the centre of the board. Ashburton and  Waddon changed hands and the game was won. Labour also held onto Addiscombe.

Green party attempt to introduce a new colour on to the chessboard.

Once again we competed for all 70 seats in the 24 wards. Four years ago we targeted Bensham Manor ward in an attempt to make the breakthrough. This time around we had a look at Croham. On election night I was interviewed by Bieneosa for Croydon Radio.  We talked about 'the opening' that could have got us our first councillors.  - my piece is at 2mins 8 secs.

Other colours receive more playing time

Circulating on twitter at the moment is this mock revision of the BBC logo. It's in the colours of UKIP. UKIP received unprecedented coverage during this election, even on the BBC. On talk radio stations, such as LBC, the moment UKIP are mentioned, presenters such as Nick Abbot say, "Oh look the switchboard has lit up again". 

I am sure voters would have elected Greens up and down the country, and in Croham, if we had similar coverage to UKIP. A petition has started regarding the "media blackout of the Green Party on BBC" - our public service broadcaster.

We ran a doorstep survey in Croham in the summer of 2012, and the results indicated that 2/3 of voters in the polling district we assessed said they would consider voting Green. With similar coverage on TV, could we not have converted those 'considers'??

Television is such a powerful medium, the volume of media hits is bound to trigger a change. Cognitive dissonance theory can only go so far, especially if the voter feels powerless to be able to change what his happening around them. Many that voted UKIP have always been expressing bigoted views in the comfort of their living room. Prior to the onset of "political correctness" [an easy catch-all term], these views were acceptable in the workplace and well......everywhere. It is not surprising that the archetypal UKIP voter is an English 50+ male who may recall those apparent halcyon days when one could speak ones mind*. An Able-Bodied, White English, 50+ male sits at the top of the tree in terms of not being categorised as a minority by any social index. However, immigration and political correctness has eroded his status. UKIP has given him a voice again.

The other thing that Farage has apparently the ability to do, is speak his mind*. Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are skilled at not saying anything.

Green Party pieces that developed into big players

One of the UKIP personalities that was getting a lot of attention was my dear old adversary Winston McKenzie. His UKIP carnival in Croydon hit the headlines. 

Screen photo from BBC web site entitled, 'McKenzie finishes behind Green'
The BBC posted on their live updates that despite Winston's coverage in the media, he was beaten by two of our three Greens (Graham Jones and Andy Ellis) in South Norwood ward.

Unlike four years ago, this time Greens were continually being asked to attend hustings and radio programmes. This was a little unexpected, and I am so proud of all our candidates who represented Croydon Green Party. Many of them came to the Count. The photo below was taken at 7am. We all look surprisingly good, despite being up all night. Indeed, a little earlier when most of us were sitting in the canteen waiting for the results to be announced, Tom Black @ The Croydon Citizen tweeted:

"Ranking of how cool all the groups look sat at their tables: 1. Greens 2. Lib Dems 3. Labour 4. Tories (narrowly behind Lab) 5. UKIP 6. BNP"

"Cool Greens" at the Count

Here are some pictures taken at hustings - the Green is always identifiable because nearly always they are on the left (!) or with a Green rosette.

Les Kenny-Green at South Norwood hustings
Jay Ginn at Coulsdon East hustings

Pravina Ellis at Broad Green ward hustings
Tracey Hague at Croydon Decides (pic of Croydon Advertiser spread)
Raj Metha at Norbury ward hustings

Tracey performed excellently at Croydon Decides organised by the Croydon Advertiser as well as two hustings in Coulsdon, and I enjoyed myself at the NUT Hustings. In fact, all those that took part in hustings did our local party proud.

Additionally, Grace Onions, Tim Eveleigh and I took part in debates on Croydon Radio.

Martyn Post and Gordon Ross manoeuvred the pieces during the middle game with regards to the leafleting - and big thanks to all that helped. Once again I give kingsize thanks to Election Agent Bernice Golberg for ensuring the notation was all correct and that we didn't fall into time trouble or contravene the rules of play.

I must also thank Elaine Garrod, for her wonderful design work. Her 'cheque flyer artwork' ensured our idea had great impact. The content caused a real stir on twitter.

Along with others, local Tory activist Anne Giles at first attempted to defend the £348,000 remuneration for the three Croham councillors but then resorted to celebrate it!
At the Count, a senior Labour councillor advised me who the hard-working Tories on the council were: Dudley and Margaret Mead. According to him, Croham Councillor Jason Perry works/worked half a day week for his £43,000 a year. If we assume this is a Labour exaggeration, whatever the hours per week Councillor Perry spends on council business, HE IS VERY WELL REMUNERATED, especially when most voters presume councillors receive expenses only.

Finally, residents in Barking & Dagenham and Newham councils woke up on Friday morning with no official opposition. Every councillor elected was Labour. This is terrible for democracy. For example, only opposition members can table a motion. This can't be done now. Where will the scrutiny come from? Each side of the chamber backs the same colour to win. Those residents have elected totalitarian or walkover councils. I'd even vote Conservative or Labour if it meant that at least there were some opposition councillors on Croydon council.

Islington and Lewisham, similarly could have ended up totalitarian. Thankfully each elected one councillor other than Labour....a Green.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The £348,000 calculation.

Unsurprisingly, residents in Croham have been stunned by the above leaflet. The easiest thing to do is explain our calculations:

Data on council web site only covers up to 2013. The 2013/14 details won't be out for a while.  So, for the period between 2010 and 2013 (a three year period),  the three  Tory Councillors were paid the following in taxpayers money in allowances:

Neal- £21,371
Perry- £43,339
Gatland- £22,345
TOTAL - £87,055

Neal- £21,371
Perry- £43,339
Gatland- £22,345
TOTAL- £87,055

Neal- £21,571
Perry- £43,744
Gatland- £22,416
TOTAL- £86,688

This comes to a grand total of £260,778 paid out to the three.

However, as we know, a Councillors term is four years!  NOT THREE.  We could take into account 2009/10 for a rough idea of how much the three have been paid in a four year period.

Neal- £21,016
Perry- £43,340
Gatland- £22,402 
TOTAL- £86,758

This comes to an overall total of £347,536 between 2009 and 2013

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Greens are likened to Roberto Martinez and Ghana

From Croydon Advertiser

Online version here. Hilarious Croydon Advertiser article.

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Message from Bernice our election agent

I had a surprise visit from a man this morning who wanted to find out whether voting Green would be a wasted vote as a Labour man in a rosette (amongst other people) had told him it was. He wanted to vote with his conscience, but was concerned.

I explained about proportional representation in the Euros, which surprised him,  and we had a pleasant chat about how if everyone voted the way they wanted rather than out of fear of the "other lot" we would be better off and he went away happy, better informed (and with a few mini manifestos) saying he would vote Green all the way.

When I asked him if he lived locally, it turns out he lives near Duppas Hill and had walked over here having seen my address in Ashburton  on the back of the anti- fracking post card. Just shows how necessary the imprint is! Luckily I was in, busily composing and sending out emails re the count. 

That's one vote in the bag, now for the rest...

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Friday, May 16, 2014

We get £25, they get £250,000

We've recently started delivering our latest Croham ward flyer which is an A6 long card in the shape of a cheque. One side is a cheque made payable to the Croham Conservative Councillors. It's made out for £250,000. To offer some  context, the Tory council gave residents a £25 rebate over the four year term, yet the the councillors in Croham received £250,000 in allowances. In actual fact the three Croham councillors actually pocketed £260,778 over just three years, based on figures available on the council web site. Croydon Green Party have calculated the three Tories will get an astonishing £348,000 over the full four year term. 

We mustn't forget this Tory council axed 10 lollipop ladies and men saving a mere £60,000. Greens believe that councillors should lead by example, and if cuts are to be made, councillors should start by cutting their own allowances.

Whilst leafleting in Croham I have passed the flyer to people I meet on the street. I have found residents to be genuinely quite amazed at the money their local councillors are paid.
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Green Party Caroline Lucas MP comes to Croydon!

Picture by Ross Hemingway
Earlier this week the most famous anti-fracking protester, possibly in the world, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, came to Croydon. I think it might have been her first visit to our fair borough - at least in my time as a member. It was a joint visit with Green Party MEP for London, Jean Lambert. Jean was touring a couple of boroughs in South London with list candidates in the European Elections.

It was decided that the focus of the visit would be fracking. To this end, I ordered a banner from Brown Signs on Whitehorse Road in Croydon. Toni Brown was very helpful in working out what dimensions and wording would work best, all for an excellent price.

The press release to the photo opp is here.

Unsurprisingly there was a fantastic turnout from our local members and candidates, especially as it was 1pm on a Monday. Three local papers came to take photos and interview Caroline. Gordon Ross and I organised the photo opp - which went to plan (including the weather), except, I still haven't come across a photo that ticks all the boxes. Caroline was so professional. She maintained her wonderful smile for the cameras long after we had all lost interest! I have posted about this on our Facebook page, with an example.

In Park Hill, Croydon

Our Lewisham colleague Dave Plummer took a really good picture (above) but it is a bit fuzzy around the edges.

It was great boost to us all to welcome Caroline to Croydon, especially as many of us activists are starting to feel the pace. Afterwards we joked that we should send our Action Day emails to the membership hinting that Caroline Lucas would be in attendance. We could leaflet whole wards in a matter of hours!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

A flavour of the candidates standing in Croydon


Croydon born and bred, Tracey Hagues' career went from a Dance degree via working in the family hotel to becoming a qualified and experienced project manager in the energy sector. As mother of 2 young children she knows the pressures parents face.  An experienced campaigner on environmental and animal rights issues, she has championed health issues - including 3 years on the Scrutiny sub-committee for health.  Tracey is also 6th on the London Region European Election list this coming May.  

Shasha Khan lives in Croydon with his young family and is co-leader of the Croydon Green Party. He regularly appears in the local newspapers and has stood for parliamentary elections on three occasions. Shasha has been a leading campaigner against the incinerator, filing the judicial review proceedings challenging Lib Dem controlled Sutton Council’s decision to allow a municipal waste incinerator on the border of Croydon and Sutton.  
He is the Operations Director for his family's business. In 2000 he received an entry in the book ‘Asians in the Millennium' for his charity work. In 2007 he was selected by London Sustainability Exchange to be a Diverse London Ambassador. Shasha has actively supported many campaigns in Croydon. These include Save Our Schools, which he co-founded. He is a trustee of the Bensham Manor Community Centre. One final thing, you are reading  his blog. Please look around it! 

Gordon Ross was the general election candidate for Croydon South in 2010 and has been involved in a number of Green campaigns in the south of the borough.  Gordon is a biology graduate with a varied career working in microbiology, interior design and transport surveying.  Currently, Gordon has been campaigning for Croydon Council to pay all its employees the London Living Wage as a minimum. Gordon can speak a number of languages, including Russian, German, French and Afrikaans, something which comes in handy on the campaign trail!


Esther Sutton is an award winning publican in Croydon. Lots of news coverage here about her good work


Former nurse and lecturer Bernice Golberg is standing in Ashburton ward. She features on our blog: here

Chris Sciberras has lived in Croydon for the past 28 years, and is married with two grown up children. He works at the London School of Economics as a lecturer in English for Academic Purposes. In Croydon, Chris is actively involved in the campaign to stop the South London incinerator, especially in fund raising. He has also given presentations to local residents’ associations on the toxic health effects of incineration and alternatives to it. Chris is also interested in sustainable transport issues and has been campaigning for the extension of the 130 bus to Thornton Heath for many years. In his spare time Chris is a keen allotment gardener and also loves walking in the countryside. He is also a parishioner of the church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Addiscombe. This summer he is walking another stage of the camino in Spain.  


Brendan Walsh, 41, Civil Engineer.
Vice Chairman of Croydon transition Town.
Treasurer of Croydon Green Party
Originally from Cork, Ireland, Brendan has lived in Bensham Manor for 14 years. 

After joining the Green Party in 2010 Brendan has become increasingly involved in local politics and activities especially through the work of Croydon Transition Town who are creating community run gardens throughout Croydon. With the Green Party he has been Treasurer since 2011 and has been an activist in the Stop the Incinerator campaign since joining the Green Party until the present day.

Brendan can be found most Sundays at the Thornton heath Recreation ground in Bensham Manor, the first garden created by Croydon Transition Town. Brendan is currently working on a partnership with Brigstock Medical Centre who are interested in using gardening as a healing and therapy aid for some of it's patients. It is hoped to establish a Community garden in the grounds of the BMC soon.

Brendan is also working with Woodside candidate Andrew Enebe in bringing community owned energy projects to Croydon under the title of Croydon Power. Other projects include the Give and Take stall in Surrey Street (think freecycle in person). Brendan has signed the space4cycling pledge to help make cycling safer in Bensham manor.


Pravina Ellis lived in Croydon since 1998.
Previously worked in healthcare.
Since 2011 has volunteered at Woodside School and Croydon Museum and last year worked as Homework Helper in Broad Green Library.
Now assists adult learners at CALAT.
Also helps with:
  • Croydon LETS that exchanges goods and services amongst members using a ‘barter’ system
  • CRNN which promotes the use of cotton nappies to reduce the cost & impact of waste disposal
  • Activities at 49th Croydon Scouts
Pravina is concerned about local issues:

  • The lack of accountability concerning the ‘Regeneration Fund’ to help 2011 riot victims
  • Reduced library provision in the borough since service management was out-sourced
  • Reduced provision for affordable leisure activities for the young and adults
  • More cycle lanes & lower charges public transport to help residents & improve air quality
  • Fly tipping
  • Crime in Broad Green and West Croydon


Jay Ginn has lived in Coulsdon for over 40 years; her two sons attended local schools. She worked as senior science technician in a Coulsdon school, acting as a TU rep for staff and as delegate to Croydon Trades Council. After gaining a degree and MSc she was employed at Surrey University, researching class, gender and ethnic inequalities in health and material circumstances, publishing several books and gaining her PhD. She is now a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and contributes to several NGOs that reflect her concern for equality and social justice by acting as trustee or consultant. She supports the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) and is working to develop Green Party policy on banking reform and a Citizens Income. As a keen gardener, growing her own organic veggies, she is currently helping to ‘green’ Coulsdon South station with flowers and shrubs.


Ruud Skipper is in the last months of a physics degree at Oxford University. A raising awareness of the impact of climate change has lead to Ruud being involved in the research and production of new sources of renewable energy, he has also participated in a number of climate change campaigns. Ruud believes in the right to equality and the right of all individuals to participate fully in society, he has volunteered supporting adults with physical and learning disabilities to access education for over six years. He supports at the Coulsdon adult education center during his breaks from university, and is looking forward to further increasing his community involvement when he returns full time to Croydon in June.


Saima Raza was raised in Croydon and following her undergraduate and postgraduate education in Law, pursued work with international and national charities. She has worked as a domestic violence advocate across London, as a researcher for international organisations and environmental programmes, taught English to migrant workers and produced climate change literature and publications for NGO’s in Africa. Saima currently works with a number of environmental education organisations in London and with the Green Team of a primary school in Croydon promoting sustainability.  Having worked and volunteered within the third sector for the past eight years, she has seen first-hand the affects of housing policies and welfare reform on the most vulnerable families in society and advocated on the behalf of families fleeing domestic abuse. 
She feels more needs to be done in terms of raising awareness of the environmental issues and their relevance to our daily lives. She is an advocate for local food and permaculture principles, less dependence on fossil fuels and a non-discriminatory system that allows all to enjoy equal opportunities - Saima believes the introduction of the revised university fees is in contravention of this. Saima believes in improving funding for the social care and community support sectors to give families the opportunity to flourish.
Saima will be undertaking conservation work in Asia later this year and is looking forward to reviving her PhD which will investigate communities displaced due to environmental disasters and the role of international law. In her spare time, Saima grows herbs and vegetables, practices the acoustic guitar, photographing nature and exploring Croydon’s many green spaces!


Yasmin Halai- Carter is an entrepreneur, a mother and a campaigner.   Yasmin set up her first business in 1999 in the business consumables sector where she worked for ten years. It was the waste and environmental damage she saw here, and often in products that were being described by their manufacturers as green, that made Yasmin an ardent campaigner for sustainable business.  In her own words ‘sustainable business is successful business, if you can look after people, planet and profit then business can be an incredible force for good. If you can’t then sooner or later it will all fall apart.’  In recently times business has taken a back seat for Yasmin to family concerns. Although she still helps her husband Bruce run Ethstat, the ethical stationery company, her primary focus has moved to educating her children and is a carer for her Mother who has Dementia and her Father who is disabled.   
Yasmin believes that the Green Party is a positive choice rather than a protest vote, a vote for a positive future rather than a look at the past.

Martin Cousins is a resident of New Addington and works in the transport sector. Martin is a supporter of Crystal Palace and AFC Croydon Athletic, a fan of punk music and enjoys real ale.  Martin believes the council needs to do far more to protect front line services from the cuts, which are hitting the residents of New Addington disproportionately. Martin wants the council to do more to encourage people to take up sports, and believes the first step should be for the council to abolish charges for sports clubs to use park pitches.  Martin is one of many 'Young Greens' standing in Croydon.

JIm Clugston has lived in New Addington for many years, is a staunch family man , likes art, history science and ancient rock music.
He was late coming to any political party but chose the Greens when he did so, coming to believe that Greens are the only party that is willing to address both local and national issues and can make a  difference to people. hence putting his name forward
Believes in sensible long term solutions to our problems, fracking and incineration are not the answers to energy and waste issues as these are not good solutions when other people friendly ones are available

Positive change is possible he believes through cooperation and consideration


Marie Norfield (Norbury ward)

Marie Norfield has lived in Norbury for 27 years. 
For much of that time she was a career civil servant in the departments 
of employment and education. Marie also worked for two years teaching 
English as a foreign language locally. 

Now retired, in 2013 Marie planned and organised the planting of a Bee and Butterfly border in Norbury Hall Park and is collaborating with other residents to formalise a Friends of Norbury Hall Park group. The Friends key aim for 2014 is for more sustainable planting throughout the park to help turn Norbury into a greener local area.

Marie was one of the inaugural members and secretary of the Scots Estate Residents Association (SERA). 
She has contributed to local clean-up campaigns against fly-tipping, 
and against the closure of Norbury Library, where she informally leads 
a monthly reading group. Marie successfully bid for funding for SERA 
and also helped establish a barn dance in its annual programme of 

Raj Mehta (Norbury)

Raj Mehta is a longtime Norbury resident (20 years) and a Croydonion born and bred. More information about Raj can be found on his web site.


Jo Wittams (Selhurst)

Jo Wittams has lived in Selhurst since 2002 and her two young sons attend local schools. Jo has worked for a range of NGOs including those tackling the arms trade, combatting gender inequality and highlighting the mental health needs of people with learning disabilities. She currently works for an organisation which aims to reduce extreme income and wealth inequality in the UK, as research shows it is damaging for everyone. As a Breastfeeding Counsellor, Jo regularly volunteers at a local children's centre and facilitates antenatal sessions for local parents to be. Jo ran a campaign to raise awareness about the cuts to school crossing patrols in 2013, and believes road safety remains a key issue for Selhurst. 


Peter Underwood (Selsdon and Ballards)

Peter Underwood moved to Selsdon over 12 years ago after working for the Benefits Agency in Croydon through most of the 1990s. Later in his civil service career Peter worked in the policy unit of the Department for Work and Pensions and also produced the UK renewable energy strategy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

On leaving the civil service in 2011, Peter spent three years volunteering with local charities including the Friends of Littleheath Woods, the Conservation Volunteers and National Trust. Peter is also an active member of the Croydon Friends of the Earth group and a member of Amnesty International and Trees for Life.


Liz and Andy Bebington are both standing in their home ward of Shirley, where they have lived for over 39 years. They are retired, help care for their four grandchildren, and are active in their local churches.. 
Liz Bebington (Shirley)
Croydon-born Liz began her working life as a Probation Officer and then worked for two Croydon charities - supporting single parents with  Croydon Welcare in the 1980's, and then after a break caring for her father, supporting and developing local Good Neighbour Groups with Croydon Neighbourhood Care Association from 1993 until 2005. She  ran a local Brownie Pack for 30 years and is still involved in various support roles for Girlguiding locally. She is passionate about the value to the community of the voluntary sector and the support such groups need and has a particular interest in adult social care.. 

Andy Bebington (Shirley)

Andy is chairman of Croydon Citizens Advice Bureau and is (or has been) Treasurer for a number of charities in the town, after a life working in financial services. He is a keen cyclist and enjoys travel.

Elaine Garrod has lived most of her life in Croydon and studied at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Kent where she studied languages and translation. She works as a graphic designer now and as well as the Green Party also belongs to Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International, Action Aid and Greenpeace. Her principle concerns are global human rights and environmental improvement, which she sees as being inextricably interlinked. She does voluntary work teaching English conversation classes to foreign (mainly Bangladeshi) women. She is standing for the Green Party because she wants to help make Croydon a cleaner, safer, fairer place for all its citizens to live in. Her other interests are history, arts and crafts, role-play gaming and keeping fit.


Julie Wade (Thornton Heath)

Julie Wade (now retired) worked as teacher for 25 years. She volunteers in much of her spare time. Her son Joe Wade is the BAFTA award winning writer of the Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Stefan Szczelkun (Thornton Heath ward)

Stefan Szczelkun, whose father was a Polish pilot in the RAF, has lived in Thornton Heath for six years. He is currently in the process of retiring from his job as lecturer at University of Westminster and is planning to spend more time doing experimental visual art and photography projects. Stefan is a parent and has a particular interest in inclusive education and play facilities, and the safety of young people in the area. Since moving to Thornton Heath he has taken an interest in the rich musical heritage of the area and would like to see this become more celebrated. His wife co-founded Friends of Grangewood Park.


Les Kenny-Green (Upper Norwood)

Les Kenny-Green is ex British army (as a teenager). He saw active service in Bosnia.
He went from army to circus and has worked on stage and screen as an actor.  
Most notable work- 
West end : A Few Good Men, Haymarket
Film: The Bank Job and Marc Price's Magpie which is currently in the US cinemas.
Also, lots of adverts and motion capture work.
He has lived all over London including five years moving around the Thames and canals on a narrow boat
He has an allotment in Spa Hill which he does volunteer days at.
He has also worked as a volunteer Special Constable for the Met. He believes our drug laws need reforming as a matter of urgency, as they force victims to become criminals as well as making other criminals rich.


Martyn Post (Waddon)

Martyn Post has lived in Croydon his whole life, except for three years away at university.   Martyn is currently working as a librarian at a further education college, he has experienced first hand how the cuts have hit younger people the hardest and believes the council needs to be doing more to help create jobs in the borough.  Martyn is a former member of the Liberal Democrats, and is shocked by the decision of Sutton Council to build the incinerator on the border of Sutton and Croydon.  Martyn is one of a number of Young Greens that are standing in Croydon.  

Grace Onions (Waddon)

Grace Onions lives in Waddon with her family, having moved there in 1996. She gained an honours degree in Environmental Conservation while working full time in 2000.
Being active and helping within the local community has always been important to Grace, starting with taking a joint lead role in Croydon Real Nappy Network, stemming from a voluntary position at the Women’s Environmental Network. She continues to campaign strongly against the building of a waste incinerator on the Waddon ward boundary, assists the parent-teacher associations at two schools, is an active member of the Croydon Friends of the Earth and joins many Greenpeace campaigns. She also works as a personal assistant for two autistic boys to give their parents a break, learning that carers play a vital role in society. As a member of Soroptimist International she supports local, national and international initiatives to transform the lives of women and girls across the globe. Growing organic fruit and vegetables and learning to play the piano take up any remaining spare time!

Mary Davey (Waddon)

Mary Davey is Chairperson of the Society of Catholic Artists and a retired Croydon schoolteacher.


Barry Buttigieg is a postman and has been working for Royal Mail for 36 years. He has lived in West Thornton for 25 years. He was a former Labour candidate in Croydon but joined the Green Party because of Labour's shift to the right of the political spectrum.

Rebecca Parnell, has the unusual career of making sound effects for video games and film, having won a BAFTA for best sound and is on BAFTA Games Awards jury.
Rebecca has for a long time been deeply concerned with environmental issues but became actively involved after moving to Croydon 5 years ago, with joining Croydon Friends of the Earth and now treasurer. Croydon FOE's local campaign successes were for food waste collection in the area, and Rebecca is currently involved with setting up a FOE Bee World at Heathfield's Ecology Centre to raise awareness on the decline of bees and what can be done to save them.


Clare Trivedi (Woodside)

Clare Trivedi has lived in Croydon since 2002, for the last 5 years in South Croydon. 
As a mother of two young children, she is familiar with the concerns facing families and is personally particularly concerned about the lack of quality school places, crime and the appropriate development of the town centre.

Clare has a degree and MSc in Environmental Biology and for the last 13 years has managed biodiversity conservation projects both internationally and in the UK. Previous to this she worked on climate change and energy policy issues. She is currently leading a consortium of organisations in a project to safeguard UK trees and woodlands.

Andrew Enebe (Woodside)

Andrew Enebe is a member of Croydon Transition Town and a founder  of Croydon Power

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Thursday, May 01, 2014

Residents angry in Broad Green

On Saturday 12th April, like many party activists, I was tasked with obtaining signatures for a consent to nomination form for the forthcoming local elections. That afternoon I was in Broad Green. When knocking on doors in one particular road, I was told by a resident that there was a stabbing across the road, and two weeks had elapsed and the blood of the victim(s) was still on the pavement. I went across the road to look for myself. I couldn't believe my eyes. My immediate reaction was that children in the area would view this. Without question, that would create a mindset of what they should perceive as normal, growing up to see blood splattered on the pavement. Additionally, you could even get children touching the blood. The question on my mind was: Are the authorities treating Broad Green as some sort of District 13, a place where violence and gangs were the norm, therefore, residents won't mind if cleaning up after such an incident was low priority? I took a photo and tweeted @YourCroydon. 

The following Saturday I went back to Broad Green and was relieved to see the blood had gone. I spoke to a shopkeeper and we both surmised that maybe the heavy downpour we had had a couple of days earlier had washed it away. Although what is more probable given that concrete is porous, the blood would have needed specialists to wash the pavement clean.

The shopkeeper recalled that he had heard the stabbing occurred with a glass bottle in the first weekend of April, late at night. The police came and cordoned off the area. After a few days the cordon was removed but no-one came to remove the blood.

I am not sure what the process is but, surely there has to be a system in place to deal with this kind of incident. Someone has to be responsible for reporting the blood stained pavement, and someone is responsible for cleaning it.  We need some answers because no family in Croydon should live on a street with this situation apparently being the norm.

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Standing up for what matters