Thursday, 18 December 2008

Seven Sisters By-election - Anne Gray Green Party Candidate

Green Party candidate Anne Gray is a well-known community activist who likes getting things done. Anne recently retired from a university job in social policy. She has the time to dedicate to the people of Seven Sisters and would work hard for you.

Anne helps run the East Hale allotment site in Millmead Road . With friends she started a food coop at Broadwater Farm Community Centre to help local people buy fresh, British and organic food at affordable prices. Anne would campaign to set up community food growing schemes to bring horticultural jobs back into London and keep down the cost of good food.

Anne also takes part in the Haringey campaign against cuts and privatisation in the health service. If elected, she would campaign to stop the privatisation of the Laurels Health Centre and to keep important local services at St. Ann ’s Hospital. We also need an Accident and Emergency unit in Haringey.

Anne has written a book about unemployed people's experiences of job-hunting and the benefits system. So she is well aware of what Tottenham people face now that unemployment is rising fast. If elected, Anne would work for more and better jobs in Tottenham. She wants the Council to help develop good jobs for the future on local industrial estates. She supports the campaign to keep the Seven Sisters Market. You could trust an independent Green councillor not to bow down to big business and instead stand up for local people.

Anne was born and raised in London . She has lived in Tottenham since 1983, but has also worked in Mozambique and Brazil . She speaks Portuguese and is now learning Turkish. She is very concerned about racism, especially in the Police. She believes that ‘stop and search’ is often conducted in a way which picks on immigrants and Muslims.

Seven Sisters needs an independent voice with a fresh angle on politics within the council. Anne would help local people to hold the politicians to account.

* Greens care about vulnerable children and elderly in difficulty

Sacking social workers doesn’t help children in distress. Haringey social workers have too many cases each to work well. Older people need more help too.

The Council should:-
- Get enough social workers, who must be well trained and supported
- Give them more time with the people they look after and less red tape
- Provide real support and management of their work; not just ticking boxes on forms
- Encourage and fund more community volunteer groups to provide mums and toddlers’ activities and support isolated pensioners
- Provide better community transport and foot care for housebound elders

* Greens care about respect for all residents whatever their origin
We need to combat racism in the Police Force and all public authorities, and say no to racist stop and search practices which target foreigners and Muslims
It’s important police don’t misuse taser guns

* Greens care about a quality Health Service and resisting its privatisation
- restore cuts in preventive services for elderly, for young children and for teenage pregnancy advice
- say NO to privatisation of the Laurels Health Centre and its GPs
- say NO to privatisation of the out of hours doctors’ service
- restore an Accident and Emergency Service to Haringey

* Greens care about jobs and good housing for local residents
Haringey Greens are already working with Homes for Haringey to press for estate improvements.

A Green Councillor would
- campaign to keep the Seven Sisters Market
- help everyone to get their home well insulated, to save fuel costs and create local jobs
- buy up empty homes and give local people jobs to repair them for people on the housing waiting list
- set up community food growing schemes to bring horticultural jobs back into London and keep down the cost of good food
- develop Tottenham industrial estates as a centre of manufacturing for wind power, solar power and insulation equipment

* Greens care about reducing WASTE of all kinds – of energy, of the rubbish we throw out, of land, of empty homes, of wasted empty commercial buildings
- we should save energy in schools and council offices; insist retailers use less bags and boxes so residents have less to throw out; crack down on rubbish dumping;
To find out more about the Green Party and Anne’s campaign phone 020 8881 9300.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Pop those corks

Did anyone watch a documentary called 'Cork - Forest in a Bottle' on BBC2 last weekend. Lots of us buy more wine this time of year so it was a timely reminder to always buy bottles with corks in, not plastic stoppers or screwtops.
The film showed a fabulously beautiful region of Portugal given over to growing cork trees for generations. Cork grows in and contributes to a specific habitat (sorry forget the Portuguese name) which is fantastic for plants and animals. The trees are de-barked once every 9 years and the bark grows back. At the same time this sustainable industry provides a living for the thousands who harvest it. And it's obviously not only Portugal...

PS The true fact that I'm a Corkwoman has nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Londoners work longest hours in UK

Euro MPs to vote on ending the opt-out from Working Time Directive

New figures released this week have confirmed that Londoners work some of the longest hours in the UK. It is estimated that one in six people in London work over 48 hours per week, a higher proportion than in any other region. 45,000 people are working over 66 hours per week.
Tomorrow a crucial vote will take place in the European Parliament on the EU Working Time Directive. Up to now the UK has opted out of the legislation which is designed to protect workers' health and safety by limiting their average working week to 48 hours over a 12 month period. If the Parliament votes to end the opt-out it is recommended to be phased out within three years. However the next steps will be to negotiate the way forward with the Council.

Jean Lambert, the Green Party MEP for London and Member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, who has been heavily involved in negotiations on the Directive, said:

"We have an opportunity this week to give UK workers the right to enjoy a better work-life balance. There are many health issues related to the long-hours culture including stress, anxiety and depression, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and insomnia. This Directive is first and foremost about protecting health and safety.

"The majority of long hours employees are not paid for their overtime and therefore have little to fear in terms of their earnings if we end the opt-out. Unsurprisingly, seven out of ten people who work unpaid overtimewant to reduce their hours. Over half of those doing paid overtime also want to cut their working time.

"The UK Government has been pressurising MEPs to vote to keep the opt-out, thereby leaving UK workers open to exploitation. Why should UK workers be expected to work longer hours and have fewer rights than those on the continent?"

Regarding concerns that the Directive will be bad for business, Jean Lambert MEP said:

"There is a large degree of flexibility built into the Directive for businesses so that employees can work longer in peak times, as long as they do not work more than an average of 48 hours per week over a 12 month period." MEPs will be voting on proposals to end the UK opt-out from the Directive on Wednesday 17th December. Jean Lambert's report Must I Work Harder?, which outlines her reasons behind calling for an end to the UK opt-out, can befound at

Monday, 15 December 2008

Wanted: Plumber to mend broken boiler for perturbed local resident

We in the Haringey Green Party are a neighbourly lot. Therefore, we were very concerned to hear of a certain Highgate lady’s problems with her boiler Apparently, the wretched thing started spitting flames and making strange noises one evening. This caused its panicked owner to dial 999 for the fire brigade. Luckily, our boys and girls in blue sorted out the crisis, by switching off the appliance.

So please, if anybody knows of a good plumber, so that this poor woman can be spared having to make anymore distressed calls to the emergency services, drop a line to:

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Haringey Green Party's Amnesty International card signing event is a success!

Haringey Green Party this afternoon took over Hornsey Vale Community Centre and hosted an Amnesty International Greetings Card signing event. People from the local community joined us for mince pies and Christmas cake, and together we signed over 250 cards and letters to individuals and groups at risk around the world.
Jean Lambert, Green MEP, who was the Justice and Human Right MEP of the year 2005, was in attendence.
It gave us the opportunity to meet local people and get to know them as individuals, which is rather hard when, for example, canvassing on the doorstep! It also shows the people in Stroud Green that we are active and busy all year round - not just at election time.
At this time of year, when everyone is rushing around trying to organise Christmas, it can be good to take time out to consider those less fortunate than ourselves. By reaching out to them by sending a simple message of goodwill, we can not only boost their morale but also perhaps help to secure their safety. The arrival of these letters and cards let's the powers that be know that these people are known about around the world - they cannot simply be made to 'disappear'.
In short, a postive and worthwhile afternoon! Thanks to everyone who attended and made the event so successful and enjoyable.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Green Party Chooses Candidate to Contest Seven Sisters By-election

Anne Gray recently retired from a research job in social policy, has been selected by Haringey Green Party to contest the Seven Sisters ward by-election on 15th January 2009. Author of a book on unemployed people's experiences of job-hunting and the benefits system in several countries, she is well aware of what Tottenham people face during the recession.

Anne has lived in Tottenham since 1983 and has been working on policies to deal with unemployment and poverty most of that time, either in educational establishments, the civil service or local authorities. She has also worked in Mozambique and Brazil - she speaks Portuguese and is now trying to learn Turkish as well. Since her retirement she has been busy helping to run a big allotment site and starting a food coop to help local people buy organic and British-grown food more cheaply. She is also an active supporter of the Haringey campaign against cuts and privatisation in the health service.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Lib Dems Bend The Truth Again

The Lib Dems, in Haringey at least, have a reputation for putting out misleading information to the public about the electoral prospects of opposition parties. In the past they have used graphs with highly selective voting data, portraying them as the only party that can win council seats off Labour. It is true that they are the main challengers to Labour in many areas, but not exclusively so.

Well, they are at it again. I received a copy of the glossy ‘Hornsey and Wood Green News’ through my door the other day. It is the usual ‘look how marvellous the Lib Dems are, and look how terrible Labour are’ type of thing, complete with several photos of Lynne Featherstone, the local MP. All spin.

What really got my goat though, was their use of the recent Alexandra by-election result to peddle their usual message. Funnily enough, they actually quoted the Green Party as getting more votes than we did, but they described us as ‘A tiny party in Haringey’. I don’t know the membership figures of the Lib Dems in the area, but I would bet that they are not more than twice our membership. Haringey Green Party is one of the largest local Green Parties in the whole of Greater London. Neighbouring Camden Green Party has only a few more members than us, and they hold three council seats. What is true, is that the local Lib Dems have a lot more money than we do, and this is the secret of what success they have had in Haringey. Maybe they should just offer the voters twenty pounds each for their support.

The other claim that the literature makes is that ‘Most environmentally minded people now vote Lib Dem here’. Well, if they do, they are wasting their vote. Lib Dem run councils up and down the country have a poor record on environmental issues, approving road building and airport expansion schemes. The same is true of the Lib Dems, who in partnership with Labour in the Scottish Parliament, approved this type of damaging fossil fuelled expansion. No, if you want green, you have to vote Green.

Clearly, the Lib Dems are desperate to hang onto Lynne Featherstone’s parliamentary seat in Hornsey and Wood Green, which they only won in 2005 because of local opposition to the disastrous Iraq war. Even that was something of a con. The Lib Dems were not against the Iraq war per se, they were against it ‘without a UN resolution'. Then, when the war started, without a UN resolution, they were in favour of it. Go figure, as our American friends say.

I think they will struggle to hold onto Hornsey and Wood Green next time, as the Iraq war as an issue has now faded somewhat. Also, the election of Nick Clegg as leader has shifted the Lib Dems to the right politically, whereas the people who voted for them in 2005 in this area are centre left types. We will see.