Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Tom Watson MP spotted playing Pokemon Go


While sitting on a bench at Victoria Place, last Wednesday, I noticed a familiar face walk past. I couldn't be certain but it looked a lot like the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

I thought to myself, oh well we'll never know.

However, moments after I took this photo (above) as some sort of snap memento, the figure stopped and held out his mobile phone and stared at its screen. I assumed he was checking social media. He paused for such a long time that I thought here's my chance to satisfy my curiosity. So, I walked up to him and said, "Mr Watson?"

"Hi," he replied, "I was just playing Pokemon Go. My kids have really got me into it."

I had a look at the screen on his phone and for the first time I saw what the  Pokemon Go game looked like.

We had a chat about politics and leadership elections. I confessed I was in the Green party and we talked about Caroline Lucas MP, and I explained that she was standing with Jonathan Bartley. Mr Watson said he had just come from Labour party HQ, and joked about whether a Corbyn/Smith job share could work in his party!

Given that Brexit is now done, the chattering classes are all talking about the state of the Labour party; the populace are talking about Pokemon Go and occasionally the two worlds collide.



Mr Watson has got form for being down with the kids. Some of the media slated him for going to Glastonbury but he seems like likable bloke who evidently has interests outside of politics!


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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Latest demo outside Viridor's incinerator

Thanks to Maeve Tomlinson an excellent demonstration was held outside the incinerator construction site. We received some excellent coverage in the Sutton Guardian, Croydon Advertiser, Inside Croydon and even Radio Jackie!

Croydon Advertiser
Some videos of the event are here:


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

EU or not to EU by the sons of immigrants.

Pubs in North Croydon offer assistance!


I haven't had a chance to blog for a while but with the looming EU referendum, now just 2 days away, I felt I had to put a different perspective on what is billed as the 'once in generation vote.'

I remember vividly the first time I heard an Asian gentleman call up a radio station (LBC), during a phone in, to moan about immigrants coming in. It was all the more bizarre because he had a fairly strong accent. The presenter responded by quoting the lifting of drawbridge adage but that didn't seem to matter to the caller.

I have had many conversations about the EU vote with friends. The most fascinating conversations are with my Black and Minority Ethnic friends. We are all Londoners in our mid-40s, sons of immigrants, but also of an age to notice the relatively sudden change in the population demographics around us.

Anyway, I thought I would collate their thoughts in this blog:

Mr Saleh - REMAIN

Mr Saleh is voting REMAIN. When we last spoke about the vote, around a month ago, he was convinced that LEAVE wouldn't have a chance. His logic was that people in this country wouldn't vote for a self-imposed economic crash.

Mr Saleh returned to the UK this year after living and working in Dubai for around 17 years, although he has been back to visit on a number of occasions because his mum and dad are still living in London. He told me about walking down Oxford Street recently, and how he didn't hear a single English voice. Everyone was speaking in a foreign tongue. Everyone working in the shops and cafes didn't speak English as a first language. I noticed Mr Saleh posted the meme below on his FB timeline.



We talked about the impact of immigration and how the job market had become very competitive. It was clear to Mr Saleh that we were on the edge of another economic crash. He understood the global economy to be fragile and the repercussions of a BREXIT would make things a lot worse. I played devils advocate, and pointed out we were the the world's 5th largest economy. He replied that we were the 5th largest economy because we were in the EU.


Mr Nu - UNDECIDED

I think during one conversation with Mr Nu I gleaned that he was very much a global citizen and as such the free movement of workers from the EU was limiting opportunities for Commonwealth citizens.

He sent me a message via Facebook last week:

"The economy seems to have flat-lined or be in stagnation. Young people in Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain are coming to the UK as the EU project has not created employment opportunities. Where there is economic growth in developed economies, the companies are able to shelter their profits through tax shelters and thus the public purse does not increase, hence we have had economic growth without the treasury being able to pay off the public debt.

It strikes me that this model of economics, supported by the IMF, World Bank and major Central Banks is not working. The impact on the rest of the world is dire with most developing countries unable to make any development as they cannot invest in their infrastructure and the creation of a functioning state  as their income goes on debt repayments at staggering rates of interest (or stolen by corrupt regimes).

It strikes me that whether we stay in or out of the EU is not actually the issue. The issue is can anyone change economic policy which creates economic growth, which isn't squirreled away by large companies, to enable politicians to build more robust states. We saw Greece propose this, by voting in a party which would take them out of the Euro to enable them to print their own money and democracy was suspended in that country."


Mr Anenden - LEAVE

Mr Anenden and I spoke about the EU a few days after Green Party peer Jenny Jones appeared on Question Time. She self-described herself as a rebel within the Green party when explaining she was in favour of BREXIT. She made it clear that immigration was not a consideration when arriving at her decision. Instead the simple fact that the EU is unreformable has brought her to the gates of BREXIT. 

This is why Mr Anenden intends to vote LEAVE. He pointed out that if he wanted to vote out the government of the day in the UK he actually could do this. However, with the EU, he has no chance of voting out someone or some group if they decided to impose a policy he disliked. 

Mr Anenden posted on Facebook, "Yes I am voting BREXIT, howvever, I am fully aware of how poisonous the debate has been especially about immigrants. Luckily I am educated enough to discard that bullshit. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I was abused verbally and physically for being a Paki (even though my parents came from Mauritius)."


Mr Srinivason - REMAIN

Mr Srinivason has already voted REMAIN by postal vote. He pointed out to me in an email that, "the arguments put forward by the BREXIT camp just do not make sense to me and are not as persuasive or as rigorous as the case for staying in."

The economic arguments for staying in are important to Mr Srinivason but personalities are also playing a part for many when coming to their decision.

In his email Mr Srinivason said:

"One of the leading campaigners of the 'Out' campaign is Boris Johnson. On a purely personal level I cannot stand him and do not think he has any political intelligence. His persona of a 'harmless, lovable rogue' maybe enough to get him votes among some people but it doesn't work with me. Anything Boris puts his support is very, very unlikely to get my vote."

In addition, he points out, "I think we need to move away from an island nation mentality that people in the UK traditionally have. Many people still believe in British sovereignty  and that we are at battle with the Germans and French. I personally think we need to embrace Europe and have stronger links with them."


Mr Macey - REMAIN

A few months ago when I spoke to Mr Macey about the referendum, like Mr Saleh, he said BREXIT wasn't going to happen. When I saw him again last week, he reminded me that I told him not to presume it was a foregone conclusion. Quite crudely, if you add half the Conservative vote to the UKIP vote, and a third of the Labour vote - then you've already got 40 per cent. What is more, this 40 per cent is definitely voting on 23rd June. 

When we recently met, Mr Macey told me:

"I think there is a discussion to be had on whether the EU is beneficial. Unfortunately, the context of this referendum is one which will see us led out of Europe by extreme right wing ideology. These are people who would create more wealth for the already wealthy, who won't take care of those who need it, and who won't connect to people who really don't have a stake in their future."


My own view - REMAIN

with Jean Lambert MEP in 2006
Back in 2006, whilst on a trip to Belgium I was lucky enough to be shown around the European Parliament by long serving Green party MEP for London, Jean Lambert. A couple of years later I stood for the European Parliament. It would be a bit rich to stand for parliament that I didn't want, although this doesn't seem to bother the elected UKIP MEPs. 

My reasons for remaining have been succinctly given by my friends. My lingering doubts about the EU have also been captured by my friends.  I don't consider myself enthusiastic about remaining. I did the Crowdpac test and scored 62 per cent in favour of remaining - which feels about right.




It is human nature to recall some halcyon time when housing was affordable, jobs were available and commuting was navigable without congestion or frustration. This halcyon time is somewhere in between the UK being labelled the 'sick man of Europe' in the 1970s and Gordon Brown's continued pronouncements of 'no return to the boom-bust economy' in the 2000s.

Successful economies attract migrants and need migrants to sustain their success when ailing. Government policy needs to meet the demands of continued migration. However, Mr Nu explains why this is not happening. The result of this inequality, lack of housing and public service provision combined with a right wing media keen to distract from its own wealth directs focus on the immigrant community. My friends/contributors and I have all experienced the prejudice that results.


Flag of Esperanto [credit Grundin]

One final thought, when states at different points of the economic cycle try and unify, it is undoubtedly easier if they have a common language. USA, Germany (twice), Italy and even the United Kingdom come to mind. Maybe its time to introduce Esperanto in all schools!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What the incinerator looks like on 24th May 2016




Councillor Nick Mattey took this photo yesterday.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jim Clugston RIP

Jim Clugston (left)

Earlier this month we heard that Jim Clugston had sadly passed away.

Jim was a unique individual. He lived in New Addington, which is demographically speaking the area in Croydon you are least likely to find a Green party member. The fact that the British National Party has attracted significant support in New Addington indicated how it is the polar opposite of North Laine in Brighton, for example.

I recall he told me his next door neighbour had a BNP poster on his their window!

Jim had stood for council elections in New Addington and had been active for a number of years. He was always on hand to support the local party, whether it be leafleting, writing letters to the local paper or standing as a candidate. He was very much active in the local CND group and was one of the first to embrace the transition town concept in Croydon. He was also someone who would take the time to send me an email (to comment/credit) if he spotted something Green party related in the local paper.

This blog has some record of this Green party activity here, including how he generated power from scrap metal!

In recent times, due to a misunderstanding, this is how I would describe it, with regard to a social media post, Jim had decided to distanced himself from the Green party. I think those of us who observed the episode were quite frankly disappointed it ever happened. I remember my colleague Bernice Golberg pointing out it reinforced her view to stay clear of social media.

It is sad to think we won't see Jim again.



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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

West Thornton By Election - MAY 5th 2016

Lady Emily Benn is off to New York. This has triggered a by election. Greens have an excellent candidate: David Beall. He's the only candidate who lives in the ward. This has not gone unnoticed.

Thornton Heath Community Action Team tweeted:



David and I have done a few bits of activism together over the years. The most famous one - which has nearly 7000 views - can be watched below. Mr Beall is Mr ANTI-ESSO MAN. Its not often you will see a candidate in his underwear...




Personal statement from David Beall.

My name is David Beall. I am 34 years of age and was born in Mayday Hospital and went to Gonville Primary School and the Archbishop Lanfranc School. I have lived in West Thornton ward since 1980. I am a qualified Mental Health Nurse and have been a community support worker before, during and after qualifying in the borough of Bromley.

This will be the third time David will be standing in West Thornton ward. He stood in 2010 and in 2014. In 2014 he was the highest placed candidate who wasn't a Labour or Tory, finishing highest among the Greens and above the Lib Dem and UKIP candidates. 


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A nice Selhurst to Woodside walk


Brickfields Meadow


On Good Friday this year I went on my favourite walk in Croydon. It is my favourite walk because it is through fields and grassland, yet you are in a very urban environment. 

I took a pic of my finishing point and it appeared in the Croydon Advertiser under YOUR VIEWS. 



The walk is from Heavers Meadow to Brickfields Meadow. The map above doesn't show the route!

1) From Selhurst station cross the road towards the Selhurst Rail Depot.
2) The entrance to Heavers Meadow is a few yards up the road towards Norwood Junction.
3) Walk along the path - watch for the giant rats!
4) You have no choice but to use Tennison Road to get over the railway lines.
5) Turn off the main road to Brickfields Meadow and enjoy the fish filled pond!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Croydon Derby - support your local clubs

This post was sent to Inside Croydon

https://insidecroydon.com/2016/03/10/shall-we-sing-a-song-for-you-derby-days-chorus-of-approval/

I am a Croydon Athletic supporter. Saturday 6th March 2016 was derby day.  I met up with a friend at The Horsehoe pub on Thornton Heath pond to watch Tottenham v Arsenal, and after that game we walked down Silverleigh Road to the Mayfields Stadium to watch AFC Croydon Athletic v Croydon FC.

It was my first ever Croydon derby. A fixture between these two Croydon clubs is a rarity. Not only have these two clubs been in different divisions, but also in different leagues over the past few seasons.

Upon going through the turnstiles, I was immediately surprised by the number of supporters behind the Croydon (Trams) goal, the preferred location for the Croydon Athletic Rams Army. It seemed like a number of occasional attendees had made a special effort for the clash between Rams v Trams. I've been going to Mayfields since the 2006-07 season, and it was about as populated as its ever been behind the goal,

I usually bring a drum with me, which in recent matches has been played by young James who comes with his mum and dad. James was keen to have the drum again.

A quick scan of the terraces and stands indicated that the Trams had not bought many fans with them.

After the first Croydon Athletic attack, James had started the familiar 'Da-Da... Da-Da-Da...Da-Da-Da-Da' drum beat which finishes with the supporters chanting 'Croydon.' As if in auto-response mode, upon hearing the beat, I chanted Croydon with only a handful of others, only to see Mick look over at us and say, "think about it..."

Banter with Croydon keeper, Francis Ameyaw, started early with a rendition of the saxaphone solo from the Pink Panther theme. Well, what do you expect if you turn up to play in dayglo pink!

There ought to be a fierce rivalry between the Rams and the Trams but I have never got a sense that has been the case. Tackles weren't really flying on Saturday. There was one moment, shortly after commencement of the second half, when a couple of players confronted each other - but that happens in every game nowadays.

Croydon FC have hovered around the foot of the Southern Counties East - Premier Division for most of the season, whereas Croydon Athletic have been floating around the top half. If the league table is supposed to reflect the comparative standard of each team then it was wholly accurate with regards to this fixture.

The Rams took the lead in the 11th minute through a cool finish from striker Lee Jansen. In the 28th minute, top scorer Raheem Sterling-Parker was upended by goalkeeper Ameyaw resulting in a penalty. There's only one Raheem Sterling took the penalty himself and calmly slotted it away. Athletic pushed for a third goal but never seemed to get into a high gear. At the other end of the pitch the Rams keeper was largely untroubled.

In the second half, Athletic continued to control the game but found it difficult to add to their lead. I got the sense that the Rams were coasting to the finish line when out of the blue Lauris Chin pulled a goal back after a defensive mishap. Manager Anthony Williams went ballistic and screamed and shouted at the defence. Any complacency which had set in was soon erased and the Rams held on to win 2-1.


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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR