Sunday, June 18, 2017

Less than one per cent voted sensibly!


Which is the most sensible way to vote? 

Just days before the General Election, if you were commuting along the Purley Way, on the border of Sutton, you would have seen a spectacular piece of graffiti on a billboard just opposite Waddon Retail Park. It read: VOTE SENSIBLY FOR BRITAIN. It was such a piece of unblemished art, I almost believe someone paid for the billboard space.

I stood in Carshalton and Wallington - a Lib Dem/Tory marginal seat. In this constituency voting sensibly is very much subjective:

  • Vote LIB DEM to keep the Conservative Matthew Maxwell-Scott out! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote LIB DEM to keep Theresa May out because she is awful! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote TORY to stop Lib Dem Tom Brake - a cheerleader for Sutton council! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote TORY if you are a UKIP voter - that's who UKIP Sutton endorse! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote LABOUR if Jeremy Corbyn excites you and ignore two horse race! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote INDEPENDENT whistleblowing anti-incinerator Cllr Nick Mattey! Sensible score 5/5
  • Vote GREEN for the guy who risked his house to Sensible score 5/5

Above are all sensible ways to vote in Carshalton and Wallington. Some are tactical. Some are not. I came across a number of voters when knocking on doors, leaning towards one of the options above.

However, many of these very same voters were contemplating whether there might be a more sensible option. At times I felt like a counsellor as I listened to them pore over what was running through their mind.

I came across Green voters (and even the odd Green Party member) who were thinking of voting LIB DEM to keep the Tory out. Green Party talk of progressive alliances and standing down in constituencies had changed the thought processes of those who would normally put 'X' by Green party. Zoe Williams has gone as far as saying Greens "effectively committed electoral hari-kiri for the sake of opposing the Conservatives."

Big thanks to Maeve Tomlinson - my agent.

At 3:29am on 9th June the Returning officer, Niall Bolger, read out the result privately to agents and candidates just before the official declaration. Maeve scribbled the numbers below. Niall wasn't pausing for anyone.

Result on BBC web site


Green vote was squeezed by all of the above valid sensible scenarios.


The declaration was a nonsense. I contacted Sutton Guardian about this. Those who were watching the coverage on TV (still from BBC London News above) might have thought all the candidates had gone to the pub to discuss if people had indeed voted sensibly.

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Interview on St Helier Radio

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

BBC London News prioritises me in its coverage!

This is the second time I've appeared on BBC London News. The first time was an experience.

The issue is, they shoot first and edit afterwards. Hence, you could do up to 10 minutes of filming and they select about 30 seconds for the final edit. As a result, they have enough footage to make you look like a nutjob or the next Obama.

Selfie just afterfilming

After another session of door-knocking in Beddington today, it was interesting to find that a number of people recalled seeing the above coverage and recognised me. So in a sense it was effective. Maybe it was because the Beeb prioritised me.

I took some advice from the Green Party press office on the morning of filming and they advised to decide what my message was going to be and keep saying it! So, I repeated three times, "improving air quality was engrained in the DNA of the Green party."

You will see from the coverage on BBC London News that a passer-by noticed we were filming and asked if we were talking about the incinerator.

The uncut version would have shown that after she said "no one listens", I had pointed out to her,

"Improving air quality is ingrained in the DNA of the Green party. You know, we are the party of the environment."

Previously, off camera she had said that she was going to vote Conservative. However, when I explained the above, I genuinely saw her eyes light up in recognition that the environment meant improving the air quality where she lived and not something distant like saving the whales. Sadly this wasn't necessarily captured.

The presenter even said, "You may have got her vote there."

It seems the Beeb couldn't mention air quality without getting a counter argument. I can almost accept their predicament.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Replies my questions on Webcast

Dear Shasha

Following yesterday evenings Council meeting, I can confirm that your questions were put by the Mayor to Cabinet Members and can be viewed on the webcast of the meeting.

Your question on air quality near schools begins at 52:50 of the webcast and was answered by Councillor Flemming and Councillor King.

Your question on the derelict site at the junction of London Road and St James Road begins at 56:05 of the webcast and was answered by Councillor Butler.

Kind regards,

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Campaigning in Redhill West and Meadvale

Last Saturday I joined many others in Redhill for a full day of campaigning for Rob Jarrett the Green Party candidate for Redhill West and Meadvale. After arriving I was given materials and sent out to canvass in the estate around Colman Way area.

Many issues came up on the doorstep including the lack of car parking space,  the hike in council tax attributed to adult social care and recycling bins not being collected.

The Green Party candidate finished second behind the Conservatives 2013 and I do think people were surprised by this when I told them, and actually enthused to vote Green to get the Tory out.

I had chance to take picture with Caroline Lucas who also came out to help Rob win the seat.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

How to handle dog poo.

Nothing beats that 'feeling' of stepping in dog poo. That immense grief is something we've all experienced. Yes of course  there are bigger issues to discuss in the forthcoming county council election, but the relatively small issue of  unscooped dog poo left by irresponsible dog owners, be it on a pavement, playground or field, is something that is a bother to us all.

The division of Banstead, Woodmansterne and Chipstead is blessed with miles and miles of beautiful countryside. However, good walks can be spoilt by unscooped dog poo. A number of local residents have mentioned the poo on view in the fields behind Lakers Rise. I have to confess the levels of poo are almost a disincentive to actually go for a walk in that area.

Like many mums and dads walking to the local school with their kids, I find myself having to keep an eye on dog poo on the pavements. Then one mum suggested there needed to be an easier way to alert us all of unscooped dog poo. Her light-hearted suggestion was a hi-vis paint, administered via an aerosol can, that can be sprayed directly on to the dog poo.

The idea shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. If you think about it, yes there are potential fines for irresponsible dog owners that should act as a deterrent, but enforcement is practically non-existent, especially when the police are experiencing cuts and other resource limitations.


Then I heard about a Brighton man who had bought over 100 'poo flags' on eBay and planted each one in a dog poo he found in a piece of green space outside his home. What is more, the local authority supports his scheme!

I wonder what people would think if I bought some flags and did the same in the fields behind Lakers Rise??


Woodmansterne Green Belt Residents Association AGM

I went along to last night's WGBRA AGM. It was interesting and enjoyable, with lots of friendly people in attendance.

The meeting started off with a presentation by Sandra from the KEEP OUR ST HELIER HOSPITAL KOSHH. It was a hard hitting opening to the AGM and it certainly caused a stir. Representatives from KOSHH are fantastic campaigners. They get everywhere. One even made a presentation at the Stand Up To Racism rally.

Towards the end of the meeting the Conservative Councillor Ken Gulati took questions, Much of the discussion revolved around planning applications on Green Belt land. This prompted me to lodge objections when I got home.

I got a chance to ask Cllr Gulati about the mulchy ice rink that developed last autumn and winter on the pavement at the bottom of Rectory Lane. We all had to slip, slide and sludge our way through as there was no other route. Other residents agreed with me and suggested that fallen leaves never used to cause this problem but cuts to street sweepers coupled with the installation of the mobile phone mast and crucially, the ancillary box beside it were contributory factors. To my surprise it seemed Surrey Council didn't know anything about the issue!!


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Piece in the Thornton Heath Chronicle

Here's the article:

If you’ve driven along Beddington Lane recently to go to Asda or Wickes, you might have noticed a huge construction site which dominates the nature reserve known as Beddington Farmlands. Some describe the construct as an Energy from Waste plant. I prefer to call it an incinerator, as does the Environment Agency who issued a permit for incineration to Viridor, the waste contractor that won the £1billion contract to operate the site.
The incinerator will burn all the domestic, commercial and industrial rubbish that is collected in Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Merton and beyond for 25 years. This includes any recyclables which end up in black bin bags.
In 2018, when the site becomes operational, an off white gas will be spewing out from its twin 100m chimneys. Much of the gas is water vapour, but even Viridor’s own Air Quality and Human Health Assessment report identifies nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, arsenic, mercury, lead and carbon monoxide as air pollutants within the plume. 
Furthermore, the prevailing SOUTH westerly winds mean much of the air pollutants and harmful ultrafine particles will be dumped over Thornton Heath.
Barely a week goes by without another fact about air pollution. The latest statistic is 40,000 people die prematurely due to dirty air. What if it was dirty water??
You may be asking was there any attempt to stop the incinerator? Well over the last 8.5 years a number of us battled hard, risking arrest at times, but sadly in 2013 a High Court challenge I led was defeated.

Nevertheless, action continues and a protest is planned for May 10th 2017. For more information please visit or search Stop the South London Incinerator in Facebook. 
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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Croydon standing up to racism

Occasionally, Croydon makes national news for the wrong reasons. On Friday 31st March, Reker Ahmed was subject to vicious attack in Shrublands. Friends who live in other areas of London heard about it and contacted me.

On Saturday 1st April the BBC News at 10pm decided to cover stories on
  • Gibraltar/EU 
  • Landslide in Colombia
  • a Nottingham woman abducting her two sons
There was no mention of the incident in Croydon which had left a child fighting for his life. Why did the BBC focus on the Nottingham abduction instead of the incident in Croydon??

On Sunday 2nd April BBC News at 10pm did carry the story. 

Yesterday Stand Up To Racism organised a Unity Protest in Croydon. 

I went along and met some familiar faces, including Elaine Garrod from Croydon Green Party.

Spot the difference

Chair of the local party Peter Underwood, Elaine and I were all uncomfortable about the use of the word 'FIGHT' on placards. I think 'UNITE & RESIST' would have been more appropriate

A local Kurdish speaker at the protest said that he had gone to see Reker Ahmed in hospital. Apparently, he smiled when he told him that a collection had nearly raised £50,000.

Elaine and I were interviewed by a reporter from The Canary. The article mentions a tweet by Katie Hopkins. I now appear in the same article as Katie Hopkins. Beware, I may dine out on this. 

EDIT: 10th April

Prompted by the comment from 'Anonymous' below, I have done some more reading on what happened in Shirley. An article in the Financial Times  discusses how different people are interpreting the attack. Was it racist? Well, one the individuals involved has been charged with 'racially aggravated grievous bodily harm'  Did the fact that Reker identify himself as an asylum seeker make the difference? We will find out when the case goes to court.
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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Riot hit area looks like a riot hit area.

London Road, West Croydon

I was on a bus going passed the 2011 riot hit area of London Road, As I was sat on the upper deck I was able to see over the hoarding which surrounds the site. 

It has moved me to submit a question to the next full council meeting:

Nearly 6 years has passed since the 08/08 riots in 2011. The site near the junction of London Road and St James Road in West Croydon still remains derelict. Why is this, and why doesn't the council open up the area into a community garden like the Sensible Garden in South Norwood?

Over the years there has been much fanfare about money being invested in the area but nothing has really changed. All the focus is on Westfield rather than West Croydon. 

London Road, West Croydon (from Daily Mail)

It is important to compare then and now to recall the extraordinary events of 08/08 . See here (courtesy of the Daily Mail). I also took some photos the day after the riots and produced the montage below.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chimney for the incinerator is lowered

My wife spotted the chimneys being escorted by 4 X 4 outriders along the Purley Way. In this video, shot by Peter Alfrey, they are being lowered on to site.

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Standing up for what matters