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26th July 2014

Local Greens Join Stop the War March

Protest at the Israeli attack on Gaza

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Jean Lambert MEP speaking at the Stop The War rally

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party along with Green MEP Jean Lambert joined over 45,000 people in central London on Saturday July 26th for a Stop The War march protesting the Israeli attack on Gaza and calling for a free Palestine. Jean Lambert was also one of the high-profile speakers at the rally. Saturday’s march occurred in the context of a 12-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that began at 8 a.m. local time. This was the second consecutive Saturday that local Green Party members had attended a demonstration for Gaza.

As people the world over from Berlin to Buenos Aires came together to protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the London march was one of the biggest demonstrations seen here recently, with the Metropolitan Police estimating that at least 45,000 protesters marched from the Israeli Embassy to Parliament. However, it received little coverage on the BBC, reflecting a lack of impartiality in news coverage.

The last 2 weeks have seen an escalation of violence by Israel on Gaza including air strikes and a ground offensive which has resulted in the deaths of over a thousand civilians, including nearly 200 children. Whilst the Greens would condemn the rockets launched by Hamas at Israel, these have to be seen in context of the violence perpetuated against Palestine by Israel and their continued occupation of Palestinian land.

Unfortunately news coverage on the issue is pro-Israel, as are the other three main political parties with their continued support of Israeli aggression regardless of lives lost. The Green Party believes in genuine peace in the region and that must include justice for Palestine and a genuinely free Palestine that is allowed to flourish as a country without being occupied or blockaded.

“We condemn the violence committed by Israel and their disregard for the lives of Palestinians who are suffering with hundreds killed and more injured” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “The circle of violence will not be broken by more aggression and what is needed is for the violence to stop and genuine peace talks that must included justice and freedom for Palestine,” he added.

12th July 2014

Democracy under Threat from TTIP Trade Deal

Greens March Through Westminster

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Waltham Forest and Redbridge Greens at the protest including Green MEP Jean Lambert (centre)

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party marched through central London on Saturday July 12th in protest at TTIP – a new proposed bilateral trade deal between the EU and USA. The march went past Parliament, finishing at Europe House, the London offices of the European Parliament. Speeches were made by people including Green MEP Jean Lambert and Mark Thomas.

Known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP is one of the largest free trade and investment treaties. TTIP is currently being negotiated in secret and will involve the transfer of power from Governments to transnational corporations. What does this transfer of power mean? In essence, the TTIP will remove regulatory barriers to trade, including those that protect our environment, public services and animal welfare.

If the TTIP goes through, any corporation will have the power to sue countries who fail to remove regulations which prevent the unfettered and profitable operation of their business. This applies to a whole raft of regulations in areas as diverse as food safety, workers rights and environmental protection – regulations that protect our society. Under the deal food products include chemically washed poultry, livestock treated with growth hormones, and genetically modified crops – all allowed in the US – could be sold in the UK. TTIP also threatens public services like the NHS, as it will force privatisation.

The UK taxpayer would pick up the tab for any potential TTIP-backed corporate lawsuits against the UK government. However, the UK taxpayer has had no say in the TTIP, as this undemocratic deal is being negotiated in secret. Even elected parliamentarians will have only limited access to the document.

The deal between the EU and US is backed by the three main parties, which claim that removing tariffs will boost the European economy and create jobs, leaving the Greens the only parliamentary party against the deal.

“TTIP is massive threat to our democracy, our environment, animal welfare and public services” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “I urge people to come together to stop it before it is too late,” he added.

21st June

Greens join thousands in demonstration against austerity

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Mark Dawes (left) and David Hamilton at the demonstration

Local members from Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party joined an estimated 50,000 people in a march against the austerity policies of this Government. The demonstration was organised by the People’s Assembly. The march, on Saturday June 21st, began outside the BBC in Portland Place and ended in Parliament Square, where they were addressed by speakers including Green MP Caroline Lucas, Owen Jones, Mark Steel and comedian Russell Brand.

March organisers chose the BBC as the starting point because the public broadcaster has been biased in its coverage of the economic policies of this Government, often supporting them while supposedly being neutral. And true to form, the BBC ignored the estimated 50,000 people who marched in front of their offices. The march ended at Parliament, as it has been the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Government that has enacted the cruel and callous austerity policies.

The austerity policy has been an economic failure. It has slowed the recovery down and harmed the poorest and most vulnerable in society whilst benefiting the rich and powerful. The global financial crash was caused by the reckless greed of bankers and yet this Government seeks to reward the City of London but punish the young, the elderly, the disabled, the poorly paid, etc - none of whom were in any way responsible for the crash.

This demonstration shows people are angry about the destructive austerity policies that have seen public services cut, while the rich get richer” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “We are seeing more inequality, more poverty – what we need is genuine social justice that the Green Party advocate”, he added.

8th June

Jean Lambert MEP speaks in Trafalgar Square

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Jean speaking in Trafalgar Sq on 8th June at an event organised by the Sikh community commemorating the attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar 30 yrs ago. The event was very well attended.

Jean has had close relations with Sikhs in Brussels helping to promote their quest for justice for the massacre.

She visited the Golden Temple in 2006.

31st May

Greens joins the Great Badger Trail against the badger cull

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Mark Dawes (right) on the Great Badger Trail

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens and hundreds of other people on the last leg of the Great Badger Trail on Saturday May 31st. The Great Badger Trail started in Gloucester and ended outside Parliament in London – 112 miles in 10 days – with some campaigners walking the whole distance. The London leg started at Hyde Park and ended with a rally with speakers including Downton Abbey star Peter Egan.

The aim of the walk was to highlight the Government’s cruel and unnecessary policy of culling badgers and to raise money to assist campaigners in the proposed badger cull zones of Gloucester and Somerset. The supposed reason for the badger cull is to stop the spread of TB in cattle but science tells us that the cull will be ineffective. And even by its own criteria, the cull has been complete failure. With less two thousand badgers killed at an estimated cost of over £7 million, a cost of over £4,000 per animal killed. As over 80% of badgers are not thought to carry TB, this cruel cull would have a negligible effect in stopping TB in cattle.

Far more effective would be a vaccination programme as has been carried out in Wales – and far cheaper too, as cost of vaccinating badgers is less than £700 per animal, a fifth of the cost of killing badgers. But the real problem is factory farming which leads to more diseases in animals as they are far less healthy, being kept in poor and overcrowded conditions.

The real reason for the cull may not be to eradicate TB at all, but to remove badgers – which have a protected status – from areas where the Government wants to build, whether it be the HS2 rail line, fracking or housing.

“The Government sought to scapegoat badgers because it was too cowardly to tackle the real problem that is bad farming practices,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “But the cull would seem to be used by the Government as a way to remove badgers from areas they want to develop and get round the badger’s protected status. This is an attack on our wildlife by a cruel, callous and incompetent Government”, he added.

29th May

Comment on controversy over Roast, halal restaurant in Wanstead

The main concern on this issue is animal welfare and the Green Party has a long history of campaigning locally on animal welfare, for example, against foie gras at Provender and opposing dog racing in Walthamstow. The most humane way of slaughtering an animal is pre-stunning the animal first. This should not be a problem with halal as pre-stunning is accepted by halal, indeed over 80% of halal meat produced in the UK is pre-stunned. We would like to see Roast source their meat from pre-stunned slaughtered sources.

However, this does not mean that standard slaughter is without problems. Secret filming by Animal Aid has revealed abuses and cruelty in standard slaughterhouses and we fully support their campaign to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses - please sign the petition. Also, it is important that comments on halal are not due to islamophobia under the pretence of animal welfare. The media has a role to play in not inflaming the issue.

Of course, the best way to avoid animal cruelty is not to eat meat at all!

27th May

Comment on the local election results

The Green Party would like to thank everyone who voted Green in the local and Euro elections. The Greens increased their vote, often finishing second only to Labour, and can be considered to be the third party in Waltham Forest ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The Greens also retained their seat in the European Parliament where Jean Lambert will continue as a MEP.

It was also good to see Waltham Forest reject the xenophobia of UKIP and the loss of Conservative seats is a rejection of the Iain Duncan Smith Conservatism where those on benefits are scapegoated for the failings of the rich bankers.

The election of Labour shows that Waltham Forest is a progressive borough and the Greens will be pushing to make it more progressive, rejecting austerity and cuts on public services and working towards a society where everyone benefits not just the wealthy few.

13th May

Greens condemn cruelty on the menu

The Green Party was very disappointed to see foie gras on the menu from Bidoche this Saturday in E17. It is part of Grub Club which offers the opportunity for people to cook and invite diners. But allowing foie gras on the menu has added unnecessary cruelty to evening. The production of foie gras is very cruel and causes great suffering to ducks and geese. It is so cruel that the production of foie gras has been banned in the UK.

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese huge amounts of food so that their livers swell painfully to up to ten times their normal size. This is done by pumping large quantities of corn and fat directly into their stomachs via a funnel, up to four times a day for up to 18 days, this causes the birds great suffering. The diseased livers of the ducks and geese are then sold and cooked as “high class” cuisine - foie-gras.

“It is sad to see this cruel product being offered by Bidoche and promoted by Grub Club in Waltham Forest” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party. “It is a shame because the idea of Grub Club is good - getting people together over food. However, cruelty should never be on the menu which is certainly the case with foie gras and shame on Bidoche for offering it” he added.

12th May

Greens say no to fracking in London

Greens have made it clear that they oppose fracking in the UK and London is threatened as well as the countryside.

London's Green MEP Jean Lambert, a resident of Waltham Forest, said:

“Many people aren't aware that fracking is a threat not just to our countryside, but to our capital too. It's absurd to even consider drilling for shale gas in our overcrowded city.

“With London's pollution at dangerous levels, instead of taking action to clean up our air, the UK Government and London Mayor just stick their heads in the soil - looking for more pollutants to dig up.

“Fracking is not a quick-fix solution to our energy needs – it's a distraction from the clean green solutions we need. It keeps us dependent on fossil-fuels, accelerates climate change, and threatens the local environment with risks to drinking water supplies, air and noise pollution.

“Rather than of listening to the oil and gas lobby, governments must listen to the climate scientists and halt this damaging dash for shale gas.

“Greens in Europe are calling for fracking to be stopped across the continent, and until this happens we are working to close the gaps in EU fracking regulation to better protect our air, soil and landscapes. We need more Greens in Europe to make sure energy policy moves in the right direction.

“We also need more Greens across the capital to keep London a frack-free zone.

“Only Greens will put public health before corporate wealth.”

3rd May 2014

Local Greens launch manifesto

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Party pledges to protect Whipps Cross Hospital from cuts and ban zero-hour contracts for all workers

The Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party have set out seven main pledges incorporating both London boroughs.

26th April 2014

Local Green joins march for World Day for Animals in Laboratories

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens to march with hundreds of people in Nottingham to mark World Day for Animals in Laboratories. World Day for Animals in Laboratories on April 24th is a UN recognised date to highlight the millions of animals each year who suffer and die behind the walls of laboratories.

The event on Saturday April 26th started with a rally and then a march around the centre of Nottingham. Nottingham was the venue as there was a previously successful campaign against a Boots animal research facility in Nottingham which resulted in its closure. Sadly, though, 80 animals still die each day in a laboratory in Nottingham. The demonstration called for an end to all animal experiments.

The latest Home Office statistics show that animal testing has increased in the last three years and that the UK is third largest user of animals in experiments in the EU. Animals tested on include rabbits, cats, dogs, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, deer, marmosets and macaques.

“Vivisection causes great suffering to millions of animals” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party “And it is unnecessary too as medical research can now be carried out that does not involve testing on animals - and is also more accurate. Vivisection is bad science as well as cruel and should be stopped” he added.

25th April 2014

Living Streets

Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party candidates endorse Living Streets proposals. It has been a core Green policy that we make our streets safer and more attractive, both for residents and for pedestrians using them, to improve their health, pleasure, and the local economy. Measures like traffic calming, home zones and support for 20mph speed limits, were Green policies long before the larger parties adopted them.

22nd April 2014

Greens comment on E11 BID

Local businesses are being asked to pay levies to the E11 BID despite the company being under investigation for financial mismanagement and failing to pay taxes and keep their accounts. See - The E11 Business Improvement District company is slammed in independent report. Local businesses I have spoke to are understandably very unhappy about this and would expect money they pay to be used correctly and be accountable – and that does not seemed to have happened.

It is also concerning that the E11 BID board members when the mismanagement occurred includes councillors putting themselves up for election in May when they will have responsibility for the finances of Waltham Forest. Among them is Clyde Loakes who seems very keen on self publicity on issues like spitting – whilst no one likes spitting, the use of the law on this is certainly questionable – but has been less than forthcoming when asked to explain his role as an E11 BID board member.

5th April 2014

Grand National deadly to horses

Mark Dawes from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the demonstration outside Channel 4 against the Grand National as the race took place on Saturday April 5th. Channel 4 support the Grand National by broadcasting the race.

The demonstration was organised by the animal rights organisation Animal Aid and the horses that have died in the Grand National since 1989 were remembered in silence. Whilst, fortunately, there were no fatalities in this year’s race, the course is enormously risky to horses and riders alike. The Grand National is still five times more lethal to horses than other steeplechases, with the last two decades being the most dangerous in the race’s history. Despite numerous changes to the course and conditions of the race over the past 50 years, 35 horses are known to have lost their lives, while many others have been injured. According the British Horseracing Authority, ‘Jump racing accounts for just over 4 fatalities of every thousand runners.’ This equates to 0.4%. For the last 1,000 runners (from 1987 to 2013) in the Grand National, there were 23 deaths (which equates to 2.3%). Therefore, the Grand National is over five times more deadly than other jump races.

“It is time this cruel race was ended” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, “The suffering of animals should not be a source of entertainment”.

“It is ironic that Channel 4 are broadcasting the race as it was Channel 4 with their showing of the Animals film on their third night on air in 1982 that inspired me to become a vegetarian and get involved in animal rights campaigns” he added.

22nd March 2014

Greens join Anti-Racism Demonstration

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the anti-racism demonstration in Central London on Saturday 22nd March. The event marked UN Anti-Racism Day. The demonstration ended with a rally in Trafalgar Square with a number of speakers including London Green MEP Jean Lambert.

Sadly, there has been a rise in racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism across Europe as immigrants are often scapegoated for the severe austerity policies being pursued by Governments, policies which are unnecessary and cause suffering to the most vulnerable when it is was wealthy bankers who caused the financial problems – the same bankers who are currently being paid massive bonuses. In this country we have seen the rise of hard right parties like the BNP and now UKIP who seek to blame immigrants for problems they did not cause.

The Green Party is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and opposes hate-based behaviour, whether directed at people because of their faith, race - or just hatred of 'the other'.

“We need to send out a clear message that we will not tolerant racism and the hard right by voting for progressive parties like the Green Party in the forthcoming European and Council elections” said Steve Lambert of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “Too often immigrants and the most vulnerable are being made to suffer for the failure of an unjust economic system” he added.

22nd February 2014

Badger Cull a cruel waste of taxpayers’ money

On Saturday February 22nd Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens and over a thousand other people in a march against the badger cull. The march was held in central Birmingham where the National Farmers Union (NFU) are meeting - the NFU having advocated the badger cull.

The supposed reason for the badger cull is to stop the spread of TB in cattle, but science tells us that the cull will be ineffective.

Even by its own criteria, the cull has been a complete failure.

With less two thousand badgers killed at an estimated cost of over £7 million, that’s a cost of over £4,000 per animal killed.

As over 80% of badgers are not thought to carry TB, this cruel cull would have a negligible effect in stopping TB in cattle.

Far more effective would be a vaccination programme as had been carried out in Wales – and far cheaper too, as the cost of vaccinating badgers is less than £700 per animal, a fifth of the cost of killing them. And real problem is factory farming which leads to more disease in animals as they are far less healthy being kept in poor conditions.

Culling badgers is very cruel but will also have a detrimental effect on the eco-system and the Government has – once again - shown itself to be ignorant of environmental issues.

“The Government sought to scapegoat badgers because it was too cowardly to tackle the real problem that is bad farming practices,” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party. “The cull has caused great suffering for no good reason and Defra Secretary Owen Paterson who oversaw this policy and who blamed the failure of the badger cull on the badgers for moving the goalposts should resign,” he added.

5th February 2014

Boris breaks promise on tube ticket offices

The Mayor of London, who campaigned for election on the promise of keeping ticket offices open, now plans to close them as part of the 12.5% cut in the budget of London Underground (LU) announced on 21st November. This will, at a stroke, reduce safety, reduce service, cause inconvenience to the travelling public and increase the cost of travelling cattle class. The intention of London Underground is to create a self-service, supermarket model, and that means all ticket offices are due to close by 2015.

The news of the savage cuts was given at the same time as announcing the 24 hour running of some tube lines; neatly hiding the cuts from all the headlines. The mainstream media has repeated London Underground’s assertion that the Railway Marine and Transport Union, the RMT, is striking action over the 24 hour running. They are not. They are having strike action over the cuts.

To support the closure of the ticket offices, London Underground states that only 3% of the tickets for the 1.2 billion journeys each year on London Underground are purchased at a ticket office. Oh dear, such lies, damn lies and statistics! That 3% is actually 36 million journeys a year, an average of nearly 100,000 journeys per day. However, these journeys are not neatly and evenly distributed between London Underground’s 270 stations: they are predominantly in the larger central London stations or transport hubs. I dare Boris to cycle up from the air conditioned comfort of City Hall to spend a day investigating local stations in Waltham Forest and Redbridge so that he can see with his own eyes just how well-used our ticket offices are. Remember your election promise to passengers, Boris?

30th January 2014

An Open Letter to The Board of Barts Health NHS Trust

We are writing to express our deep concern at the recent sacking of Charlotte Monro. Charlotte was an experienced Occupational Therapist and a Trade Union leader of 26 years’ experience serving at Whipps Cross and looking after the local community.

A respected and trusted member of staff should be able to challenge the running of the Trust and inform elected councillors of staff concerns. Proceedings were started against Ms Monro after she spoke out to a local authority health scrutiny panel about the threat of closure of the Stroke Unit at Whipps Cross. This illustrates how you view transparency and engagement with the local community. Where Trusts have tried to stop scrutiny and debate about proposed changes we have often seen poor practice and scandals follow, similar to events in Mid Staffordshire over the past few years.

Staff and patients did not ask to be saddled with the huge burden of the PFI at The Royal London, but the knock-on effect of this uneconomic building project is highly likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of care that patients receive: a reduction in staff skills and numbers, the debanding of staff, and now the fear of speaking out after seeing their trusted Union leader sacked.

We do not accept your ostensible reason for sacking Charlotte: that she failed to disclose prior criminal conviction from the 1970s before joining the trust. She did disclose these convictions in a criminal records check some months ago and the trust took no action against her; only taking action after she bravely spoke out against the threat of closure of services at Whipps Cross.

We believe that your recent decision to sack Charlotte Monro has demonstrated that you are not interested in debate, scrutiny or transparency. This sacking is nothing more than an attempt to close off discussion about plans for Whipps Cross and the Trust, showing a failure to engage with or care about the community that you serve.

Published and promoted by Mark Dawes on behalf of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, both at 53 Scarborough Road, London E11 4AL