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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