Saturday, April 29, 2006

Only 5 days to go!

Only 5 days to go until the elections. Campaign is in full swing and going well. Labour are out in force too, but I really feel that the momentum is on our side. No time to write much now, but please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions/to request a poster etc. It's 10.45 Saturday evening - time to switch off the computer and go and watch Dr Who which Nigel recorded for me earlier, I think. More canvassing tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

CPZs , Cherie Blair's hair, ID cards

I've spoken to a number of residents who want a CPZ (controlled parking zone) in their street, particularly in Marsala Rd, Gillian St and Malyons Rd, where lots of commuters, town centre visitors and/or hospital workers park, making it difficult for local residents to find a space. A CPZ could help people on the worst affected streets, but it may only shift the problem to just outside the zone rather than reduce the overall problem of there simply being too many cars on the road. Not being a driver, I've never got that excited either way about CPZs, but if the majority of people in a local area wanted a CPZ, I would support it, providing there was proper consultation and a review of how it was working a few months down the line. I would be interested to hear other people's views on this.

Busy weekend as ever - lots of canvassing on Saturday, but a bit wet to canvass on Sunday - Ute thought we would look to miserable with rain dripping off our specs - she was probably right, so we delivered some of our newsletter instead. Postal voters received their ballot papers over the weekend, so a fair chunk of people will already have voted by tomorrow, but lots of other voters still to talk to. A couple more Labour posters have gone up in the ward over the last few days, but there are more Green ones. I'd like to get loads more posters up over the next few days, though, so if you live in Ladywell and would be willing to put a poster up for us, pls just let me know.

What else has happened? Well, our meeting on renewable energy was successful - well-attended and lots of food for thought. Keith Taylor made a convincing case for not going down the nuclear route and David Leal from CND had some great diagrams illustrating how much energy is currently used in various sectors and how much we need to reduce consumption to get our carbon emissions down to the targets set by Kyoto. It was also interesting to find out just how much energy is wasted by the current centralised system we have (leaked, lost in transit, stolen), compared to microgeneration.

I've responded to a letter from Lewisham No2ID - just for the record I think ID cards are a ridiculous waste of money, more so even than spending £7,700 on a hair stylist (Cherie Blair!), over a £1m doing up a school then demolishing it, or over a £1m on renovating a swimming pool then demolishing it, for that matter. See for details.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vote Green, go Green!

Had a quick look on the Conservative Party website today to see exactly what their policies on climate change and other environmental issues are, in the light of their vote blue go green media launch today - couldn't find any policy. I know they are in some kind of consultation period, but no policy whatsoever? Did I miss it or is there really nothing on the website that outlines what they stand for, what concretely they will do if elected? There was a document detailing some achievements on Conservative-run councils, but nothing about what they believe needs to be done to tackle climate change etc. There was however something about the London Conservatives still wanting to abolish the congestion charge - quite how that will help reduce our emissions and the number of people dying prematurely from pollution-related illnesses in London I don't know.

I welcome the fact that the Tories are focussing on the environment in their local election campaign, but where's the substance? No wonder voter turnout is so low when the three main parties feed us so much spin.

If you want Green, vote Green. Accept no imitations.

Oh, BTW, for Green Party policy, see and for more London specific stuff: and Lewisham

Our 10-point plan for London:
  1. Put a stop to the closure of our police stations and hospital wards.
  2. Have libraries and post offices within walking distance for all.
  3. Scrap new road building and switch funds to public transport, cycling and pavement repair.
  4. Stop the back-door privatisation of our schools, promote safe routes, and put healthy food on our children's plates.
  5. Promote local youth clubs and community spaces both in their own right and to reverse some of the causes of anti-social behaviour and crime.
  6. Protect our local heritage, green space and wildlife from unsustainable development.
  7. Enforce energy efficiency for new buildings and invest in 250,000 solar roofs for London.
  8. Promote fair trade goods in local shops, and quality, wholesome produce in farmers' markets.
  9. Run social services and housing to ensure equal access for those in most need.
  10. Return local democracy to the streets by fostering genuine participation in decisions that affect our everyday lives.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Say NO to incineration

Quick bit of e-campaigning from the Friends of the Earth website, in response to the government's draft waste strategy which proposes a huge increase in incineration. Seems particularly appropriate for those of us living near the New Cross incinerator :(

Say NO to incineration
The multinational waste companies that build incinerators have been lobbying to build more. And now the Government has unveiled a draft waste strategy which promotes a huge increase in incineration as the answer to England's waste crisis.
Incineration is not a green solution for dealing with waste. Incinerators produce huge amounts of fossil fuel derived CO2 which will contribute to climate change. Recycling saves more energy than that created by burning waste. Make sure the Government hears your voice as well as that of the incineration companies.

Also, one million signatures needed for a European-wide petition against nuclear power:

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gordonbrock and PFI, McDonalds and deforestation

It's over a week since I last posted here. Been busy out and about talking to people on doorsteps and delivering newsletters. A few things have happened lately.

Gordonbrock School has found out that it is not to get the rebuild/refurbishment money it has been promised for 5 years. Very disappointing for pupils, parents and teachers. It is a popular and successful school, but its delapidated Victorian buildings desperately need replacing. It all seems to boil down to there being insufficient money from the dreaded PFI. Why on earth the government thinks it is a good idea for the private sector to own our schools and lease them back to us is beyond me - it seems to be storing up trouble and higher costs for future generations. PFI seems an incredibly inefficient way of financing public services. See for more on the Green Party's stance on PFI. And as for spending public funds efficiently, the whole school/pool fiasco is surely a prime example of how not to do it.

A report published last week by an LSE academic, Tony Travers and London communications agency has predicted Green gains in the council elections in Lewisham, Hackney, Islington and possibly Camden ( In addition, a website set up to encourage tactical voting to maximise New Labour losses on May 4th also says to vote Green in Ladywell: It's the successor to the strategic voter website set up before the general elections last year. The Iraq war certainly isn't the key issue on the doorstep here in Ladywell, but it is clearly an important factor which is contributing to a lot of previously staunch Labour voters feeling disaffected and reluctant to vote Labour again.

Greenpeace have got evidence that meat used in McDonald restaurants has been fed soya grown on cleared rainforest land. I sent a letter to McDonalds and got a prompt response saying that they were investigating the claims. See for details.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Recycled paper/Children's play area

Got a bit annoyed in WHSmiths today - I needed a new printer toner, printer paper and a pencil case (I'm a teacher). They'd run out of the toner cartridge (fair enough) and they didn't have any recycled printer paper. They told me they only received 1-2 reams of recycled paper a week, yet they had at least 100 reams of the cheap, non-recycled and non- FSC certified stuff in stock. Surely WHSmiths as one of the leading stationers should be doing its bit to support the recycled paper products market by promoting recycled paper as much as the non-recycled? I filled in a customer feedback form saying as much. As for the pencil case, mission accomplished, but only after sifting through dozens of logo/Disney/princesses/angels ones first!

While I'm on the subject, several parents have complained to me about the removal of the children's play area in Lewisham shopping centre. It was one of the few (if not the only?) indoor play areas in Lewisham for parents' to take their kids to. I'd like to see a commitment from the centre management to include a play area in the redevelopment plans and I've written to them today asking whether they have plans to reinstate a play area somewhere in the centre. I'll keep you posted.