Welcome to Hendon Greens

Welcome to the blog of the Barnet Green Party's Hendon group. Andrew Newby was Green Party candidate in Hendon constituency in the 2010 general election.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Vote for Policies: Security

In a blind test of policies whilst ignoring personalities and tactical voting, Greens policies often come out on top.
Here is a summary of what we had to say in 2015 on Foreign Policy / Defence.  We call this "Security"

  • Make a new international agreement to tackle climate change the main foreign policy priority.
  • Cancel Trident replacement and decommission existing nuclear forces and facilities.
  • Work to reform the United Nations and associated bodies, to reflect better the needs and interests of all countries, and make the UN more representative and effective through abolishing permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
  • Promote trade which supports the well-being of workers without breaching sustainability limits.
  • Increase overseas aid to 1% of GDP, write off and write down unpayable international debt.
  • Seek negotiated settlements to a range of conflicts around the world, block sales of weapons and military equipment that increase misery and death for non-combatants, and take a leading role in preventing violent conflict.
  • Outlaw the use of torture, the sale of torture equipment and the rendition of people to countries where torture is not prohibited.
  • Take proportionate measures to protect against terrorism, ensuing that civil liberties are not undermined in the process, that communities are not scapegoated and that action reflects a genuine assessment of the threat to our security.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

on Brexit

Having been very close to the coal face engaging with all the campaigns across our borough, I tried to think big and help build an overwhelming mandate. Only 100,000 voted against Brexit in Barnet. These were largely in the "posh" areas, with my team sharing my doubts about Britain Stronger in Europe - Barnet Group and the Labour In campaign. One example of a miscalculation was the off-message shouting in High Barnet that we say no to Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, which polls show is not an effective message. Rather than re-enforce the class divide we need to bring Barnet's workers and middle classes together, who have been divided over the issues of migration, the economy, and so on.
I was upset about a trend of verbal and physical abuse notably the loss of mum-of-2 Jo from a Britain First member.
Our campaign was entirely peaceful and law-abiding. Matthew Offord (the re-elected Tory MP for Hendon) is probably very happy right now, which is no victory for the left exit camp, whose arguments were largely drowned out by arguments about pencils and pens driven by first time voters.
I campaigned across the EU against "Fortress Europe" and I hope that we can resist becoming the new Turkey, being paid to erect borders by the EU's Frontex agency.
Wilst we expressed serious concerns, some environmentalists I spoke with were worried about the pressure on our green belt, due to population trends whether it's unsustainable housing developments or too many cars clogging our huge road network.
The next thing on my to-do list is to continue to stand up for our human rights, review Green policies that will need updating, in the run up to the county council elections, and take bold steps to protect wildlife areas like Dollis Valley Green Walk, and the Welsh Harp reservoir in West Hendon and Brent. As we look for the next Natalie, I hope we will reflect on Caroline Lucas' performance during this whole Brexit campaign given that her leadership bid with Jonathan Bartley is about "the power of working together".

Friday, April 1, 2016

Greens to help renters challenge 'no pets' rules

Sian Berry will make sure landlords recognise the needs of responsible pet owners if she is elected Mayor of London, she announced today. Her plan is to work with the new London Renters Union (which she as Mayor will set up and fund) as well as with the rest of the housing sector, to ensure all housing providers have positive pets policies. She will also lobby the government to remove the breed-specific legislation in the Dangerous Dogs Act which is leading to the destruction of well-behaved animals. "Landlords should be required to recognise the needs of pet owners in rented accommodation and allow them to keep their pets," she said after a visit to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home today. "As a pet owner myself, I recognise the crucial role that domestic animals play in millions of our lives, which is why I will do my utmost to make sure that Londoners are not excluded from this enriching experience simply because of the type of tenure of their housing. "I have also been shocked to learn in Battersea how many animals they have to put down based purely on breed specific appearances - because a dog looks like a pit bull, not because of its behaviour. That's a horrible state of affairs and as Mayor I will lobby for this damaging and ineffective law to be changed." The promises are part of the Green Party's animal manifesto for London, which also includes a pledge to ban purchase of cleaning and other products tested on animals by all Greater London Authority agencies. This will apply to City Hall, Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade. Sian will further work to make London a world centre for non-animal biomedical research, encourage all establishments conducting animal research in the city to commit to moving towards humane alternatives, and use City Hall's funding for London Fashion Week to help make the event fur-free. Her manifesto also includes a pledge to appoint a deputy mayor to support nature reserves and wildlife corridors. "The Mayor of London and the London Assembly can play an important part in protecting and championing animals," Sian said. "We can ensure that City Hall and the bodies it controls uphold the highest ethical standards on animal welfare and also help London become a model city when it comes to respecting our fellow inhabitants of the planet." ENDS For more information contact Simon Edge on 07740 411462 Notes to editors: 1. Sian Berry is a former principal speaker of the Green Party. She previously stood as the party's candidate for Mayor of London in 2008. She is a councillor in the borough of Camden. 2. The Green Party came third in the last mayoral election in London in 2012 and has had at least two seats on the 25-strong London Assembly since the body's establishment in 2000. 3. As well as campaigning for Sian for Mayor, the party is urging supporters to vote Green on the orange (proportional) ballot paper, which is where its votes will count the most. 4. With current AMs Darren Johnson and (Baroness) Jenny Jones standing down, the lead Green candidates for the Londonwide (proportional) section of the Assembly are Sian Berry, Islington councillor Caroline Russell and the party's deputy leader Shahrar Ali. 5. Sian's complete animal manifesto can be found at http://www.sianberry.london/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Green_Party_London_An imals_Manifesto_2016.pdf

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Event: EU In or Out

Why I'm IN by Ben Samuel - writing in a personal capacity! The story starts when I joined the Green Party a long time ago. I remember watching Caroline Lucas' speech at Glastonbury talking about what a difference Green MEPs make. Derek Wall came up and told me to join the Green Party and I said I've already joined. I made some compromises and followed the party line much of the time. I later found out I didn't have to be so cautious of having my own opinion. I first put my name on a motion to conference about 5 years in (against implementing local government cuts, it was amended by Darren Johnson and Green Councillors) and it took me a while to really throw my weight around. Now I am on policy committee and very high up in JfJfP so it's come full circle. On most things I try and adhere to the party line because it's just a lot easier to make changes by convincing people in the party to come around to my view. In turn I listen to others and are moved by what they come up with. It's my job on policy committee to make sure members have an equal say, including on this issue. When I first stood as a general election candidate I was asked all sorts of questions including about the EU referendum which had not been announced yet. Rather than state my party's opinion, and then my own, I responded that yes we want a referendum but unlike David Cameron the reforms we want from Europe are very different. That was my 10 seconds of fame, at Mill Hill residents association, but the truth can not be summed up in 10 seconds. My favorite hustings was actually MMK school, where the kids politely got a lot out of me and who could lie to or betray those sweet kids. But my favorite thing about all this is feeling I am making a difference, that my work is key to the democracy of the party. In some way my endless trawling through positions the Greens have taken on Europe means that whatever position we take collectively is the preferred one based on evidence from millions of conversations. In 2014, the year before the General election, I helped hold London Green Party's seat in the European Parliament. We also gained a seat in the South West of England. As far as I was concerned I did not really care who the candidate was or what they did in Europe. For Barnet Green Party it was a chance to do something and we actually ended up getting more votes accross Barnet for the Council, than in Barnet for re-electing our Euro seat. At the time you could call me Euroskeptic, not really in the "out" camp, I despise Nigel Farage's UKIP, as an anti-facist, but undecided or not taking a position. I do not think the EU is a top concern to voters like the NHS, affordable housing, or migration. What swung it for me was my trip to help elect German Green Party MEPs in 2014. I spent every day for the week that I toured with the German Green Youth and a French Green Youth, and spent every night campaigning. We had a few campaigns which we interchanged in the different towns we toured: -Asylum and Frontex -TTIP and GMO's -Democracy, Solidarity, Europe! -For people to vote for Terri for all these reasons and more (many had already voted) -Anti-facism opposing the extreme right wing parties. and finally -Same-sex hand-holding and the International Day Against Homophobia, followed by a trip to a gay bar Having a gorgeous dinner which I cooked myself from local ingredients at Effi's home, Effi asked how we could counteract UKIP in the UK and why the UK want to leave Europe. We talked about other things and German state politics, which the Greens were involved in a Green-Black coalition in the area. I learned so much during that trip about our shared European identity. I saw how our allies the pirate party campaigned to legalise weed (a personal stance more liberal than Barnet Green Party's) I have spoken to old members who remember the many years the Green Party opposed EU membership, and new members inspired by the "seeing green" and "young greens" leadership. In summary I like my new European identity much better than my old undemocratic British citizenship, if you could even call it citizenship. I would not go as far as to say I love it. But a vote to stay in Europe can make another Europe Possible; -one with an alternative trade mandate that learns from the mistakes of the Common Agricultural Policy and provides better environmental regs than being the 51st state of America would. -Solidarity. A union where I (we) could be part of something with my (our) peers from the Federation of Young European Greens after last year's climate mobilisation, we'll be mobilising at the COP22 in Marakesh next year. -Living in a democracy with free and fair elections, working with other democracies on citizens' initiatives such as re-thinking the prohibition of Cannabis. David Cameron says giving prisoners the vote makes him physically sick. Physically sick. -A so-called Brexit is what the rightwing newspapers have been campaigning for for all my life. Dictators such as Murdoch, Putin, and their far-right allies would be very happy with a "leave" vote. Even a narrow majority would give them a chance to further destabilise our institutions, our democracy, and return to nationalism and their very scary views on race and identity. The real scare tactics are coming from the far-right and always have been, to sow distrust with our neighbours, to make make neighbours hate each other, with stories about muslims and disabled people. I don't associate myself with everyone on this side of the debate, and I respect my 20% of Green friends who take the other position, but if there's one thing we learned from the Scottish Indy referendum, it's that if we play this right it can unite us as a party and lead to a surge in interest amongst a population turned-off politics before. Ben Samuel - Proud campaigner, Former General Election 2015 candidate for Hendon ________________________________ P.S. We've got a debate scheduled at Middlesex University, organised by Poppy 7pm March 21st. On the panel we have representatives from both sides of the debate. For more info contact Poppy or look on Barnet Green Party facebook. I won't be there because I have an other meeting, with London Green Party. However here are my views on the EU and the real reason I will be voting in the #EUref.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

29/11/15 Why I will be out on the streets of London

Ben here... last year I stood for MP in Hendon.
Here is a piece with few reasons I will be joining tomorrow's People's march for climate justice and jobs.

I did a LOT.  A lot has happened on affordable housing with the local compulsory purchase order number 1 being confirmed with slight amendments following a public inquiry.  But Climate Change is such a big problem, such a mind-blowing international issue that I feel quite strongly that I didn't do enough during the campaign, and I didn't communicate what I had done, on the issue.

I'm marching with my local party, Barnet Green Party, and our banners.  I will be outside Hendon Central from 10, heading off at 10:30.  Give me a buzz on my mobile if you want to travel from Hendon to the demonstration together.

I have had a look at the blocs that are organised for the march.  Many of them are tempting.  I am hoping to march with either the Green Bloc or my faith group, both meeting at the corner of Park Lane and Curzon Street.  What with ISIL and the Paris attacks it is really important that faith groups are coming together for this.  Tim Gee wrote a blog on OpenDemocracy on why it's important for believers to take action for the climate "in times like these".  Rabbi Jonathan wrote a piece for the JC and will be speaking to a packed hall tomorrow with other faith leaders. It's a shame, possibly with the exception of Jonathan Wittenberg, that none of those leaders are to the right of me on the religious observance spectrum. 

I also want to note; It's also a shame that Israel chose this weekend for this demo to keep Israel's natural gas for Israel.  Whilst criticising Israel is always a hot potato, I can't help thinking that both sides are wrong Netanyahu for signing the gas deal and the Zionist Union (Labour Party) for their negative protest at a time that the diaspora is crying out for community solar energy.

This weekend there is a truly global movement on the march.  The only place people aren't marching is in Paris, where a state of emergency has been declared and the 200,000-strong march banned by the authorities.

I'm marching to save the climate in solidarity with someone who can't. Kathleen. Join us #March4Me https://t.co/2bkK1Tneqj
— Ben Samuel (@filosofical_140) November 28, 2015

P.S. Remember to use your orange ballot paper in London to get Greens elected in 2016!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last night's CELS Committee

This is my report of Monday 21st's Children Education Libraries and Safeguarding committee It is a rather partisan perspective but for some reason no one from the Press gallery or Barnet Bloggers turned up not even Dan, so this is a Barnet Green Party exclusive. The meeting started late due to the clock. The chair. is sporting an impressive beard. There are 3 suits sitting in the gallery waiting to speak, and a pile of recycling on the desk for anyone who doesn't have a way of reading the megabytes of reports on an electronic device. (I let my dad have a flick through afterwards). There was a quick presentation on a youth centre which is envisioned to be built on Montrose playing fields. Questions were raised about access which will come back to Planning and there'll be a consultation. They said it will cost £6m to build. I am not sure if this is in Northern money? The football pitches at Pavilion Way are also being encroached on, by an academy. Schools first. Much time was spent discussing how the improvement director is improving the exam results. One way of massaging the figures is to exclude foreign children from the primary school statistics. Great lengths were spent to scrutinise the exam results at different sorts of schools and absence for religious holidays, cheap holidays, and other reasons. However I did not hear the word "refugee" or "migrant" once. When asking questions I would expect the Labour Group to be on our side. This time they seemed content to stick to the same agenda. They had had a private briefing and discussed the difference between acadamys, free schools, and so on. I was half expecting them to mock the Tory leader for leaving his child in a pub, or even saying "I have crowd sourced my questions from thousands of residents emails and I have a question from Steve who is a TA." New school places are being created with a new primary in West Hendon which the locals know is not going to be built until the very end of the phased demolition and gentrification of the estate. There's also early indication of a secondary on the ruins of Grahame Park or Whitefield Estate. Labour asked about Hendon College and FE which is not the responsibility of the council. When I was a NEET I felt like a statistic and it seems nothing much has changed on that front. Libraries wasn't on the agenda so there will be a separate meeting. Safeguarding was left till last, finishing at about half past 8. By which time most of the Councillors had run out of energy for asking questions. The report contains some shocking figures. However I personally have issues with the language used to talk about risk in an unscientific way. I think too much focus is on safeguarding and not enough on the real issues families face; things like neglect, digital safety, things officially priorities but at the coal face that's not the experience we've had with social workers. We're told to look at the Barnet Website for a new campaign to recruit new social workers. One plank is higher pay, another is being supported by a computer system. Hardly a good pitch to come and join Barnet's team; personally if I was a social worker I'd rather work temporarily for an agency and get on with the work. Ben 22/9/15

Friday, May 29, 2015

Assets, regeneration, and cancer

OK, so I have a confession to make. I copied my stub speech from Rupert Read. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFKQDz903Tw&feature=youtu.be&t=7m5s 7 minutes in But there's something very original about the Green Party's anti-growth message, which was mandated from conference. In the Leader's debates Natalie explained what austerity means. It comes down to the trickle down effect, Cameron and food banks. We're incredibly pro-business for small business and generally stand for a balance between private, markets, and the things we share. Businesses use public services, for instance the health service, rubbish collection, roads, and would procure more business if we had a thriving public sector work force with higher pay and decent state pensions, including students and the huge number of disabled people that makes us the great community that we are. Ken Livingstone may have "got" climate change, he may have given us the Boris bikes, but the fact is London's growth is having an irreversible impact on the natural world. No politician would be popular if he told the truth that infinite growth in a finite area is impossible. Resources are under pressure such as metropolitan open spaces, especially that serve poor communities. Barnet Council is starved of cash and yet the poorest are seeing higher bills and council tax. Other limited resources in Barnet is the stress that teachers are going through, and carers. We need to pay a living wage if we are going to tackle the deficit. An other limited resource in London is road space, which could be transformed into useful space for people not parking for a growing population of cars, many of them second or third luxury cars. Parking should be fairly administered and not privatised like we are seeing in regeneration projects that have become a parking disaster. London is squandering its food resources by wasting food, and not recycling waste properly. Green Party were the first people to notice that things had to change with respect to recycling. I recently visited a roof top garden in phase zero of the West Hendon redevelopment. The Green/ brown roof saves water by putting some sedum there to absorb excess water and slowly use it. It also adds to insulation. The biggest challenge this year is going to be how to cut down on Barnet's unsustainable use of fossil fuels to make them last longer and not put pressure on where they come from. Soon you will have to pay just to breath clean air. Ben - 2015 General Election candidate for Hendon, 2018 Local elections candidate for West Hendon