Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Current Political Issues


On Tuesday 13 November David, the Executive Director of 38 Degrees, has been asked to answer some questions by a committee of MPs inquiring into the public’s role in politics and decision making. They’ve invited him to tell them what 38 Degrees members think. ‘This is an opportunity to show MPs we’re serious and speak up for making politics better.’ ‘It's a chance to talk about the principles behind our campaigns. We can set out clearly to MPs why they should listen to us more, on issues from saving our NHS to protecting our wildlife. We know politics doesn’t work very well at the moment. For example in last week's survey for the Sunday Times journalist, over 90% of 38 Degrees members said that the wealthy background of many MPs makes it hard for them to understand the lives of the UK's poorest people. So what would you like to change? If I’m going to stand in front of MPs and tell them some hard truths, I need to know I’ve got you behind me and that I’m really saying what you think. The whole point of 38 Degrees is to give all of us more of a voice. So please help make sure that I'm genuinely speaking for all of us. Please take the 2 minute survey now:’.

Croydon North Labour has chosen Lambeth Council Leader Steve Reed as its prospective Parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming by-election following Malcolm Wicks death, after what has been described as an inspirational’ speech. So the Leader’s eye will be off the nitty-gritty of the running of Lambeth which will allow the machine to increase its control over agendas and do more to sabotage his ‘Co-operative Council’ initiative. Given the very large majority Malcolm had, Reed is likely to elected. Lambeth Labour Group will have to elect a new Leader. The Respect Party candidate Lee Jasper will be able to count on the active support of George Galloway who lives in Streatham. Whether the recent press coverage about Galloway’s difficulties and the disillusion with him in the Bradford Respect Party, has dented his appeal remains to be seen. And Jasper may have problems winning a reasonable vote because of the many controversies over his past. The left is in any case split. The Communist Party (the successor to the old one) is fielding its Secretary as prospective candidate. The Lib Dem prospective candidate’s first flier through the doors reads as if the Lib Dems are not part of the Con-Dem Coalition! In pre-campaign activity visiting the London Rd riot hit areas Tooting Labour MP Sadiq Khan has been critical of the fact that none of those affected have yet received their compensation. Various postings with comments about the build up to the by-election can be seen on Inside Croydon at

Previous editions have reported the downward spiral of Croydon’s economy. My thoughts on what needs to be done are on my blog. In contrast to Croydon Wandsworth’s economy through the building boom is on the up. Wandsworth Council has now approved plans for the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market in London's Nine Elms. The National Grid is seeking a residential partner to develop the gasworks site near Queens Circus. This boom is not just due to the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity area but other development schemes as well. Travelodge plans 3 new ‘hotels’ and Debenham’s a store in Southside shopping centre (Garratt Lane/Wandsworth High St). In run down Wandsworth High St, still waiting for its redevelopment boost on the Ram Brewery site, the empty office block Lyon House (No. 41) is to be replaced by a 41 apartment block (37% ‘affordable’ housing with shops. Although I am usually against ‘Section 106’ money going into highway improvements the developer’s £125,000 will help fund turning part of the Wandsworth one-way system two-way. Local people, including myself when I lived there, have been continually arguing for this for a very long time. Of course both Councils are also cutting services, although Wandsworth’s so far are tiny in comparison to those having to be made by many other authorities. Local people are of course campaigning against both Councils. A demonstration was held at Wandsworth’s Council when it met on 17 October. Meanwhile in Lambeth CLS Holdings have put up a website site about its Vauxhall Square very mixed use development, now approved by the Council.
Amnesty International is drawing attention to the Government’s Bill which it says will put some of our most fundamental rights at risk. The Justice and Security Bill would allow the government to hide the truth and withhold justice from everyone in the UK. ‘If passed in its current form, this legislation would extend powers to demand secret hearings to any situation in which the government claims national security is at risk. This is unnecessary as there are already mechanisms in place for handling sensitive materials in cases where we need to protect our country. Moreover, as ‘national security’ is not defined, this legislation would effectively allow the government to throw a cloak of secrecy over any case in which its human rights record came into question, denying justice to victims and their families.’ ‘The Bill would also limit the right of people to a fair and open hearing in a court of law. Individuals and their lawyers would be unable to see, let alone contest, the evidence against them.’ Amnesty is asking people to write to your MP and ask them to oppose the Bill as it stands.

Further details on


The high levels of rainfall this year will not see an end to the lobby to compulsory water meter everyone. Now the Consumer Council for Water is carrying out a Universal Metering Programme Research project with Southern Water customers who have been metered under the programme to:

·         understand the impact on customers and households to enable CCWater to report on its effectiveness and any potential problems associated with the programme which will enable lessons to be learned to inform the future roll-out. This will help to inform its discussions with other companies proposing compulsory metering programmes.

·         capture lessons to be learned in terms of implementation, communication and the company support provided.

·         provide CCWater with a rich evidence base of customers’ experiences of being compulsorily metered.

·         demonstrate how to devise and deliver compulsory metering programmes in the future, and particularly what mistakes to avoid.

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