30 Mar 2012

Motorists Panic Buying Petrol at Blackbird Hill

Motorists panic buying at Blackbird Hill petrol station on 29 March 2012.

Official statement of persons nominated for Brent and Harrow GLA constituency election

Official statement of persons nominated for Brent and Harrow GLA constituency election here.

I note, with surprise, that neither the Conservatives nor LibDems have fielded candidates who live in the election constituency. The full list of candidates, with their locality in square brackets is:

Shahrar Ali, Green Party [Brent]
Charlotte Henry, Lib Dems [London Borough of Barnet]
Michael McGough, Fresh Choice for London [Epping Forest District]
Sachin Rajput, Conservatives [London Borough of Barnet]
Navin Shah, Labour [Harrow]

For my part, I don't doubt that living in the constituency and having actively campaigned in Brent for over ten years will help me to serve the good people of this constituency, if elected to City Hall as their London Assembly member. I hope to make this case over the days and weeks ahead both here and elsewhere. I look forward to electors giving me the opportunity to face them alongside the other candidates in public meetings.

Launch of New Windows, Willesden: in pictures

On 29 March, I attended the launch of New Windows of Queens Parade, Willesden Lane. In the words of the invitation, "This is part of the Mayor’s Outer London Fund which aims to reanimate local high streets and their environs. Queens Parade is a former textiles unit which has been brought back to life by New Windows on Willesden Green. We have given 13 start-up businesses and projects a chance to take residence in this great high street location."
People mingling on the pavement between shop frontages.

Window with explanation about the project.

Manager, Zahira of the Jardin Eden store with her son, Jad, who successfully sold me a bar of hand-made, locally made soap infused with geranium.

The scene from across the street, a place which I last visited during the Willesden Green Wassail. It seems that the blessing of the local community may have helped to bear fruit.

23 Mar 2012

Narrow Lib Dem win in Dollis Hill

Alison Hopkins, the Liberal Democrat candidate, beat Parvez Ahmed (Labour) by only 37 votes in the Dollis Hill by-election.

Alison Hopkins (Lib Dem) 1205  46.49%
Ahmed Parvez (Labour)     1168 45.06%
Samer Ahmedali (Conservative) 140 5.40%
Pete Murry (Green) 79 3.05%

Rejected papers: 21

Turnout: 29.8% 

22 Mar 2012

The Dollis Hill by-election is just coming to a close

The Dollis Hill by-election is just coming to a close, and just to make sure that voters will have enough to put in their re-cycling bins, the Lib-dems have sent round two more pieces of election literature.

Both employ their device of printing the statement of publication in very small writing so that it is not immediately apparent what the document is. One is a rehash of earlier anti-Labour leaflets that no where prominently say who or which party to vote for. The second is a letter in a cursive word processor font that looks like handwriting, from Sara Teather MP calling for a vote fro the Lib-dem candidate, Alison Hopkins. This letter arrives through the door in a hand addressed envelope.

Just the usual slightly deceptive  tactics that have characterised this campaign , and others locally recently, Lib-dems not openly calling for a Lib-dem vote or always clearly naming their candidate, and  above all, not mentioning Lib-dem participation in the current coalition government which is forcing cuts on local councils all over the country.

I hope that not many voters will have been fooled by these silly tactics, and any event I would like to thank Brian Orr, Martin Francis, Shahrar Ali, and Matthew Butcher for all the vital help that they have given to my campaign in this by-election.

18 Mar 2012

More Dodgy Leaflets in Dollis Hill

Yet another two Lib Dem leaflets have appeared today and the candidate Alison Hopkins is at least becoming open about if the fact she wants people to vote for her, even if she is still reticent about which party she represents and still doesn’t use the usual Lib Dem colour, yellow, let alone acknowledge that the Lib Dems are part of a central government which is forcing through local service cuts. She can point out that local libraries are being cut by a Labour council, but evidently feels safer not mentioning budget cuts imposed by central on local government.

We can be sure that some earlier Lib Dem leaflets are for Alison, because they have carried, albeit in tiny writing, the legally required information about the publisher and who they are being published for.

This was not the case with another leaflet that I received today. Headed “GUILTY” the leaflet asks people not to vote Lib Dem. As this is something the Green Party also wants, I wish to stress that we do not use illegal leaflets to promote our aims, that this is not a Green Party leaflet and that the Green Party has had no part in its production or distribution.

We have produced only one leaflet. This carries the candidate’s name and uses the party colour and logo. It makes some criticisms of our opponents and mentions some of our key policy proposals. We are aiming to get voters to vote for us without contributing more the “Dollis Hill election leaflet mountain” more than necessary or issuing any publication which breaks electoral law.

Peter Murry, Green Party by-election candidate Dollis Hill, March 2012

11 Mar 2012

My sixth Lib Dem election leaflet (they must have run out of yellow ink)

This one has a blue, black and white colour scheme. On one side a large font slogan “Local People: Backing Alison” then some pictures of some local persons including a Liberal Democrat MP (Sara Teather) and a Liberal Democrat Councillor (Javad Ashraf), but as the leaflet nowhere asks people to vote Liberal Democrat, although it does ask to people to vote for Alison Hopkins, I do wonder why this party seems so shy of stating its name.

Things get really alarming over the page however.

There are a couple of photos of Alison, some statements about how long has she has lived locally. That’s fine. Saying “She will stand up for us against Labour’s cuts” is a bit dodgy, because the Labour council is making cuts at the behest of a Lib-Dem & Tory coalition government.

At the top of the page there is a picture of Victorian building which might be an example of the “luxury hotels” that the leaflet alleges that Labour councillors have been spending money on.

Then there is this:

What is it? A Labour Councillor? Something that Labour Councillors might eat in “luxury hotel”? Something that has just been eaten and regurgitated in a “luxury hotel”? All that remains of the pilot of the flying saucer that crashed in Gladstone Park in the “Dollis Hill Triangle” event of 1999?

Tell us what this strange image is Alison and why you are showing it to us, the voters of Dollis Hill need to know!

Jenny Jones calls for wasteful HS2 to be stopped

Responding to concerns voiced by Ealing residents that they are being ignored by the government in the High Speed 2 planning process but also applicable to residents in South Kilburn and the Kensal Traingle area, Green Party London Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones said:
HS2 is unpopular, a waste of money, poorly conceived and should be stopped immediately.

Residents and other opponents to the scheme are right to feel aggrieved over having their opinions, and their quality of life, completely ignored.

Many people will be forced to move from their homes to make way for HS2, and the government seems intent on pursuing the project despite the substantial human, financial and environmental cost.

Investment in public transport is essential but it must be done in a way that benefits everyone. Unless transport within London is improved, any gains on journey times made by high speed services to the capital will be lost on the platform of Euston tube station.

8 Mar 2012

My fifth Lib-dem leaflet (have they run out of yellow ink?)

The fifth LD missive I've received since Councillor Alex Castle died came through my letterbox today. slightly more subtle than the previous attempt (see below).

This one looks like a mock up of a Labour Party newsletter, all in black, white and red (have they run out of yellow ink?). Page one is devoted to picture of something which I don't think is Dollis Hill house but could just be a luxury hotel. a brief story beneath criticises Labour Councillors for staying in a luxury hotel.

 The back shows another picture of the alleged hotel perhaps, it seems to be the same building. There is also a picture of two protestors holding a placard that says "HANDS OFF OUR LIBRARY", what is significant about this leaflet is what it doesn't say ie "LIB DEMS SAY HANDS OFF OUR LIBRARY". It is captioned "The Lib Dem team are fighting to save our local libraries", does that mean that the two gentlemen depicted with the placard are Lib Dems? The  text states of the LD candidate Alison Hopkins that: "She is fighting for our local libraries." Crikey, these guys do almost as much paper fighting as the SWP! But no where does the leaflet actually call for a Lib Dem vote. Why so shy Alison? Perhaps it's because you know that the Lib Dems are in coalition with the Tories and that they are, with their Tory allies, forcing through draconian and damaging public services cuts that hurt the poorest in society most.

As my single Green party leaflet will ask; "ARE YOU SICK OF ? . Lib Dem and Tory councillors who pretend the cuts have nothing to do with their Coalition Government." Further more it it will make no bones about it, nor pretend to be anyone else. It says its a Green Party leaflet and it asks people to vote for the Green Party.

Shahrar Ali publicly questions Mayor on HS2: Plus Answer

On 7 March 2012, People's Question Time took place in Hammersmith Town Hall (pictured). Hundreds were in attendance to hear the Mayor of London flanked by the London Assembly Members (including Greens Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson) answer questions from a packed hall.

I asked a question about HS2. Here is the sound:

Shahrar Ali: "What is the Mayor going to do to address, or impress upon his dear leader, the needs and wishes of tens of thousands of Londoners who are opposed to the tunneling under their houses as a result of the totally unaffordable, environmentally damaging and overall CO2 increasing high speed rail vanity project which is HS2? The country's broke!"

In his reply to me, Boris Johnson said he is in principle in favour of high speed rail, but what he said to the government is 1) that he wants to see a business case that really stacks up, 2) wants to see mitigation and real protection for people in West London, and 3) he cannot conceive of HS2 without a new tube line at Euston to take people beyond there.

Boris Johnson's answer is here:

A full transcript and professional video recording of the event will be made available on the City Hall website here.

6 Mar 2012

MY Fourth Lib-Dem Leaflet

I got my fourth Lib Dem leaflet of the Dollis Hill by election today. The LD’s seem to throwing a shed load of money at this rather obscure little political competition, They also seem to be becoming strangely modest about who they are and what they want voters to do.

 I did not, at first, recognise it as as a Lib Dem leaflet. It was A4 single fold. One side has the slogan: "Who Can you Trust to STOP THE CUTS?" twice in a very large bold font coloured black and red. Inside are quotes from & pix of Ed Balls and Milliband plus quotes from Union leaders Bob Crow & Dave Prentice criticising Labour cuts.
No mention in the leaflet of who to vote for if not Labour, nor any prominent indication of who it is from.

On closer examination I found in tiny font (c2pt) a declaration that this was printed on behalf of "A.Hopkins (Liberal Democrats)" which was concealed by being printed along the fold in the page.

 This verges on a dirty trick Lib Dem bid for disillusioned Labour voters, whilst totally omitting any mention of Lib Dem involvement in coalition government cuts. I can at least say, as Green Party candidate in the Dollis Hill by-election, and Secretary of the Green Party Trade Union Group that the Green Party nationally opposes cuts and supports Trade Union Opposition to them through its affiliation to the Coalition of Resistance and its support for the creation of at least one million jobs to build the infrastructure that the country needs for a low carbon economy that can help to combat climate change. What can the LD’s say? That they are part of a coalition imposing swingeing cuts to public services and initiating privatisation programs that are making ordinary people pay for a crisis of international finance? That is the truth. So, no wonder they don’t wish to acknowledge it by pushing leaflets through voters’ doors that seem almost ashamed to ask people to vote Lib Dem