Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What is Croydon?

Croydon is...

Hat tip Rullsenberg rules

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Big Ask

A short while ago I went to see my local Conservative Member of Parliament, Andrew Pelling MP, about the Big Ask campaign. Essentially the campaign is to get the government to make the Queen's Speech green, with a Climate Change Bill. It's fronted by Friends of the Earth with a coalition including the Co-operative Party.

Anyway, I met up with my fellow lobbyists in the Gold Coast then wandered round to the Tory HQ on Enmore Road. It was fun pointing out that EVERY light in the building was on as we made our way in to lobby on climate change. The building is the sombre, stuffy place you'd expect for a Friday night surgery, a few drinkers turning to stare.

Andrew was friendly and personable, and has already signed EDM 178. We asked him to write in support of the campaign to the Environment Secretary and the Prime Minister, and he agreed to do the first ('saving paper' by missing out the PM). So we got our objective and got our point across, although my fellow lobbyists found the process daunting enough to wish they'd prepared more - I think they did great! Thanks to that meet-up I'll be attending the inaugural Croydon Friends of the Earth meeting at the Unison Club, Chatsworth Road on 8 November at 1930.

So another Friday night spent doing politics. Somehow it felt like an achievement, and I'd recommend everyone do the Big Ask while there's still time.

My new blog

Unofficial Co-operative Party blog, including yours truly.

A Labour branch quiz was never so much fun

Last week saw the Woodside and Ashburton Branch Labour Party quiz. Now I approached this event with some trepidation, but Julia asked her friends to rally round and support her, so I gave in. Turned out that she'd asked so many, we couldn't all be on one team. So Oli, Mary, Jane and I became team 'Shirley Burly' (Oli's idea, no one laughed). The Gold Coast on Portland Road was the venue, Star beer from Ghana was drink of the day, and spicy roast banana kept us going.

And we won! Twice!

We held our own in sport and music, and excelled in history, politics and general knowledge. My smuggest moment was knowing the nautical name of South Norwood's first railway station - the Jolly Sailor (pub), which no one believed could be true.

Then to also win the signed copy of Gordon Brown's Speeches 1997-2006 was top, even if I'll never actually read it. The quiz prize was a large tin of Cadbury's Heroes.

Didn't mean I got to have more than a mini Crunchie though, did it? Some prize...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Article:Make Croydon Council restore the Warehouse Theatre grant

The Warehouse Theatre has been a jewel in the crown of Croydon's cultural scene for almost thirty years. For many, including yours truly, it has been our first taste of professional theatre, and has brought new talent to the fore and quality drama and comedy to Croydon.

So it's a surprise to see that Croydon Council has cut their grant from 2007. In fact it was a surprise to the Theatre, who only heard the news when a journalist from the Croydon Advertiser called them. No consultation. No formal letter before the press release. No informal tip-off with an explanation from the cabinet member or leader of the Council. Nope, just a press release to cover the politicians' backs.

In fact, the whole thing seems to be political. Make cuts year 1 of the new council, blame the government and the last lot, then keep taxes down ahead of the elections in 2010 and hope everyone's forgotten what they've lost. The pattern hasn't changed since the 1950s, but maybe it's time. And getting rid of the Theatre is on their agenda in particular, so that they can pursue the white elephant of an arena to bring stadium rock and ice hockey to Croydon without actually telling people they have to lose their theatre with a proven audience to get this unwanted soulless corporate ghost town. They're upset that the alternative scheme, which includes a new theatre, seems to be on the up, even getting planning retribution.

So they attempt to bring our theatre to its knees for their political games.

Restore the Grant is a campaign website to get the Council to restore the Theatre's grant. Go there to lobby your MP, tell the Leader of the Council what you think, sign the petition and make sure everybody knows.