Thursday, May 31, 2007

Finding the best person for Croydon Central

UPDATE: 15 June

The really exciting thing so far about the Labour Party's process to select our candidate for Croydon Central is that there is such a strong field. Lots of good people with solid experience and a real hunger to go out there, lead an energetic campaign and kick Andrew Pelling out. Better still is that the candidates are engaging on both campaigning and policy fronts. It's largely a positive process and members are posing the questions and issues that the public care about - local health and transport, generating enthusiasm, public safety and international issues.

Of course the downside of such a strong line-up is that at some point we have to make a decision...

Those I am aware of as having received nominations so far are:

Nine nominations

Cllr Gerry Ryan
Joint Deputy Leader of Croydon Labour councillors and convenor of Co-op councillors, leads on crime & public protection, councillor for Selhurst, candidate in Croydon South 2001, Crystal Palace FC fan, telephone engineer active in CWU

Nominated by Addiscombe Branch Labour Party (22%), Fairfield Branch Labour Party (19%), Shirley Branch Labour Party (10.5%) , Heathfield Branch Labour Party (6%), CWU West End Amal. Branch, CWU Capital Branch, CWU Croydon & South London Branch, CWU Postal Workers Branch, Croydon & East Surrey Co-operative Party AUTOMATICALLY SHORTLISTED with 58%

Eight nominations

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle
Deputy Leader of Southwark Labour councillors, secretary of South London Co-operative Party, board member of London Labour Party, magistrate, vice chair of Black Socialist Society and Africans for Labour

Nominated by Addiscombe Branch Labour Party (22%), Woodside & Ashburton Branch Labour Party (29%), New Addington (8%), Fieldway (4%), Amicus-Unite Croydon & Crystal Palace Branch, GMB C60 Branch, GMB Labour Party Branch, T&G-Unite 1/427 (Parliament) Branch WITHDRAWN FROM RACE

Six nominations

Afsana Shukur
Activist in Tower Hamlets Labour Party, former civil servant advising ministers on employment and urban regeneration, now works in social housing and regeneration, chairs a housing association

Nominated by Addiscombe Branch Labour Party (22%), Fairfield Branch Labour Party (19%), Woodside & Ashburton Branch Labour Party (29%), Shirley Branch Labour Party (10.5%) , Heathfield Branch Labour Party (6%), GMB Labour Party Branch AUTOMATICALLY SHORTLISTED with 87%

Three nominations

Cllr Stuart Collins
Joint Deputy Leader of Croydon Labour councillors, leads on culture and sport, popular former Mayor of Croydon, long-standing councillor for Broad Green, loves sport - tennis player and Chelsea fan, civil servant active in PCS

Nominated by Woodside & Ashburton Branch Labour Party (29%), New Addington (8%), GMB Labour Party Branch

Cllr Simon Hall
Councillor for Fieldway since 2005, since 2007 shadow cabinet member for health & social care, very active in local Party for number of years, lives in New Addington and previously in Park Hill, private sector experience

Nominated by Fairfield Branch Labour Party (19%), New Addington (8%), Fieldway (4%)

Two nominations

Cllr Jane Avis
Croydon councillor and shadow cabinet member for Housing, former Mayor of Croydon, keen environmentalist and cyclist, and member of and volunteer for many Croydon organisations from salsa dancing, through bricklaying to social care

Nominated by Shirley Branch Labour Party (10.5%), CWU Croydon & South London Branch

Cllr Gordon Nardell
Councillor in London Borough of Southwark

Nominated by Amicus-Unite Croydon & Crystal Palace Branch, T&G-Unite 1/427 (Parliament) Branch

One nomination

Andrew Bradstock
Director of the Christian Socialist Movement, former Croydon resident and council candidate in Heathfield ward in 2002, 2005 candidate for Faversham and East Kent

Nominated by Heathfield Branch Labour Party (6%)

Ted Goodman
GMB Activist, former councillor in Reigate, 1992 candidate for Tunbridge Wells

Nominated by GMB C60 Branch

Owais Rajput
Activist in Bradford Labour Party, executive member of Scientists for Labour

Nominated by GMB C60 Branch

Cllr Patrick Vernon
Councillor in Hackney, vice chair of Socialist Health Association, worked extensively in health and voluntary sectors and on race equality & community issues, launched high profile 100 Great Black Britons Campaign

Nominated by T&G-Unite 1/427 (Parliament) Branch WITHDRAWN FROM RACE

Other candidates worth mentioning (arbitrary list - apologies!)

James Bridge - works for Croydon-based Age Concern England, 2005 candidate for East Surrey

Andrew Hammond - activist in Ealing Labour Party, former special advisor to Charles Clarke at the Home Office, 2005 candidate for Daventry

Craig Jones - young activist from Tower Hamlets, barrister, heads public affairs and policy team for children's charity

Liam Walker - young barrister, activist in Addiscombe Branch Labour Party, scion of the Walker family of Croydon Labour lore

Cllr Keith White - former Deputy Leader of Dacorum Borough Council (Hemel Hempstead), candidate in Buckingham (1992), Aylesbury (2001), NE Beds (2005)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

The day Gordon Brown came to Croydon

Today Gordon Brown, our next Prime Minister, came to Croydon to visit St John's Primary School. It was great to see Gordon come to Croydon, particularly in Shirley. He was accompanied by Dame Kelly Holmes and was excitedly welcomed by the children.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Upper Norwood library saved

So Croydon's Conservative Council has caved in to the campaign to save the Upper Norwood Library, according to the Croydon Guardian, by stumping up the £60,000 required.

The Council had dropped its level of funding only a year after the library had seen a £1.1 million facelift - representing a massive waste of money alongside the huge loss of service to local residents had the library been forced to close.

More than 3,000 people signed a petition protesting at the level of funding which was presented to the Council last month. The campaign was supported by local Labour MPs Malcolm Wicks and Tessa Jowell and by local Labour GLA member Valerie Shawcross, nplus the Labour councillors on Croydon Council, not least Councillor Pat Ryan.

This success is a massive victory for the people of Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood, reversing a decision that showed just how out of touch Croydon Council has become in its first year of Conservative control.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

1,500 people sign Warehouse petition

At the last Croydon Council meeting, Cllr Eddy Arram (Con, Ashburton) handed in a petition of 1,500 objecting to the Conservative cut to the Warehouse Theatre grant, to cheers from the Labour councillors and the public gallery.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The end of the Croydon Society?

Tonight, 1 May, sees the Annual General Meeting of the Croydon Society, our local civic society.

This meeting could be the Society's last. The post of secretary has been vacant for a while, and other officers including the chairman are stepping down. Many of the executive members are getting on and new people have not been getting involved for some time. For those reasons, the executive have tabled a motion to wind up the Society and grant members membership of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society for the rest of the year.

To some extent, the motion is a threat, tabled to flush out those members on the edge of the society who could take on a greater role and take on some of the administration. But it is a high risk strategy. Some new nominations have been found for executive members, but without a strong chair of the Society and a collective vision of the Society's future, there may be little point.

Let's face it, as things stand, the Council does not really respect the Society. When decisions are being made on planning, heritage, transport or parks, the Society is not engaged and its views do not sway councillors or officers. But there is the need and the opportunity for a strong civic society. The Croydon Society could be a think tank for Croydon, engaging residents groups, faith groups, conservation groups and small local businesses on a long-term vision for our town that guides the Council and other decision-makers. The Society could work in a cross-cultural, cross-political, cross-borough way that politicians find it hard to. Organisations like the New Economics Foundation - particularly their project in Leeds - have shown the way that groups can develop strong voices and visions locally.

The meeting is at 19.45 at the United Reformed Church, Addiscombe Grove, East Croydon. Go, join and help create a vision for our borough.

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