Friday, 29 January 2010

What a dump!

No, I am not insulting the beautiful tree lined boulevards of Stroud Green – I am referring to the disgusting habit of dumping which serves to turn a lovely neighbourhood into a municipal tip.

Spending as much time as I do ambling through the streets of Stroud Green, I cannot help but gasp – still! – when I see mattresses, bed bases, TVs, pallets, Christmas trees, kid’s bikes (the list goes on, but you get the picture) dumped unceremoniously on the pavement. Sometimes people put things next to litter bins, like that makes it ok. Clue: it doesn’t.

I report what I see to the council and then go back to make sure it’s been taken away, as promised. But that’s not a sustainable answer – we could go on forever like that.

Obviously, there will always be those people who dump their stuff, no matter how easy/cheap/free you make it for them to be able to get rid of the unwanted items. Maybe they get a perverse thrill out of dumping a three piece suite at 3am, who knows. It’s not an experience I think I’ll be trying somehow.

But there must be ways of making it happen less. The council provides free collections for fridges, freezers, ovens, tumble dryers, washing machines, TVs and car tyres, car batteries and gas cylinders – hands up how many people knew that? Perhaps not those who dump their fridges, freezers, ovens, tumble dryers, washing machines, TVs and car tyres, car batteries and gas cylinders!

But what about furniture? Bed bases, mattresses, arm chairs and settees are the things I see dumped the most, I think. You have to pay to have those things taken – hence the dumping.

If elected in May I am going to see what I can do about this – whether it’s extending the list of things the council collects for free, encouraging the use of Freecycle and also establishing a council repair service for household goods – just like Green Party Cllr Katie Dawson, in neighbouring Islington, has just done! Repair, reuse, recycle…

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Resting on their LGBT laurels?

Last week I asked a question about the council’s record on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. I framed it as a question about LGBT History month, which is in February.

You can see me watch my question here – and hear the answer I received from Cllr Amin:

(Click on Index Points tab, then, under section 11. I am 'Speaker' at 01:19:50, 01:24:31* and 01:24:47)

*don't miss this bit!

I was dismayed to discover that although Haringey have a Sexuality Equalities Related Review Action Plan, but it is several years out of date. Several of the points on the plan are marked as 'not achieved'. You would expect a council to be engaging with, consulting and encouraging the involvement of all sections of society. I am not confident this is happening as much as it could in Haringey.

With hate crime reported to be rising nationally, and a homophobic attack and subsequent death of a gay man in Trafalgar Square in September, I would argue that the council cannot ‘rest on its laurels’ when it comes to sexuality.

Although society is much more accepting of same-sex relationships, ‘gay’ is still used as a term of abuse in schools. As someone who has had relationships with both sexes, I know that there is still unfortunately a big difference between the way one gets treated by society when in a same-sex relationship to when in a heterosexual one.

The council needs to address this head-on rather than assume the problem of homophobia has disappeared.

Cllr Amin assured me that the 2004-7 Action Plan is not the most up to date of its kind. I emailed her and asked her to send me the most recent plan – and am still awaiting a reply!

Update! I have a reply: 'We are no longer carrying out individual equalities reviews but include sexual orientation as part of the Corporate Equalities Scheme and Action
Plan. A revised action plan covering the period 2010 to 2013 is currently being prepared and when completed will be available on the web.'

Friday, 1 January 2010

Amnesty Event was a big success - again!

A bit of an update on this year's Amnesty International card signing event which we held a few backs ago.

We posted the record 358 cards and letters today - the traditional'posting in action' video is below. This year my daughter Clementine posts them...veeeeery slowly.

Around 50 people came to pen messages of goodwill and solidarity to 32 case studies; people around the world who have suffered human rights abuses and those in danger for defending human rights.

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, who attended the event in Stroud Green for the second year running, said: “It’s easy to forget prisoners of conscience at Christmas time. Events like this change that. As well as offering hope, courage and comfort to those unjustly imprisoned or seeking justice for loved ones, this greetings card campaign shows authorities that the world is watching. I would like to thank everyone who came and supported this event.”

We handsomely beat last year’s number of 268. The day was a real success. A lot of people commented that they were glad they came and that it felt like a special afternoon. It reminds you of the freedoms we have and not to take them for granted.

For anyone who missed the event but would like to support the Amnesty Christmas Card signing campaign, it’s not too late to get involved. Simply email or call 020 7033 1572 for a booklet. For updates on cases in the campaign see: