Thursday, 29 April 2010

Whittington gets its claws out

Today I attended the 'day of action' at the Whittington Hospital, where of course the A&E, maternity unit and other services are under threat. The above picture shows Islington Green Party member (and Parliamentary candidate) Emma Dixon explaining passionately that the Green Party are opposed to privatisation and cuts, and want to protect and invest in the NHS. She also rightly said that come May 7th, whatever the result of the election, the Green Party will continue to believe this and continue to fight against the destruction of the NHS.

It was announced that Andy Burnham had pledged to 'save' the Whittington, but an air of disbelief and mistrust reigned, and mutters of 'can we have that in writing?' were heard.

Tory Andrew Lansley claimed that the Conservatives were 'the party of the NHS', at which point I began to feel somewhat sick, and wondered whether I might need to avail myself of the services of the handily-situated (for the moment, at least) A&E.

I was rather shocked how heavy-handed the security guards were - I wasn't even allowed to take my daughter inside the hospital with a balloon. Hmm, I guess I looked like a threat carrying a 'Save the Whittington' balloon. Highly controversial, huh?!

Let's see what happens post-election. I'm pretty sure this fight isn't over yet...

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Stroud Green Neighbourhood Day - a success again!

Stroud Green Neighbourhood Day was a great success today - the sun shone and people really got into the spirit of it. Lots of residents had stalls in their front gardens, there was music (partly courtesy of Haringey Green Party members Peter Budge and Mary Hogan!) and this year us politicians had a 'speakers' corner' - see our stall there in the above picture. Ken Livingstone even turned up, his pet newt in his pocket.*

It was great to be involved again - big congrats and thanks to the organisers, particularly Helen Riley. A few community activists with a talent for organisation meant lots of fun and a day to remember for many residents. Roll on next year!

*Untrue, as far as I'm aware.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

All work and no play...

At last, a blog about the brilliant 'bus trip around the playgrounds' I went on a few weeks back (sorry, I've again been too busy out meeting people and doing things to actually write them up!).

Haringey Council set up a bus trip around various exemplary playgrounds a few weeks ago, and I went along as a Friend of Stationer's Park. The German-built wooden playfort in Stationer's is fantastic but it's falling apart, and residents are keen to see it replaced with another wooden structure. I often take my daughter to the playfort and I agree.

We toured playgrounds in Waltham Forest, Hackney, Camden and Tower Hamlets and saw some fantastic places. Playgrounds that had been built in part by the kids who play in them, giving them a sense of ownership. Spaces that catered for people of all ages, including stuff for bored teenage to get involved with. And brilliant builds which incorporated trees into the structure, as seen in the picture above.

Friends of Stationer's Park (FoSP) are doing a great job in applying for funding, and this outing gave us loads of ideas on what to spending it on, should we be granted some cash.

I overheard one council worker saying a councillor, who shall remain nameless, recently claimed that "play isn't a priority." I find this outrageous. How can encouraging children to explore the outdoors, get exercise, socialise and appreciate nature not be important? Parents too reap the benefits of play areas, as they provide us with social hubs where we meet and converse with other parents - all for free. And if play areas give teens something to do as well, we're cutting down on so-called 'anti-social behaviour', to use a new Labourism.

If elected in May I am going to support FoSP in every way I can in securing funding for the project. Other areas of the ward could benefit from new play equipment too, notibly Carlton Lodge, where new equipment has apparently been promised for years.