Category: Walthamstow

Campaign gratitude and Whipps Cross

3739527My euphoria at receiving 129 beautiful votes last Thursday remains unabated!  Thank you so much!  Click here to watch the Walthamstow constituency count being announced at about 6am on Friday 08 May. My thanks to Polling Station staff, the Returning Officer’s team, Electoral Services at the Council, and the Counters at Walthamstow Assembly Halls who all did an amazing job.

IMG_4252I didn’t celebrate with a drink in the end because after spending 9 hours at the count all I really wanted was breakfast, care of amazing musician friend, Zami.  It was then home to sleep for about 24 hours on and off, before heading back out to counter the EDL (see other posts) and thank constituents for their support.

Team Ellie Polling Day in WalthamstowMy heartfelt thanks to Andy for being my electoral agent, to Jo, El and those who joined me leafleting, and those who provided advice.  I also want to thank my family and friends for offering unstinting love and encouragement.

I am especially grateful to all those who voted for me, but also to the hundreds who spoke to me at length around Walthamstow, and all those many people who listened to me enough to go and vote and exercise their democratic rights, even if it was not to vote for me.  I also want to thank the many Walthamstow residents and single issue campaigners who got in touch online to discuss their views in various ways – by twitter, by email and on facebook.

CDO6xewXIAA80_QAnd I am grateful for the willingness of party campaigners to talk about the issues and be encouraging about saving Whipps Cross Hospital, whatever their parties’ policies.  I learned a huge amount from my fellow candidates and their agents, and I’d like to thank them so much for their strong debating, which I hope Walthamstow was proud of.  The constituency was lucky to have eight candidates who put in so much effort and tried to overcome electoral communication difficulties with hard graft and good grace.

IMG_0777I really enjoyed the campaign and will treasure every last bit of conversation that the local community offered me about their lives and their concerns for Walthamstow.

Those conversations are continuing to motivate me now to lend my support to existing campaigns to save Whipps Cross and campaign for a nationalised NHS, free from PFI.  To those ends, overnight during the count, I was lucky enough to have some fascinating cross-party conversations about saving our hospital and I intend to follow them up.

IMG_4157I realise our local MPs may well be distracted for a while by internal party politics, probably without much focus on saving Whipps Cross or the NHS.  For example, Stella will be campaigning to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and IDS will be sorting out his continuing role in Cabinet, applying a further £12b in welfare cuts and £13b in government spending cuts.

NHSlogo-bartsThe effort is more urgently needed than ever, however, to bring together Waltham Forest’s MPs, other MPs in neighbouring boroughs whose constituents also use Whipps, borough council members and community groups to focus their collective attention on the issue of rescuing Whipps from Barts before Barts senior management goes ahead with the land sale and other asset stripping of our vital health facility.  IDS and John Cryer have already indicated they would be willing to accept new ideas on how to help Whipps.

IMG_4160Please let me know if you want to help me build this local cross-party initiative by using the ‘comment’ form on my website, or get in touch on twitter and facebook.

Thank you so much for your generosity of time and interest, and here’s to Walthamstow’s campaign to win back its fully nationalised hospital and healthcare services!

Time to decide: vote for Ellie MERTON in Walthamstow

If you are struggling to decide how to vote, then vote with your conscience and vote for someone without links to the parties you no longer trust.  Vote for someone who will tackle the national issues that mean the most to you here in Walthamstow.  Vote for someone who will fight your corner with you.  Vote for me, your independent candidate, Ellie MERTON.  Thank you!  X

(Polls close at 10pm)

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Ellie Merton, Walthamstow’s strong independent candidate to work cross-party as your MP

Ever since I declared I was a candidate for MP, I’m chuffed and grateful that party members from every single left-wing party, from the big mainstreams to the smaller minorities, have expressed support for my views and my values.

I’m humbled that so many have got in contact from around the country, knowing me from my human rights campaigning, music and charity fundraising volunteering, to give me advice and offer words of encouragement.  But I entirely understand their need to stick with their tribe, energetically campaigning and voting for their parties’ candidates.  None of them has been out on the campaign trail with me and all of them have remained loyal to their parties, which I really respect.

My non-alignment, a strong belief in inclusive, cross-party working on the issues that matter, has been my consistent strength for 25 years.  My strong independence has been something I have employed in all my elected roles, from student welfare officer in 1992 to running the local Palestine human rights campaigning group between 2009 to 2014.  It is even stronger now, despite being deafened by the cry for partisanship by the parties; I can still find individuals from all the parties who want to work together for the common good, not against each other.  I have no worries about working cross-party in Parliament too.

My focus is on you, Walthamstow’s constituents: on helping to craft social structures, systems and services that will make lives for all residents better; that are creatively ingenious, sophisticated and efficient but, by being publicly funded, cheaper for everyone to use; that embody humanitarian values, diversity, equality and social cohesion.

I hope you will give me a chance to use my strength to be an independent MP in a hung parliament, to create a better future for Walthamstow through cross-party negotiations, getting the best deal for constituents at a national level.

Vote for Ellie Merton for Walthamstow on Thursday 07 May! 

Polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm.  Enjoy voting!

 

What I stand for

Protest for nurses payHere is what I stand for: some of the national policy changes that I think will benefit Walthamstow residents.

I believe in renationalising public services, from housing to environment and social care.  I support renewable energy and oppose fracking.

I believe in renationalising Whipps Cross and extracting it from Barts Health Trust.  I support the NHS Reinstatement Bill, standing to repeal HSCA and for an end to PFI, the Private Finance Initiative which treats the NHS like a bank and puts business debt servicing and profits before people.  I oppose TTIP.

I believe in trade unions and their role in improving working conditions around the UK.  And I believe in investing in start-ups, social enterprise and small business particularly in the arts and technology, to increase employment and pay into the Walthamstow economy.

I stand for diversity and social cohesion, particularly championing anti-racism and campaigning against religious prejudice, protesting against fascists like the EDL.

On schools I stand for giving our young people the best possible start in life by investing in both core subject teaching but also the arts and sports.

My focus for schools is music, and the positive impact learning music and participating in music has on cognitive and childhood development.  We need far more state-funded music provision in schools and colleges.  But that also goes for all the arts, and sports provision.  It is the extra curricula activities that develop a child and young adult and give them the broadest options in life.  Arts and sports activities sustain and develop adult well-being and social cohesion.

On education generally, I believe in renationlising our education system from top to bottom, and removing business profit from it – renationalising schools, scrapping the expensive student loans system, bringing back grants and eradicating top-up fees.  I stand for radically increasing publicly funded scientific research and improving academic pay and conditions for qualified lecturers and post-docs, increasing opportunities for women in science.

I believe in supporting human and civil rights and particularly the rights of refugees.  We need to de-criminalise the treatment of refugees in the UK and support the rights of overseas refugees to be able to return to their homes in safety.  This means the UK holding countries to account for violations of international law and Geneva conventions against Palestinians, Tibetans, Kashmiris and Tamils.   Israel, China, India and Sri Lanka persistently violate international law.  They have created international refugee crises by military occupying, annexing or blockading another people’s lands and ethnically cleansing the indigenous inhabitants who ought to be allowed to live in peace and safety, with self determination.  The UK, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has to address these human rights violations stretching back over decades.

Underpinning all of this, I believe in the rights of women and girls to live lives of equality and safety, with equal life chances and equal pay.

Photos copyright (c) Ellie Merton

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Stopping racism entering Walthamstow

stop the edlI am supporting the local ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ initiative to counter the EDL.  The EDL are simply a bunch of fascist thugs, nothing more, and who want to parade their racism and divisiveness around Walthamstow.  They are not welcome here.

As the independent PPC for Walthamstow, I have signed the following statement:

“The English Defence League has announced plans to march through Walthamstow on Saturday 9 May.  The EDL is an extremely violent, fascist group that whips up hatred and intolerance.  It particularly targets Muslim communities.

This violent, street-fighting group had originally planned the march through Woolwich in a sickeningly cynical attempt to exploit the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby who was murdered outside the army barracks in 2013.

However, Lee Rigby’s mother expressed her disgust at the EDL plans.  In a statement she wrote, “I have never given any permission or agreed to any part of this demonstration, I have never believed in this nor would Lee.”

Instead of apologising to Lynn Rigby, the EDL now plans to target Waltham Forest, a move condemned by Walthamstow candidate, Stella Creasy, and faith leaders.

Waltham Forest has a proud history of standing up to fascism and celebrating our diverse and vibrant community.  In 2012, over 4,000 local residents joined in protest against the EDL marching through the borough.  The protest was attended by local MPs, faith communities, disability rights organisations, trade unions, school students and pensioners.  It received widespread national support and contributed to the collapse of the EDL.

However, a climate of bigotry and hatred is on the rise – the scapegoating of migrants, attacks on the Muslim community and an increase in antisemitism.  Political parties are using the general election to whip up this hatred further.  The EDL is trying to use this situation to revive itself.  We cannot allow this to happen.

Here in Waltham Forest we have shown that if you want to defeat fascism you cannot ignore it and hope that it will go away.  Instead, you must challenge its politics of hate, expose the racist lies, and stand united against it.

So, on Saturday 9 May, we will again take to the streets in peaceful united protest to defend and celebrate our multicultural home. We urge everyone to join with us to send our message loud and strong: the fascist EDL is never welcome here.”

 

Workers and migrant rights in Walthamstow

The first hustings I participated in last week was arranged by Waltham Forest Trades Council (WFTC) and the Parish of Walthamstow.  You can see how we candidates got on via the Occupy London webstream – http://occupylondon.org.uk/walthamstow-ge2015-hustings/

Before the hustings began, Dave Knight from WF Trades Council gave a moving dedication to Romanian worker, Marian Nemit, who died in a construction accident in Leyton recently (http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/12909507.Picture_of_tragic_builder_released_as_reports_suggest_family_learned_of_death_on_social_media/).

I want to express my condolences to Marian’s family and friends in Romania and the UK.

There is a sizeable Romanian community in Walthamstow, many of whom I have spoken to during my campaigning.  They are unable to vote in this particular election.  They can vote in the local borough Council, London Assembly and EU elections, but not the Parliamentary elections.  However, I have wanted to talk to them because the migrant worker population in Walthamstow is an important part of our local society and I want to spend time understanding their situation and needs.  I want them to know, as well, I would care about their concerns as well as people voting for me.

My experience is that the local Romanian community, along with the Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Moravian and other East European populations here, are incredibly hard working and contribute to the vibrancy and economy of Walthamstow.

The reality is that migrant work is badly taken advantage of.  East European and other migrants often get paid less than minimum wage, often on zero-hours contracts, endure appalling working conditions which defy any basic standards of health & safety, and face extraordinary levels of racial abuse.  Frequently, they have to live in horrendous housing conditions and struggle to make ends meet, despite working all hours.

I have met some of the homeless migrants in the area; gentle, thoughtful, hard-working.  They are too proud to take handouts or rely on benefits.  They simply want to make a living for themselves, and contribute, away from the corruption and oppression of their home countries.

Waves of immigration going back over centuries have enriched the UK.  We need migrants workers to succeed in their lives in the UK, to be able to contribute more to society, both economically and culturally.

Migrant workers must be paid the London Living wage when working and living here, and their work conditions should more than meet basic HSE and employment law requirements.  Otherwise, all that happens is that UK domestic workers’ pay and conditions are undermined, stopping them from contributing to the economy and forcing them to become reliant on the state for assistance.

It benefits no one to mistreat or underpay migrants.  If elected, I would make supporting our local migrant populations a key focus of my work, and building social cohesion across Walthamstow to develop understanding and acceptance of each other’s cultures within the area.

Today is Workers Memorial Day and I want to pay tribute to those who work tirelessly to improve working pay and conditions through trades unions and workers associations, particularly Waltham Forest Trades Council.

Proud to be standing as a woman

As a woman in 2015, it should seem usual to be standing as a candidate in a general election, but it isn’t.  Sadly, the political world is still dominated by men.  Nationally, only a quarter of candidates standing are women.  Full gender equality is a way off yet.

I am proud to be one of four women standing for Walthamstow.  As women, whether we like it or not, in seeking election we act as role models for the next generation of Walthamstow’s young women.

We do not have to agree politically.  In fact, our different views are a bonus because our range of political beliefs and experience demonstrates that, nowadays, there is no set path to achievement.  Having said that, however, we can agree to respect each other’s lives and career choices as women.

I respect all three other women candidates for the life choices you have made to date.  You are great achievers in your family lives, careers and political aspirations.  Walthamstow is lucky to have such a line up to choose from.

Walthamstow Historical Society

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

Save Walthamstow Cinema

The campaign to preserve this historic building as a place of entertainment

Forest Philharmonic

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

Walthamstow Folk Club

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

Walthamstow parkrun

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

East London and West Essex Guardian Series | News

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

38 Degrees

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

WALTHAM FOREST SAVE OUR NHS

Our campaign to defend our services and the NHS

Independent campaigning on human and social rights

Waltham Forest PSC

Independent campaigning on human and social rights