Tag: Refugees

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



Nepal Earthquake

I am deeply saddened at the extensive humanitarian disaster unfolding primarily in Nepal, but also in Tibet and parts of India and Bangladesh.  My heart goes out to all those affected, in Nepal and surrounding areas, but also in the UK – a large community of Nepalese have lived here for generations, and many UK residents have relatives either visiting or working in Nepal.

British nationals who need help with Brits currently in Nepal should contact the Foreign Office’s emergency consular response unit – 020 7008 0000.  The FCO has regular updates about Nepal on their webpage Travel Advice Nepal

The most pragmatic way for UK residents to help communities in Nepal is to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).  DEC coordinates funds for all the main aid agencies who are out there, on the ground in Nepal.  The collective includes a range of secular and religious charities, so there is at least one charity involved with DEC that will meet your personal preferences.  Please donate to them: http://www.dec.org.uk/

I know rescue workers in Nepal are struggling to reach remote populations.  One of the groups in the hills right now trying to reach people on the knife-edge of survival is the Britain-Nepal Medical Trust.  I know UK doctors who have worked with them in the past, and the Britain-Nepal Medical Trust has been assisting the Nepalese health care system since 1968 – http://www.britainnepalmedicaltrust.org.uk/

Another group I know well, having fundraised for them a decade ago, is Tibet Relief Fund.  They care for the thousands of Tibetan refugees trying to survive in Nepal, having fled the Chinese annexation of Tibet – http://www.tibetrelieffund.co.uk/

The post-quake situation in Tibet itself is very unclear, which is giving serious rise to concern about the fate of entire communities there.  Initial reports on Sunday indicated Tibetan housing and infrastructure in at least two large areas had been devastated, and the weather was hampering rescue access.  The Tibetan aid effort is being left to China and, until today, three days after the main disaster struck, there has been scant information about how much is actually being done by China to help Tibetans.  Today’s first detailed update is troubling – http://english.cri.cn/12394/2015/04/28/3745s876350.htm – the window for immediate survival is closing rapidly, and hope is faltering for rebuilding the lives of thousands left homeless in Tibet.

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


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