Archive for the ‘Holborn and St Pancras’ Category

by Natalie Bennett

In a letter in the Ham & High of May 2, 2013, Mr Uys (Drivers faced with trolley jam) expresses eloquently the frustration of  Highgate High Street residents, workers and visitors with the thoroughly anti-social behaviour of the Tesco store there, but the problem is much wider than this one store.
Camden Green Party members talk regularly to residents near Tesco and Sainsbury stores in Kentish Town High Street, Fortess Road and Swain’s Lane, among others, who are plagued by trolleys blocking pavements, HGVs blocking roads, and noisy unloading at all hours of the day and night.
These supermarket chains are simply anti-social and abusive of the power of their size, and are being allowed to get away with behaviour that advantages them against their independent competitors – stores that are of far greater benefit to their local communities and provide far more jobs and business opportunities for suppliers.
Independent stores typically get deliveries by small vans, from a range of independent wholesalers and food manufacturers, and they have storerooms in which stock is held (on which they pay business rates).
By contrast the chains stock the stores straight from HGVs three or four times a day, using the public space of the pavement, and road, without any respect for the rights and needs of others.
When Camden Green Party had a pop-up shop in Fortess Road, the Sainsbury’s Local opposite regularly littered the highway with traffic cones, blocking off an HGV-sized space outside their store. They have no right to do that – only the arrogance of size and sense of entitlement that has infected far too many of our large companies, as demonstrated also by the way they continue to squeeze down staff wages, enforce casualisation on unwilling workers and employ unconsciounable zero-hours contracts.
The Green Party seeks on a national level to ensure that supermarkets pay the true social cost of their way of conducting business, or make major changes. On a local level, our councillors seek to ensure that noise abatement cases are brought by local authorities to address the nuisance that occurs.


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Our Holborn and St Pancras candidate in the recent election, Natalie Bennett, has just had the chance to offer an alternative prescription for our economic ills in the Camden New Journal.

There is a real alternative to the nasty, mean and dangerous medicine we are getting from this coalition government.

What do you think? Please feel free to leave your comments below…

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I’ve just signed a letter calling on Frank Dobson to sign Early Day Motion 186, which reads:

That this House welcomes the coalition Government’s commitment to give patients control of their health records; considers that any decision to continue to allow uploading of patients’ details to the Summary Care Record (SCR) System is inconsistent with this commitment; and calls on the Government to halt all SCR updates, effective immediately, pending its promised comprehensive review of NHS IT systems.

The letter notes that independent research by UCL on the programme indicates that more than 80% of the patients sent letters warning them about this scheme (and the fact that they have only one chance at the start to opt out) had thrown away the letters unread or had no recollection of receiving them.

Furthermore, the research found that there were many errors in the records and (correctly) doctors were not trusting them:

The researchers found no direct evidence that the care records system led to safer care, though they said that access to the database may reduce some rare medication errors. There was no clear evidence that consultations between doctors and patients are quicker – and in some cases use of summary care records made consultations longer.

Almost 40 million letters have now been sent out across the UK, most without including opt out forms, which you can download from this website.

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Thank you, I must say first of all, to the 1,480 people who voted for me in the Holborn and St Pancras constituency.

This was the third highest Green vote in London, and I know that many others (who wrote or spoke to me) felt compelled by the nature of our electoral system to make another choice (either the Lib Dems in hope of electoral reform, or Labour, for fear of Frank Dobson being defeated), while strongly supporting Green Party policies.

I must thank my election agent, Edward Milford, for being a tower of strength and calm, in particular two of my champion canvassers Charlie and Justin as well as the rest of the team, Matty Mitford for doing a vast amount of organisation under difficult circumstances, and Jim for all his support.

But what really matters out of this election is one result: that in Brighton Pavilion, where Caroline Lucas was elected as Britain’s first Green MP. When that was announced about 5.30am among all those rather bedraggled, faded politicos who were attending the count at Haverstock School, there was a Green war dance of pure excitement.

We’re now a parliamentary party for the very first time. And if there’s another leaders’ debate, then as the UK’s fourth national party, we could see Caroline there with those grey, dull men. And what an impact that would have!

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Thank you to the The Age of Stupid film-maker and 10:10 director Franny Armstong, who has written for the Guardian today her advice to voters, which not only includes strong suggestions to vote Green in Brighton Pavilion, Norwich South, Lewisham Deptford and Cambridge, but also recommends voting Green in our own Holborn and St Pancras, the constituency in which she lives.

Thanks Franny!

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The Camden New Journal has been successful in exposing the failures of Camden council’s care for Jennyfer Spencer, who died alone in her inaccessible Gospel Oak flat last month. With our other excellent local paper, the Ham & High, it has also been a leader in the fight against the closure of the Whittington A&E, and been happy to report the other failures of NHS Camden, as exposed by the Keep Our NHS Public Camden, and others.

But what we need to do is look deeper into the failures of our systems of care – both health and social – to recognise that there’s one central problem at the heart of both: the belief that market forces and “productivity” can somehow deliver better, or even more cost-effective, public services.

A report by the parliamentary health select committee that was slipped out on March 30 has now finally got some attention. It concluded that almost 20 years of “commissioning” in the NHS, since health providers and purchasers were split in 1991, have been a “costly failure”.

It described the 2007 “world class commissioning” drive as “no more than a box ticking exercise”, warned that the bureaucratic costs of commissioning had not been adequately counted, and very strongly indicated that what it did not want was more costly management consultants being employed to react to its conclusions.

I visited the Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town recently and heard from workers there about how a similar approach to social care is causing suffering and misery to those the system should be helping. They told me of a refugee mother, a victim of torture, who when she asked for limited help to get her children to school was effectively threatened with having them taking into care. She was left with little choice but to struggle on with the help of friends. Money saved – highly “productive”.

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