Meera Chadha's Lib Dem Conference Report

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I'm fresh back from #LibDemConference and feeling enthused and excited for the next few months (although feeling anything but fresh after a very intense weekend!). I joined, like many, in 2016 and this was my 4th autumn conference and definitely by far the best.

4 years ago I arrived at conference with a new local Liberal Democrat friend, both as newbies, and we mostly sat in the main hall listening to policy motions. It was a great insight into the democratic way that Liberal Democrats make policy, with everyone able to contribute and debate. Aside from the process, the content of the policies and debates aligned with my values and priorities, for example arguing for action on a zero-carbon economy, against the expansion of grammar schools, and for dignity in dying. I felt instantly at home.

ldconf19.jpgFast forward to conference 2019 and I'm Vice Chair of Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats and a Parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow. I've arrived with a strong contingent from the borough and bumping into people I know in the party. Every fringe event, debate, training session and social throws up more great people all of whom are welcoming and supportive. The quality of debate is high, with one session on Knife Crime and Youth Violence led by Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat Candidate for London Mayor being one of the most pragmatic, evidence-based and informed discussions I've ever attended.

This conference felt different to previous ones. I started many conversations with people who were brand new members and attending a political conference for the first time, some of whom were already eager to dive right in and stand as a councillor or a Parliamentary candidate. There were also many who had joined from Labour or Conservatives (not just Sam Gyimah!), including one who had been a Conservative Councillor and candidate multiple times. All commented on how much friendlier and more welcoming they had found the Liberal Democrats than their previous parties and how impressed they had been at what they could influence even as an ordinary member.

I sadly could only stay for the weekend, needing to get back to my young daughter and the day job, but on the train back I was busy compiling follow up actions and things we can do in the Borough to help address some of the most pressing issues we face.

I am immensely proud to represent the Liberal Democrats and the more I get involved with the party, the prouder I become.

So now, it’s back to reality on a Monday morning and time to turn all those exciting opportunities into action. Let's get cracking!


Seeff: Local Businesses are Not Prepared for Brexit

Following a week of pantomime in Westeminster that no novellist could ever have imagined, Geoff, our parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, issued the following statement to the local press on his understanding of the readiness, or otherwise, of local businesses to make themselves ready for a No Deal (or in fact any deal) Brexit.

 

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Seeff Slams "Unelected Cabal" for Assault on Democracy

Geoff Seeff, our parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, has issued the following statement to the press on his response to the prorogation of Parliament in order to prevent discussion of the Government's intention to leave the EU without a deal (or indeed with a deal) . It has been published in the local Guardian but the words "Egged on by our arrogant, obsessive and misguided  local MP" were edited out.........

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Have Your Say: City Airport Expansion

Aeroplanes queue on the tarmac at London City Airport. Image credit Aleem Yousaf, re-used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en).

London City airport is currently developing its master plan, looking to double the number of flights it runs and increase the hours it operates. City Airport's flight paths are extremely low, as they need to fly below those from Heathrow, which means more noise for those living nearby. Many Waltham Forest residents, particularly in Leyton and Leytonstone, live under City Airport's flight path.  

Currently there are limits on the number of flights in the first and last half hour of operations each day, and there are no flights from midday Saturday to midday Sunday. The current limitations give respite to residents, but the airport management wants to lift those restrictions to run more flights. Specifically, they are looking to run more flights from 6.30am through to 11pm during the week, and extend the hours of operation on the weekends. Despite the potential effects of this change on people living under the flight path, residents of Waltham Forest have not been included in the consultation process. 

At a time of Climate Crisis, we need to be reducing our flights not increasing them. Whilst City Airport makes claims about working to be carbon neutral, they don't include flights in their calculations so it is of little impact. We recognise that airports can bring jobs and help the economy, but can the economic benefits of an expanded City Airport outweigh the environmental impact and the severe negative impact on the health and wellbeing of local residents?

Make sure your voice is heard.

The consultation closes on the 20th September - have your say here: www.londoncityairport.com/corporate/consultation


Walthamstow Action Day and Social

In recent weeks the Liberal Democrats have been gaining MPs and members left, right and centre, and we'd like to build on this momentum in Waltham Forest. On Saturday 31st August, we will be holding a combined action day and social in Walthamstow Village, giving everyone an opportunity to get involved, meet the team and try campaigning! We'll be looking to build support heading into a crucial period for our country.

We will be running a stall in Walthamstow Village from 12pm. We'll be talking to local people at the stall, and also sending out volunteers to knock on doors and deliver residents' surveys to the local community. It's a great opportunity to get involved, whether you've campaigned before or not. Even if you're unsure about talking to voters, we'd love to see you down there - there are plenty of other ways you can help.

Afterwards, at 4pm, we'll be heading to the Village Pub for a well-earned drink. Everyone is welcome, whether you helped at the stall or not - we'd love to put some faces to the names on our membership list.

If you're interested, please sign up at the website: https://www.walthamforestlibdems.org/walthamstow_action_day_and_social  or contact Tom Addenbrooke [tomaddenbrooke@gmail.com; 07533696954].


Corbyn Cannot be Trusted with the Keys to Number 10

As we are now seeing with Johnson, so it will be with Corbyn- if you give autocrats an inch they will take a mile. In the case of Johnson, he promised his constituents (about 0.3% of the UK electorate) that if they made him Prime Minister he would ensure that the chances of a No Deal Brexit would be a million to one. Now he is Prime Minister he is doing his best to ensure that there will be a million to one chance of getting a deal and is using all the tried and trusted techniques of demagogues throughout history to engineer a No Deal scenario – proroguing parliament to thwart elected members from putting down opposing motions or threatening to ignore votes of no confidence are the marks of a mad dictator and the beginnings of a totalitarian state. But Corbyn and his acolytes would be no better.

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The Will of the People?

Much has been written on this subject so it is difficult to say something that is completely different. However, in my view, there are three essential reasons why a No-Deal Brexit – or for that matter, any deal Brexit – does not reflect “the will of the people” and why, if we are ever to make a critical decision based on “the will”, it needs to be assessed with more science than a binary vote.

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Brexit: We Must Try to Stop this Madness

With the unelected and increasingly autocratic Prime Minister Johnson together with his cabinet of fanatical Europhobes telling us that, "do or die", with or without a "deal", the UK will leave the EU on 31st October 2019, the country is facing its greatest political crisis for generations and, to say the least, the threat of an uncertain future. However, Brexit in any form is not inevitable. LibDems are working with colleagues and campaigning groups inside and outside Parliament to find constitutional means of halting the process until there has been time for reflection on what has been learned over the past three years since the Referendum ... and there is a little something you can do to help support their efforts. 

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Jo Swinson is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson MP has been elected the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. Jo has already led the charge against Boris Johnson’s push for a destructive no-deal Brexit and will build on recent Liberal Democrat gains.

Having won the leadership election, Jo said: “Our first priority must be, of course, stopping Brexit. And as your new leader, it's right at the top of my agenda. We're at a pivotal moment. Our country needs a strong, liberal movement more than ever, and that is what we are going to build. This is only the country of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson if we let it be. We all know that Britain deserves better than both of them.”

Since Jo became leader, we've won a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire and thousands of people have joined the Liberal Democrats as the best way to secure an exit from Brexit. Why not join them? www.libdems.org.uk/join-local


8 reasons why you should join the Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats

It is an exciting time to be a Liberal Democrat.  In the past month we have recorded our best ever European election results and gained the most seats ever in local elections. Recent polling shows that we can win huge numbers of seats in a general election. So many people are joining the Liberal Democrats at the moment that we are going through a massive membership surge - in fact our membership has just reached an all time high.  

So why should you join the Lib Dems - what’s the point? Here are eight reasons:

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