We would like to wish a blessed Eid al-Fitr to everyone celebrating in Waltham Forest and beyond. We hope that, in spite of the remaining coronavirus restrictions, this will be a joyous day for you and your family.
As we enter the last week of Ramadan, Lib Dem member Sadia Mirza explains why the holy month is not just about fasting, and what it means to her as a Muslim.
While many of us are looking forward to the easing of lockdown and attempting to bask in the elusive spring sun, many Muslims across the world are nearing the end of observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan: a month where Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn till dusk. Fasting is perhaps the most noticeable aspect of this holy month. It’s the bit that could and often does affect social interaction and the daily routine of a Muslim, though Muslims are expected to continue with their normal chores during this month, within reason. Yet fasting is only one of the features of Ramadan.
Animal charities are warning of a potential increase in animal cruelty due to the pandemic.
Many people decided to get a new pet in lockdown, with the RSPCA seeing a 600% increase in visits to its puppy fostering pages and the Kennel Club a 180% increase in enquiries. As a result, the UK is now facing a puppy shortage. This has fuelled an increase in dog thefts, animal smuggling, illegal puppy farms and scammers.
Animal charities have also warned that as lockdown lifts and life returns to normal, many animals could be neglected, abandoned or given away, putting an extra strain on shelters and welfare organisations.
Your Grove Green Liberal Democrat team are pleased the council are finally making changes to the traffic on the roads around Newport School with the introduction of a School Street zone. We have been campaigning on this issue since June 2017.
At school drop-off and collection times there have been continual issues with cars passing each other and parking on the pavements. There have been near misses between drivers and children. This has led to aggressive behaviour by drivers as well as compromised the safety of children. Our campaign to improve the road safety was also endorsed by the head teacher of Newport School.
The new School Street zone means that the roads around the school will be open to pedestrians and cyclists only at set times in the morning and afternoon during term time.
Local Liberal Democrat Arran Angus says, “I welcome the changes that the council have brought in to protect children travelling to and from school. My only regret is that it has taken them four years from when we raised the issue to fix this problem.”
Henry Boyle is your Liberal Democrat candidate for the Hatch Lane by-election on 6th May.
Born and raised in Chingford, and a resident for over 60 years, Henry has campaigned tirelessly for thousands of local people of all ages over many decades.
On Saturday 13th March, the Metropolitan Police clamped down aggressively on a peaceful and socially-distanced protest against violence towards women. In the words of Ed Davey, Mayoral Candidate Luisa Porritt and Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, "The Police should have been standing in solidarity with the women on Clapham Common last night, not disrupting this peaceful vigil in memory of Sarah Everard."
These events are the result of a failure of leadership within the Metropolitan Police. Responsibility for this must lie at the top and we call on the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, to resign her position immediately. This is also a decision for the Mayor, Sadiq Khan and the Home Secretary, Priti Patel as they are responsible for the Commissioner.
ReclaimTheseStreets attempted to organise a peaceful, socially distanced vigil. They engaged with the council and the police, but the police refused to approve the vigil, despite the court action ruling that protest was not unlawful. The events of tonight were avoidable, had the police engaged with the organisers.
Policing by consent requires the Met to work with the people and they have failed in this. The people of Waltham Forest have been failed by the actions of the Met whose purpose is to protect our freedoms. The sight of women exercising their freedom to gather, mourn and express solidarity being assaulted by police officers is a gross betrayal.
GLA candidate Kate Pothalingam said “The scenes from Clapham Common yesterday were extremely distressing and are a cause for serious concern. The heavy-handed police action showed a disappointing lack of sensitivity and was particularly inappropriate at a peaceful vigil for a young woman allegedly murdered by a police officer. Other vigils and demonstrations have taken place during the pandemic - why was this one handled so badly?”
[Image credit: Man vyi - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3624570]
The planning committee is considering proposals for a residential tower and a "Families and Homes Hub" to replace the old Wood St library. While there's plenty of good things about the development, there are also some places where it really doesn't live up to the Council's promises. In particular, there's unnecessary segregation between residents of affordable homes and market-rate homes. A letter raising those issues that has been submitted to the planning committee by our housing and planning officer, Tom Addenbrooke, is copied below.
You can see the proposal and make your own comments here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKWALTHAM/bulletins/2c0427a-
London 2021 Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly: three ballots, three electoral systems
The Mayor of London and London Assembly represent the people living in London.
They work with London’s councils, central government and other organisations on different aspects of London life.
The Mayor of London sets a vision for the city, and the budget to put that vision into action.
The London Assembly is a watchdog for London and holds the Mayor and his advisers to public account. The Mayor must consult the Assembly before producing his statutory strategies and budget, including City Hall’s share of council tax. The London Assembly also investigates issues that are important to London.
There are 25 Assembly Members in total. 14 represent constituencies, and 11 represent all of London.
Elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly take place every four years. The Mayor and the London Assembly constitutes the Greater London Authority, also known as City Hall.
On 6 May 2021, you vote for:
- the Mayor of London
- your constituency London Assembly Member
- the London-wide Assembly Members
We were sorry to hear that the anticipated renovation of the historic Leyton Cricket pavilion, in which part of it was to be turned into a food hub, has been stopped. Despite Waltham Forest Council appointing a project manager and putting in place plans to engage a conservation architect and a community engagement officer, the council failed to obtain any money from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The venue was supposed to open in August 2021 but no work has been undertaken yet.
It is not clear when the Council knew this project had failed or how much tax-payers money they have spent on it to date. We have submitted a freedom of information request to the council to find out the answers to these questions. We will report back when we have more information.
Image credit: posted by Leyton59 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyton_Cricket_Ground under a CC BY-SA license.
Liberal Democrat GLA candidate for the North East, Kate Pothalingam, has joined leader Ed Davey in calling for Team GB and the British government to boycott the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022, unless the Chinese government “Ends the Genocide” of Uighur Muslims.
In taking this stance, Liberal Democrats are not attacking the Chinese people as a whole, but only an illiberal ruling regime that has imprisoned more than a million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in a network of detention centres, according to human rights groups working in the area. Sir Ed Davey said: “Our brightest and best athletes should not be forced to be part of a propaganda exercise for the Chinese Communist Party whilst it tries to wipe the Uighur off the face of the planet.”
A recent legal opinion, published in the UK, has concluded that there is a "very credible case" that the Chinese government's actions amount to genocide. The opinion presents evidence of "enslavement, torture, rape, enforced sterilisation and persecution" of the Uighurs.
Ms Pothalingam, a long-time advocate for international human rights said "The politicisation of sport is not a desired outcome, but the lessons of history are clear. Oppressive regimes use international sporting events to highlight their vision of normality. Holocaust Memorial Day has only recently passed and images from the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936 offer a sad reminder of our participation in an event that was used as a propaganda tool by the Nazi regime. The well-documented persecution of the Uighur people by Chinese authorities must be brought to the attention of the world. An international boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing would be a way of achieving the goal of calling Chinese policy-makers to account.”
Waltham Forest campaigner Arran Angus added “We understand that athletes may be disappointed if they miss attending the winter Olympics but the right to life of the Uighur people must come first.”