Murdoch and our newspapers

As candidates we have received a large number of emails from 38 degrees members in the last few days on the subject of the media billionaires and the Leveson inquiry which is due to report soon. We believe that there is a proper democratic case for limiting cross media ownership by trans-national companies. We would have tighter rules on cross-media ownership. We are not convinced that arguments around globalisation and competition are any justification for loosening restrictions. Allowing individuals and companies to have too much influence undermines the operation of healthy informed democracy, not just in the UK, but across the EU and beyond. The Green Party will campaign to restrict ownership so that no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market, and that if it owns more than 15%, controls be put in place including transparent governance into which the public can have access. The role of OFCOM will be further expanded to take on statutory responsibility and regulation for matters relating to print media. In the first instance OFCOM may delegate front line complaint handling to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), but OFCOM will provide a regulatory framework for the work of the PCC.

Meeting with National Union of Teachers Barnet Association last night

I visited Hendon School and the Lib Dem and I had a brief look around the site which has grown over 100 years to quite a badly planned but nice grounds with an actual grass playing field, courtyard, old gym, new sports hall in the "new" building, and a courtyard with a focal point that is an art work designed by one pupil who worked as an autism consultant for the school. I saw the School Council notice board and the City Safe Haven (phase 2) notice board, as the school is affiliated to North London Citizens. I explained our policy. There was catering and cake and I helped take some home. I think it went well. But first here is what I said in my opening speech.
It is nice to be here at Hendon School and have the rep show me round earlier. It gives me great pleasure to launch my campaign for education by signing the NUT's manifesto to stand up for education. I remember panicking that our website was not up to date in time for NUT conference having had Martin Francis amend it to strongly oppose the changes Michael Gove has made in the last few years. To everyone who called for Gove to go, you won, he went! Well done. Imagine coming back in 5 years time and there are solar panels on top of it. A vote for Barnet Green Party is a vote for genuine action on climate change, a public NHS, free education, but priority number one is housing. (Holds up housing postcard) for people not for profit. Let me ask you something. Would you like to have an open space to be able to kick a ball around in? The Green Party will protect metropolitan open space and London's Green belt and not re-designate it for property development. My priority in this election is to make Hendon a safe space for self-defining women that make up 51% of the population. The Green movement a broad church open to people like the 3 families of Sweets Way who marched to Barnet House, united by a love of the local area. And it's great to have someone on the panel who's a West Hendon community legend.

Meeting with London Jewish Forum last night.

"#Jazz is... a dialogue....a conversation Celebrate Intl #JazzDay April 30 @UNESCO @UN @herbiehancock" "We can not change the past. We can and must change our future." There was a full Sol Cohen Hall, with 5 candidates and Steven Rosenthal chairing. He gave us only 90 seconds introduction: The Tory went about 15 seconds over! Dr Offord called the election "important" and evoked the campaign poster of the road or path to recovery or as we like to point out ruin. He spoke about the "right to buy" (hallowed be thy name). Andrew Dismore said there is a clear choice, and that you know who you can trust. I followed the UKIP guys intro and showed him that I agree totally that I support a points based immigration system. I hope that will dispel some myths about the Green Party being for totally open borders in the short to medium term, because I am really shocked how UKIP seem to attract support in the local community given that everyone knows what they stand for / against. I spoke of my connection with the community, and one issue I hoped (in vain) the 2 main parties will touch on tonight, climate change, which I claimed is a bigger international threat than terrorism, that effects us all. I hoped that one of the party leaders might offer my generation hope as the 2015 climate talks loomed. The first question was on Mansion tax, from Charles who's new to Hendon, and Scotland. In a killer last minute twist Alisdair Hill (LD) revealed he's originally Scottish! boo! The question was aimed at Andrew Dinsmore. An other first question was on the NHS. I stated that we would raise lots of money from legalising cannabis and taxing it (I think that is the logical conclusion of the Green Party's actual policy, to have an evidenced-based review and decriminalisation, my party colleagues don't all agree with my very liberal view). The UKIP's line about TB went down quite badly, and an other Jewish doctor (God bless) refuted that this room would be empty if a 1945 government had taken that attitude. Sam an other Hendon first-timer, asked about defence & nukes. I answered first, pointing out the cost of something that will never be used, then re-iterating what I said in the Barnet Press a few weeks back, that the UK has to import its nuclear materials because none of it is under our soil. Andrew said we only have 2 aircraft down from 10 squadrons under Labour, and he therefore opposes the idea of spending such vast sums on Trident. Benji who works for a hedge fund but says he works for a housing association made a point about Ed Miliband being more left-wing than the previous incarnation. There was an other question from Colin Savoy "Please tell us about Israel" a lovely open question other than the fact it was aimed at Andrew, the questioner stating that voting for Ed Miliband this time would be obviously like turkeys voting for Christmas. Jay Stoll then followed up with a question on what I had quoted verbatim from the 2015 Green Party Manifesto. Matthew Offord muttered something about Universal Juristiction and Mike Frier resigning from the government over recognition of Palestine and got in to a bit of ping pong with his neo Labour opponent. I did a face-palm action. Jay wanted to know why Israel was listed next to Saudi Arabia as a human rights abuser. Mr Benjamin who is the Hendon deputy on the Board of Deputies asked about Kashmir in 1947 and the precedent that set for a 2 state solution. I responded that I know about Kashmir from the London Young Greens. There was a question about cuts and keeping the aid budget, from Richard at WJR. I said we support the SDG's and would aim for 1% "GDP". Matthew offered mentioned Justine Greening, the first time he has said anything good about a woman ever. Dina Jacobson asked something, and then Susan a homeowner asked why the Tories want to give away homes to council tenants when she worked hard and they didn't… I told her what we would do for home owners, cut VAT on refurbishment as recommended by the master builders. In 1 minute closing speech I re-iterated climate change (no other party mentioned it), and FGM and religious freedom, violence against women. I prayed for a clean campaign.


Barnet Green Party, with over 300 members, can be trusted to represent you, based on ten core principles that define Green politics.
Here is the Green vision in terms readers "not interested in politics" can understand.
May 2nd, 2020, you are woken by your children walking to school, with the sun's rays lighting up your spacious home, reflected off solar panels.  Back in the "oil age" it was just garages out there but your Residents Association released it for 50 council homes, under the community right to build. Because TTIP was stopped back in 2015, you are able to take your coffee with fresh organic milk from Edgware, as you catch up with an elderly neighbour about the democracy you still enjoy.
You kiss your spouse goodbye as you both head to work, which is a ten-minute bike-ride through the regenerated town centre.  As you buy your daily "Hendon Times" the shop-keeper tells you about her railway tour through Europe's green and pleasant land - yesterday was a bank holiday.  You dock your bike in the cycle hire stand outside work as your eye pad logs in to the public wi-fi for a video conference.  Your colleague, who had another baby, feels happy with the community NHS and is enjoying free child care. After the 2014 Gagging Law was repealed, your colleagues were able to campaign with North London Citizens for a £10 Living Wage.  Poppy, the Council's leader, is on the line, listening to the concerns of local business about parking (some things never change).

At 28 and very much the new kid on the block, I am trail-blazing with a positive message and clean campaign. My priority is putting the community first, better transport, stronger society, fairer economy, for the common good.

On the importance of public houses and real ale

Hold the front page, your Green Party candidate recently kicked off the campaign to save the world from dangerous man-made climate change, by heading to the pub afterwards for a drink.
Mine was an orange juice because it is not the sort of thing you'd expect me to do, get slightly drunk embarrass myself and my party in the street and then cycle home under the influence.  And yet there is something really relaxing about the atmosphere that you can get so much more done in an informal setting, than sitting in a business meeting, in my personal opinion.  There is a danger of excluding some people who would never set foot in a pub, if everything is done in pubs.  Yet, it is way preferable than having it at someones house who may be an anti-semite or career politician or whatever. Even Friends of the Earth ultimately end up there.
 I have found myself in a hell of a lot of pub get-togethers over the last 10 years, from a culture jammers meet-up to local party meetings, GreenPeace groups, Young Greens post-meetings, conference "socials", demonstration debriefings, and informal education, and fundraising events.
But seriously, it's a question that people ask us a lot, could you represent working class people, do you know what it's like?  and a related question from CAMRA, we want you to represent beer and cider drinkers.  Sadly, many people have miserable lives and a cheeky pint makes life tolerable. Now that smoking is banned, it means I can even listen to live music without getting covered in smoke.  It is no co-incidence that George Osborne bribed the nation with a penny off a pint (I can now start saving for a house - it's Green Party policy to make the homes truly affordable, and the pint more expensive).  I think it's unfair that real ale is taxed more than the piss that now passes for beer served in many pubs.  And yet, pubs are not just a place to drink responsibly they are community centres.  Greens coming into one should know that drinking alcohol is not compulsory, and even minors can attend as long as they are accompanied and don't push it.  Yet these public houses, these institutions of our nation, are under threat, and we need more MPs like Caroline to support local independent businesses.