My view on Shchita in the UK

A while back, a week before the General Election, this issue came back at a meeting. I was busy attacking UKIP and caring about Israel so I totally didn't see it coming! So here is my answer now I have a bit of time to think about it. Let's start by debunking some misconceptions about the Green Party's policy before I explain why I broadly support it. Contrary to a report in the Jewish News, The Green Party does not support a ban on shchita. JN have never apologised for this, though apparently the paper printed Adele Ward's response which I've not actually seen but heard about it at a campaign meeting. The trashy report fed into very troubling misconceptions combined with our Israel policy that only serve to spread Lashon Harah in the local communities where Greens are trying to make the world a more sustainable place. We had a vote which took place at a conference plenary before the 2014 local and European elections. It went something like this: The substantive motion was a beef-up of our animal policies, and included CCTV in all slaughterhouses and a clause about "ending the religious exemption" on so-called non-stun slaughter and pre-stunning. There was a debate and it was quite heated. I prepared a speech which I did not have to use because after the workshop report from Danny Bates in Caroline Allen's absence the motion was taken to parts and my good friend Josiah Mortimer stepped in, and the clause was removed. Josiah recently told me that a ban would mean Jews and Muslims would have to leave the country; echoing Henry's words at Shchita UK. Thankfully such a scenario is a long way off. The Animal Welfare Party (AWP) have long held a fundamentalist anti-shchita message and policy and they were thankfully defeated in London by the Green candidate who was narrowly re-elected, despite the UKIP surge. After that conference I had the pleasure of campaigning for the German Green Party's Terry who used to be head of the Young Greens. We visited a town where there were also elections for the integration council. Someone approached us and spoke to the candidate in German. I speak quite good German but checked this afterwards. He asked her our stance on Shchita. She responded that we do not take a position but we would maintain religious freedom. This nuanced policy is the same here in the UK. It is quite difficult to get across because it is nuanced, it is controversial on both sides, and because the Green Party are well known for animal rights or animal welfare, and not so well known for our excellent work opposing antisemitism and empowering minorities. As for labelling - Coming from UKIP this represents a threat, but coming from the Green Party we believe labelling to be a possible long term objective towards a vegetarian world. I spoke about my vision for this during the campaign. Shchita is an issue I am passionate about, defending it was part of my campaign, and I will continue to defend it shoulder to shoulder with West Hendon's Muslim communities that it is a pleasure to be friends with. Animal Welfare is a priority for us and I would urge anyone voting for the AWP in 2019 European elections to reconsider, and Vote Green.

Camden Lock

We must block, oh, we must block, Their plans to tear down Camden Lock. For, two new lines they want to sink, All to build a railway link. Smashing through the heart of Camden, Causing devastation, yes, in tandem, Demolishing/rebuilding seven bridges, Our homes/shops gone, we'll need no fridges. And our national freight line will be lost, And our market to the scrapheap tossed. Roads closed and traffic jams for decades, Causing our hearts and hopes to fade. And what will tourists come to see? Camden Lock in misery. But this doesn't have to be this way, 170 million pounds for a tunnel we could pay. And they want to build a brand new station, Causing yet more devastation. But here's an answer, what the heck! Why not build it Double Deck! For, under current plans we'll have to pay, A billion pounds, 9,000 jobs and 250 homes, blown away. But there is a better way, Without such a loss to GVA. So, HS2, please stop to think. Your plans for Camden Lock don't have to stink! guest post by Dean L

Open Letter to Barnet Labour party group

p.s. Very nice of Ross, Labour's housing spokes person, to turn up and stand with us briefly at the protest before his important AGM. I rudely asked him if he'd sign the petition. However that's the only position I'd have him photographed with us, accepting the petition or signing it! - Ben Dear Councillors, On Wednesday evening, outside Hendon Town Hall, we embarrassed and enraged some of you Labour councillors. Ironically, we attacked the ones more dedicated to their constituents. Two of us, BAPS members, Janet Leifer and myself, gave you a piece of our mind in our anger and frustration, and we could see how uncomfortable we made you feel. It was unpleasant for us too. This was after residents of West Hendon and Sweets Way estates and many of their supporters - activists for council housing in Barnet - were denied entry to the annual council meeting, where they had meant to hand in petitions of more than 200,000 signatures in support of genuine regeneration and against the gentrification and social cleansing that's going on in Barnet right now. One of the young girls evicted with her family from Sweets Way was hoping to read the wording of the petitions inside the council chamber. Instead, the only two residents allowed into the Town Hall with the boxes of signatures were talked into handing them to Cllr Richard Cornelius, who as usual lied to them and did not present the petitions to the full council. He was able to trick those innocent residents who trusted the petitions to his unworthy hands because he was not watched by the voters. That is the role of a full public gallery. None of the decisions that you, our councillors, take have legitimacy if your residents are forbidden from watching you making them, watching you working for them. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? We can understand why we scare the conservatives. We threaten their position. With our demand for a transparent local democracy we threaten their ability to make bad policies that damage this borough and our lives away from public view. We were angry about being denied entry to OUR town hall, but not surprised that the Tories called police and security guards to keep us out, to prevent us from watching them, and them from hearing us. But why are you so frightened of us that you did not come out to listen to the grievances of your constituents who are being made homeless by this council? We asked you and you said you had to be inside the council's meeting in order to vote. Really?! Was that more important than making a clear stand about the housing scandal and standing up for and WITH the people who sent you to the council and are now losing their homes?! We know that you are blocked from having influence on council policies. We see you in council meetings and realise how challenging these are for you, how frustrating. We know that you are working hard on individual case work, some of you advocate directly for the residents of West Hendon and Sweets Way – who turned to you as their ward councillors Richard Cornelius, Alison Cornelius and Caroline Stock were dismissive and useless – and we know you wish you could affect the policies that doom these individuals to the dire circumstances in which they appeal for your help. But we also see how ineffective you unfortunately are. And yet you chose to dance to the Tory tune and play the broken game of Barnet council, chose to be inside while your constituents were kept outside. You chose sides. That night you chose the wrong side. We want our opposition on the council to have the courage, the integrity and the honesty to say to the Tories in the council chamber: 'if our constituents are not allowed in then we are going out!', and walk out of the meeting to stand with the people who were chucked out of their homes due to this council's inhumane policies, with those who are fighting to preserve their communities in Barnet. Some of us expected clear stands and integrity from Labour, at least from those of you who care and work hard for your constituents. Our message to you, for the sake of your future and ours: If you ever want to be in power, in which you have a positive influence on the policies that determine your constituents' lives, if you want to get elected to rule this council in order to bring about change, you need to appeal to your voters and to stand side by side with your constituents wherever they are so that you can rebuild their trust, and BE SEEN doing so. You have no power inside the council chamber with the Tories' rule of the council – it's time you see it as it is and start acting like a principled opposition (and that, may I say, applies to national politics as well as to the local one)! Instead of playing their game create new rules to the game - rules of integrity, with your residents, your constituents, your potential voters. Tirza Waisel & Janet Leifer, members of Barnet Alliance for Public Services

Your next

I got this thank you email It’s been a week, and we’re finally starting to recover after a long election night, and an even longer campaign. We’re sending you this because you contributed to Democracy Club’s candidate database and web site, First off a huge thank you for helping out! We really couldn’t have done it without you! 4.5 million page viewed our site with over 1 million unique users. Over the various debates we had around 900 concurrent users, and on election day we had around 2,000 concurrent users for most of the day. Those figures don’t include the other sites that used our data, including the campaign group 38 Degrees, Google (embedding a widget on their search results and the home page on election day), most of the national newspapers (The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Independent), bloggers and others we don’t even know about. Someone told me that they thought our data was ‘powering the election’, as everyone they talked to said they were using YourNextMP. We’re particularly proud of the accuracy of the data. We think we had the highest quality of data out there, and we even submitted corrections to some 3rd party commercial datasets. You made our site what it is, so thank you again, and we’ll be in touch soon to talk about what we should do next - but feel free to let us know sooner :) We want to make Democracy Club an organisation that can exist to make important sites like this for all elections. If you’d like to see this happen, please consider supporting us with a small donation. Thanks again, Sym and all at Democracy Club p.s. you can still give to the Green Party, we could use a mini cash injection too!

What I will say at tonight's protest

Many voters in West Hendon did not vote for this government or this council. activists such as myself have been at the front line of Housing Struggles whether West Hendon in Hendon, Sweets Way in Chipping Barnet, or the Whitefields estate in Golders Green. The Government is taking steps to make more laws against public disorder, The Daily Mail screams that they want to scrap the Human Rights Act which they claim is aimed at Abu Hamza and benefit scroungers but we've been trying to meet these benefit scroungers but the millionaires are nowhere to be seen. Both Matthew Offord and the UKIP chap refused to come to West Hendon residents association for a hustings. And yet the conservatives have the chutzpa to claim they share British values of democracy. What is democracy when they are blind to the needs of the most vulnerable in our society? A Green Mayor of London --- would tackle air pollution head on, not try and hide the scientific evidence. A Green London Assembly member for Barnet & Camden would stop social cleansing - Kosovo style or Westminster style A Green assembly member from the proportional representation top up list would would continue to fight for every square inch of green spaces Dan ----- has done a grand job of getting an affordable deal including parking and so on. However, my mate --- is an accidental landlord in ------ Close and he does not know what to do because he is being told he has to take his private tenant to court in order for her to be re-housed. Where will she go? A Green Mayor of London would replace intermediate products such as "shared ownership" and "shared equity" that don't stay permanently affordable with co-operative home ownership and rental models. Our West Hendon is not a political organisation it is a community organisation. That's why I told Janette if we send a message out saying Vote Labour that would be a betrayal of the trust we have built up over the last year. But I campaigned on cutting VAT for refurbishment, that could cut your heating bills to less than a hundred pounds a year, and boost the economy. What has Labour and local politicians ever done for us? Did they sign the petition? NO! The Green Party signed it but, then Labour started their own petition against the rent hike. The email Paulette and Lubna sent out raised the question. If everyone is going to lose their affordable homes what is the point of this protest? At MIPIM UK alternative conference someone asked, What does victory look like? Well the Mayor and the Council have tried to divide and rule the community. We are here to show who is in charge. This land is our land. This is our town hall. It does not matter if Matthew Offord says wants to help lease holders over tenants, everyone has a human right to housing. And why would he say that? No one in this campaign feels like they are taking on the council on their own. Tenants have stuck together with lease holders through the inquiry. If we can just hand in the petition to the Council at 7 p.m. tonight, in a dignified manner, we can make them listen, and we can show what a strong position we are in. This is the first time that has happened that we take the fight to the Council and make them listen.

Polling Day message "It's game time!" - says Obama!

Election day is almost over