Croydon Communist Party Launches Campaign for May 2014 Local Elections

Media Release

Croydon’s Communist Party announced today that it will be fielding three candidates in the May 2014 local elections.

Launching the campaign, Ben Stevenson, Communist Party National Secretary and prospective local election candidate for Bensham Manor, said, “Croydon residents need a genuine alternative to the relentless austerity, public service cuts and total lack of accountability offered by the Tories. They also need more than the platitudes presented by Labour about more transparency in council meetings, more effective working with the voluntary sector and cleaner streets in Croydon. Frankly, the blather expressed recently by Tony Newman about these issues is a smokescreen. Of course, we support giving back as much influence as possible to local people and communities. But Labour in Croydon are offering the same cuts in services as the Tories, with a bit of window dressing to obscure their impact. For a start, if they were serious about restoring democracy in Croydon Council they would abolish cabinet government, which is anything but democratic, and re-empower councillors. And they would fight for properly funded public services provided directly by the council.”

Labour’s talk of ‘difficult choices’, ‘priorities’ and providing public services ‘differently’ misses the point. The dangers of going down the ‘cooperative council’ route pursued by Lambeth and other councils are well known. Residents are faced with an impossible choice. Either support the provision of vital local services such as children’s and youth facilities and libraries by volunteers, with all the impact that has on the quality of service delivery and the jobs of the staff themselves, or see them disappear.

Ben Stevenson said, “Croydon clearly needs decent local services which reflect local needs. We mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking we need offer a balanced budget within centrally determined funding constraints. The Con-Dem Government has made a political decision to use a crisis of capitalism as cover for permanent austerity and a wide-range assault on the welfare state and all the social gains made since 1945. Local government as we know it is set to disappear as totally unnecessary funding cuts result in the termination of discretionary services and even statutory services face a ‘death of the thousand cuts’. Why not consider the positive role of a ‘needs budget’ to resist Tory austerity politics. And simply say ‘no’ to the forced implementation of the cuts?”

John Eden, prospective local election candidate for Selhurst said, “Croydon Labour Party’s manifesto for the May 2014 elections provides a clear illustration of their failure to offer a vision for Croydon which presents a genuine alternative to endless austerity. Our community faces job losses, inadequate housing and all-out assault on local services. I look forward to the challenge presented by this election, taking the fight to the Tories and explaining to local people that there’s a future worth fighting for based on a socialist political and economic strategy.”

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
2. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. Since moving to Croydon from his native Birmingham in 2005, he has been heavily involved in local labour movement politics through the Croydon Save Our Schools Campaign, the campaign against the Beddington Lane Incinerator and the Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee. He stood as a Communist Party candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election.
3. John Eden is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
4. Dr Peter Latham is the prospective candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
5. Croydon Communists recently published a well-received pamphlet on housing issues in the borough, ‘Decent Homes for All – End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now’, which is available on the website or by contacting us direct.
6. The Communist Party was founded in 1920 and is part of an international movement involving millions of people in more than 100 countries across the globe.

Crunch Time Today in Croydon North By-election

Read the feature in today’s Morning Star on Ben Stevenson and the Croydon North by-election:

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/126623

Vote Communist for a people’s Britain not a bankers’ Britain!

Croydon and beyond, Boris Johnson and the Incinerator.

Boris’s objections are set-back for Beddington incinerator

Croydon’s Greens and other groups opposed to the £1 billion Beddington Lane waste incinerator scheme were in celebratory mood last night thanks to help from a most unexpected source: Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson: putting his words into action

The Greater London Authority has submitted a detailed report which found eight significant points under which the plan by waste management giants Viridor, the contractors selected by Sutton’s Liberal Democrat-run Sutton council and Conservative-run Croydon, can not progress under Boris’s London Plan.

Sutton Council issued a statement last night, which did not take much reading between the lines to sense the embarrassment at such weighty objections.

Ransford Stewart, Sutton’s interim executive head of planning and transportation, said: “The Mayor of London has provided a very detailed response to Viridor’s planning application for an Energy Recovery Facility in Beddington.” Ahhh. Still can’t bring themselves to call an incinerator an incinerator.

“It’s important that everyone has the opportunity to have their say on this important and complex proposal,” Stewart said, probably wishing that Boris Johnson hadn’t been one of those who decided to have their say.

“Sutton Council will continue carefully scrutinising the contents of the planning application, seeking expert technical advice where necessary, to ensure there is a sound basis on which to make a planning decision. We will also review all of the comments made by residents and public bodies.

“When this process has been completed, a report will go to the council’s Development Control Committee, who will decide whether permission should be granted, granted conditionally, or refused after considering all of the evidence and the comments received from residents and others.”

This, to paraphrase Churchill, is not even the beginning of the end for the incinerator saga: in all likelihood Viridor will now go away and modify their application in order to try to address the GLA’s objections. With contracts worth £1 billion over the next three decades at stake, they and the local councils who have backed this scheme are not going to let this drift away without some effort.

Yet there is a growing realisation about the health risks of waste incinerators, the contradictions over the use of proposed parkland near Mitcham Common, and increasing acknowledgement that the boroughs in the South West London Waste Partnership will be unable to generate enough waste to feed the incinerator – seeing local authorities from across southern England “export” their crap to this corner of London.

So any additional delays will not assist the incinerator’s cause, and objections from someone as influential as the Mayor of London’s office will be much more difficult to brush aside than those from “mere”, well-meaning action groups of ordinary people concerned about the health of their children and grandchildren.

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Croydon and Beyond

Council-changes-twitter-profile-at-inside-croydon-suggestion.

By John Eden.

Yesterday I read on the “Inside Croydon” blog that the Council are setting up Twitter account so Croydonians can air their views to the Council, the “inside” blog welcomed the idea, but seemed sceptical of the motives, I don’t feel we have to get into speculation, I welcome any furtherance of the democratic process, how can it be detrimental to the interests of the people of Croydon, I am pretty sure that “inside Croydon” understand that.

On the leaflet the Communist Party in Croydon have been circulating over the recent weeks, against the building of a giant incinerator on Beddington lane, we wrote about the hypocrisy of the local Labour Councillors being against it in Croydon, but their colleagues on Merton Council supporting it, (the plan to build is a joint venture  of four Councils Croydon, Merton, Sutton and Kingston).

Well the hypocrites are at it again, in a report in the “Croydon Advertiser” Friday August 24th page 7 entitled “Labour: “We will force firms to employ locals” Labour leader of the opposition Cllr Newman pledges to tackle the high unemployment in Croydon by forcing building Employers undertaking new work in the borough to take on 20% of the workers from Croydon, it would be welcome! but this is the same Councillor who as leader of the Council in 2006 closed down the Council run Local disabilities Factory (only days before the people of Croydon remove them from office in the local elections of May of that year) thus creating unemployment amongst already vunerable workers’, it is said only two of them have found employment so far, six years on. The factory had been opened by the then Conservative Council in 1961, when I challenge one of the Labour Councillors after their defeat, and said  “closing it, contributed to their losing control of the council”  the reply was, well the Conservative can restore it, but I replied ” you closed it and all the machinery as been removed”. No call me cynical but Cllr Newman remarks as more to do with electioneering.

Support Stop the South London Incinerator Campaign

By John Eden

Croydon Tory Council are supporting the building of an enormous Incinerator at Beddington Lane, when built it will be run by private contractors for profit. The contact will be worth £1billion, private profit and people’s health are incompatible. The site will be close to Croydon North, which is the largest mainland Parliamentary constituency in England, it is overwhelmingly working class, every local councillor, and there are twenty four are Labour. This is a part of Croydon the Tories can’t win and the Labour party can’t lose, that’s why it seems they are putting all their efforts into winning the three seats in the Waddon ward and one in the New Addington ward in the local elections in 2014, if Labour win three, they then will control of the Council, but by then the Incinerator will have been built. The time to fight is now! That’s why we support the “Stop the South London Incinerator Campaign”

Visit their website www.stoptheincinerator.co.uk  read about the dangers of incineration and sign their online petition.

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