Heidi Alexander – Labour’s Candidate for Lewisham East

PROUD to nominate Heidi Alexander for re-election as The Labour Party Candidate for Lewisham East🌹
Truly a candidate that has dedicated years to #Lewisham & #Catford

For her full election Pledges see www.heidialexander.org.uk

Vote Heidi Alexander ✅ #GE2017 on June 8th 2017

£40,000 to live alone in London, new research finds

The 2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’ research, carried out by nested.com, shows that the average salary for a singleton to live alone in London has soared to more than £40,000/yr, and a family of four need an income of more than £75,000/yr

The research shows that London is the 11th most expensive city in the world to live in, based on a square footage alone, we however know utilities and goods and services tend to be much, much, higher in UK and London in particular.

The report continues to identify that an individual earning The London Living Wage of £9.75hr would need to work 12hrs, every day of the year to reach this income threshold. 

When looking at city comparators across the U.K.- London unsurprisingly takes the stop spot, but what is shocking is the difference between London’s first place (£39,876.84) and 2nd  (£20,737.20) places is £19,139.64, almost 50% variance. 

Update: some have written to say that they disagree with this average rents for their area. Consistently, but only anecdotally, said they’re higher, in London or otherwise. That aside, this blog is focussed more about the loss of the life stage of living by yourself, whether as a transition army between professional sharer and starting a family, but equally about the financial trap individuals, who may have had a relationship breakdown, but can not afford to live alone. This will disproportionately affect women, and those less economically active.

In January 2014, Land Registry figures showed average house prices across the whole of England and Wales were £168,536, but in London the average was £409,881 (143% higher than the England/Wales rate). This house price gap has been growing ever larger, with London experiencing 10.9% growth over the last year, compared to 4.2% across England and Wales.

The same picture is apparent in the private rented sector, with the the England rental rate runnings at £665 a month in January 2014, compared to £1,516 a month in London (128% higher than the England rate). The differential in local authority rented property is less exaggerated but still significant, with average rent across England running at £79 a week in 2012/13, compared to £99 in London (25% higher than the England average).

London Weighting is not the answerUnison’s Bargaining Support Unit undertook a review for 2013/14 into London Weighting across seven sectors, this ‘top up’ is pitiful compared to the cost differential.

But what can Lewisham do?

Next week I’ll be attending my new role on Lewisham’s Poverty Taskforce, alongside Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Trust for London, looking   This came off the back of work I undertook in my Lewisham Councillor Scrutiny role, 

The Committee will be pursuing the following issues:

  •  Tackling in-work poverty in the borough
  •  Tackling out-of-work poverty, namely for pensioners relying on state pensions
  •  Tackling poverty prevalent amongst young families struggling with a
    combination of housing and child care costs
  •  Ensuring residents are proactively informed about legislative changes that
    could impact both positively and negatively on their income and general
    financial welfare
  •  Staying up-to-date on legislative changes and advise on appropriate changes
    to the Council’s work accordingly.

2017 ‘Rent Affordability Index’

Table 1

Table 2


My address to #Lewisham’s #HMD2017, @HolocaustUK

Retard.

Gypo .

Gay.

Bitch.

Jew.

…Words. 

We tell kids, ‘Sticks and stones may break our bones, but names will never hurt you‘. 

Sorry mum, Sorry dad — you were wrong, in fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. Words have power. They do hurt. 

They may not leave physical marks; but can leave scars much, much deeper. Their effects — are pernicious, with the ability to affect not just the one individual they’re aimed at, but they also have the power to polarise, 

objectify

 deny our differences 

… and even humanity.

We say things, in the playground, 

online, 

down the pub.

Thoughtless little comments,

– condemnations.

‘… it’s just banter though, innit’.

We need to be mindful, because what we choose to say and do, not only has power in that moment, but leaves a fingerprint on society, that adds — or diminishes. Words, are how we communicate and develop ideals as both individuals, and society.

The taking of power from one person, or people – all too often starts with words… then rapidly escalates: 

a shove, a push, a punch… 

a beating…

a murder…

a war….

genocide?

When we start, or let oppressive words and phrases slip unchecked and unchallenged in to the mainstream, it’s a first step – “chav”, “nasty little woman”, “extremist” — down a dark path.

“Locker room banter”, as one man recently called it, might seemingly get you ahead, but comes from pushing down on those around you, creating a culture of oppression and tyranny. But know this —

Donald,

its unsustainable. Good people exist everywhere, and we are the majority:

– good people when they realise what is going on, stand up for those who are being down trodden, and oppressed, 

– good people, and great leaders, don’t seek to oppress, they seek to raise others up, to enthuse, to inspire, to bring people together so we can collectively come up with solutions to humanities challenges.

We all have choices, we all have power. We can use our words, our actions, our power, to build a better world:

— a world where all its people can live side by side, ‘celebrating difference’

— a world where we commemorate lives lost in the atrocities of genocides, not by being passive observers in fine surroundings, 

but by honouring that memory, That loss, Through defending the good, by learning from the past, and by ensuring whenever we see oppression, we challenge it, and speak out.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Delivery may vary from text



 


Why the #WomensMarch was needed

It’s every mans responsibility to defend and extend the rights of women too

A picture of Cllr Walsh at the London Women's March holding a placard saying It’ll come to no surprise to anyone that I was supporting the Democratic Campaign for the White House, but Saturday’s #WomensMarch wasn’t “sore losers” grumbling around the world… it was feminists (of which I am one) saying – the newly elected leader of the free world has been shown to think, speak, act and behave, in a way that ‘oppresses’ women, but more crucially he hasn’t grown, he hasn’t learnt — and that’s not cool.

What he classes as ‘locker room banter’ – I and every sportsman I know, wouldn’t say. It’s vile & feral.

I think everyone had a story as to why they were moved to March over the weekend,and I summarised mine Ina quick little note to Facebook 


What I wasn’t expecting was the wave after wave of social media troll to come at me. The first of which was @OneBomb90 on twitter. I had never spoken to him before, they don’t know me, they simply chose to post this:


It’s this #everydaysexism that women and girls have to put up with, and the election of a misogynistic man to the most powerful job in the world has simply emboldened a vast swathe of hideous individuals to come out of the shadows. Men, like @OneBomb90 seem to think this kind of attitude and behaviour is now acceptable again, that the previous little furore into equality is now over; they’re back on top.

The taking of power from one person, all to often starts with words… then rapidly escalates, a shove, a push, a punch… a beating….a rape…..a murder…..genocide?

When we start, or let oppressive words (or interpretations) slip in to the mainstream, letting them go unchallenged, it’s a first step – “chav”, “gypo”, “gay”, “retard”- down a dark path.

If the Obama’s taught us anything, it was the best men and women, don’t take power, they give it. It was not the fact that Barack controlled the worlds largest super-power state that made them a powerful and a great Presidential couple… it was the fact he, and Michelle, had soft power, given not taken.  They didn’t use their influence to push people down, they actively sought to lift people up, enthuse, inspire and bring them on their journey. They understood the power of kindness, people wanted to be around them, and to give to them what they gave to others. The stark contrast between the leadership styles of these ‘back-to-back’ Presidents, is frankly ‘black and white’, (please forgive the obvious pun),  and in many ways exacerbates the issues of The 45th President of the United States. Women, The BAME Community/People’s of Color (the preferred American term) and LGBT+ Community were given a richer taste of equality under Obama, to snatch it back after its been given is going to be a bitter fight, and given the US changing demographics, if this remains a political battleground, it could be a while before the Republicans get another shot at the Presidency. 

So it seems like they’re going to be making the most of this one….The Trump Presidency has already picked a collection of Multi-Million and Billionaires to lead the Cabinet – and his response to criticism is:

“I want people that made a fortune!” Trump, Dec 2016

The result will most likely be the most neo-capitalist Government and policies the US has ever seen, unabated by House and Senate, both of which have Repulican majorities. And that raises concerns about whether fertility rights will come under attack in this new hard-right Government. Pro-Choice America reports he wants to completely ban abortions, save pregnancies through rape, incest and when a woman may die. To do it he’s going to nominate a pro-life Supreme Court Judge, whose affect will be felt long after a four or even eight year term.


Photos from #WomansMarch 

 

New Years Message

On this the final day of 2016 we take a moment to look back upon the year, and begin to ponder the 12 months ahead.

The political bit:

2016 will undeniably go down in the Walsh family annals as a year of both Highs and Lows… from the triumphant wins of Sadiq Khan to the bitter blow that is Brexit, and whilst we might collectively agree and hope for a better 2017, the runes are not looking in our favour. So we are faced with a choice: to stand and lament the actions of an omni-shambles Tory Government, or take action. I choose the latter. We need an electable, well organised Labour Party, and we need to start winning again. We’ve just three and a bit years until the 2020 General election where WE MUST, for the sake of everything good & British (The NHS; Human, Civil & Workers Rights alongside salvaging Britain’s role in the World post-Brexit) be the Party that forms the next British Government.

The local bit:

Fiscally, for Lewisham the challenges and fallout from Tories in power mean ‘£1 in every three cut’, and its the Tory aspiration to increase that to ‘£1 in every two’ by 2020. We are a ‘low income, high needs borough’ (We’re not Westminster Kensington or Chelsea, with their huge business income and affluent populations, were pretty much their diametric opposite) the perverse cutting of Local Government funding, to no longer give additional support to poorer areas is reaching crunch point, we’re scrimping and saving, but still local Government is starving.

Hope:

2017, despite its challenges will have opportunities too, we’ll be developing a new #Catford Town Plan which I’m delighted to be involved with, living in and representing your community is a true honour – Catford/Rushey Green is a beautiful place that has just been ‘under-tended’, the new plans will hopefully revitalise and rejuvenate – it’s all very exciting!

Alongside this, I’ve been asked to continue my work from Scrutiny Committee and to now sit on a Poverty Task force for Lewisham, made up in part by some great British charities and ‘think-tanks’ in this area.

Lewisham’s LGBT Forum is also finally taking shape, I’ve commissioned a piece of research into several key areas of Lewisham LGBT Life that will be reporting back in late January, but ahead of LGBT History Month. Stay tuned.

Campaigning for the Bakerloo Line Extension, and ensuring it reaches to the South of the Borough, will be a key area of work for 2017, with a side project of lobbying for the DLR to be turned 24 hour from May 2021.

Finally:

It just leaves me to say a big thank you to all my family, friends and supporters for all the kindness patience and support you’ve given me over the last year, it is upon the backs of this love and support I can find the time, energy and strength to do what I can, but without you well… 🤷🏽‍♀️

Stay safe, Happy New Year and see you soon.

Cllr James-J Walsh


Thought: No More Left & Right?

‘Politics in Britain is changing’ says think tank –  8 new tribes exists made up of both left & right parties.

Full research here: http://opinium.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dead-Centre-British-politics4_lr.pdf

A quick sweep of each tribe:

(8%) Democratic socialists: Pro-immigration, pro-welfare state, pro-redistribution of wealth, internationalist outlook.

60% Labour : 2% Conservative
85% Remain : 3% Leave
48% Corbyn : 30% Neither : 15% May
Mostly middle to upper classes living in urban areas or in Scotland and Wales.
60% female
66% middle to upper class : 34% working class
Supportive of: staying in single market after Brexit, progressive taxation
Against: NHS privatisation, reducing net migration
(5%) Community: Redistribution of wealth, scepticism of business and capitalism. More closed off view of Britain and broadly anti-immigration. Describe themselves as centrists.

50% Labour : 12% Conservative
47% Remain : 39% Leave
36% Corbyn : 26% May
The working class in Northern England and the Midlands
59% female
Supportive of: banning zero-hours contracts, reducing net migration
Against: NHS privatisation, building nuclear power plants
(11%) Progressives: Open, internationalist and inclusive view of Britain, comfortable with immigration. Belief in the welfare state, balanced view towards tax and the economy.

50% Labour : 22% Conservative
74% Remain : 12% Leave
43% May : 24% Neither : 19% Corbyn
A scattering of professional groups across the UK
55% female
63% middle to upper class : 37% working class
Quite high employment
Supportive of: staying in single market post Brexit, progressive taxation, mansion tax
Against: NHS privatisation, grammar schools
(7%) Swing voters: Mixture of views. Support an equal, multicultural society, internationalist outlook, hard stance on benefits, support a low tax economy. Describe themselves as centrists.

37% Conservative : 33% Labour
51% Remain : 31% Leave
High numbers (17% – 21%) do not vote
51% May : 19% Corbyn
A scattering of demographic groups spread across England outside of the capital
61% female
Supportive of: banning zero hours contracts; benefits claimants to do compulsory work; mansion tax; progressive taxation; government should grow the economy and provide public services
No strong opposition to any policies
(6%) New Britain: Open capitalist economy, pro-immigration, pro-single market, supportive of a low tax economy. Business friendly, internationalist, compassionate view of society.

56% Conservative : 32% Other/Did not vote
66% Remain : 26% Leave
53% May : 24% Corbyn
Younger successful professionals, many of them managerial, living in London
62% Male
Supportive of: deficit reduction, low tax, NHS privatisation, staying in single market after Brexit
Against: progressive taxation, re-nationalising the railways
(7%) Free Liberals: Strong faith in the market, little interest in socially conservative ideas. Strongly pro-business, the most opposed to the welfare state. The most personally optimistic. Describe themselves as right-wing.

58% Conservative : 27% Labour
62: Remain : 32% Leave
61% May : 22% Corbyn
Young, mainly male, professionals living in London
79% Male
75% middle-upper class
Supportive of: benefits claimants to do compulsory work, NHS privatisation, deficit reduction, building new nuclear plants
Against: re-nationalising the railways
(26%) Common sense: Don’t think of themselves as having particularly strong political opinions, despite supporting similar policies to the ‘Our Britain’ segment. Clear preference for low tax economy, opposition to immigration.

62% Conservative : 15% Labour : 13% UKIP
59% Leave : 34% Remain
71% May : 17% Neither : 5% Corbyn
Older Southern Englanders, either advanced in their careers or retirees
53% Female
Supportive of: reducing net migration, benefits claimants to do compulsory work, changing human rights law, new grammar schools
Against: staying in single market after Brexit, proportional representation
(24%) Our Britain: Closed perception of what Britishness is. Anti-immigration, government should put Brits first at all costs, broadly isolationist in outlook. Describe themselves as centrists.

38% Conservative : 37% UKIP : 19% Labour
80% Leave : 11% Remain
59% May : 24% Neither : 7% Corbyn
The older working class and retirees, living mainly in Northern England and the Midlands.
52% Female
Supportive of: reducing net migration, changing human rights law, benefits claimants to do compulsory work, banning zero-hours contracts
Against: staying in single market after Brexit, NHS privatisation
A fuller picture can be seen on the Opinium website.

Fighting racism, xenophobia and bigotry: that’s a “Peace of Cake”…

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community

All faiths mosaic built by Lewishams Community


This morning I had the pleasure of sharing a good old cuppa and a piece of cake at a pan-community peace event in Catford. 


Like most brilliant ideas the concept is simple – get our communities together to bust myths and stereotypes, and build a proper community, all through the medium of shared experiences and cake!

PEACE OF CAKE EVENT – Goldsmiths Community Centre

As a born’n’bred Lewisham lad, I’ve grown up in and around diversity my whole life – I believe I’ve become a richer person from it, and I know Lewisham has too. From those vital migrant workers that keep our NHS and Lewisham Hospital going, to the work of our faith communities: Masjids and Synagogues; Churches and Meeting Houses, that have provided our young with youth groups to play in, community actions to improve our ‘health and wellbeing’, and worked tirelessly to build a united and tolerant community for us to live in. We are also blessed with scores of excellent community groups that ensure those of us either: smaller in number; or less likely to have a say, have an equal voice at the table – Lewisham’s Disability Coalition, Lewisham’s LGBT+ group, Association for Refugees in Lewisham (AfRIL), and Lewisham’s Pensioners Forum, to name but a few from a near endless list.

For those of you that know me in the slightest, you’ll know I’ve always had a strong sense of justice, and fighting inequality is something I’ve been passionate about for most of my life. I’ve never liked bullies, I certainly am not going to allow them to divide our community. The best way for us to beat these ‘bullies’ is to stand united, and don’t let complacency aide them – we are the majority.

Get involved:

Adversity brings the best out in our community time and time again and there’s loads of ways that you can show your support of a multicultural diverse community:

Talk about it: let people know that we’re better for it, the strange irony of the rise in intolerance is that’s it’s coming from those communities where diversity is often lacking. Communities like Lewisham’s that have been multicultural for decades, seen a high libel of migrants join our communities aren’t so much bothered by it, because we’ve been exposed, our presumptions confounded and crucially we’ve all lived and benefitted from it. From the fun and spectacle of things like Nottinghill Carnival to the everyday: our children being best friends, our colleagues at work coming from diverse 

Sign the Pledge: I’m proud to have got Lewisham Council to talk and do something around the rise of racism, xenophobia and bigotry, you can add your voice too. Click here to sign the pledge.

Get involved: with Hope not Hate’s More in Common campaign in Lewisham. The country was rocked and saddened by the assassination of Jo Cox MP, no more so than her Labour Party colleagues, but out of adversity comes hope, and as part of Jo’s Legacy Hope not Hate are delivering a local task forces to deliver community action activities. You can get involved in Lewisham’s here.

Host a ‘Peace of Cake’ event of your own!

The “Peace of Cake” team are keen for more community coffee mornings to be organised, so much so they’ll be producing a “How to” guide shortly on how to get a good community conversation going. To find out more visit here.

Sshh tell no one: #MarchForEurope Saturday


Now, is the time to take action.
This Saturday, 2nd July 2016, we join the “March for Europe” in London. The fallout from last week’s EU Referendum in the United Kingdom has created a climate of social and economic instability, and the political system is in chaos. To us, politics currently resembles a circus. With the march, we call for a better, kinder and more inclusive country. We protest against social prejudice, anti-immigrant sentiment, and help spread a message of love and compassion.


Join the March for Europe

Start: 30 Park Lane, London, W1K 1BE

Time: from 11am

Details: Join the Event Page here

Dress: colourful

Route: here

Share the message: #MarchForEurope

With you, we will create a marching circus filled with colour, positivity and creativity. Thousands have already confirmed their participation. We are calling on all those that feel passionate about Britain’s future to take part and take action. We are asking all cultural organisations, performance groups, and people from all backgrounds to join us by sending a message here.
Further details on the London march will be published here. Prepare to bring musical instruments, flags, and banners to support the movement.
We urge all those who can’t make it to stage their own protest, wherever they are. Please register your events here. Spread the word using #MarchForEurope. It is our responsibility to ensure that no barriers divide us – society can only progress through unity.

#MarchForEurope

Grants for community activity in #RusheyGreen, Catford

 Rushey Green Ward – Assembly Fund 2016 -17

On Tuesday evening I had pleasure in launching this years Rushey Green Assembly fund for local community led activities and initiatives, and I’m looking forward to seeing and judging all the applications that come in.

Our funding priorities are:

1. Activities and opportunities for children (under 18) and young people (under 25)

2. Increasing opportunities for older people (55+)

3. Community cohesion – including events, activities and projects designed to create a sense of community in Rushey Green

4. Culture and the arts with particular reference to improving the wellbeing of people in the Rushey Green Area

5. Improving your local area including local ‘streetscape’, environment and ecology

The deadline for completed applications is:

1st September 2016

How to apply:

For an application form and guidance on how to apply, please contact Laura Luckhurst, Community Development Officer:

Email:

laura.luckhurst@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: ​​020 8314 3830

You can also view and download the application forms and guidance at: http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/localassemblies

Rushey Green Ward Boundary