Arkadash Fundraising Dinner

Conservative Friends of Turkey hosted a dinner with guest speakers Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State of Housing, Communities and Local Government and His Excellency, Ümit Yalçın Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey. 

We were fortunate to have two speakers ideally placed to strengthen the bond between Britain and Turkey. 

The evening was organised to fundraise for a new initiative to support Syrian refugees in Turkey, Project Arkadash.

Project Arkadash is planning to start a social action project in Istanbul, in 2019.

Project Arkadash’s vision is to:

  • provide a friendly caring, helping hand to those who have been deprived through crises
  • to helping Syrian refugees

Project Arkadash values are:

  • to help those who have been displaced through conflict
  • to commit to building strong sustainable communities
  • to commit to doing good for the whole (good for the community they go into)
  • that family is of fundamental importance
  • that all people should be treated with respect
  • that everyone’s point of view has value.

The plan is to deliver a first action project in Istanbul in the summer of 2019, and provide sustainable logistics for the first and subsequent action projects.

Importantly, we want to build a network of activists, supporters and sponsors. Some of the attendees indicated that they wanted to volunteer and signed up.

Join me and volunteer for Project Arkadash Sign up #IamArkadash

 


Project Arkadash

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#IamArkadash

Vision 

Providing a friendly, caring, helping hand to those who have been deprived through crises.

Values

A commitment to provide help to those that have been displaced through conflict

A commitment to building strong, sustainable communities

A commitment for doing good for the whole

A belief that family is of fundamental importance

A belief that all people should be treated with respect

A belief that everyone’s point of view has value

Objectives

To deliver the first action project in Istanbul in the summer of 2019

To provide sustainable logistics for the first and subsequent action project

To build a network of activists, supporters and sponsors


Ashmole Primary School and the Campaign for a New School

I visited Ashmole Primary School today for a meeting on the permanent school building and it bought home to me the enormity of what has been achieved by dedicated members of the Ashmole team, my campaigner group and me!
 
Ashmole Primary School’s permanent building is a building site but by the end of this year it will be ready for children to move in.
 
When I started this campaign I never believed that I would be part of the team that founded a brand new school! The road I traveled to get to this point has been full of challenges, of highs and lows but perseverance, determination and a stubborn resolution to have a new school made me carry on. There is one real reward that I have from this campaign and that was the hug from a crying mum on the opening day of the school. Her tears were of happiness, telling me that I had changed her, and her family’s life! I will never forget that moment and as I write this I am moved again.
 
The campaign started in 2012 from my front room. A group of community minded parents and grandparents who lived in an area that didn’t fall into any primary school catchment area decided to campaign for increased primary school provision. We each paid £10 to produce 2000 leaflets to distribute in the area letting residents know of the problem with school places and to gain support.
 
That was the beginning of SWEAT, the South West Enfield Action Team. We worked hard using our website https://wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com/… to get our message out there. We lobbied the Council, we went to the local press, we met our MP, we spoke to Councillors, we tried everything to raise awareness. I hated the way that Labour Councillors treated our problem as part of their political game, they didn’t care about us, we were a community group that could be exploited. The Labour Cabinet Member for Education called me naive for thinking I could do anything about school places, in a public meeting after I had spoken so that I was unable to respond. Political point scoring! But I did it! Despite what the Labour Cabinet Member for Education thought.
 
I used my influence and position as a school governor at Ashmole Academy to pursue a dream that has resulted in the building site pictured. One of the biggest disappointments for the Ashmole team was when our first free school bid failed! I felt that I had let down all those parents who had become wrapped in my enthusiasm and we can do it attitude … we had failed! I was bitterly disappointed…. it wasn’t a failure, it was a setback! Once we got over the disappointment, the Ashmole team took on board the feedback from the Department for Education and we submitted another, much improved free school bid and we were successful! I was so happy, not for me as my children would not get into the school but for all those parents who could send their children to an outstanding local school.
 
I am delighted that some of my fellow campaigners have gone on to become school governors and trustees.
 
My message is that if you see an injustice and if you feel strongly enough about it, others will feel the same and follow you. You can do anything if you put your mind to it! Ignore the nay sayers!
To find out more about Ashmole, SWEAT and myself visit:
 

Electoral Reform

How can it be that we in Britain, who set great store by our democratic process, can permit an electoral system which is so easy to cheat?

Most people will know that it is against the law to vote twice in a General Election, or for that matter any national vote, but most people probably do not realise that there is no method to control how many times you may vote in a national election.

If you have two places of residence, in different areas, then you are entitled to vote in local elections in both local authorities, which may not be unreasonable. The fact that the register to vote on local interests is held by the local authority is to be expected but the local property based register is also used for voting on national interests and therein lies the problem.

An individual who appears on two local authority’s election registers will automatically receive two polling cards for a General Election and there are no checks what-so-ever to ensure the individual only votes once. Just like there are no checks on a person’s identity when they come to vote.

Society sets great store on encouraging people to vote, reminding them of the sacrifices of those who have fought and died for the right, that women have barely had the right to vote for 100 years, and that in some countries in the world people still are unable to vote.

Surely it is an affront to all those who have made sacrifices in the past to not have a level of due diligence when allowing people to vote?

I would like to see debated:

  • A national register to list those who can vote on the national interest
  • Photographic ID checks to prove an individual’s identity when they vote
  • The right to be able to vote more than once
  • Greater controls on postal votes
  • Greater controls on proxy votes

I can hear the naysayers already with their issues on the complexities of merging local electoral registers, introducing standard ID checks, and the possible impact of a national database on an individual’s privacy.

Democracy is a prized asset and we should ensure that it is not open to abuse or tarnish by modern society. We need to debate this and if agreed introduce stepped change to ensure the value of democracy is not diminished.

When the Parliamentary Petition Committee is re-convened, following the 2017 General Election, I shall be raising a petition for Electoral Reform to have the current electoral register and voting processes debated by Parliament, with the desired outcome of a national database and greater controls on voting.


Thank You

This morning whilst I slept Jon told our children that Mummy got more votes than last time but didn’t win the election.

Harry said “I should have taken some leaflets to school and then Mummy would have won”.

Poppy said “Never mind we’ll save them for next year.”

The General Election is over and I would like to thank all who supported me.

It wasn’t the result that I had hoped for personally and nationally but the reality is that Labour will not be forming the next government, have lost 3 general elections in a row, and have barely improved since their 2010 defeat.
Democracy is a great thing. I accept the result and will move on.

Next step to hold a thank you party for all of those who have helped on the campaign trail.


Parliamentary Candidate for Edmonton

I am delighted to have been confirmed as the Conservative Party candidate for Edmonton. I have lived in Edmonton and the local area all of my life. I am a working mother of ethnic origin who is representative of this community.

I have a full career in digital technology and engineering and I understand the challenges for working families who aspire for the best for their children.

Only a Conservative Government can deliver the strong and stable economy required to deliver the best start in life for children, only a Conservative Government can deliver an improving NHS, only a Conservative Government can negotiate a good deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations, only a Conservative Government delivers the family values that is best for a nation.

I would be honoured to represent Edmonton as the Member of Parliament and I promise to work hard to get the best for the people of Edmonton.


Techies & Women on Boards

I started writing this post before the cyber-attack on the BBC which took down BBC web services.

The biggest risk for Chief Executives, in arguably any business, is a cyber-attack and yet senior technical advice is not deemed a requirement at board level and in high level decision making.

I have just been appointed to a Trust Board and on that board I am the only woman and I am the only person with an engineering background.

Technology should be recognised as one of society’s much needed skills and those who are high ranking experts in that profession should be regarded in a similar way to other senior professionals in the field of law, medicine or finance, for example. Governance and Business Boards need to have board members with 21st century skills but until local and national governance acknowledge that technical skills are important to high level decision making then boards will not be representative of knowledge that is used at decision making in daily business life. My perception of board appointments is that a culture exists of sticking to the same type of person for board membership and by doing that women are excluded, ethnic minorities are excluded and those from engineering, and most of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers are also excluded.

Skills that are deemed a requirement at board level such as lawyers, doctors and accountants hold qualifications earned at university, technical engineering qualifications may or may not be earned at university but are not considered important on most boards. Deliverables from finance or medicine, for example, will use information technology for compliance, so why not on a board? Just as you would not want a newly qualified doctor with no experience on a managing board the same applies for an engineer with technical skills. However there needs to be academic labelling for technical skills that is recognisable for the level of skill that an IT professional can bring to a board.

Information Technology is a relatively new industry and so change can be difficult because of a lack of understanding of the skills however all services now heavily rely on technology. Unfortunately because everyone uses technology they think that they are an IT expert however that diminishes the responsibility that IT professionals have to deliver services that are secure and meet business needs.

A technology architect who designs a system that provides services that effect whole communities should have equal weight to that of a lawyer or doctor. A doctor may affect outcomes for a single person where as a Senior Engineer or an IT Architect can affect the outcomes for whole businesses. It has been reported in the media that Chief Executives biggest risk to their business is a cyber-attack. Given that the biggest risk is a security threat that only IT professionals can address it is surprising that their opinions are not being valued at board level.

In my experience a trust board making appointments today would appoint a lawyer easily with only a few years’ experience in planning law where as an IT engineer with many years of experience in engineering IT solutions that provides critical business services would have difficulty in being appointed.

The level of experience and knowledge that a board member brings is crucial to board appointments. For example it is unlikely that you would appoint a Help Desk Assistant to a board and similarly it would be unlikely that you would appoint a Ward Nurse. Just as a board would appoint a doctor, so at a similar level you should appoint Senior IT professionals such as an IT Architect or Senior Systems Engineer.

There aren’t many women in engineering roles and there are few women on boards and it has not been an easy journey for me personally to get onto either which is why I think there needs to be a change in perception of IT professionals and their skills, the simplest solution is to use a naming standard to label IT skill levels so that those outside of IT can agree that an IT Architect or a Senior Systems Engineer is a skill sought after on boards.


Parks to be Locked

After what was described by a Friends of Parks representative as a “painful eight months” there was relief at Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday when it was announced that fourteen parks in Enfield would continue to be locked.

A decision to cease locking parks was taken by Cllr Chris Bond, Cabinet Member for Environment on 3rd October 2014 and called in to Overview and Scrutiny Committee by the Conservative Group. The decision whether to lock parks was deferred until now to enable consultation with the Friends of Parks groups. During the consultation period the council has seen a change in Cabinet Member for Environment to Cllr Daniel Anderson.

It was noted at the meeting that the council’s decision and the ensuing months had bruised the relationship between council and Friends of Parks groups. It was acknowledged that the volunteers who make up the Friends groups provide an invaluable service to the parks and community. In Volunteering Week this decision is a victory for democracy and for people power.

At last, the council are listening to the people they serve!parks


Clean-Up Enfield

In the run up to the General Election I campaigned across all three constituencies in Enfield and found there to be high levels of rubbish left to rot on pavements and roads across the borough. Nick de Bois campaigned to keep weekly bin collections and Conservative councillors are calling for the local authority to maintain the current system, but even weekly bin collections don’t seem to be enough to keep our streets clean.

There is no question in my mind that Edmonton has by far the dirtiest streets in the borough and to be frank it is a disgrace.

Summer is fast approaching and the smells coming from decomposing rubbish are the least of our worries. Health risks associated with rotting rubbish on the streets will surely increase, the millions of harmful bacteria found in rubbish can multiply over five times during one week and researchers have found bacteria from the same family as the plague in household rubbish that has been left to rot.

In the first instance I would like to see Enfield Council simplify the process of reporting rubbish on the streets. When I have tried to report incidents of fly tipping via Twitter or Facebook I have been redirected to the council website for which the process of reporting rubbish seems akin to those annoying automated telephone answering systems. Surely it should be possible to report rubbish by telling the council that there is a problem, for example on Twitter or Facebook a message with a picture, road name and post code should be enough for Enfield Council to locate and clear the offending pile of rubbish.

Secondly, I don’t feel that Enfield residents should have to report issues of dumped rubbish to the council when we pay council tax for rubbish collection. Why can’t there be regular patrols, at least in the worst areas, to clear dumped rubbish? Let’s face it if you were parking dangerously or illegally Enfield Council would soon be available to resolve that problem, why can’t the same be done for rubbish?

Conservative councillors across the borough are already highlighting the problem of dumped rubbish on Twitter and I encourage readers to join in the campaign for cleaner streets. If you see dumped rubbish get a picture and tweet it with the following details:

Postcode, road Name, @EnfieldCouncil, #cleanupenfield

Let’s work together for a cleaner Edmonton and Enfield.



Rubbish on the streets of Edmonton

During the run up to the General Election I’ve campaigned across the 3 constituencies in Enfield.

There is no question in my mind that of the 3 constituencies Edmonton has by far the dirtiest streets in the borough and to be frank it’s an utter disgrace!

I’ve already started working with local Conservative councillors to address the situation and we’ve had success in getting the local authority to clear builders rubbish.

2015-05-03 10.38.36-12015-05-03 10.19.422015-05-03 11.07.132015-05-03 16.54.362015-05-04 11.27.40


Save our Language Exams

I learnt about the proposed abolition of the Modern Languages exam in an interview with Londra Gazete. They asked for my opinion and I confirmed that it would be something I would campaign to stop.

If you want to save the exams please sign the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/department-for-education-save-our-turkish-exams

As someone with a passion for education I want to encourage foreign languages to be learnt and taking away examinations for languages is sending out the wrong message.

There are so many reasons why the examinations should remain, such as:

  • So that future traders and businesses trade and converse in the language of the country
  • To recognise achievement in learning the language
  • To formalise a language that may be spoken at home
  • To learn different cultures
  • To provide UCAS points for students going onto university education

Boris Johnson joined the campaign to support saving the exams and said:

“My great grandfather Ali Kemal, when he was a minister in İstanbul, he actually reinstituted the study of Latin and Greek which was amazingly beneficial.”


Exciting Times!

I am absolutely delighted to announce that in late November 2014 I was selected by The Edmonton Conservative Association to be the Conservative Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Edmonton. To get to this position has taken many, many months of hard work and determination, and I look forward to working even harder in the run up to the 2015 General Election.

I know that I will have an uphill struggle in trying to overturn a fairly substantial Labour Party majority but I believe it can be done!

For the time being I will not be posting to MrsDaniels.co.uk whilst I focus on the General Election campaign; you can keep up to date with my progress by visiting the following social media sites:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GonulDaniels

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gonul-Daniels/488918787916943

Campaign Website: http://gonuldaniels.co.uk/

Edmonton Conservatives Website: http://www.edmontonconservatives.com/

If you feel you’d be able to help my campaign then please do get in touch via one of the above sites.

Best Wishes

Gonul


Politics–A fun experience

I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog recently due my participation in the local elections. Unfortunately the results didn’t go as well as we Conservatives hoped in Enfield but for me some real positives came out of the canvassing and I am sure that we can build on these over the coming year. I’d like to thank the Edmonton Association for selecting me and giving me the opportunity to meet and canvass Edmonton residents. I’d like to thank all of those people who turned up to help the Haselbury ward candidates especially Christine, Lee and Martin without whom it would have been a far harder and less fun task.


More Primary School Places

I was interviewed by Ruth McKee of the Enfield Advertiser about the new primary school that is to be opened in Southgate for September 2014.

Many parents of children starting school this year will not be aware of this development unless they have been following the We Want Local Schools campaign that I set up with a group of concerned parents; also known as SWEAT (South West Enfield Action Team). Here is part of the article and the full article can be read here.

 


Pay for state education?

We do pay for state education through our taxes! There is a suggestion in the papers today that wealthy parents should pay for their children to go to the most popular state schools.

There is a problem in my area where parents will cheat and play the school admission system to get their children into the best state run schools. Parents will rent a property for 6 months to a year on the doorstep of a school with an outstanding Ofsted report and good reputation and once their children have gained admission they move away. Instead of paying for 7 years of private education for all of their children they pay 6 months rent and save thousands and thousands of pounds.These parents are cheating local residents’ children of school places and worse still the admission cheat parents do not think they are doing anything wrong and go on to brag about how clever they have been to other parents.

Something needs to be done to stop parents cheating the system and depriving local children of their school place. By encouraging strong local community links we may make parents think twice about stealing other children’s school places if they know that they are acting against the local community. Unfortunately we can’t rely on that and new policies are needed to stop the cheats and I don’t think that paying for state education is the answer. I pay for state education through my taxes!

What is the alternative? I have been campaigning for increased primary school provision in my area and one of the things we have been asking of the local authority is to make the admissions criteria tighter to deter admission cheats. The parents who rent accommodation to buy a good education for their child should be paying for independent schooling. If parents have to pay for state education then a good education will not be available to all and non fee paying schools will become the schools that nobody wants to send their children to.

The school argument proves that parents recognise that education is the key to a good life and a good society. We should be improving state schools to a higher standard so that parents aren’t chasing places at a few good schools but that more good schools are available. For example we all know that smaller class sizes make for a better education and employing the best teachers will get the best results.


Happy New Year

I had a marvellous 2013! The year really finished on a high for my SWEAT (South West Enfield Action Team) primary school campaign and for me personally. There were many ups and downs along the way, but I am a cup 1/2 full type of girl so I enjoy the roller coaster ride of life.

The SWEAT success came after just 9 months of campaigning for increased primary school places in the form of a proposal by Ashmole Academy for a primary school which is scheduled for September 2015. The proposed school is some way off, however the parent support that is needed for it to go ahead has been given by the local community. Members of the SWEAT group and I were busy distributing the Ashmole proposal to toddler groups, nurseries and libraries in December and our efforts have produced the desired result.

The campaign for primary school provision is not over and the 60 school places that Ashmole will provide yearly from 2015 will go someway to ease an increasing problem. Well done Ashmole. The school place requirement will not be satisfied by this proposal and SWEAT will continue to raise awareness in our aim to achieve more school places in the area.

On a personal note I am delighted to have passed Parliamentary Assessment Board and have been added onto the Conservative Party’s list of Approved Candidates. I am looking forward to a busy 2014 in politics.


Eastleigh By-Election

Today is voting day in the Eastleigh By-Election caused by the resignation of the Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne, and I have been telephone canvassing for the Conservatives up to the last ….. Well nearly up to the last. My mother taught me that it was bad manners to telephone anyone after 9pm … We’re talking landlines now, so I stopped phoning before then.

The TV news has reported how fed up Eastleigh constituents are with the limelight squarely focussed on them and the number of political leaflets they have had come through their letter boxes. I’m sure the quiet will be restored again in Eastleigh next week.

Eastleigh have a Lib Dem Council, and up until Chris Huhne’s resignation, a Lib Dem MP. It will be interesting to see how the Eastleigh constituents voted today and find out the result of the Eastleigh By-Election tomorrow morning.

My own opinion is that it will be a Conservative win. If you had asked me two weeks ago I would have said that the Lib Dems looked like they would win the seat (this is my own opinion again).

In another twenty minutes it will all be over, bar the count. Fingers crossed for a Conservative win.