Conservative Party Conference

My first party conference was a great experience. I came away feeling very motivated and determined that I would work hard for the Conservatives so that we win the General Election.

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It wasn’t all about listening to great speakers although there were some great moments. For example I am not convinced that Michael Gove has a Bichon Frisée puppy dog called Snowy but it was a very funny moment and it left an image of Michael Gove stroking the dog in not too dissimilar a fashion to a 007 baddie. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of Michael Gove! What the Chief Whip said was that he would trust his Bichon Frisée puppy dog Snowy over Ed Miliband to face down Putin, very funny.

Other memorable moments were when David Cameron imitated William Hague and then went on to move the audience near to tears by his personal experiences of the NHS. The Mayor of London was, as expected, hilarious even if the audience were slightly concerned that they might get hit by a brick.

boris1I managed to do some practical work whilst at conference and attended the Road Trip 2015 to deliver leaflets and I manned the phone for Kris Hopkins MP with my friend Tanya Graham, the PPC for Bradford South.

I got involved in debate over childcare and wanted to get involved in education policy debate but it was so popular that it became impossible.

 

I attended other talks that I didn’t have enough experience to debate such as CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. You probably think it was a man who persuaded me to go, but it wasn’t it was a Yorkshire lass! Very interesting and I’m sure it’s popularity was helped by the bottled ale being served.

A few pics from a memorable conference.

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Electoral Reform

I used a postal vote to vote in the 2014 Local Elections in May because I was a candidate in Edmonton and I wanted to be visible in Haselbury ward on polling day. I wanted to make sure that I voted but because I knew I would be busy I applied for a postal vote. In casting my postal vote I realise how open to abuse a postal vote could be and that it would be very easy for someone other than the voter to cast the vote.

I think that there should be electoral reform regarding postal votes however I do not believe that removing postal voting is the answer, much as I would like it to be. Voting in person is a more secure method of ensuring that the voter is the person they claim to be particularly as reforms planned for this year by the Electoral Commission will require proof of identification to be shown at polling stations.

The turn out at Haselbury was under 40% and it is likely that the turn out will continue to decrease in the future, particularly in local elections. Politics needs to engage with younger voters and until there is an online method of voting I suspect that many of generation z will not cast their vote when they come of age.

Postal voting needs to have security applied to it that a voter would not easily give out; for example I wouldn’t give just anyone my banking password or my National Insurance number. When I have applied for a passport there is a secure process to follow and this ensures that you are the person applying for the document and this is the sort of check that should be used for postal voting.

At present all that is required to cast a postal vote is date of birth and signature; this really is not secure enough as people will easily give out their date of birth. Recently I have given my date of birth and signature to my dentist, a high street shop, my political party, my doctor and loads more. Recently I have given my National Insurance number or Passport number to no-one. My point is make it harder for fraud but make voting easier.

MP’s Supporting Candidates

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David Burrowes MP and Nick de Bois MP attended a meal in Cockfosters to meet with Turkish speaking Council Candidates and show their support in the forthcoming local elections. Due to their Parliamentary commitments David and Nick didn’t have the opportunity to eat the meal that we Council Candidates enjoyed.

The evening was an opportunity for local Conservatives to let the Turkish speaking community know what we can do for them if they vote for us on May 22nd through the Turkish Press.

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Journalists from Turkish newspapers Avrupa and Haber attended the meal to report back to the huge Turkish community who live and work in Edmonton and Enfield about the Conservative Party Candidates. Turkish is the second most spoken language in Enfield and we Council Candidates and the Conservative Party want to engage with them so we can ably represent their needs.

An enjoyable evening after days of canvassing in Edmonton.

Conservative Party Candidate

I am proud to announce that I am standing in the local elections for the Conservative Party on May 22nd in Haselbury ward, Edmonton.

If elected my priority will be to shape the local community that I have already been active in. I have campaigned for increased primary school provision and the SWEAT group that I chair has been successful; we have the promise of an additional 120 school places in the Southgate area in the near future.

I became a school governor 10 years ago at Ashmole Academy. Ashmole is an outstanding community school which The Guardian newspaper has ranked 9th nationally for its outstanding GCSE results. I am proud to contribute to Ashmole’s success by chairing the Curriculum Committee and have found school governorship a challenging and fulfilling role.

I also suport my community as a committee member of an active residents’ association. Our Association preserves and improves the area in which we live. My role as Web Manager has led to information sharing being easily available to all.

By standing for Council I want to extend my community work and be involved in the policy making that defines a community. I recognise that Councillors need  to be a diverse range of people to make the right decisions for a diverse community. As a woman, a mother of young children and being of ethnic background I feel I have the qualifications to ably represent those in the community that may be under represented.

If elected I promise to work hard and carry out my responsibilities honestly and for the benefit of the community.

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

Do the same again and get the same result

Conservatives need to appeal to a younger audience. The Eastleigh By-Election has proven that the old tried and tested campaigning methods aren’t working.

I was involved in telephone canvassing and that is one method of engaging with a specific demographic of voters; voters who have a landline. Other methods of engaging with younger voters are needed. If I had been standing in Eastleigh I would have used a Facebook ad and targeted the area for my advert and targeted a specific age group of 18 – 40 years. I would have been tweeting everyday and made sure all my literature had my Twitter details so anyone could follow me.

Generation Y communicate differently to the older generation and Generation Z (those born after 2000) will communicate differently from them; we Conservatives need to revise our communication strategies accordingly.

I admire Maria Hutchings for her honesty and making clear what her opinions were; for example being opposed to same sex marriage, and I’m sure that would appeal to the old Conservatives. I also think that it would have the opposite affect on younger voters.

I have read that during the lead up to the election and during the day the Conservative Association offices in Eastleigh were closed and unmanned, which appears to me to be a strategical mistake. The Association office  should have been open and welcoming constituents in the lead up to polling day. My own constituency has an Association office however whenever I visit the office it is never open and it is not obvious when it will be open.

In my opinion an Association office is the public face of the Conservative party and shouldn’t be run like a charity shop.  We need to shake up our image? If there is an Association office then it should be obvious when it is open and what its purpose is.

The Association offices need to be welcoming and encouraging the local community to get involved.

I would like to set up or participate in local a Conservative’s Women’s Organisation but because there is a regional office that exists I have been rebuffed. The regional office has invited me to a Christmas lunch which I appreciate however my type of organisation will be the one that teaches new skills, that raises money for charity, that appeals to mothers of younger children as well as older children and has a local community focus.

In summary new ideas, new people and new suggestions should be welcomed. We Conservatives should try out new things and then maybe we’ll appeal to a wider audience. It doesn’t matter if new ideas fail, failure is part of life, however doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is madness.

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.

Reception with Ken Clarke

I was fortunate to be invited to an evening reception with Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP by my local MP David Burrowes.
The venue was lovely and our hostess welcomed us into her home.

Ken Clarke was very generous in answering all of the questions put to him, even my cheeky question about whether he influenced the 1966 World Cup result.
Ken Clarke was famously in the crowd next to the linesman who couldn’t see whether Geoff Hurst’s ball crossed the goal line.
Apparently Ken and the crowd may have convinced the linesman that it did.
A very nice evening where I met a great politician.

Palmers Green

I walked in Palmers Green today and can see how the local shops have been affected by the terrible rioting (or should that be looting) of the last few days. Palmers Green is supposidly one of those area not affected by the looting.

The T-Mobile shop has had it’s glass doors smashed in and is now shuttered off but you can still see all of the broken glass in the shop entrance.

The Post Office is shut but whether it is because the staff can’t get there or due to fears fir safety and property I am unsure. The local jewellers had a group of people outside (insurers and owners I think) their shutters are down which I think saved them.

I visited the local hairdresser who didn’t know what she was going to be greeted with today and whether there would be damage. She was working on her own because one of her staff couldn’t get there from Tottenham and another on leave. I’m sure that her help could have got there but the worry is the “Civil Unrest” and one doesn’t want to get caught in it or find yourself unable to get home.

Lots of shopkeepers, including my hairdresser, were moving their wares away from the front plate glass windows to avoid the smash and grab which we’ve seen on TV.

This is what I wrote during 2010 and I stick to education being the answer:

We need Enfield to be safe for everyone whether they are young or old. We need to create an environment where there are activities for the young, such as youth centres and sports clubs and make them easily available. I believe that some youths carry knives to feel safe and to protect themselves or to get in with a gang. We need policies that make youths and the elderly feel safe; that will stop youths hanging around together in feral packs, and to teach youths that carrying a weapon makes you a target for violence, for the loss of liberty or worse still loss of life.

Tottenham Riot

My daughter worked at Spurs yesterday and when she left the football ground just after 8pm she saw the build up of the riot happening. Fortunately she managed to avoid the trouble by travelling in the other direction.

What began as a supposed peaceful demonstration led to a full scale riot. This reflects the tensions that have been brewing in the Edmonton and Tottenham area for months following a number of murders. It is astonishing that this has been allowed to escalate to this proportion.

It is doubtful that the initial protest could ever have been peaceful given the facts surrounding the death and the Police shooting of Mark Duggan. Would the Police have been able to calm and subdue people who view them as the agressors in this incident without preparation?

It does seem from news reports that the Police were very late in getting involved and were not prepared for the levels of violence. Perhaps the Police were policing the football match and preparing for the Hackney carnival?

Of course there is no excuse for the opportunists who take advantage of an awful situation by looting. After seeing various streams on Twitter and BBM I’m sure that social networking doesn’t help these situations where easy pickings can be broadcast to many.

Where are the BBC today? I would expect something of this scale to be on covered on national TV; they appear to be looking for UFO’s!

Bush Hill Park By-Election

29 July 2011

Congratulations to Lee Chamberlain and to the Conservatives on winning the Bush Hill Park by-election in Enfield.

28 July 2011

Bush Hill Park are going to the polls today. The by-election has been caused by the resignation of the Conservative councillor in the Bush Hill Park ward in Enfield.

I have been out canvassing with the Conservative candidate Lee Chamberlain. The weather has been lovely so fingers crossed for a good turn out. Good luck Lee.

 

Midwife Mayhem

What is happening with maternity care? Everyday we read about the possibility of Chase Farm Hospital closing and now this Midwife Mayhem story appears in the local paper.

I gave birth to my twins Poppy and Harry in Chase Farm Hospital on April 17th this year and can tell you that a midwife’s lot does not appear to be a happy one.

What I noticed from my first hand experience in hospital was that midwives are working an exhausting 12 hour shift. They have to be extremely flexible and have great endurance. For example the midwife that helped me through labour came on shift at 7.30pm expecting to be on the general ward looking after 30+ pregnant women (a feat in itself) and ended up supporting me through labour up to 4am without a break! I’m sure the EU would have something to say about that.

There is a lack of stability and every day is different.  Other Labour wards such as Barnet could be closed for a night creating more work in Chase Farm (this is a common occurrence) or indeed Chase Farm Labour unit could close and make for a quieter day for the midwives.

Imagine being 9 months pregnant and going into labour. You phone Chase Farm Labour Ward and they tell you that they are closed. How scary is that? You have received all your ante natal treatment there and are then told to contact another labour ward in another hospital such as Barnet or North Middlesex hospitals but there are no guarantees that they will be open either.

I only managed to have my babies after waiting 3 days to be induced because Chase Farm’s Labour Ward was closed to new admissions on that Saturday night.

Sickness levels appeared to be high causing strain on the staff who are working, this clearly affects staff morale. All the uncertainty that surrounds our local hospital and the care that they provide is affecting morale which in itself contributes to staff being sick.

I received fantastic ante natal, labour and post natal care in Chase Farm Hospital despite the apparently terrible organisation of the care trust and this is due to the committed staff.

I want clarity from our politicians in simple terms so we understand what is being proposed. It is a hot potato that our back bencher MPs are not leading on.

Mrs Daniels

I am a hard working mother of 4 children, and stepmother to my husband’s 2 children. I have been employed since leaving college taking only 6 months and 2 years off respectively for the birth of my children. I am currently on maternity leave following the birth of my twins Poppy and Harry.

I worked at the Bank of England for over 10 years, the Houses of Parliament for 5 years, local government for over 6 years, as well as the private sector at Queenswood School. I currently work for the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London.

I come from an ethnic background and I am second generation immigrant as a result of my parents fleeing the problems in Cyprus in 1960.

I have served the local community as a governor at Ashmole School since 2004; and serve on committees including the curriculum, pupil discipline and staff admission. I also serve on the Fox Lane and District Residents Association (FLDRA) comittee.

My experiences in the local community, as a parent and as a governor have given me the knowledge of the local community and specifically the difficulties that youngsters face, such as the lack of places for them to enjoy themselves, the gang culture that has increased knife crime, and their career and employment issues.

I am keen to widen the community that I serve and my ambition is to make a difference and improve community life.

I believe that I represent the average working person in my area .I am a working mother and I have shared many experiences that the public and local community can relate to such as trying to get my children into good state schools.

I have worked both locally and in London and experience the travel issues that Londoners face and the ever rising cost of being in employment.

I have experienced and share the concerns of all working parents; such as childcare and the ability to work knowing your children are safe. I understand how the economy affects our ability to work.

In my career I have experienced recession and taken voluntary redundancy, I have been outsourced in the workplace, and I understand how an uncertain future can affect communities.

I have put my children through state education and have experienced the concerns that all parents face regarding the quality of education and the inability to get local children into local schools.

 

I have gone through the school appeal process and been disappointed. I have waited until the last moment to get my child into the closest school to us due to local authority rules and expect to go through all of these issues again with my young twins. I know that my children will be unable to go to the closest state primary school due to the lack of primary school places.

Gonul Daniels

 

Primary School Places

I am currently supporting a parent trying to get her son a school place in the London Borough of Enfield. Mrs M has 2 children, J who has a place in Year 4 at a Primary School in LB Enfield and K who has not been offered a place at any school and has been out of education sice October 2009.

Mrs M is distraught that her son is not being educated and that there is no iminent prospect of K being offered any school place.

I have been speaking with LB Enfield and their legal obligation is to offer a place at a school in LB Enfield, not necessarily at the school that K’s brother is attending or even at a school close to where they live. It is Mrs M’s legal responsibility to ensure that K attends school.

Whilst trying to help in this problem I realise that it may not be in the family’s best interest to force LB Enfield into offering a place at any school due to the logistics of taking one child to a local school and then taking another child to the other side of the borough to another school which is clearly not sustainable.

Last week I spoke with the Council and found there are 2 primary schools which had a place and a very short waiting list in close proximity to Mrs M’s home. Mrs M has now put K on the waiting list of both schools. I will continue to contact the Council regularly to ascertain if more Year 1 places become available.

My thoughts – The Council are trying to fulfill their obligations to the best of their ability and in this case there would be no benefit to the family to force the Council to provide a place at any school for K. I do think that more can be done to maintain communication for example the Council phoning parents who don’t have a school place regularly (I would like to see it done daily).

The problem that Mrs M is facing is clearly affecting the moral of the whole family and there is a feeling of helplessness and desperation that they have endured for 7 months. I’m hoping that between us K gets into a school within the next few weeks and I will be phoning the Council daily to try and achieve this.

17 May 2010

As some of you may know if you have been following my blog, I have been trying to help Mrs M get her son K into a primary school. Today Mrs M was offered a school place for K at a primary school. Good news however the school is too far away from the school where her other child is going. If she takes one child to school then the other will be one hour late everyday and won’t be picked up on time. Mrs M is going to turn the place down with much regret. I have phoned the school where son J is, and K is either 1st or 2nd on the waiting list. I’ll be phoning again tomorrow.

6th July 2010

I am delighted that Mrs M’s son started his first day at school today in Year 1 after being out of school since October last year. Clearly there are not enough primary school places that there is no flexibility to allow 1 child into a class. Ideal class sizes are approximately 18 children however the schools in Enfield have 30 pupils per class and over subscribed. On a personal note I am so happy for Mrs M and her family.