A month before voters go to the polls, candidates for the North East London seat of the London Assembly make their pitch to Echo readers
Elections for the Greater London Authority take place on 5th May 2016. Voters in Waltham Forest will get three ballot papers; one to elect the new Mayor of London, one to elect London-wide members for the London Assembly, and one to elect a London Assembly member for North East London.
The North East London member of the London Assembly is elected to represent three boroughs: Islington, Hackney, and Waltham Forest. Since 2004, the seat has been held by Jennette Arnold of the Labour Party. She is standing for re-election again this year, but will be up against Tim Allen (Respect Party), Samir Jeraj (Green Party), Sam Malik (Conservative Party), Bill Martin (Socialist Party of Great Britain), Jonathan Silberman (Communist League), Terry Stacy (Liberal Democrat Party), and Freddy Vachha (UK Independence Party).
We asked all eight North East London candidates to write an election pitch to Waltham Forest Echo readers of no more than 200 words. In alphabetical order, their responses are published below.
Tim Allen (Respect Party)
“On every major issue over the past 30 years, George Galloway has been right, and our political class have been wrong. On Iraq, on the destruction of our industries and workers rights, on Palestine, on Apartheid, on the dangers of the unbridled financial sector, on tax-dodging, on Uber, on the undemocratic EU.
“For all these reasons, I’m proud to represent the only candidate with a lifetime fighting for peace, justice and equality. I’m a Londoner born and bred. I live and work here. I see how the city is having its heart torn out by developers. How our transport system is decaying under an inept TfL, and has become a daily nightmare for millions of commuters and drivers.
“The Greater London Assembly must not be a talking shop. Members must speak for the hard-working Londoners who pay their wages. For those being thrown out of their homes to make way for gentrification. For those priced out of the city they grew up in their whole life.
“Finally, I stand by all the campaigns against the mini-Holland project which is damaging so many local businesses and communities. If you elect me, I will make this a priority in the GLA.”
Jennette Arnold (Labour Party)
Jennette did not respond to emails from the Echo. On her website, Jennette is described as follows: “After a career in nursing, senior roles with the Royal College of Nursing and working as a training and development consultant, Jennette found her natural home as a campaigner. She was a councillor in Islington for eight years and was elected as a London-wide Assembly Member in 2000. Since 2004, she has proudly represented North East London on the London Assembly.
“Jennette is a relentless campaigner and has consistently linked her political roles to her campaigning work to bring about change for Londoners. When she was chair of the London Health Commission she campaigned successfully to ensure a smoke-free London.
“Through her previous involvement with the Metropolitan Police Authority, she successfully oversaw the establishment of Community Safety Boards in her constituency. She has been an active supporter of the Justice4Jamie campaign highlighting the devastating effects of knife crime, and has supported BLUNT policing initiatives to tackle this problem London-wide, and campaigned against the Home Office’s ‘Go Home’ operations.
“Jennette is a fierce campaigner for improved accessibility across London’s transport network, particularly focusing on Step-Free Access at key transport hubs such as Finsbury Park Station.
“In October 2009, Jennette was made an OBE for her services to local government and London.”
Samir Jeraj (Green Party)
“I’m proud to be standing for election to the London Assembly. Like many people in the capital I wasn’t born here, but London has become my home and I’m committed to making it a better place to live for everyone. I’m an activist, campaigner and journalist focused on issues around housing and race; issues which are core to the day to day lives and hardships of many Londoners.
“My work on rented housing has led me to jointly write a book, listening to some of the terrible things that are happening to renters, and looking at how housing can be made to work again for people rather than profit.
“In my work at a race equality organisation I look at how black and minority ethnic communities are affected by certain issues, and how policy can be improved in areas like mental health, criminal justice, and housing.
“My political experience dates to 2008, when I was elected a councillor in Norwich. Some of my proudest moments include helping an elderly council tenant get a new carpet, getting the council to sort out a rat infestation in a blind woman’s flat, and helping to reunite a family kept apart by immigration problems.”
Sam Malik (Conservative Party)
“As a recent graduate it is a privilege to be selected as the Conservative London Assembly Candidate for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest.
“I want to be your London Assembly Member because I am experiencing first-hand what it is like to be a young adult in today’s London. My generation of Londoners work hard, but we face real challenges to pay our rent, let alone buy a home.
“I have witnessed first hand the difficulties young people face in our city. When knives were brought in to my school, my classmates perhaps didn’t think they would be the ones getting hurt. They were caught, expelled, and their futures wasted. I avoided that, but I would use my role as your London Assembly Member to take the message to every school in Hackney, Islington & Waltham Forest to give the next generation the best chances of avoiding such terrible outcomes.
“As your representative I will not only work to deliver more homes, better transport, cleaner air and safer streets, but also use my experience of growing up in London to take an active role in improving the lives of everyone in our city.”
Bill Martin (Socialist Party of Great Britain)
“Socialism isn’t about paying benefits, taxing the rich or nationalising industries. Today, we co-operate and produce wealth together. Everyone’s work is equally needed. But we don’t benefit equally. The people who really benefit, are those who own the world. We cannot be free while we work for them and not ourselves.
“The glorified talking shop of the Greater London Assembly is just about managing the costs of keeping inequality going. The SOCIALIST PARTY wants wealth and power owned and controlled by everyone. We are seeking a stop to electing people who redistribute poverty and run the world for the rich.
“When a majority of us stand firm and demand that the wealth of the world is brought into common and democratic ownership we will be able to peacefully make that change. When that happens, we will be freed from bosses, loan sharks and landlords. We will be able to produce wealth to supply the needs for all. We will be able to work less because we won’t be working for the privilege of a few. We would no longer need money, buying or selling. We could share the wealth we make among ourselves rationally.”
Terry Stacy (Liberal Democrat Party)
“The two big issues that residents are raising on the door steps with us are housing, which is in crisis across the capital, the hard truth is that we can’t rely on the same old private sector developers or unfunded promises. We need a City Hall building company the Lib Dems will turn the former Olympic Precept into a house building fund which will build 50,000 council homes and 150,000 homes for private rent and sale. We have to shift the balance of power to renters, tackling rogue landlords. Waltham Forest Council has a terrible record in tackling poor private landlords, we need London wide action.
“The second is crime, I’ve got the experience of working with the police as a former Councillor, magistrate and chair of my safer neighbourhood policing panel But the hard truth is that we need a big increase in local police on our streets to tackle today’s crime problems. It isn’t enough to talk tough about knife crime – new approaches are needed like youth workers in A&E and education programmes in all schools. That way we can break the cycle of gang violence. It’s work that should have been rolled out long ago.”
Jonathan Silberman (Communist League)
“I am an agency worker on a zero hours contract, and a life-long trade unionist. The economic recovery is a myth for working people. The propertied rulers are making us pay – while scapegoating Muslims, Jews, immigrants. We need united working class resistance.
“The unions should organise all workers – ‘permanent’ and agency, UK-born and foreign-born – and use union power to defend our interests: fighting for government-funded public works to provide jobs and build the homes, hospitals, schools and infrastructure we need.
“The candidates of the other parties make all sorts of reform promises. But the goal isn’t to push capitalism to the left or right. It’s to get rid of the dictatorship of capital along with its dog-eat-dog values. This means organising independently of the capitalist parties. As working people struggle together, we gain experience, self-confidence and class consciousness. We become capable of waging a revolutionary fight for a workers and farmers government, and a society based on human solidarity.
“This is the road working people in Cuba have taken: defend the Cuban revolution and emulate it here.”
Freddy Vachha (UK Independence Party)
Freddy did not respond to emails from the Echo. When launching UKIP’s 2016 local elections campaign this week, party leader Nigel Farage said: “UKIP is the only party showing real growth in local government, while the other parties are trying to hang on to what they have.
“This is because local government is under pressure and services are stretched due to the government’s open door policy combined with reduced funding. UKIP will change this, put people first and stop mass uncontrolled immigration which is pushing our infrastructure to breaking point.
“Every year more and more UKIP councillors are being elected. We are giving people and communities what they deserve, more power for local people and local communities and more say over what happens in your street, village, town and City. We are doing this by offering local referenda on big issues. We promise an alternative of direct democracy and empowering the people who elect us. UKIP is putting democracy back into local government.
“You can be confident that if you vote UKIP, you’ll get UKIP. We are the only party being honest about immigration, jobs and housing; the only party offering a real alternative.”
The deadline to register to vote in the London 2016 election is 18th April. To find out more about voting: