Sunday, September 30, 2007
The conference proper didn't start until today and I will write about today later. However yesterday the National Convention met, in a very useful meeting. I hadn't attended the National
Convention previously and its essentially the time when all the Association chairmen meet, along with the regional officers.
We had some useful presentations from senior members of the convention and then briefings from George Osborn and Caroline Spelman. George covered the election planning made by the Party. As some of it was obviously sensitive info, I won't write anymore on it but happy to tell people!
Quite surprisingly David Cameron came and gave a good pep talk too.
It will be an excellent conference!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Tenants' fury as husband of labour MP buys the home she vowed to save:
[Emily Thornberry] a human rights lawyer, made great play of her efforts to protect affordable housing - once campaigning with the slogan 'social housing for all, not luxury flats for the wealthy'.
But their faith in 47-year-old Miss Thornberry is now under strain after they discovered that her husband, who is a judge as well as a QC, had bought one of the properties.
Monday, September 03, 2007
On the 24th August, Islington CF had a really fun wine tasting on Middle Eastern wines. We sampled a good mix of Israel’s and Lebanon’s wines. We were led by interwined.com writer, Jacob Gaffney and the wines were supplied by Illi Adato from the WorldWineXchange.com. After a few hours of wine tasting, and good conversation a number of members went off to The House in Canonbury and then, I understand, a few even made it on to Fabric.
Then on last Saturday we had a more subdued affair, with a Summer Garden Party, held at the kind invitation of Martine and Peter Oborne in Highbury Fields. Four members kindly baked scones and cakes and these were washed down with tea and followed by a glass of Pimms. Chris Skidmore, Deputy Chairman, donated a signed copy of his book on Edward VI: The Lost King of England.
If you are interested in attending our future events then please contact the Association.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Will people choose Boris, Boff, Borwick or Lightfoot? They all have websites and quite a bit about them on ConservativeHome to help you make up your mind. When we hear about the planned Hustings, we shall of course inform you then too.
Don't worry if you a member of Islington Conservatives, your ballot should automatically be sent out to you.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Alexander has lived and worked locally in London for the past fifteen years. He lives in Hackney, is a local school governor, Chairman of the school finance committee and is committed to try and improve the lot of the average hard pressed resident of London North East. Having been a constituency officer and activist in both Islington and Hackney he has knocked on thousands of doors over the years and knows the concerns of local residents. His main priority is to bring common sense to the governance of London and to ensure that a man like Livingstone does not represent London over the next four years in the run up to 2012.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
- Alexander Ellis
- Ellie Hopkins
- Atiq Malik
- David Vaiani
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
ISLINGTON Council's £45million portfolio of 222 shops, warehouses and charity offices is set to be sold for almost £70million to property investment company Structadene.
Many leaseholders are still hoping to buy their own premises - even though a number of the 159 traders who had hoped to purchase now need to raise hundreds of thousands more than they were expecting. Structadene has told the council how much it is offering for each property in the portfolio and, in order to buy, leaseholders need to price-match this figure.
As we discussed on our site back in February, the tenant businesses were originally looking to be offered the right to purchase. Now we need to ensure that as much as possible neither the Council is deprived of revenue nor that are our local businesses are adversely affected.
We need to ensure that the Right to Buy for the tenants is as transparent and a fair a process as possible. We also need to check that the Council does not squander the monies it raises, and we will do all we can to find out how this money is 'reinvested' into our Borough!
Currently the seat is held by Labour's Jenette Arnold. In the 2004 Election, the Conservatives were narrowly third place. Labour received 26.8%, LibDems received 17.3% with the Conservative Candidate Andrew Boff receiving 16.7%. In contrast in the 2000 elections for the constituency, the LibDems had been 3.3% ahead of us, so we definately are closing the gap.
We had eight applicants to review for the selection yesterday, and short listed them down to four candidates. One of the four is a member of the Islington Association. We won't release the names until the unsuccessful applicants have been notified.
The next stage in the Selection is a Question Time format meeting at the Walthamstow Conservative Club later in June. The event will hopefully be chaired by a high profile Conservative MP. We will update you when we have all the details!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Whilst flicking through the Times today, I read today's column by Matthew Parris. IN part of his article he wrote about a bizarre situation regarding the dumping in the countryside of urban foxes. Surprisingly you can always identify a released urban fox, as it will run towards buildings instead of away from them.
This made me wonder what Islington Council does for fox management. I thought I would start with Islington Council's website and it says this:
The council's pest control section provides information and guidance on deterring foxes from your property, but doesn't provide treatments.
They recommend you contact a charity called the Fox Project. However if you look around on the Council website , you will find their guide to Urban Foxes, although I prefer their filename, PestFox. Apart from some helpful pointers on rubbish disposal, and contacting the Fox Project, the most helpful piece of advice is
- If you suspect foxes are ‘going to ground’ on your property, much can be done to discourage them from using a den by creating noise and disturbance in the vicinity
So basically make some noise or contact the Fox Project, and over in theie website, the advice is:
Some householders do not like foxes in their garden, so The Fox Project operates a specialist fox deterrence and advice service, which is both more effective and more humane than outmoded "pest control".
So it looks like we are stuck with our Urban Foxes in Islington, so let's just make sure she doesn't dont recieve any more votes.
Shoppers in Islington cheered as they witnessed a parking warden’s van being towed away by a clamper.
They watched on in delight as the Islington council van – which had stopped in a bus bay – was hoisted into the air by a TfL tow truck.
The incident took place on Upper Street, in Islington, north London. One witness said: “It was amusing. People were shouting ‘Go on my son’.”
But a TfL spokesman said: “The van actually broke down and was being recovered by the truck because both work out of the same depot.”
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Boris Johnson points out that 50% of parents in Islington buy extra tuition for their children.
My role as Chairman in Islington Conservatives isn’t to provide or comment on Conservative Party policy on a national issue, however personally I do agree with Boris’s point that we need to address our children’s education, especially in locations like Islington.
As one of the Islington Conservative Future Officers said to me on Sunday, schools are one of the most vital influences on everyone and good schools can benefit a child beyond any other factor.
I am glad that this Nationwide debate about schooling is showing the measures the Conservative Party can and will introduce when next in office, including more setting and streaming
Actually the whole of Boris's Islington related comment in his grammar schools article was as follows:
They pay for tutors, like the former Labour education minister Margaret Hodge, and it is largely thanks to her diabolical leadership of Islington that, in some schools in the borough, the number receiving expensive out-of-school tuition has risen to 50 per cent, and no one complains about the consequences for the 50 per cent of children whose parents cannot afford the tutor.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
From today's Guardian Diary:
Hats off, finally, to the ever-alert Lib Dems, who yesterday protested against post office closures outside the post office at 238 Essex Road, Islington, currently threatened with closure because it and 221 other fine properties across the borough have been put up for sale by Islington's Lib Dem-controlled council. Brilliant.
Only today Bridget Fox (Islington LibDem PPC for Islington South & Finsbury) wrote on her website:
Meanwhile Liberal Democrats will continue to support local residents and fight to save Essex Road Post Office. On Monday Jo Swinson MP supported me as we launched our petition demanding the Post Office keep Essex Road open.
How can the Islington Lib Dems be supporting residents by selling off these properties, or does Bridget not speak with her former Council colleagues?
Friday, March 23, 2007
At a well attended meeting, new officers were elected as follows:
President: Boris Johnson MP
Chairman: Duncan Webster
Deputy Chairman (Membership): Patricia Napier
Deputy Chairman (Campaigning, South): Simon Toms
Deputy Chairman (Campaigning, North): Chris Skidmore
Vice Chairman (South): Kim Anderson
Vice Chairman (North): Paul Newman
After the formal review of the accounts, etc, members enjoyed a glass of wine and some friendly discussions.
As the new Chairman of Islington Conservatives, I want to thank Margaret Reese, the outgoing Chairman for her hard work and I look forward to working with all Islington Conservatives's members and supporters as well as with the residents of the borough.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Just a gentle reminder that the wine tasting is all set for Thursday evening and that a few more tickets are still available.
We are also very pleased to announce that Richard Merrin of Holborn and St Pancras Conservatives, who is a local businessman and was the party candidate in last year's Kentish Town Ward by-election, will speak for a few minutes.
Please email us at email@example.com to let us know if you would like to attend.
Islington PCT has decided to close the Medicine House Practice on Seven Sisters Road after the death of Dr. Mrigendra Nandi , the Practice's only GP. The surgery treats about 2,000 patients, many from whom are from the Andover Estate which was recently visited by Ann Widdecombe MP.
This has resulted in 5 staff losing their jobs, and residents having to look for new GPs after Dr. Nandi had served the area for over 20 years. Islington PCT explained that nearby doctors would try to accomodate patients who fell into their catchment areas, and that it was not possible to find a doctor quick enough to avoid having to close the surgery.
The Conservative Party has been backing a national campaign to underline our support for the staff of our NHS and the patients they serve. We in Islington took to the streets in October as a part of this effort.
What has happened with the Medicine House Practice is a chilling example of the job losses and inadequate planning that have come with Mr. Brown's NHS cuts. Have you been affected by the closure?
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Local traders on the whole agreed with Islington Conservative Party's policy on this very important issue: of allowing the traders the Right to Buy.
David Scotcher, of David Scotcher Interiors in Upper Street, said: "We haven't got a problem with the council selling off as long as we get the option to buy in a fair way. We've been here more than 20 years."
George Hussein, who has three businesses in Central Street said: "Small businesses like this take a lot of dedication and are the backbone of the community."
I was most impressed by the fact that Islington's Labour councillors will call for traders to be offered first-refusal on their properties. I am now waiting for Islington Labour councillors to call for all residents in Islington council properties to be offered the right to buy their own properties as well, although seeing the way HfI has managed the exisiting Islington leaseholders, you would perhaps want them to buy the freehold as well!
Socialist (noun) - An individual who likes poor people so much, that he tries his hardest to make more people poor.
Then Arthurian Legend picked it up and asked Is you bein' racialist?
Yesterday the Islington Gazette has this article on their website about the situation:
A JOB advert on Islington Council's website asking for 40 Afro-Caribbean men to become teaching assistants has been branded a disgrace by a top local Tory.
Paul Newman, vice-chairman (north) of Islington Conservatives, says the advert for the roles in Islington's Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) is insulting and could encourage support for right-wing parties such as the BNP.
He said: "Do we need divisive special treatment for newcomers? Absolutely not, there is already growing suspicion and mistrust. This will add to it.
"Black children and white children should be treated the same and so should their teachers. Simple."
If you have any local issues that you want to comment about on here, then please let us know.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
"Enough about cannabis smoking! What are the Tory policies on everything else? There's an election coming up, don't you know!
As policies are a vital issue for residents in our borough, I just thought I would write a brief post about Islington Conservatives policies. At the last election in Islington (the 2006 Council Elections), our policies were summarised as:
- a Safer Islington
- Putting Islington’s children first
- A fairer Islington
- A greener Islington
- More value for your money
- Restoring communities
- Commonsense parking
To be honest, our policies haven’t really changed much from that position on a local level. Since David Cameron was elected leader of the Conservative Party, he has opened up the debate on all our policies, and invited figures to assist with the party’s policy rejuvenation through Policy Groups, and indeed many of our members are assisting. For example, Patricia Napier, our Deputy Chairman of Membership, is assisting the Carbon Challenge and Ruben Lee from St George's ward is helping explore ways to tackle Deregulation.
If you want to read more about the Conservative Party’s Policy Groups to see how the Conservative Party is looking to address the challenges the
But I do have to make a point about 'there are elections coming up', at the moment there are not any scheduled for central London this year - but we will see if/when Gordon is crowned PM.
Monday, February 12, 2007
"my favourite Local Conservative site has to be Islington Conservatives - as it's easy to read, stylish and always up-to-date. Congratulations, Islington Conservatives! "
If you have any ideas for what we could add to our websites, then please let us know.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
In Islington Conservatives we have experienced our own positive defections last year, when Cllr Dave Barnes in Highbury East joined our party prior to the 2006 Council Elections. Over the past twenty years, he had been a Labour, LibDem and Independent councillor, but was engaged by Cameron's compassionate conservatism.
Do you think more Islington LibDems or Labour supporters will join the Conservative Party? As Peter Oborne wrote, Lord Adonis, the Labour Peer and Islingtonian could be one of the switchers, do you think he would join us to ensure schools reforms are continued?
You can read most of Peter Oborne's recent columns online here.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
When out on the doorstep, our fellow Islingtonians frequently mention that anti-social behaviour remains a major issue in Islington. As I was coming home yesterday I flicked through London Lite. Stu from Islington had written in commenting on anti-social behaviour.
Stu stated: “I don’t think Asbos are in any way effective in reducing the crime rate – they are more like a badge of honour for the teenager who gets it. The government needs to get tougher on teenage tearaways. Merely giving them a rap on the knuckles and asking them nicely not to do it again is clearly not effective.”
In Islington the LibDem council is reticent to even make use of Asbos, instead relying on acceptable behaviour contracts. Speaking in the House of Commons in January on anti-social behaviour, Nick Herbert, Conservative MP for Arundel commented:
“nearly half of the young people whose case files were reviewed had been returned to court for failure to comply with their order…. It is the same story with acceptable behaviour contracts, which are broken by more than 60% of those under 18.”
“It is clear that ASBOs are an ineffective and inappropriate instrument to deal with hardened criminal behaviour, and that a minority of offenders should be dealt with in the courts and properly sentenced, so that victims can be assured that action has been taken. But the Government's approach is the opposite. It is increasingly to develop what they call summary justice, so that such cases are not dealt with in the courts. That summary justice is, increasingly, soft justice.”
In this instance, I think it is best to defer to Nick’s well researched argument that I believe deals with this issue very well. The Association website has also been running a poll on whether you think Islington Council has dealt with Anti-Social behaviour,at the moment 84% of our visitors dont believe it has been properly tackled.
If you want to read Nick Herbert's full speech, its online here.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Islington has been afire with the news of the Council's plans to sell two hundred of its freeholds to finance its spending on schools, regeneration and home building programmes, a portfolio said to be worth about £45 million.
We have been covering this story on our main website since the first news broke. Our Nick Canty attended the explosive South Area Meeting on Monday night- his report is soon to be posted. Traders on Amwell Street have taken out a full page advertisement in today's Islington Tribune, warning that a wholescale sell-off will result in increased rents, breakdown of communities, and the loss of shops and services.
Meanwhile, the Council has been blasted for its £5 million bill for external consultants last year, a 150% increase from 2001. Islington is one of the biggest spenders on schools in the country but remains one of the worst-performing boroughs for education in the UK - last week, it was revealed that 96% of children at the Clerkenwell Parochial C of E school failed to meet the Government's writing targets. Homes for Islington is hitting leaseholders with bills of up to £41,000 for what is claimed to be years of underinvestment in our estates. So is this the real reason why they want to sell off these properties?
In any case, please help our neighbours and local businessmen in their efforts to buy these freeholds, remembering the great Conservative tradition of supporting communities by giving council tenants the right to buy their properties instead of selling to faceless developers. Here's what you can do:
- Visit www.amwelltraders.wordpress.com for more information about the impact of this sell-off on Amwell Street and sign their petition.
- Write to your local councillor and to the local newspapers.
- Attend your local area meeting:
- North Area Committee Meeting: February 13, 7.30pm, Archway Campus
- East Area Committee: February 13, 7.30pm, Resources Centre, 356 Holloway Road
Please use the comments section to let us know your thoughts and experiences about this sell-off!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
At lunchtime yesterday I attended the City Conservative Forum. This is a monthly meeting where a Conservative MP comes across to the City to speak about a topical issue or issues close to their heart.
The speaker was meant to be Shailesh Vara MP, Shadow Leader of the House, but unfortunately he was asked to debate about the House of Lords Reform in the Commons. Luckily, James Gray MP came in his place. James was previously the Shadow Defence Minister and clearly the military is an issue close to his heart. However, James focused yesterday on the current Labour leadership crisis and I have to say I found him an interesting and friendly speaker.
During the Q&A after his talk, we discussed many issues relevant to Islington, as well as many other London boroughs. For example, we talked about methods to encourage individuals to return to employment, eg the Welfare to Work schemes, as well as the dreadful state of education in many parts of the country. This subject was very important to me as Islington is one of the worst-performing boroughs in the country for education. Quite rightly, Mr. Gray reinforced the Party's line on increased setting and streaming across the education sector, allowing children to learn within a group of their own abilities.
It wasn't until afterwards that I realised he was recently in a lot of recent press coverage. But he seems very passionate about the Conservative Party and has been reselected by the Party Association in North Wiltshire.
Although there was only about 2 inches of snow reported, London nearly ground to a halt today for the second time this year and unfortunately Islington was no exception.
According to the Islington Gazette, about a dozen schools across the borough did not open today due to the snowfall. Police were called to five accidents on our streets, although thankfully no one was seriously injured. Today's scheduled rubbish collection has had to be postponed, pushing forward the collection for those who were due to have their rubbish picked up tomorrow.
The Council is to be commended for having a Winter Plan for the borough, and it is clear that these preparations were put in place in time for today, for instance, with street sweepers putting down grit on the pavements. However, if cities like Moscow and Toronto can manage to keep business going as usual in the face of average snowfalls tens of times heavier than we experience, it is clear that this simply isn't enough.
How well do you think the Council has done in dealing with the snow today? How do you think they could improve their response?
Note: The Islington Gazette article can be accessed here.
Association President, Boris Johnson MP, will be the guest speaker at Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association's Inaugural Association Dinner on Friday 2nd March. The event will be held at the Palms Hotel, Harold Wood. Tickets are priced at £40 for regular members, with £30 tickets available for CF members.
This event promises to be very popular, so if you would like to book a ticket, please contact Gary Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to secure your place. Please go along if you can to support our President and our sister Association!
Havering CF also has a brilliant blog at www.haveringcf.blogspot.com where you can see lots of photos of their recent events and keep in touch with what they are up to.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
We also sent out our latest newsletter to members via email and discussed some future events that we are planning. You can view a copy of this newsletter which is online here.
If you would like to come along to our next meeting, please feel free. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7-9pm in the office, and our next session will be on February 20th. We are really eager to welcome new members and supporters , and afterwards we would like to go on to the pub if people wish.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
At an executive meeting in December, the following officers were appointed to the Executive of Islington Conservative Future for 2007.
President: Duncan Webster
Duncan is the former Chairman of Islington Conservative Future and is also Deputy Chairman for Campaigning in the main Association.
Chairman: David Tucker
David was born in London and has lived in Islington for four years. He works in Finance for a music company and enjoys politics and sports.
Deputy Chairman - Campaigning: Calum Elmslie
Calum is a final year War Studies student at King's College London. He is an avid rugby player and a proud Scotsman.
Deputy Chairman - Social: Toby Norfolk-Thompson
Toby is a City trader and has lived in Islington for the last four years. He enjoys organising events and photography.
Secretary: Ramona Simms
Ramona is currently training to become a barrister. She has lived in Islington for the last three years and enjoys following current affairs.
Sparkling Wine Tasting- Thursday, February 22nd
Back by popular demand, Islington Conservative Future will be hosting another of our wine tastings led by Jacob Gaffney on Thursday, February 22nd. The theme this time around will be Sparking Wines, and the wines sampled will include Spanish Cava, Champagne and Italian Prosecco.
International journalist, Jacob Gaffney, has contributed regularly to the world's largest wine publication, Wine Spectator, for more than seven years. During the course of his time with the magazine, Jacob has grown increasingly interested in organic and biodynamic wines, especially in terms of marketing and brand development, and was recently honoured as the guest speaker at the launch of Organico, Britain's first dedicated organic wine shop. Please read Jacob's very entertaining blog at www.interwined.blogspot.com. We also hope to have a guest speaker at this wine tasting.
Those of you who will have been to our past wine tastings will already be familiar with Jacob and the quality of the wines which are available for tasting and purchase. Our last wine tasting, which focused on German and Austrian wines, was a great success with over 30 people attending. Wines of Germany kindly donated a case of Doctor Loosen dessert wine for sampling and Ingmar Streese from the German Embassy in London came along to say a few words.
The event will be held at our offices at 67 Halliford Street, off Essex Road at 7:30pm and the cost will be £15 per person. If you would like to attend, please send payment preferably by cheque, or if places are still available, you can pay on the night in cash, provided that you let us know beforehand that you will be attending.
If you can’t make it this time, we hope to have a Middle Eastern wine tasting on Thursday, April 19th, featuring a selection of Israeli and Lebanese wines. We also hope to have a lively debate on Arab-Israeli issues.
A lively campaigning group has been meeting in the office every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7-9pm. Over a drink and a few nibbles, we aim to draft and print more leaflets, discuss policies, and give help and guidance on all aspects of campaigning. Please come and join us- all are welcome!
Registration is now open for the Conservative Party Spring Forum which is set to be held in Nottingham on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th March 2007. You can register online at conservativespringforum.com or have a hard copy sent to you from the office. The agenda is currently being finalized, and accreditation will cost £31.50 for party members and £16.50 for party members who are students.
If you are on Facebook, please join our group – Islington Conservatives. We have 12 members already signed up and there is room for more!
2007 is set to be a bumper year for Islington CF. Along with the wine tastings which we hope to have at regular intervals, a few other events are in the works:
Scavenger Hunt – join us for a post-Easter scavenger hunt around the borough, followed by a few drinks. The provisional date is 14th April.
Club Night – we have plans to hold a club night at the Salmon and Compasses on Chapel Market, with Conservative DJs Ali Miraj and Richard Bretherton. The provisional date for this event will be May 29th.
Summer Barbecue – as always we plan to have a summer barbecue in July or August.
Go-karting – we would like to have an action-packed day at The Raceway at Kings Cross. No date set at the moment.
As always, if you have any other ideas or suggestions, please let us know.
Islington CF Officers
Today Roger Evans from the GLA today reacted with disbelief to news that two of the main unions representing London Underground employees have rejected a generous deal from London Underground that would see services run 30 minutes later on Friday and Saturday evenings
How many of our visitors would wish to use the tube later on?
What do you think about the unions rejecting this deal?
Following the announcement on our website about GLA seats being open for applicants, I was wondering who would you want to run in Islington for the London North East GLA Seat?
Do you want one of our members to run, perhaps Paul Newman or Chris Skidmore? Would you want a former candidate to run, perhaps John Moss (Hackney South, 2005) or Melanie McLean (Islington South, 2005)? or would you want someone random to run!?