Friday, February 23, 2007

Carbon challenge

Deputy chairman of membership, Patricia Napier, has started reporting on how she is trying to meet the Carbon Challenge that is facing us all. She is blogging as part of the Quality of Life Challenge. If you want to read her posts please visit the Carbon Challenge.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Winetasting - Thursday 22nd February

Dear all,

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 to let us know if you would like to attend.

Medicine House Closure

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

Islington Council Sell Off

As previosuly mentioned on here and our main website, Islington Council are selling off large swathes of business premises. The Islington Gazette has further information on the sale, including the list of included properties.

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!

Definition of the day: Socialism

Yesterday I met a French client at my work and as we ended up discussing the French Presidential election, he told me the correct definition of a Socialist:

Socialist (noun) - An individual who likes poor people so much, that he tries his hardest to make more people poor.

Islington Conservative Blogger breaks story

On the 4th Feb, local Conservative Paul Newman wrote about about Islington Council hiring African-Caribbean Men in a comment on his blog: No Blacks Allowed.....(?).

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

Islington CF

Islington Conservative Future now has its own site. Please visit

Conservative Policies

Today in London Lite 'John from N1' wrote a brief letter into the paper:
"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
(More details on our local policies are on our website).

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 UK faces, click here. Also if you are in Islington member and want to become involved in setting policy locally or nationally, we regularly run Conservative Policy Forums, with the next hopefully having many of the Conservative London Mayoral Candidates along.

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

Blatant Plug

Justin Hinchcliffe from Haringey Conservatives complimented us on our web efforts via his blog:
"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

Will more LibDems join Islington Conservatives?

Yesterday Islington resident and well regarded columnist and broadcaster, Peter Oborne, wrote a column about David Cameron's Conservatives attracting both LibDem and Labour MPs, Peers and activists with our reformed policies. The article was picked up by both ConservativeHome:Team Cameron are wooing and Guido Fawkes:Osborne Tried to Lure LibDem.

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

A Modern Badge of Honour?

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

The Great Sell-Off

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:

  • 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

Yesterday's City Conservative Forum

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.

Snow Chaos Again - is Islington Council Doing Enough?

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.

Boris Johnson MP at Havering and Upminster CA

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 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 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

Last night's campaigning meeting

Last night, Islington Conservatives held a campaigning meeting in our offices. The ten of us who came discussed leafletting strategies and future campaigning events. It looks like we will be doing some leaflet deliveries in most wards over the next few weeks, so please let us know if you can spare some time to help.

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

Islington Conservative Future Update

As this is the first ICF mailout for 2007, let us take the chance to wish you and yours all the best for the upcoming year. Here are a few bits and bobs to keep you updated on what has been going on and what we have planned for the future. If you would like to recieve this update by email, please contact to be added to our mailing list.

CF Executive

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 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.

Campaigning Nights

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!

Spring Forum

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 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!

Future Events

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.

Kind regards,

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?

Our GLA Candidate

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!?

Join us on Facebook

Click here to visit our Facebook group. You must have a Facebook profile to view this group.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Members, please join

To all members and supporters of Islington Conservatives, if you wish to blog here, then please let us know so that we can add you.

If you want to see any news from the association, then please visit