Friday, 27 January 2012

Conservative Future Women

I am delighted to announce the launch of Conservative Future Women, an organisation dedicated to supporting young women in Conservative Future within the Conservative Party whose goal is to support the next generation of Conservative women to engage with local and national politics.

CFW will support, encourage, train and advise young women to put themselves forward for elected positions in the Conservative Party and will help increase the number of young females putting their names forward at local and national elections.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP will officially launch us on Wednesday 8th February. 

To attend please register here

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Say No to TFL's proposed removal of Purley Way crossing

Last week I was contacted by a local resident in Court Drive telling me that they had received a letter off TFL stating that they were proposing to remove the pelican crossing at the end of Waddon Park Avenue across the Purley Way.

After a few phone calls this turned out to be true- despite neither the Council nor my ward colleagues or myself being notified.

We disagree with TFL that this crossing should be removed as a lot of residents who live in neighbouring roads namely The Ridgeway, Court Drive, Waddon Court Road, Alton Road and Waddon Park Avenue use it a lot to cross the busy and sometimes dangerous Purley Way.

TFl’s justification for removing the crossing is “The pedestrian demand at this site reaches a maximum of 44% during the weekday AM peak which is low compared to the London average.” It would be useful to see the locations of the other pelican crossings that TFL have got data on as if they are in Central London ie. outside Victoria/London Bridge train station the  you would assume that they would have a larger pedestrain footfall than that of this crossing.

On Saturday we are knocking on doors in The Ridgeway, Court Drive, Waddon Court Road, Alton Road and Waddon Park Avenue to see what other residents views are and collecting signatures for our petition against this crossing.

Photo of proposed crossing that TFL are planning to remove

Please contact me at for more information and help us to save this crossing!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Launch of Conservative Future Women with The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

During the final few months of my term as Conservative Future's Deputy Chairman for Membership I established Conservative Future Women (CFW). CFW aims to encourage young women to get involved in politics and our goal is to support the next generation of Conservative women to engage with the party and politics in their communities. 

I am delighted to announce our launch event on Wednesday 8th February with The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

I look forward to seeing you all there and please note that due to security reasons tickets you must register in advance.

To register click here 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

France Gets a Downgrade, Labour Need an Upgrade

As the Eurozone crisis grows rapidly worse and a series of countries find themselves losing their gold plated credit ratings due to unprecedented economic turbulence, it’s not surprising that many people are thinking – thank god the Tories got in. After years of Labour splurging our hard earned cash on useless projects and wasteful ventures, the time for ‘good housekeeping’ was long overdue. In the final days of the Labour administration, the obsessive ability to waste our money, like a fruit machine addict, at the expense of the national interest was not simply foolish – it was obscene.

Earlier in the week, we were promised the spectre of a newly revitalised Ed Miliband, policy rich and passionate about how he might change the country. This was inevitably a disappointment, as we were greeted with a weak, weedy leader of the opposition whose speech was both flat and boring. The main problem facing the younger Miliband is his outright refusal to admit that Labour spent too much money. Maybe it’s arrogance or simply the influence of Ed Balls that’s stopping Ed making a break with the past, but the current strategy neither inspires nor encourages confidence with voters. Until Labour can come to terms with its mistakes, apologise and make amends then it will remain trapped in a black hole – deluded with the warped notion that one day voters will wake up and see Ed Miliband is the natural choice for Prime Minister.

Labour did indeed spend too much, far too much. The Conservatives have made tough and challenging cuts that have impacted everyone. But the difference is that the Conservative have made these choices in the national interest. Britain must stay on a clear and sensible course of deficit reduction if it is to avoid falling into the economic abyss.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Iconic Lady

After seeing the teaser trailers and the TV promotions, I was very much looking forward to seeing Meryl Streep’s performance as Margret Thatcher in much hyped film The Iron Lady. Taking my seat in London’s Odeon cinema in Leicester Square on Saturday evening with a group of friends, the audience sat with excited anticipation as the introductory credits began to roll.  The opening scene features a frail old woman, walking across London’s streets to the local corner shop to purchase a pint of milk. The proceeding shots paint Britain’s greatest peace time Prime Minister as a woman consumed by dementia, confused, vulnerable and alone in the world.

Having personal experience of a family member suffering from dementia, the on screen pain as the frail former Prime Minister becomes forgetful and confused is particularly difficult – and realistic. Yet the film itself repeatedly reminds the audience of this condition, scene after scene to a point where the lingering on the condition verges on gratuitous. This is an aspect of the film most viewers have also criticised, and rightly so.

Nevertheless, despite the uncomfortable viewing, the film has several moments of magic. Watching the young, vulnerable Miss Roberts fend off and triumph over sexism and snobbery over her humble background working in a grocer’s store is a delight. As is her meteoric rise to power, with her straight talking, no nonsense approach captures the imagination of voters, delivering her into the position of Prime Minister.

Thatcher reminds us all of the dangers of dithering when it comes to policy. In an era when politicians are fixated with being ‘liked’ instead of respected, her approach illustrates perfectly how a commitment to beliefs and actions can raise unprecedented and sometimes unexpected support from the electorate. Whilst Labour’s Ed Miliband refuses to admit that Labour spent too much, as Conservatives we must stand firm on our commitment to cut the deficit and get our country back on track. It is our moral duty to reduce the toxic amounts of debt saddling our country and help get Britain firmly on the road to recovery.

This approach will undoubtedly trigger criticism, smears and attacks from those on the left, but as Meryl Streep’s character says in her booming voice, “We will stand on principle or we will not stand at all.”

Friday, 6 January 2012

Rioting in Croydon should not be tolerated again

My piece in full published on ConservativeHome this morning:

Like many other residents returning home from a hard day’s work on that mild August evening in Croydon, I was forced to witness horrendous acts of mindless vandalism and violence targeted at the very fabric of my local community. Local shops were burned, windows smashed and armies of thugs lined the streets, intimidating passers-by and throwing rocks at Police. Already the skyline of the town centre was filled with huge plumes of black smoke and burglar alarms and sirens rang out along the streets of ransacked shops.

Whilst those on the left would have you believe that the perpetrators of these atrocities were simply ‘victims’ who had been dealt a bad hand in life and needed to be heard, the reality for those on the ground was very different. The selfish thugs that looted and burnt down some of town’s most historic buildings and terrorised innocent members of the public did so because they wanted to – and they enjoyed doing it.

There have been mountains of paperwork, essays and data analysis conducted to try and find an excuse for the rioters’ actions in the summer. Social, economic and cultural angles have been explored, graphs produced and pie charts formed. The reality is of course that many of those involved in these atrocities had a well-documented criminal history along with a complete disregard for their communities and neighbours.

Little attention was given to the numbers of victims impacted by the riots. For example, a shocking 100 Croydon households - many with young families - lost their homes or were unable to return home because of the vandalism inflicted. This is something we need to bear in mind when allegations of ‘harsh criminal sentences’ are levied at the courts.
I was proud and inspired to see hundreds of volunteers lining the streets with their brooms at the ready, to work with the Council, Police and local residents to assist the clean-up operation. In the first few months Croydon Council provided £90,000 in grants to those who lost their homes in the riots. Approximately 280 businesses across the borough were directly impacted by the disorder, doing tremendous damage to the local economy. In response the Council has put in place a comprehensive £1 million Business Support Fund to help the recovery.

As Conservatives, we must not falter on a tough agenda of law and order. Our response and the lengthy sentences accompanying it sent a clear signal to those looking to engage in criminal activity that this mindless thuggery cannot and will not be tolerated. The public’s strong and cohesive response proved beyond doubt that those behind these atrocities were very much in the minority.

As you walk around Croydon town centre it is hard to believe that last August’s atrocities ever took place, but a poignant reminder are the dozens of post-it notes containing personal messages of support for the town written by local residents and displayed in the Green Dragon- one of Croydon’s local pubs.

As well as initiating a Croydon regeneration drive to the tune of £23 million, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson and Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell have publicly called for residents to help make our town great again.

Wasting time ‘reading’ the riots will not solve the problem, but a strong stance on law and order will help deter criminals and opportunists from terrorising our communities in the future.

Our town is once again a vibrant, modern and forward looking place to be. With strong leadership and an overwhelming sense of community spirit, it is time for Croydon to look forward to an exciting and optimistic 2012.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Musing on the Nestle move

Yesterday Property Week announced that Nestle were leaving Croydon after 47 years in the borough after signing a deal to relocate to City Place in Crawley, just outside Gatwick Airport.

This news was confirmed today by all parties and Cllr Mike Fisher, Leader of Croydon Council expressed his disappointment at this decision stating that:

“We are obviously very disappointed that Nestlé has decided to leave the borough after more than 40 years.

“We have done everything we possibly could to avoid this outcome, but ultimately we have to respect the fact that Nestle are a footloose global company and can choose where they locate their business.”

However current Nestle staff can take comfort in the fact that the location is not as far away as some previously predicted as most of them will be able to commute to the new offices. The Council has also pledged to offer Nestle any support that they need to ensure that staff can make a smooth transition. Another bonus is that relations between the two boroughs are positive as both are partners in the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership (LEP) 

Whilst this is disappointing news if we continue to focus on regenerating the town centre then we will be able to attract potential investors, creating a place where people want to live and an economy that links outer London to Gatwick and the world.