Saturday, 31 May 2008

Saying NO to expansion ... on a protest march

What a great rally it was today!

Thousands met at Hatton Cross and walked to Sipson.

There we formed a large NO on the ground. This was followed by speeches from politicians across the political spectrum.

People came out in force to show how they felt about the government's plans for a third runway at Heathrow. Some were there because the increased noise and pollution will affect them individually and others were there because they are concerned about climate change and believe we should be taking environmental issues seriously.

Why doesn't the government listen to the people of this country, when they speak with a loud voice on issues that really matter to them? They will be forced to listen when it comes to a General Election!

Photo: Mary with Justine Greening (MP for Putney) on the NO march

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Continuing the fight on Heathrow expansion

Barbara Reid and I attended an Evening Standard debate last week at the RSA on Heathrow expansion.

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Transport, was present and spoke at the meeting, presenting the government’s case for expansion. She said that she believed that Heathrow was too small, the UK needed a hub airport and that expansion was necessary for economic growth and competitiveness.

I addressed two specific issues directly to her.

Firstly, I told her that her economic argument did not stack up. As someone who works in the financial services banking sector in the city, I believe strongly that the city and the economy will not suffer if Heathrow does not expand. Whenever there is a threat of a recession, companies are immediately more cost focused, and one of the first cut backs they make, is on international travel. The business does not suffer because of this as technology allows communication through email and an increased use of telephone conferencing and video conferencing. Even although business is getting ever more global, there are global ways of working without physically having to be offshoring to places like India has shown us.

I finished by telling Ruth Kelly of the results of my resident’s survey which showed 93% of residents against expansion. I told her that she should listen to those people who are affected by the proposed changes.

I really do care about the economy (not least because my current job depends on a strong financial sector!) as we need a strong economic climate to ensure people have jobs and prosperity. But I do not believe this is an economic debate. I care about local people and their quality of life. This is far more important, than this Labour government’s determination just to do whatever they want to.

I will keep up the fight on this issue on behalf of local residents.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Conservatives win Crewe and Nantwich

Fantastic night last night!

Edward Timpson, the Conservative candidate, won the Crewe and Nantwich by-election with a 7,860 majority - a swing of 17.6% from Labour to the Conservatives.

It is our first gain in a by-election for 26 years and the first from Labour since 1978. The turnout of 58% was higher than expected and Labour got an awful result ...probably due to the terrible 'class' campaign that they tried to run. It backfired dramatically!

Also, the public were sending a very clear message to Gordon Brown and how badly they feel let down by Labour. The 10p tax row is a perfect example of this. The British public believe it is time for a change ...and a change for the better... to the Conservatives.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Healthy Hounslow Campaigners ...making progress

We are making good progress with the fabulous help of our nutritional therapist, Alli Godbold, from Chiswick.

We set out a few weeks ago to lose 40kg by Saturday 5th July. In the first few weeks, we have already lost 10kg. Not a bad start! (I shouldn't really say this since it is a team effort, but Paul Lynch is in the lead at the moment. Well done to him ...although he did have a hair cut and a beard trim so maybe that has made all the difference!)
The money raised from sponsorship will go to the Mulberry Centre in Isleworth, who do excellent work locally for those affected by cancer. We have raised £555 for them so far.

Everyone has made a fantastic effort to eat healthily and take some exercise. It is not easy to change the habits of a lifetime, but everyone has tried really hard and has managed to lose weight. We are on track for meeting our target of 40kg.
Alli is a tremendous support to us all and has been giving us superb advice, guidance and cooking lessons. The chicken curry was really good.

If you would like to get involved please do come and join us by calling 020 8994 1406 or by emailing me on You will feel so much better if you do!.
Alternatively, just send us a donation!

Photo: (from left) Cllr Pam Fisher, Elizabeth Spillane, Cllr Lin Davies, Mary Macleod, Cllr Barbara Reid and Alli Godbold, our nutritional therapist

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Vote on Abortion time limit tonight

"If a baby feels pain as part of a barbaric abortion process - which is what happens post 20 weeks - and if we know that baby could live if it was allowed to be born, then there comes the point when that baby has rights which are of equal parity to the mother's." Nadine Dorries MP

A friend of mine, Nadine Dorries MP, is proposing an amendment tonight, to cut the time limit for abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. MPs will have a free vote on this.

The current statistics on abortions in England and Wales are (ONS figures from 2006):
- Under 9 weeks: 54.9%
- 9-12 weeks: 34.3%
- 13-19 weeks: 9.2%
- 20-24 weeks: 1.5%
There are over 530 abortions a day in England and Wales.

I support Nadine on this wholeheartedly. I do believe in the right of women to choose but we also need to look at what is ethically right. Babies are surviving at 24 weeks, even although they are extremely premature, and therefore I would be voting for the reduction to 20 weeks.

Monday, 19 May 2008

A huge step into the unknown...

There was a free vote today in the House of Commons to ban hybrid human animal embryos. The cross-party attempt to ban these embryos though was defeated by 336 votes to 176.

The bill would allow regulated research using hybrid or "admix" embryos, where the nuclei of human cells are inserted into animal eggs. The resulting embryos would be kept for up to 14 days to harvest stem cells. Scientists believe that it may make a difference to research into treatments for cancer and conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

This is one of the many ethical debates that will increasingly take place in medical science. It is one that makes me feel very uncomfortable. We don't have all the answers ... but perhaps we should be doing all we can, within extremely tight controls, to help those who have to suffer illnesses for which we currently have no cure.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Devastating earthquake in China

What horrific scenes in China this week following Monday's devastating earthquake in the south-western Sichuan Province.

Almost five million people have been left homeless and 22,069 deaths have been confirmed and thousands remain missing. There may be as many as 50,000 dead.

I visited Chengdu in the Sichuan Province a few years ago. I do hope those people I met there have all survived. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

My glimpse of life on the ward ...

What is life really like at the West Middlesex University Hospital?

Last week I got my chance to find out by going in for a day and shadowing different members of staff.

My aim was to listen and learn from people who work at the heart of healthcare on a daily basis. I wanted to see patient care for myself. I wanted to understand the challenges that they face. I wanted to find out what they thought the priorities in the NHS were. This was a great opportunity to see healthcare in action and meet the doctors, matrons, nurses, clinical directors, assistant directors and clinical site managers, who make it all possible.

What did I find? ...

I found a hospital that had made tremendous efforts to improve and be a real community hospital - treating more cases than ever before, patients being treated faster than they have in the past, improving the financial management, controlling infection and developing new services.

I found staff whose commitment and dedication was evident. Who really loved what they did and tried to find creative solutions to issues within their working environment. It was great also to attend the annual Nursing & Midwifery Awards and meet many of the nurses who do such a superb job every day.

I also visited a hospital patient, David Mills, who has been a patient for twelve weeks in the WHUH Rehab ward. His wife, Narelle, enthusiastically praised the hospital and said that she had been really impressed with the care, attention and therapies that David had received. She thought the nursing staff were outstanding, the Speech and Language Therapists were excellent, and Hounslow Crossroads, who had given them brilliant, caring support at home, were superb.

Thanks so much to Tara Donnelly (Chief Executive) and the staff members I shadowed, who allowed me to come in and disturb their day! I did appreciate the time they took as I believe it is so important that politicians (or aspiring ones like myself) understand what the key issues are and listen to ideas from those who are experts in their fields.

The NHS and patient care are at the top of my agenda. I want to ensure that NHS resources get to the front line where it is needed most. I want less bureaucracy, less targets and more doctors and nurses where they are needed. I want to allow hospitals the freedom to invest and improve services as they want to, given their experience within their local communities. This is not about party politics. Healthcare is about people’s lives, their well-being, their fears and their needs. We have to get healthcare right.

Patient David Mills in the Rehabilitation Ward with nurses, Olusola Oduneye, (top left), Mabinty Leigh (second from right), Desire Kigenyi (right), Daniel Rodrigues (bottom left) and Mary.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

10p tax u-turn costs us £2.7 billion

The government has completely lost control. Yesterday, the u-turn 10p tax announcement cost us all £2.7 billion. Today they told us about their panic, emergency budget in the form of 18 bills.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, also gave today his worst prediction on the future of the economy:
- growth forecast will reduce to 1% by Christmas
- inflation to rise to 3.7% by late summer

Gordon Brown is now trying desperately to save himself by announcing a compensation package for those hit by his own axing of the 10p tax rate, but 1.1 million low earners on between £6,635 and £13,355 will still be worse off, by up to £112 a year. The poorest people in the country will still lose out.

Has the u-turn got anything to do with the forthcoming Crewe by-election? I think that is very probable!

Can Gordon survive ... or will the people of Crewe say to him "you're fired"!?

Friday, 9 May 2008

Bank holiday stabbings

I heard today that there were two stabbings in Chiswick over the bank holiday weekend. Both happened in daylight around 5pm - one on Sunday and one on Monday. This level of crime is horrific. We are getting so used to shootings or stabbings that it doesn't even make front page news.

Something has to be done about crime in our local communities, or we will all be frightened to leave our homes. I favour zero tolerance. We also need more visible police officers on the streets so that we are doing all we can to prevent crime. We need to take control of the situation now before it gets completely out of control.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Change at City Hall! Well done to Boris!

A tremendous result last night! Boris Johnson.was elected as the first Conservative Mayor of London. Voter turnout was 45% on Thursday and the winner was announced late last night:
Boris Johnson - 1,168,738 votes (53.2%)
Ken Livingstone - 1,028,966 votes (46.8%)

Locally in SW London, the result for Tony Arbour was:
Conservative - 76,913, Lib Dem - 49,985, Labour - 30,190
Thank you to all those who helped with the campaign and gave their time, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to getting the right result! Today there is now a new team in city hall. Today is the start of a new and better London.

It was an awful night for Labour and Gordon Brown in general. Not only, did they lose London, but they also had a huge defeat right across England:
Labour - 18 Councils (-434) = -10%
Conservative - 65 Councils (+300) = +10%
Lib Dem - 12 Councils (+33) = 0%
NOC/Ind - 64 Councils (+101) = +1%

This was a loud and clear message, that people want change. Can Gordon Brown survive for much longer?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

When will something be done about Zimbabwe?

The election process in Zimbabwe has gone on long enough. It is time now that someone stood up and talked out against a regime that does not believe in democracy, freedom, fairness and the rule of law.

Government sources have said that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has defeated President Robert Mugabe, but failed to secure an outright victory. So why have they taken so long to communicate the final result? Who is going to stand up for the Zimbabwean people?

Where is South Africa when we see the atrocities taking place in Zimbabwe? There is a deafening silence.