Immigrants Saved The NHS Long Before Burnham – It Is Time For Respect

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

After the election we find ourselves in the position of finding a new leader. But for a lot of ordinary members the choice is very difficult. Some members are even calling for MPs barely a week old to put themselves forward. It feels for many that we’re judging an ‘Eric Pickles lookalike bikini competition’ – no one contestant is turning us on.

The usual Labour demarcation lines of ‘left vs right’ are also not providing the ‘comfort zone guide’ some members rely on. For ‘the right’, they have many options at this stage to choose from – which is not the best place to be. For ‘the left’ however, we seem to be in a strange position, who are we backing? Are we resorting to backing the one who appears to have the least support from the ‘right’?

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‘Youth services are a right for every young person – the government must recognise this’

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

This month will mark 17 years since my first paid youth work job. It has been the most rewarding thing in my life and I am blessed to have worked doing something I love and enjoy.

For the past three years I’ve been privileged enough to work on the Positive Youth News Haringeyproject. My friends are amazed at what the young people achieve in the borough and think I am one of the luckiest people in the world to do what I do.

But, the PYN Haringey project has never proclaimed to have assisted in the achievements of young people in Haringey, we merely capture Haringey young people’s successes and ensure the wider community is aware and celebrates what they have done.

The hard work was done by them and in many cases in Haringey, by youth workers and centres across the borough.

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Long-term solutions are needed for policing in our community

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

I was too young to understand the tensions surrounding the death of Cynthia Jarrett which led to the Broadwater Farm riots, but a generation later I was a teenager during the death of Joy Gardner, and this negatively influenced my view of policing.

As time moves on, the next generation in Tottenham encountered the death of Roger Sylvester, and now the current youths have the death of Mark Duggan to refer to. All of these incidents have undermined confidence in policing for many in our area over the decades.

The solutions that have been called upon to solve this issue centre around ‘building’ or ‘repairing’ relations between ‘the community’ and ‘the police’. For me this seems bizarre. Continue reading

Cameron & The NHS: He Got The Moves Like Thatcher!

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

Across the country, the NHS is being dismantled, downgraded and closed down. These decisions are reckless and defies commonsense considering the  growing population. Regardless of the rhetoric from Cameron, the systematic collapse of the NHS is at the heart of Tory ideology as recently exposed by the release of government documents from the Thatcher era. What we are seeing now is an attack on the NHS to fulfil Thatcher’s once defeated plans.

The Tories cannot be trusted with the NHS, they gave an election promise they will not cut the NHS and continue to inform the public that spending of the NHS has risen under their term. However, as revealed just before Christmas 2012 the UK Statistics Authority had to warn the goverment about these claims as spending in the NHS had actually been reduced.  Continue reading

The Price Of Tory Failure

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

Labour have launched its campaign against the Government’s austerity plans called “The Price Of Tory Failure” In two parts, the first is a website which rotates quotes of real life people illustrating how they have been negatively impacted on. Examples include:

“I work 45 hours a week, so I am not lazy! Yet each month I am out of money by the 2nd week of my monthly pay. I work hard and contribute to society, yet I am afforded little or no respect.”

“I am £44 per week worse off, I can’t afford to heat the house”

The second part of the campaign involves a leaflet that will be used as part of the Labour Doorstep and canvassing.

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Why I am proud to call Tottenham ‘home’

By Seema Chandwani | Twitter @SeemaChandwani

There is that odd moment, when I’m at a dinner party and people ask me where I live.

As the word ‘Tottenham’ exits my mouth strange things happen, from looks of sympathy to a discreet check to see if their wallet is still in their pocket!

As I approach my 30th year of living in Tottenham, I often get asked why I don’t move, like it is an expectation and those who do live here do so because they don’t have any other choice.

Like many people in Tottenham I can afford to move but choose not to. My choice is to stay.

The lenses on my glasses are not tinted in a shade of rose; after working for almost 16 years with young people, especially those who face intense need, the social issues facing Tottenham are plain to see.

The media, and to some extent politicians who reel off statistics illustrating society breakdown in our area remind us constantly.

However, despite all the attention we get, there is little mention of the uniqueness Tottenham possesses, a place where you can get on the bus and see it full of people from more 40 different parts of the world, some who decorate your eye with their vibrant array of traditional clothes that paints an image of genuine human unity rarely seen in any other part of the world.

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Tory tax on the poor – coming to a council near you

Once upon a time, there were 20 people living in King Tory‘s Mansion, 10 of whom were assessed as ‘unable’ to pay for their Council Tax for various reasons ranging from old age, disabilities, mental illness or lowly paid. The total amount of Council Tax for all 20 people was £2,000, or £100 per a person. The 10 that could pay, did directly and the 10 that could not had their Council Tax paid for byKing Tory, totalling £1,000.

One day King Tory says to the 10 who can’t pay: “We are only going to pay £900 towards your Council Tax”, or a 10% cut. The 10 would need to find £10 each to top up the amount needed for Council Tax.

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