Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic Deployment Centre - London Ambulance Service

Back in May as Chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum, I attended Operation Amber, along with Malcolm Alexander, one of the Forum's Vice Chairs. We visited the Olympic Deployment Centre in the Docklands, which is currently being used to operate all of the emergency ambulance functions for all of the Olympic venues. The LAS are operating together with other ambulance services drafted in to support over the period, including West Midlands Ambulance Service. We were quite impressed with what we saw. Here are some photos from the day.

Green Party Leader Election - Guest Post from Alan Wheatley

Having resigned from the Green Party 6 months ago on a point of principle regarding the introduction of a cuts budget by the Green led council in Brighton, I have not commented on the election for Leader or Deputy Leader of the party. I have given my endorsement, as Chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum and a health activist to my friend and colleague on the Coalition of Resistance, Romayne Phoenix, who is also Chair of the Coalition fighting cuts and austerity. I am, of  course, following the campaign with some interest, as the outcome will be important for politics and the fight against cuts and austerity in the UK.

I have agreed to post the following from my friend, Alan Wheatley, with whom I have worked closely on disability and welfare issues, as Alan does not have a blog and wishes to make his comments on one of the candidates public. I am not aware of the background to the issues which Alan raises and would point out that the view expressed is Alan's and not mine as I have not been involved in the party over the period which Alan refers to. Alan has already put these comments on the blog of Stephen Wood, a Green Party blogger here.

I am one of those who will be giving #1 vote to Romayne Phoenix, having worked with her on anti-austerity measures. As well as being a great speaker, Romayne is a very caring person and great encourager. She is also a survivor who can lend her experience of hard times to helping build bridges with working class people and disability benefit claimants. I give my own statement to this effect at the Romayne & Will website.
And as an ex-member of Camden Green Party who has transferred into Haringey Green Party without moving out of the Borough of Camden, I note that Natalie Bennett's behaviour as Chair of Camden Green Party was one of the cues for me to leave Camden Green Party. For in the London Assembly elections, I observed that Haringey Green Party welcomed Enfield Green Party member and Enfield & Haringey constituency candidate Peter Krakowiak to their meetings from the time that he was elected for the two seat constituency. But Camden Green Party seemed to ostracise candidate A.M. Poppy from Barnet Green Party, giving her minimal exposure. As a Camden Green Party member at the time, I objected to the way that Poppy was not even invited to the launch of the Camden Green Party campaign. Natalie Bennett responded to me, "Poppy will be included later." Of all the Camden Green Party leaflets for the London elections, not one had a photo of Poppy, and a Camden Green Party member told me this week, "The reason Poppy was sidelined was that she was seen as too abrupt and abrasive for our borough."
I believe that what Natalie achieved by sidelining Poppy was more space to raise her own profile as parliamentary candidate -- eg, her own face alongside that of mayoral candidate Jenny Jones on p. 4 of eve-of-poll leaflet. She was arguably desperate to raise her profile after getting fewer votes for the whole parliamentary constituency in 2010 than Cllr Maya deSouza got for one electoral ward. That was also after Natalie had replaced Adrian Oliver as parliamentary candidate in mid-term, apparently finding it easier to replace him with herself than to support him.
These are my own views and observations and I would encourage Green Party members to do thorough research on all the candidates before voting.

Alan Wheatley
Ex-Spokesperson on Social Security & Social Care,
now with Haringey Green Party while also a mainstay of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group.