31 August 2010

Help shape Britain's progressive future: join the Labour Party today

Do you feel the same way we do about the kind of Britain you want to live in?

A Britain where there is a first-class health service free at the point of use; where education is always a priority; and where you and your family are treated equally and can feel safe and secure.

Join us and be part of our journey. Maybe you already vote Labour at election time? Maybe you have thought about joining but not actually done it? Maybe you think you are too young, too old or too busy? Maybe it's because nobody has asked you. We're asking you now.

Join us and help shape our country's future.

Leadership election 2010
Join the Labour Party before 8 September 2010 to help select the new leader of the Labour Party

To join the Labour Party go to www.labour.org.uk/join

30 August 2010

28 August 2010

Bus route 159 extended to Paddington and now operating 24 hours

Vassall Road bus stop sign
From Saturday 28 August 2010 improvements have been made to bus route 159. The route is now extended to Paddington station and the frequency and hours of operation at night have been increased to make it a 24 hour service.

The bus route, which runs through Vassall Ward in Lambeth, now operates between Paddington Basin and Streatham. As a result of 159 moving to a 24 hour service the N159 will no longer operate. A new N109 service will take passengers from Brixton to Croydon town centre and another new service, the N64, will link Thornton Heath Pond and New Addington.

Route map of the new 159 bus route

Map of new 159 route

Further information is available on the Transport for London website

26 August 2010

South London Jazz Orchestra in Myatt's Fields Park this Sunday

The South London Jazz Orchestra will be playing this Sunday 26 August 2010 in the bandstand in Myatt's Fields Park, SE5 at 2pm.

The Orchestra describe themselves as an "exciting group of dedicated musicians from many different backgrounds and of a wide range of ages. The principal aim of SLJO is to promote jazz music in the community and have as much fun as possible while doing so."

Myatt's Fields Park is situated between Calais Street, CormontRoad, Knatchbull Road, SE5 in Vassall Ward in Lambeth.

Also free play session this Saturday
Lambeth Play Association will be running a free play session for children this Saturday in the playground in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward. The session will run from 12-4pm and will include crafts, sporting activities and free play.

Edited to add
Sunday saw a great set from the South London Jazz Orchestra in Myatt's Fields Park.

25 August 2010

Lambeth launches your borough, your budget, your choice initiative

Lambeth Council have launched an innovative new initiative which asks local people for ideas for projects that would benefit from council funding. could see funding offered to local projects.

Details of the Your borough, your budget, your choice are available on the Lambeth website or see below

Do you have an idea that would benefit your local community, but don't have the money to make it a reality?

Lambeth Council has made £250,000 available to fund four community projects, but we need your help to suggest which local schemes should benefit.

If you know of a community or voluntary group that needs funding for a project, nominate it giving some brief details and let us know whether it needs £25,000, £50,000, £75,000 or £100,000 to get off the ground.

Councillor Paul McGlone, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: "Whilst the financial resources available to us have reduced, the council is keen to continue supporting those community projects that provide important localised services.

"This is a great opportunity to submit an idea that could transform or introduce a much needed facility or service to your area. If it there is enough support for it from other residents, it will become a reality."

Projects could include fixing the roof of a local youth centre, buying tools for a gardening project or funding a van for volunteers to do shopping trips for people in the community who can't get out and about.

Residents have already been making suggestions at public expos and co-operative council events over the last few months and the council will be following up those ideas.

The projects proposed will be shortlisted before being put to the public to vote for one project from each category.

The closing date for submissions is 30 September. For more information on how to submit a proposal please contact 020 7926 2583, email yourchoice@lambeth.gov.uk or visit www.lambeth.gov.uk/yourchoice.

22 August 2010

Notting Hill Housing set to launch shared ownership flats in Impress housing development in September

Notting Hill Housing are set to launch phase 1 of the Impress housing development on Clapham Road, Stockwell in Vassall Ward on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September 2010.

Phase 1 will see 10 two and three bedroom flats and six one bedroom split level duplex apartments becoming available on a shared ownership basis to local people.

The new housing development is a mixed development of private and shared ownership flats and commercial spaces in the former Freemans building on Clapham Road, SW9 in Vassall Ward.

Shares of between 30 and 75% are available to buy:
One bedroom flats start from £77,700, based on a 30% share of the full market value of £259,000.
Two bedroom flats start from £96,000, based on a 30% share of the full market value of £320,000.
Three bedroom flats start from £118,500, based on a 30% share of the full market value of £395,000.

For further information or to register an interest contact the Notting Hill Housing sales team on 020 8357 4444 or email sales@nhhg.org.uk.

Further information on the Notting Hill Housing website

18 August 2010

South London Saxophone Quartet to perform in Myatt's Fields Park this Sunday

This Sunday the South London Saxophone Quartet will be performing in the Bandstand in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward, Lambeth.

Map showing location of Myatt's Fields Park

Planting day and Grow your own workshop in Myatts Field's Park this weekend

This Saturday 21 August 2010 in Myatt's Fields Park everyone is invited to get involved in helping to maintain the plants that have been planted over the summer and start to plan the autumn and winter crops. The session will run 10am 1pm in the greenhouse.

On Sunday there will be a 'Grow your own' workshop in the park offering participants to get involved in growing crops and produce for autumn. The session will run 2-4pm - meet at the bandstand,

Myatt's Fields Park is located just off Camberwell New Road, in Vassall Ward, Lambeth

12 August 2010

Jerk Cook Out this Sunday in Brockwell Park

This Sunday 15 August 2010 the fifth annual Jerk Cook Out is taking place in Brockwell Park. Hosted by Donna Spence the event promises a beautiful day out for all the family with entertainment, food, children's activities and music. The event will run 12 - 6pm in Brockwell Park, SE24. For further information see the flyer.
Jerk Chicken Cook Out flyer

11 August 2010

Free bike repairs Thursday at Oval tube station

Lambeth Council's Transport department will be carrying out Dr Bike sessions this Thursday 12 August on the cycle superhighway outside Oval tube station.

Bring your bike along for basic adjustments, repairs and advice on bike maintenance. The session will take place at Oval from 5:30-7:30pm. Or come along to Clapham Common Southside later for another Dr Bike session 7:30-9:30pm

10 August 2010

Indian music, dance and food in Myatt's Fields Park this Saturday

This Saturday 14 August 2010 5 - 7pm enjoy Indian music, belly dancing, dholl players, henna painting and children’s activities in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward. Indian food will be available from a special Indian barbecue or from the Little Cat Cafe.

Siswa Sukra to perform in Myatt's Fields Park this Sunday

On Sunday 15 August Javanese band Siswa Sukra will be playing in the bandstand in Myatt's Fields Park from 2pm onwards.

09 August 2010

P5 bus route consultation extended to 27 August 2010

Transport for London have extended the deadline for the consultation on bus route P5 that travels through Vassall Ward to Friday 27 August 2010.

See the previous Vassall View item for further information

07 August 2010

Lambeth cracks down on dangerous dogs

A key manifesto pledge from Labour in Lambeth is currently in the final consultation stages. Lambeth's Labour administration planned to expand the dogs service to round up animals used for fighting, tag dogs on estates, prosecute irresponsible owners and ban dogs from children’s play areas

After a public consultation involving Lambeth Living tenants, Lambeth Police, the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats home the plans are now being put forward to Tenants for further consultation which include an array of measures to combat ‘status dogs’ in council estates.

The plans could see tenancy agreements include mandatory dog chipping and other measures such as tougher enforcement against irresponsible dog owners and illegal breeders as well as a 24 hour stray dog service with fully trained dog handling officers.

Councillor Rachel Heywood, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, commented “The vast majority of dog owners in Lambeth are responsible and we want to provide support to all those dog owners who love their dogs and look after them properly. However, there are a small number of people who breed and keep dogs for the sole purpose of intimidating others and using dogs as a weapon and we will not put up with that.”

05 August 2010

Freedom Pass outings in August

If you are aged 60 and over, you can take advantage of Happy Pass Bus outings. These are a series of informal free outings to locations in London and surrounding areas. Bring your Freedom Pass and your own packed lunch and join this friendly bunch of older people for a fun day out.

August dates
11 – Windsor (leaves at 10am);
18 – Camden Lock Market;
25 – Kensington Roof Gardens and Holland Park

Meet at Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Road, SE1 7AA by 11am on the Wednesday as stated. New people welcome

04 August 2010

No Frills Band to perform in Myatts Fields Park this Sunday

The Brixton based No Frills Band will be performing in the bandstand in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward this Sunday 8 August 2010. Everyone is welcome. The event starts at 2pm inthe bandstand. Further information on the No Frills Band can be found on their Myspace page.

The park's Little Cat Cafe will also be open on Sunday selling food and drinks.

03 August 2010

Play session in Myatt's Fields Park this Saturday

Lambeth Play Association will be running a free play session for children this Saturday in the playground in Myatt's Fields Park in Vassall Ward. The session will run from 12-4pm and will include crafts, sporting activities and free play.

These sessions will run every Saturday throughout the school holidays in the playground in Myatts Fields Park, Calais Road, SE5

02 August 2010

Young peoples activities in Slade Gardens Adventure Playground every week day

The Slade Gardens Adventure Playground in Vassall Ward, SW9 will be running a range of activities every week day from Monday 2 August to Friday 20 August 2010. All young people aged 6 -16 are welcome to come along to the park on Stockwell Park Road, SW9 10am - 6pm.

For further information contact Robin Langton, tel 020 7737 3829 or email sladeadventure@btinternet.com

01 August 2010

June and July report from London MEP Claude Moraes

Claude Moraes, Labour Member of the European Parliament for London, sends around regular updates of his work in the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg. Claude can be contacted in his London constituency office at 020 7609 5005, further information on ClaudeMoraes.net

Here is Claude's JuClaude Moraes MEPne and July 2010 report.

Introduction - EU protecting consumers, dealing with monopoly power

In June and July, the EU stepped up its debate, regulation and legislation to continue to be on the side of the consumer.

Bankers’ Bonuses Cut – the McCarthy Report

As we all know, the financial crisis of the last few years was the result of fundamental flaws in the banking system, amongst other factors.
A number of consumer-led initiatives are being taken by the European Parliament. For example, new rules introduced by MEPs will ensure that bankers’ bonuses are restricted. Banks are now required to defer up to 60% of bonuses for up to five years and in addition must ensure that half of any bonus is paid in a way that is linked to a bank’s performance, for example in shares.

The cut in bankers’ bonuses is an EU project which speeds up and takes the initiative on a series of national debates within the EU. It was a Labour MEP, Arlene McCarthy, whose report produced this important step, which, had it been left to Member States, would have been more confused, diluted and possibly led to weaker national policies on the banks.

Read more: Bankers' Bonuses Cut

Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP/Swift) and the European Parliament post-Lisbon Treaty

A data sharing agreement between the EU and United States designed to track terrorists’ financial transactions has been re-opened by the European Parliament because millions of bank details of EU citizens were being transferred without adequate safeguards.

This has been an unprecedented use of the European Parliament’s increased powers under the Lisbon Treaty.

I worked with other groups in the European Parliament as the Socialists & Democrats spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs to ensure a better deal, one that strikes a balance between effective security and civil liberties and one that demonstrates the new democratic powers of the European Parliament after the Lisbon Treaty.

Read more: Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme

Europe-wide consumer rights package

We all know how expensive it can be to use a mobile phone in Europe. And we all know how easy it can be to over-spend by accident. Mobile phone companies have used their monopoly power to over-charge.
MEPs have addressed these problems.

We have introduced new rules that reduce and govern roaming charges, an important result for Londoners in Europe. From on July 1st, prices for mobile calls in Europe have a maximum tariff of €0.39 per minute for calls made and €0.15 per minute for calls received. Receiving a voice mail message in Europe is also now free of charge.

From preferential mobile phone rates, to air travel compensation and reduced cost health care, the European Parliament is on your side.
Socialists and Democrats MEPs including Labour MEPs have been central to creating a series of consumer rights which you can read more about at this link

Read more: Consumer Rights in Europe

Gallo Report – the consumer, the internet, file-sharing and copyright

Labour MEPs want to strike the right balance between protecting artists and those who access their work on the internet.

The Gallo Report has become a major and controversial legislative report in the European Parliament. I chair the Working Group on this issue for the Socialists & Democrats group, and there are very complex issues and strong opinions on exactly where products on the internet should be free and how this interacts with copyright law. The EU is involved because we are dealing with multinational corporations and an internet which clearly crosses national borders and national laws.

I will keep you informed. For more information see this link.

Read more: The Gallo Report

Refugees in Europe – the controversial issue of resettlement

Currently, EU Member States contribute far less to the resettlement of refugees than other developed countries. Here the issue is not about people seeking asylum legally or through clandestine entry, but the simple issue of how the UN organises the resettlement of relatively small numbers of full status refugees in other parts of the world. The world’s developing countries take the largest burden by far of such refugees.

I am spokesperson for this issue in our Group, which reached the Parliament in June and July. Of a total of 747,000 refugees worldwide in 2008, the EU resettled only 4,378. This represents 6.7% of the total resettled, with only 10 individual EU Member States taking part in resettlement schemes.
Under a new draft law, EU Member States welcoming refugees could receive a financial incentive.

I have written a report on this issue that is designed to ensure that this proposal is adequately funded. Member States that resettle refugees will receive €6,000 per person for the first year, €5,000 in the second and €4,000 thereafter. In addition, Labour MEPs want to see priority go to the most vulnerable - children and women at risk of violence, people with serious medical conditions, and survivors of violence or torture.

Parliamentary Questions

As you know, MEPs have the right to ask Parliamentary Questions (PQs) to hold the European Council (the Member States) and the European Commission to account for what they do and say in the EU. This is a regular opportunity for me to raise questions on your behalf from industry and energy policy to the environment, human rights and international development.

Since my last report, some questions that I’ve asked are below. One was on the London 2012 Olympics and how the European Commission is planning to support the Games in an overall European strategy for sport. The other related to the quality of water in the river Thames. The full text of both of these questions can be found on my website

Read more: Parliamentary Questions

Labour Party News and Opposition Watch

This has been an intense couple of months for the Labour Party – adjusting to Opposition and preparing to vote for our new Leader and our candidate for London Mayor.

As Deputy Leader of the EPLP, I was responsible for inviting all the Labour leadership candidates to speak to the EPLP and the large expatriate Labour membership in Brussels. Four of the candidates came to the EPLP and made their case in detail – David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham and Ed Balls. Labour MEPs have the same voting power as Labour MPs in the electoral college for Labour Leader.

For the London Mayor selection I am supporting Ken Livingstone.

Read more: A serious selection, and a serious candidate for London

For the Labour leadership, I have nominated David Miliband. For my other preferences I will be voting for Diane Abbott and Ed Balls. I have worked and campaigned with David for many years culminating with his work as a pro-European Foreign Secretary in recent months. There are a whole number of reasons why MPs and MEPs will support a candidate. Amongst many reasons, I believe that David Miliband will be the strongest candidate to take on the new coalition government. Please give me your feedback and views.

Read more: Rainbow News Issue 1

Opposition Watch - June

Former UKIP MEP Tom Wise, says he will 'name and shame' other UKIP MEPs when released from prison for defrauding the European Parliament.
The Conservatives vote against lifting the blockade on Gaza, against Conservative party policy. Their Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Charles Tannock MEP (London) calls the blockade 'legitimate'.

The Conservatives vote against a number of measures on food labelling legislation. They also vote against 'traffic light labelling'. The Conservatives are also completely split on mandatory country of origin labelling, going against the coalition agreement.

BNP - Nick Griffin MEP is elected vice-President of the Alliance of European National Movements pan-European party, cementing the BNP's links to fascist and racist parties in Europe.

Opposition Watch - July

The BNP has joined a European delegation of far right parties to Japan, meeting a Japanese extremist group which denies Japanese atrocities during World War II.

The Tories vote to exempt domestic bus and coach services from passenger rights legislation, in an attempt to delay better rights for disabled passengers for up to 15 years, and vote against obligatory labelling of GMO-fed animal produce.


A cross-section of my meetings in May, June and July


21 May – Speaker, Ealing and West London CLPs General Election thank you and all members meeting with Virendra Sharma MP and David Miliband MP


01 June – LIBE (Justice and Home Affairs) Committee Meeting
02 June - Chairing, Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference
02 June – IMCO (Internal Markets and Consumer Protection) Committee Meeting
03 June - IMCO Committee Meeting
07 June – TULO London Meeting (Unison)
08 June – Chairing, S&D Advisors Meeting
08 June – EPLP Meeting
08 June – Chairing, S&D Taskforce on Copyright
08 June – Chairing, Working Group on Citizen’s Europe
08 June – EPLP Leadership Meeting with David Miliband
08 June – Chairing, EU Briefing on Detention of Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants
09 June – Chairing, S&D Anti-Discrimination Legislative Hearing
10 June - LIBE Committee Meeting
10 June – Chairing, S&D Roma Seminar
10 June – LIBE Committee Meeting on Tackling Human Trafficking
14 June – Group Meeting in Strasbourg
15 June – S&D Co-Ordinators Meeting in Strasbourg
21 June – EPLP Leadership Meeting with Andy Burnham
21 June – EPLP Leadership Meeting with Ed Miliband
23 June - LIBE Committee Meeting
23 June - IMCO Committee Meeting
24 June - LIBE Committee Meeting
24 June - IMCO Committee Meeting
30 June – Chairing, S&D Hearing on Asylum


06 July – EPLP Officers Meeting
09 July - Oxford & District Labour Party Meeting
12 July - LIBE Committee Meeting and Meeting with Commissioner Malmstrom on the European Protection Order on violence against women
12 July - IMCO Committee Meeting
13 July - LIBE Committee Meeting
13 July - IMCO Committee Meeting