Welcome

Sanchia Alasia is a Labour Councillor for Alibon Ward in Barking and Dagenham and a specialist in equality and diversity.

Sanchia was one of the Labour Party candidates for the European elections in 2014 in the London region.

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Sanchia writes regularly about the French political landscape and her pieces can be read on www.leftfootforward.org  the Fabian review and her own blog.

 

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Can Labour win in 2015?

It’s been over a month since the local and European elections in the UK and an opportune time to reflect on the results and how this bodes for Labour’s success in the general election in less than a year’s time.

ballot box

I was privileged to be one of the MEP candidates for the London region for Labour and spent the past year campaigning with the London Labour across the region.  The memories of meeting with party members and talking to voters across the capital is one’s I will never forget.  Whilst campaigning with Labour party members, I was frequently asked my predictions for which party would win the Euro elections in the UK overall.  It became clearer to me, especially during the short campaign where I worked full time on the campaign during the last month that Labour would have good results in London but that UKIP would beat us nationally and so I stated as such.  The media coverage that was given to Nigel Farage and the euro-scepticism that was in the air all boosted his campaign.  Turnout was disappointingly low at 36%.  Labour did exceptionally well in London and we had good results in the West Midlands, North West and North East.  However it was a disappointment that we did not pick up more than one seat in the largest region in the South East, East of England, East Midlands or Wales.  Gaining these seats would have ensured Labour’s win in both the Euro and local elections last month and given a strong boost for the campaign next year.

The European parliament has an opportunity going forward to strengthen its legitimacy and develop more openness and transparency in how its primary institutions the European Council and Commission operate.  Labour MEP’s will need to work hard to counter the Eurosceptic groups in the parliament and reach out to its constituents about the work they do and how it makes a difference to ordinary people’s lives.  This will certainly be easier in London where Labour now has half the MEP’s.

Labour’s results were the best since 1971 and in order to win next year, the target seats in London should get the necessary support from the London Labour party and its local activists, as it’s here that we are most likely to gain the seats needed to have Ed Miliband as our prime minister next year.  Labour had 37% of the vote in London, gained 203 new councillors, controls 20 out of the 32 London boroughs and is now in control of the Local Government Association for the first time in a decade.  In Barking and Dagenham, where I re-stood as a councillor, even I was a little surprised that we took all 51 seats of the council again, as we did in 2010.  We have been a strong campaigning force and realised after winning in 2010, that there was no room for complacency.  We kept our Labour doorstep sessions every two weeks, which allowed us to keep that connection with our voters, hear their concerns and deal with them over the past four years, which gave the Barking Labour party a credible record of listening and acting on the priorities that mattered to our residents.

Labour needs to talk about the issues that will resonate with people including, jibs, growth and wage freezes. They also need to tackle the difficult issues such as immigration, but in the grounding that diversity is a source of our strength to us as a nation and with solutions to tackle the Labour makes effects of increased pressures on housing and school places.  Labour can win just after one term out of power, if we keep working hard on the doorstep and show that we take a real interest into finding sustainable solutions that will make a real difference to people’s lives.

Labour increases it’s share of the vote across the UK

Well the European and local elections are now over and I have had a little time to rest. I was disappointed not to win a seat in the European elections, but delighted that I was part of a fantastic London Labour party campaign machine, where I was able to contribute to a triumphant result in London.  The Labour party gained two extra MEP’s, with a swing of over 15% to become the first party in London.  Congratulations to Claude Moraes, Mary Honeyball, Lucy Anderson and Seb Dance who will now represent us in the European Parliament.  I will always treasure our memories on the campaign trail over the past year.  Thank you to all my supporters, well wishers, family and friends.  Without your support I could not have got through the hectic schedule that being a European candidate brings.

Labour also increased its share of the vote in all the other UK regions in the European elections and are now also the largest party in the local government association (LGA), which is fantastic news.

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I stood for re-election in Barking and Dagenham and was delighted when the residents of Alibon ward voted for me to serve them for another four years.  UKIP stood candidates in each ward in the borough but we saw them off just as we saw off the BNP in 2010 with a further 5% swing to Labour.  I look forward to working hard in my ward and with my fellow councillors across the borough, during these tough times to make it a better place to live and work for everyone.

Only four days to go……

The countdown begins, only four days to go until the local and European elections on Thursday 22nd May.  Please ensure you vote on Thursday as it’s your way of getting your voice heard for who will represent you in your local councils and European parliament.  Last week I was very busy on the campaign trail with the London Labour European team in Haringey, Waltham Forest, Islington, Southwark, Lambeth, London School of Economics, Westminster, Tower Hamlets and Battersea as well as meeting with Andy Burnham MP to talk about the damaging changes to the NHS this Tory led government is imposing on us.  I also represented the Labour party at the European Parliamentary debating event at  London Sivan Kovil Trust – a leading Hindu community organization in Lewisham.

This the final week of the European campaign trail, I will be campaigning in Lewisham, Lambeth, Dulwich and West Norwood, various parts of West London and Barking, Newham and Tower Hamlets.  If you wish to join in on any of the sessions then do drop me a line on sanchia4europe@yahoo.co.uk, I would be delighted to see you.

I was thrilled last week when I won a Grassroot Diplomat Initiative award under the Policy Driver category for my long-standing work on equalities and diversity issues, which still has a long way to go for improvement. Minority women are still underrepresented in the field of politics, maths, engineering and science .  The awards were hosted by TV Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos. In partnership with The May Fair Hotel, the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Awards recognises the achievements of UK-based diplomats and politicians who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business.

This award has spurred me to keep working on vital equality and diversity issues both in higher education where I work and in the political sphere, where there is still an under-representation of women and ethnic minority’s in local government, national parliament and the European Parliament. I was up against nine other politicians including David Amess MP, Lord Eric Avebury, David Ward MP and Cllr Duncan McGinty under the Policy Driver category for the award.  Other winners of the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award include HE Dr Mohammad Daud Yaar (Afghanistan), Baroness Doreen Lawrence OBE, HE Marie-Pierre Lloyd (Seychelles), Chloe Smith MP (Norwich North), and HE Edward Turay (Sierra Leone).
Andy Burnham GDI awards grp shot Ally Pally

 

 

 

 

 

Register to vote by the 6th May

With the local and European elections only 24 days away, I look forward to seeing many of you on the campaign trail as I now will be working full time on this to ensure we return as many Labour MEP’s as possible in London.
As an MEP candidate I have been involved in many debates about the elections, including a fantastic one with the National Alliance of Women’s organisations (NAWO) on a young woman’s manifesto, a GMB event on women in Europe as well as representing Labour at a multi-faith hustings in Lambeth on Tuesday 29th April which you are more than welcome to attend.  Event details are on my out and about page.
I continue to campaign all across London. I was on the campaign trail with Eddie Izzard in Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Brentford and Isleworth and last week I was campaigning in Brixton and Southwark.  This week I will be campaigning in Redbridge and Tower Hamlets and it was great to address UNISON Labour link members in Tower Hamlets at the house of Commons last week about the importance of the elections with John Biggs and Sadiq Khan MP.
I will be joining  Ed Miliband MP on Thursday 1 May for the launch of the local and European elections campaign, in the evening, I will be speaking at a public meeting about the NHS in Redbridge and on Friday I will be speaking at the Labour film festival about the importance of the elections, details of which are on my out and about page.
If you are not registered to vote for the local and European elections, you still have time, click here to register.
Please like the London Labour European campaign page on facebook here.
Do get in touch if you would like me to talk Europe or equality at your events.
Eddie Izzard

Less than 50 days to go……

Dear friends,
It’s less than 50 days to go until the loca and European elections on the 22nd May. I have been busy over the past two months and you can check out all my activities on my out and about page but some of the highlights have been:

April 2014

1 Glynnis Kinnock MEP Fundraiser

5  Campaigning in Dulwich and West Norwood

March 2014

3  MEP Candidate hustings hosted by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) at Europe House, London from 2pm-5pm.

4  Kings College Labour students society debate on Europe and interview on Colourful radio

5  Ilford North and Milton Keynes South fundraiser

7  Brent Central fundraiser

15  Three seats campaign day, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham and Rainham

21  Hornchurch and Upminster fundraiser

22  European campaign day in Newham

25  Launch of the Labour Black Network, Portcullis House

26  Guest speaker at the Leyton and Wanstead fundraiser

27  Guest speaker at the West Ham Labour party meeting

28 Ealing Labour European fundraiser

29  Campaigning in Twickenham

February 2014

4  London Labour pub quiz

6  Campaigning in Tower Hamlets with John Biggs AM and mayoral candidate

11  John Biggs fundraiser, Tayyabs restaurant in Whitechapel

16-19  Visit to the European parliament in Brussels and speaking at ‘My MEP is just like me, Gender Equality and Diversity in European Political Life’ on the 18th, Hosted by MEP Claude Moraes, European Parliament A3G2

25  Brunel University politics society European debate

 

What I am up to

After two rounds of the Clegg vs Farage European debate, I am inviting all women to come and hear a positive debate about how the European Union has benefitted women. This will take place at the GMB Offices, Euston, and you can find out more about the event here.

I was on BBC Radio London last week Sunday 30th March, taking part in their Europe debate on the weekly Dotun Adebayo show. You can listen to it here 

I recently wrote an article about how the welfare reforms are having an impact on mental health and well-being and you can read the article on the 2020health website.

I will be campaigning with Eddie Izzard on the 15, 16 and 18 April with a European fundraiser with him on the evening of the 16th.

I look forward to seeing you on the short campaign trail all across London after Easter and do get in touch you’d like me to join your events and talk Europe or equality.
T: @sanchia4europe

Weekly campaign update

Hello all
I enjoyed talking about why women are better off in Europe with the Enfield Women’s Forum last week, participating in the debate at the Havering Fabian society with Jon Cruddas MP about where the Labour party is now and how we win the 2015 general elections, attending the monthly London Labour party quiz, where Caroline Flint MP was quiz master and where myself and Seb Dance (MEP candidate) team came second and attending a fantastically well supported East Ham Labour party fundraising dinner with Rachel Reeves – which was organised by Cllr Unmesh Desai who has a track record on organizing successful events! Finally, it was great to help deliver over 1,700 newspapers in Alibon ward, where I am a councillor, letting the residents know about Barking Labour’s campaign priorities on  health, the closure of Barking police station and rising energy bills.
What I am up to
I will be campaigning in Tower Hamlets on Thursday 6th February to help John Biggs AM become the next mayor of Tower Hamlets along with Heidi Alexander MP and many candidates and local activists.
I am looking forward to going back to Brussels from the 16th-20th February to have a catch up with my mentor, Mojca Kleva MEP and attend some of the committees of the European parliament.  I will also be speaking at an event called ‘My MEP is just like me about Gender Equality and Diversity in European Political Life.  It will be hosted by by MEP Claude Moraes on the 18 FEBRUARY 2014  from 16.15-18.15  at the European Parliament Brussels room A3G2. If you are in Brussels and would like to attend please contact Gina Horst at horst@womenlobby.org

EU Parl
Europe has given us many rights and protections this article outlines what we are entitled to as European citizens your EU rights.
Mary Honeyball MEP’ for London has recently produced a Gender 2020 bulletin which can be downloaded here, she has done some sterling work on the womens committee in the European elections.
Labour party NEC Elections
I am supporting four candidates to date, please consider supporting them too.  They need to be nominated by your CLP.
Kate Osamor and Ann Black who are running as one of six candidates backed by the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance to be elected to Labour’s national executive committee as constituency party representatives.
Florence Nosegbe who grew up in an inner-city estate in Brixton, South London and joined the Labour Party because she could see the damage a Lib Dem-Conservative council was doing where she lived which is at the heart of why she wants to stand for the NEC.
Johanna Baxter: who is standing for re-selection to Labour’s National Executive Committee so she can keep Putting Members First.  Johanna has visited over 100 constituencies at her own expense and that’s no mean feat.  She is standing as an independent candidate and deserves to be re-elected onto the NEC as that is no mean feat.
Yours
Sanchia
London Labour candidate for the 2014 European elections and Cllr for Alibon ward, Barking, London.W: http://www.sanchiaalasia.com
T: @sanchia4europe

We need more debates on Europe

I have spoken at two debates about Europe this  month, one hosted by the Havering Fabian Society and one by the London School of Economics, Labour and Cooperative society. I think these debates are healthy and many more of them should be organised.  I am a pro-european, but think we should have discussions about how we can reform Europe to make it work better for ordinary hard working Londoners.  I addressed the Redbridge Young Labour AGM about the importance of young people and Europe and the Romford Labour party and the Enfield Labour womens forum about the importance of the European elections.

I have been invited to a MEP candidate hustings being held by The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) in March.  The hustings will be attended by a diverse range of young women (16-25 years old) from across the United Kingdom.  The young women will be part of a project funded by the Directorate General for Communications of the European Parliament that will be facilitated by NAWO.  Through working to create a manifesto of demands that reflect their needs and aspirations, in addition to direct contact with MEP candidates and increased engagement with the work of European Parliament the young women will be encouraged to use their vote in the upcoming elections of May 2014.

I will be heading back to the European Parliament next month, to continue my capacity building sessions with the European Women’s Lobby, European mentoring project where I shall be receiving training on communication skills.  I will also have a catch up with me mentor, Mojca Kleva MEP since she had her baby and find out more about how she is juggling motherhood and politics.  I will finalise arrangements for her to come and help me campaign here in London and for me to return the favour in her country, Slovenia.  I will be a guest speaker at an event the European Women’s lobby is organising at the European parliament on the 18th February, hosted by Claude Moraes MEP called ‘My MEP is just like me, Gender Equality and Diversity in European Political Life’.

I attended the ‘Help set the agenda for Labour’s plan for London’s Health’ meeting this month and contributed to developing practical proposals for health policy in London in the run up to the elections in May and the General Election in 2015.
I look forward to speaking at an event organised by the Enfield Women’s Forum on the 28th of January, it is so important for women to get their voices heard in political and public life.
Feel get in touch if you would like me to join or speak at one of your events and/or campaign sessions. The picture below is me with Will Martindale, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Battersea, Mary Honeyball MEP for London and Tessa Jowell MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.
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Three seats Labour challenge

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Today I joined in with the last leg of the three seats Labour challenge and campaigned on the doorstep with over 30 Labour party members and activists in Ilford North, Redbridge with the parliamentary candidate, Wes Streeting.  The challenge went off to a flying start yesterday, with teams going out and campaigning in Brighton and Hove and Crawley, with over 1,500 contacts being made over the whole weekend. The challenge will continue over the coming months, with a number of fun road trips being organised, to help campaign for three Labour candidates in a weekend in key target seats.  You can keep up to date with the campaign sessions being organised via their twitter account @lab3seats #lab3seats. I will be out on the Labour doorstep again on thursday with London MP’s, AM’s and MEP candidates in Finchley and Golders Green wirth the parliamentary candidate, Sarah Sackman.

I had a nice break over the festive season, but now it’s back to work with only four and a half months left until the local council and European elections on May 22nd. This week I will be attending the North East London, Joint health overview and scrutiny committee, where we will be discussing how Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust deal with major emergency incidents, changes to cancer and cardiovascular services, where I have been raising issues about increased transport costs and travel times, the experiences of patients at Barts Health NHS Trust and an update on the NHS 111 service, which has been receiving complaints since it took over the NHS direct service.

I have my councillors surgery on wednesday from 7-8pm so if you have any issues or concerns do feel free to drop by and then i’ll be heading off to the Redbridge Young Labour AGM to speak about why Europe should be on young people’s agenda.  A recent ICM poll showed that young people understand that leaving Europe, would jeopardise your job prospects at home and abroad.

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It’s been a busy year

I have had a busy year and am now looking forward to spending time with my family over the festive season.  In April I was confirmed as one of the six new european candidates for the Labour party and the elections are only six months away now.  I have enjoyed meeting Labour party members and talking to the public all across London about the campaign.  Next year the campaign steps up a gear as I will be working really hard to ensure that the Labour party double the number of MEP’s in the European parliament and increase the number of Labour councillors across London.  I will also be speaking at a number of events about the up-coming elections, you can find out where I’ll be on my out and about page.

I had a really useful time visiting the Council of Europe and European parliament in Strasbourg this month. I attended the plenary session and saw where women’s rights were voted down by Conservative and right wing MEP’s. I also attended the civil liberties committee, where Claude Moraes MEP is leading an inquiry into the sharing of our personal data in the USA.  I attended two events with the Europeans lobby whilst I was there, one about how we can take stronger action against rape and one to watch a film screening about the experiences of migrant women across Europe.  I had a catch up with my mentor, Mojca Kleva MEP and am looking forward to helping her with her re-election campaign in Slovenia in April and she will also return the favour and help me campaign here in London also.  I also plan to visit the European parliament again in Brussels a number of times next year, to continue to learn more about the role of MEP’s in parliament.

I was delighted to find out that I have been shortlisted for a grassroot diplomat award for my work in equality and diversity.  You can find out more about the awards here.

Seasons greetings to you and yours.

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Me and my mentor Mojca Kleva MEP, discussing the importance of the European Women’s lobby mentoring project in the European parliament in Strasbourg.  You can find out more about the project here.

Strasbourg calling

I am looking forward to attending the final plenary session of 2013 of the European parliament in Strasbourg from the 9-11th.  This will give me an opportunity to see how plenary sessions operate and how MEP’s vote on important issues. I will also have a catch up with my mentor in the European parliament, Mojca Kleva MEP about the life of an MEP and how she balances work and family commitments. I am being sponsored by the European Women’s lobby to attend as part of their European mentoring project which you can find out more about here.

During my time in Strasbourg I will be attending two events.  The European Women’s Lobby will be hosting an event: “Promote Human Rights, Act against Rape!” that will take place on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day 10 December.  This will be an opportunity to reassert that women’s rights are human rights and bring to the attention of members of the European Parliament that rape is a persistent violation of women’s rights, while demanding justice and support for victims of rape.  I will also be attending the screening of a film called, This is My Home Now, which follows the stories of three migrant women living in Europe.

I have been busy over the past couple of weeks, attending a joint health overview and scrutiny session with Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Waltham Forest and Redbridge about the proposed changes to cancer services across East London.  The proposal from NHS England, is to reduce the number of sites where certain specialist interventions are carried out.  I stated that I did not have anything against the proposal in principle, but was concerned about increased journey time for my residents.  I attended fundraising dinners in Romford, Brent, Barking and Newham to raise much needed funds for the European and local elections in May 2014.

I attended a consultation meeting hoisted by BAME on the new race equality strategy strategy the Labour party recently launched.  Keith Vaz MP and Sharon Hodgson MP attended as well as Jennette Arnold AM and Simon Wooley from Operation Black vote.   On 23 October 2013, the Labour Party launched a consultation on its race equality strategy.  Realising One Nation: Developing a new race equality strategy for Labour is a consultation designed to kick start the process of developing the strategy, ideas and policies that will help a future Labour government to take down the barriers that exist for black and ethnic minority people in our economy, society and politics.  Submissions are welcomed from individuals and organisations.

I am a committee member of the Labour Movement for Europe as well as the GMB Womens committee and both had meetings which I attended and fed into, where an exciting program of work is being developed by both for 2014.  I attended a campaign briefing session for all European candidates across the UK, which was held in Euston, where we heard from Douglas Alexander MP, Glennis Wilmot MEP and Iain McNichol about the exciting plans for the European campaign strategy. I am looking forward to attending the London Labour summit later this month, where we hear more about the campaign strategy for London local elections and the general elections.

I have been continuously campaigning on the doorstep for Labour for the upcoming European and local elections which are only six months away now.  I attended sessions in Forest Gate with London Young Labour, Croydon and a session in Redbridge with Mikes Gapes MP.  There was a positive response on the doorstep for Labour in all areas.

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