Friday 18 October 2013

Independent Alex makes grassroots bid for Willesden Green council seat

Willesden Green has had a battering from Brent's Labour Council over the last few years but as a result the community itself has become stronger uniting to try to save its bookshop, the Victorian Library and more recently the Queensbury pub. The much loved and respected Gladstone Park Primary School attracted a determined and imaginative parent campaign when it was faced with forced academisation by Michael Gove with the Council seeming to stand by and do little to help. 

Although some of the causes have been lost and others are yet to be won the legacy is that local residents want to see change. Local resident, parent and anti-cuts activist Alex Colas has decided to champion that change by mounting an independent campaign for the Council under the slogan Make Willesden Green.

He has issued the following invitation:
We will be launching  Make Willesden Green on Wednesday 23 October, from 6-7pm at the Queensbury Deli,  68 Walm Lane, NW2 4RA (the tube station end of the High Road). This will be an informal gathering where you can come to hear more about the campaign, as well as offering your support and ideas. The launch is open to all residents of Willesden Green and neighbouring wards, and children are very welcome.
 The 'Green'  in Make Willesden Green does not refer to the Green Party but to one of a series of demands as Alex explains on his blog: LINK
The ‘Make’ in Willesden Green is all about emphasising the participation of ordinary residents in the public life of our neighbourhood. There is plenty of community activity in Willesden Green – some of it political; other less so. But it tends to be ignored by Brent Council and by our elected officers.

Make Willesden Green was set up over the summer by residents who feel unrepresented by local Councillors and mainstream parties, and who want to redress this imbalance. Our  aim is to make connections between local campaigns like Save the Queensbury, Save Gladstone Park School or Keep Willesden Green, and give them an electoral voice at the Council elections next year. This electoral platform emerges directly from the energies and ideas expressed around these campaigns, but it does not claim their exclusive representation. Instead, Make Willesden Green seeks to continue highlighting the democratic deficit in our Borough by  putting issues of  democracy, equality, sustainability, the defence of public realm and public services at the centre of the electoral campaign.
I have worked closely with Alex on some of these campaigns and along with others in Brent Green Party I am sympathetic to his decision to stand as an independent grassroots councillor. Indeed he wrote a guest column for us in the current edition of our Willesden Green News.  We have yet to finalise our candidates for the local election and decide our strategy in each ward but obviously we will take into consideration our respect for Alex and the platform he represents in Willesden Green ward. For his part Alex says in his guest column:

The Greens are the only local party to have consistently supported grassroots campaigns for democracy in our neighbourhood.
We have a positive record of working with independent campaigns and individuals, as well as other parties, on specific issues such as the Welsh Harp or the recent racist lettings agency issue.

This is the column Alex wrote for Willesen Green News:


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a very interesting and encouraging move. I wish Alex well.

Anonymous said...

Although I live in Kingsbury, I met Alex when I was campaigning alongside many from the Willesden Green community to stop the demolition of the 1894 Willesden Green Library building, and when assisting in the attempt to have the open space between it and the former Willesden Green Library Centre building registered as a Town or Village Green. I was impressed by him as a thoughtful, sensible and highly principled person, and it would be wonderful if he, and others like him, could be representing the interests of local people, and helping to make important decisions that affect our lives in Brent. It will be a long and hard road, Alex, but I too wish you well.
Philip Grant.