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Opinion

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Last night (Tues) the BBC broadcast a documentary claiming to look at how immigration and white flight is impacting the make-up of Newham’s population.

One of the main reasons for leaving Europe is the continual pumping out of ever more burdensome regulations.

Recently, SATs for Year 2 pupils have caused a fair deal of controversy between parents and the government.

The House of Commons recently debated government plans for a national school funding formula from April next year.

We are busy on the park preparing for a spectacular summer of events.

Newham has the youngest population in England and one of the highest birth rates.

Moving home is rarely easy. And when that home has lots of memories tied up in it, it becomes harder, even if the new place is wonderful.

Like so many others, last night was an emotional one for my family, as the lights finally went out at the Boleyn for the very last time. The Boleyn has given me and my family so many memories to treasure over the past 60 years.

Last week we elected Sadiq Khan as our Labour Mayor for London.

Tomorrow morning at 7am polling stations will be opening across the borough. I hope you, like me, will be voting in the Mayor of London elections and for who you want to represent us on the London Assembly.

Elections debate is all you will hear these days, on TV, radio and in newspapers.

A remarkable house in Spitalfields is home to the extraordinary Museum of Immigration and Diversity, the oldest museum of its kind in Europe.

I saw in the news that a chair has been sold for £278,000!

Members of black and South Asian communities make up 14 per cent of the UK population.

The NHS affects us all - that’s why it’s always in the news! Whether for amazing life-saving procedures, care that goes beyond the call of duty, for financial difficulties or when things go tragically wrong. Equally as a service that cares for more than one million patients every 36 hours everyone has their own opinion on how it could be better. However, the NHS has to stay responsive to ever changing needs and demands.

Over Easter, the Panama Papers revealed the worst excesses of the super-rich. Most media attention was on the Prime Minister’s overseas tax affairs. The ‘did he or didn’t he’ benefit from shoddy tax avoidance practices left a bad taste in our mouths.

What is it about the word ‘offshore’ that conjures up visions of deceit and dishonesty that the word ‘foreign’ seems to evade. Or is that avoid?

It’s now a little over a year since Foundation for FutureLondon was established to help bring the Olympicopolis dream to life.

Do you remember Buzby? Back in the 1970s he was a big yellow bird who used to encourage us in adverts to “make someone happy with a phone call”. Forty years later, there are still lots of people who could do with that kind of phone call.

As spring gets into full flow and many of us are naturally thinking about cleaning our homes, sheds and garages, more of us need to think about spring cleaning our borough and keeping it clean year round.

Much has been written about the housing crisis and the impact it is having across the country.

In February, I joined the Education Select Committee. It’s role is to monitor “the policy, administration and spending of the Department for Education, and its associated arms length bodies, including Ofsted”.

Government plans to compel all council run schools to become academies will have a huge impact on Newham.

East London is one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the county, and we deserve the very best healthcare. However, we know that we have a rapidly growing population and there are increasing numbers of people suffering from long term conditions, such as diabetes, where we have an occurrence of almost double the national average. We want to change healthcare in Newham for the better so we meet residents needs, now and in the future.

So here are my predictions for the three upcoming elections.

Happy Easter holiday to all. The school half terms have started, and most parents are stuck with a choice to go away or to stay local due to the inflated holiday costs.

I hope you and your family had a relaxing and rejuvenating Easter weekend. Easter is a celebration of new beginnings and the transition from winter to spring.

The European Aquatics Championships coming to the London Aquatics Centre at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in May is absolutely amazing.

The last decade has seen a transformation in the performance of London schools. Deprived students in the capital are almost twice as likely to get five or more A-C grades at GCSE than in the rest of England.

The latest 2015 index of deprivation figures indicate that Newham has risen 23 places from the second most deprived authority to 25th – a remarkable improvement over a five-year period.

There’s an old story that a frog placed in cold water that is then slowly heated up will not notice the growing danger to its health and so will be cooked to death.

Saturdays were very nice in my childhood home in Alexandra Road, East Ham, and I always looked forward to them.

I spent February half term week in Bangladesh. With Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North, and Sir Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, our trip was organised by Labour Friends of Bangladesh. I was struck by the contrast with my first visit 20 years ago.

On Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day.

The recent spat between the Pope and Donald Trump is a new twist in the already extraordinary US presidential campaign. But it poses a question as old as religion itself: who is the true “keeper of the flame?”

I was in a meeting with a group of European entrepreneurs recently and we took a straw poll on whether we thought voters would choose to stay in Europe or vote out.

Diabetes, particularly type 2 is a growing health problem in all communities, but the South Asian population or their descendants are at higher risk compared to their white counterpart.

As a local GP, I know that talking about cancer can be frightening, but it’s important to remember that when cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, treatment options and chances of a full recovery are greater.

Councillors supported my budget proposals and plans for a New Deal for our borough.

The Newham Family Tree is a new and exciting intiative which challenges discrimination, prejudice and social divisions.

We have always said that we want local people to be at the heart of our plans for the Park. One of our most exciting projects is known as ‘Olympicopolis’, which will bring some of the world’s leading education and cultural organisations to Newham, adding to the fantastic arts and cultural groups already long established in east London.

As every football fan knows, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were at the heart of England’s victory in the 1966 World Cup.

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to the self-serving smugness of this Tory government. Everything they do is calculated to secure the maximum party political advantage.

New Year began with a fantastic new president for British Humanist Association, Shappi Khorsandi, perhaps best known for her work as a stand-up comedienne.

In just over a week’s time I will present to Newham’s councillors how I propose we spend our money on the things that residents say matter most.

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