Remember Me     Forgot Login?   Sign up  

Share this article

You don't need to be an expert pollster to forecast that the next administration running Enfield Council will be formed either by Labour or by the Conservatives.  But they won't necessarily win all the council seats between them.  Both of the two next biggest local parties - Enfield Green Party and Enfield Liberal Democrats - say they are determined to make a dent in the Labour/Conservative domination by winning some seats in this week's elections.  Both parties are entering candidates in all but one ward - there is no Lib Dem candidate in Bowes and no Green in Grange ward.

A "huge leap forward" by the Lib Dems

As a sign of their determination to break the duopoly, Enfield Lib Dems have declared that they have "taken a huge leap forward" and that for the first time in more than ten years there is a "comprehensive policy platform on which all Liberal Democrat candidates will stand".  The manifesto "sets out a much needed distinctive Lib Dem vision for Enfield".

enfield lib dem candidates 2018Enfield Lib Dems with Sir Vince Cable at their manifesto launch

Dave Mitchell, Enfield Lib Dem chair and a candidate in Southgate Green, has said that his party is making a "serious play" for seats on the council.  Matt J. McLaren, a candidate in Winchmore Hill ward, comments that “I have stood for Enfield Council as a Liberal Democrat twice previously and never before have we had such a detailed manifesto, let alone the energy, enthusiasm, or resources now at our disposal."

Mr McLaren warns that "Every vote for a Conservative candidate will be used as an endorsement for a dangerous Brexit agenda Enfield didn't vote for, whilst every vote for a Labour candidate props up the calamitous failure that is Cycle Enfield!"

"The health and wellbeing of people must come first"

While Enfield Greens share the Lib Dems' opposition to Brexit, they have a very different view of Cycle Enfield.  Last month the party wrote to the campaigning group Better Streets for Enfield confirming that the local Green were fully committed to the Better Streets for Enfield 2018 council election campaign pledges, the first of which commits to "Completing the work of Cycle Enfield, to allow all-age, all-ability cycling throughout the borough".

The other two Better Streets pledges - to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and to bid for funding fom the Mayor of London's Liveable Neighbourhoods money, are also central to the local Green Party's manifesto.  Col-leader Alex McRae acknowledges that "motor vehicles are part of modern life", but says that "the health and wellbeing of people must come first - drivers should not be allowed to speed through residential streets just to save a little travel time".

kate and alexIn the same way as the national Green Party has Co-Leaders, Enfield Greens have two Co-Chairs, Kate McGeevor and Alex McRae

Liz Wright, who is standing for the Greens in Bowes, lives on one of the residential streets most affected by through traffic:  " Brownlow, Warwick and adjacent roads see over 15,000 cars, vans and lorries every day. And it’s been like that for years. So we want the area between the North Circular, Bounds Green Road and Green Lanes to be a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) allowing traffic to go in and out but not through.”

The Low Traffic Neighbourhood concept promoted by the Greens is on very similar lines to the "villages" created by Waltham Forest Council in Walthamstow and Leyton, The schemes have controls that make it more difficult for non-local traffic to use residential streets as cut-throughs.  "In Waltham Forest they've brought peace to dozens of streets and actually reduced total traffic," comments Liz.

Housing policy

Both parties have policies aimed at tackling the housing crisis.  Both are critical of the current Right to Buy legislation and want to see more decision-making powers returned to local authorities and a rebalancing of the relationship between landlords and tenants.

The Lib Dems say they would create a council-owned Housing Partnership, following the successful example in Lib Dem-controlled Sutton, to manage council-owned housing and to build new properties.

As might be expected, Enfield Greens are interested not just in the supply of housing, but also in its sustainability.  They have been campaigning for several years for all new council-funded housing to be built to "Passivhaus" standards.  Not only would this reduce carbon emissions and consumption of non-renewable energy sources, but it would radically reduce heating bills.

"One Green in the room"

Because of time constraints, this has been a very rapid gallop through a few of the policies of these two parties.  You can read much more about policies and candidates on their websites.  If you're doubtful that a small number of councillors from a third or fourth party can make any practical difference, then bear in mind that individual councillors can actually affect the way councils are run, if they are knowledgeable, dedicated and energetic enough.  Lib Dem and Green members in the London Assembly have had much more influence than their numerical strength would suggest thanks to the parts they play on various committees.  Enfield Green Party points out that it was determined campaigning by Sian Berry that persuaded the Mayor of London to spend £45 million on youth services - a first step in reversing the huge cuts in support for young people since 2011, which many suspect is one of the factors behind growing knife and gun deaths.  The Green Party has a saying:  "One Green in the room changes the debate".

Declaration of interest

As you may know, I am a member of the Green Party and am standing as a candidate in Palmers Green ward.  While I can't avoid revealing my priorities and leanings, I hope that readers of other political persuasions will find the website's content generally informative and useful, and if you disagree with anything I write you are free to use the comments box, provided that you use reasoned arguments about issues and not about people.

Log in to comment

See also...

  • 28 November 2018
This article has been withdrawn

The report about the suspension of Councillor Yasemin Brett from the Enfield cabinet has been withdrawn pending clarification of its accuracy. <?php$ogImage = '';//ENTER SUMMARY TEXT...