Hello I am Nahid Boethe, standing as your Liberal Democrat’s candidate in the Greenhill ward in this year's local elections. I have lived in Harrow for over 40 years and have also been a passionate supporter of the Lib Dems for much of that time.
I am a proud of my Persian heritage and having recently celebrated the Persian New Year, I would like to tell everyone more about it.
The Persian New Year, known as Nowruz (New Day) is the national New Year festivity celebrated in Iran and other countries throughout Central Asia.
It is a springtime celebration whose activities symbolise rebirth and the link between humans and nature.
It begins at the spring equinox - the moment when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length.
The traditional meal for Nowruz consists of sabzi polo (rice with herbs), fish and salad. It is also traditional to wear something new and spend the day celebrating with family, usually at the eldest members house.
Everyone celebrating Nowruz will set up a Haft-Seen in their homes. This is an arrangement of seven symbolic items whose name start with the letter ‘s’. These are:
• Sabzeh - wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish
• Samanu - wheat germ sweet pudding
• Senjed - dried lotus tree fruit
• Serkeh - vinegar
• Sib - apple
• Seer - garlic
• Sumac - spice
Being a disabled person in Harrow is a lot easier than being a disabled person in Brent, where I lived until 2005, was.
In Harrow we have several services for disabled people and carers. We have HAD, Harrow Association for Disabled People, who provide helpful advice for disabled people and carers. There is also Harrow Carers, a charity which provides carers with valuable support.
Blue Badge application in Harrow was never difficult but now that it has moved completely online it is easier than ever, particularly to renew a badge.
When it comes to travel with a disability Harrow scores well on public transport facilities too since Harrow on the Hill Station is the latest to go step free, just last month.
Late last year there was a disability arts festival held at Harrow Arts Centre which allowed local disabled people to showcase their creative talents. HAD had a hand in the organisation of this event where everyone involved had great fun. This used to be an annual event before the pamdemic and I, for one, would love to see it return for many years to come.
Why is it so important to have access to green spaces and parks?
Prior to the lockdown of March 2020, we probably didn’t appreciate the importance to our physical and mental health of fresh air and exercise. We used green spaces and parks mostly at weekends, walking with our children and other family members. During the lockdown, we came to understand more the value of going outside, listening to the birds singing, watching trees coming into leaf and flowers blooming. Just being outside the confines of our homes, seeing others (albeit socially appropriately distanced!), observing nature, benefits our mental health.
As residents of Harrow, we have several parks and open spaces to enjoy, of varying sizes and significance. Wikipedia ‘Parks and Open Spaces in the London Borough of Harrow’ lists 20, of which 6 exceed 45 acres (18 hectares): Bentley Priory, Canons Park, Harrow Weald Common, Headstone Manor, Stanmore Common, Stanmore Country Park.
Harrow Weald Common covers 18 ha., most of which is north of Old Redding but 2 areas (including the ancient woodland of Weald Wood) lie to the south. It is a remnant of the Forest of Middlesex and in the 18th century was the haunt of highwaymen. Today, two thirds is common land and is under the protection of Harrow Council, which owns the remaining one third.
Inflation is a general increase in prices, in which one price increase feeds into another, and wages rise to keep pace. Our official UK inflation rate is now 6.2% and set to go higher. Inflation is dangerous. Not just hyper-inflation – remember the barrowloads of money in the Weimar Republic – but the inflation we saw in the 70s which led to social strife, the Thatcher government and a brutal cure which destroyed swathes of UK industry.
Prices rise from time to time without necessarily causing inflation, and we are seeing increases in energy prices due to the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine war, and soon food price increases also due to the Ukraine war. There are other factors such as increased trade friction and labour shortages which drive up wages, both largely due to Brexit.
These price increases could be transitory and not do lasting damage, but only if they are properly handled. Energy prices are going up by 50%, which will devastate those who must choose between heating and eating. Mitigating cost pressures at this point would help nip inflation in the bud and, equally importantly, alleviate suffering. The Government have not risen to this task. Instead of using Universal Credit, which could target the less well-off with precision, they have chosen to spread meagre resources widely and thinly, which will not be enough to make much difference. Other countries have done better. France is going to have energy price increases of only 4%. There is every chance that with such a paltry response inflation will take hold here.
LibDem policy aims to tackle this cost-of-living crisis effectively in the interests of all. Ed Davey has called for an emergency reduction in VAT from 20% to 17.5% (possible because inflation is pushing up VAT receipts) and a windfall tax to stop inflation taking hold and to help the vulnerable. The LibDems would have kept the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, which would also help the most vulnerable. And if the Conservatives had continued with the LibDem push for renewables our increases in energy prices would be less severe. The Conservatives are not doing a good job – it’s time for a change to responsible government.
The Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in Harrow has been one of the most evident failures of Harrow Council.
What went so wrong in Harrow?
Hello, I am David Al-Basha. I intend to run for councillor representing the Marlborough Ward in the upcoming Local Elections on behalf of the Liberal Democrats.
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about the ever-changing Harrow that surrounds us.
When a spacious library with its accessible parking facilities is demolished to build a block of high-rise apartments or a single occupied shop is divided into two or more units, I ask myself, what ethos lies behind such decisions; what considerations have been examined, both short and long term; and what damage is being done to our vibrant and pleasant borough.
When things go wrong, and calamitous decisions are made in matters such as planning, we hear those familiar words ‘lessons have been learned for future purposes’; however, some mistakes can rarely be put right. Once cherished buildings are gone they are gone forever.
We should look around and ask what makes Harrow the place we know and love; and remind our civic leaders and elected representatives they not only have a duty for the residents of today but a duty to maintain the quality of life for future Harrovians in the generations to come. Liberal Democrats will strive to get these decisions right in the interests of the people of Harrow.
We get one chance; let it be the a common-sense chance, the Liberal Democrats.