The Green Party

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Peter Hickson

PETER HICKSON 11/11/35 to 4/6/20

Peter joined the Green party around 1986 while working as a postman at Sutton sorting office, and with his late wife Jose was an active and committed stalwart of the local Sutton party until shortly before his death.

Peter was a passionate advocate for justice and a thorn in the side of his local MP with his frequent handwritten letters. He worked tirelessly to promote and support both local causes and international campaigns and was never afraid of controversy. He attended numerous demonstrations in London for the Palestinian cause. He was an active memberof the local Amnesty International group, for whom he wrote many (again handwritten!) letters. In more recent years he focussed particularly on NHS privatisation and the KOSH campaign to keep the local St Helier Hospital. The front of his house was usually adorned with banners and displays of his current issues, so he really got his messages across to his neighbours!

Peter was also a very talented man with a variety of creative interests, turning his hand to vernacular architecture, pottery, painting and drawing - including a range of hard hitting posters and displays for our campaigns - and, maybe less successfully, the violin!  Just before he died, the local adult education college in Sutton put on an exhibition of a range of his work, as they felt it merited wider attention.

Peter’s house was like entering a library-cum-museum, a bit reminiscent of a William Morris house, whom he greatly admired: There were shelves and shelves of books on a huge variety of subjects, many of them really heavy political tomes - which scared off any lightweights around! (And let it be remembered that Peter couldn’t read until about the age of 10 when he was evacuated during the war.) Then there were his paintings and artifices all round the walls, his “barge painted” wooden kitchen cupboards, his doors with painted figures – the list goes on!

When Peter and Jose’s promising son, Shane, was tragically killed as a young man in a road accident near where he lived in St Andrews, Peter responded by raising money to plant trees in Scotland and made many lifelong friends and contacts with Shane’s friends there.

Peter’s death comes less than a year after he lost his wife Jose who had been poorly for some time. He was just beginning to pick up his life again, cycling regularly (he never drove a car) and doing his gym exercises in the local parks when the news of his cancer
came through quite recently. We extend our very best wishes and warm support to his surviving daughter Angie as she comes to terms with her great loss. In saying goodbye to Peter, the local Green Party is saying goodbye to a man of great stature, whom some of us have been very privileged to know.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Now public halls and the arts under threat from Sutton's LibDem council

Sutton’s Liberal Democrat council present their latest proposed cuts to local services (Guardian 29 August) as if it’s nothing to do with them. Yet they have frozen council tax rates for years and their party in government has enthusiastically slashed local government revenue support grants. At the same time the government continues to allow legalised tax avoidance on an industrial scale by multinational companies and rich individuals using offshore scams and other legal laundering operations to pay next to nothing to the exchequer. No wonder that soon we will have hardly any public services to show for the money we do spend. Wallington Public Hall is the last such institution remaining in the borough: ‘family silver’ (to quote Harold Macmillan) in the shape of Sutton Public Hall was demolished and sold to developers thirty years ago and we have a sterile (and usually empty) office block in exchange. That hall was paid for by public subscription and it was a betrayal of our forbears to sell it off. Furthermore, to suggest that we should close theatres and slash arts spending one the basis that not everyone uses them is an astonishing argument. Is the best vision of Sutton’s future that the LibDem regime can come up with?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fracking - Press statement from Green party

28 July 2014 THE government’s presumption against fracking in designated areas, such as national parks, goes to show that the Coalition recognises that hydraulic fracking will harm the environment and presents significant risks. The Green Party calls on the government to offer all communities the same protection from dirty and dangerous fracking and shift energy policy focus instead towards clean, renewable energy sources and energy conservation. The latest bidding process for licenses to extract shale gas from large parts of the UK is under way (1). About half the UK is open to exploration, but tightened rules cover areas of outstanding beauty. The Green Party is the only mainstream political party fighting to stop fracking (2) being pushed through by a government which consistently puts corporate profit over people. Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “While the Government has signalled an intention to ensure some protective measures, we can have little confidence in promises of a robust regulatory framework. “We know fracking can cause water contamination and shortages, as well as air and soil pollution. And this is an industry that’s made a catalogue of errors already. But legitimate concerns over its very real environmental and health risks are falling on deaf ears. “By seeking to lock us ever-more firmly into fossil fuel dependence the Government is turning a blind eye to reason. It’s crystal clear that we need to be shifting to clean, renewable energy sources. “We need a rapid shift to a zero carbon economy and that is not going to happen by pouring resources into establishing an entirely new fossil fuel industry.” Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader, said: "The announcement from the government this morning is further acknowledgement, forced from them by the passion of campaigners, that fracking would have a damaging impact on our countryside and environment. "If fracking isn't appropriate in national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty, then it isn't appropriate anywhere in Britain's crowded, precious landscape. "More, this decision risks focusing any fracking that happens in Britain in disadvantaged, poorer areas - Lord Howell's so-called 'desolate North'. Bennett concluded: "It needs to be stated again that fracking is a damaging distraction from our need to focus on energy conservation and renewable energy generation. We need to be working out how to deal with the 'carbon bubble', not looking for more fossil fuels to add to the problem." Fracking, a controversial technique for extracting fossil fuels, is widely opposed in countries where it takes place (3). 1 2 3

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life Centre faces early death?

Another Sutton Council financial banana skin could meet an early end soon as vanity project Sutton Life Centre, the geographically challenged albatross on the Sutton bypass faces up to huge losses. There is good coverage of this in the local Guardian at We propose a competition to come up with the best way that the money wasted on this centre might have been better spent on more mundane but important services like day care for the elderly, joined-up cycle routes or supporting a food waste collection service. Ho hum... The Life Centre attracted controversy from day one when it emerged that the council signed up to a deal to pay Chelsea FC £60,000 to promote the centre in 2012, instead of using the opportunity to showcase local football clubs like Sutton United and Carshalton Athletic.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Healthwatch Sutton- LibDem front or just naive?

My letter to Sutton Healthwatch in the wake of their allowing Tom Brake to host the whole admin for this week's health meeting on his own web site, and control the questions to be asked!! "Why if you are independent (?) have you allowed yourselves to be hijacked by the Liberal Democrat party with regards to this week's meeting in Wallington? If you are the organisers and you are truly independent, all the procedures, advice and administration re the event should be done on YOUR web site NOT on that of a local party politician! You have simply allowed them to manipulate you for political gain and undermined any faith local people might have had in Sutton Healthwatch. I also object to having to submit written questions in advance to Tom Brake. I would have no objection to submitting them to an properly independent panel of scrutiners in orderthat a good range of questions is achieved; but it's another own goal to allow the very people who might be criticised y many local people to vet the questions days in advance. Yours in disgust, Bob Steel"

Friday, July 11, 2014

Less is more with Sutton's LibDems

Carshalton High street is awash with a sea of posters announcing the forthcoming closure of the recycling banks in the High Street. Coincidentally these appeared just days after the new council was elected. "You spoke, we listened!" they proclaim. So the message is that Carshaltonians have been clamouring for recycling facilities to be shut down? I don't recall being consulted....? The official reason is apparently anti-social behaviour associated with the bins?! Very convenient, to have a tiny handful of moans about glass noise late at night as a pretext for putting further skids on Sutton Council's now abysmal rates of recycling. Just as well that Sutton's LibDem council is doing its best to build a huge incinerator, so at least our waste can be burnt instead. Good ol' LibDems, eh? They think of everything!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fracking in Sutton

Shasha at Balcombe

Local Green visits Balcombe on day Green Party MP is arrested during peaceful protest.

Earlier today Sutton & Croydon Green Party leader, Shasha Khan, travelled to Balcombe in West Sussex to show support for residents in their stand against fracking.

Protests have been going on at Balcombe since fracking company Cuadrilla began exploratory drilling for shale oil there four weeks ago.

Fracking poses serious environmental risks, including air and soil pollution, and threatens already overstretched water resources. It makes a mockery of the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change.
And it won’t even help bring energy prices down. It’s not just Greens saying that: everyone from senior executives at Norddeutsche Landesbankanalysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance and even Cuadrilla’s own PR people say that the development of shale gas resources in the UK is unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in UK natural gas prices.

Although shale oil and gas exploration is at an early stage in the UK, a licence has already been granted in Sutton – so industrial sites could pop up in our borough, bringing a huge increase in heavy goods traffic as drilling materials, water, chemicals, waste and the extracted gas or oil are transported to and from the sites..
These licences are to extract the gas or oil, they don’t specify the method to be used.  In order to frack, the companies would need further specific permits. The Government is currently trying to make the permissions process easier for the companies to get permissions and harder for residents to oppose.

Commenting on his visit, Mr Khan said, “When the first modern incinerators were built in other parts of country, we would never have expected one such facility would receive planning approval on our doorstep. We cannot assume that it will never happen in Sutton given Northdown Energy Limited already has a license to frack here (1).  I am particular concerned about toxic chemicals getting into our drinking water.”

Balcombe will be a test case for the entire South East, so it is important we do all we can to demonstrate our opposition and inform people about the risks of fracking, and the myths being perpetuated by the industry and its apologists in government.

The Greens are the only political party completely against any shale gas exploitation. We need to heed the warnings of other European countries, such as France, who have banned fracking entirely.

Earlier in the day, Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, was arrested during a peaceful protest.
Commenting on the arrest, Shasha continued, “ Greens back her brave stance against fracking. For once an MP has been arrested for the right reasons.”

Instead of continuing to chase ever more extreme forms of fossil fuel energy, we should be investing in energy conservation and renewable energy, creating an affordable, job-rich, energy-secure future.


Notes (1)