ENFIELD INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER, U.K.: Councillor Pledges to Protect Park

Councillors have pledged to tackle drug-taking and neglect in a historic park following complaints from neighbours.

The council will carry out a review of the management of Grovelands Park and is planning to work with different landowners to come up with a coordinated solution to the problems.

It comes after concerns were raised about antisocial behaviour in and around the park.

Speaking at a meeting of Southgate ward forum on Wednesday (October 3), Councillor Stephanos Ioannou said: “Part of the fence was taken down, and a sofa was put in there. They were actually smoking weed on those sofas in the middle of the park.

“I have organised with officials from the council a date when residents can go and voice their concerns about what is happening in the park.”

Grade-II listed Grovelands Park is home to the Grade I-listed Grovelands mansion, whose grounds were designed by renowned English landscape gardener Humphrey Repton.

The park has been on English Heritage’s heritage at risk register since 2009, with the large number of landowners posing problems for successful land management.

Frank Farmer, of Grovelands Residents’ Association, said: “I want to thank councillor Stephanos for taking up this issue. We have raised it many times with various authorities, and I am afraid we have made no progress.

“You might think this is rather parochial, but this is such a beautiful area and an area that has already been designated historic land.

“To see it in the state it is in – it is a very sad state of affairs.”

Councillors confirmed officers were working with other landowners – including Thames Water and the Priory Hospital – to come up with a coordinated approach to managing the park.

Mr Farmer described the news as “encouraging”.

He said: “It should not be beyond the wit of these groups to get together and realise that this wonderful land could be put to good community use.”

CONSERVATIVE GROUP FOR EUROPE NEWSPAPER, U.K. & E.U.: Brexit is scaring investment and business away from Britain.

How many times have you and I turned on the TV only to hear that yet another business has decided to close the books, pack the bags, and head over to the continent opposite the Channel?

Ever since 2016 businesses have been left in limbo about the future economic relationship the UK will share with our closest and valuable trading partners of the European Union. Today, we can see from the announcements of the recent past since that vote, that indeed what the business community promised us would happen- actually has.

They told us that headquarters will go, that production will go, and ultimately that jobs will go. And whether one believes that this is the product of ‘short-term pain, and long term gain’, rest assured, that this is not even the real beginning of the long painful road ahead as a result of letting business down, combined with the uncertainty of leaving the EU.

The fallout from the disastrous Brexit vote and the even more tricky negotiations are scaring businesses to death, and continuing apace. House of Fraser has announced it will be closing down 31 out of 59 stores. Airbus and BMW both warned of the severe consequences of a disorderly Brexit. Airbus closing plants in the UK would have an especially bad impact on jobs in Wales, where Airbus has a major plant, that inexplicably voted for Brexit given it has the most to lose of almost anywhere from leaving the EU.

A Baker McKenzie survey of 800 business leaders in France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland found that nearly half of respondents say their company has reduced investment in the UK since the Brexit vote. No wonder therefore that many hundreds of thousands demonstrated against the Brexit madness not long ago… This isn’t just bad for businesses, but bad for communities and families, and when I say ‘communities’ I mean those in which the employment provided by those firms is the life support for the local area. They are well and truly irreplaceable and are the backbone for many areas.

It appears that the Brexit vote has already cost the UK between £20bn and £40bn. The ONS reported that in April manufacturing output dropped 0.5%, which is the largest fall since May 2017. GDP growth was 0.1% in the first quarter and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has forecast it will be only 0.2% in the second quarter. As a consequence, the pound continues to slide on the obvious economic weakness. The pound is worth more than 10% less now than on the eve of the Brexit vote. The bad news continued with the trade deficit rising to the second highest on record.

Brexiteers have claimed that other countries are “queuing up” to strike trade agreements with Britain after it leaves the bloc, and that the supposed benefits of leaving the EU would not be realised under the PM’s plan.

In reality, though, the situation is more complicated. First of all, there isn’t a lot of evidence that signing new free trade agreements (FTAs) would deliver an economic boost anything like enough to compensate for the hit from leaving the EU single market and customs union. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says “simple arithmetic” and “a basic understanding of trade” show the gains from such FTAs are likely to be small.

But another problem is that countries aren’t exactly queuing up to do deals with Britain – or where they seem to be, things aren’t as straightforward as they appear.

A previous US-EU attempt at a trade deal, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, failed after Mr Trump suspended negotiations because it wasn’t favourable enough to the US. But on this side of the Atlantic, even that deal was equally controversial because of US stipulations on scaling back welfare and hygiene rules for farm animals, as well as opening up public services like the NHS to US private corporations.

With polling showing the public firmly against US foodstuff such as chlorinated chicken coming to Britain, any deal likely to be acceptable to Mr. Trump would be sure to contain extremely unpopular and controversial elements – particularly if it were to be negotiated at speed.

The path therefore although seeming long and tough, is a simple one in order to restore certainty and give something for our businesses to cheer about in all this. A close relationship with the European Single Market and Customs Union, is the first stop. Chequers or none, full membership of the EU, or falling back to WTO rules- businesses are looking at the clock and weighing their options…Our time in trying to keep them here is running out.

Stephanos Ioannou is a Conservative Party Councillor for Southgate ward in north London, London Borough of Enfield. Stephanos is also Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Greece group, that aims to strengthen the bi-lateral ties between the United Kingdom and the Hellenic Republic.

BACKBENCH NEWSPAPER, U.K.: Democracy would be dead if we didn’t have a second referendum.

In a democracy, power is not permanent. Every four years most of us will go back to the polling station after carefully analysing all party’s stances on the issues that matter to us, and this bundle of pledges offered to us determines whether or not we give them our vote- our trust.

Governments win and governments lose, but this is after we take the events of the recent past and decide if it was all worth it. And if our minds change, and this is broadly in line with what the nation believes too, then the government will change.

Just like in an election, referendums are not different and shouldn’t be treated as something entirely sacred, that when we vote once this is to be the ‘holy grail of decisions’ and everyone must rally behind what they call ‘the will of the British people’. I disagree and rather take the decision as a ‘message’ that ‘something’ and not everything must change. Having said that, 52% is too close to call and cannot be a clear message that we must fall back from the 43 years of strong and intertwined British government ties with the European Union.

And let’s be clear on this point, that some think a 2% mandate is sufficient… We can argue all we like about the 50+1 in every election, because that will come back around in four years’ time. But this issue is not a changing of the people at the desk, but rather a change in our image as a nation and one that is renowned for its excellent breadth and depth in diplomacy for generations. Brexit is different, and not a game of the here and now.

Today it is increasingly likely either that no agreement will be reached with the EU or that no deal will be ratified by Parliament, and this should be enough to make all of us want a final say on the outcome of this Brexit chapter in our lives. The notion of ‘one voter, one vote, once’ is not the spirit of democracy. The electorate have changed, and so have the minds of those witnessing two years of endless post-referendum analysis on our TV screens, and engaging in general conversation with others on the issue.

In light of this Theresa May has a difficult job in getting a deal in the first place, and then making sure it passes through Parliament. Even if this is agreed and passes through, who will ever know if the public agreed with the arrangement made? This would be divisive, and much more than compared to a public referendum in future, as MP’s will have a difficult time balancing constituent, national and party interest.

But there is a better option in all of this…One that allows us to take the cumulative events of the past, combined with the details of the final deal, and make our decision- a referendum on the final deal. There could well be three options on the balance sheet here: the deal; withdrawal of notification to leave; and no deal. It is possible to organise such a vote.

In making matters worse, suppose that there was no deal to put before voters. Now there would be just two choices: the “no deal” option, and withdrawal of the notification. That would be far simpler and would allow a clear threshold condition to be placed.

If we want to well and truly reinvigorate our politics, and more importantly if we want to show the world that sometimes it’s good to take a step back- and pause- to reflect on our decisions, then a second referendum with a clear threshold is the way forward. No Conservative, and no Labour nor Liberal Democrat can argue against this, but rather they should support this idea of a second referendum to at least give remainers closure, or even bolster what leavers already knew was right, if it was the case to turn out that way again.

What we all must appreciate form this, is that although the vote to leave was the biggest vote in our nation’s history, and the greatest decision in terms of numbers from the individual ballot papers, then remaining was the second largest decision ever taken, and so the 48% cannot be ignored.

ELEFTHERIA NEWSPAPER, U.K.: Conservatives Select Young Greek-Cypriot Stephanos Ioannou for Southgate ward.

Greek Cypriot Stephanos Ioannou has been formally selected to stand as a Conservative candidate in Southgate ward, for the coming local elections in May 2018.

Stephanos was born in 1996 to parents Costa and Elena from Potamos to Kampou-Morphou and Filia-Morphou, and has a twin sister Maria. He completed his A-Levels at
Highlands School and Greek at Finchley Greek School, and is currently an undergraduate student in London studying Economics.

In 2014 he began his political involvement with the youth wing of the Conservative Party, and managed to coordinate across London youth to get out and campaign for their local MP’s in the 2015 General Election.
In 2016 Stephanos was appointed Chief of the London camping for Conservatives IN, a pro-European campaign set up by then Prime Minister David Cameron to urge voters to vote remain in the then referendum on EU membership.
Shortly after the referendum he established the Conservative friends of Greece group, a group within the Conservative party that promotes bilateral ties between the United Kingdom and Hellenic Republic, and to date has 13 supporting MP’s inside the House of Commons.

Stephanos is currently campaigning against the closure of Southgate Police Station, that has a vital immediate response unit at the back of the building which responds to robberies burglaries and other immediate crimes. In addition, he is a passionate advocate of a ‘compassionate government’ that includes pushing more action on refugees, fighting poverty, and prompting a more inclusive society.
Other parts of his manifesto include improving the local education system in Enfield and making sure not only every parent gets their preferred school, but that every child goes to a quality school. Regarding the environment, he is a keen advocate for protecting local greenbelt land, and ensuring that our local parks are kept intact, alongside promoting people to get involved with local sports teams.

He speaks frequently on TV regarding matters relating to Greece and Cyprus and the Conservative Party in general, and has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, ERT, STAR, and even DW News among others. He is also a columnist for the newspaper United Politics.

Stephanos also enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, exploring new cultures, and is a keen Panathinaikos supporter.

ELEFTHERIA NEWSPAPER, U.K.: Conservative Friends of Greece Celebrates Conservative Party Conference Success.

The Conservative Friends of Greece group held their second party conference event, this year in Manchester. The event marked two years since the founding of the group within the UK Conservative Party and has since gone from strength to strength with a record number of 12 Members in the House of Commons, two members of the House of Lords, and a member of the Greater London Assembly.
The event was hosted by Stephanos Ioannou, Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Greece, with special guests: The Rt. Hon. Alberto Costa MP President of the All Party- Parliamentary Group for Greece and House of Commons Leader for Conservative Friends of Greece, John Penrose MP, Martin Vickers MP, Christopher Pincher MP, Andrew Rosindell MP.
In addition the group were proud to announce their new leader for the House of Lords, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne. The event also welcomed H.E. Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic in the UK Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras and Andrew Boff, Conservative member for the London Assembly.

Stephanos Ioannou opened the event by stating that: “For two years now Conservative Friends of Greece have been championing the voices of ordinary Greeks here in the UK. For two years we have welcomed Greeks into our party, given them a home, and made them feel that someone is on their side-the Conservative Party. We are the only political party here in the UK who is reaching out to the Greek community. Not Labour, nor the Liberal Democrats have acknowledged the difference Greek businesses and individuals themselves through society have made to the UK economy throughout the decades. But we do, and we say loud and clear “WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE!” “Even though the UK has voted to leave the European Union, we have not voted to fail our friendships with nations including Greece, that make up approximately 200,000 here in the UK. Conservative MP’s I’m sure will be lobbying hard to ensure the status of Greeks here in the UK and secure their future. We will never turn Greek people away from Britain, we will welcome you with open arms, and we will let you get on with your day to day life similar to Brits born here.”

The Rt. Hon Alberto Costa MP also said: “I have had the pleasure of being President of the APPG for Greece in Parliament, working with colleagues from all parties to enhance and strengthen the bond between the UK and Greece. Together we are fighting hard to make sure ordinary Greeks living in the UK have a say in how we manage our country, and I am optimistic that our future relationship even after we leave the EU will be better than ever. From tourism to agriculture and shipping to consulting Greek business and expertise will always be welcome to the UK, and we value your input and efforts.”

The Rt. Hon John Penrose MP also said: “Both the UK and Greece work very close together militarily, and this is emphasised by our NATO alliance that advocates peace, democracy and freedom.” “The UK has recently sent over HMS Duncan to Piraeus, a major vessel in our Royal Navy, to not only stem the flow of migrants but to undertake exercises with Greek military forces. This is alongside the more recent visit by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon to Souda Bay in Crete, a panicle base that brings together Britain-Greece-United States forces.” “After Brexit, I do not expect, and don’t wish to see a change in the military relationship between the UK and Greece. Greece is a pillar of stability in a region of instability. They are part of a major crossroad between mainland Europe, the Middle East, and with close proximity to North Africa, and so I echo that the UK would not want to lose such a strategic ally.”

Baroness Nicholson said:”It is an honour for me to be present here this evening with the Conservative Friends of Greece group, and I look forward to working with the group and its members”. Non-governmental organisations are the backbone of the Greek civil society. From the Greek branches of international NGOs and nation-wide NGOs to local grassroots organisations, civil society in Greece is a diverse sector. The U.K. has played a key role also in the humanitarian work going on over in Greece. In February 1,000 tents were delivered by the British government to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection to help Greek authorities cope with the influx of refugees and migrants. The UK is providing ’940,000 of in-kind assistance delivered through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and NGOs in the form of 61,900 blankets, 1,000 tents, 200 solar lanterns, 8,000 inflatable mats, 8,000 sleeping bags, 4 generators and 1,000 floor tiles. In addition to the humanitarian effort, the U.K. recently deployed HMS Duncan to help with the stem of refugees coming into the country. With the help we are giving, not only are we providing assistance, but we are sending a message to Greece that they are not alone- and that the UK will be by their side even with difficult times such as now.”

H.E. Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic in the UK Dimitris Caramitsos-Tziras also said: “May I echo the Embassy’s appreciation and full support for the Group’s efforts. This is my second year at the groups conference event, and I am pleased to see that the number of parliamentarians has increased, as well as of course the new addition of Baroness Nicholson in the Lords. Greece has undergone a 7-year-long deep financial crisis. Throughout that period, and especially now that my country comes out of the crisis, it remained a pillar of stability and security in the otherwise turbulent eastern Mediterranean. Greece maintains good neighbourly relations with all countries in the SE Europe and the East Med region, and has forged strategic partnerships with key countries in those regions. And in terms of Brexit, but mostly in the effort of working out the future UK-EU relationship and the future UK-Greece bilateral relationship, Greece has been positive and will maintain a constructive role.”

Andrew Boff, GLA member, also said:”London is proud to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, that welcomes everyone and in particular Greeks. With over 20 Greek Orthodox Churches here in London, hundreds of businesses, many Greek students studying at London universities, and over 100 Greek schools, it’s clear that London has and continues to welcome Greeks seeking a better quality of life.”

TORY SOCIAL NEWS, U.K.: The Party of Ambition

In this day and age parties don’t win elections just on policy announcements, and even more facts are being put in second place. Substituted for them is the personalities of those in charge, who can deliver the best message for a positive change, and which leader can battle it out in a TV debate best.

Selling ambition is what won us Conservatives elections, and under David Cameron we shined. The ambition that we could live in a society where females feel more confident entering the workplace, and taking on more senior roles. Where we champion the idea of gender equality, and make landmark changes that allow same sex marriage. And of course the setting up of the National Citizen Service scheme which gets young people involved in group activities, promotes collaboration and sparks ideas.

And we as a party need to continue to do this, with an ever greater momentum than ever before. We as a party need to push harder to get young people back from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, because the failure to do so will certainly lead to losing more seats particularly in London which is changing fast. I personally believe we are on the right side of the argument in many things- that we give young people the dream to own their own home and make them keep more of their pay packet. This is all good stuff, but we need an inspiring vision to take this message forward. You don’t just say that you favour free- enterprise, liberal democracy and choice and pack up home and think you’ve persuaded- no- people need to remember that the ideas of nationalisation, state control and high taxation can burden you even from a young age…you need to win the argument for every generation.

And this is where we messed up at conference this year. Catchphrases of the “lion roaring” and the “British Dream” seems more of a substitute for the uncertain reality we are facing in Brexit negotiations that isn’t producing results, rather than spurring momentum and getting people pumped for what we can achieve after leaving the EU.

Young people want more integration, certainty for their future, and a more caring society… and leaving the EU is slapping all this down. We are advocating to young people that the unknown is better than the current situation we are in of high employment, a reducing deficit, and high foreign investment. Playing with their future to the tune of “everything will be fine once we leave” and that we will magically appear better off economically once we leave is a fantasy. One because no country has seriously proposed a tangible trade agreement that matches the benefits of being in the single market, and two because once we leave, we become competition- and firms don’t take prisoners. The certainty for young people and their future job prospects is dampened when companies such as RBS, HSBC, Namoura and others publicly say they are seriously considering to leave, whilst Bombardier is about to lose 1,000 and BAE Systems announced today that it’s to axe at least two thousand, is actually putting the fear in people that the ‘dream’ is more a catastrophe waiting to happen, and that the economy is going to take a big hit.
The solution to limiting the future negative economic gloom is simple, our party needs to unleash the pro-business pro-young entrepreneurial side it always had. We need to set out an economic policy which gives tax relief to new businesses being set up by young people, and we need more young business forums which generate ideas and fuel confidence among people to get out and actually invest and do business.

Getting young people on the side of Brexit can be achieved if we propose upbeat policies promoting start-up businesses after Brexit. Because young people want to know the government will assist them after Brexit- that through grants, seminars, and government schemes that focus on young entrepreneurs, we are still the party of business, and we support businesses more than ever as we leave the single market and customs union and venture onto new global horizons.

Integration with Europe can still be a growing ambition after Brexit. A deal that reaffirms a similar current situation of integration regarding research, university collaboration, right down to joint international development projects is something that will not only benefit our institutions that work closely with the continent, but also advocates Britain’s soft power after Brexit- that despite us leaving, we are willing to cooperate for the general good, and that we can make life better for all our continents citizens.

And that is exactly what young people want to hear. Not that we abandon our previous commitments and get hostile over a settlement payment with Europe, and that all we talk about is trade, but instead we promote integration with our closest partners and allies and want to make a success of this, and that we still care for the 48% here in Britain-mostly young- that want our country to be part of that big project next door.

We as a party lost a great opportunity last week to show that we can unite under a banner that advocates a relationship with Europe promoting both our citizen’s freedom, integration in a formal manner, and that we will get a good deal for young people that doesn’t effect their future economic prospects. We have a huge hill to climb, but it’s always worth remembering what makes our party great;

Making the impossible-possible, selling ambition, and of course forming sound economic policies which makes Britain a model internationally of how to manage, and form, an economy which works for everyone.