The Itchen Chapter has finished, let the next one begin…

On the 18th of June I finished my final exam at Itchen College, I can’t believe it’s been two years already! When I first started at Itchen, I had no idea what to expect. For me, the choice to go to Itchen was just to go to the nearest college in order to finally finish my A level exams to go off to University. I did not expect the intense and life-changing experience that I had received.

I always joined my teachers on the front lines... often bringing them a little something for their hard work!

I always joined my teachers on the front lines… often bringing them a little something for their hard work! (L-R, Me, Allison Burns, Sadie Garner)

There were many struggles that were overcome. The most prominent one was that of the students union. On my induction day in 2013, I was approached to join it. I thought it would be that, the likes of which are common at university. I was wrong. It was nothing more than a lunchtime club (run by teachers) to sort out charity events, is there anything wrong with that? No. But there were other functions the student union had to do in order to actually be a proper “students union”. After many battles, I finally became Vice-Chair for 2014/15 with Gregory Smith as the Chair. Greg is probably one of the best people to work with in situations like these, so I’d like to thank him for his hard work and his good humour when times were tough. Last year, to ensure the students union was just that – we created the 2014/15 Strategy, multiple committees (and “job” descriptions for potential officers), a whole structure for the election for the next chair (we worked with Fareham Borough Council for ballot boxes, creating a notice of poll, nomination papers, finance sheets for spending) and even a constitution.  After the Itchen Student Union (ISU) election, the winning candidate Reet Chen became Chair and the runner-up, George Presdee became Vice-Chair. I wish them both every success for next year’s student union. I’d also like to thank every member of the ISU for their hard work in everything we’ve accomplished. We were the most successful students’ union in recent times and you all deserve congratulations for that.

For a short time I was on the Itchen Governing Body as a Student Governor, a role in which I had enjoyed but had to resign after I soon realised that I couldn’t do everything. In order to be able to do your A Levels, run a general election campaign and be the chair of your local residents’ association there are some sacrifices you must make, and for me it was a hard decision but I had to call it a day. I’d like to thank Trevor Little, the clerk of the Itchen Governing Body, for his help and support while I was on there.

But overall I’d like to thank my teachers David Bown, Sadie Garner, Allison Burns, Mel Lockheart, Caroline Counsell, Lucy Scovell, Bridget Jones, Marcus Whitney, Chris Bluemel, Dawn Hitchcock, Adrian Blakey, Tim Dennis and whoever else I’ve (sorry) forgotten to add! You’ve all been tremendously inspirational to me and thank you all for giving me hope. I certainly enjoyed being on the front line with you every time there was a strike… it seems the battle is far from over there!

To finish, I’d like to finally thank the principal, Barry Hicks. We’ve disagreed pretty vocally about many things, often matters with the ISU, however I can’t say goodbye without saying thank you for keeping the college afloat in these times of austerity to allow me and many people to get an education at Itchen.

Now what next? Well we won’t know for certain until the 13th of August which is results day. Should I get into University, I will resign my post as Chair of the Warsash Residents Association and I am determined to continue on the committee to help promote them on social media. If I don’t get in, then I shall continue on and look for work. Regardless of the outcome I will stand again for Warsash in next year’s local election, I am determined to represent the people who have given me so much growing up in Warsash.

But until then, I’m still taking a bit of a break…

Thanks for reading.

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Miles

Fareham’s Green Surge

I’d like to start by thanking every one of you who voted for me and The Green Party. I’d like to also thank the support I have received over this campaign from family, friends, supporters and people within our community. The Greens are a growing force in Fareham. The Green Party has been building on successive local elections to effectively tripling our votes in the general election. Let me give you some perspective:

In 2010 – we received 790 votes. In the early hours of Friday, 8th May 2015 – we received 2129. This is a clear sign that people, now more than ever, are going Green. This has laid out a huge foundation for our future campaigns and we are determined to build on this.

As I said at the count, Suella – I wish you well, I hope we will hear from you over your next term. However, this election isn’t the end of our efforts. This isn’t the last you have heard from me or The Green Party, we are here to stay. This is a new era of Fareham’s history.

I urge you reading this, if you have considered joining Green in the past. Do it now. If you have ever considered donating to your local Green Party to help with the production of newsletters, leaflets, badges, banners. Do it now. Because the Green Party will be fighting in next year’s local elections and we will be fighting hard. You have the chance to be part of the team that stands up for Fareham and provides our town with a future we can all be proud of.

Keep voting Green, Fareham deserves better, and so do you.

Thanks for reading.

Miles

Going Green? Go Grindey!

I have been selected to stand for Fareham

Well this has been an exciting week to say the least!

Members of the South East Hampshire Green Party have nominated me, a 19 year old Itchen Sixth Form College student, as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Fareham constituency at the next general election, to be held on the 7th of May 2015.

 

As you may know from reading this blog, I have  grown up in Warsash and at the time of the next election, I will be just 20 years old – making me quite possibly one of, if not, the youngest candidates in the UK. I have previously has stood for election in 2013 and 2014 in my home ward of Warsash. I have recently become the Chair of the Warsash Residents’ Association and have been campaigning on local issues such as Public Transport and have demonstrated against the proposed development known as “Welborne”.

 

I’ve grown up in Fareham and I want to see to it that the people of Fareham are actually listened to as opposed to being managed like cattle. It is time we had someone in Parliament who will fight against destructive developments like Welborne, who will fight to renationalise our trains and get proper links to places of work, hospitals and schools, someone who will fight for the next generation and scrap tuition fees, someone who puts people before profit. All my life I’ve heard people crying for an alternative, and here I am.

Let’s rock.

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Miles

BIG NEWS: I’m now the Chair for the Warsash Residents’ Association

I’m extremely pleased to announce that I am the new Chair of the Warsash Residents’ Association. I’d like to start by thanking the members of the association for making me feel so welcome and the members of the committee for giving me the opportunity to help out in my home community. I feel it is also important to thank the former chair, Chris Bridges, for all his hard work as Chair for the last year.

I’m very happy to be in a position where I can give back to the community I’ve grown up in. Warsash is my home – it’s where my heart lies. I hope to raise the profile of the Residents’ Association and engage the whole of the Warsash community into what is happening in our local area, to keep everyone in the know and not just a few.

Not only am I the youngest Chairperson in the Association’s 82 year history, but at 19 years old I may very well be the youngest chairperson in the entire country!

I’m getting very hopeful for the future.

Thanks for reading,

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Miles

Fareham needs an alternative

As the Welborne hearings continue, it is becoming more and more clearer that it is completely undemocratic. As our own Prime Minister, David Cameron, said “it is up to the people of Fareham to decide” – seems to be I’ve never been asked if I wanted it!  It also appears to me that the people of Funtley and the surrounding communities have never really been consulted properly.

This time last week, I attended a demonstration organised by Jason Mudge – who is a local hero as far as I am concerned.  For the first time I  (or my family who’ve lived in the borough for nearly 60 years) can recall, there has never been such fierce public opposition to anything directly affecting our town.

Some of our councillors seem to be adamant in building Welborne, they say that it isn’t in their hands and that there is “nothing we can do” – but the last time I checked, we live in a democracy don’t we? Not some absolutist totalitarian regime that is hell bent on clogging up our roads, packing up our schools, our surgeries and destroying vital farmland. Fareham was named the most car dependent town in the entire UK, and the M27 was labelled as “the worst for traffic incidents” – what good will this monstrosity serve if we just keel over and allow these people, who are supposed to represent us, to go ahead with this?

Already we have heard of councillors in the North Fareham ward breaking their silence and saying that they are opposed to this development, and they have my respect for that – they had been effectively gagged up until this point and it’s a brave thing to do, but in my opinion – if David Harrison had been elected in May he wouldn’t have been dormant and actually spoke out about this as early as he could.

Fareham needs an alternative, this universally complacent attitude has been  going on too long, the people of our town need a brighter, Greener alternative that when chosen by the people will work for them tirelessly.

It is time we stand up for our town and take the “Green Plunge”.

Thank you for reading,

miles

 

 

 

 

 

Miles

Gaza Rally in Portsmouth

I’d figure I’d write my version of accounts of what happened at the rally in Portsmouth today, since I don’t think there’s been any proper coverage of the events where I was.

The entire procession was a mainly peaceful occasion, there were many of us at the rally – there were some great speeches made, including one by the Coordinator of the South East Hampshire Green Party.

Some incredibly good points were made, how we were there to support the Palestinian civilians and how we condemn the bloodshed of this whole thing. After a while we went on a march near the train station. I thought I’d give it 5 minutes before something happen, then lo-and-behold there were about 10 EDL thugs attempting to cause a fight with a Israeli flag and just shouting. After the police sorted them out we continued with members of the public filming and smiling at us.

This van shot out police officers quicker than you can shout “cops!” – they showed up 5 seconds after the EDL skinheads caused a fuss. Top marks.

Anyway the whole thing came to an end around two-ish, I had a lovely chat with a man called “Mr Molar” (he called himself that). I then spoke to a nice lady (whose name I’ve forgotten – I’m dreadful with names) who told me that I was inspiring and that there should be more people like me – I told her that I was very grateful for her kind words, and then finally I spoke a couple of our new members and then we left.

Very peaceful.

Thank you for reading,

miles

Miles

Grindey Goes to South Downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, me and David Harrison of the SE Hants Green Party, went to South Downs college after being invited by the Student Union President Daniel Hughes and had a stall promoting The Green Party as part of their drive to give students a wide picture of other parties to look at.

I was most impressed by the system they use to register visitors, where they have a tablet that you write your name and (if needed) company and then it prints off your badge, and then the receptionist puts together for you! It’s really innovative and I couldn’t stop talking about that for the rest of the day!

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The other thing I was very pleased with was that their student union is independent from the college, it has a liaison committee within it so that dialogue can easily flow with students to teachers, without them dominating the union. It is also part of the NUS and also the head of it is elected! Everyone is given a role so that they have something to do, and it’s a great way to engage students with the college – it’s possibly the most student friendly college I’ve encountered so far! I hope that within the next year the ISU gets closer to that level of student representation.

 

I wish all the best to Daniel, Liz Langley and in general the whole of South Downs. I am very grateful for their hospitality and I hope to engage more with them in future.

 

Thanks for reading

Go Green

Go Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles

 

Green means GO!

There is a great deal of cynicism in the UK these days, and quite rightfully so! I mean who wouldn’t be cynical about politicians, political parties and indeed candidates after all that has happened, the lies, the deceit and the overall “Image” over “Substance” culture? Many of the people who go to my college seem to think that Green Party (or Greenpeace Party as someone thought it was) is just a bunch of vegan hippies trying to put up wind farms all over the place.

The Green Party is not JUST about the environment, it’s a party that prides itself on inspiring social change, a party that so desperately attempts to improve social justice wherever our members are in power and it’s this great deal of ignorance and lack of insight that is allowing the elite in politics to have their way with the public and push people who genuinely want to do good to the side. 

Over the past couple of Sociology lessons my class watched Michael Moore’s great documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story” about how banks and lobbyists had invaded their political system and indeed how alienated people WERE (emphasis) feeling disenfranchised with the whole system. I was surprised to see two things, one the distinct lack of interest from the majority of the class about what has happened to OUR society and two the fact no one (apart from myself and perhaps a couple of others) felt anguished by how easy these people with a ridiculous amount of money were able to get away with it so quickly!  All in all I feel as though I’m the only one willing to do anything about it. While it is true that I am standing in the Local Elections next year and that my issues will be purely local ones, but to bring about sustainable change it must be achieved through baby steps. One foot at a time. 

To get politics across to college students is a very difficult struggle, with many accusing the likes of me doing this for personal gain.  It is these accusations which, if it weren’t for my thick skin, would cut me deep so much that I’d give up my dream. I am determined no matter what to do something different, big or small – I want to do something that will enlighten people of all generations to fight the system when it doesn’t go our way. We are supposed to alter the system to fit our needs, but nowadays we’re being shaped to fit the needs of the system. Where did we go wrong? The short answer for you is “I’m not entirely sure”. This culture of either spouting hate at everyone with a rosette, “bending over and taking it” or following the trail of thought of “Mummy and Daddy” is highly damaging. I don’t blame people either, in the last 30 years we’ve lost people who mean what they say and say what they mean. I think that an ever growing proportion of people are forgetting how to think for themselves and that their whole thought process comes from adverts and what the media tell them.

One thing from my experience is that if you want to see change, think of things as a traffic light. Labour (Red) is stop, the Lib Dems are something you probably shouldn’t chance and Green means go! 

Thanks for reading,

 

Miles Grindey

 

Democratic Revolution

Some time has passed from the famous Brand-Paxman interview and I can’t help but comment on the response and debate it has triggered across the country.  I myself hold the view that the only way to get things done is to fight the system by using the system, but how can we if we can’t clearly see who is doing things for political gain, or doing things to genuinely help better society?  My response is, look at the people in your area. If you can see people in the local paper, online newsletter or just out and about doing things for the community who then turn out to be a candidate in the next local/general/euro/whatever election then you’ve got to ask yourself a very basic and fundamental question “to what gain is this person doing this?” 

I can PROMISE you that what I do in the community comes from loyalty to where I was brought up. For too long I think that people have been trodden on, walked over and spat on by political elites. The issues are being told to us, by the media or by politicians who just want to make a quick buck off public opinions. I believe that people who genuinely take their time (no matter how inconvenient it may be to the people in the area) to go out and talk to residents in the area, no matter if they can or can’t vote yet, about what concerns them are the people who should be considered “true politicians”. 

Whether we like it or not we live in a representative democracy, every so often we must do our duty as citizens and vote to our hearts content. It may very well be “the lesser of two evils” but with each cross on a ballot we are expressing our opinions without having to tell a single person. Each cross is a written bullet, fired towards whoever is in power (or in some cases in opposition) to tell them “I don’t like what you’re doing” and with that written bullet we can annihilate an entire Government without actually killing a single person. I remember hearing something similar by former Labour MP Tony Benn, who if you know me or read the Portsmouth News piece about me, is my inspiration for getting involved.

The thing that bothers me is the fact that in secondary schools there are lessons called “Citizenship”, now these lessons are supposed to educate people on how society functions and what people can do to help out and how the system works, and indeed how people can shape it. Now… did we ever learn that? I can tell you now that in my time in Secondary Education not once did I know what “First Past The Post” was or even that there were 650 MPs sitting in Westminster. We spent our time quite literally chatting about who was seeing who and watching films, a pure WASTE of taxpayer money and indeed valuable time. 

I propose that we replace Citizenship lessons with Electoral Studies, something where people at a young age can learn about how they can shape society and how they can really “stick it” to the man! This is something that I have discussed with friends, family and indeed my own teachers. It’s something that people have reacted warmly to when I propose this idea and in fact something that Michael Gove should consider if he’s serious about making education better. In my opinion he has desecrated Education, I’ve stood on the picket lines with my teachers (present and former) and they have all given their experience of the last 3 years of this Coalition government and how much they have been, screwed, by the Ministry for Education. 

It’s not fair that even teachers, people who have devoted their lives to shaping the minds of the young and inspiring a whole generation, are feeling alienated and disenfranchised with the system. It’s something that has been bothering me personally and quite frankly I’ve decided to try and defend the system, because it’s not too late. We can save it, we can really do something. I’m not saying “YES WE CAN” like a certain US President and then end up killing people with drone strikes, I’m not saying “We must stop the bankers” and then give them a huge bailout. 

I’m saying is that, we need to get involved, really tell the people at the top that we’ve had enough. I’m only involved myself because I feel that if we are united in believing that there’s something wrong, then why don’t we do something about it? Why can’t we just pull together despite the cynical attitudes and the pessimistic viewpoints of our democracy and fire those who we feel have wiped the floor with us by going back on promises and things they’ve campaigned on!

Like in my previous post, I said “get involved” and there is a great deal of caution when it comes to that phrase. People seem to be under this illusion that it means “Stand as a candidate” or “Join a political party” and I don’t necessarily mean that (although that being said it’d be nice to see some new faces at local meetings now and again) I mean keep your ear to the ground about local happenings, find out who has said what and find out, before the official list is published, who is standing in your area. It’s all about accountability and if you choose not to vote, the turnout declines further and further. The day when turnout is below 20% nationally is a day when things start to seem a little authoritarian and we get screwed even harder. It’s something we have GOT to avoid. It’s something we must fight against and band together.

I feel I’ve said enough but I’m open to hear what you’ve got to say.

Thanks for reading,

Miles Grindey

 

A Rather Busy Week

Well I can safely say that this has been one of my busy weeks, on Tuesday I attended the latest of the Western Wards Community Action Team meeting, yesterday (Wednesday) I formally joined the Warsash Resident’s Association – at the meeting I bumped into one of my old Primary School Teachers, a nice surprise – and finally today I joined my teachers in their industrial action.

Last Friday I was interviewed by Ben Fishwick of The Portsmouth News featured below is the bit he wrote (I forgive him for spelling “Grindey” wrong):

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Indeed it circulated around quite a bit, a few residents in the Community Action Team meeting (and indeed Cllr Trevor Cartwright) mentioned it, a very pleasant experience I thought.  The next day I went to the Warsash Resident’s Association, it was a very good meeting, the local police sergeant (who is leaving soon, wish him all the best) gave his report and we were treated to a great presentation about Bees by a Local Beekeeper.

Pre-Western Wards CAT meeting, Victory Hall

Pre-Western Wards CAT meeting, Victory Hall, Warsash

Today, despite around most of the students not showing up, I went into Itchen College – beforehand I went to my local shop and purchased two packets of biscuits I shared with the teachers.  I initially had a wonder around before finding some members of staff outside, I had a very pleasant chat  with the members of staff who were taking industrial action and one of them informed me of the rally occurring in the middle of Southampton. Soon after they packed up, I immediately started to walk (from Itchen College) to Speaker’s Corner in Southampton, I soon bumped into my Tutor and the rally began.

Itchen Bridge

View from the Woolston side of the Itchen Bridge, 17/10/2013

What Recovery?

 

The Daily Echo filmed the beginning of it, and you can spot me some point in this video here.  I made a speech after the planned speakers gave their say which had a very warm reception afterwards. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to speak and also to the teachers who thanked/congratulated/supported what I said.

After the walk to Friends Meeting House and being interviewed by a very nice BBC reporter, me and my old teachers from my time at Barton Peveril soon went to The Alex pub.  We caught up but I soon had to leave, had to get the College Bus home! So it was a rather tiring power walk back to Itchen, and I’m just taking some minor time off before I finish some of my homework.

From the BBC Article

From the BBC Article (I’m on the Right)

Tiring times indeed.

Thanks for reading,

 

Miles Grindey