A typical Tuesday

Off in the morning to the Vodafone shop in Muswell Hill Broadway to join Muswell Hill Mothers Against Masts. Vodafone had gone ahead and turned on their controversial new mobile phone mast. Now – the mothers continue to protest and I support them. We need legislation which will give local authorities the power to reject applications on the ‘precautionary principle’, such as where such applications are sited near vulnerable members of society.

We do (nearly!) all use mobiles – but precaution near the most vulnerable seems a good compromise to me.

The surveyors working with Vodafone have contacted me since the meeting to say that they believe there is less danger near to masts. I will meet them. I think their argument is going to be that a mobile phone (which is much closer than a mast to an individual and so the impact of its signal on the individual is much stronger) will emit less when it is near a mast – so conversely (and counter-intuitively) the user will get less exposure if they live near a mast as the mobile phone in their hand will be emitting less – because it is nearer a mast and so having to work less hard. But of course mobile phone users have choice about whether or not to have them, switching them off etc. Someone who has a mast put in near where they live doesn’t have that choice.

Then off to Haringey Council for a briefing about school places. This was one of the main local issues I talked about in my maiden speech.

Pressure from parents who have not been able to get their children into any of the top three preferences has worked to a degree. Expansion is now taking place in the Muswell Hill and Crouch End areas – and thank goodness there was an election coming up to focus the efforts and kick the Labour-run council out of its past complacency on the issue. Without the political pressure that forces action when lost votes are looming on the horizon, it may very well not have happened.

Then a summer garden party at Kekewick House. All care homes should be like this. The garden is gorgeous – and we are celebrating the new summerhouse, which is gorgeous too and will allow residents to sit in the garden all year round protected from the weather. Tea and scones go round – and it truly is an idyll for elderly care.

Round off the day with a meeting with Harriet Harman to discuss constitutional affairs – for which she is the Minister. I believe we should be doing more to safeguard postal voting against possible fraud. During the election many people were actually scared to vote by post because of the reported level of abuse. As to the Government’s long promised ‘review’ of electoral reform – I get the feeling they want to kick it into the long grass in real terms. If there was fair voting for Westminster elections – 36% of the vote would not give them the sort of power ‘first past the post’ has just delivered. Christmas and turkeys I’m afraid.

Later am hanging around waiting for vote on the Lottery Bill second reading – when the debate fizzles out and there is no vote that night so can go home around 8.30pm – early night!