Meet Georgina Burford-Connole, the Rejoin EU Party candidate

5 mins read
Supporters out on a protest - Credit: Rejoin EU

Georgina Burford-Connole is the Rejoin EU Party candidate in the Battersea constituency for the UK Parliamentary election on Thursday 4 July 2024.

To provide more information about the main candidates, we have partnered with the community website and invited them to answer our questions. We hope this will give you an opportunity to learn more about their concerns, proposals, and how they can assist Battersea residents.

Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Georgina Burford-Connole, and I am the Rejoin EU Party candidate for Battersea.

Tell us something about you our readers may not know.

In my spare time, I run a small business selling Japanese Kawaii merchandise, and I was once killed by a cyberman as an extra on Doctor Who.

What makes the Battersea constituency special for you?

Battersea is special and a wonderful place to live and work because of: the Commons, the river, the Park, the power station, Mondo Brewing Tap Room, the Bedford in Balham, Battersea Village Square. The list goes on and on!!

The events that are put on each year in Battersea Park, Clapham Common, particularly the fireworks. And my daughter would not want the regular visits of Zippos Circus and the various funfairs that set up on the Commons to be overlooked.

The transport links are fantastic too: both road and rail, with quick access to Gatwick via Clapham Junction and the A3 taking you (mostly!) rapidly to the south coast. The redevelopment going on (Winstanley Estate, the power station, just up from Clapham Junction, Arding and Hobbs) is a testament to Battersea’s attractiveness. And it’s always sunnier in SW London!!

With the busiest station at the heart of Battersea, public transport is used by the vast majority of people in the area. What would you like to see improved for that in Battersea?

I don’t know where Crossrail 2 has got to but a link up with the Elizabeth Line would massively enhance Clapham Junction’s utility, providing quick access to Heathrow (in addition to the already good links to Gatwick), as well as rapid cross-London transport. Probably as tricky, if not more so, getting a tube stop into Clapham Junction would be amazing.

Getting to the station by road is already easy due to the large number of buses that pass by, but traffic and dropping off/picking up with luggage can be tricky at busy times.

So maybe more use could be made of Grant Road for drop off/pick up parking and the bus stands there moved to the car park behind the PCS building. Not sure if that’s feasible but providing more of a bus hub right next to the station and more space for cars / taxis could improve the efficiency around the station.

Finally, it would be great to have more, dedicated e-bike parking places closer to the station.

Housing is also a local concern. Recently we have seen some proposal for massive schemes exceeding local plan rules – which justify their scale on the grounds that they also affordable housing. Where is the right balance between providing the social housing we need, and making sure that our urban environment remains one people want to live in?

This is tied up in wider issues of planning reform. Battersea is a victim of its own success, being an attractive place to live and work! If we had a more rigorous rules based planning system rather than one which is a little too vague and malleable, we might better be able to capture what local people regard as the key attributes to defend and keep.

The fact that the constituency doesn’t exactly overlap with the local Boroughs also slightly complicates consulting on these sorts of issues. But more consultation at earlier stages would almost certainly help. By this, I don’t mean a single town hall style meeting where the developer and the LPA set out the plans and people are simply allowed to comment.

Rather I mean a proper conversation that extends over a number of such open meetings with local people, by the end, feeling a genuine ownership of their local area and a partnership with the developer and LPA. (Note: I suspect this is about the height of the Glassmills redevelopment on the river – some 30 stories high!!)

The cost of living is a real worry for many of our readers. Since Labour took control in 2022, the Council has implemented the London Living Wage for its staff and contractors. What additional measures do you believe are necessary, including in the private sector, and what do you think is the best approach for the government to provide support?

This is a huge question!! To answer in two (brief!) parts.

First, at a local level I would like to see more participation of local people directly.
Especially when times are hard. Participatory budgeting has time and again proved its worth in terms of transparency and understanding. Let’s do more of this.

Second, reform of local government financing is long long long overdue. And, conscious of my comment above about the mismatch between constituencies and Boroughs, this area might be the one better suited for action by the local MP. A first action could be to reestablish the Audit Commission, closed in 2015, to provide some consistency and advice to local governments on their finances.

Also, and not to be done without other aspects of tax reform, maybe it’s time to rebase council tax…?? I think the Mirrlees Review had something on this and that was 13 years ago!

In the 2016 EU referendum there was a 70 % remain vote here, one of the highest in the country. There is still a lot of strong feeling about Brexit – but how relevant is it as an issue in this election?

Brexit is the driving engine behind the continued cost of living crisis we face today, and it’s going to get worse as the cutting of trade links with the EU will make getting basic food stuffs much harder as accelerating environmental changes make food harder to produce.

Brexit also continues to blight our ability to travel & work beyond the UK, has destroyed the retirement plans of hundreds of thousands of Brits, and stolen the educational opportunities from our young people.

Battersea could be the first place in the country to send a strong, critical voice to Westminster calling for the reversal of Brexit

The environment has become a bit of a political football, getting tangled in arguments about onshore wind farms and even wokeness. What are the most important measures the future government should commit to in order to address the climate emergency?

Continuing from my last answer, the UK CANNOT fight alone against climate change – we need to join together with the rest of the European Union to provide real global leadership here.

I don’t think there is still a true awareness of exactly how perilous our planet’s future is : as many scientific voices tell us, if we aren’t frightened, we don’t properly understand what’s happening!

If elected, I will provide a strong voice to ensure every policy debated in Westminster considers the UK’s responsibility to the planet

The situation in Gaza is a concern for many voters, and specifically in London where many have a strong view. What do you think should be the government’s position?

The images we’ve seen on our televisions are truly horrific & no decent person should be able to ignore the brutal murders that have taken place.

The Government’s position should be to support an immediate cease-fire and ensure the International Criminal Court is supported in the thorough investigation of this catastrophe.

Closer to home, many individuals have used the situation as an excuse for antisemitism and islamophobia – this should be utterly condemned, and such individuals NOT be supported in having their hateful voices heard

And finally – why should our readers vote for you?

Do the people of Battersea really just want one more dull Labour MP who will just follow the herd in parliament? Why not be vote different?

A vote for me is a vote to show Battersea doesn’t just do what Keir Starmer says it should, and doesn’t just accept the status quo as a fait-accompli

Links and social media

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.

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