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17-year-old Ealing student raises her concern over the way Ealing Council and how some councillors conduct themselves to the public and other councillors during council meetings

A 17-year-old student who goes to Drayton Manor High School in Hanwell and plans to study politics has revealed her concerns over how Ealing Council and some councillors conduct themselves when responding to questions from members of the public as well as from opposition parties.

Ting Ting Zhang, who is originally from China and has been studying in the UK since 2020, was one of four members of the public to raise questions to the council at the last council meeting before summer recess and says she is grateful of the opportunity to directly hold politicians accountable in Ealing and the UK.

Ting Ting raised a primary question and supplementary question which was answered by Councillor Aysha Raza, Ealing Council cabinet member for Tackling inequality.

Primary question: Supplementary question:
I feel unsafe walking to Ealing Broadway Station through Haven Green at night, or walking to St Mary’s, Perivale through Pitshanger Park.

When I walk through Bunny Park I see blatant drug-taking.

There have been robberies in broad daylight in Ealing Broadway.

Is the council proposing any new measures to counter crime and make women like me feel completely safe in this borough?

Is there any deeper measures to tackle the causes of crime such as enhance school teaching. Ultimately the influence from family to teach us to always be kind to others. Or even yoga and mediation


Watch Ting Ting ask her question to Ealing Council

Ting Ting writes about her experience of getting into the meeting, raising her question and what is was like seeing how the meeting was conducted:

“The emphasis on procedures before and throughout the meeting made me feel uncomfortable. It almost becomes an obstacle for me to express thoughts. Similarly, my friend, who accompanied me to the meeting, came early and felt confronted by the security guards, rather than being welcomed by them.

There were very few young people in the meeting. In fact, very few residents were watching the meeting in the hall. State schools should be more informed and let students know such as those taking A level politics so they can attend like I did.  I have heard that Southall MP Virendra Sharma has organised summer school for students in Ealing which is a good thing and that includes visiting Ealing town hall. But much more can be done and should be done to engage the public and young people.

Politicians should help improve communication with the communities they serve so that more people can get involved in the local politics. Tonight showed how little is done with so few of the public there.

Tonight also allowed me to see sand realise the direct impact of how one party dominance in a borough can damage democracy. Labour faces rare opposition in Ealing. Tory councillors sat in the corner of the room which meant as someone who asked questions I couldn’t see them directly.

A lady member of the public who has a Conservative background was insulted by the Labour councillor who answered her question by attacking her for asking a question!

It seems to be just by her past experience of being a Conservative politician that she was denied the right to ask. Maybe similar things happen in a Conservative borough to Labour and minor party councillors, too.

How is this helping cultural collaboration in this fractured society? We’re living in a world where we face real crisis of climate damage, shortage of food and housing, and war. I hope we could be stronger together.”

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