Category Archives: Events

See the Events Diary at the top of the page for more recent events.

Belper Goes Green 2015 ECO Festival

Belper Goes Green

Join other Green minded people at Belper Goes Green.

You can also watch “Earthlings” on Saturday 30th May at 11.00 am. Find out more from
http://www.transitionbelper.org/belper%20goes%20green.html

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How Secure is Britain’s Food Supply?

Written by Victoria Martindale, Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash

Victoria MartindaleAs part of British Science Week (13th to 22nd March 2015) I joined a panel of experts and politicians to discuss food security in Britain at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

The UK faces a number of challenges to its food security, including long food supply chains, ‘food deserts’ in inner cities, wealth distribution imbalance, climate change and competition from abroad. These pose a real threat to the UK consumer; it is possible that food will become more expensive, choice limited or foods unavailable. Only this week we were warned that the cost of a new “Driver Certificate of Professional Competence” for transport haulers across the EU raises the prospect of ’empty shelves’.

In the 1980s the UK used to be about 80% self-sufficient in foods that can be grown here. This has now dropped to around 65%. The National Farmers Union (NFU) has recently raised concerns that this may be too low. As a nation, we increasingly rely on international markets to provide us with the huge range and affordability of food which we have grown accustomed to.

Questions put to the panel included:

• Is the UK in a vulnerable situation regarding its future food security?
• Following the horsemeat scandal in 2013 should consumers be concerned about the quality and security of their food?
• Are organic foods healthier and better for the environment? Is it fair to expect UK consumers to pay the price premium for these products?
• Are low food prices responsible for the incredible levels of food waste in households in the UK?
• What can be done concerning the incredibly low prices paid by supermarkets to UK dairy farmers forcing them out of business?
• Food banks are rising across the UK. Much of the burden has fallen on charities but is this really the Governments responsibility?

Panel – The chair was Professor Paul Lynch, Head of Natural Sciences at the University of Derby.

The speakers were:
Wyn Morgan, Food economist at the University of Nottingham;
Paul Paine, Garden Co-ordinator at Ecoworks;
Julia Davies, Head of Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University;
Lucy Care, Liberal Democrat candidate for Derby North and
Victoria Martindale,  Derby Green Party Representative.

There was an informative and lively discussion on the night.  For space reasons, let me limit this blog to a few key messages.

I am sure many of you can remember the shocking headline news last autumn. Britain, we were informed, could be plunged into blackouts over the winter. We were warned of the risk of power cuts and electricity failures wrecking havoc over the winter for many households and businesses across the UK. But did we have any of these black outs? No we didn’t. Who was responsible for putting these stories out there? The big energy companies. Why? In response to new EU legislation that restricted their dependency on fossil fuels these massive profit churning companies wanted to legitimize their ongoing use of polluting fossil fuels and justify getting their dirty hands onto our shale gas and fracking up our country. They did so by spreading fear across the country.

This tendency to generate a state of fear, insecurity and panic among the British public and government is a ploy corporations often turn to in an attempt to justify their means to realise vast profits for themselves. It’s nothing more than scaremongering and their agenda is driven by nothing other than corporate greed.

IF_logo_banner_2_420x210The food security issue is similar to the energy security one. We are frequently warned that with a predicted extra 2 billion mouths to feed by 2050 we could be facing food shortages. We were scared with threats of ‘empty food shelves’ this time. Really? Will we all be struggling to find enough food to feed ourselves and will our children’s children be at risk of starving to death? Shock! Horror! However, just like in the energy debate, you need to stop a moment and look at who lays behind these sensationalist stories. In this case it was the NFU scaring us with empty food shelves.

The NFU is effectively the political arm of DEFRA. With its huge wealth comes huge power and influence over the UK’s agricultural policies. Its agenda is to maximise production, yields and exports in order to maximize the revenue and profits for its members, many of whom are already among the wealthiest of this country. It wants to drive an industrialised food production process which is heavily chemical dependent, savages the environment, and spits out poor quality mass produced food that is bad for our health and forces smaller scale farmers out of business.

CowsIt’s time we faced up to the powerful monolithic institutions like the NFU and put the food security issue into perspective. If we display one iota of honesty we are not in a food crisis and we are not by any means about to be confronted with a single empty food shelf. However, that’s very different from saying we don’t need to address how we feed everyone and look closely at our production and distribution processes. We do and we also need to face up to our responsibilities to those in developing countries who don’t have food security even in today’s modern world.

The other likely scaremongering suspects are the global high tech enterprises like Bayer Cropscience, Monsanto and Syngenta. They use food scares to legitimize their development of GM crops under the Panglossian guise it is the answer to all the world’s problems and is the only means to achieve food security for everyone. Yeh right.

The continued industry promises about the ability of GM crops to tackle the world’s growing social problems are pure myth. GM crops are linked to massive increases in herbicide use, increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the expansion of mono-cultural farming practices and increased costs all along the food chain which the already starving and poor of the world can’t afford. They require huge areas of forests and valuable natural habitats to be cleared.

This is ecologically devastating and overrides people’s rights to their native ancestral land, food, natural resources and traditions. GM crops are patented too with over two thirds of all patented food crops in the hands of the top ten companies such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Pioneer and Dow. This means they monopolise the market and it allows them to control the research, breeding and ultimately the entire food chain of GM crops which returns them profits of eye watering proportions.

Attempts to produce GM crops that are resistant to climate change, floods, drought tolerant, altered photosynthesis, and exacerbate intensive farming are all attempts by corporates to earn billions at huge cost to the environment, society and local communities, and our health rather than addressing the real challenges of sustainable food production like combating climate change in the first place.

Over_Farm_produce_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1611242Research shows that we can feed a growing global population a nutritious diet without environmentally damaging factory farms and GM crops. This requires addressing the underlying difficult, but very important issues that currently affect food security and making fundamental changes to the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. The aim should be to provide healthy sustainable diets for all whilst living within environmental limits.

The Green Party believes that GM foods are not the answer to food security. Instead, it promotes a set of sustainable policies based upon local production and distribution, lower meat and dairy consumption, more seasonal produce and which protect livelihoods and biodiversity to provide everyone with healthy nutritious foods.

So, when asking about Britain’s food security, be careful who you ask.

Victoria Martindale
Green Shoots Editor

Come and find out why your local Green Party has grown over a thousand percent in a year!

GP public meet mar15LEIf want to know more about the Green Party, then why not come along to the public meeting of the Mid Derbyshire Greens (Monday, 16th March)?

Green Party membership in the Mid Derbyshire and Amber Valley areas has increased by more than 650% since the beginning of last year, with Belper membership seeing a massive 1000% increase (yes, that’s one thousand percent) thanks in part to the increased publicity surrounding the political party.

Come to this public meeting and meet your candidates for Belper North Ward (Sue MacFarlane) and for Amber Valley (John Devine),

Sue MacFarlane, Green Party candidate for Belper North in this year’s Amber Valley Borough Council election said “Lots of these people want to get really involved with what we are doing and are already attending meetings, so we thought we would take the opportunity to host an open meeting and invite voters along to find out what we are all about and what we stand for.”

Sue added “Our policies are coming under increased scrutiny and getting a lot of coverage in the media because of the imminent general election and the surge in interest in the party, so we want to give people the chance to chat to us and allow us to answer their questions.”.

The meeting is being held at The OAP Centre, 37 Barley Close, Litte Eaton, Derbyshire DE21 5DJ, next Monday, 16th March from 7.15pm – 9pm and is open to absolutely everyone.

For more details, please email contact@midderbyshire.greenparty.org.uk .

Want to know what all the fuss is about The Green Party?

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If want to know more about the Green Party, then why not get yourself to  today’s  public meeting of the Mid Derbyshire Greens (Monday, 16th Feb)?

Green Party membership in the Mid Derbyshire and Amber Valley areas has increased by more than 650% since the beginning of last year, with Belper membership seeing a 1000% increase, thanks in part to the increased publicity surrounding the political party.

Sue MacFarlane, Green Party candidate for Belper North in this year’s Amber Valley Borough Council election said “Lots of these people want to get really involved with what we are doing and are already attending meetings, so we thought we would take the opportunity to host an open meeting and invite voters along to find out what we are all about and what we stand for.”

Our policies are coming under increased scrutiny and getting a lot of coverage in the media because of the imminent general election and the surge in interest in the party, so we want to give people the chance to chat to us and allow us to answer their questions.” Sue added.

The meeting is being held at The Old Oak pub in Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire DE7 6AW today, February 16th from 7.15pm – 9pm and is open to everyone not just members of the party.

A second public meeting is planned for March 16th at Little Eaton, which is just off the A38, south of Belper and Duffield.

For more details, please email sue@the-macfarlanes.co.uk .

GreenSpirit – Wednesday 4th February in Nottingham

GS-EM-Badge-Logo-v1GreenSpirit is a national network of people who believe that human life has important ecological and spiritual dimensions.

The network promotes the view that all Life on Earth is sacred and profoundly connected, and it seeks to bring together people who have an interest in contemporary spirituality, ecology and social justice.

Derbyshire Green Party has had an email from Shaun who is currently setting-up a new GreenSpirit group for Nottingham and the East Midlands. This new, local GS group will hold an interesting and stimulating mix of events (including talks, presentations, workshops, social events and celebrations) that draw together people of different faiths, plus those of no fixed faith who are spiritual on a personal level. The common ground among those attending will be an interest in personal spirituality, a passion for the Earth and all its life forms, and a radical commitment to social justice.

The first meeting of the new GreenSpirit local group is scheduled for Wednesday 4th February and will be held in central Nottingham. The evening will include a group guided meditation, a presentation of the powerful short film ‘The Awakening Universe’ by Neal Rogin of the Pachamama Alliance (the film explores the deep interconnection that exists between all life on Earth, using beautiful cinema-photography and a wonderful, original musical score), plus an ecumenical act of fellowship to mark and celebrate Candlemas, St Brigid’s Day and Imbolc. Full details about this meeting are given on the group’s webpage, which can be found on the national GS websitehttp://greenspirit.org.uk/localgroups/nottingham/

In addition, there will be three informal pre-meetups before 4th February for those who’d like the chance to meet some other members of the new group casually over coffee in advance of the first formal meeting. Again, the details can be found on the GreenSpirit webpage. Alternatively, take a look at GS on MeetUp.com which gives full information about all their forthcoming events http://www.meetup.com/GreenSpirit-Notts-Derby-Leicester-Spirituality-Action/

GS-EM-Badge-Logo-v1More information about the GreenSpirit network and its activities can be found on the national website http://www.greenspirit.org.uk/ or you can contact Shaun on 0776 957 4063

Green Party attend Compassionate Derby

Compassionate Derby adGreen Party members set up a stall at this popular Ethical Living event held in the centre of Derby on Saturday 6 December.

 

Compassionate Derby is in its fourth year and attracts a wide range of stalls where you can buy a range of lifestyle products, vegan cookbooks, Christmas decorations and support a huge variety of charity and campaign stalls run by people concerned with animal welfare and the environment. There was also no shortage of delicious cruelty-free lunch options.

As might have been expected at such an event, we had lots of interesting conversations with people with whom we have interests in common. There were many people from Derbyshire and surrounding counties who were already supporters or members of the Green Party. Some had voted Green but many more would vote Green if there was a candidate standing in their ward or constituency.

Compassionate Derby 004 CropI spoke to two young people, one a member and one considering becoming a member, who will be too young to vote in the 2015 elections. They think the voting age should be lowered to sixteen.

Sue MacFarlane (Mid Derbyshire Green Party candidate for Amber Valley Borough Council, Belper North Ward) and fellow Green Party member, Jackie Blackett, were taking part in a musical contribution in the upper hall but called in to chat at the stall.Compassionate Derby 012 crop

I was surprised to discover that one or two people who were very concerned about animal welfare and the environment, had not heard of the Green Party. This made me think how important it is to attend community events, given that the Green Party cannot rely on the main media to give us publicity.

Compassionate Derby 009 CropMy husband and I were on the stall during the morning and then I was joined by Chris Smith, who is assisting John Youatt in convening the Derbyshire Dales regional group for the afternoon. Compassionate Derby 011 crop

Many people wanted to know whether the Green Party would be standing candidates in Derby. We explained that we were standing candidates in Derbyshire but at present we had no candidates in Derby itself. I did ask some of them whether they would be willing to stand as a candidate in the local elections. One person said she was considering it and I encouraged her to get in touch.

Compassionate Derby 008Someone also brought up the old chestnut of our name “Green Party” which they said should change. When asked what he would call us, he suggested the Sustainable Party.

There was also a question of how the Green Party would operate when it had more MPs. Would they be able to express their views on a particular matter if they did not hold the “official” view? Would there be a party whip? I said that there would be a steep learning experience to go through as the Green Party moved from being mainly activists on the outside of Parliament to being active on the inside.

It was a very well attended event and a really encouraging place to have a Green Party stall.

Jean Macdonald
Green Party activist

Belper’s Green Christmas set to be a hit!

Following a very successful meeting at No. 28 in Belper, where the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales spoke to a packed house, we return this Saturday (29th November) for our ‘Green Christmas’.

Come and Celebrate a 'Green' Christmas'

Come and Celebrate a ‘Green’ Christmas’

The Mid-Derbyshire Greens would like to invite everyone to an afternoon of music, crafts and refreshments from local residents. Come and do a bit of local Christmas shopping, and enjoy some music from your candidates, Green Party members, and other local musicians. There will  be an opportunity to chat to us on the Green Party info stall and to ask any questions that you may have.

There may even be a visit from a very special ‘Green’ man…

Belper's Green Christmas set to be a hit!

Following a very successful meeting at No. 28 in Belper, where the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales spoke to a packed house, we return this Saturday (29th November) for our ‘Green Christmas’.

Come and Celebrate a 'Green' Christmas'

Come and Celebrate a ‘Green’ Christmas’

The Mid-Derbyshire Greens would like to invite everyone to an afternoon of music, crafts and refreshments from local residents. Come and do a bit of local Christmas shopping, and enjoy some music from your candidates, Green Party members, and other local musicians. There will  be an opportunity to chat to us on the Green Party info stall and to ask any questions that you may have.

There may even be a visit from a very special ‘Green’ man…

Politics is something for everyone to be involved in – it is something you can do, not something that gets done to you’!

During a visit to Belper on Monday, November 17th, Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, visited Belper School to talk to Sixth Form students.  Ms Bennett began by outlining some of the Green Party policies that she thought would be of particular interest to the students, including their policy on student fees (which would be free) and student loans (which would be ‘written off’)

Natalie Bennett Belper School pr

As the meeting moved into a ‘Questions & Answers’ session, it was clear that the students were interested in all Green Party policies, and wanted to really get to know where the Green Party stood on a range of issues.  As Natalie said ‘You young people are the voters and leaders of the future, I want to know what you think and how you feel about the world we are living in.

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The students were so enthusiastic that the meeting ran over time, with students staying after their school day ended to talk to Ms Bennett.  Matthew Genn of the ‘Young Greens’ was also at the meeting, and talked afterwards to students who were interested in finding our more about the Green Party and how young people can get involved.  Membership of the ‘Young Greens’ has increased by over 100% in 2014, indicating that young people are feeling that the time is right to re-engage with politics.

 

Politics is something for everyone to be involved in – it is something you can do, not something that gets done to you'!

During a visit to Belper on Monday, November 17th, Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, visited Belper School to talk to Sixth Form students.  Ms Bennett began by outlining some of the Green Party policies that she thought would be of particular interest to the students, including their policy on student fees (which would be free) and student loans (which would be ‘written off’)

Natalie Bennett Belper School pr

As the meeting moved into a ‘Questions & Answers’ session, it was clear that the students were interested in all Green Party policies, and wanted to really get to know where the Green Party stood on a range of issues.  As Natalie said ‘You young people are the voters and leaders of the future, I want to know what you think and how you feel about the world we are living in.

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The students were so enthusiastic that the meeting ran over time, with students staying after their school day ended to talk to Ms Bennett.  Matthew Genn of the ‘Young Greens’ was also at the meeting, and talked afterwards to students who were interested in finding our more about the Green Party and how young people can get involved.  Membership of the ‘Young Greens’ has increased by over 100% in 2014, indicating that young people are feeling that the time is right to re-engage with politics.

 

Brilliant showing at Belper’s No. 28 for Natalie’s public meeting

It’s a full house for the public meeting tonight at No.28!  Natalie is up and changing the world right now!

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Brilliant showing at Belper's No. 28 for Natalie's public meeting

It’s a full house for the public meeting tonight at No.28!  Natalie is up and changing the world right now!

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Belper School students (and teachers) still asking questions!

The Q&A session is running over as students and even teachers continue to ask questions.  Currently Natalie is asking one about the Green Party stance on Europe.

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Belper School students asking excellent questions of Natalie Bennett

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Students at Belper School not backward in coming forward as they ask questions about education, taxation and other topics.  Great to see Natalie in her element!

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Mid Derbyshire Greens attend East Midlands Conference

Belper Greens candidate John Devine was interviewed by BBC TV at the EMGP conference in Nottingham yesterday.

John-Devine-002

Several members of the Mid Derbyshire Greens attended the conference which had over three times as many people as expected turn up!  This really reflects the overall surge in local Green Party membership  as well as nationally – which has grown to more than 25,000, with the number of young greens more than doubling!  This has a lot to do with young voters increasingly wanting to  make their voices heard on the subjects of austerity, education and the Citizens Income.

EMGP_2014Conference_Web

 

Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party will be visiting Belper tomorrow (Monday 17th Nov) to meet with students studying Government and Politics at Belper School & Sixth Form Centre and to later host a public meeting and Q&A session at No. 28 in the Belper Market Place (7 pm until 8:30 pm – All welcome).

Please contact John Devine (07932 576159) or Sue MacFarlane (07774 004240) for more details.  Both candidates will be present at tomorrow’s public meeting.

Belper students to question Natalie Bennett!

belperschool

As part of her very full day in Belper next Monday (17th Nov), the leader of the Green Party will be visiting Belper School & Sixth Form Centre.

Natalie_Bennett

Natalie will be meeting the students studying for their ‘A’ Levels in Government and Politics, giving a talk and then answering questions.

Later the same day, Natalie will be hosting a public meeting at No. 28 in The Marketplace from 7pm until 8:30pm and will be taking questions from attendees. All are welcome.

 

Got a question for Natalie Bennett?

Natalie Bennett - Green Party leader

Natalie Bennett – Green Party leader

Natalie Bennett leader of The Green Party of England and Wales, is visiting Belper on Monday, 17th November.  There will be public meeting from 7pm to 8.30pm at No. 28 in the Market Place, Belper (DE56 1DD) and everyone is welcome. Questions are invited on the night, and/or can be submitted in advance to sue@the-macfarlanes.co.uk

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Dates Alert

Dates

A New Year message from Katharina Boettge, lead European candidate for the Green Party in the East Midlands

kat-gp-1I wanted to use this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year, and to thank you for all your support, hard work and donations.

In 2013 we were heavily involved in preparing for the upcoming Euro Election in May of this year.  We have achieved a lot including setting up a media structure, engaging further with the social media, community websites and groups.

We have planned a promising campaign strategy that hopefully will get us to Brussels.  Recent polls have been encouraging.  Nationally the Greens are on 7% and support for the other parties is starting to fade.  The public mood is very volatile and very many are looking for something new, something honest, something that addresses their needs.

We do believe that if we can get our message of hope and honesty out to enough people across our region, we can be successful.  Remember, this election uses a proportional voting system, not first past the post.  This gives us a real chance, but to take that chance, we will need all the help that we can get.

If you are interested in joining us in changing current politics in 2014, please contact us or just come to our next meetings.  There are so many ways in which you can help, depending on your interests, experiences, time availability and skills.  I am sure that we can find a suitable and exciting role or task for you.  I look forward to meeting you soon.

Katharina Boettge – Lead European Candidate for the Green Party in the East Midlands

TWO IMPORTANT MEETINGS IN DERBY

Derbyshire Green Party AGM and Quarterly Meeting – Sunday, 19th January, 2014 at 12 noon

The Derbyshire Green Party Annual General Meeting and Quarterly Meeting will be held on 19th January, 2014 at The Brunswick Inn, 1 Railway Terrace, Derby, DE1 2RU.  The Brunswick is two minutes walk from Derby Rail Station.  The meeting will start at 12 noon (when the pub opens).

Contact for Derbyshire Green Party – contact@derbyshiregreenparty.org.uk   

East Midlands AGM –  Sunday, 26th January, 2014

The East Midlands Green Party will be holding its Annual General Meeting in Derby on 26th January, 2014 at the Aston Court Hotel, Midland Road, Derby DE1 2SL (near Derby train station) at 12 noon

Contact for East Midlands Green Party David Foster email david121@ntlworld.com

Both meetings are open to all.  Even if you are not a member you are still very welcome to attend the meeting and hear what the Greens have been doing in the past year and the proposals for the European Elections and Local Elections coming up in May.  However, only members will be able to vote.

Greens Support Derby People’s Assembly

DPA 26102013 Natalie 1A strong Green Party presence was felt at Derby People’s Assembly on the 26th October, 2013 with leader Natalie Bennett making an appearance at the workshop on “Climate Change Threat and 1 Million Climate Jobs”  and making a speech at the end of the day.  Accompanying this was both the DGP stand and a number of members showing their faces for most of the day. Overall it is thought that over one hundred people attended throughout the day. 

The format was much like many other discussion group based events.  The day kicked off with three speakers talking about the People’s Assembly itself, Education Reform, and Cuts to the Fire and Rescue Service.  After these speeches, attendees split up and went to the discussion groups they had chosen.  There were two groups before lunch, speeches after lunch, two more discussion groups and more speeches to round off the day.

Sue Arguile from the NUT gave a very passionate speech about the recent strikes by teachers and Gove’s education reform.  She spoke about a radio phone-in interview with a woman whose attitude had shocked her.  The caller, as well as her general ‘teacher bashing’, had said that teachers should be looking to their ‘product’.  This “marketised” view of teaching also shocked the attendees.

Following this was a local secretary of the Fire Brigades Union who spoke both about what the despicable cuts to the fire service will mean in terms of the service to the public and also about the treatment of workers in that sector over pensions.

Discussion groups were then held on:  the Politics of the Crisis, the Demonization of Immigrants, Tactics for the Anti-austerity Movement and Debt and Loan Sharks.  The immigration discussion seemed to centre on Unite Against Fascism and the benefits of setting up local anti-fascist groups to counter the British National Party, English Defence League and other far-right groups when they organise in areas.

The second set of discussion groups were on:  Protecting the NHS, Defending Education, Re-unionising the Country and Busting Economic Myths.  Although poorly attended, the re-unionising group sparked some enlightened discussion about the state of trade unions and their attachment to the Labour Party.  One graph showed that the more direct action unions took, the more their membership increased.  Also encouraging was the statistic that showed that union membership was up again.

There was an hour after lunch for some more speakers including Christian Wolmar who spoke much about re-nationalising the railways, mentioning that this idea was being debated in the Labour Party.  He failed, however, to mention that us Greens have been campaigning on it for a while now.

After this, the third round of discussion groups were held on the topics of:  Welfare, Public Transport, the Bedroom Tax, Using Art Against Austerity and a repeat of the Protecting the NHS group. Another member of the Green Party found the workshop on Bedroom tax to be a complete eye opener as they heard that many tenants are put in severe difficulties when they are served with orders and have no idea about their rights or what free legal help is available to them.

Natalie Workshop DPA 26102013 6The final groups were held on:  Building Community Campaigns, the Peoples Charter and (with a strong Green presence) Climate Change and 1 Million Climate Jobs.  Natalie Bennett spoke at the climate change group about the need for investment in insulation of all houses in the UK to both reduce carbon emissions and create jobs.  Natalie also spoke reassuringly of the party’s opposition to incineration both on the grounds of pollution and the harmful effects due to air quality reduction.

Finally speeches were given about:  Green jobs and ditching neoliberalism by Natalie, the railways by Alex Gordon of the RMT union and the future of Derby People’s Assembly by Peter Robinson.

Natalie’s speech can be seen here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUqTBFSpWPQ

Chris Smith                                                                                    Member of Derbyshire Green Party and Young Greens