Category Archives: Uncategorized

A new Age of the Train?

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30 year old Class 142 train at New Mills Central station

Are we about to enter a new Age of the Train?

Green Party members from the High Peak local group have been looking at the fine print of Government policy, and doing a bit of informal research out and about in Derbyshire.

First of all, what do people actually want from the railways? Well, a good start might be that the travelling public should be able to buy a ticket to their destination and then get to the appropriate platform, and yet at many of Britain’s stations neither of these basics can be assumed.

You wouldn’t think that just buying, or trying to buy a ticket would cause huge problems, and yet we have found in this part of the country that it is the hassle of getting a ticket that exasperates people just as much as expensive ticket prices, poor station access and late trains. People put up with unmanned stations. Everyone has experienced being crammed onto an ancient, crowded train with just one guard. The last straw for travellers is when in addition to hurrying to get to work on time, they have to queue at their destination to buy a ticket before leaving the platform to avoid being fined. Try persuading a commuter to ‘think green’ and swap their comfy car for that option!

One High Peak resident who had recently lived and worked in Hong Kong commented: – “Returning to the UK, I didn’t expect the High Peak to be served by 12- car commuter trains which arrive every three minutes, but in 2015 and the age of smart phones, I was amazed to find that there are so few ticket dispensers installed on platforms, and such little use in the UK of stored value cards like the Oyster card.”

What has brought this about? Under-investment? Vanity projects? Profits before people? The current Conservative government has of course raised expectations with its talk of the Northern Powerhouse, and more recently with the announcement of its National Infrastructure Commission. In the foreword to ‘Transforming the North’s Railways’, the Secretary of State for Transport and Derbyshire Dales MP, Patrick McLoughlin  wrote in February 2015: “This government has huge ambitions for the North of England and the railway is key to those plans.”

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Northern Powerhouse – rhetoric and reality on separate tracks?

Great words – but at the Green Party we really wonder whether these ambitions can ever be achieved for the travelling public when it’s private companies bidding for franchises who are in the driver’s seat.

An issue we care about passionately at the Green Party is inclusion, providing a civilized society for everyone. Cloud-cuckoo land? Well, what about just getting to the platform?

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How do I get to the platform, please? Your route to the Sheffield-bound platform at New Mills Central

One of our members spent a few hours observing conditions for travellers at Chinley, a station on the mainline between Manchester and Sheffield, where the only access to both platforms is via a footbridge with two sets of steep steps. Mums and Dads with pushchairs struggle to use the steps safely. Travellers to/from Manchester airport risk hurting themselves hauling heavy suitcases up and over the footbridge, and of course people with a mobility problem or people who use a wheelchair are nowhere to be seen. No ramp, that’s your lot, so they don’t come.

The Green Party demands an inclusive society, and we will acknowledge progress where it has been made. Representatives from the rail companies and the Department of Transport would argue that Access for All and Station Improvement programmes have delivered substantial improvements to many stations, and rail operators have a duty to help if access to a particular station is substantial. The Equality Act of 2010 does offer some protection for rail users if they feel discriminated against, but when it comes down to it, members of the public would just like to travel in safety and comfort from A to B without having to consider taking court action against the operator of the services, or tweeting yet another “dissatisfied” comment to Customer Services.

The Green party isn’t satisfied that our railways are being run for the benefit of citizens, and has committed to implementing a comprehensive plan for fully accessible transport so that public transport will be usable by all members of the public. What’s more, the Green Party feels strongly that the privatisation of the railways has created a situation where the tax payer is like a supplicant at the gate of the Lord of the Manor, begging for alms. We are not satisfied with this relationship. The needs of all of our citizens are our first priority, and only by taking proper control of our national rail network can we hope to achieve a civilized service for everyone.

We want our railways to be more accessible and attractive for everyone. Only when and if this happens will people ever be able to choose to leave the car behind and opt for more environmentally friendly means of transport which, alongside other benefits, will help provide a sustainable long–term solution to our chronic air pollution.

Interested in reading more? Have a look at the Green Party’s policies in detail at:

https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/tr.html

Paul Tattam

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Greens should welcome the success of Jeremy Corbyn

corbI’ve shared many platforms with you, from opposing Britain’s disastrous and bloody war in Iraq to supporting investment in the economy in place of relentless and cruel austerity. Your inspiring campaign has put so many of our shared values into the centre of the debate in British politics.

Caroline Lucas to Jeremy Corbyn

As far as I know, no-one has claimed to have predicted the phenomenal progress of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Leadership campaign – and that includes Jeremy himself. Reliant on the nominations of MPs who won’t be voting for him (including Derby South MP Margaret Beckett, a supporter of Tony Benn in her young days, but now publicly regretting her action) who were persuaded to nominate him in the interest of widening the debate (and perhaps under pressure from their constituency activists), he is now the runaway leader in the race and odds on favourite to be elected when the result is announced on September 12th.

How has this happened ? Jeremy himself, in the low key, understated manner which has become a central part of his appeal, told a meeting in Manchester last weekend

“We are offering ideas and are asking people to respond… ( there is) a very broad range of support for radical ideas that have been suppressed for so long by this ridiculous consensus among party leaders at Westminster”

It is Jeremy’s success in challenging this ridiculous (and assumed) consensus that has been so significant and so pleasantly surprising. His campaign seems to involve a desire to offer hope rather than despair and cynicism, and a wish to move rather than merely chase the centre ground.

His campaign benefited from early endorsement by the UK’s largest trade unions, UNITE and UNISON responding to demands from their activists for a challenge to the ‘ridiculous consensus’ that has seen public services slashed and real wages for most workers declining. There also appears to have been a ‘red surge’ in support from both young radicals and former Labour Party members, returning to a party which they felt had left them.Many who remained in the party must also be delighted to be able to reveal their true colours and vote for someone who retains the idealism that brought them all into politics.This combination, of organised labour, young radicals and reinvigorated socialists has created a momentum which looks like winning Jeremy the leadership.

Looking at the reaction to Jeremy’s success in the media and in the political establishment, it’s interesting to see parallels with the reactions to the Green Surge and to contrast it with the reactions to the UKIP rise in popularity. UKIP’s views, despite (or maybe because of) their divisiveness were accommodated and taken very seriously by the media. The Conservative and Labour leaderships moved to challenge not the xenophobic views, but rather UKIPs monopoly in holding them. Those views were no real threat but rather a useful diversion to distract people from the real roots of our problems.

Like the Green Party, Jeremy was first dismissed as irrelevant and then ridiculed (beards, bike-riding, and dressing like a teacher apparently are serious obstacles to being taken seriously). Finally, when it became clear that he could succeed, his ideas were condemned as unrealistic and he was subjected to personal and political attacks and slurs. His proposals, like Green Party policies, are a real threat to powerful vested interests.

Well, as Gandhi said,

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

If he does win he will need all the support he can get, as he faces an all out onslaught by the political establishment and the forces of wealth and power.  A meeting of Greens in High Peak at the end of August recognised this, having noted that much of what Jeremy has been saying, against austerity and illegal wars and in favour of welfare and a ‘common good’, accords with
Green Party principles and policies. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has written an open letter to Jeremy welcoming his break with ‘ consensus’ politics and looking forward to working with him “to bring about the progressive politics that has inspired us both for so many years”. The meeting welcomed this initiative and agreed with Caroline that the Green Party has much to contribute to this progressive politics, which needs to be green as well as red, addressing the issues of climate change and ecology as well as social justice, and reforming our democracy including introducing proportional representation.

Peter Allen and Jane Reynolds

Combined heat and power – an efficient and decentralised energy solution

greenenergyWhen we think of energy efficiency, we often think of making homes and businesses more efficient in their use of energy. Combined heat and power (CHP) confronts efficiency from the other end of the chain, looking at how to make use of the heat that conventional power stations produce as a waste product.

Phil Else explains how CHP works and why it is a technology that’s ideally suited to small-scale local initiatives to produce power and heat for farms and communities.

So, what is CHP?

Not something that seems to be at the fore front of domestic heating issues, CHP systems are rapidly becoming an important alternative form of energy that small scale farmers are using to generate additional income and make use of farm land that they are prevented from using due to the fallow-land subsidies to reduce the ‘food mountain’.

The basics of a CHP system are:

  • Electricity is generated using a gas or diesel powered engine.
  • Such an engine, just like your car engine, generates a phenomenal amount of heat that is ordinarily vented to the atmosphere, however this heat can be recycled to run domestic or commercial heating systems, generate steam or provide heat to greenhouses and similar processes.
  • The engines can be set to run off bio-diesel or bio-gas, which can be created from the waste products of greenhouses, such as vegetable and fruit leaves and animal waste.


The advantages of a CHP system to the local farmers who are investing in them are:

  • They can sell the electricity generated to the National Grid (on currently decreasing tariffs) and they can also use it to power their homes and farms.
  • The heat produced warms their home and greenhouses
  • The engines are fuelled by gas generated from vegetable waste product.

 How can CHP systems help support Green Party values?

  • The engines can be used to provide electricity to local homes, businesses and infrastructure (eg: street lighting).
  • Being relatively small (about the size of a road transport container) they can be sited close to schools, council offices, care homes, market places, hospitals and housing estates.
  • Using locally sourced vegetable and animal waste they can be powered using carbon-neutral fuel (fuel that has it’s carbon emission equal to it’s previous carbon absorption)
  • Sited and used locally the systems have an intrinsic value to the community and can reduce community or residential power and fuel bills.
  • A council owned system can be used to benefit local charities and social housing schemes by providing free or subsidised heat and power.

What does it cost?

A small engine (400 kW – enough to power a large clinic or small school) costs approximately £350,000 plus a maintenance contract. If used to feed the national grid the pay-back period using locally generated bio-gas is 7-8 years, or if used to provide heat and power to social housing has a much greater intrinsic value.

Find out about CHP schemes

http://www.edina.eu/page/125/District-Heating-Schemes.aspx

http://www.vitalenerginetworks.co.uk/casestudies/oldham-district-heating-scheme/

http://www.energ-group.com/combined-heat-and-power/information-centre/case-studies/liverpool-museum/

Phil Else is a lecturer at Trafford College, Greater Manchester. Having been involved in the plumbing, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning industry for many years and has turned his hand to teaching the subjects related to the building services industry. Green ideas and technologies are firmly linked with providing sustainable buildings and protecting the environment, and Phil tries to ensure that green issues are raised and considered as part of any on-going design and at construction project inception. Phil joined the Green Party in 2014.

An inspirational day

Peter Allen travelled from Glossop to be part of the Green Bloc in the End Austerity Now rally in London on June 20th.

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Here are his impressions of the rally.

The much watched YouTube film maker ‘ The Artist Taxi Driver ‘ described last Saturday’s anti austerity protest as ” the best march ever ”

It was hard to disagree if you were there, along with tens of thousands of others, to express opposition to the new government’s claim to have a mandate to cut welfare provision and public services when, in reality, they only won the support of a quarter of the electorate at the recent general election.

The marchers reflected the diversity of modern Britain. It was particularly encouraging to see so many young people taking part, challenging the lie that young people ‘ don’t care about politics’ and giving us all hope for the future.

Green Party members were present in large numbers , and our new placards with the slogan ‘ END AUSTERITY .. IT’S CHEATING US ALL ‘ were prominently displayed. There were also lots of home made placards with creative and imaginative statements. Among my favourites was ‘ Historians Against Going Backwards’ and one which simply said ‘ The wealth of the rich has doubled’ There was also music and dancing and a generally good vibe.

The route of the march took us from the Bank of England to Parliament Square, where the vast crowd was addressed by a range of speakers including Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party , Martin McGuinness from Sinn Fein , trade union leaders Len McCluskey and Mark Serwotka, actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and singer Charlotte Church. And our own Caroline Lucas of course who hoped for a ‘ progressive alliance’ to oppose the government’s ‘ ideological war on welfare’. It was appropriate that MC for the event was Romayne Pheonix, Co-chair of the People’s Assembly and the Green Party’s Trade Union Liason Officer, symbolising the Green Party’s commitment to both popular protest and trade unionism .

An inspirational day!

In the week before the march, George Osborne claimed that welfare spending is “unsustainable” and has “spiralled out of control”, and on Monday pledged to push forward with 12 billion more of welfare cuts. In the Green Party, we know something about sustainability – and it’s not welfare spending that is out of control, but rather the concentration of wealth in a few hands and the undemocratic influence this gives to those few. Investment in our public services and our people can create a truly sustainable and fair society. Concentration of wealth in the hands of so few is not sustainable if we want to maintain (or regain) a democratic system.

Economist Henry Wallich claimed that “Growth is a substitute for equality of income. So long as there is growth, there is hope and that makes large income differentials tolerable”. We know that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible, so we need to turn that round and make equality a substitute for growth.
We’ve got a fight on our hands but we can’t afford to lose. As Caroline Lucas said in her speech at the rally:

We’re here to remind the government as well that 76% of people did not vote for them. George Osborne, you have no mandate for these cuts. So stop your ideological war on welfare. End austerity now!”

FORTHCOMING MEETINGS

There are four important meetings coming up in July:

Derbyshire Green Party Forward Strategy Workshop

Sunday 5th July
12.00 pm to 3.00 pm
Medway Community Centre, New Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DY

A workshop to share and discuss the options for the future strategy and structure for the Green Party in Derbyshire. Recommendations from the workshop will be brought to the Derbyshire Green Party Business Meeting on 19th July.

This is a members only meeting. Please would members wishing to attend let the chair know prior to the day so that the organisation of the day can be finalised.

Contact: Chair: Julie at wozwells@tiscali.co.uk

EMGP Regional Strategy Development Day

Saturday 11th July
9.30am to 3.30 pm
International Community Centre, 61b Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3FN

The East Midlands Green Party are running this day conference in Nottingham to discuss the role of the regional party and what we can do to help support local parties to develop and succeed at future elections.

As places are limited, we are looking for 5 members of each local party to attend the conference. As Derbyshire is so large, we are suggesting that it can be split into smaller areas such as Mid Derbyshire, Amber Valley, High Peak, etc and each of these can send up to 5 members.

If you would like to attend, please contact your area co-ordinator or Lindsay Richardson at admin@eastmidlands.greenparty.org.uk

Derbyshire Green Party Business Meeting

Sunday 19th July
12.00 pm to 4.00 pm
Medway Community Centre, New Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DY

This is a business meeting but all members are welcome to attend. Recommendations from the Workshop on Strategy will be on the agenda.

East Midlands Green Party Extraordinary General Meeting

Saturday 25th July
12.00pm to 5.00 pm
St Peters Centre, Storer Road, Loughborough, LE11 5EQ

There is a small car park and parking in the surrounding streets. It is also just a short walk from the main bus route from the train station, and the skylink buses from Derby. All Derbyshire GP members are welcome to attend this meeting.

One World poster 2015and don’t forget …

One World Festival

Saturday 4th July
12.00
High Lea Park

Why consider eating less meat?

Victoria Martindale, Green Party Activist writes:

Vegans are stereVictoria Martindaleotyped as freak lentil loving extremists but there is so much more to it. Eating less or no meat and dairy is not just about animal welfare concerns. Meat is associated with so many of today’s global challenges and unacceptable environmental issues that it is about far wider reaching matters such as:

• our own health – meat and dairy are high in saturated fats, the key risk factors for the leading killers in the western world like stroke, heart disease, diabetes
• meat production is the leading man-made cause of global warming
• it exacerbates world hunger and poverty
• it pollutes our water, soil and atmosphere
• it uses vast amounts of finite land and fresh water
• its linked to deforestation etc.

If someone stopped eating meat they would do far more for global warming as an individual than if they never drove a car or flew in an aeroplane again – it’s a hard realization that most people can’t face up to.

There need not be millions of starving people in this world with even more hungry mouths to feed as our population continues to burgeon, there need be no food insecurity issues if we used the finite resources of land and water more efficiently. Meat production is one of the most inefficient food production systems there is, and has high dependency on fossil fuel input. I heard somewhere that about 14 calories of input is required to produce 1 calorie of output in meat!

If you want to find out more about how we treat animals, a documentary called Earthlings has the key message – I defy anyone to watch that and not turn instantaneously veggie, its not for the faint hearted.

In fact it’s on at Belper Goes Green on Saturday 30th May at 11.00 am. Find out more about the weekend from
http://www.transitionbelper.org/belper%20goes%20green.html

Earthlings – A Film by Nation Earth

Note: If you can’t get to Belper Goes Green you can view Earthlings at home.  EARTHLINGS is a powerful and informative documentary about society’s treatment of animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. This multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place.  http://earthlings.com/?page_id=32

 

For public transport that serves the public

Our public transport system has been neglected for decades and since market forces and privatisation became the shared ideology of Conservatives, Labour, and LibDems, things have just got worse. Our public transport is fragmented, expensive, and inefficient. Not exactly an incentive to leave the car at home!

We need a properly integrated public transport system that focuses on the needs of the people using it rather than private profits. Voting Green is the first step to getting that.

A place to call home

By the end of last year 61,970 homeless households were in temporary lodging, from B&Bs to homes rented from private landlords, of which 46,700 were families with children. That’s already 61,970 households too many. But the most common cause of people becoming homeless is the ending of private short-term tenancies. So how many more are living with that fear hanging over their heads – not knowing whether they’ll still be able to live in the same neighbourhood, send the children to the same school?

The private letting sector just doesn’t work for people who want to rent long term. At best, there is always the worry that tenancy won’t be renewed next time (many tenancies are only six months). We need a huge expansion of social housing where tenancies are assured and rent is controlled.That’s Green Party policy.

Vote for safe and affordable energy

The Green Party energy policy is for energy security today and in the future. Scientific evidence tells us that we MUST stop burning fossil fuels or face catastrophic consequences in the future – the not too distant future. In the here and now, business as usual energy policies are failing many people- people who are forced to choose between heating and eating. Green Party policies for investing in making homes more energy efficient will reduce energy bills by reducing use, protecting our planet for the future and our people in the present.

Vote for a fair economy

Do you believe that the minimum wage should pay for a decent life, for a home, for food on the table? The Green Party alone is standing for a living wage and against austerity, cuts, and zero hours contracts. Vote Green on 7th May.

Imagine a new Political System

Vote for What you Believe In

Imagine a new Political System               One that puts the Public First

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Quick Quote from John Devine – Candidate for Amber Valley Constituency

John Devine“I believe that the Green Party is the only Party which has the ethics, morals and policies to put this country back on its feet. To that end I will fight, heart and soul, for the Green Party and the Common Good.”

Green Party candidate contact details

Protests against train fare rises – 5 January, 2015

Peter Robinson from Derby People’s Assembly has emailed to draw members’ attention to the protests against the fare rises outside railway stations on January 5, calling for Public Ownership as well.  CAN ANY GREEN PARTY MEMBERS TAKE PART?

These actions are taking place at DERBY and NOTTINGHAM stations from 7.30 am and at BURTON from 15.30 pm.

invest-in-our-planet-20140814-064711264On Friday January the 2nd train fares are due to increase again. We already have some of the most expensive fares in Europe. We also have the most fragmented service, and it is the case that the government is now subsiding railways (and the franchises) MORE than when British Rail was de-nationalised.

Between 1997-2012 Virgin Trains’ West Coast Mainline paid £500 million in dividends after pocketing £2,5 billion in subsidies. By contrast, the publicly owned East Coast Mainline has returned nearly £1bn to the government since 2009.The arguments for public ownership are overwhelming.

The environmental case for switching to rail and other public transport is also overwhelming.

With the support of Action for Rail, the Peoples Assembly are teaming up with Bring Back British Rail, Compass, the Green Party, the Campaign against Climate Change, We Own It, and a variety of local groups to organise leafleting of commuters at railway stations on Monday January 5th.

Later that Caroline Lucas Making a point Cropweek the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, will be presenting her private members bill calling for public ownership of railways. The People’s Assembly is looking for people who are prepared to volunteer to distribute leaflets at their local railway station.

Are you prepared to help?  If you would like to organise an action at a station, please contact Peter Robinson at peterfrobinson@ntlworld.com and say which station you can attend and state a preferred time.

Information from the People’s Assembly website http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/public_ownership_for_railways_protest

Mid Derbyshire's Green Christmas event a big success!

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On Saturday, 29th November, Mid Derbyshire Green Party hosted their first ‘Green Christmas’.  The event was visited by over 200 hundred people, with lots of interest in learning more about the Greens.

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There were craft stalls selling sustainably sourced products, and a raffle including such varied prizes as a reflexology session, original artwork, and handmade crafts.  Reminisence Vintage provided tea, cake and mulled wine, and live music was provided by local Green Party candidates, members and supporters.  It was a fabulous day, and a great start to the Festive Season!

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More photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152858877664522.1073741826.201453709521&type=1

Mid Derbyshire’s Green Christmas event a big success!

SONY DSC

On Saturday, 29th November, Mid Derbyshire Green Party hosted their first ‘Green Christmas’.  The event was visited by over 200 hundred people, with lots of interest in learning more about the Greens.

SONY DSC

There were craft stalls selling sustainably sourced products, and a raffle including such varied prizes as a reflexology session, original artwork, and handmade crafts.  Reminisence Vintage provided tea, cake and mulled wine, and live music was provided by local Green Party candidates, members and supporters.  It was a fabulous day, and a great start to the Festive Season!

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More photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152858877664522.1073741826.201453709521&type=1

What Integrity is Left?

East Midlands Green Party Blog

red and green

Greens are changing the political conversation with our push against the shift to the right of other parties. A sure signal of success can be seen in Labour’s uneasy recognition of the “Green surge”. They have created a national anti-Greens unit, headed by Sadiq Khan, to bring the left to heel. Instead of re-examining their abandoned roots they are using misdirection to discredit Greens, with highly dubious and hypocritical stabs at Brighton and Hove high on their agenda. As one of the East Midlands’ Green Party candidates (for Nottingham East), I thought hard and spoke to my family at length before standing. It was always going to be a challenging journey. For ever increasing numbers of us, striving within the Green Party is a stand we feel the need to make proudly, together. I knew we would battle being ignored and that, if we did well, we would be under…

View original post 403 more words

Finally – a fun group shot with Natalie Bennett

Unbelievable!  Time ran out in the Q&A session and still students’ hands were up for questions.  Still, just time for the quick group shot with Natalie!

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East Midlands Green Party Conference 15/11/14

East Midlands Regional Conference

ALL WELCOME

EMGP_2014Conference_Web

Energy Co-op Secures Turbine Funding from Locals

Debunking The Myths Surrounding Environmental Economics