Tag Archives: democracy

A Message to our Leaders, from Andy White, Derbyshire

Andy WhiteIt is argued that the middle ground of English politics has been captured by what is effectively a centre right Tory Party, and Labour has lost what was once it’s core support of ‘The Working Class’. Indeed, those on the right argue that there is no such thing as the working class, and that demographic now identifies itself as ‘Middle Class’.

The dispossessed and less fortunate, those with little or no income are portrayed as an inconvenience by the policy makers, who constantly tell us that money has to be saved on welfare – there is no alternative – conveniently forgetting the real lives that are affected by market capitalism and the chase for constant growth. No place for compassion here.

Over the years since 1979 politics has changed from being representative of, and controlled by the people, to just being controlled by big business, with the masses kept in their place by a constant stream of propaganda that reassures them and carefully defines them as ‘hard working and doing the right thing’, because if you don’t, the wrath of the system will surely grind you down. The subliminal message is ‘do as you’re told or else’ …. With the ‘or else’ being the constant fear of a life in poverty, or being targeted as a scrounger, or not being able to find money to keep up. Sound familiar? True Victorian values are returning, we even have people working for nothing on penalty of losing welfare support…..a disgrace in 21st century Britain!

Such is the power of these messages that few actually question anymore! To do so suggests that you are a doubter, that you don’t believe in the good that is being done in your name, that you are an outsider, a radical and not ‘one of us ’. You’re not doing the right thing!

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. We see daily on a global scale the damage done to our planet in the name of change and so called progress. The Green Party have a huge responsibility to educate our potential core support. That support, in a large part, is disaffected Labour and Liberal voters (and even some Tories), who are currently looking for the right alternative. They know the Tory way is wrong, but are unsure what the real alternative is. We need to construct a discourse that is legitimised by sustainability, and we need to get that message across at every opportunity. The 67% that didn’t vote Tory are a big audience waiting to hear the things that will give them stability, and that will ensure they can live life with all the comfort and support required in a civilised society.

Our priority messages should be simple and focus around security – of income (sustainable jobs, proper welfare), housing, transport and public services, – and sustainability of the planet, of the natural world, of our food and water supply. Our message needs now to be that only our policies can build that secure and sustainable world without fear, based on civility, human rights and a respect of all of life.

We need to begin that task now, and I would like the message to come from our leadership fairly quickly. Time is not on our side.

First published on 25 May, 2015 on East Midlands Green Party Blog

Green Party Manifesto

Mike ShipleyMike Shipley writes:

The Green Party has launched its manifesto today, [14th April]. At the launch Natalie Bennett said “This manifesto presents the Green Party’s genuine alternative to our tired, business-as-usual politics. We desperately need a more equal society and the policies we announce today pave the way towards a brighter, fairer future for all.”

This is a long document, featuring policies relating to the economy, our society and our shared environment. It is also costed to show that it is possible to implement policies that will improve everyone’s lives and help stabilise the economy without the need for austerity.

Like most elections, this in 2015 is dominated again by arguments over the economy. No one can deny the importance of economic policy, but in a General Election that will vote in a Government for 5 years, we should be asking other, more profound questions. We should ask about priorities and about what sort of society our politicians are wanting to create with the power we will give them.

The Conservative Party is focused on money, it wants a society in which those who have it can keep as much of it as possible and do with it as they please. Labour seems now to be content with simply shadowing the Tories, accepting their economic strategy and hoping to be able to put a bit more of a human face on to it. Their real focus is power – vision has deserted them.

By comparison the Green manifesto sets out a clear vision of what we can build through our policies:
Print• a human scale economy that works for people and doesn’t damage our planet
• public services that deliver what people need
• a society that cares for the future of the young and the welfare of the vulnerable
• a more equal society that accepts diversity and offers opportunity regardless of background, governed honestly by elected representatives dedicated to the common good.

None of this is wishful thinking, neither is any of it unaffordable. What is wishful thinking is the idea that we can go on trying to solve through ‘growth’ the endlessly recurring crises that the economic strategies of the post war period have created. Perpetual growth in the economy is not possible; forever increasing the rate of consumption of natural resources is not possible, any economic strategy based on either or both will fail. Chancellors may engineer a temporary upturn of the indexes that they control in order to win an election, but in the long term the “growth and consume” economic plan dooms us all to failure.

The Green manifesto catalogues the failure of successive governments to which our present leaders seem to be blind. More than one in four children growing up in poverty, nearly one million people reliant on food banks, growing levels of inequality that sees the wealth of the richest 1% greater than the poorest 55% of fellow citizens, and the spiralling growth of debt that will see more that 2 million households paying half of their disposable income paying off loans by 2018.

For many, these grim realities do not add up to the success story that the Coalition Government is trying to claim in its bid to hold on to power. They spell out failure, and what the other manifestos are offering is very slightly different versions of this failure. More cuts, more austerity for the majority of voters, more tax cuts for the affluent supporters of the status quo, more privatisation that will lead to us paying private providers more for poorer services. Just more wishful thinking.

We are at a critical time and the outcome of this and the next election will shape our future – although you would barely know this from the trivia that is gushing out from the mouths of our so called ‘leaders’. Climate change is gathering pace. We need a clear action programme to be agreed in Paris at the end of the year otherwise global temperatures will overshoot 2 degrees centigrade. The cost of the damage will break all but the strongest economies – and the British economy is not one of the strongest.

Democracy is under threat by a corporate takeover of Government policy-making. This is demonstrated in the secret Trans-Atlantic Trade negotiations, TTIP, that will strip Governments of the ability to enact laws to protect public health or our shared environment lest they threaten corporate profits and bonuses. Inequality is stoking tensions in society that can only lead to a rise in crime, in fear and a decline in general well-being and health. The capacity of our natural environment to provide the food and clean water that we all need to survive is being eroded by increasing unregulated development and pollution.

These issues are ignored by politicians and commentators alike, they are too big for them to comprehend. But they are not ignored by the Green manifesto. Here, we set out a route that will steer us away from the dangers inherent in ‘business as usual’. We show how it is possible to build a sustainable society in which each individual can build a life of purpose, within the natural limits of the one planet that we have to live on. Our aim in this election is to campaign on this manifesto, to maximise our vote and so demonstrate that there is a serious and growing level of support for our policies; policies that work for the Common Good.

Mike Shipley April 2015
Mike is standing as Green Party candidate in the Local Elections for Sett Ward on High Peak Borough Council

Ralph Hierons – Erewash Constituency

Personal Candidate Statement for the General Election 2015

Ralph HieronsI joined the Green Party following the last general election as I saw them as the only party with any remaining integrity. With election policies and promises being rapidly discarded by the three ‘mainstream’ parties in the grab for power.

I am inspired by the lack of a real alternative to the right wing bias as we approach this General Election. I want to increase my involvement with the only party that I trust to deliver on their pledges in an open democracy.

What appeals most to me about the Green Party is their holistic approach to government and to society. Whilst the other parties promote their sticking-plaster remedies to whatever populist problems will garner the most votes, the Green Party, whilst fluid enough to respond to new challenges (TTIP, Fracking) as they arise, is constant in ethos, and propose changes across the board that can only improve society, environment and equality.

As we approach the General Election, I see communication as the Green Party’s biggest challenge. There are many disparate, disaffected groups of potential Green voters in the UK, who may be unaware that there is a party that shares their ideals: those campaigning against TTIP who do not know we are the only party that are totally opposed to it; those fighting to save our NHS who are unaware of our policies regarding a fully funded, free at point of service, un-privatised NHS; those who do not want the land under our homes stolen, and poisoned, who need to be made aware that we are the only party who are totally against fracking.

Without the vast budget and huge corporate donors of the other parties, our challenge is to take this message to these people and build upon the Green surge.

I have worked as an internet designer and developer since 1997 and, along the way, have worked in film, print and on-line media. I consider myself an able communicator and am looking forward to dedicating all of my skills and experience in this field, to spreading the Green Party message throughout Erewash.

I view Erewash as a mass of abandoned potential, which like so many areas has been brutalised by austerity cuts. The constituency is distanced from Westminster and consequently disaffected. Combatting voter apathy in an area that has been penalised by the current coalition is definitely an uphill struggle, but one I would rise to. I am truly inspired by the ‘Transition Towns’ movement and believe this is a model we could apply to Long Eaton and Ilkeston – developing our micro-economy and building a stronger community.

Green Party candidate contact details

Dr Marianne Bamkin – South Derbyshire Constituency

Personal Candidate Statement for the General Election 2015

Mariane BamkinYou could describe me as a secret Green. I have lived my life according to good, Green, environmental principals since I was a teenager, therefore, for at least the last 40 years. I garden organically, at home and on my allotment; I have re-used, recycled and upcycled; I have installed solar panels in order to contribute to sustainable energy; basically, quietly doing my own bit towards a sustainable future. However, I have decided to come out of the closet and take direct political action so that voters in South Derbyshire are given the opportunity to vote for the Green Party.

I am a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science as well as a qualified librarian, teacher and nursery manager. I am a passionate believer in Equality, Open Knowledge and Knowledge for All. I believe in a world where all people are allowed the same opportunities of health, work and education, despite differences in gender, race, or ability. I consider that humans are only a small part of our planet and we should tread gently amongst the multitude of other plant and animal species, doing no harm as we pass through this world. As a parent and grandparent, I feel the responsibility to teach our descendants to protect their environment, including scientific moral responsibility and scientific progress towards minimum environmental impact.

I have taken an active role in my local community and, here in Weston-on-Trent, I was a Parish Councillor for four years. I am and have been a committee member of several village organisations and been part of successful campaigns to extend the school and the village hall and to improve the recreational facilities for children and young people in Weston and Aston. More recently, I have been involved with national campaigns to prevent the closure of public libraries. I am a confident and experienced public speaker and able to frame logical argument.

I have become gradually more politicised over the past five years as I have realised that the current governmental coalition are seeking to disenfranchise the people of Britain and establish central governmental control by removing decision making powers from Local Government and erecting barriers to free and accessible sources of information. I believe that the economic theories being used to promote the concept of ‘Austerity’ are flawed and not well thought through, leading to a greater social divide between the rich and the common man. I feel that current major politicians are lacking in moral convictions and their shallow attempts at vote catching will not be translated into the public good.

I want to stand as a parliamentary candidate for the Green Party for the two following reasons. Firstly, I am a doer, a person of action and I want to change the current political situation. Secondly, the Green Party core principles and manifesto accord with my general views and convictions; and I believe that they are the right ones to reform politics in the UK.

Green Party candidate contact details

10 Reasons You Should Be Worried About TTIP

TTIP_banner_cropped560with_text2On Tuesday 18 February I, along with several other members of the Green Party, attended a packed meeting in Derby. This was the second meeting this year at which John Hilary, Director of War on Want, had spoken about the threats posed by TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership). The people were then asked to form four groups to focus on one of four areas threatened by TTIP – Jobs, Health and NHS, Food Safety and Animal Protection, and World Trade. People were asked to suggest what actions we could take in Derby.

What can we do? One thing everyone at the meeting agreed was the need to use every available means to make voters aware of the serious threat to our way of life that TTIP poses and to ask them to challenge all candidates on whether they are for or against TTIP.

In terms of political parties, we know that the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour are all in favour of TTIP, and UKIP is in favour of what TTIP is setting out to do but just doesn’t think it should be negotiated by Brussels. The Green Party (and Plaid Cymru) is the only main party that is against TTIP.

Greens can work through our party structure and our MEPs to try to stop TTIP’s progress. We can also join with many other individuals and groups such as War on Want, Derby Peoples Assembly, the Unions, Friends of the Earth, 38 degrees and many others worldwide who are all working towards the same goal.

Ten reasons why you should be worried about TTIP

1. A Threat to Democracy – if agreed, TTIP would give corporations the power to sue governments over decisions that could harm their future profits, undermining democratic decision-making made in the public interest.

2. A Threat to Public Services – TTIP will create new markets in public services such as health and education, leading to greater liberalisation and privatisation. It would also make it very difficult to bring these services – as well as our energy and water – back under public control or renationalise them.

3. A Threat to Food Safety – Through a harmonisation of good safety regulation, EU food safety standards would be lowered to US levels. This would remove EU restrictions on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides and hormone-treated beef.

4. A Threat to the Environment – TTIP would see EU environmental regulations being harmonised and reduced to US levels, allowing a US-style fracking boom in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

5. A Threat to the Climate – With strong investor rights, TTIP would allow corporations to sue governments for bringing in new policies to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

6. A Threat to Workers’ Rights – Workers’ rights could be reduced to US standards and businesses could relocate to US states and EU countries with the lowest labour standards.

7. A Threat to Personal Privacy – Leaked documents indicate that TTIP could be used to reintroduce central elements of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which was rejected by the European parliament after popular protest. This could force internet providers to spy on their customers.

8. A Threat to Financial Control – TTIP is set to remove many of the new financial regulations (such as banking safeguards) that have been introduced since 2008 to prevent a future financial crash.

9. Negotiated in Secrecy – While corporate lobbyists are playing an integral role in negotiations, the public have been shut out. All negotiators must sign nondisclosure agreements. There is no access to the draft text or the agreement – even for MPs – so most of what we know is from leaked documents.

10. A Dangerous Blueprint for the Rest of the World – If TTIP is agreed, countries in the global south will come under huge pressure to apply TTIP standards to avoid losing trade. The business lobby are upfront about their aim of creating ‘global convergence towards EU-US standards’. This would see free trade policies forced on poorer countries, that they have had no part in negotiating.

PrintGreens say no to TTIP – If TTIP goes through there will be no point in electing a government, it will be government by corporations!

You can find a previous posting on this site giving more detail about TTIP itself and the War on Want website offers resources and information about their TTIP Campaign http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/ttip

Jean Macdonald

 

Green Party Meeting in Derby

Thursday 19th February

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If you want to find out more about the Green Party in Derby come along to the Brunswick Inn this Thursday 19 February and meet other members and supporters.

What are the major local issues for Derby City that Greens should be campaigning on?  Bring along your ideas and opinions

Time: 6.30 pm
Venue: Brunswick Inn, 1 Railway Terrace, Derby, DE1 2RU (near Railway Station)
Contact: Phillip Hood – philiphood51@talktalk.net

 

TTIP – the Battle between Big Business and Democracy

TTIP_banner_cropped560with_text2TTIP isn’t a deal for citizens, small farmers, consumers, workers or small business. It’s about pushing a ‘big business’ agenda.

At a meeting in Derby on Wednesday 8th January, 2015 we heard a very clear presentation on the implications for us if TTIP becomes law. The meeting was organised by Derby Peoples Assembly and Derby Trades Union Council. The speaker was John Hilary, Director of War on Want. John explained he has worked for the past 20 years in the international development and human rights sector.

John said that although TTIP is being promoted as a way of getting out of recession and recovering from the financial crisis of 2008, the ideas actually started back in 1990 with the Trans-Atlantic Business Diologue when big executives got together to sweep away barriers that stopped their profits. He also said that ‘Austerity’ was not a recent policy but was part of a long term engineering programme.

The intention to launch TTIP negotiations was first announced by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address in February 2013, and the first round of negotiations took place between European Commission and US officials in July of the same year. The aim is to rush through the talks as swiftly as possible with no details entering the public domain, in the hope that they can be concluded before the peoples of Europe and the USA find out the true scale of the TTIP threat. It was hoped to finish plans by this year, 2015, as next year the US Presidential Elections take place so America won’t be able to deal with negotiations in election year.

TTIP is being negotiated ‘on our behalf’ by unelected European officials. Even our MP’s don’t know – and aren’t allowed to know – what’s being negotiated away.

It will cost at least one million jobs. It will pave the way for the introduction of genetically modified food into Europe. It will irreversibly extend the privatisation of key public services such as the NHS and it will give US corporations the power to sue the UK and other states for loss of profits when these governments introduce public policies designed to protect their citizens.

It is based on three pillars:
• De-regulation
• Privatisation
• Power to sue host governments – Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

De-regulation – John explained that TTIP is not a traditional trade agreement designed to reduce tariffs between economic partners. Tariffs between the EU and US are already at minimal levels. The stated aim of TTIP is to remove regulatory barriers which restrict the profits to be made by transnational corporations on both sides of the Atlantic.

The worry is that these ‘barriers’ are in reality some of our most prized social standards and environmental regulations such as labour rights, food safety rules (including restrictions of GM food), regulations on the use of toxic chemicals, digital privacy laws and even new banking safeguards introduced to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.

John explained that the EU works on a ‘precautionary principle’ – the onus is on the corporation to prove a chemical is safe or it will be banned. In America it is different. There, the onus is on the government to prove something is unsafe before it can be banned. To highlight this difference, in the cosmetics industry there are 1300 banned substances in the EU. In America only 12 substances are banned.

If TTIP is adopted, then the EU would be forced to lower its standards in food safety to the US level.
• In America you can’t chose what food you eat. 90% of beef in America contains growth hormones and 70% of processed food contains genetically modified ingredients.
• Environmental regulations would be harmonised and reduced to US levels allowing a US-style fracking boom in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

Privatisation – There is grave concern at the recent confirmation that health services, education, postal services and sewerage services are all included in the TTIP negotiations, with only audio-visual services (at the insistence of the French government) excluded. TTIP will open up our public services and government contracts to competition from multinational corporations and would make privatisation of the NHS irreversible in the future. (See below for information about a meeting organised by NHS Campaign Groups in February)

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – TTIP would enable huge multinational corporations to sue governments for loss of profits resulting from public policy decisions. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections.

This is already happening in relation to existing treaties. For example:
• Swedish energy company, Vattenfall, is suing the German government for 3.7 billion Euros over the country’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
• The French company, Veolia, is suing the Egyptian government for loss of profit as a result of the country’s decision to raise the minimum wage.

Good News – The good news is that there has been huge uproar about these plans. Thanks to massive people-powered campaigns across Europe, the European Commission was forced to suspend negotiations on ISDS at the beginning of 2014 and conduct a public consultation. A record 150,000 people took part in the consultation – including War on Want supporters and Green Party members – and the overwhelming answer was ‘no’, we don’t want companies to be handed these destructive powers. Fifty groups in Britain have signed up to the NoTTIP coalition – including all the largest trade unions, social justice groups, environmental campaigners and of course, the Green Party.

Bad News – Unfortunately, despite this, the European Commission has confirmed its intention to press forward regardless and to use TTIP to introduce the controversial new powers and the British government is hell bent on getting TTIP agreed. David Cameron calls the deal a “once in a generation” opportunity which will create ‘growth and jobs’.

What we can do? – At the heart of it, TTIP will lead to a shift in the values upon which our society is based. The movement against TTIP is growing, but for it to succeed all the groups in society who are threatened by this corporate power grab need to be mobilised. Some suggestions:

Attend a meeting “TTIP and the attack on the NHS” – Tuesday 17 February 7.30pm in St Peter’s Church Hall, St Peter’s Street, Derby. Organised by NHS Campaign groups, supported by People’s Assembly. Will TTIP mean the wholesale privatisation of the NHS? John Hilary, Director of War On Want, will be speaking again along with an NHS Speaker.

Local Councils – A city council in the German town of Erkrath unanimously declared its opposition to TTIP. This follows the initiative by hundreds of French municipalities to declare themselves TTIP-free zones. It was suggested at the meeting that we might press for Derby City Council to declare themselves a TTIP-free zone.

May 7 Election – Push TTIP up the agenda by contacting candidates, sharing our concerns and asking them where they stand.

European Parliament – contact MEPs – John suggested that many MEPs are not fully aware of all the implications.

Small Businesses – contact the Small Business Federation to find out their views and get them involved.

Young People – The effects on the lives of the young and underprivileged could be phenomenal. Mass youth resistance is needed.

We need to keep building the movement against TTIP because we can win.

Jean Macdonald  
Green Party Activist

Links:

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/ttip – sign the European Citizen’s Initiative against TTIP and CETA

http://www.waronwant.org/news/latest-news/18256-ttip-the-fight-is-on-for-2015 video of John speaking short presentation at seminar in Stockholm

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/more/inform/18196-ttip-will-cost-one-million-jobs-official download the TTPI myth buster

http://www.waronwant.org/campaigns/trade-justice/more/inform/18078-what-is-ttip download a booklet written by John Hilary

http://www.nottip.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/TTIP-Newspaper-Issue-02-04.pdf read a copy of The #noTTIP Times, October 2014

Greens Out in the Cold – Again

Greens at AVBCIn the same week of the uproar surrounding The Green Party being left out of the plans for ‘Leaders debates’ running up to next year’s national election, local Mid Derbyshire Green Party members were left out of last night’s (15th October) Extraordinary Meeting of Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC) at the Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley, to consider changes to the Core Strategy Local Plan.

Amber Valley Borough Council limited public attendance at the meeting to just 25, with just 20 non-council members being allowed to speak. Despite numerous requests to hold the meeting in a larger venue, over a hundred people were left outside in pouring rain for over an hour before being allowed into the entrance to the council building to hear the meeting through a speaker system.

Mid Derbyshire Green Party AVBC candidate for Belper North, Sue MacFarlane, said “Amber Valley Borough Council recognised the huge public interest in this issue, but did not hold the meeting in a venue big enough to accommodate the numbers of people who wanted to attend. Some of the submissions regarding the proposed Core Plan – including the submissions from Mid Derbyshire Green Party and Transition Belper – were initially left out of the summary document, and included too late for councillors to have sufficient time to consider them before the meeting. Green Party Policy says that democracy and accountability are vital at all levels of government and especially in local government. I don’t feel that the voices of the people of Belper were properly heard at the meeting, and I am disappointed that the plan still includes proposals to build on green field land at Bullsmoor Farm in Belper.’

Sue, together with Belper Town Council Green Party candidate for Belper North, John Devine and other Belper Greens, were at Ripley Town Hall along with members of Belper Town Council, Transition Belper, Residents Groups and other residents of Amber Valley who wanted to ensure that AVBC are aware of the depth of feeling regarding the Local Plan.

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, is supporting Mid Derbyshire Greens position on this issue. Natalie is visiting Belper on November 17th to meet with our Local Green Party Candidates and their team, and to visit some of the proposed ‘Green Field’ sites. We are hoping to arrange a public meeting during Natalie’s visit to ensure that local people get a chance to speak to her about their concerns.

Sue MacFarlane
Mid Derbyshire Greens

East Midlands Regional Conference

ALL WELCOME

EMGP_2014Conference_Web

Green Party Membership passed 20,000 today

1463119_583405441732546_2094308750_nMembership of the Green Party has surged up 46% this year and just passed 20,000 for the first time. This increase is mirrored by rising poll rating (1) which sees the Greens consistently polling 7%, level pegging with the LibDems. The Green Party outperformed the Liberal Democrats in the May 2014 European Elections both in terms of MEPs returned and percentage of the total vote [3]

The Green surge shows no sign of slowing. The Party plans to stand in at least 75% of seats at the 2015 General Election – 50% more than in 2010 (4). Campaigning is already underway to significantly increase the number of Green Councilors in the local elections that will poll at the same time as the general election.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACommenting on these figures, Green Party target candidate for Hope Valley in the High Peak, Charlotte Farrell said: ‘The surge in membership does not surprise me, the traditional Parties are bankrupt of ideas and their policies continue to make life worse for all but the very rich. What particularly encourages me is the surge in membership of the Young Greens which has rocketed up by 100% since March this year (2). Young Greens can get fully involved in the working of the Green Party helping us to keep up to date and relevant policy, and to represent the Party as candidates.’

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: “These astounding across-the-board membership rises clearly demonstrate that more and more people appreciate that the Green Party is the only party committed to transforming our economy and shaking up business-as-usual Westminster politics. The Green Party warmly welcomes all the new members. Members are the lifeblood of the Green Party, a truly democratic party which allows all members to help form policy.”

Siobhan MacMahon, Young Greens co-chair, said: “The growth of the Young Greens this year has been spectacular. We have doubled in size since March alone to nearly 4,000 members – significantly larger than the Liberal Democrat’s youth wing. Thousands were inspired through the European elections, Green Party conference and even the Scottish referendum, that brought home to young people the Greens’ vision of a genuine progressive alternative to the same-old right-wing politics of the coalition parties, as well as Labour and UKIP.

The Green Party is consistently polling at over 10% among 16-24 year olds. Young Greens are attracted by Green polices that call for free education, affordable and publicly-owned transport, an end to migrant-bashing and a halt to the continual attacks on young people. The Party recognises that the youth of Britain have been at the sharp end of austerity, and are badly affected by the crisis in affordable housing. It is also the young generation who will have to live with the full effects of climate change and resource depletion.

Charlotte concluded by saying: ‘The Young Greens’ 100% growth this year is testament to a sea-change going on in politics. New groups are springing up across the country every week, campaigning on the issues that really matter to this generation, but that are ignored by the mainstream parties. We are campaigning for policies that will build and fair and sustainable future that will work for the common good of all.’

East Midlands Press Officer:
Mike Shipley

Notes

1 http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/09/29/yougov-polling-green-party-neck-and-neck-with-liberal-democrats/
2 http://www.younggreens.org.uk
3 http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/05/26/european-elections-greens-gain-50-more-meps,-push-liberal-democrats-into-fifth-place/
4 http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/09/05/green-party-leader-natalie-bennett’s-autumn-party-conference-keynote-speech/

Constitutional Reform: “Democracy for Everyone”

1463119_583405441732546_2094308750_nIn the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum the Green Party is backing calls that a People’s Constitutional Convention agree radical changes to the governance of the UK.

Soon after the Scottish Government has negotiated additional powers with the UK Government, a People’s Constitutional Convention should be commissioned, before the General Election, to map out a new settlement for the rest of the United Kingdom as soon as practicable.

In the wake of the Scottish referendum, which saw the highest turnout at a UK election (85%) since 1951, the Green Party is backing calls for a People’s Constitutional Convention to be established to consider radical changes to the entire governance of the UK. We need to put power back in the hands of the people.

Creating Policy

The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW or Greens), invites experts to draft policies: then asks Conference to amend them: then votes to adopt them. The policies are binding on Members and are visible to all at http://www.policy.greenparty.org.uk This is a lengthy but deeply intelligent and democratic process.

We are rewarded for our effort by leading, for the last 4 years, the “vote for policies” with a current electorate of over 400,000 – http://www.voteforpolicies.org.uk

We are not rewarded with media coverage and we are penalised by having to find a deposit of £500 to exercise our democratic right to stand, intelligently, in Westminster elections – a double penalty for a party mainly funded by its members.

It is worth reviewing the relevant history:

1. Long ago, a Scot created the Bank of England that is actually the Bank of UK.

2. Years ago, Greens adopted a series of policies about public administration, including the need for a radical written constitution. The constitution, according to Greens and recently Labour, must be created by a Peoples Constitutional Convention.

3. A few weeks ago, East Midlands Greens put forward a Motion to speed up the drafting of a constitution.

4. A few days ago, on an 85% turnout, 1.6 million Scots voted Yes to Independence. 2 million voted No, because of an (exaggerated) fear of the unknown: and because of a vague, last minute, cobbled together “Vow”, that there would be unspecified delegation to Scots.

5. A day later it became clear that the Vow was at best wishful thinking:-

• Tories’ PR consultant, currently our PM, found he couldn’t carry out the Vow, in face of pressure from his far right and UKIP. So he linked devolution to the Scots, with the removal of Scots MPs’ votes in the UK parliament. That wasn’t in the Vow.
• Libdems seemed to completely lose sight of their earlier commitment to the EU rules on subsidiarity – yet another abandonment of principle.
• Labour is horribly confused as usual between Scots and English MPs

Two days later, on 20th September, Greens published a position paper on constitutional issues called “Democracy for everyone” – see policy briefing

The paper might seem a bit sudden to the electorate at large, but in fact every word is based on our well drafted policies for public administration (PA 001 to PA 918).

Readers can as ever read the policies and position paper for themselves.

Guiding Principle
The guiding principle should be that power flows upwards from the people rather than downwards from an over-centralised state. The Green Party will press for the Convention for a new settlement that includes:

Greater powers for local and regional government
Local government exists in a permanent state of crisis, with neither the resources nor the powers to effect the comprehensive change local people want. Councils should have enhanced powers and spending to tackle the housing crisis, generate renewable energy, deliver strong public services and promote local businesses. Where there is public demand for regional government we will support referendums to establish it.

Electoral reform
Proportional representation should be introduced at all levels of Government – from Local Councils to the lower and upper houses of the UK Parliament. In most of the UK the composition of governing bodies does not reflect the will of the people.

‘Total’ recall for all elected politicians
The UK Government’s current Bill to allow constituents to ‘recall’ their MP part-way through their term of office does not go far enough. In the current bill only MPs who are convicted of a criminal offence and jailed: or MPs who have been suspended by their peers, will be subject to a recall process. In contrast the Green Party backs ‘total’ recall where the power rests solely with constituents. The Green’s MP, Caroline Lucas, has worked with MPs from all political parties to produce a ‘total’ recall Bill under which a by-election would be triggered if 20% of constituents sign a recall petition.

Local referendums and citizen’s initiatives
If the public don’t like a Government decision they should be able to force them to reverse it. And if the Government is dragging its feet on implementing a popular measure the public should be able to give it a push. The Green Party backs the right of citizens to introduce their own referendums or initiatives if they secure a sufficient number of petition signatures.

Replacing the House of Lords with a fully-elected Upper House
Britain’s Upper House is perhaps the most glaring example of the neo-feudal state in practice. No other country that calls itself a democracy retains an unelected branch of parliament stacked full of retired MPs, party donors and a smattering of hereditary peers. The Green Party believes it should be abolished and replaced by a directly-elected second chamber.

The extension of the right to vote to all 16 year olds
16 year olds were entrusted to help decide the future of their nation in the Scottish Referendum. They repaid that trust. The Green Party has long-argued that the age of majority should be reduced to 16 for the rest of the UK with accompanying full citizenship rights and responsibilities.

A written constitution
All of these changes need to be included in a new written constitution setting out our rights and Government’s responsibilities.

All of these are existing Green Party policies.  The new settlement should be subject to a referendum.

So where from here?

Greens will seek the resources to speed up the drafting of a new Constitution. We will ask other parties to consider our ideas in a Peoples Constitutional Convention. We will meanwhile support the Yes movement in Scotland, in its insistence that the vow be consummated.

1463119_583405441732546_2094308750_nReaders, please comment

We need an early vigorous debate. We might have to act before our next Conference, if we are to maximise our impact on the 2015 elections.

John Youatt, Jean Macdonald, Mike Shipley for Derbyshire Green Party

See also an article on the East Midlands Green Party website see http://www.eastmidlands.greenparty.org.uk

Increase in Green MEPs

Although we did not gain a seat in the East Midlands, Greens across the country celebrated as they saw their vote share rise from 9.3% in 2009 to 11.2% in 2014.

In spite of the national swing to UKIP, the Green Party now has three MEPs. The wins, powered by 1.2 million people voting Green on May 22, come on the back of extremely positive local election results which saw the Greens become the official opposition on Solihull, Liverpool, Lewisham, Norwich and Islington Councils.

Jean Lambert crop3Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London since 1999, said:
“I am delighted and honoured that Londoners of all backgrounds have supported the Greens in this European election and voted again for a strong Green voice in the European Parliament. Greens will continue to put forward positive policies to tackle the growing inequalities between rich and poor, whether in London or beyond, and to continue the push to a low carbon economy, which combats climate change while creating new jobs.”

keith_taylor cropKeith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for South East England, has been re-elected. The Green Party beat the Liberal Democrats into last place.

Mr Taylor said:
“I am honoured to have been re-elected as an MEP for South East England. At this election Greens offered voters hope, whilst others peddled fear and division.
“As an MEP for South East England I will stand up for my constituents, wherever they come from and however they choose to live their lives. It’s my honour to be back in Brussels working to make the EU more democratic and less dominated by big business.”

Molly Scott Cato cropDr Molly Scott Cato has made history by becoming the first Green Party MEP for the South West.

Molly Scott Cato, said:
“It is fantastic that the South West now has a Green voice in Europe. I would like to thank everyone who voted Green on Thursday and I am looking forward to representing the South West in Brussels.”
“The Greens are the only party with a clear and positive message on EU reform, which I think was attractive to voters and translated into the result we see today. Our ‘people before profit’ policies have really resonated with voters who have been looking for a viable alternative party which truly represents their values.”

Natalie Bennett Derby cropGreen Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, said:
“The growth of our number of seats in the European Parliament reflects growing support for Green Party policies and values around the country. Increasing numbers of voters are inspired by our message of positive change for the common good. They support, as do a majority of the public, our views on many issues, from renationalising the railways and reining in banks, from banning fracking to making the minimum wage a living wage.”

Information taken from Green Party National website

Local Elections: The Surge Is On!

Read the latest information from the Green Party website

http://www.greenparty.org.uk

Green Party Gain Ground Across Britain

24 May 2014

* Greens now the official opposition in Liverpool, Solihull, Islington, Lewisham and Norwich

* Greens surge in Bristol

* Greens make first-time breakthroughs in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Epping Forest, Babergh and the Wirral  

The Green Party has gained 23 seats at the Local Elections as it continues to go from strength to strength. Greens are now installed as the official opposition in Liverpool and Solihull, Islington and Lewisham in London, and remain the official opposition in Norwich. 

The 23 gains means the Green Party now have 162 councillors on 56 councils. The strong results saw Greens secure a presence on seven more councils (Epping Forest, Wirral, Worthing, Babergh, Islington, Lambeth, and Newcastle-under-Lyme). 

In Bristol, Greens made massive progress, holding one seat and gaining two seats. The two gains were secured with over 45% of the vote. 

The rock solid Locals showing confirms pre-election day reports of a ‘Green surge’ and, if voting trends are replicated at the European Elections, puts the Green Party firmly on course to send more MEPs to Brussels in the European Elections. The Green Party has two MEPs – Jean Lambert, London, and Keith Taylor, South-East – and is looking to double or treble that number at these elections.

FrackingBj_qdydCIAEuRsv.jpg largeReacting to the results, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:

“These excellent Local Election results confirm what I have been hearing on the campaign trail; voters vote for Green councillors because they know they work tirelessly to serve their communities.   

“Voters are sick and tired of the same old business-as-usual politics and they are voting Green because they know that a Green vote is a vote for real change for the common good. They are realising we are the party offering the most just and sustainable future for the whole of Britain and the planet.” 

Breakthrough first-time Green council seat wins occurred in Epping Forest (Steven Neville, Buckhurst Hill East) the Wirral (Pat Cleary, Birkenhead and Tranmere), Worthing (James Doyle, Central), Newcastle-Under-Lyme (Wenslie Naylon, Keele) and Babergh (Robert Lindsay, South Cosford).

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR THE EUROPEAN ELECTION RESULTS!

Decisions in Europe affect our daily lives.

This Thursday we go to polls in one of the closest-fought, and important, European election campaigns in years.
With the European Parliament about 300 miles away from us here in East Midlands, it can seem a little distant – but the laws it passes and the rules it adopts affect all of us, every single day: and usually for the better.
Whether it’s setting air quality rules for the benefit of our health, international climate change policy, business regulations to create a level playing field, job creation priorities, or energy generation methods, the European Parliament has a say. Who we vote to represent us in the EU’s only democratically-elected institution will makes a real difference. Will the parties of business as usual form the majority and hand power to the multinational corporations, caving in to their 30,000 lobbyists? Or will the Green voice be strengthened, the voice of ordinary people, the voice that will speak up for the common good?
This is why the vote on Thursday matters – it’s a chance for us all to choose the kind of future we want for our communities, and the people we want sitting around the table when the rules are made.
For the last decade-and-a-half, we in the UK have had a Green representative at this table, speaking up for the interests of people, not big corporations and big money interests. Our Green MEP’s sit as part of the Greens/European Free Alliance group in Brussels – the fourth largest in the European Parliament – and they have been able to deliver positive changes for us all. They have capped bankers’ bonuses and called for reforms of the banking system to ensure it works for all of us – not just a few bankers at the top.
They have delivered a ‘youth guarantee’ – a promise of a job or training place for every unemployed young person that wants one – and won support for a new ‘carers leave’ to ensure that those of us caring for older or disabled relatives aren’t penalised at work.
Green MEPs have shaped the EU’s farming and fisheries policies – banning the cruel and wasteful practise of ‘dumping’ dead fish at sea, and won key votes on climate change policy to ensure that the UK adopts a target on delivering new renewable energy projects – and the jobs that go with them.
But crucially, EU policy is about a long-term vision: and ours is a vision of local economies that puts people first, a more equal society – one where discrimination is never tolerated – and one in which our environment is protected.
Encouragingly, when people hear this vision, and examine our policies and legislative priorities for achieving it, they like what they hear. For example, recent polling shows that three in five people support our policy of capping bankers’ bonuses. Two-thirds support our policy to increase the minimum wage to a living wage. Support for ending privatisation in the NHS is growing as is support for the renationalisation of the railways. Green Policies are growing in popularity as an alternative to the failed business as usual policies that protect the rich and penalise the less well off, the very people who make the economy and society work.
There is every reason to vote in the European Election on Thursday, there is every reason to Vote Green.

Candidates – European elections 2014

Green Party Candidates for the East Midlands Region

Lead Candidate: Kat Boettge
Second on list: Sue Mallender
Third: Peter Allen
Fourth: Richard Mallender
Fifth: Simon Hales

For photos and brief biographies of the candidates see Elections page of this site.

cropped-gplogostrapwhitegreenforweb.jpg

 

Greens Challenge Channel 4

Matthew CropMatthew Bain Challenges Channel 4

“In the wake of Channel 4 broadcasting Martin Durkin’s hour-long tribute to Nigel Farage (‘Nigel Farage: Who Do You Think You Are?’) which the Daily Telegraph described as “so cloying even UKIP fans would find it sickly”, I hope that Channel 4 will now consider making a documentary tribute to Caroline Lucas.

Unlike Farage, Lucas is an elected MP who has been voted into Parliament, not just the creation of a media hype storm. Unlike Farage, Caroline Lucas represents a real breakthrough in British politics, bringing the Green point of view into the mainstream, not just representing a retrograde group of little Englanders. Unlike Farage, the Green agenda that Caroline Lucas pursues is of utmost importance to the wellbeing and survival of our species, not a series of parochial and petty whinges. Unlike Farage, Lucas’ Green approach seeks to unite people across Europe and the world in defence of a common enemy – climate change – not divide people and set them against the poor and downtrodden.

serious_about_climate_change_splash_860x305Moreover, Caroline Lucas is willing to put herself on the line and get arrested in defence of what she believes in — out there on the front line, not in the snug bar like Farage. And Caroline Lucas is a woman who has come up from the grassroots of politics through her own hard work and intelligence, though Channel 4 probably don’t care about that as you clearly prefer to give free party-political broadcasts to Farage, an ex-merchant banker who consorts with Murdoch and is funded by the same dodgy money as our other useless politicians. I sincerely look forward to watching an hour-long Channel 4 film on Caroline Lucas, who in my opinion is the finest politician operating in this country today, but I won’t hold my breath.

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Bain

Greens Want Openness over MP's Pay and Perks

John Youatt 6

John Youatt

At their Spring Conference in Liverpool, the Green Party adopted a motion tabled by Derbyshire Green Party calling for transparency over MP’s pay and expenses.  The motion also calls on the Party to oppose the recent 11% pay rise for MPs, due to be paid from 2015, and demands that future pay rises be linked to the UK average rise in pay.

The Greens call for openness over MP’s salary, expenses, sponsorships and any other income that comes from their work as an MP.  They also call on MP’s to make a contribution from this income for constituency work and to ensure that any paid posts created are openly advertised.

Derbyshire Green Party secretary John Youatt, who piloted the motion through the Conference, told delegates that the MP’s expenses scandal during the 2010 general election had seriously damaged trust in Parliament.

He said, ‘Electors are seeing their representatives in Parliament fiddling their expenses and getting very rich, while they are suffering the consequences of the austerity policies that MPs have approved. The 11% pay award shows that little has changed.’

John Youatt expressed the view that MPs needed to address this lack of trust that many people feel towards their MPs.  He went on to say, ‘The policy we have today adopted commits all Green candidates for Parliament to sign a pledge that they will make a full time commitment to the job and will submit a regular report to their Constituency concerning any allowances, expenses or other income related to being an MP.  They will also undertake to donate a proportion of their income for the benefit of their constituency.  This goes beyond the current requirement for MPs to report their expenses and allowances in that they will be reporting directly to their Constituents and discussing with them the use of some part of that income.’

‘This is an important issue.  My own son, who is now 40, has never voted.  He says that it is a waste of time and that they are all just the same; looking after themselves.  In a democracy, the governed must engage with the government.  I want my son to feel able to vote, for his sake and for the sake of his daughter – my granddaughter.’

This is the Candidate’s Pledge adopted by this policy.  Green Candidates will be asking those of the other parties to make a similar pledge during election campaigns.

1.       I will make a full time commitment to the job for which I will be well paid.

2.     I will ensure that, in the interest of transparency, a report is prepared every two months in which all allowances, other related income and expenses will be included. This report will be submitted to a local constituency body in a way that is open to public scrutiny, with receipts and justification for all expenses.

3.     I will invite the local party to discuss with me a donation to it of a percentage of my salary, which will be used to fund support staff for my constituency work.

4.     I will advertise all positions within my constituency office. Positions would be filled to industry standard terms and conditions for conducting interviews and making appointments.  Family members would only be employed through that open recruitment process.   

Greens Want Openness over MP’s Pay and Perks

John Youatt 6

John Youatt

At their Spring Conference in Liverpool, the Green Party adopted a motion tabled by Derbyshire Green Party calling for transparency over MP’s pay and expenses.  The motion also calls on the Party to oppose the recent 11% pay rise for MPs, due to be paid from 2015, and demands that future pay rises be linked to the UK average rise in pay.

The Greens call for openness over MP’s salary, expenses, sponsorships and any other income that comes from their work as an MP.  They also call on MP’s to make a contribution from this income for constituency work and to ensure that any paid posts created are openly advertised.

Derbyshire Green Party secretary John Youatt, who piloted the motion through the Conference, told delegates that the MP’s expenses scandal during the 2010 general election had seriously damaged trust in Parliament.

He said, ‘Electors are seeing their representatives in Parliament fiddling their expenses and getting very rich, while they are suffering the consequences of the austerity policies that MPs have approved. The 11% pay award shows that little has changed.’

John Youatt expressed the view that MPs needed to address this lack of trust that many people feel towards their MPs.  He went on to say, ‘The policy we have today adopted commits all Green candidates for Parliament to sign a pledge that they will make a full time commitment to the job and will submit a regular report to their Constituency concerning any allowances, expenses or other income related to being an MP.  They will also undertake to donate a proportion of their income for the benefit of their constituency.  This goes beyond the current requirement for MPs to report their expenses and allowances in that they will be reporting directly to their Constituents and discussing with them the use of some part of that income.’

‘This is an important issue.  My own son, who is now 40, has never voted.  He says that it is a waste of time and that they are all just the same; looking after themselves.  In a democracy, the governed must engage with the government.  I want my son to feel able to vote, for his sake and for the sake of his daughter – my granddaughter.’

This is the Candidate’s Pledge adopted by this policy.  Green Candidates will be asking those of the other parties to make a similar pledge during election campaigns.

1.       I will make a full time commitment to the job for which I will be well paid.

2.     I will ensure that, in the interest of transparency, a report is prepared every two months in which all allowances, other related income and expenses will be included. This report will be submitted to a local constituency body in a way that is open to public scrutiny, with receipts and justification for all expenses.

3.     I will invite the local party to discuss with me a donation to it of a percentage of my salary, which will be used to fund support staff for my constituency work.

4.     I will advertise all positions within my constituency office. Positions would be filled to industry standard terms and conditions for conducting interviews and making appointments.  Family members would only be employed through that open recruitment process.   

Appeal for Help and Support

GPLogoStrapGreenForWeb

We know that we can win elections, but to do so takes time and money, and that needs the support of committed members.  If you want to see Greens in both Parliaments and Town Halls, please be generous with your support.  Without your support and commitment, winning will not happen and the ruination of our planet will continue.

PleasPeter mug-shot crop 1e contact me, Peter Allen, with your offer of help and support.

Peter  email peterd.allen@btinternet.com

Please see Meetings and Events page of the website to find out when leafleting is taking place.

The Gagging Bill

DemocracyWe are sliding into a dictatorship.  The new aristocrats of wealth are staging a coup by stealth, controlling what Government does, determining who makes up Government, influencing the political agenda and ensuring that all legislation conforms to their interests.  They are ensuring that the public are unaware of the Government’s programme until it is too late, and are distracting public populist distractions away from policies that will have a huge impact on their lives.  I do not claim this idea as original; I have taken it from Professor Robert Reich of the University of California, who said:

‘I fear that at least since 2010 we’ve been witnessing a quiet, slow-motion coup d’état whose purpose is to repeal every bit of progressive legislation since the New Deal and entrench the privileged positions of the wealthy and powerful – who haven’t been as wealthy or as powerful since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.’

Alarmist, and relevant only to America?

Remember…

  • ·        ‘It’s the Sun Wot Won It!’ The American owned News International claiming credit for the Tories 1992 unexpected election victory.  Murdoch again endorsing Blair, and hey – he wins!
  • ·        The economic strategy of Austerity that suits the financial institutions but was not included in the Tories election manifesto. 
  • ·        The singular lack of effort to regulate the financial sector that is such a big donor to Tory coffers. 
  • ·        Corporate lobbyists steering energy policy away from renewables towards fossil fuels at a time when 97% of people who know what they are talking about on climate change are screaming, ‘cut carbon emissions’! 
  • ·        Tories in Europe blocking regulations on fracking and blocking moves to implement a Financial Transaction Tax. 

And so the list goes on.  We are seeing members of Parliament acting against the interests of their electors, secure because they know that the corporate press will support their re-election.

In the face of disquiet about the influence of lobbyists, the Government felt compelled to bring in a Lobbying Bill, but with a twist straight out of 1984 – they managed to exclude the activities of the powerful corporate lobbyists and focus instead on charities and small campaigning groups.  They have turned the Lobbying Bill in to a Gagging Bill. The Corporation who are running the show are unaffected and it is the small citizens groups who are trying to bring their concerns to the political agenda who will be effectively silenced in an election year.

So we now find that if the ‘Gagging’ Bill is passed into law, the ability of groups such as the Women’s Institute, Frack Off and campaigns against Austerity will be severely limited in their ability to bring their concerns and policy preferences to the attention of the public in an election.  The corporate run big party election machine will have a clear run to push the official line.  All the electors will hear is ‘Britain’s on the mend’ and ‘the medicine’s working’.  Nothing about destitution, hunger, under-employment, full time jobs for less than a living wage, obscene banker’s bonuses, the rich getting richer, the poor poorer.  Those who might have the true facts on the state of British society will have been silenced.

And this is not all.  Hidden away in the sub-clauses of an Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill are proposals to stop protest.  A middle ranking police officer will have the power to ban any protest if it is deemed to risk causing a disturbance.  Any Council will have similar rights if any group of electors raises opposition to a demonstration. 

This Bill is proposing a nebalcombe-frackingw power called the Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance.  Unfortunately it can’t be applied to politicians on Newsnight, but it can apply to just about anyone else away from their home.  So a landowner could apply it to ramblers on a foot path; the owners of a drilling site could apply it to people walking slowly along an access road; the organisers of a hunt could apply it to anyone holding a critical placard.  A person speaking in a public place can be silenced least she or he annoy anyone. 

There is no definition of ‘Nuisance or Annoyance’; it is the opinion of a Council or a senior police officer who seeks the injunction.  Once granted the injunction can be enforced by any ‘officer in uniform’.  There needs to be no clear intent, only the officer’s opinion that there is a risk of undefined ‘antisocial behaviour’.  The Officer will have dispersal and exclusion powers and the power to remove any person they ‘suspect’ to be under 16.  Failure to abide by the instructions of the Officer is an arrestable offence that could lead to imprisonment.

This is an attack on our fundamental right of free assembly and free speech.  This Bill has been sternly opposed by campaigning groups, the churches, political groups and legal opinion.  Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, acting on behalf of the Christian Institute said

 ‘It is easily foreseeable that these powers may be invoked by the police in situations where their use impacts bluntly upon the exercise of rights to free expression and free assembly, as well as other core right.’

In his Opinion he cited the following statement from the European Court of Justice referring to the European Convention of Human Rights.

 ‘Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of (democratic) society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man.  Tolerance, of low-level non-criminal behaviour that may be capable of causing some person annoyance or nuisance, is an important feature of an open and democratic society governed by the rule of law.’

We may also note here that the Conservative Party wishes to withdraw the UK from the European Convention, in the light of this Bill, we can see why.

For more information on opposition to the Gagging Law go to:  http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/01/22/gagging-law-we-won-the-argument-but-lost-the-vote/

Mike Shipley – Press Officer, Derbyshire Green Party