Tag Archives: jobs

Charlotte Farrell – High Peak Constituency

Candidate Statement for the General Election 2015

?????????????????????????????I am standing as a parliamentary candidate for High Peak constituency because I believe it is important to give people the opportunity to vote for the Green party wherever possible.

I became interested in environmental issues back in the 1980’s, concerned about the effects our current way of life was having, and the impact of climate change on the world generally.

I believe that capitalism is incompatible with a sustainable society and that while we continue to follow the present economic trajectory we will inevitably cause untold harm to mankind and to the planet. I believe that the alternative is to build policies which put people and the planet first before profit.

I originally trained as a nurse and worked as such for 15 years before re-qualifying as a solicitor. Last year, after 10 years in the law, I left to work with my partner making orthopaedic footwear; so that I could devote more time to politics.

I live and work in the High Peak and am involved in various community activities there. In particular I was involved in the purchase of Derbyshire’s first community owned and run village pub which now provides a focus for the local community.

If I was elected I would stand for:
•  meaningful action to combat climate change and pollution
• providing decent jobs with a living wage and truly affordable housing
•  fighting cuts to public sector jobs and services
• increased investment in health and education, in particular ending the pernicious privatisation of services
• integrated, affordable and sustainable public transport
•  zero tolerance inequality and discrimination
• immediate unilateral nuclear disarmament and an end to UK involvement in overseas conflict and war.

I believe that there needs to be a fundamental change to our present economic and political system to combat the inevitable global destruction which we otherwise seem to be heading towards. I believe in providing a fairer and more equal society which is not at the expense of the environment.

Green Party candidate contact details

Political Point-scoring won’t solve the energy bill crisis

East Mikat-gp-1dland Green Party candidate in the European Elections, Katarina Boettge has accused both the Coalition and Labour of “political point-scoring” in the energy bill debate to duck the real problems.  She claims that meaningful measures to address the problems of cold homes, fuel poverty, and soaring bills are being sidelined.  As a result she claims that 1.5 million children are being brought up in cold homes and that more people in the UK are struggling to pay their energy bills than any other European country than Estonia.

The Green Party is calling for a major nationwide programme to make all homes energy efficient.  They want this funded through ‘recycled’ carbon taxes, saying that this could bring an estimated nine out of ten homes out of fuel poverty, quadruple carbon savings, and create up to 200,000 jobs across the UK.

Ms Boettge said: “It’s a scandal that the big energy companies are making large profits, which doubled between 2008 and 2010, whilst many people are struggling with high bills and cold homes. 

The Government’s own advisers are saying that the reason that bills have been rising is because of the wholesale price of gas and not because of Green Tariffs.  These, if properly used for home insulation will help households reduce their energy use and therefore their bills.

‘We need a nationwide programme to make all homes super-energy efficient – with full insulation, modern boilers, and renewable energy sources.  These measures could save households up to £500 per year, far more that any of the other Parties are offering with their short term measures.’

 

Greens Support Derby People’s Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Smith                                                                                    Member of Derbyshire Green Party and Young Greens

 

 

Natalie Bennett’s Address in Derby 24th September 2013

Natalie Bennett DerbySpeaking to a well attended audience in Derby, Natalie Bennett catalogued the inadequacy of the Labour Party’s response to a range of political issues that are affecting people’s lives.  Contrasting the reality of fuel poverty that is becoming a reality for a growing number of people with the huge profits being made by the big energy companies, she condemned Labours proposal for a two year price freeze as inadequate.

‘After two years, then what?’ she asked. ‘The Green Party proposes a national energy conservation programme funded by the Government.  This will lead to permanently reduced energy bills and to lower carbon emissions.  The insulation programme will create sustainable jobs, taking people out of fuel poverty and off benefit.’ 

‘Labour want to see the minimum wage enforced.’ She said.  ‘We know that people cannot hope to manage on a minimum wage, that is why we want to see it raised to a Living Wage, that enables people to meet their necessary weekly costs.  This policy is supported by 70% of people.

‘Labour have no commitment to re-nationalise the railways to ensure that investment goes where it is needed to build a system that meets demand.  This is Green policy and it is supported by 75% of people.

‘Greens support a publicly funded NHS free at the point of delivery.  Labour has made no commitment to reverse the coalition policy of sell-off of the NHS.  ‘‘Labour is backing fracking, ignoring that we must leave half of all known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change.’

Natalie went on to criticise the economic strategy of the three big parties.  There was she said no evidence of fundamental change in economic strategy from any of them.  They were all supporting the creation of a low wage economy that was only possible with the availability of cheap fossil fuels.  This she explained allowed cheap food and goods to be transported to this country, pricing local production out of the market.  ‘This failed economic strategy has left half a million people in this country, the sixth richest in the world, dependent on food banks.’

She reminded the meeting about the causes of the economic crisis.  ‘The bail out of the banks took huge amounts of public money.  Yet the banks were bailed out with no guarantees that they would reform their activities, stop high risk investments and end the bonus culture.  If the economic strategy proposed by the Green Party in 2010 had been implemented, we would now be seeing investment by the banks in sustainable projects that the country needs, creating long term employment to get and keep people in work and off benefit.’

‘We now need to ‘re-localise’ the economy.’  She said that this process had to be accompanied by the restoration of local political power that could rebalance the economy away from London and the south east.  As evidence of this unbalanced economy she told the meeting that there were a million empty homes in the UK yet there was also a housing shortage.  The power of big corporations was concentrating work in the areas that suit themselves having no regard to where people now live.  As a result these economic hot spots drag people in but do not provide the facilities that workers need, hence a chronic shortage of affordable housing.

‘We need thought out regional development strategies that address both economic and social needs, backed with the necessary political power to deliver those strategies.’

‘With rising transport costs and rising wages in the developing world, we are now seeing a ‘re-shoring’ in production, with companies starting to bring production back to the UK.  This offers great opportunities but we must have the economic and political structures in place to ensure that business properly pays its way.’  Natalie explained that with a clear political determination, big business could be made to address and pay for its impact on the environment and society.  ‘Greens on Bristol Council have helped to bring in a supermarket levy that collects 8% of turnover to reflect the damaging consequences of supermarkets.  This money is ploughed back in to local small business.’

Flanked by the five East Midland European candidates, Natalie concluded with a review of  the Green Party’s electoral prospects.  ‘We are now a Parliamentary Party.  This has been very important in lifting our national profile.  Latest opinion polls are placing the Greens on 12% and show a clear growth in support, by contrast the Liberal Democrats are now on 10% with their support fading.  With our level of support we could have six MEPs, including one here in the East Midlands.’  Natalie said that recent events had shown that the public were turning away from the three main parliamentary parties and looking to the smaller parties to express a dissatisfaction with traditional politics.  ‘We know that a growing number of people are coming to support Green policy.  Our challenge is to get people to vote for what they believe in, because what they believe in is increasingly Green Party policy.’

Natalie Bennett's Address in Derby 24th September 2013

Natalie Bennett DerbySpeaking to a well attended audience in Derby, Natalie Bennett catalogued the inadequacy of the Labour Party’s response to a range of political issues that are affecting people’s lives.  Contrasting the reality of fuel poverty that is becoming a reality for a growing number of people with the huge profits being made by the big energy companies, she condemned Labours proposal for a two year price freeze as inadequate.

‘After two years, then what?’ she asked. ‘The Green Party proposes a national energy conservation programme funded by the Government.  This will lead to permanently reduced energy bills and to lower carbon emissions.  The insulation programme will create sustainable jobs, taking people out of fuel poverty and off benefit.’ 

‘Labour want to see the minimum wage enforced.’ She said.  ‘We know that people cannot hope to manage on a minimum wage, that is why we want to see it raised to a Living Wage, that enables people to meet their necessary weekly costs.  This policy is supported by 70% of people.

‘Labour have no commitment to re-nationalise the railways to ensure that investment goes where it is needed to build a system that meets demand.  This is Green policy and it is supported by 75% of people.

‘Greens support a publicly funded NHS free at the point of delivery.  Labour has made no commitment to reverse the coalition policy of sell-off of the NHS.  ‘‘Labour is backing fracking, ignoring that we must leave half of all known reserves of fossil fuels in the ground to prevent catastrophic climate change.’

Natalie went on to criticise the economic strategy of the three big parties.  There was she said no evidence of fundamental change in economic strategy from any of them.  They were all supporting the creation of a low wage economy that was only possible with the availability of cheap fossil fuels.  This she explained allowed cheap food and goods to be transported to this country, pricing local production out of the market.  ‘This failed economic strategy has left half a million people in this country, the sixth richest in the world, dependent on food banks.’

She reminded the meeting about the causes of the economic crisis.  ‘The bail out of the banks took huge amounts of public money.  Yet the banks were bailed out with no guarantees that they would reform their activities, stop high risk investments and end the bonus culture.  If the economic strategy proposed by the Green Party in 2010 had been implemented, we would now be seeing investment by the banks in sustainable projects that the country needs, creating long term employment to get and keep people in work and off benefit.’

‘We now need to ‘re-localise’ the economy.’  She said that this process had to be accompanied by the restoration of local political power that could rebalance the economy away from London and the south east.  As evidence of this unbalanced economy she told the meeting that there were a million empty homes in the UK yet there was also a housing shortage.  The power of big corporations was concentrating work in the areas that suit themselves having no regard to where people now live.  As a result these economic hot spots drag people in but do not provide the facilities that workers need, hence a chronic shortage of affordable housing.

‘We need thought out regional development strategies that address both economic and social needs, backed with the necessary political power to deliver those strategies.’

‘With rising transport costs and rising wages in the developing world, we are now seeing a ‘re-shoring’ in production, with companies starting to bring production back to the UK.  This offers great opportunities but we must have the economic and political structures in place to ensure that business properly pays its way.’  Natalie explained that with a clear political determination, big business could be made to address and pay for its impact on the environment and society.  ‘Greens on Bristol Council have helped to bring in a supermarket levy that collects 8% of turnover to reflect the damaging consequences of supermarkets.  This money is ploughed back in to local small business.’

Flanked by the five East Midland European candidates, Natalie concluded with a review of  the Green Party’s electoral prospects.  ‘We are now a Parliamentary Party.  This has been very important in lifting our national profile.  Latest opinion polls are placing the Greens on 12% and show a clear growth in support, by contrast the Liberal Democrats are now on 10% with their support fading.  With our level of support we could have six MEPs, including one here in the East Midlands.’  Natalie said that recent events had shown that the public were turning away from the three main parliamentary parties and looking to the smaller parties to express a dissatisfaction with traditional politics.  ‘We know that a growing number of people are coming to support Green policy.  Our challenge is to get people to vote for what they believe in, because what they believe in is increasingly Green Party policy.’

UK’s first Green MP welcomes Labour to Brighton with digital billboard ad

Labour ConferenceLabour Party members attending their conference in Brighton this weekend, in the constituency of the UK’s first Green MP, will be welcomed by a billboard making the case that it is Caroline Lucas who is offering the real opposition in parliament.

The digital advert will be on display prominently on Queen’s Road – one of Brighton’s main thoroughfares.  The street is the main route down which Labour delegates and lobbyists who arrive by train will travel to reach the conference at the sea-front Metropole Hotel.

The ad starts with a check list, against a red backdrop, reading: “Saving the NHS, Fighting Austerity, Railways in Public Hands, Scrapping Trident.”  As the screen turns green, the billboard says “Brought to you by the Green Party.”

The final screen displays a photo of Caroline Lucas MP and reads: “Welcome to Brighton – Home of the True Opposition in Parliament. p.s. Labour is down the hill on the right.”

Rob Shepherd, Chair of Brighton and Hove Green Party, said, “We know a lot of Labour members want their party leadership to stand up to austerity and NHS privatisation, and to support progressive policies such as public ownership of the railways.

“We wanted to remind them that there’s an MP already fighting for these causes in Parliament. It would be great to see Labour members using their conference to encourage Ed Miliband to follow Caroline’s lead on standing up for these causes, and bring together a powerful coalition of voices to reverse the consensus that austerity and privatisation are the only game in town.”

The Green Party’s own autumn conference took place last weekend, also in Brighton.  In her conference speech Caroline Lucas criticised cuts to welfare and local services, and argued that it is the Green Party, rather than Labour, that is offering the real opposition to the Government’s agenda of austerity and privatisation.

She is speaking at two events at Labour’s conference – a Compass panel discussion called ‘Labour – an open tribe?’ and an Institute for Public Policy Research event titled ‘The Condition of Britain’.

Her Private Member’s Bill to bring the railways back into public hands is due its second reading next month.

View the ad on line at: http://bit.ly/16qbrBJ

Life in Modern Britain

Peter mug-shot crop 1Peter Allen, who was a candidate in the County Elections this year, wrote the following letter to the Glossop Chronicle:


Dear Editor

A read through the pages of your latest edition tells us much about life in modern Britain as well as in Glossop itself:

– local residents trying to stop encroachment on precious green space by a housing development which will build homes which few of the local people who desperately need secure homes will be able to afford.

– local councils fearing that they will be unable to continue to provide even a basic level of essential services as a result of never ending cuts imposed by central government.

– the best employment apparently on offer being in a new supermarket being opened on the site of another closed local pub, probably offering jobs on a “flexible” basis to school leavers amongst others (well done to all those who passed their A levels ) who will be starting adult life full of hope and ambition but also fearful of the level of debts they will be taking on should they decide to go to university and knowing that good jobs are few and far between, as the latest figures on youth unemployment confirm.

– meanwhile in one of the richest (but also one of the most unequal) societies in the world one of the few ” growth industries” are food banks, supported not just by small businesses routed in their community but also by Asda supermarket, owned by Walmart, which built its empire in the USA on the basis of low wages and union busting but which now seeks “added value” by claiming credit for passing on donations made by those who shop in its store

Peter Allen
Derbyshire Green Party

Network Connections

Derby People's Assembly 8 July

The next meeting of Derby People’s Assembly preparatory meeting is being held at 7pm, Monday the 8th of July at Sound Bites, which is on the Morledge opposite the Magistrates court. Here is the map: http://www.soundbitesderby.org.uk/map.html  All Welcome

 

People’s Assembly Against Austerity

PA CropThe Tories have unleashed the biggest assault on ordinary people for generations. It needs to be met head-on. The People’s Assembly Against Austerity is a key opportunity to bring together all those who want to stop the cuts and the ­devastation they are bringing to millions of people in the UK, and to launch the next steps in the fightback.

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity was launched with a letter to the Guardian on February 28th 2012.  Two of the initial signatories were Caroline Lucas MP and Natalie Bennett. 

The Green Party had voted at their conference in February to support the event and agreed to send a delegation to the People’s Assembly and to  encourage local parties, regional federations and other GP bodies to also send delegations and to support future local People’s Assemblies.

People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Saturday June 22nd 

GeneralThis gathering is going to be a huge expression of opposition to “austerity” and privatisation involving all the main Trade Unions, local Trades Union Councils, local and national anti-cuts groups, campaign groups focused on NHS, Education, Housing, the People’s Charter, Coalition of Resistance and the Green Party.  Most of the policies that the People’s Assembly are advancing are Green Party policies

Derby People’s Assembly – A new local “networking” group has been formed in Derby made up of individuals and people representing local groups concerned with issues such as Climate Change, Taxation, NHS etc.  Two Green Party Members attended the initial meeting.  The aim of the meeting was twofold: to publicise the national gathering in London on 22nd June and to arrange a follow up event in Derby in the Autumn. 

Transport has been arranged for those who would like to attend the London event.  See our events page for details.  A Facebook page has been established (https://www.facebook.com/groups/143367235856170/?fref=ts ) and a blog and website will also be set up 

The time has come for us, the People, to make our voice heard. We are a democracy.  We must demand that the Government uses the power and money we give it to serve our interests, and not just those of the wealthy vested interests that are controlling politics.  Austerity will never succeed because the economic crisis was not caused by public spending. We must demand that the government we elected adopts policies that address the causes of the financial crisis.  We must demand that they invest in our future to build a sustainable economy.  We must make it clear that if this Government will not listen to us, we will elect one that will.

Help Save Local Communities

SupermarketsMany local Green Parties and party members are involved in campaigns to oppose the development of supermarkets in their area.  We do this because we know that supermarkets lead to the closure of small businesses on the High Street which cannot compete with the aggressive marketing practices of the big business. They also encourage wasteful consumption, use excess packaging and generate huge ‘food miles’.  As a result of their procurement practices, they are forcing the closure of many small farms and forcing yet more intensification of agricultural production. Supermarkets therefore damage local economies and lead to a loss of secure jobs. 

The Green Party therefore welcomes and initiative by Unlock Democracy to use the Sustainable Communities Act to enable Councils to charge a levy or local tax on supermarkets to help to mitigate the damage they are doing to the local economy and environment.  With their immense wealth and sponsorship of some political parties the big supermarket businesses will fight such a proposal to the highest court.  Ultimately it is up to us, the people to ensure that the supermarkets are tamed and that local business can compete fairly on a level playing field.  Out ultimate sanction is that of boycott, successfully used in many consumer campaigns.

Daniel Flanagan, Projects Manager from Unlock Democracy writes:

Large supermarkets have a devastating impact on local jobs, the environment and local businesses. It seems like there’s no stopping this juggernaut from tearing communities apart.

The good news is there is a solution, and you have the power to fight back and reverse this decline.

Unlock Democracy is campaigning for councils to make supermarkets pay a new levy (i.e. tax) that will go back into helping local communities across the country. We can use the Sustainable Communities Act to achieve this.

Please sign the pledge for there to be a levy on supermarkets used to help local communities: http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/page/s/join-the-supermarket-levy-campaign

A levy like this has already been introduced in Northern Ireland – dubbed the “Tesco Tax.” The money raised from it has already helped over 8,000 small businesses over there.

Our high streets really need our help. Over 40,000 shops lie empty.  Communities are struggling as the economy flounders and local services are cut. Town centres are becoming “Ghost Towns.”

At the same time, supermarkets like Tesco are booming, making billions of pounds in profit.

Supermarkets have huge advantages over local independent shops. They can undercut prices of local stores, use their colossal purchasing power to squeeze suppliers, buy up massive “land banks” to keep out competition, provide free parking at out-of-town sites and employ an army of lawyers and planning experts to make sure they get permission for new stores, even when local people object.

It’s no wonder then that supermarkets have boomed whilst local shops and communities have been decimated.

When a new large supermarket opens, hundreds of local jobs are lost. The environment suffers. Suppliers are squeezed. Local businesses struggle.

It’s time we started to level the playing field between supermarkets and local shops and made supermarkets pay for some of the damage they do. That’s why I would like to ask you to:

Please sign the pledge for a new levy on supermarkets to help local communities: http://action.unlockdemocracy.org.uk/page/s/join-the-supermarket-levy-campaign

 

GREENS CONDEMN GOVERNMENT’S SHORT SIGHTEDNESS

Derbyshire Green Party Chair urges people to install solar panels before Government slashes Feed-In Tariff payment

David Foster, Chair of Derbyshire Green Party, has urged householders to install solar panels as soon as they can. Following newspaper reports and mistakenly leaked documents, it has become clear that the Government has plans to halve the Feed-In Tariffs for solar photovoltaic panels.

Currently people can claim 43 pence for every kilowatt of electricity they generate off their roof but the government now plans to cut this to around 21p from the beginning of December, with the possibility of even deeper cuts to follow.  The feed-in tariff scheme was introduced in April 2010 and has seen over 80,000 solar installations, the creation of more than 22,000 jobs and almost 4,000 new businesses.

David Foster  said,

“If people install solar panels now before the cut is due to take place in December then they will get the 43p rate for the next 25 years if they were to install them after that they would get less than half that.”

The Green Party claims that this cut will jeopardise currently planned free solar schemes for people unable to afford the upfront costs of solar panels as well as planned schemes for council properties. These are set up to be self-funding under current Feed-In Tariff arrangements but, the Greens say, they may no longer be so after the proposed cut.

Mr. Foster went on to say, “These cuts by the government are nonsensical. Over 25,000 people are employed in the solar industry and these cuts are a threat to these jobs.  The cost of the Feed-In Tariff is very small, less than 50p/year on the average fuel bill and a fraction of the cost of government subsidies of nuclear power stations.   As always, it is those on the lowest incomes who will suffer the most since they will be unable to participate in low-cost solar schemes.  As a result of this cut, it is now almost certain that the Coalition Government will miss the legally binding carbon reduction target for the UK set in the 2008 Climate Change Act.  This government’s claim to be the Greenest Government ever is looking increasingly hollow and lacking in substance.”

John Youatt, the Greens convener in Derbyshire Dales and a founder member of Sustainable Youlgrave said,

“No matter how many Ministers try to justify this cut to the renewable energy programme, it makes no sense either financially or environmentally. The Green Party is unable to understand the logic of this decision. By investing in renewable technologies, not only does the Coalition Government help combat climate change and create jobs, but also it gives Councils a further incentive to help the fuel poor as well as increasing local authority revenue. In my locality, we held a forum and people signed up for panels, but only because the rate was right at under 10 years pay back. At over 15years, people will not invest. “

Greens to contest Oldham East and Saddleworth By-election

A by-election has been called in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency, with polling on 13th January, 2011. Derbyshire Green Party member Peter Allen from Glossop, who stood in the High Peak in May, has been selected to represent the Green Party. The election follows the resignation of the former Labour MP Phil Woolas, who was debarred from Parliament for electoral mal-practice.

This contest will be the first electoral test for the coalition Government, and interestingly, both the LibDems and the Tories will be standing. The LibDems were 103 votes short of taking the seat from Labour in May, and under normal circumstances, they would be expected to take the seat comfortably. However, these are not normal circumstances, the LibDems are taking flack from the Tory press, and they are set to reap a bitter harvest over their U-turns on student fees, nuclear power and other issues. The word on the street is that Labour will hold the seat.

Media interest in the campaign will grow considerably in the New Year with the coalition partners competing against each other. The Tories will be keen to out poll the LibDems and they will work hard to get out their vote in the Saddleworth part of the Constituency. If they can do this, it will strengthen the hand of those in the party who want to break the coalition and go for an early poll before the advent of AV. These backwoodsmen will try hard to discredit the idea of coalition government, and as the Telegraph has done, will use any tactic how ever underhand, to convince the electorate that coalition is inherently unstable and delivers weak government. They do not want to share power – ever, they want absolute control to protect their vested interests.

This contest will also be seen as an early evaluation of Ed Millibands leadership of Labour and of his attempts to repair the damage done to the Party by Blair’s flirtation with American conservatism. He has yet to establish himself as a leader with a clear profile and agenda, and Labour has much to live down. They will find it difficult to criticise the cuts agenda that they would also have followed. They can hardly vigorously oppose the rise of student fees that they introduced, and in power, they were very keen to get private companies involved in both education delivery and the NHS.

There is also a dark side to the campaign. Oldham was the scene of serious rioting in 2001 and following that, the BNP did particularly well in both Oldham constituencies, polling 11% in Oldham East in the 2001 general election. Since then their vote has fallen back to around 5%, they did save their deposit in May. Since the riots, the causes of which remain controversial, much work has been done in the town to address the issue of segregation within the borough, but still the extreme right consider this to be fertile territory and both the BNP and the National Front have indicated that they will stand.

Many in Oldham do not accept that the riots of 2001 were race riots. There is a belief that the national media decided that this was the explanation and sensationalised events, so drawing in extremists from out of the area looking for a fight. People of Oldham are no more racist than in any other part of the country and do not welcome the inference that riots were due to local bigotry. They will probably not welcome the presence of extremist candidates in the by-election.

Greens clearly will work hard to out poll the negative extremists. Our aim is to focus the campaign on the issues that will affect the livelihoods and well-being of all people in the constituency and to offer positive alternatives to the ruinous ConDem policy of cuts. This includes the Green New Deal, a costed programme of investment in Green technology and the public sector to create thousands of sustainable jobs. We go in to the contest as the only party supporting free education at the point of delivery, knowing that it is through education that people can escape poverty and build self-confidence and a sense of self-worth, which the progressive private sector also requires.

Greens apply the same principle to the National Health Service, knowing that all people must have access to healthcare according to their needs and not their wealth. We will tell the electorate that the Green Deal is the pathway to creating thousands of new and sustainable jobs, that through a programme of home insulation we can cut energy bills, saving people money and providing work for local businesses. We will tell the electorate that the climate is changing, that the weather will become more extreme, but by addressing this issue now, we can create sustainable work and businesses now and avoid serious costs in the future. Greens will offer a positive message of hope in the face of the negative petty political point scoring of the other parties.

To keep updated with the campaign, visit http://www.oldhamgreens.org.com. If you can help this campaign in any way please contact, campaign@oldhamgreens.org.uk

[Mike Shipley 23 December 2010]

The Green New Deal

The Green Party Manifesto offered the electorate an economic programme that would reduce our national debt without cutting vital public services.  This programme is the Green New Deal. It is a response to the triple crisis that the world now faces:

  • A financial crisis caused by the uncontrolled speculation of international bankers, including many based in the City of London, interested in quick profits, rather than sustainable development, creating a financial bubble, which was bound to burst and did.
  • An energy crisis as the supply of oil peaks, and remaining reserves become more damaging and dangerous and expensive to extract.
  • A climate crisis driven by burning fossil fuels, resulting in increased global temperatures, threatening the very survival of humanity.

The Green New Deal proposed a major investment in energy conservation and renewable energy, creating thousands of sustainable jobs.  It proposed the serious regulation of the financial sector to prevent the reckless behaviour that led to the financial crisis, while ensuring that low cost finance was available for the construction of a low carbon economy.

The Green Party showed in its manifesto that it is possible to reduce our deficit while putting more people to work, protecting public services, and ensuring that the tax burden falls on those who can afford to pay.

Caroline Lucas, newly elected Green Party MP in Brighton, has spoken out against the economic destruction threatened by the ConDem government’s budget:

Cuts are not an economic inevitability.  They are an ideological choice. Politicians of all parties are now sharpening their axes to slash public spending, forcing those on lower incomes, who depend on public services the most, to pay the highest price for the recent excesses of the bankers.

That’s the challenge I’m issuing: for that political choice to be made.  It must be clearly asserted that we are not “all in this together”: that some had more responsibility for this crisis than others, and some benefited more from the boom that preceded it. Those who enjoyed the largest benefits must pay up now.  There is a choice.  We should ask those best able to pay to foot the bill through fairer taxation.  For that to happen, fair taxes, not cuts, must become the new big idea to replace today’s callous and uncaring cuts fanaticism.”

Only The Green Party has the policies and principles required to address the problems facing Britain and the world in these dangerous times. Please consider joining the Green Party or making a donation.

Create Jobs By Investing In Green Technology

The Green Party would create jobs by investing in green technology. It is instructive to compare the records of Britain and Germany in this area. When the Greens in Germany joined the coalition government, they forced through a series of measures on renewable energy including:

  • Support for research and development of renewable energy systems.
  • A feed-in-tariff [FIT] that guaranteed for 20 years the price of electricity sold to the grid
  • A commitment to close the nuclear power stations.
  • Business was required to source renewable power in preference to conventional power.
  • The FIT encouraged many small and domestic generators to invest in renewable systems.

As a result of all these measures Germany raised its renewable output from 6% in 2000 to 15% in 2010, exceeding this year’s European target of 12%. In that time the UK raised its renewable electricity generation from below 2% to 5% and is aiming for 15% by 2020.

Through its investment in R & D, Germany has created 300,000 jobs in the renewable sector, increasing employment in this sector by 8% through the recession. It is now investing heavily in photovoltaics and is aiming to become a world leader in this technology.

The UK’s more tentative investment strategy, determined as it is to protect and promote coal and nuclear power, created probably 70,000 jobs. There is not a wind turbine factory in the country, despite having the greatest wind resource in Europe. We have some centres of excellence, but these are likely to face budget cuts.

The main financial support mechanism for renewable electricity is the Renewable Obligation. This requires industry to source a proportion of its electricity from renewables. It guarantees an above market price to renewable generators. The UK has recently introduces a FIT scheme designed for small generators.

The Tories plan to scrap the Renewable Obligation. Although it is a complex scheme, the Green Party does not support scrapping it. The industry needs security of investment, and that includes knowing what price electricity will fetch during the investment life of a project, usually 20 years. Uncertainty stops investment. Better to maintain the commitment under the RO and phase in the FIT scheme for new developments while keeping the FIT commitment to small and domestic generators.

The Tories will expand nuclear power, following the policies produced by the big energy companies like EDF who want to invest in big ‘base load’ plant. They claim that the variable nature of renewables, they mean wind and solar only, makes these plants essential to guarantee supply in all climatic conditions.

The Green Party opposes nuclear. Base load can be provided by a combination of sustainable biomass, wave and tidal schemes. Also, we support the development of the trans-Europe High Voltage Direct Current grid to link solar arrays in North Africa, [bringing much needed revenue to the Saharan states], wind farms across Europe and Hydro-plant. This grid will supply base-load.

Couple the above strategy with efficiency, reduction in demand and insulation and we can do without nuclear with its long-term heritage of waste and inherent security risk, without fear that the lights will go out.

Note: the output of UK nuclear stations has increased in the last quarter to 20%, running above the contribution from coal for the first time. This is to enable the Government meet its carbon reduction targets with out actually doing anything, and adding strength to their [and the civil servants at the dept of Energys’] argument that we need nuclear power.

Green Party Launches Manifesto Today

Today the Green Party launches our election manifesto. Click to download the full manifesto.

The Green Party is running in over 300 constituencies around the country (a record for the party in its 30 year history), and it is also running a full slate of general election candidates in London (for the first time ever). The key policies in our fully-costed manifesto for the general election are:

Health and the NHShttp://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/nhs_2010

We will fight for a fair deal for those needing health care by opposing cuts, closures and privatisation and by demanding a full programme of locally accessible services. We will also fight to restore free dental care and provide everyone with the choice of an NHS dentist

Opposing cuts to the public sector

When markets fail, government needs to step in and get the economy working again. You just can’t cut your way out of a recession. Greens believe that public spending cuts would harm the economy. It would impact on jobs – and hit the poorest hardest. That’s just not fair

Jobs and a living wagehttp://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/jobs_2010

Unemployment is skyrocketing, and the government is doing little about it. Our major and immediate priority is fight the economic and climate crisis together, and invest in a far-reaching programme of energy efficiency, renewable energy, social housing, public transit, and home insulation to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and training places

Pensionshttp://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/pensions_2010

We would ensure all pensioners receive a basic non-means tested £170 a week

Housinghttp://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies/housing_2010/housing_detail.html

The Greens would bring back into use Britain’s 300,000 long-term empty private sector homes, and renovate Britain’s 37,000 empty council homes to help cut waiting lists.

How The Greens Would Help Students

Students of the University of Derby submitted these questions to candidates in the Derby and High Peak constituencies:

1.  As the economy is moving towards recovery, how would the economic policies of your party help those looking for graduate employment?

The Green New Deal, which we have adopted, envisages the creation of one million green jobs, including investment in renewable energy technology, public transport and social housing. All of these initiatives will provide opportunities for graduates with technical and people/project management skills. We will seek to promote leadership opportunities for women in particular, requiring 40% of board members of larger companies to be female within 5 years. (For more information see http://www.neweconomics.org/projects/green-new-deal)

2.  The average student debt is approximately £27,000 upon graduating.  How would you reduce the cost of higher education without lowering standards?

The Green Party manifesto has a carefully costed pledge to abolish tuition fees. The cost of higher education is to be funded out of general taxation, maintaining current spending and standards:

Norwich Green Councillors Call For The Abolition Of University Tuition Fees
Norwich City Council on 2nd March, resolved to support the Union of UEA Students’ Higher Education funding campaign and write to the Government opposing an increase in tuition fees.  Green Party Councillors asked the Council to call for fees to be abolished altogether, but this proposal was voted down by Labour and Conservative councilors, who supported retaining the current fees of up to £3,000 per year for students.  Green Councillor Adrian Ramsay, who will be making a submission to the Browne Inquiry in to Tuition Fees on behalf of the Green Party, commented: “I am pleased to be joining the student demonstration against tuition fees. If I replace Charles Clarke as MP I will fight for tuition fees to be replaced by a fairer funding system involving a return to grants for students so that talented young people can go to university regardless of their background.”

3.  Building upon this; how would you maintain the quality of public services, in particular universities, in an atmosphere of public funding cuts?

We do not intend to cut public spending as a whole although we would reduce spending in certain areas, (defence, road building, expanding prisons for example), and save £2.5 billion by not introducing ID cards. We believe that we should pay for public services with a taxation system that promotes fairness and rewards behaviour that’s good for society and good for the environment. This will mean raising taxation for high earners, many of whom will be graduates, who thus will be repaying the cost of their education.

4.  As local councils provide much of the services that students use, how much responsibility would you like to see local councils have?

The Green Party manifesto calls for the revival of local government, with the introduction of proportional representation to encourage a grassroots democracy in smaller community and district councils. Such authorities should have enhanced powers over those areas of policy best settled at the local level including housing, education and the promotion of wellbeing by supporting cultural and sporting activity. Eventually this reinvigorated local democracy would have new tax raising powers delegated from central government.

5.  Given a finite pot of money in the Treasury, which would be your priority – returning those to work who could or supporting those who could not work?

This is a false and cruel dichotomy. All who are able to work must have the option to do so. Unemployment should not be used as either an economic or a political instrument. It represents a waste of our most valuable resource, human talent and aspiration. To squander this resource is gross mismanagement. Any person is at risk of suffering unemployment, may be through redundancy, injury, illness or because family circumstances. People in this situation should not be stigmatised. In many cases, they continue to make contributions to society. The humane and civilised society, to which we aspire, would continue to count all people as its members and beneficiaries, regardless of employment status.

6.  What are your views on how to combat Climate Change?

The failure of the Copenhagen Conference makes it more obvious than ever that finding a global solution to climate change must involve global justice. Rich countries need to reduce their emissions drastically, we think by 90% from 1990 levels by 2030, starting now! Our manifesto refers to the new three Rs: Remove, Reduce, Replace. Remove demand where possible, reduce demand through for example, energy efficiency measures, and recycling and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. The lead must come from government, both through direct investment and through enacting the necessary legislation and tax regimes for a sustainable low carbon economy.

For more information and policy detail go to http://www.greenparty.org.uk/

Greens Attack Grey Economics

High Peak Green Party candidate Peter Allen has spoken out against the lack of substance in the recent ‘Chancellors’ TV debate, involving Alistair Darling, George Osbourne and Vince Cable.

“Their performance exposed the lack of real choice being offered by the three establishment parties. In the coming election, the Green Party will highlight the need to defend public services, control the activity of the banks and to increase taxation of the wealthy.”

The Greens found the budget similarly disappointing. Our leader Caroline Lucas, called it,

“a missed opportunity to put fairness and sustainability at the centre of Britain’s recovery plans.”

We were also critical of the lack of commitment to protect spending on social housing or public transport, two important issues that Peter is focussing on in his campaign.

“After 13 years of a Labour Government, inequality has grown, irresponsible bankers have been allowed to wreck the economy, and the services the rest of us rely on are under attack,” says Peter.

Peter and his team have been campaigning across the High Peak, and we are enjoying the official start of the campaign.

“We have a programme that is a practical and realistic plan to move towards a more equal society, protect public services, and fight climate change”

Our manifesto will include a costed commitment to an immediate nationwide programme to insulate homes. This would dramatically reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while creating 350,000 training places within a year for the unemployed. It also includes a costed commitment to a Retirement Pension of £170 pw.

Vote Green For A Sane Transport Policy

Here are some selected points from the Green Party Transport Policy. For the full policy visit http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfsstr.html

Priorities

The Green Party will use the planning system and the provision of finance to develop and encourage transportation according to the following hierarchy based on environmental impact and value for money:

1.    Walking and disabled access.
2.    Cycling.
3.    Public transport (trains, light rail/trams, buses and ferries) and rail and water-borne freight.
4.    Light goods vehicles, taxis and low powered motor cycles.
5.    Private motorised transport (cars & high powered motor cycles).
6.    Heavy goods vehicles.
7.    Aeroplanes.

Planning

The planning of all transport infrastructure must be done at the most local appropriate level and in a fully democratic manner, involving full and open public consultation.

Any development, [business, retail or residential] that encourages a large number of journeys must be in a location accessible to a wide range of public transport, including links to the rail system. All development should recognise its impact on transport, including the car, and make appropriate provision [In Italy, business is required to provide links to major centres of population or to the public transport network.]

The Green Party will use the planning system to reduce the need for journeys by supporting local provision of facilities, shops and work. Where practical, encourage the use of IT to reduce the need to travel to work.

In rural areas, planning requirements for new housing and settlements will need to ensure they are close to a range of services and are well served by public transport.

Finance

Financial measures relating to transport should be based on two principles: Firstly, transport should pay for its environmental costs through taxes and charges [“the polluter pays” principle]. Secondly, these should be used to finance improved public transport.

The Green Party will introduce a vehicle purchase tax on the purchase of all new vehicles, which would be steeply graded according to a vehicle’s pollution level, fuel consumption and type of fuel. The tax disc would be abolished.

Public Transport

The Green Party believes it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all urban and rural areas of the United Kingdom are served by a public transport system that will allow for a large proportion of the current private motorised journeys to transfer to these modes. To this end, it must ensure that public transport is designed and planned to create a user-friendly service, that is reliable, affordable, accessible, integrated with all other sustainable modes and environmentally friendly. Public service, not private profit, must be the primary function of public transport.

The Green Party would seek to build goodwill among transport workers by addressing issues such as poor pay, anti-social hours, and difficult working conditions, along with greater involvement of the staff in the running of the transport systems.

Public transport in rural areas should be designed to meet the needs of those living in those areas. This must recognise the diversity of rural transport provision and the importance of innovative solutions. These will include various forms of trip sharing and community transport provision, including post buses and taxis, especially in the more remote areas where a reliance on the provision of frequent bus services may be environmentally damaging and too expensive.

The Green Party believes that the rail system, including track and operators, needs to be publicly owned, and would seek to bring the service back into public ownership.

The Green Party supports the further expansion and construction of new light rail systems, with the aim of seeing their introduction into all towns and cities where there is local support.

The Green Party would re-regulate the bus industry, with local authorities having responsibility for ensuring that bus services reflect all the principles for a public service, including the setting of routes, frequencies and fares.

The Green Party views taxis, Dial-a-Ride and private hire vehicles as forms of public transport.

New Deal For Transport

The Green New Deal commits investment to a major expansion of public transport. We will:

  • Double the size of the bus fleet through an investment of £3 billion to buy 30,000 new buses and create 70,000 jobs.
  • Provide a further £2 billion to subsidise bus fares and get new services operational.
  • Bring the railway system back into public ownership and spend £2 billion on new track and rolling stock, and on urban tram schemes – together creating 20,000 jobs.
  • Reduce UK rail fares by one third to bring them in line with the European average through a £3 billion subsidy.

The Need For Wind Power On Matlock Moor

The moral imperative:  We need all the energy we can get — it will be a mixture. Anyone who expects the lights to come on at the flick of a switch has a moral duty to accept renewable energy in all but the most exceptional circumstances. There’s a government planning policy statement that says as much (PPS1 CC supplement)

Green Party policy #1:  Renewable energy is the most beneficial to the planet and the human race. Wind power is one of the lowest carbon sources; its ultra safe and it’s our own energy resource. The more wind energy, the less need for carbon rich sources and unsafe import-dependent nuclear energy, which isn’t low carbon. Storage is an issue that we’ve been slow to address but there are several technical solutions. The Green Party is urging massive investment in renewable energy. Renewable energy is part of the Green Party’s drive for a million green jobs (go to http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies.html) selected quote:-

“A massive increase in the proportion of electricity that comes from renewable sources – raising wind energy production to the same level as Denmark by 2020 would alone create 200,000 jobs.”

Green Party policy #2: “Fair is worth fighting for”  It is essential that no-one in the local community suffers unfairly from these machines. Neighbours should be compensated appropriately within a fair and transparent system. The local community, whose local assets are being used, should benefit from a share in the venture, ideally through an opportunity to own or part own machines or by some other contribution.

Peak District National Park Authority: The Matlock turbines are not in specially protected countryside. I live in and used to work for the Peak National Park Authority. My LPA, the PDNPA, has now twice spent significant resources on objections to wind farms and even on a legal challenge. The basic case against wind farms inside the Park is that on entering and being in the Park, it should visibly be a special place. The converse surely applies. Once inside the Park and looking out, one should expect a difference. I believe it is inappropriate for the PDNPA to oppose wind farms outside the Park on the basis of distant views from a small area in the Park. It should learn from the Carsington decisions.

Local opinion: For the last 5 years I have worked for Sustainable Youlgrave (SY)*. The PDNPA urged SY to assess local support for SY’s proposals for a limited number of individual wind turbines. We agreed; and carried out opinion polls. A significant majority of those polled are in favour of wind turbines in our valley, even where seen from the interviewees’ homes. I’m aware of no such poll before resources were spent opposing the Carsington and Matlock installations.

by John Youatt, electoral agent for Cllr Josh Stockell, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for the Derbyshire Dales. (* SY is strictly apolitical. I resigned my chairmanship of SY on taking up a role for the Green Party)

Press Release on behalf of Peter Allen, Green Party Candidate, High Peak

It is well known that the Green Party cares for the environment. What is less well known is our full range of policies covering social policy, the economy and global issues. High Peak Green Party Candidate Peter Allen and his team will be out on the streets during the next few weeks telling voters about these other Green Party policies.

“We don’t just want to save the planet, we want to make life so much better for people living on it” says Peter.

The Green Party has a fully-costed programme to transform Britain into a self-reliant, fair and sustainable country that contributes to making a fairer world. Among its policy commitments are:

  • A massive investment programme in public transport, renewable energy and social care, creating a million jobs in a Green New Deal
  • Expanding and defending the NHS and stopping further privatisation.
  • More money to fight world poverty, and to help poor countries combat climate change.
  • Bringing the troops home from Afghanistan and cancelling Trident.
  • Fairer taxes based on the ability to pay, and a clamp down on tax avoidance. Require banks to reinvest in sustainable projects.

The problems we face are enormous, and climate change threatens our very survival. The business-as-usual policies, offered by the other parties, will fail again. Now is a time of opportunity for us to work together to develop the answers to problems that affect us and our children.

“The obsession with economic growth at any cost must be replaced by sustainable development, and a fair distribution of the world’s resources” says Peter.

Green Party members will be leafleting in Glossop on Saturday morning (6th) in New Mills (13th), Chapel (20th) and Buxton (27th).