Sue steals the Duffield hustings!


Sue MacFarlane, nearest the camera, a Green Party candidate from Belper gave a very credible showing at Monday’s Mid Derbyshire Hustings at Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, hosted by The Duffield Christian Council.

In front of a very full and lively audience, Sue, who is the prospective parliamentary candidate for Mid Derbyshire, made a lot of new friends as she debated issues ranging from farming to the NHS, and housing to defence. Sue gave direct examples of how the Green Party manifesto addresses the issues people are concerned about, and spoke with passion and authority on what were clearly hot topics for the locals attending – and in some cases for the country as a whole.

The Green Party’s membership ranks continue to swell and earlier this month hit 60,000 nationally, a growth of over 300% in less than seven months, overtaking both the Lib Dem and UKIP memberships in the process.

Belper Greens and local residents take town council to task!

The following press release was issued today:

Mid Derbyshire Green Party has helped overturn plans by the chairman of Belper Town Council’s finance working party to spend two thirds of their £350,000 reserves by not charging any council tax precept for Belper this year.

At a meeting of the council on Tuesday evening (20th Jan), strong concerns were voiced by councillors that the decision to recommend refunding £243,125 to the townspeople via their tax bills was made at a working party meeting – attended only by Cllr Alan Cox and his wife Cllr Jackie Cox – on December 18 last year.  Four other members of the working party couldn’t get to the meeting and sent apologies, but Mr and Mrs Cox decided to proceed with the meeting even though it was inquorate.

Members of the public, many of them from the Green Party, attended the full meeting of the council at St John’s Chapel in Belper to protest at the proposal.  Without exception, public speakers said that the money in reserve should be spent on projects to benefit the town.

Comments made by residents who had signed a 174-name petition against the proposal were read out before it was officially handed over by their spokesman.  The improved provision of public toilets was high on the wish list of the residents many of whom said they felt the council was out of touch with public feeling.

Four people, two of them Green Party candidates standing in Belper at the elections in May, spoke out against Cllr Cox’s recommendation before the final decision was made.  The majority of the councillors, including the Mayor and his son Dan Booth, the deputy Mayor, backed the public opinion and when it came to the vote, only Mr and Mrs Cox voted in favour of the recommendation.

So now the normal precept is going to be charged for the year 2015/16 and a decision on how to spend the money will be made at a future meeting.

The vast reserve of money accumulated over a number of years was last discussed in public last January (2014) when it was agreed that it needed to be spent by March 2015. At the time Cllr Alan Broughton suggested that the townspeople be asked for ideas on how to spend it.

Various grants have been made to charities and groups in the town during the year as usual but none of that has come from the reserves and no obvious attempt to gauge public opinion has been made.

Sue MacFarlane, the Green Party’s candidate for Belper North in the upcoming Amber Valley Borough Council elections, wanted to know why Cllr Broughton’s suggestion to ask the townspeople what they wanted to spend it on 12 months ago had not been followed up.

“Whilst I can understand how a cut in the Precept in an election year may appear to be the right thing to do if you are hoping to get re-elected to this council, I don’t think it is appropriate to use this money as a pre-election rate cut. A cynical person could surmise that the council did not want anyone to come up with any ideas,” she said.

Both Sue MacFarlane and John Devine, the Green Party candidate for the Belper North Ward for Belper Town Council, offered to help in any way possible to generate public discussion on the matter.  “Maybe we could have an open debate at an event in the Strutt Centre so we could decide how the money could best be spent for the long term benefit of the people of Belper,” said John, offering Green Party local members to help this to happen.

Another member of the public, Maurice Neville, who has worked as a senior local government officer, said “I was very surprised to find that there was no information at all about the reserves on the council’s website,” adding that other councils did provide such details and he was able to find them at the click of a mouse.  Mr Neville pointed out documentation was vital if people were going to be able to assess the wisdom of the proposal.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Sue MacFarlane on 01773423758 or 07774004240, or email her (see contacts page).

Green Party attend Compassionate Derby

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jean Macdonald
Green Party activist

October newsletter shows Belper Greens mean business!

newslet amended1

The ‎Mid Derbyshire ‪Green Party clearly mean business!  Their October newsletter has been delivered to every house in the town’s North Ward!! Bring on the elections!

So what makes The Greens different?

  • Every citizen will receive the ‘Citizen’s Income’ – no matter what!
  • The NHS will be protected;
  • The railways will be returned to public hands;
  • Student tuition fees will be abolished and so will student loans;
  • Most importantly, we will do what is needed to ensure our kids have a planet to inherit!

Join us and make a difference!!  We meet every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at The Bulls Head, Belper Lane End, DE56 2DL

Got a question for Natalie Bennett?

Natalie Bennett - Green Party leader
Natalie Bennett – Green Party leader

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