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

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:

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:


Sherwood Green SOS

Sherwood Green

Generations of Bolsover families have enjoyed the green oasis that surrounds Sherwood Lodge. Although the bandstand has gone, andmore offices have been built, it is still a tranquil park and it’s not too late to stop it being lost forever.

How we can save Sherwood Green?

By law, open land that has been used for 20 years by the public for leisure can be registered. There are over 3,000 registered greens including one beach! The protection lasts forever indeed it is illegal to build on a registered green, even if planning permission is granted. In considering applications the County Council will review evidence gathered from members of the public.

You can give your evidence on our special form available for download here:

Evidence Questionnaire OSS

or by emailing:

Just a few minutes of your time could preserve this green for future generations.

Also, using the link below you can find out how to oppose Morrison’s application to put a large superstore and petrol station on what is now Sherwood Green and Lodge, and to oppose Bolsover Council’s plan to put an office building on Middle Street car-park:

How to object to the Morrison’s application and/or the loss of Middle Street car-park

Use it or lose it

Come and show you care about your green spaces by joining one of our community picnics on the first Sunday in every month starting at 3pm.

Find out more

Members of the Green Party and BADGL have joined with local residents and traders to organise a Public Meeting on Tuesday 8th May at 7.30pm in the North Star Club. You’ll be able to ask questions, meet the District Councillor who is fighting Morisson’s proposal and hear about the campaign.

Feeding The Homeless, Reducing Waste

I have a growing concern about the amount of wastage that big supermarkets create with the food they stock. Hundreds, if not, thousands of tonnes of perfectly edible, in-date food is thrown into skips every week, and it has to stop. Firstly, the millions of animals killed per week to supposedly feed Britain are slaughtered for nothing but to be packaged and never consumed. Secondly, there are millions of people living in poverty who are either on the streets or genuinely struggling to feed their family, so this food wastage is both unnecessary and unacceptable.

What I would first like to focus on is the subject of the homeless. I have done some research and spoken to homeless people, as well as having a volunteer place at Women’s Work in Derby starting in September, who deal with female sex workers who are often trafficked, in debt to their pimps or boyfriends, not to mention being emotionally, physically and sexually abused, and more often than not, addicted to drugs. I discussed with one of the leaders the subject of what the women eat, and the answer was nothing, apart from the chocolate bars and cups of tea when they go to the Outreach centre. As they are trapped in a very dangerous lifestyle, they need real food to sustain them. I also feel that if there was more care involved, they are more likely to consider to try and work towards a better lifestyle; to make the conscious decision to stand up for themselves and kick their drug habits. I feel that if they were able to get one meal a day, cooked for them, using what supermarkets would usually waste, they would begin to realise they are worth more than this lifestyle of prostitution, which is never a choice, it is a lifestyle born out of desperation which they are often conned into. For example, many of the young girls and women who come from abroad to work are either kidnapped, sold and trafficked by pimps, boyfriends, or even their family, or they are promised jobs as waitresses or cleaners, for example.

I know that in Paris, they take the food that is wasted from supermarkets and have agreements with local restaurants to cook the food which is then given by outreach centres to the homeless. This will create more jobs in restaurants, as well as giving homeless people a base where they can be fed and get the support they need to get them to a better place in society. When people go without food, they become aggressive and desperate; of course, they are more likely to steal from someone to buy drugs than food, but if we create a network of people who care, for those who need care, they can sit down and have a meal in a normal environment where they are not on the streets, and not displaying threatening behaviour. It will also bring them in to talk to the volunteers and get the advice they need as well as a meal.

All this will contribute to them having a better life while they are on the streets, and hopefully aid them as they work towards a more positive future. After all, to make this change which is often difficult and can involve many relapses if they are drug addicts, they need something to inspire them make this change. I truly believe that if we do this, the number of people on the streets will decrease, and they will begin a transition from being homeless to having a place in society where they are valued and not living in poverty. If we get the right funding, it will create more jobs in restaurants. As this is such an important and beneficial scheme, I do believe that we will get funding from companies, as it shows they are supporting the community and will make them more popular.

While the food wastage includes more than just meat, I know the Green Party are aiming to stop factory farming completely, which as a vegan I totally support this, but some of the food wastage will include factory farmed meat. However, although I think it would be fantastic for the scheme to only cook vegan food to promote an healthy lifestyle, if the unwanted meat was used in the meals, this would be better than it being wasted and rotting in a landfill.

I sincerely hope that we can use this scheme for our community and other communities around the country, and I want to be involved. Please consider the ideas I’ve put forward, as so many people will benefit, and our people, whatever there background, need to be supported somehow and we want the number of people on the streets to be as low as possible.