Archive for December, 2012

December 30, 2012


thCA6SOULSANY attempt to bring back fox hunting would be defeated by an alliance of Labour and Lib Dem MPs. The Government is committed to a free vote on overturning the ban on hunting with hounds but Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has ruled out one being held in the near future.

According to the League Against Cruel Sports, 246 Labour MPs, 43 Lib Dems, 26 Tories and those in the Greens, Respect and Northern Ireland’s SDLP oppose fox hunting. There are 240 pro-hunt Tories, 10 Lib Dems and three Labour MPs. Five MPs from the main parties and five from the SNP would abstain.

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No Hunting Vote as Hunters Will Lose

December 26, 2012

fox2Moves to repeal the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales may not happen in 2013, a minister has said.  Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson appeared to rule out a vote next year.  But he insisted it was still the government’s intention to give MPs a free vote on lifting the ban. More than 300 hunts are to hold Boxing Day meets, a week after the RSPCA’s first successful prosecution of a hunt for operating illegally. It has been illegal to use dogs to hunt animals in England and Wales since 2005, and in Scotland since 2002. Mr Paterson told the Telegraph: “At the moment, it would not be my proposal to bring forward a vote we were going to lose.” But Mr Paterson insisted it was still the government’s intention to have a free vote “but we need to choose an appropriate moment”.

‘Animal cruelty’

Responding to the comments, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Mary Creagh, said the public did not support an end to the hunting ban.  She said: “Most people back Labour’s ban on hunting wild animals with dogs and accept there is no place for animal cruelty in a civilised society.  People are worried about their incomes falling, prices rising and losing their jobs, yet this out of touch Tory-led government wants to bring back hunting.”

‘Illegal hunters fined’

The RSPCA prosecution of two members of the Heythrop Hunt has led to claims illegal hunting is still going on.  The hunt’s Richard Sumner and Julian Barnfield admitted unlawfully hunting with dogs on four separate occasions.  Heythrop Hunt Ltd also pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates Court on 17 December to four counts of the same charge.  Sumner was ordered to pay a £1,800 fine and £2,500 in court costs, Barnfield was ordered to pay a £1,000 fine £2,000 in costs and Heythrop Hunt Ltd was fined £4,000 and £15,000 in costs.

‘Only 15% of people want to scrap the ban’

Hunts are no longer allowed to use dogs to chase down foxes, but are instead supposed to use techniques such as drag hunting, where dogs set off on the trail of a scent laid about 20 minutes in advance by a runner or rider dragging a lure.  Animal welfare charities, including the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), have commissioned research which suggests that only 15% of people want to scrap the ban.  Joe Duckworth, LACS chief executive, said the organisation was “intensifying our campaign against illegal hunting.  Three quarters of people in this country want to see fox hunting stay illegal,” he told the BBC.

For details of local hunts see the Hunt Watch website.

Robin Hood and the Just Greens

December 24, 2012

Something  that has resonance with our region is the policy of the financial transaction tax, also called the Robin Hood tax.  In Green Party’s  fighting austerity and public service cuts they are for tax reform to avoid the farce of the richest of the rich and big corporations avoiding tax under both main parties and the coalition. This effects the most vulnerable, workers and small and medium sized businesses who do have to pay tax. It is not fair for people to have to bale out banks who have speculated widely and yet not have benefits passed on to them. Green Party propose the financial transaction (Robin Hood) tax on speculation in financial institutions so that risks taken are more calculated and the consequences of mistakes are absorbed more by those financial institutions than by tax payers who at present have the risks but very few of the benefits.

Politics for All People :

For those moving away from the dilemma the UK has in place of democracy, Green Party values and policies make sense. I feel the Green Party is a party for equalists; for so many who believe in and want equality and fairness because it is a party that has these values at its core, not as a vote winning after thought. Women particularly have apparently become statistically less likely to become involved in mainstream politics, even to vote.  The people supposedly representing them are nearly all white, middle class men. Women often have battles to be valued within their parties as well as in broader political spheres. It is different for Greens. A woman heads the Green Party. Our first Green MP a woman. A fair proportion of our representatives in local and European politics are wonderful women as well as marvelous  men. It is a party that supports and responds to women as much as men from a wide range of backgrounds. Our knowledgeable people and speakers come from so many areas of work and experience including teachers and educational professionals, ethical entrepreneurs and workers, scientists, people of many faiths and none in a collaborative society. Green policies are integrated, whole and relevant to people across social and economic spectrum. Our members are heard. So in this way we are part of bringing the relevant and the fair back into politics. Sometimes I hear a description of our party members as ‘just greens’, but that has two meanings. We’re Just Greens and this does not mean we’re only green, it means we are Greens for Justice!

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Social Media Coordination, EM Green Party

Fracking – Euro MPs Deliver Tight Controls But No Ban

December 15, 2012

Jean has welcomed a report adopted by the European Parliament ahead of a national day of action against climate change on December 1 calling for tough new rules on ‘fracking’ – and calling for a ban on the practice in sensitive areas.

The recommendations – which are not legally binding – call for caution, tougher regulation and the strict application of existing EU rules relating to the use of toxic chemicals and water pollution in light of serious health and environmental concerns.

But she said they didn’t go far enough, and called for the EU to adopt the precautionary principle and ban fracking altogether until its impacts on human health and the environment are fully understood.

Speaking after the vote, she said: “The European Parliament has highlighted the growing public concern with the use of shale gas and the damaging methods used in its extraction.

“This report calls for caution while the health and environmental impacts are fully assessed and, crucially, for EU liability rules to be revised so that the companies involved in fracking are fully liable for all costs incurred and are obliged to provide financial guarantees to cover all the potential risks – even those that are yet emerge.”

She added: “Those companies exploring fracking to help meet Londoners’ energy needs would be better pursuing renewable technologies – and those designed to make London’s housing stock more energy efficient.”

The European Commission has previously raised doubts over the compatibility of fracking with EU legislation on water quality. Doubts have also emerged over whether all of the substances involved in the process meet EU rules on chemicals.

Sign up for safer streets across Europe

December 7, 2012

20plentyKeith is urging people to sign up to a new Europe-wide petition which calls for 20mph speed limits in all residential and urban areas. UK campaign group ‘20’s Plenty for Us’ has worked with other organisations throughout Europe to use the new, democratic, European Citizens Initiative process. If enough signatures are gathered, this issue will be debated in the European Parliament. Keith believes that lower speed limits would reduce injuries and save lives, as well as lowering air pollution levels.

Keith has long championed 20mph speed limits and has visited communities across the UK to support their calls for lower limits on their streets. Last year he successfully gained the support of the European Parliament for 20mph residential speed limits to be recommended as road safety best practice across the EU. 8.3 million people in UK cities live in communities that have already adopted the 20mph limit.

To sign up visit: