Archive for April, 2013

HIND HOTEL LOCAL ISSUES Q & A EVENT

April 18, 2013

wpb0f20766_0f The Hind Hotel will host a Q & A on 23rd April 2013, – start time 7.30pm.

The main political parties vying for your vote in the forthcoming local elections are attending. Jonathan Hornett from the Green Party will be there.

Operations Director of the hotel, Shasha Khan will be chairing the event.

Commenting on the event, Mr Khan said, “Our local customers, especially in the main bar, are never shy about asserting their point of view. Given the Hind Hotel’s position in political history I feel it is appropriate for the hotel to host a Q & A event of this nature.”

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Campaign Issues for 2013

April 15, 2013

DSCF2820THE GREEN Party are proud to announce that they are standing over 1000 candidates are standing in May’s County Elections, with 14 candidates standing across Northamptonshire.

The Green Party’s key campaign issues for 2013 include:

No to Welfare Cuts — The Green Party believes that cuts to essential welfare programs like jobseekers’ assistance benefits, NHS services, and disability living allowances will only harm the economy further. The Government’s failed austerity measures have done nothing to bring Britain out of the recession and only served to line the pockets of banks and big business, leaving those who are most in need of assistance helpless. Green led Brighton and Hove Council has paved the way in declaring “No evictions for the Bedroom Tax”.

Yes to a Living Wage — The Green Party believes that all people deserve a living wage, rather than a minimum wage. This means earnings should be no less than 60% of net national average earnings (approximately £8.10 per hour). The institution of a living wage will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families and eradicate poverty in Britain for good. Green Councillors are leading the way in making their councils Living Wage employers.

Transport —The Green Party is committed to introducing 20mph speed limits across the UK, improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. Cycle lanes where possible and genuine improvements in local public transport (increased buses to rural areas and improved local train service). We oppose the HS2 rail system, which is at its core a deeply flawed project that will not deliver the benefits it promises. The rail project is economically unsound, as the train as planned will cost each parliamentary constituency an average of £51 million—money which could be better spent on improving existing essential services. Furthermore, the proposed train will burn nearly 50% more energy per mile than the Eurostar, making the HS2 project both a financial and environmental disaster.

No to Incinerators — The Green Party firmly opposes the construction of new incinerators anywhere in the U.K. Incinerators are costly, dangerous to public health, and can be easily replaced by greener forms of waste diversion. Not only are incinerators dangerous to both the environment and the population, releasing harmful gasses and particulate matter directly into the atmosphere, but building new incinerators is also completely unnecessary. Encouraging the reduced production of waste and encouraging growth of recycling programs has proven to be one of the most effective forms of reducing overall waste, which would eliminate the need for more incinerators entirely

Communism, welfare state – what’s the next big idea?

April 2, 2013

emergency food bank coventryMost of the world’s people are decent, honest and kind. Most of those who dominate us are inveterate bastards. This is the conclusion I’ve reached after many years of journalism. Writing on Black Monday, as the British government’s full-spectrum attack on the lives of the poor commences, the thought keeps returning to me.

“With a most inhuman cruelty, they who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.” This government, whose mismanagement of the economy has forced so many into the arms of the state, blames the sick, the unemployed, the underpaid for a crisis caused by the feral elite – and punishes them accordingly. Most of those affected by the bedroom tax, introduced today, are disabled. Thousands will be driven from their homes, and many more pushed towards destitution. Relief for the poor from council tax will be clipped; legal aid for civil cases cut off. Yet at the end of this week those making more than £150,000 a year will have their income tax cut.

Two days later, benefit payments for the poorest will be cut in real terms. A week after that, thousands of families who live in towns and boroughs where property prices are high will be forced out of their homes by the total benefits cap. What we are witnessing is raw economic warfare by the rich against the poor.

So the age-old question comes knocking: why does the decent majority allow itself to be governed by a brutal, antisocial minority? Part of the reason is that the minority controls the story. As John Harris explained in the Guardian, large numbers (including many who depend on it) have been persuaded that most recipients of social security are feckless, profligate fraudsters. Despite everything that has happened over the last two years, Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and the other media barons still seem to be running the country. Their relentless propaganda, using exceptional and shocking cases to characterise an entire social class, remains highly effective. Divide and rule is as potent as it has ever been.

But I’ve come to believe that there’s also something deeper at work: that most of the world’s people live with the legacy of slavery. Even in a nominal democracy like the United Kingdom, most people were more or less in bondage until little more than a century ago: on near-starvation wages, fired at will, threatened with extreme punishment if they dissented, forbidden to vote. They lived in great and justified fear of authority, and the fear has persisted, passed down across the five or six generations that separate us and reinforced now by renewed insecurity, snowballing inequality, partisan policing.

Any movement that seeks to challenge the power of the elite needs to ask itself what it takes to shake people out of this state. And the answer seems inescapable – hope. Those who govern on behalf of billionaires are threatened only when confronted by the power of a transformative idea.

A century and more ago the idea was communism. Even in the form in which Marx and Engels presented it, its problems are evident: the simplistic binary system into which they tried to force society; their brutal dismissal of anyone who did not fit this dialectic (“social scum”, “bribed tool[s] of reactionary intrigue”); their reinvention of Plato’s guardian-philosophers, who would “represent and take care of the future” of the proletariat; the unprecedented power over human life they granted to the state; the millenarian myth of a final resolution to the struggle for power. But their promise of another world electrified people who had, until then, believed that there was no alternative.

Seventy years ago, in the UK, the transformative idea was freedom from want and fear through the creation of a social security system and a National Health Service. It swept a Labour government to power which was able, despite far tougher economic circumstances than today’s, to create a fair society from a smashed, divided nation. This is the achievement which – through a series of sudden, spectacular and unmandated strikes – Cameron’s government is now demolishing.

So where do we look for the idea that can make hope more powerful than fear? Not to the Labour party. If Ed Miliband cannot bring himself even to oppose a bill which retrospectively denies compensation to cheated jobseekers, the most we can expect from him is a low-alcohol conservatism of the kind that doused all aspiration under Tony Blair.

Last week I ran a small online poll, asking people to nominate inspiring, transfiguring ideas. The two mentioned most often were land value taxation and a basic income. As it happens, both are championed by the Green party. On this and other measures, its policies are by a long way more progressive than Labour’s.

I discussed land value taxation in a recent column. A basic income (also known as a citizen’s income) gives everyone, rich and poor, without means-testing or conditions, a guaranteed sum every week. It replaces some but not all benefits (there would, for instance, be extra payments for pensioners and people with disabilities). It banishes the fear and insecurity now stalking the poorer half of the population. Economic survival becomes a right, not a privilege.

A basic income removes the stigma of benefits while also breaking open what politicians call the welfare trap. Because taking work would not reduce your entitlement to social security, there would be no disincentive to find a job – all the money you earn is extra income. The poor are not forced by desperation into the arms of unscrupulous employers: people will work if conditions are good and pay fair, but will refuse to be treated like mules. It redresses the wild imbalance in bargaining power that the current system exacerbates. It could do more than any other measure to dislodge the emotional legacy of serfdom. It would be financed by progressive taxation – in fact it meshes well with land value tax.

These ideas require courage: the courage to confront the government, the opposition, the plutocrats, the media, the suspicions of a wary electorate. But without proposals on this scale, progressive politics is dead. They strike that precious spark, so seldom kindled in this age of triangulation and timidity – the spark of hope.

Twitter: @georgemonbiot

A fully referenced version of this article can be found at monbiot.com

Source:
George Monbiot
The Guardian