Archive for January, 2015

Green MEP: US TRADE DEAL CHALLENGES NHS AND DEMOCRACY

January 30, 2015

jeanlambertLONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert will warn that a secret trade deal between the EU and the US threatens the NHS and could see business interests override the public good and democratic decision-making. Releasing a new collection of essays [1] on the proposed historic trade deal tonight (Friday, January 30th), she will argue that the current Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) must be scrapped. It contains new writing that presents the breadth of opposition to TTIP, including:

  • The Royal College of Nursing on what it may mean for our NHS, and the StopAIDS Campaign turns its attention to access to generic medicines;
  • TUC’s Owen Tudor raises concerns about the impact on jobs;
  • Ed Paton-Williams from Open Rights Group highlights how TTIP will undermine digital protections;
  • Molly Scott Cato MEP investigates aspects of financial regulation; and
  • Keith Taylor MEP and Friends of the Earth’s Natacha Cingotti highlight the implications to food safety, animal protection and environmental legislation.

There are also sections on the highly controversial topic of the Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement, public services and a view from the USA.

Jean said: ‘If this Agreement progresses, then we could find that the NHS privatisation we have already seen would be ‘locked-in’ and there could be no going back. We know there a number of private companies that are very interested in getting their hands on parts of the NHS and a number of politicians that want to help them.  This Agreement risks letting them in and then holding on. The only safe way to ensure the NHS is not part of this Agreement and put under this additional pressure, is to clearly keep it out. The Government is refusing to do that.’

The meeting is organised by Sutton Peace and Justice and will start 7.30pm, Friends House, 10 Cedar Road, Sutton SM2 5DA.

Jean Lambert concluded:

This trade deal is not about free trade, it’s a free-for-all, slashing regulations in favour of big business. If Green and other progressive politicians can unite with campaigners, trade unions and the public then we can defeat TTIP.’

Notes

1. http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/whats-wrong-with-ttip.pdf

2. https://suttonforpeaceandjustice.wordpress.com

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Green Party praises Syriza’s victory in Greece and calls for similar popular uprising in Britain

January 26, 2015

The Green Party has praised the anti-austerity party Syriza’s election victory in Greece and called on the win to trigger a similar left-wing popular uprising in the UK.

Molly Scott Cato MEP, the party’s finance spokesman, said the Greens “share the view” of the newly elected government on austerity and urged people to stand up against “discredited economic model and failing Governments across Europe”.

It follows comments by Caroline Lucas, Green MP and former party leader, tweeting that “hope has won” with Syriza’s victory and saying she was “inspired by the huge vote”.

The reaction is at odds with the Prime Minister and other leading politicians who have warned the election result increases the likelihood of a fresh economic crisis in Europe.

Syriza, a far-Left party pledging to end austerity in Greece, is projected to win 149 seats in the county’s recent election – just two short of an absolute majority.

Alexis Tsipras poses prior to cast his ballot at a polling station in Athens  The party has promised to renegotiate the country’s debts and deep cuts which were agreed with the international community when it was granted a £185 billion bailout.

Its rise to power has triggered concerns the eurozone could be on the brink of a fresh crisis as the new Greek government pushes to rewrite its debt agreements while remaining in the euro.

There is evidence money is already being pulled from Greece after the election amid concerns the party’s victory could trigger a run on the banks.

Mr Cameron said the Greek election would “increase economic uncertainty across Europe” while experts warned the country was now on a collision course with eurozone leaders.

However the Green Party has welcomes the result, praising Syriza’s victory and calling for a similar popular uprising to take place elsewhere across Europe.

Ms Scott Cato released a joint statement with fellow Green MEP Keith Taylor saying: “Greens share the view of the new government that austerity is a failed model which has piled misery on the poorest while making the wealthiest even richer.”

It added: “This result shows that challenging business as usual politics can win the support of the people. In the UK we are witnessing a Green Surge, in no small part due to our anti-austerity agenda, and we hope the Greek election result marks the beginnings of ordinary people standing up to a discredited economic model and failing Governments across Europe.”

Ms Lucas tweeted: “’Hope has won’ – inspired by huge vote for #Syriza – now EU must listen to people & economists & respond with debt forgiveness & support.”

Syriza proposes a major anti-austerity package which includes free electricity, subsidised food and rents and the restoration of free healthcare.

The party also wants to write off bank debts for people who cannot afford to pay – a move some experts fear could trigger a run on lenders – as well as introducing high taxes on the rich.

In the UK, the Greens have recently come under fire over its economic policy, which includes giving everyone in the country a ‘basic citizen’s wage’ of £72 a week regardless of wealth – costing the country an estimated £280 billion.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, said the promises made by Syriza in the Greek election campaign were “incompatible” with the terms of membership of the eurozone.

“Ultimately, if you take at face value all the things that the new Greek government has promised, including the increases in public expenditure, I think that is going to be very difficult to deliver and incompatible with what the eurozone currently demands of its members.” Mr Osborne told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He added: “But I hope that both sides now act responsibly. Indeed, you heard the new Greek leader immediately saying ‘look, I want to get into a discussion with the eurozone authorities.’ So I think everyone has in the past seen the precipice, a couple of years ago, the Greek exit from the euro, and pulled back.”

SOURCE – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Rally to stop fracking

January 25, 2015

We urgently need a good turnout for a Rally to stop fracking.

1910646_867221519968086_5707509347810196824_nCan you help us build a massive rally against fracking on Monday 26 January, 12.30pm-3pm, in Westminster? Full details are available on our facebook page.

On 26 January MPs will be voting on the Government’s Infrastructure Bill containing, amongst other things, amendments proposing a ban on fracking and the Government’s controversial proposal to allow fracking under people’s homes without permission. We want to show MPs to hear an overwhelming NO! to fracking.

Please join the facebook event, share it among your friends, and invite anyone who can to come along.

The rally is jointly called by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Occupy Democracy, Frack Off London and others. Caroline Lucas MP, Bianca Jagger and Vanessa Vine will be speaking and others are invited.

The vote comes just two days before Lancashire County Council decide whether to give the go ahead for Cuadrilla to frack in Lancashire. If the Lancashire fracking applications are approved, it will set a precedent for the rest of the UK.

Please join us in Westminster to send a loud message to MPs that the whole of the UK is not for shale.

If you can’t make it, please share the event far and wide. Further details about the event from Oliver Hayes oliver.hayes@foe.co.uk.

AND if you haven’t already been in touch with your MP about this Bill then please urgently contact them to express your views on fracking and anything else in the Bill and ask them to vote for the amendments which improve it. I can pass on an example e-mail you can send and other suggestions for action if you have more time to help

Greens overtake UKIP and Libdems – over 4,000 new members in 2 days!

January 17, 2015

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The Green party today overtook both UKIP and the LibDems the on number of paid-up members. After a surge of 4,000 new members in two days, the Greens UK-wide now have 44,713 members, 4,000 more than UKIP, and 1,500 more than the LibDems.

According to the Green party’s press office, ‘membership continues to surge at an unprecedented rate today’. In other words, the Greens are set to overtake the Libdems in a matter of days.

Massive media exposure over the televised debates for the 2015 election has propelled Green Party membership forward by 4,043 people in 48 hours to reach a total of 44,713.

This now puts membership of the UK’s three Green parties ahead of both UKIP, which claimed 41,514 members on Monday this week, and the LibDems, who claimed 44,576 members as of November 2015.

Back in April 2014 the LibDems reported a “membership surge” with numbers rising by about 1,000 a year – but now the Greens have gained four as many members in two days.

The Green Party of England and Wales now has 36,687 members, and (this morning’s figures) the Scottish Greens have 8,026 members and the Green Party in Northern Ireland has 322 members.

The Greens defeated the LibDems in the 2014 Euro-elections and are now polling at their highest levels ahead of a General Election since 1989, a breakthrough year in which they won 15% of the vote in the Euro-elections.

TV debate debate works to Green advantage

The #Greensurge gathered new momentum as the political controversy over Green participation in the pre-election TV debates ran as yesterday’s top Westminster story on the BBC and other news outlets.

Last week Ofcom made a provisional decision to exclude the Green Party from the general election debates. However the Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the decision as unjust and pledged that he would not participate so long as the Greens were excluded.

Cameron and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, clashed on the issue at Prime Minister’s questions yesterday. Miliband accused Cameron of making a “pathetic excuse” for not participating: “He has run out of excuses, he is running scared of these debates and in the words of his heroine Margaret Thatcher ‘he is frit’.”

But Cameron retorted: “You cannot have two minor parties taking place without the third minor party … Why’s he so chicken when he comes to the Greens? … When he looks at the Green Party, why’s he so scared?”

The argument carries conviction since the Greens are committed to a number of left-wing policies – including the return of private public service monopolies such as railways to the public sector, and the launch of a reflationary ‘Green New Deal’ – which most Labour supporters would love to see Miliband adopt.

Miliband evades the real debate

Miliband also refused to discuss the substantive question of whether the Greens should be in the pre-election debate, despite being challenged to support the Greens by their leader Natalie Bennett.

“Staging the debates without the Prime Minister might score a point but would not serve the public, who rightly expect the political parties and the broadcasters to find a format that is acceptable to all concerned”, Bennett wrote to the three party leaders.

“As a substantial majority of the British public would like to see the Green Party included in the debates, an alternative way forward would be for you to agree to this. This is the way forward which serves both democracy and the electorate best.”

On 13th January YouGov revealed polling that puts the Green Party of England and Wales at second place among 18-24 year-olds, tied with the Conservatives on 22% – comfortably ahead of both the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.

Its polls have also shown the Green and LibDems roughly tied for fourth place for voting intention for several months, with the latest poll putting the Greens at 7% compared to the LibDems at 6%. YouGov polling also shows strong public support for the Greens joining the debates

The Green Party of England and Wales is standing candidates in at least 75% of seats in May 2015 – 50% up on 2010.

Source – The Ecologist

if-not-youIn 2015, the Northamptonshire Green Party wants to give as many people as possible the chance to make a positive vote for their future and for the planet’s future. We have 5 excellent candidates who will stop at nothing to make sure the Green Party message is heard across the County, but to make sure this can happen, we need your help. Please visit our Crowd Funder page to see how you can help.

Save Our Services

January 13, 2015

MarionMarion Turner-Hawes, Parliamentary Candidate for Wellingborough & Rushden is holding a Public Meeting in Wellingborough this Wednesday 14th January at 6:30pm regarding the proposed County Council cuts and what can be done to fight them.

It’s an open meeting at Glamis Hall, arranged in conjunction with the Friends of Glamis Hall, who recently took on the running of the centre, and are a great example of what can be done. Anybody is welcome to attend, particularly from the Wellinbgorough, Corby and Kettering constituencies.

The Facebook event page for this event is https://www.facebook.com/events/749450555144615/

Green Party proposes to cut rail and bus fares by slashing roads budget

January 6, 2015

Green Party leadership announces plans to cut rail and bus fares by an average of 10 per cent.

national-rail-fibre-optic-track

As Labour and the Conservatives yesterday clashed over their respective green spending plans, the Green Party kicked off election year with a pledge to cut rail and bus fares across the country by 10 per cent.

The Party, which enjoyed a surge in support last year and is harbouring hopes of a significant breakthrough at this year’s election, said it would increase public investment in public transport fares by £1.8bn. It added that it would fund the move, which would cost £9bn over the course of the parliament, by scrapping the bulk of the government’s £15bn road building programme.

Announcing the move at a protest by commuter groups at King’s Cross station, Green Party Leader said the policy again underlined the way in which the party offered an alternative to the three mainstream parties. She also stressed that the move would help hard-pressed commuters on a day when annual rail fares once again rose by more than average wage increases.

“The privatisation of the railways has been a huge disservice to passengers – driving up prices while creating a race to the bottom in service provision,” she said. “It’s left us with a rail network that is fragmented, costly, understaffed, and under-invested – and the public are shouldering the financial burden.

“This investment of £1.8bn would offer an enormous help to Britons to as they travel between communities, to work, to meet up with friends and relatives, and would help us relieve the national reliance on carbon-intensive forms of transport. The £9bn investment would be paid for by scrapping most of this government’s indefensible £15bn road-building programme, leaving £6 billion for further transport programmes.”

The announcement comes just days after a New Year message in which Bennett predicted the Greens were on the verge of a breakthrough, noting that the party’s membership has grown 120 per cent in the past year and it recently recorded 10 per cent support in an election poll for the first time.

“With our politics, our economics, our society, our environment in its current state, one thing is clear. The status quo is not an option: we are in a profoundly unstable condition – with our financial sector debt at 1,700 per cent of annual GDP, with 22 per cent of workers on less than a living wage, with our seas a plastic soup and our global wildlife numbers halved,” she said. “We can create a peaceful revolution in 2015. If the same proportion of under-25s vote as the over 60s, if voters chose to vote for the person, party or policies they most believe in, then this can be a transformatory election.”

Source – Business Green