Archive for May, 2015

A Message to our Leaders, from Andy White, Derbyshire.

May 31, 2015

European nature protection laws under threat claim Greens

May 19, 2015

nb_mountain-bumblebeeGreen MEPs have expressed alarm at a review of nature laws being carried out by the European Commission. The EU Birds and Habitats Directives, known collectively as the Nature Directives, exist to protect wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe, but are currently under review [1].

Green MEPs have said they are worried that big business will use the opportunity to lobby for the dilution of the legislation claiming it is a barrier to business and economic growth.

Dartmoor in the South West of England is one of the areas protected by the Directives. Molly Scott Cato is MEP for the region. She said:

“This so called review of the Nature Directives is all part of a broader ‘Better Regulation’ agenda, in which the Commission appears to be taking the side of big business, who are always keen to dismiss regulation as expensive red tape. Greens are determined to protect important legislation on the environment where there is clear evidence that such legislation protects threatened species and important areas of natural habitat.”

Around 100 voluntary organisations across the UK have also called for the Directives to be maintained, saying that any revision could risk a reduction in nature protection. Many have set up petitions and help for citizens wishing to complete the Commission’s consultation [2].

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, said:

“EU-level action on issues like wildlife habitat protection is one of the great benefits of the European Union and must not be watered down. With a third of Europe’s birds currently under threat now is the wrong time to make changes to these directives which have been consistently held up as successful. This review could also risk alienating a whole swathe of pro-EU environmentalists across the UK which would be bad news with a referendum around the corner”.

ENDS

Notes

[1] The review into the Nature Directives is billed as a ‘Fitness Check’ which involves ‘a comprehensive policy evaluation aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is fit for purpose’. It aims s to be ‘an evidence-based critical analysis of whether EU actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected’.  Further information: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/fitness_check/index_en.htm

[2] Friends of the Earth: https://www.foe.co.uk/page/sign-petition-defend-nature-laws
Environmental Investigation Agency: http://eia-international.org/action-alert-dont-let-review-dilute-eus-vital-nature-laws

Keith Taylor MEP to address European Parliament animal research ban debate

May 11, 2015

GP EFAKeith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, will speak this afternoon in the European Parliament at a debate organised in response to a European citizens’ initiative petition to scrap animal research in the EU. The petition was signed by 1.2 million people.

According to the ‘Stop Vivisection’ initiative the best way to proceed is “to make non-animal alternative methods, wherever applicable, compulsory, and to encourage their further development, in a concerted drive towards the rapid abolition of the useless and risky practice of animal experimentation.”

Keith supports the principle of scrapping animal testing but not the proposals which have been put forward. Speaking in the debate this afternoon, he will say:

“I signed this ECI because I support the objective of replacing animal tests with alternative test strategies that are directly valid for humans. However, I should clarify that I don’t believe that the abrogation of Directive 2010/63/EU is necessarily the best way of doing this.”

He will also say:

“I agree about the need to continually advance our scientific understanding of disease and illness.  But we can do this without the need to experiment on animals.”

In a media statement, Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England said:

“I support the call to replace animal experiments with other research methods because animal testing is unethical and unscientific. There are research approaches and methods that are far more relevant than animal testing in terms of assessing the potential impact on human health. I urge the Commission to set up a working party with relevant organisations to identify concrete revisions of EU law to advance this process.”

See also:

·         Stop Vivisection citizens initiative: http://www.stopvivisection.eu/en

·         More information in The Observer: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/may/09/animal-research-vivisection-ban-eu-parliament-debate

WHAT NOW? Asks Andy White, local candidate in Ashbourn in Derbyshire

May 9, 2015

TTIP a Forgotten Issue and a real threat to Democracy

May 4, 2015

1620623_1498529003720542_5197655102586752213_nTTIP, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will be a Corporate takeover of our democratic process. Governments will have their hands tied on matters such as labour laws, environmental standards, health and safety and public ownership. A Government taking any action that a multinational corporation does not like will be open to being sued by that corporation through a secret Tribunal. These Companies will be aiming to reclaim from Governments any loss of profit that they claim a Government action has caused. Private Profit not Democracy will rule the decision making processes in Parliaments across the EU and in America.

You’d think that all this would be a huge election issue, but there has been hardly a mention in this campaign. The issue is, ‘Who runs Britain?’ I recall the last time that was a clarion call in an election, 1979, after the ‘Winter of Discontent’ that caused the press to turn on the Unions, who they and the Tories accused of pulling the strings of Government. Of course they took great delight in bashing the Unions and were just paving the way for Thatcher’s anti union laws. But now it is the big multinational corporations, mostly American based, that are positioning themselves to become the dominant influence in ‘Running Britain’. And this time the Corporate owned media is looking the other way.

Negotiations are taking place in secret, much of the detail being covered by ‘Corporate confidentiality’. What little we do know is largely down to the efforts of Greens in the European Parliament. The negotiations are largely about deregulation and not investment. The Multinational Corporations want the same deal that the Banks got in 1986 with their ‘Big Bang’ reforms that created a free market in financial transactions. The deregulations of 1986 and those of the Labour Government of 1997 led to the financial crash of 2007. The corporate demands within TTIP will be a disaster of equal magnitude. And remember who paid for the disaster of 2007, us the ordinary people, the less well off and the most vulnerable in society. Those who drove the reforms did very well. The wealthiest people in this country have seen their wealth double since the crash.

Supporters of TTIP have been forced now to admit that most of the jobs they say will be created will come as a result of scrapping regulation and not from lowering tariff barriers; the smoke screen behind which they have tried to hide. The plan is to ‘harmonise’ regulations on both sides of the Atlantic, this will include Health and Safety matters such as product safety, green regulations including subsidies to renewable energy, and labour laws including worker entitlements. We know that ‘harmonisation’ means in fact lowering to the lowest level.

The big prize is the NHS, a huge market that the US private health providers want to take over. Under TTIP they will be able to force any Government to open up all of the NHS to competitive tendering. If the Government doesn’t do this, they will be liable to be sued for the loss of profit that a company claims they could have earned from the contracts. This is through the so called Investor State Dispute Settlement – ISDS, that is carried out by a secret Tribunal – secret to protect commercial confidentiality – of company lawyers.

TTIP will also pave the way for widespread fracking. Any country that tries to stop this will be sued for the loss of profit that the company claims lies in the unproven reserves. The same goes for nuclear power. It will not be possible for Governments to stop the introduction of GM, unless they – which means us, pay compensation to the GM companies. Any Act of Parliament that any Corporation says will damage their profits will fall foul of ISDS and lead to compensation claims. Governments will be unable to afford to protect the interests of the people against the predations of big Corporations. Decisions affecting our well-being in every aspect of our lives will be, in effect, taken by the unelected corporate boards of multinational companies and no longer by democratically elected parliaments.
We face a corporate coup d’etat, yet there is barely a murmur in this, the last election before the TTIP treaty is concluded by Governments willing to sell our democracy down the river in the name of private profit. We, the people must act to stop this. Greens in the European Parliament are working to open up the negotiations to democratic accountability. We need a strong Green voice in our Parliament to demand proper informed debate. We need to force candidates to state their position in TTIP. We need a big Green vote to shake the next government out of its complacency and face up to the dangers of TTIP.

[Mike Shipley April’2015]

For more information on opposing TTIP go to: https://stop-ttip.org/sign/

Greens’ BAME manifesto launched by Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali

May 4, 2015
SHAHRAR Ali, Deputy Leader of the Green Party, today launched the Greens’ BAME Manifesto (1) alongside Benali Hamdache, Green Party Equalities spokesperson, and members of the Greens of Colour group. The launch took place at Brick Lane in east London.
The manifesto pledges:
•            Anonymised CVs so that BAME candidates are not excluded from jobs
•            More apprenticeships and more funding for BAME entrepreneurs
•            Reform of stop and search
•            Ethical international diplomacy that supports peacebuilding
•            Reform of the asylum process and an end to the spousal income requirement
Ali, who is standing in Brent Central at the 2015 General Election, said:
“Our society is an international one and we owe a debt to the generations of individuals and families from all over the world who have made the UK what it is today.
“The Green Party is presenting a brighter future that tackles systemic inequalities in society and would work to provide everyone an equal stake in life. Talent and energy remain untapped because of inequality, whilst too many communities face poverty, exclusion and marginalisation.
“In May 2015 you have a stark choice: to continue with the failed, grey Westminster politics of old, or create a whole new type of politics. Vote Green on May 7th and help start a peaceful political revolution.”
The Green Party is polling at record levels ahead of a General Election. Membership of the Green Party, the third largest party in England and Wales, sky-rocketed by 123% in 2014 and continues to surge in 2015. The combined membership of UK Green parties now stands at over 70,000.
The Green Party is standing candidates in almost 95% of seats, meaning more people than ever before will be able to vote Green on May 7th 2015.
1) View the full manifesto here: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/resources/BAME_Manifesto_v3%28PNGs%29.pdf

Bennett stands up for Migrants

May 4, 2015

gp natalie bennettNatalie Bennett, Green Party leader, has delivered a passionate speech in defence of migrants as her party hits the campaign trail for the last few days before the General Election. Bennett spoke alongside Green Party MEP Jean Lambert.

Bennett, who was born in Australia but is a British citizen, began her speech by saying:

“I’m standing here today as a migrant, as someone who came to this country and chose to make my life here. And today I’m here to take a stand against those who seek to demonise me and those like me for making that choice.”

Bennett made the speech at a Kurdish community centre in North London. Her party has announced plans to end immigration detention, and change immigration rules which mean that only those with a salary above £18,600 can apply for spousal visas.

Ms Bennett criticised the Labour Party for failing to stand up for migrants.

She said:

“It was Labour’s lack of backbone that proved just how far our politics has been infiltrated by anti-immigrant rhetoric. Rather than standing up to Nigel Farage and his chums, Labour wilted. Rather than showing real opposition, they have adopted a harsh rhetoric – proudly pledging their plans on banners and merchandise to ‘control immigration’.”

Bennett’s heartfelt speech saw her pledge to “never blame migrants for failures of government policy, or the greed and fraud of the bankers”. She ended her speech with a rallying call to potential Green voters. She said:

“At this election the open and caring Britain I am so proud to be a citizen of is at stake. Our tolerance, our welfare state and our beloved NHS are under threat from a Tory Party hell-bent on rebuilding Britain to work only for the privileged – and a Labour Party unable and unwilling to effectively challenge them.

“So, in the next three days I know that our candidates up and down this country will be focussed on providing the real opposition we so desperately need. We’ll be fighting for a truly public NHS, we’ll be saying loud and clear that in the sixth richest country on earth no one should need food handouts to survive, and we’ll be boldly and unapologetically standing up for migrants.”

Vote for our life support system – it’s the only one we’ve got.

May 4, 2015

Labour’s candidate for Wellingborough and Rushden Richard Garvie suspended after conviction for fraud

May 1, 2015

garvieWellingborough’s Labour Parliamentary candidate, Richard Garvie, has just stepped down after a conviction for fraud.

Melanie Cutler, local candidate for the Green Party said “this leaves just four candidates, but don’t forget the Conservative candidate,  Peter Bone also has had questions to answer about alleged benefit fraud, it’s all happening here”

Labour candidate for Wellingborough & Rushden Richard Garvie has also been suspended from the Labour Party.

He was found guilty at Wellingborough Magistrates Court on Thursday of £900 train ticket fraud.

The court heard how Mr Garvie had travelled 17 times between Wellingborough and London St Pancras and paid for his tickets with a credit card which was linked to an account which was closed.

The court was told he had a previous conviction for theft and fare dodging which he did not disclose to the Labour Party before he was selected to the Labour candidate.

He was released on conditional bail and will be sentenced next month.

Mr Garvie has appealed the decision.

His name will still be on the ballot paper when people go to vote next Thursday in the General Election.

Garvie said: “I have so I believe been suspended from the Labour Party as i received an email.

“I do not know whether to keep campaigning or not.”
Read more at http://www.northampton-news-hp.co.uk/8203-Labour-candidate-Wellingborough-Rushden/story-26422552-detail/story.html#lPXLLdyZGr1xBOFy.99