Archive for the ‘Candidate’ Category

Hand Democracy to the People

September 26, 2014

Our democracy is broken. Only the people can fix it. We, the citizens of the whole of the United Kingdom, can thank the Scots, for finally putting constitutional reform at the forefront of public debate.

And in their passionate, deep-rooted engagement in the referendum debate – which looks likely to continue, they helped to make it clear who should carry out the reform: the people.

The fallout from the referendum vote – with the collapse of the supposed “devo-max” deal almost before the last weary, hard-worked counting official had laid down their pen – makes it clear that the Westminster elite cannot be trusted, and are simply not capable of leading on constitutional reform.

The row over the English Parliament “solution” to the West Lothian problem – with its clear self-interest on both sides – is a further demonstration of that.

The Tories’ “solution” of “English votes for English laws” within all of the existing frameworks is no answer at all – two separate governments in the one parliament and one building, quite likely of different political hues, continually at each other’s throats, with many of the same officials trying to serve both, and seeking always to blame the other for its difficulties and failures – would simply be untenable. When you consider that the “English” vote on tuition fees had implications for Scottish education funding – through the much debated Barnett formula – then it’s clear that no simple division is possible.

And an “English parliament” within Westminster, with the same members as before, carrying on otherwise much as before would, to much of England, look like a very minor variation of the London-centric, finance sector-dominated disaster that we’ve endured for decades.

I happened to be in Carlisle at the weekend, talking to Green Party members – and the topic of demonstrations against the Iraq War arose. I was quickly set straight in talking about the one million people in London; everyone at the meeting had been in Glasgow on February 15 2003 – and could remember the 60,000 count there. For many parts of England, London is a very long way away, a distant place, both geographically and, they feel, politically – it isn’t their centre.

From Cornwall to Newcastle, Birmingham to Blackpool, stopping at many points in between, no London-centric, centralised, business-much-as-usual system is going to satisfy voters.

That’s why the Green Party, along with civil society groups such as the Electoral Reform Society, is calling for a people’s convention to draw up a new constitution.

We’ve got ideas about what that should include: greater powers for local and regional government, “total recall” rights for citizens over their representatives, proportional representation, votes at 16 and everything codified, written down, so everyone can read and understand it.

And we have a suggested principle that should underlie it: that power flows up from the people, not down from the top.

But those are simply our suggestions, which we would put to the people making up a constitutional convention – to consider along with others.

And we’d also say it’s important that flexibility is built into the system; the possibility of change. For it is worth contemplating for a second how the “Mother of All Parliaments” got into such a parlous state.

The fact is, we have a Westminster that hasn’t seen significant reform in nearly a century – women getting the vote in 1918 was the last truly significant change.

Tinkering with this early 20th-century, now hopelessly out-dated and untrusted system (a recent survey found 15% of Britons have no trust at all in it, and 68% put their trust at rank five out of 10 or lower), is no kind of answer at all.

But the massive reform we need certainly shouldn’t be rushed, as David Cameron’s old Oxford tutor has been saying.

We’ve muddled through for a century with a constitutional settlement that may not have been too bad by world standards in 1918, but looks like a right undemocratic, confused mess that’s failing to produce functional, representative governments now.

Had we made reforms along the way – like proportional representation and an elected House of Lords – we might not be in this situation, but now we are, there’s simply no alternative but to start with an almost blank sheet. (The “devo-max” promises on which the Scots thought they were voting need to be kept to maintain at least a thread of democratic trust, and they need to live up to the promise of that name: giving Scots true control over their economic destiny, leaving only defence and foreign affairs at Westminster).

Hand democracy to the people – and implement their decisions. That’s a 21st-century model – the only model that’s going to get us out of this constitutional and political tangle.

By Natalie Bennett

Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales

Greens push for leader Natalie Bennett to feature in TV election debates

September 26, 2014

Green party leader Natalie Bennett takes part in the global day of climate change protestsThe Green party is pressing broadcasters to ensure its leader, Natalie Bennett, is included in any TV election debate alongside David Cameron, Ed Miliband and others .

The move comes amid a surge of new popular support, particularly in Scotland, where a previously tiny membership has more than trebled since last week’s vote on independence. Being at the top TV table is seen as a way of cementing the electoral status it feels it deserves. It would also give the party a major platform to tap prospective votes from legions of people alienated from Westminster politics.

“We think we should be there. We think that it would be absolutely transformative,” Bennett said on Wednesday. “There’s a significant chance the debates won’t happen at all. But if they do, the Tories are going to push hard for us to be on at least one of them. Cameron wants us to be there as well as Ukip. Cameron is basically not going to let [Nigel] Farage on without me.”

The Greens have complained that they has been polling the same level of support as the Lib Dems, 7%, and yet struggle to obtain extensive media coverage beyond anti-fracking or climate change protests.

That only reinforces the idea that this is a single-issue party with little interest beyond the environment, unlike some counterparts in Europe, notably the German Greens.

In particular, Bennett and the party’s lone MP but best-known figure, Caroline Lucas, are keen to further increase membership, which has already surged by 40% since 1 January and is expected to hit 20,000 in England and Wales in the next month. Membership in Scotland, where the party is organised independently, has increased by 4,000 to 5,600 over the past week alone. Interest in the Scottish referendum has given the Greens renewed hope about voters’ desire for wider and widespread political change.

Bennett believes party policies to introduce an annual wealth tax on people with assets of more than £3m, a £10 minimum wage by 2020, rail nationalisation alongside opposition to free schools and academies will strike a chord with the public.

On schools, Bennett said: “We want a different sort of education system that educates children and does not think of them as future workers. We start education too soon.

“We call for formal education to start at least one year later. It is to get away from this idea that we have a sausage machine that we are just shoving children through and turning them into this identikit person.”

She added: “We have to get away from the idea that schools can somehow make up for the incredible levels of child poverty. We have one of the most unequal societies and some of the highest levels of child poverty. The test results just reflect that. Saying to schools that you have got to solve this problem is just unrealistic.”

Bennett is happy to position the party to the left of Labour, saying: “I think there’s a huge political space that’s vacant apart from us”, but is less keen to charge into quick changes on constitutional reform. “English votes for English laws would result in absolute chaos,” she said, adding that the Greens wanted a people’s constitutional convention to consider a range of issues including the future of the House of Lords.

North of the border the party believes it is on a roll and wants to ensure that promises of devolving power from Westminister result in a different and better country. Alison Johnstone, a Green member of the Scottish parliament for Lothian said: “Scotland has become a participative democracy. I feel encouraged and optimistic.”

Source The Guardian

Greens Polling at Highest Numbers Since 1989

August 10, 2014

*Greens steadily building on May 22 electoral successes
*Best ever performance in the Independent’s ‘poll of polls’
*Young Green membership surges in 2014

Ahead of the 2015 General Election, the Green Party is polling on 6.6% and neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats, the Coalition partners.

The Greens posted their best ever showing in the latest ‘poll of polls’ compiled by John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, for the Independent (1).

“Support for the Greens is steadily growing as the party benefits from the splintering of traditional political loyalties”, commented the national newspaper, which acknowledged that the Greens, “with only a fraction of the media attention paid to Ukip, have continued to build on their strong showing in May’s elections (2).”

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:

“The fact that the Green Party are consistently polling at some of our best numbers since 1989 goes to show that our message of the need to reshape our politics and economy to work for the common good is really hitting home.

“It is our policies such as a wealth tax on the top 1%, making the minimum wage a Living Wage, renationalising our railways and having a publicly owned and run NHS that are both encouraging people to join as members and vote Green in growing numbers.

“Despite comparatively limited media attention, more and more people are recognising that only the Greens offer the real change that British politics and British society so desperately needs. They are rightly fed up with the three old, tired, business-as-usual parties.

“The Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip receive much larger donations – which allows them to comfortably out-spend us on political advertising – but Greens up and down the country are working tirelessly to share Green values and policies with the people they do and will represent. It is these efforts that have us polling neck and neck with the Lib Dems, the Coalition partners.

“Our support amongst young people is surging; membership of the Young Greens has grown by 70% since March this year alone, with overall membership up 28% this year, and poll after poll puts Green party support among young people at over 15%, more than the Liberal Democrats and Ukip combined.”(3)

Further links/references:

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/poll-of-polls-green-party-support-grows-as-voters-continue-to-abandon-lib-dems-9652413.html

(2) http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/05/26/european-elections-greens-gain-50-more-meps,-push-liberal-democrats-into-fifth-place/

(3) http://younggreens.org.uk/news/2014/08/06/the-young-greens’-letter-in-the-guardian-today/

What’s wrong with Capitalism?

January 16, 2014

East Midlands Green Party Blog

Vote Green if you feel you are not benefiting from capitalism.

View original post

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.”

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

It’s Time to Stop Pandering to Ukip

March 29, 2013

thCAHBPF11Over the last month we’ve seen Britain’s big three political parties trip over each other as they bid to out-Farage one another in their rhetoric on immigration. The Tories, as you might expect, took the hardest line and announced measures to curb benefits to immigrants. The Labour Party, still bearing the scars from losing the last general election, mounted a broadside against their own failure in government to curb immigration. And the Lib Dems swung away from their traditionally ‘liberal’ policy on immigration by abandoning support for an amnesty for illegal immigrants and laying out plans for a £1,000 bond for those visiting from “high-risk” countries.

But it isn’t just Nigel Farage and his increasingly wacky UKIP friends who hold such sway over the main three parties. They’re also terrified of opinion polls. The truth is that British people are far more afraid of immigration than our European neighbours. Oxford University’s Migration Observatory shows that the level of people saying immigration has gone ‘too far’ has hovered around 60% since the late 1980s.

What politicians from the big three parties seemingly fail to grasp is the role that they play in fanning the flames of immigrant bashing in the right wing press. Their role in this is twofold: Firstly they persistently reinforce the ‘fact’ that immigrants are a drain on services and a threat to society and then they fail to deal with the underlying causes for people’s concern.

And those causes of concern are very real: There is a chronic lack of truly affordable housing in the UK. Many people wait for years on social housing waiting lists, others are forced onto the rental market. But, according to David Aaronovitch of The Times, only 11 per cent of new migrants have been allocated social housing, compared with 17 per cent of UK-born residents living in this sector. With nine out of ten new migrants not moving into social housing governments can’t seriously blame immigration for our housing crisis.

Of course people are worried about their jobs. Despite the recession not yet hitting the jobs market as hard as expected we still have over 2.5 million people unemployed in the UK and one in five young people out of work. But this isn’t because all of the jobs are going to immigrants. In fact the Office for National Statistics note that just one in ten new jobs goes to a migrant. To their credit the Labour Party has spoken about the downward pressure that immigration can have on wages. They are absolutely right to call for much tougher enforcement of minimum wages and they were absolutely wrong not to clamp down on this when they were in government.

With the Tories freezing some benefits, forcing people from their homes with the bedroom tax and consistently bashing those relying on social security it’s no wonder that there are concerns about non-UK citizens abusing the remnants of the welfare system this Government is so intent on dismantling. But blaming immigrants for sponging of the state belies the fact that they are less than half as likely to claim working age benefits as those born in the UK.

Despite the fact that less then two in ten people believe immigrants cause a problem in their neighbourhood and that the myths around immigration fail to stack up when confronted with the evidence, almost two thirds of us think that there are too many immigrants in the UK. The more politicians in lay the blame on immigration – and they’re supported in this by an immigrant-phobic media – the more people will believe what they say.

A cosy consensus has formed in Westminster. It’s one which sees politicians so drenched in opinion poll data and so focussed on a fear of losing votes to UKIP that they forget their own principles. It sees all three main parties using immigration as a scapegoat for the problems in society which recent governments have either created or failed to fix.

This country is indeed facing a crisis, but it’s not an immigration crisis. The vast majority of people living here, whether they were born in the UK or elsewhere, are paying the price for a crisis which they had no part in causing. Wages are stagnating, benefits are being cut and enough houses aren’t being built. It’s time to pull the wool from our eyes and refocus our anger on the financial system which caused the crisis and the cuts consensus in Westminster that is only making things worse.

Follow Keith Taylor on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GreenKeithMEP
SOURCE: Huffington Post

Ex-Northampton South MP Tony Clarke joins the Green Party

March 11, 2013

1331778609The former Labour MP for Northampton South, Tony Clarke, has today revealed he has joined the Green Party

Mr Clarke. who was a Labour MP between 1997 and 2005 when he lost his seat to Brian Binley, quit the party soon after he left Parliament to become an independent councillor on both the borough and county councils. He was also a former general manager at Northampton Town FC

Although he lost his seat on the borough, he remains a county councillor for Castle ward until the elections for the authority are held on May 2.

Writing on his blog today, 49-year-old Mr Clarke said: “In communities like the one I represent in Castle Ward, austerity and hard times are unfortunately no strangers, and we are better prepared than most to deal with the consequences of recession.

“We are people more likely to be sociable to our neighbours, more protective of the vulnerable, more likely to step in rather than stand aside when the time comes for us to act. Studies find that despite having the least, communities like ours are where you are most likely to find people more social, face to face, more likely to lend a few bob to an acquaintance outside of our family, more willing to befriend others rather than retreat into our own homes.

“From my vantage point as a councillor and MP representing the people of Castle Ward at all levels, I have learnt that true power, true control, can only ever come from within, and I am fed up of fighting against politico’s for votes rather than fighting alongside the community for real change.

“I left the Labour Party, and then discovered that really it had left me, I have battled on as an Independent to try to make a difference for local people and have had some successes, but now it is time to truly give the power back to the people.

“For this reason, recently the local Green Party and myself have been holding discussions as to how we might join forces and together offer a real alternative to Castle Ward’s voters and non voters alike,

I have now joined the Green Party as a statement of my commitment to them, they in return have acknowledged my long standing political independence and agreed that we should now both campaign together locally under an “INDEPENDENT GREEN’ banner.

Interestingly enough, the Green Party is the only Party in the UK which you can be a member of and yet still stand at an election as an Independent (but not against an official Green candidate). I have chosen to campaign and as an Independent Green and proudly display the Green Party Logo on the ballot paper.”

Source – http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/ex-northampton-south-mp-tony-clarke-joins-the-green-party-1-4885070

New BNP, TB in name and equally dangerous in nature.

November 3, 2012

A new fascist party is being formed and I thought you ought to know right away. Called True Brits (TB), it is made up of current and former members of the British National Party (BNP). It will also bring together some of the more extreme elements of the British far right, including antisemities and Holocaust deniers.

The emergence of a new party was signalledlast month when Yorkshire and Humber MEP Andrew Brons resigned from the BNP claiming mistreatment from Nick Griffin and the party hierarchy. This was the green light Griffin’s far right opponents had been waiting for.

This is a nightmare for the BNP. Today, they are meeting in Blackpool for their annual conference and I think it is going to be more like a wake.
HOPE not hate has produced a briefing on the new party http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/hate-groups/true-brits/

The fall-outbetween Brons and Griffin are organisational disputes rather than political differences and, if anything, the new party will be even more extreme than the BNP. The new party will include some of Britain’s most hardline racists, antisemites and Holocaust deniers. It will be BNP mark II but even more toxic. It will be TB in name and in nature.

The new party will beled by Peter Phillips, a former BNP member from Surrey and Andrew Brons will become its President. Ken Booth and Andrew Moffat will be its deputy chairmen.

Findout who else is involved http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/hate-groups/true-brits/

There willnow be a real battle for dominance of the British far right. True Brits will have the activists and the enthusiasm but Griffin is a political street fighter and his party has the recognised brand name.

And whoever emerges dominant, HOPE not hate will be there to oppose them at the ballot box and in the community. But, in the meantime, we will be running a competition to come up with a slogan for us to use to accompany the ‘TB’ name. Let us know your thoughts http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/hate-groups/true-brits/

Corby by-election – Green Party candidate Jonathan Hornett

October 14, 2012

Jonathan Hornett, who lives in Wellingborough and runs his own gardening company, has been selected to fight the seat for the Green Party.

Mr Hornett said: “I’m standing to give the people of Corby and East Northamptonshire the opportunity to choose a positive candidate.

“The Green Party is the only alternative to cuts, climate change and social injustice.

“Locally we want more wind farms and public services; and no more housing developments, roads, warehouses or nuclear waste. I am standing to make Corby and East Northants fairer, safer, cleaner and greener – I want to represent you.”