Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Put Town Centres First, Vote Green

June 22, 2017

Jonathan Hornett - Your Green Party Candidate

WP_20170606_17_03_29_ProOur town centres are dying, because of the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour.  All of these parties support out of town retail parks including Rushden Lakes, and all do not support small businesses, including shops, cafes and pubs, in our town centres.  I simply do not understand why we are letting our town centres turn into ghost town centres and why are local elected politicians letting our local shops die?

In Wellingborough and Rushden today we have scores of empty units and with more closing every week, how long will it be before we have lost every independent or small chain store from our town centres?  The latest victim is workwear and camping shop George Alan who are set to close both of their Rushden and Wellingborough shops by the end of June.  In Silver Street, Wellingborough, half of the units are empty and more are closing!

The Green Party…

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Clean Air Everywhere Week of Action

June 20, 2017

Jonathan Hornett - Your Green Party Candidate

AirTeamWe are joining Friends of the Earth in calling for a national week of action for clean air from 24 June to 2 July 2017.  After weeks of delay and speculation, the government finally published its draft Air Quality Plan on 5 May.  This should have been a Plan that effectively dealt with the shocking air pollution crisis that blights the lives of so many.  This should have been a Plan for clean air that put the health of the nation first.  This should have been a Plan that helped people out of dirty diesels in to clean vehicles and cheaper, better, public transport.  Unfortunately for us all – it wasn’t. Far from it.

Why are we forced to breathe polluted air?

Vulnerable children and older people who are forced to breathe illegal levels of pollution deserve better.  We all deserve better.  So for the sake of the nation’s health, we’re…

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Thank you to each and everyone who voted for me, I will continue to campaign for you, we will be back…

June 19, 2017

Jonathan Hornett - Your Green Party Candidate

Northants Green PartyThe General Election saw increases in vote share for the Conservatives and Labour at the expense of all the smaller parties.  The Green Party was definitely affected across Northamptonshire, where we saw our vote share come in at between 1.5% and 2.4%.  Green votes were significantly lower in constituencies where Labour genuinely a threat to the Conservatives.  Unfortunately a lot of people who would have wanted to vote Green felt that it was more important to vote against the party they didn’t want to get in than to vote for who they actually wanted.  I had lots of conversations with people after they voted and many said the Green Party had the best policies but they voted tactically.

This vote was polarised by the popularity of two very different party leaders, it was not an accurate reflection on how popular the Green Party are locally.  Our campaign in the Wellingborough…

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Put Protecting Trees First, Wellingborough

June 19, 2017

Jonathan Hornett - Your Green Party Candidate

Vote Green TwigsThe Borough Council of Wellingborough, as a tree owner; has a direct responsibility to protect trees in Wellingborough.  The council have released a draft tree policy to ensure that its trees do not pose a danger to the public or property; but I think that this has missed an opportunity to ensure that trees are maintained properly and not destroyed locally.  The council is responsible for managing a significant number of trees within the borough of Wellingborough. The overall tree population is an estimated 76,000.

All decisions taken should bear in mind that trees are essential for people and our local environment.  Here are some examples, taken from the tree policy, of the aesthetic, social, economic and health benefits of trees:

  • Trees play a vital role in urban and rural ecosystems by helping to support a great variety of wildlife.
  • Studies of patients in hospital found that they recovered more…

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Northamptonshire Green Party announces final Parliamentary Candidates

May 4, 2017

With 5 weeks to go until the Parliamentary elections, the Green Party in Northamptonshire has confirmed its final 3 parliamentary candidates for the 2017 General Election, giving people across the county the chance to vote Green once more. At a meeting of the local party on Monday 1st May, members selected their candidates for Corby, Northampton South and Wellingborough to add to those already chosen in Daventry (Steve Whiffen), Kettering (Rob Reeves), Northampton North (Steve Miller) and South Northamptonshire (Denise Donaldson)

GE Candidates 2017

Jonathan Hornett will be the Green Party candidate in Wellingborough. Jonathan has been a member of the Green Party for 12 years, and has represented them at 13 local elections and 3 national elections. He is a keen supporter of local businesses and has campaigned extensively for renewable energy and animal welfare. His message to the people of Wellingborough is “I am standing to offer people the chance to vote positively; positively for a party that has policies that work for people both young and old, positively for a party that stands up for animals and works hard to protect the environment; and positively for a candidate that understands local issues and wants to work with local people to build a better more sustainable future for all. Think green, vote Green Party in 2017.”

The candidate representing the Green Party in Corby is Steve Scrutton.  Steve has been a member of the Green Party for over 10 years, and has stood in many local elections. Steve said, ‘I have good political knowledge and sensitivity.  I will place the environment at the forefront of my campaign as well as fighting for a more equal society. I fully support the Green Party’s policy of having a ratification referendum on the final Brexit deal.”

Scott Mabbutt will be the Green Party candidate for Northampton South. Scott lives in Northampton and currently works at Kettering General Hospital.  Scott said, “I have spent my adult life caring for sick people in our County. I feel that my job gives me a unique insight into the problems facing our society and how they have been exacerbated by the current government.”

The Green Party presents a future based on protecting our planet for future generations, and for providing inspiration and practical support to the downtrodden in society. The Green Party will also fight against the Conservative’s agenda of a ‘Hard’ Brexit and will campaign for a ratification referendum on the final deal.

Pictured (left to right)            Jonathan Hornett, Rob Reeves, Denise Donaldson, Steve Scrutton, Steve Miller, Scott Mabbutthe full list of candidates are :

Corby                                      Steve Scrutton
Daventry                                Steve Whiffen
Kettering                                Rob Reeves
Northampton North            Steve Miller
Northampton South            Scott Mabbutt
South Northamptonshire   Denise Donaldson
Wellingborough                   Jonathan Hornett

Further information

Steve Miller
Northants Green Party Secretary
steve.miller@northantsgreenparty.org.uk
07598 735524

 

Please donate today so we can stand candidates across the County.

April 29, 2017

5 candidatesIn 2015, we stood in all constituency seats across Northamptonshire for the first time.  We are hoping to stand in as many seats in the County again in 2017. However, even just to stand we need to raise £500 per seat for our deposit.

We currently have announced the following candidates:

Kettering – Rob Reeves
Northampton North – Steve Miller
Daventry – Steve Whiffen
South Northamptonshire – Denise Donaldson

We aim to announce more candidates for the remaining constituencies next week.

5 party logosWe don’t have the financial backing like other parties and so, while we don’t like asking for money, this is the way we are funded – by our supporters. In that respect, we value every penny pledged and so you can rest assured that your money will be put to good use.  Each candidate (or their local constituency group) is putting up half the funds for the deposit. Any funds raised beyond what we need for the deposits, will be used on promotional materials for our campaigns to get our message out.  If we retain any deposits (i.e. we receive 5% of the vote) we will split them proportionally across the county between those who pledged (please note, that in 2015 we were unsuccessful in receiving more than 5% in any constituency – but only by a few hundred votes in many).  Please donate today.

AirSteveJonThe Northants Green Party isn’t just about standing in elections – we continue to try and make a difference in our local area despite not having any councillors at Borough, County or Parliamentary level. We have launched a successful Clean-up Campaigns, provided donations to Food Banks, hold regular discussions and events and we are currently in the process of monitoring air pollution across the County.

Many thanks in advance,

Rob Reeves

Please donate today so we can stand candidates across the County in the snap General Election on Thursday 8th June.  Visit – http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/northants-green-party-election-2017

I’d Vote Green but…

February 25, 2017

…if I vote Green, I get Blue. 

To an extent this is true, this is part of the problem with our electoral system. Winner takes it all and smaller parties get completely marginalised. One of the Green Party’s main policies is electoral reform towards proportional representation to avoid this situation. I have tried tactical voting in the past and don’t feel that it worked. I voted for someone I didn’t really believe in and it didn’t change the outcome of the result. If we had an election where everybody voted for who they actually wanted and not the person to stop the person they hate, then we might get a turnout more reflective of our views. In order to achieve this our elected individuals should reflect a broader cross section of our communities. This won’t happen whilst the same two parties remain in charge.

Even worse is that if you don’t vote at all, you’ll probably get more of the same. My local council election in 2013 had a turnout of just over a quarter of voters. 5000 local residents didn’t vote for their councillor who currently has a majority of just shy of 700. You could argue active apathy due to disconnect with voters which is what we would try to address. Another big Green policy is to take local decisions in local hands. If people could see that their vote had an effect, then maybe they would vote more.

….all you politicians are the same.

Again correct to an extent. We feel most politicians are the same. The Green Party however is different to all the others in how it is funded, from voluntary member donations and not large donations or trade unions. The fact we are different and don’t have our noses in the  trough mean we might actually provide some sort of opposition and scrutiny to local policymakers. Although most of our local members haven’t held public office, we give up a lot of our time for free to provide a Green alternative. You might call out inexperience, but you can’t accuse us of being in it for the money!

We are also locally run and are given a lot of free reign by the national party. This allows us to come up with policies that work locally and are not dictated by national policy such as Labour’s blanket ban on electoral co-operation.

…you only care about the environment.

This is a common misconception although our media coverage tends to be about environmental concerns we have a full range of policies which you can read about here in our 2015 manifesto. We have well developed and radical policies about taxation, electoral reform, social equality and much more.

What’s more is even in small numbers, having Green councillors can achieve a lot as our Association of Green  Councillors can attest. They have a wide range of stories about positive things Green Councillors are doing around the country.

The fact that all parties claims green credentials is a testament to how just our concerns are.

…my friends will call me a hippy

This is the easiest one to debunk. Just attend one  of our meetings. Our local party are drawn from broad walks of life or geography. Despite being slightly too “white middle aged man” as far as I can see nobody fits the stereotype of being a “hippy”. Unless by hippy you mean peace-loving, humanitarian and environmentally friendly? Our meetings are usually an interesting mix of debate, event planning and socialising and usually end like all good meetings do, with a drink. There’s no dancing round trees or choruses of Kumbaya in the ones I’ve been to. We always welcome new members with new ideas, the more the merrier!

…I’m worried my taxes will go up.

It’s currently  unlikely that we will be majority members of a council locally and the way local government funding is being squeezed we will have to work with other parties to really challenge the current status quo of service cuts and general inertia within our local council.

We want to properly fund our services and we need to seriously look at other ways to save money so we can afford to look after our children, elderly and vulnerable. One way may to completely overhaul our current three tier system to remove gridlock and improve proximity of decisions by making unitary authorities.

We know tax increases are unpopular, but nationally we’d look to completely overhaul taxation to make it less regressive and ensure those with broadest shoulders and large corporations pay their way. Locally, we’d seek to devolve power (and hence money) to local government to allow local decisions to have local effects.

 

Standing as a Candidate

February 4, 2017

photo02272016 was the year of rising nationalism and populism. The outcome of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections shocked us all. Now more than ever we have to stand up for our Green values. Let us turn 2017 into the year of fighting these reactionary tendencies. Let us fight for pluralism, diversity, solidarity, public services and a clean and healthy environment. The fight starts locally.  Would you consider standing as a candidate in the County Council Elections?

The Greens have always and will continue to be the natural antidote to populists and nationalists. Hence, we can and should play an important role in opposing the Conservatives and UKIP.  The Greens have always been the political party that is fighting against racial and religious discrimination, for gender equality and LGBTIQA+ rights. This is a core element of our Green identity. Fighting discrimination is not merely about protecting minorities, it is also an important contribution to an open and inclusive society. We believe in a culture of solidarity, which is open to migration and takes responsibility for people fleeing war or persecution. We want immigration laws instead of walls and fences. We stand for local co-operation and for global multilateralism.

Since 2008/09 Northamptonshire County Council has cut more than one quarter of a billion pounds from County Council spending, with dyer consequences for council services and local people. They have reduced their staffing levels from 17,000 to a few thousand, and are on course for less than 500 staff by the end of the decade.  Northamptonshire has turned off speed cameras and removed half of the street lighting in the county making many urban areas much less safe for local pedestrians and drivers.  They have radically reduced funding for more affordable ‘prevention’ and low level support services, and taken nearly £50 million from Adult Social Care and Children’s Services with devastating consequences for local people and the NHS.

Many of us are appalled by these actions and have spoken up but to little avail.  With the Conservative’s considerable majority in the Council they can afford to ignore even the most constructive of suggestions from politicians, residents or professionals, and they regularly do.  Would you consider standing as a candidate in the County Council Elections?

On Monday 20th February Northamptonshire Green Party are holing a meeting to give people the opportunity to understand why the Green Party tries to stand candidates at Council elections and what procedures are involved to get your name on the ballot. We will be looking for candidates from across the County, and it would be great to see you there, if you think you might be interested in putting your name forward in the area where you live. This meeting is for Green Party members only in Northamptonshire and the East Midlands.  The meeting starts at 7pm and finishes at 9pm in the Doddridge Centre, St James, Northampton. NN5 5HF

Citizens Income Talk & Discussion

February 1, 2017

green-party-conference-2015On Tuesday 7th February, Shirley Jones will be leading a talk in Kettering about the Citizens Income; what it is, and how it could work. As you may know, this was a part of the Green Party Manifesto at the General Election in May 2015, and it is an idea that has gained wider support since then. This will be a good opportunity to discuss the Citizens Income and to understand how we can get involved in campaigning to support the policy.

A citizen’s income has a long history and its genesis, at least as an idea, is now hundreds of years in the making. Many distinguished economists of the 20th Century have considered the idea and the Citizen’s Income Trust itself was formed about thirty years ago, with academics honing workable economic schemes and promoting it. Dr Malcolm Torry is the Trust’s Director and his latest book is ‘The Feasibility of a Citizen’s Income’. He’s also written ‘Money for Everyone’ and ‘101 Reasons for a Citizen’s Income’: both a lay person’s guide.

It is now coming into the mainstream: as well as the (albeit unsuccessful) Referendum in Switzerland, the policy might be due to be trialled in Scotland and Professor Guy Standing, of both the Basic Income Earth network and Citizen’s Income Trust, has run successful trials in India.

Shirley Jones has worked, in the distant past, for an MP and MEP. She writes and dabbles in drawing and painting. She also dabbles in deep-space astronomy and astro-physics, botany and other natural history. As well as comets and planets, she loves trees and bats, and all sorts of music.

http://citizensincome.org/

The Citizens Income Talk and Discussion is on Tuesday 7th February from 8pm till 10pm at The Keystone Community Centre, Kettering. NN16 9AA

Event is on Facebook

Air Quality Campaign is Bearing Fruit

December 13, 2016

Towards the start of this year, I started doing some digging into the air quality around Northampton, and discovered that although we had several areas in the town with recognised air pollution problems, the Borough Council didn’t seem to be doing an awful lot about it.

Since then, we’ve made FOI requests, published Press Releases, asked questions of Council, carried out our own air quality testing, produced more Press Releases, we’ve been interviewed on BBC Northampton and BBC Look East. We have presented to several audiences, spoken at Council several times, attended meetings of the Scrutiny Panel and generated a front-page story in the Chronicle & Echo.

Our aim in this was to generate awareness of both the air quality issues in the town, and the Public Consultation that was taking place about the Low Emission Strategy. This strategy is now making its way through the Council’s Scrutiny process and recommendations / actions from that process will be taken back to Cabinet for approval.

I spoke at the start of last night’s meeting of the Full Council, addressing again the issue of air pollution around Northgate Station. At most of the meetings I’ve been to this year, whether I have been asking questions or addressing Council, I’ve tended to be the only person speaking about Air Quality.

At last night’s meeting, everybody wanted a piece of the action.

The Liberal Democrats had a motion asking for traffic analysis to be carried out in the town centre because the new Bus Station is obviously inadequate. Air Quality was one of their reasons, and it was mentioned a lot in the surrounding debate.

The Labour Party then proposed a motion suggesting that the Council should immediately start fining drivers who don’t switch their engines off when they are stationary. This included a contribution from the leader of the Labour Group on the council advising that “Everybody is talking about the air quality issue.”

Both of these motions were, unsurprisingly lost. The Labour one, in particular, seems a bit pointless when the overall strategy is still going through the scrutiny process.

But two things are very clear.

1 – We’ve successfully raised awareness of the air quality issue. The opposition parties are looking to make political capital of it, even if they don’t really understand the issues.

2 – There’s going to be a lot more of this over the next few months.

Steve Miller 13th December 2016