Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Green Leader visits Norwich North!

GREENS WELCOME CALLING OF BY-ELECTION

The Norwich North by-election has been announced for July 23rd. The Green Party is ready for the challenge, and delighted that the fight for Norwich North can now begin in earnest.

The Green Party candidate for Norwich North is Dr. Rupert Read, a Norwich city councillor and UEA lecturer who narrowly missed election as an MEP in the recent European elections.

Rupert Read said today:
“After the gloom of the economic downturn and the scandal surrounding MPs expenses, which has sullied all three main parties, the Greens are offering a fresh new approach. We want cleaner politics as well as consideration for the environment underpinning every aspect of policy.
“For the first time ever, the national spotlight will be on the Green Party in a byelection campaign and our prospects are being taken extremely seriously. The big three parties have everything to lose. The Green Party has everything to gain.”

Dr Read, who has previously won plaudits for his Party’s ‘Clean Campaign Pledge’, recently saw a huge expansion of the Green vote in the east of England after his campaign for the European elections and came within 1% of securing a seat.

Green support peaked strongly in their emerging stronghold of Norwich, where the Greens came out on top with about 25% of the vote, a tremendous achievement and one which shows that the Green Party and Dr Read will be a major force in the forthcoming coming by-election. In Norwich North, the Green Party won two Council seats for the first time, giving it new momentum. (Labour won just one seat, and the Lib-Dems none at all).

NOTE: CAROLINE LUCAS MEP, GREEN PARTY LEADER, WILL BE IN NORWICH ON TUESDAY JUNE 30TH.

FURTHER INFORMATION / INTERVIEWS
Rupert Read: 01603 219294 / 07946 459066


About Norwich Green Party
• It has 13 Norwich City Councillors (Labour 15, Lib-Dems 6 Tories 5)
• It has 7 Norfolk County Councillors serving 7 of the 13 Norwich county wards.
• Norwich City Council Green Party group leader, Councillor Adrian Ramsay, is the Green Party's national Deputy Leader and GP's Parliamentary Candidate for the Norwich South constituency in the next General Election. In the 2009 local elections, the Green Party secured the greatest % of votes cast in the Norwich South area - and can win the Norwich South Parliamentary seat in the next General Election.
• In the 2009 European election, the Green Party secured more votes than any other party in the Norwich City Council area, gaining 25%.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Rupert Read for MP on Facebook

If you're a member of facebook please take the time to join my new group and stay up to date on the Norwich North campaign trail!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4929582869

Friday, 26 June 2009

Norwich North: 1st poll!

This is very encouraging... This puts us on about the same level that we got in the Euro and County elections in Norwich North - but this is a Westminster election! The Green Party is being taken seriously, in this byelection, at last...

The Destruction of Ian Gibson MP

Interesting article from 'Labour Briefing', July 2009 (www.labourbriefing.org.uk)

Martin Booth, former President of Norwich CLP, gives an eyewitness account of how the Labour Party debarred Ian Gibson from standing as a Labour candidate.


I have been a member of the Labour Party for 30 years and President of Norwich Labour Party for the last two. On 21st May I returned home from work to find that our Norwich North MPhad been on the local TVnews, apparently embroiled in the MPs’expenses affair. I was shocked: Ian Gibson is one of the most ethical men I have met and I could not believe that he would knowingly abuse his expenses. I found out later that the Telegraphhad warned him he would be in the paper, and he had immediately contacted the local media to answer the charges – not the action of someone who has somthing to hide.

The next morning’s Telegraph claimed that Ian had covered up the fact that his daughter and her partner were living in his flat rent free by blanking out the address of the flat in the expenses that he published in the local paper. They also said that he had sold the flat to her at a low price after the taxpayer had paid the mortgage.

I managed to speak to Ian on the Friday. He sounded really shocked and told me that he had been referred to the NEC panel (the “Star Chamber”). On the Saturday I went to see him. He explained that he had not covered up anything. MPs were told to blank out all addresses by the Fees office because of data protection. He had not charged his daughter rent because the Fees Office had advised him not to. Although he had sold the flat to her for the sum which was on the mortgage, he had only claimed for mortgage interest on the flat. He had put £30,000 of his own money, obtained by re-mortgaging his Norwich home, into the flat when he bought it (which remained for him to pay off). I thought it was obvious that he had broken no rules. He accepted my offer to accompany him to the Star Chamber hearing to show he had local sup-
port.

I called a meeting on 29th May of all branch chairs and secretaries in Norwich North and all councillors to gauge their opinions. This meeting was 100% behind Ian, and I wrote a strong letter to the Star Chamber from Norwich North members.

The letter telling Ian he had been referred said that he was being investigated under Chapter 5 Clause C8(b) of the rules of the Labour Party. This says that if it is proved that you have breached the rules (it does not say which rules), you can have the endorsement of your candidature rescinded. The letter stressed that it was not a disciplinary hearing but just an interview, to which he could bring with him only one silent friend, in accordance with human rights.

On 2nd June we went to Victoria Street and were called into the panel at 10.40am. The panel were Cath Speight, NEC chair; Ann Black, NEC vice-chair; and Ann Lucas, an NEC member. Also present were Roy Kennedy, Director of Finance and Compliance, and a man who was not introduced but whom Ian thought was Ray Collins. Ian then asked that I be allowed to speak for the constituency, but this was not allowed. I was to be a silent friend.

Ian presented his case. From the chair, Cath Speight asked Ian how he squared the fact that his daughter could now sell the flat for a profit with a rule from the Green Book which said that Members should ensure that neither they nor their relatives should gain financially out of their expens- es. We had seen no such rule in the Green Book we had looked at. Ian answered that if he had sold the flat on the open market, he would have made a profit which he could have given to his daughter, and he could not see any difference between that and what he had actually done. After a few questions the interview ended: it had lasted 25 minutes.

Afterwards we tried to look up the rule that Cath Speight had quoted and I finally found it in the March 2009 version of the Green Book. Ian sold the flat to his daugh- ter in May 2008. There is no mention of this rule in any of the Green Books before 2009. The panel had used a rule to condemn Ian which did not exist when he sold his daughter the flat.

It was not until 6.45pm in the evening that Ian was told that his candidature had been rescinded, at the same time as it was released to the press by Victoria Street. I was furious and went onto the local media to denounce the NEC and say that the panel had been a kangaroo court. Ian Gibson is well known to be a very independently minded MPand has voted against the Government many times. I suspected that the whips had used this issue to get rid of him.

The next evening I met Ian and his wife and he decided that he would resign as MP straight away – mainly because of the effect that the whole affair was having on his family.

The next morning I woke early. Angry and unable to get back to sleep, I decided that I had to resign from the Party. I just could not stay after I had seen the way that they had destroyed such a good man as Ian. He has been a wonderful constituency MP. When you went canvassing with him, it seemed he had helped nearly every other person you met. His involvement in outside causes, from beekeepers to ME sufferers, is amazing. That the NEC could destroy him because of the poisonous writing of the Daily Telegraphand use retrospective rules to do so was just too much.

As far as I know the NEC has not told Ian what rule he actually broke, even though he has asked them. If the Green Book rule is now applied retrospectively, an awful lot of MPs will be appearing before the Star Chamber, including Hazel Blears. They will not do so: this was just a cynical exercise to look tough and get rid of a trouble-maker at the same time.
Therefore, on Friday, 5th June I announced my resignation from the Party when Ian announced his resignation as MP. I have made many excuses for the Party in the past, but I just could not make any more.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

CANDIDATE SELECTED FOR NORWICH NORTH

The Green Party has selected Rupert Read to be its candidate in the forthcoming Norwich North Parliamentary by-election.

At a packed meeting of 50 plus Green Party members tonight (Wed) Dr Read was selected ahead of fellow Norwich City Councillor Claire Stephenson, and former councillor Jessica Goldfinch.

Rupert Read said: “I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to represent the Green Party in a by-election in which, for the first time ever, the national spotlight will be on the Green Party and our campaign and our prospects are being taken extremely seriously”.

As well as being a Green city councillor, Dr Read (43) is also a lecturer in philosophy at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Read recently won a huge expansion of the Green vote in the east of England in his campaign for the European elections and came within 1% of securing a seat. Hundreds of supporters took an active part in that campaign, and, in the absence of the high-level funding enjoyed by other parties, the Greens are calling for similar assistance in Norwich North where they’ll be organising their first major leafletting drop this weekend.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

LibDems: Money laundering allegations latest

Friday, 19 June 2009

Norwich North by-election: Come help us!


From now until the general election, our focus switches from the European Parliament elections (where we received over 1.2 million votes, from people like you) to the general election...

Our three "target constituencies" are Brighton Pavilion (Caroline Lucas), Norwich South (Adrian Ramsay) and Lewisham Deptford (Darren Johnson).

Before then, the Norwich North by-election will be the first by-election where the national media take the prospects of a Green win seriously. We have a great deal of work to do, and we are asking you to swing behind this effort in a big way, as other parties (most notably the Liberal Democrats) do in similar circumstances. 

We could gain general election credibility nationwide from a good result in the seat.

Here is just one of the large number of bullish press stories that have appeared about the byelection –

http://www.edp24.co.uk/content/edp24/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=NOED10%20Jun%202009%2008%3A40%3A22%3A797 

The Greens' chances of doing well in Norwich North have already been mentioned in the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, and on the BBC.

Can you help us to compete strongly in Norwich North? 

Please consider offering us some of your time, or money, or both:

We need lots of help on numerous tasks in our office and on the streets. Please come and stay with us: we can put volunteers up, it will be fun, and you can learn on the job from the expert Norwich team! Please call us on 01603 611909 if you can offer us help.

We need donations to cover our campaign costs. We need to raise £10,000 in the next month, if we are to have any chance of even beginning to compete on a level playing field with the old three Westminster parties in this vital election. We need to get the Green message heard now, and we need to build now toward getting a strong Green voice into Westminster.

Please give what you can. £20 buys 2000 leaflets for us to deliver to target voters. £250 buys an ad for us in the Norwich Evening News. £1000 buys a prime billboard location for the entire duration of the campaign.

Send a cheque now (payable to 'Norwich Green Party') to:

The Treasurer, Norwich Green Party, 27 Clarendon Road, Norwich, NR2 2PN

Let's make history, startle the old parties, and give ourselves a real shot at electing the first ever Green Party MP in Norwich North …

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A Gresham's Law of politics?

 
I do not accept the idea that we should expect politics to be dirty. The terrible danger of dirty campaigning is that it can induce a kind of relativistic 'Gresham's Law' of politics: dirty campaigning drives out clean, if we reach the pretty pass where members of the public (and of the press) simply say 'You are all as bad as each other' and fail to make distinctions between those of us who use accurate graphs etc etc and those of us who don't.
If dirty campaigning triumphs, if we reach the point where there is no point in even trying to give the electorate accurate information, because they won't trust any of us and so one might just as well mislead them for short-term advantage, endlessly, then we might as well all give up and go home, and the 'clean up politics' agenda that rightly seems so vital now in the wake of the expenses scandal will just die.
There is a better way: Let's raise the standard of political campaigning, and vigilantly challenge practices in our own Parties and in others that fall short.

FibDem alert

Interesting discussion of an article of mine going on here: http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2009/06/17/those-fibdems/

 

Hold politicians up to standards

I think that it is high-time for what political parties say and put out to be held up to higher standards. We attempted to do this during the recent campaign with our 'Clean campaign pledge', asking other Parties to buy in to a voluntary code of conduct, in effect: http://www.clean-campaign-pledge.net/ . Martin Bell backed our pledge, but sadly the other Parties refused to sign up. I think now that government should act. Commercial corporations cannot say whatever the hell they like in their ads and get away with it: the Advertising Standards Authority, weak as it is, has some power over them.  I hope that readers will consider the arguments in favour of regulating political speech to exclude patently misleading claims, graphs etc., and to help instead to inform our citizenry and begin the hard task of getting people to believe that politicians are not just shysters and cynics who believe that all's fair in politics...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Another reflection on June 4...

We Greens were easily the largest gainer of all Parties in terms of votes gained; but, so frustratingly, we didn't gain any seats!
We were however extremely close to doing so. Another 1-1.5% gain would have seen us gain at least 4 seats, including me getting elected in Eastern Region (where despite an endless persuasive stream of lies from the LibDems that we couldn't win, we came within 1% of doing so; the FibDems instead let in a climate-denying UKIP MEP).
So near...
The dream of an apolitical techno-fix is persuasive, given how hard electoral breakthrough is to achieve: but it will only work if there is a techno-fix that will actually WORK. There is good reason to believe that there is no such magic-bullet: see e.g. http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=3126
We came so close in these elections to the long-awaited breakthrough, and performed fantastically well in our strongholds such as Norwich and Brighton. This bodes well for our prospects of a Westminster breakthrough: perhaps sooner than one thinks, given an enticing byelection prospect in Norwich North...
And remember that it took Labour just one generation to go from no MPs to forming its first government...

Monday, 8 June 2009

Latest EDP piece on Euro-elections

GREENS MISS OUT NARROWLY ON FIRST MEP IN EAST OF ENGLAND

 

Despite a significant increase in Green Party vote share from around 5.5% in 2004 to around 9% tonight, the Greens have just failed to win a seat in the East of England.

 

Green support rose right across the UK with the 2 existing Green MEPs Dr. Caroline Lucas (South East) and Jean Lambert (London) each being elected for the third time, and with significantly increased vote share.

 

Over 140,000 voters backed the Greens in the East of England, following a campaign that the Eastern Region Green Party began 2 years ago.

 

Support peaked strongly in the emerging Green strongholds with the Greens in Norwich coming first with about 25% of the vote, a result which was on the cards following the Greens coming first across the city in the County Council elections on Thursday.

 

The Green campaign covered every part of the region and was particularly focussed on meeting people and finding out what they wanted to see from their MEPs. Green policies including Clean Politics and Green Jobs - with the aim of helping to make the East a European leader in renewable energy.

 
As well as conventional campaigning such as tours of every county and public meetings, the Greens used Obama-style new media campaigning to get the Green message across via the internet. The campaign was backed by a large team which included the 7 list candidates, dedicated campaign specialists and the growing band of Green councillors in the region. True to their grass-roots strength, local party members played their part, and indeed were the sole arbiters of who would be on the Green list, as the party uses a strictly one member-one vote system to decide its European election candidates.      
 
We are very pleased with the big increase in the Green vote and we would like to thank the more than 140,000 people in the East of England who supported us. It wasn't quite enough this time but it bodes well for our party across the region and especially in our developing strongholds. We now need to look forward to the next election, which could well be the Norwich North by-election, a city in which we topped the poll tonight.
 
At the County Council elections, right across the region, Green candidates were often beating the party of Government - and Labour finished only just ahead of the Greens in the Euro poll. Whilst Labour lost most of its County Councillors in the East, the Greens increased theirs from 3 to 11.

Reflections on our narrow defeat

We were very unlucky, coming so close in Eastern [I needed just 1% more, to win] and NW and close also in SW and to a second seat in SE,;but no cigar...
 
In Eastern, we were the big winners on the night in terms of increased vote share. It wasn't quite enough to win a seat but it was a superb achievement boding well for our party across the region, especially in our strongholds such as Norwich and Cambridge. It bodes especially well for our prospects in the Norwich North byelection. . .
 
If there had been 8 seats in Eastern, we would have won the 8th seat. We added over half our vote relative to what we scored in 2004.
 
Ah well... Politics is a touch vocation...
 
In terms of voteshare, the Green Party did very well across the country last night. In terms of results (in terms of seats), last night saw a sad lurch to the racist Right. I feel ashamed to be living in a country that has just elected Nazis to the Euro-Parl...

Saturday, 6 June 2009

'Greens big winners in Norwich' - EVENING NEWS

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/news/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=ENOnline&tCategory=News&itemid=NOED05%20Jun%202009%2014%3A52%3A00%3A890

Friday, 5 June 2009

Greens Gain at Local Elections!

Eight new Green County Councillors elected; Greens make debut on two more county councils in region
 
With the county council election results just about all declared, the Green Party in Eastern region is celebrating gains and breakthroughs on to councils.
 
The Greens gained eight county councillors:
 
5 In Norfolk [incl. two in Norwich North]
2 in Suffolk
1 in Cambridgeshire
 
The Greens also held their existing 3 county seats in Hertfordshire (1) and Norfolk (2).
 
2 district seats were lost in Bedfordshire, but this was largley as a result of the change to unitary councils there, with green councillors having to contest different wards.
 
A major story of the elections in the East of England was the collapse of the Labour vote. Right across the region, Green candidates were often beating the party of Government.
 
The Greens also secured second place in a number of areas, including in Essex, pointing to potential further gains at the next set of county elections.
 
Overall the Greens now have 34 Principal Authority Councillors in Eastern Region, a net gain of 6.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Upside of Crisis - an election day essay...

 

There is great danger and great opportunity in the current political scandal facing Britain.  The danger is that we will never recover from a soured public perception whereby every politician, indeed the practice of politics in general, becomes seen as crooked and illegitimate from the start, where all political views are lumped together, and approaches to our problems homogenized.  Where the country's best brains run screaming from public service.  This danger has paralyzed many politicians throughout history, but now, with cataclysm looming for a globalized economy and our global environment, inaction simply cannot be tolerated. 

 

The up-side of crises, however, is that they present enormous opportunity, and I believe that there really is a once in a generation opportunity in the political upheaval facing this country: there is so much anger, not just about the expenses issue, but about the rotten Parliamentary system it symbolizes. If one looks at how unrepresentative the people are who supposedly represent us in Westminster—few women and ethnic minorities for example—if one looks at the many people who just don't think its worth voting anymore because the outcome of an election is known from the start, one sees a correlation between this disconnect with the public and the abuse of power.  

 

But trifling reforms to the MPs allowance won't do that, and even grander sounding 'codes of conduct' won't do that; what will start to do it is real electoral reform leading either to the election of politicians who really represent the population or in forcing those currently in office to start addressing those concerns, which of course they should have been doing all along.  We need to have a much fairer, proportional representation voting system so that the people in government look more like the people that actually elect them, not just men in grey suits, doing things behind closed doors that people don't understand.

And we need a political party that can actually make this change happen.  A party that is positive and thoughtful.  A party open to new ideas and everyone's views, with the strength of character to stand up for something, not just against everything.  We are really the only party to offer this: a positive alternative, a vision for the future, the strength of principles tempered by a willingness to listen.  Thus, the Green Party is best suited to lead the root and branch transformation of government, so people can feel proud about it again, so that public life is something honourable again. 

 

Here is a quick primer on some of the key political-reform and constitutional-change policies that the Green Party have been signed up to for years (not, as in the case of the other Parties, merely for days or weeks):

 

Proportional representation (we prefer Additional Member System (AMS) or Single Transferable Vote (STV))

Fixed term parliament - 4 years, except where government loses vote of confidence

Fully elected Second Chamber to replace House of Lords

Recall

Written constitution

State funding for political parties to eliminate corporate buying of politicians

Voting age reduced to 16

Radical decentralisation/localisation of power from Brussels and Westminster to localities

Elected Regional Assemblies

Remove all constitutional powers from monarch

Disestablish Church of England

Register of interests for MPs and senior civil servants

Expenses Transparency, in Brussels and Westminster!

Clamp down hard on corporate lobbying

Reduce power of Prime Minister, increase power of cross-party committees of MPs

Citizens Initiative for referendums.

 

The opportunity to begin this transformation is by voting – in the one election that we already have that is run by proportional representation - for the Green Party, today….

YOU HAVE 5 HOURS LEFT TO VOTE IN, PEOPLE!!

The big green bus tour!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Ethical award for Caroline - again!

Observer ethical awards honour Caroline Lucas MEP for second time
 
On the eve of the European elections, with the Greens showing at a record 15% in today's ComRes poll, the Green Party is proud to announce that Dr Caroline Lucas MEP is to be named as the Ethical Politician of the Year in the fourth annual Observer Ethical Awards.
 
Caroline Lucas beat Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor Vince Cable and Conservative leader David Cameron to the top spot - picking up the prestigious award for a second time. 

Caroline, a passionate campaigner on social justice, green economics, the environment and animal welfare – at both the grassroots level and in the European Parliament – also won the title in 2007 against David Cameron and Gordon Brown, and is delighted to have been chosen to receive the award once again by readers of the Observer.
 
Dr Lucas said: "I am honoured that Observer readers have chosen to recognise my work in this way – it means a great deal. At a time of serious political malaise, economic upheaval and environmental challenges, the Greens' positive vision for the future has never been more important. The party's policies to create up to a million new green jobs, tackle climate change, protect public services and safeguard civil liberties are at the forefront of efforts to create a new political landscape in which people and planet are always at the heart of decision making.
 
"I am proud to be a member of a political organisation with strong principles and clear ideas, which is driven by a determination to bring progressive, engaging and ethical politics into the mainstream."
 
For more information on the Observer Ethical Awards, please visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/observer-ethical-awards.

INDY predicts Greens big winners of Euro-election, based on the new Comres poll!

 
This is phenomenal:
 
"A ComRes poll today on voting intentions for the European elections puts the Tories on 24 per cent, Labour on 22 per cent, Ukip 17 per cent, the Greens 15 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 14 per cent. The survey, commissioned by the Greens, suggests the Tories would lose eight seats in the European Parliament, Labour two, the Liberal Democrats four and Ukip one, while the Greens would gain nine seats."
 
I.e. Only the Green Party would gain from these elections!
 

VOTE GREEN FOR A MILLION JOBS

On the day that a ComRes voter-intention poll puts the Green Party on 15% (1) - ahead of the LibDems for the first time since 1989 - Green Party leader Caroline Lucas made a final appeal to the public to make tomorrow's vote more than a protest vote.

Dr Lucas, who was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, said:

"A Green vote is much more than a protest against the big three. Let's remember they've been discredited not just by the expenses scandal but by their lack of commitment to putting social and environmental justice at top of political agenda."

"It isn't just about where the protest vote goes, it's what it achieves when it gets there. Britain has had Green MEPs for a decade now, so you know we've always stood up for public services, for protecting people's rights and for making the EU more democratic, more transparent and more accountable to the voters."

"You know if you elect more Green MEPs they will fight for all those things, and also for the economic policies that could create a million green jobs in the UK, to help tackle the recession and the climate crisis."


Note:

1. This ComRes poll was commissioned by the Green Party. It put the Greens just behind UKIP (17%) and just ahead of the LibDems (14%) for Thursday's Euro-election.

Yesterday's ComRes poll commissioned by the Independent put the Greens on 8% for a general election - the highest such poll ever, and just ahead of UKIP (7%).

URL: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2009-06-03-make-it-more-than-protest-vote-for-million-jobs-Green-leader.html

Greens release results of StandUp.UK on-line survey

In the run-up to the European elections, Eastern Region Green Party has been conducting an on-line survey, seeking the views of the public on a range of important issues.

The results show strong support for many of the constitutional changes the Greens have been supporting for many years - and not just in the last few days as other parties have done in response to the MPs expenses scandal.

StandUp.UK is a process of direct democracy, asking people to vote on a large number of current issues relevant to the need to conduct a major reform of the democratic system.

The results showed strong support for proportional representation for parliament, a need to end the control of MPs by the party whips and support for an end to second homes allowances for MPs, to be replaced by flats provided specifically for those MPs that need them. There was also strong support for fixed term parliaments and much stronger rules over corporate lobbying, which the Greens have highlighted as a particular problem in the EU.

Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Greens in the European elections has pledged to back reforms in both the EU and UK parliaments if elected.

http://www.rupertread.net/emarketing/standupandflatrate.html

www.rupertread.net/StandupUK_results.html

LibDems: not clean

Something I would be interested to know: How does Nick Clegg square his claim (on TODAY on Radio 4 this morning) to be in favour of 'clean politics' with his Party's consistent misrepresentation, in their 'Focus' leaflets etc., of other Parties' prospects in these elections [see numerous posts, below, for substantiation]? It is a well-known fact in British politics that the LibDems are typically the LEAST clean of candidates / politicians, in the way that they campaign. LibDems more than any others are responsible for lowering and dirtying the standards of British political campaigning...
This is one of the reasons that I became disillusioned with the LibDems, and left them, in 1999.

Mark Steel backs the Greens... and he's not joking

Mark Steel, in his _Independent_ column, writes "the Green Party has
attained credibility while retaining its principles, and seems to be the
home for many people who opposed the Iraq war, oppose the rule of bankers
and private finance, and feel it might be worth looking at doing something
about the fact the planet's about to melt. So I'm voting for them tomorrow,
and if they implode in a petty row about nothing I'm obviously a jinx and
I'm joining the bloody Tories."
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mark-steel/mark-steel-turn-left-and-then-left-again-1695316.html

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

THE UKIP FILE

Greens ask potential UKIP voters to "think again"

The Green Party has today published a briefing on UKIP and is asking potential UKIP voters to "think again" in the light of the findings. These show that UKIP's claims about withdrawing from the EU dont stack up, that it is a party generally hostile to protecting the environment and is a party with plenty of its own questions to answer about expenses.

Greens in battle for third place in Euro election

New poll on eve of election points to record equalling Green vote of 15% - ahead of the Lib Dems

A poll to be published tomorrow, the day before the European elections, suggests the battle for third place will be between the Green Party, the LibDems and UKIP.

In the new poll, conducted by ComRes (1), the Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems for the first time since 1989. The poll suggests the Greens may be about to equal their historic 1989 Euro-election vote of 15%.

The poll shows support for the parties as follows:

Conservative: 24%
Labour: 22%
UKIP: 17%
Green 15%
Lib Dems 14%
BNP 2%



If the poll proves accurate, the Greens could win seats in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and Eastern regions plus Scotland, as well as holding existing seats in London and the South East. The Greens may even scoop up a second seat in the South East, with Brighton councillor Keith Taylor joining party leader Caroline Lucas, who was first elected in 1999.

Last Sunday's Telegraph/ICM poll showed the Greens on 11%, ahead of UKIP nationally for the first time in the campaign. The Sunday Telegraph suggested that "the resurgent Greens" might win eight seats.

And in an earlier Green Party/YouGov poll, 34% of respondents said they would either definitely vote Green or consider voting Green if they knew more about the party.

Eastern Region Green Party Spokesperson Cllr. James Abbott said

"This is not all protest vote. We believe our manifesto for a million jobs, aimed at tackling the recession and the climate crisis at the same time, has probably struck a chord with a lot of people.

Voters also know that this is an election held using proportional representation, where every vote counts. There has been some very misleading material being delivered to voters by other parties in Eastern region prominently claiming the Greens cannot win, but using general election results to try and back the claim. Such comparisons are irrelevant in a PR election, and anyway, voters are clearly set to give the establishment parties a tough lesson following the MPs expenses scandal and are keen to back parties of principle such as the Greens.

Here in Eastern region, about 10% of the vote will see Green lead candidate Rupert Read elected to the European parliament. This latest poll, and six others in the last few weeks have all consistently shown that this is entirely possible."


1. Commissioned by the Green Party. Fieldwork carried out 29-31 May 2009. Sample size 1,005 GB adults, polled by telephone.

Dying from climate change - It's time for _real_ change

 

300,000 people are dying due to man-made climate change every year...  500,000 deaths a year by 2030 from severe heat waves, floods, forest fires and storms...   For those who survive extreme weather-related events , many will face hunger, poverty, disease and lost livelihoods... 310 million more people will suffer adverse health consequences, 20 million more will fall into poverty and 75 million more will be displaced if emissions are not brought under control in 25 years,...  £78 billion losses every year to date...  £360 billion losses every year by 2030...

 

These are the results of a study released last Friday by Kofi Annan's thinktank, the Global Humanitarian Forum.  Leading climatologists are telling us that mans actions are contributing to climate change, yet 11 of the 12 countries considered least at risk are industrially developed.  Ironically, this new study shows that 98% of people seriously affected, 99% of all weather-related disasters and 90% of economic losses are happening in the developing world.  Is it really fair that the developing world should suffer immeasurably from the behaviours of the industrialised West?  The people in the developing world seldom fly in airplanes, rarely drive cars.

 

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change, said in Saturday's Guardian newspaper, ""The scale of devastation is so great that it is hard to believe the truth about it or how it is possible that so many people remain ignorant of this crisis".  Kofi Annan said, "Weak leadership, as evident today, is alarming. If leaders cannot assume responsibility they will fail humanity. Agreement is in the interests of every human being."  At a time when the people understandably feel let down by their elected officials for expenses abuses, the biggest scandal of all is surely the scandal that's been there all along: a broken economy, and a dying planet.  Let's start to fix both by voting Green on June 4th and voting for a million new green jobs in the UK.

 

UKIP vs Green MEPs, on integrity and expenses

Voting UKIP is voting for the worst abusers of the system! Voting UKIP is like turkeys voting for Christmas.
See today's TIMES front page for more: 2 of the 3 MEPs they focus on as abuser-MEPs were elected as UKIP MEPs; and they contrast to them Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert, politicians with integrity: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6410920.ece?Submitted=true

Monday, 1 June 2009

Buying back PFI hospitals could save £2.4 billion rent.

Research reveals ending Norwich hospital contract could save £217 million on rent.

A report by a Norfolk based economist today revealed new evidence showing the staggering true cost, to the NHS and taxpayers, of a Norwich hospital financed under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

Dr Chris Edwards, an economist and a Senior Fellow at the University of East Anglia, today called for the PFI contract of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to be bought out by the government to save taxpayers £217 million pounds. The hospital is currently due to cost more than £800 million in rent to the first break point in the PFI contract in 2037.

Dr Edwards today published the final report of his research, conducted over the last five years, into the funding of PFI financed hospitals, with particular reference to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), one of the earliest and biggest of the PFI hospitals.

Dr Edwards's research revealed:
  • How the NNUH PFI contract should still be bought out, despite a £300 million penalty clause, as this would anyway save £217 million.
  • The £1 million a year extra payments which NHS Norfolk, the local primary care trust, is making for private beds in private hospitals, because the NNUH is too small to cope with demand. The NNUH was designed with lower capacity than the two hospitals it replaced so that the PFI deal appeared to be more 'affordable '.
  • How inflated figures for possible construction overrun costs - if the hospital had been publicly financed - helped to create a false case for PFI funding.
The report's findings also include:
  • The cost of the rent of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to the NHS and UK taxpayers is currently £18 million a year more than it would have been if the project had been publicly, instead of privately, funded. 
  • Around £823 million (at 2007 prices) is still to be paid in rent up to the end of the contract in 2037; this is for a hospital, the basic construction cost of which, in the 1990s, was £159 million.
  • Shareholders in the company financing the NNUH, Octagon Healthcare, invested just over a million pounds (£1.3 million) up to December 1998 but within five years had made more than £100 million in profits and had received £11 million in dividends.
The latest findings add further weight to the case against using PFIs to fund public utilities - and raise questions about the backing which Labour and Conservative parties gave to the principle of using PFIs for such purposes.

Dr Edwards challenged Prime Minister Gordon Brown to buy out the NNUH PFI, and called on health secretary Alan Johnson MP to back him. He also challenged Tory leader David Cameron to promise to abandon support for PFI.


Dr Edwards said:

'Taxpayers could save £217 million if the PFI at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is bought out. It has been an incredibly profligate way of funding an undersized hospital at great cost to the public, providing massive, excessive profit to the private sector.

'Buying a hospital on PFI is like buying a house on your credit card.

'There is every reason to suppose that the NNUH is not unique, given that the private sector's cost of capital is double that of the public sector.
An estimate, based on rent paid by other PFI hospitals in England, suggests as much as £2.4 billions rent could be saved if all English hospital PFIs were bought out.

'The PFI is an initiative often justified by the objective of keeping the ratio of public sector debt-to-GNP below 40%. It is ironic this is an objective now rendered irrelevant by the current economic crisis, brought about by the same incompetent government which promoted PFI. In fact, of course, in the longer term such PFIs will have contributed to increasing public debt.'

'PFI is this great financial scandal of our times and it makes the expense abuses of some MPs look like peanuts. '

Official complaint as polls contradict Lib-Dems' claims

Eastern region Greens issue formal complaint to Euro election returning officer

The Green Party in the Eastern region is issuing a formal complaint to the European Elections returning officer about the Lib-Dem party's conduct in the European election campaign.

The complaint centres on false claims in a Lib-Dem leaflet that the Green Party has 'no chance' of getting enough votes in the eastern region to elect a Green MEP.

This claim contradicts evidence in several recent independent opinion polls which suggest the Green Party is on its way to winning it first Green MEP in the region and several more nationally.

THE POLLS:

An ICM poll, in the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, May 31, records the Greens likely to win 11% of the vote and EIGHT seats at the European elections on June 4th. The party currently has 2 MEPs in the South East and London. http://tinyurl.com/mhw256

The poll puts the "resurgent" Greens on 11% - and ahead of UKIP on 10%.

The ICM poll comes hot on the heels of a Populus poll in the Times giving the Greens 10%.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/times-poll-predicts-election-humiliation-for-labour-party_100198723.html

A Green Party spokesperson said:

'In total, SIX polls in the last 2 weeks have consistently predicted the Greens will receive between 9% and 11% of the national vote share for the European elections, enough to make several gains and enough to elect a Green MEP in the Eastern region.

'This Lib-dem assertion is patently untrue, cannot be substantiated and contradicts all the recent opinion polls. I doubt that the party is not looking at polling information - so this is a simple attempt to mislead the public using a falsehood. Such cynical tactics will not restore public confidence in politics.

'The Green Party will just continue to state its case and let the public decide. It's the voters who decide the result - not the LibDems!'

About Norwich Green Party

  • It has 13 Norwich City Councillors (Labour 15, Lib-Dems 6 Tories 5)
  • It has 2 Norfolk County Councillors serving Norwich county wards and a strong chance of making gains on 4th June.
  • Norwich City Council Green Party group leader, Councillor Adrian Ramsay, is the Green Party's national Deputy Leader and GP's Parliamentary Candidate for the Norwich South constituency in the next General Election.
    In the 2008 Norwich City Council elections, the Green Party secured the greatest % of votes cast in the Norwich South area - and can win the Norwich South Parliamentary seat in the next General Election.
  • Norwich City Councillor Rupert Read is the GP's lead candidate in the Eastern Region, for the European Elections. As there are seven seats and a proportional representation system, he needs about 10% of the vote to be elected.
  • http://www.greenparty.org.uk/region/easternregion/euro-elections-2009.html

Greens closing in on East Euro seat

From East Anglian Daily Times

THE Green Party is entering the final days of campaigning for the European Parliament in the firm belief that they will poll enough votes to get an MEP elected for the East of England.

Under the list system of proportional representation used for elections to Brussels, the Greens will need around 9% of the total for their lead candidate Dr Rupert Read to win a seat representing Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

In 2004, they polled 5.6% in the East, but the party believes that voters furious with Westminster MPs will give their backing to the Greens.

In its manifesto, the party promises to turn the Eastern region into a renewable energy heartland, creating lots of new green jobs in the region in the process and to achieve an international agreement on dangerous climate change.

The Greens say they will divert much of the substantial EU transport budget money away from out-of-date road-building schemes, and instead invest it into making public transport better and more affordable for all.

They pledge to clean up politics and restore the reputation “of those of us who are honest statesmen, rather than crooks,” says Dr Read.

“The three old Parties have been badly tarnished by the Westminster scandals, and some UKIP MEPs have been caught out - Green politics, by contrast, is clean politics.”

Dr Read says: “We are getting an excellent reception around the region. The expenses scandal appears to have sent the three main parties to ground - we hear that some of their canvassers are getting a roasting on the doorsteps!”

In the 1999 and 2004 elections, two Green MEPs were elected, one for London and the other for the South East region. The party has also won a number of seats on local councils and are hoping to pick up county council seats in Suffolk and Essex in the elections to be held on June 4, the same day as the European poll.

How many dodgy Parliamentarians?: A breakdown, across the five main Parties at this election

The MPs' expenses scandal has rocked the foundations of the political establishment at Westminster and shed light on further expenses claims made by MEPs at Brussels.  

We in the Green Party here in Eastern Region have made a Clean Campaign Pledge ( http://www.clean-campaign-pledge.net/ ) because we are angry at the extent of the corruption exposed by the Daily Telegraph, and one of our main aims in this election campaign and the next general election is to clean up politics.  But we don't just talk the talk - we walk the walk.  Using figures obtained by the Telegraph, we have calculated the percentage of Westminster MPs from the three main parties who have claimed or tried to claim unnecessary, extravagant or downright dishonest expenses for such items as duck islands, trouser presses and rent or mortgage payments for 'flipped' second homes:


Labour MPs - 134/350 = 38%
Conservatives MPs - 84/195 = 43%
Liberal Democrats MPs - 13/63 = 20%

Given that much of the media have played up the role of UKIP as the main beneficiaries of the expenses scandal, with voters who are rightly angry at their MPs seeking to punish them, we have also calculated the percentage of UKIP MEPs who have been convicted of fraud or apparently confessed to it, or who have claimed a staggering amount of expenses despite having very poor attendance records at the European Parliament and voting 'no' to all legislation regardless of the potential benefit to the UK.  Compare this to the percentage of Green MEPs who have abused the expenses system or been convicted of fraud:

UKIP MEPs - 3/12 = 25% [This is a very conservative estimate; a full
Telegraph-style investigation of UKIP MEPs would be extremely useful...]
Green MEPs - 0/2 = 0%

The choice is clear.  Whilst all other parties fall over each other claiming to want to fix the broken system,
the Green Party's record shows that we are the real choice for voters this Thursday who want to vote for cleaner politics.

Juniper: vote Green on Thursday

This election is coming down to a choice between UKIP/BNP on the one hand and the Green Party on the other. So many voters are deserting the main Parties, and rightly so. So the new battle of ideas is between little-Englandism, racism and climate-denial on the one hand, and internationalism, anti-racism and climate-care on the other. This is truly a choice for our times.
Check out Tony Juniper's new article on this choice: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/01/green-european-election

e-News...Hot Off The Press!

Rupert's Latest e-Newsletter is now available to read or download -
Simply click on the image below to access it!

Greens Could Quadruple Euro Seats on June 4th!

Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph predicted that the Green Party could win eight seats nationally - quadrupling our successes at the last Euro Elections!

This is only possible if we get the vote out so please, don't forget on June 4th!

Anything you can do to help in the meantime - displaying posters, donating your facebook status to the cause etc - would be a massive help!

Thanks everyone - the effort so far has been massive. Just 4 days to go...keep up the good work!

'Vote Green For Clean Politics Poster' (best printed on Green Paper!):

http://public.easterngreenparty.fastmail.fm/BW%20Clean%20Politics%20Poster.pdf
1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: June 2009 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.