Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Link to RR on Boris in _Time Out_

_Newsnight_ local election special -- Green Party on the up!

                    Theres a great sequence from Michael Crick on last night's Newsnight:
It starts with them saying there's apparently sign of the election in Reading;
then they find the Tories, who meet an ex-Tory voter who doesn't like Cameron, because he's too privileged;
then they go around with Labour, who talks to somone who won't vote for them, they try to argue for local issues but the bloke wants to use his vote to give 'Brown a kicking';
then they go round with the Lib Dems, who try to persuade somone to vote for him -- she says No: 'I'm making a statement and voting Green'. (The LibDem admits in his 'pitch' speech that the Green Party may well break through onto Reading Council, tomorrow.)
They said the only posters they could find were ours, Vote Green Party!
You can see it at
Click on Labour Battle for Reading
or someone has put it on you tube at
Newsnight didn't go looking for the Green Party at all -- ...but they sure as hell found us!

Sunday, 27 April 2008


From the Green Party

Observer backs
Siân 1, Ken 2 vote

In an historic first, the Observer has backed a Siân 1, Ken 2 vote on Thursday, the first time the party has had a broadsheet backing our election campaign:

"The party has already used its toehold on the London Assembly to wring green concessions worth millions of pounds out of the mayoral budget.

"A respectable score for Ms Berry, an intelligent and articulate advocate of her cause, would send a clear signal to whoever wins the mayoralty that London cares about environmental policy. It would also deprive the British National Party of fourth place, a small but notable step towards the mainstream."

Read the Observer leader

Greens best for business, say FSB

The Federation of Small Businesses' London Policy Unit has praised Siân Berry's policies as the most sympathetic to the needs of small enterprise in London.

In a mailing to all of the FSB's members in the capital, the Federation says:

"There is a strong case for saying that the Green candidate Siân Berry is most 'on message' with what we are saying, followed by Boris Johnson for the Conservatives, with Lib Dem Brian Paddick trailing in third place ahead of current Mayor Ken Livingstone."

Meanwhile, Siân has also launched Greens Mean Business, a website promoting Green businesses – showing she is ready to help make business greener is whatever practical ways she can.

FSB story
Greens mean Business launch

Green councillors will press for warm, affordable homes

Greens don't just want homes to be greener – they also want them to be available to everyone for rent at prices that everyone can afford.

That's why Peter Tatchell launched our warm, affordable homes policy on Friday, in Oxford, where he will be standing for parliament.

Green councillors are already leading the way on housing, in towns like Morpeth, where Greens have secured £200,000 for affordable housing, and Kirklees, where Greens have secured £143 million dedicated to bringing council housing up to a decent standard.

Read more about Greens and warm affordable homes

Find out about your local Green candidates

If you haven't already found out, you can check our full candidate list at

You can also watch our election video and other videos from the local campaign, and read about our key policy ideas for councils, like free insulation, free school meals and safer streets.

Join today
Donate - help us win
Get involved

Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Apology – Judith Lubbock

On Sunday 20 April 2008 an article was posted on this blog entitled “Judith Lubbock perjures herself again.”

Mrs. Lubbock has since contacted me to confirm that she has never perjured herself and requested I publish an apology for making such an allegation.

In the circumstances I am happy to confirm that it was wrong of me to falsely state that Mrs. Lubbock had perjured herself and I apologise unreservedly for making this allegation.

Cllr. Rupert Read.

Friday, 25 April 2008


Check out this link for a follow-up to my posts below, on Norwich's Post Offices and on the Greens fighting to save them.

One week til May 2!

I.e. Til the day after Polling Day... By which time to results will be in, the dice cast...

In terms of what will happen on election night (and some counts will go on during the following Friday[May 2]): I will be experimenting this year with communicating the results of key contests involving Greens across the Region (plus selected key results from around the country) as they emerge, directly. I will be doing this via 'Twitter', my new frequently-updated, mobile-phone-
based MICRO-BLOG, at . IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE THESE UPDATES (on your computer or on your mobile), THEN GO TO THIS SITE NOW AND SIGN UP to 'follow' updates from me.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Covering Israel-Palestine - The BBC's Double Standards

[Another excellent piece here from the people at Medialens, covering what
was an abysmally unbalanced piece of reporting from the BBC, where they
really missed the story, in their anxiety not to offend the Israeli embassy
and apologists for Israel in general who mount an effective 'media flak'
operation -- including even targetting this blog!]

_An Exchange With The BBC's Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen_
The media reported last week that at least 22 people, including five
Palestinian children, had been killed during Israeli 'incursions' into Gaza.
The Israeli military 'operations' were 'sparked' by a Hamas ambush that had
left three Israeli soldiers dead. Reporting followed the usual script that
Israel's state-of-the-art weaponry is deployed as 'retaliation' for
'militant' Palestinian attacks.
The latest deaths followed the killing in early March of over 120
Palestinians under a massive Israeli assault on Gaza. (See our Media Alerts:
'Israel's Illegal Assault on the Gaza "Prison"', March 3, 2008,; and
'Israeli Deaths Matter More', March 11, 2008,
One of last week's dead was a Reuters cameraman, a 23-year-old Palestinian,
killed by a shell fired from an Israeli tank he was filming. Few details
emerged of the other numerous victims of Israeli violence.
Media Lens emailed Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East editor:
"In the BBC's recent reports about the violence in Gaza, the only victim of
Israeli firepower that I can recall the BBC naming is Fadel Shana, the
Reuters cameraman.
"As you know, 22 people were killed, 5 of whom were children. Why are their
names not provided by the BBC? Where are the further details that tell us
something about them as individuals? Where are the interviews with their
grieving families?
"If logistical problems make it difficult to do this, shouldn't you explain
this clearly and prominently to your audience?
"Surely if 5 Israeli children had been killed, the BBC's news coverage
would have been significantly different." (Email, April 17, 2008)
Bowen responded on the same day:
To read the rest of this media alert, please go to:

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Another reason why 20's plenty

As I have argued in several previous posts, 20mph limits in residential
areas [which is Green Party policy] would _reduce_ carbon emissions,
because they would incentivise walking and cycling, the main barrier to
increases in which is fears over safety.
Furthermore, however, there is an additional crucial argument in favour
of 20mph limits:
Most cars hitting 30mph in residential areas will be doing so through
fast acceleration and deceleration, which is highly inefficient
fuel-wise. The argument in favour of 30mph rather than 20mph limits is
predicated upon tests of fuel-consumption WHEN DRIVING AT A CONSTANT
SPEED. But constant driving at 30mph in residential areas is very rare
[and when it happens, is rarely safe!]. Constant driving at 20mph is far
more plausible – and less fuel-inefficient than rapid acceleration and
Rupert Read
Green Party Councillor, Norwich, and Lead Candidate for Eastern Region for the Greens in the 2009 Euro-elections. Why not try my new BLOG, 'Rupert's Read':

See also [for my regular op-ed journalism]
I TWITTER. DO YOU? Check out my new frequently-updated, mobile-phone-based MICRO-BLOG, at

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Open letter to Carl Mayhew

Dear Carl;
   I always appreciated your independence of mind, while you were on Norwich City Council. It was good to see you not always following the LibDem Party line. Sometimes indeed voting with us while all the rest of your Group voted against us.
  That made it all the more disappointing to read your ill-advised letter in yesterday's Evening News. In your letter, you accused us of having a pact with Labour, here in Norwich.
   When I read that, I didn't know whether to laugh or to vomit. The idea that I would be seeking a pact with the Party [i.e. Labour] who for the last several months have been attacking me (as Transport Spokesperson for the Norwich Green Party) in my ward so maliciously and misleadingly that we are taking legal advice on how best to respond is laughable.
   And what was your evidence, Carl, for this alleged 'pact'? Your evidence was the mutual endorsements for 2nd preferences between Ken Livingstone and [Green Mayoral candidate] Sian Berry in London. Combined with the fact that I had expressed my support for those mutual endorsements for 2nd preferences, so as to avoid the nightmare scenario (to which the LibDems seem dangerously indifferent) of Boris Johnson winning the London Mayoral race. [See blog posts from earlier this month.]
  Pretty tenuous evidence. But, of course, it quickly disintegrates into being no evidence at all, as soon as one realises that the electoral system in London is different from that in Norwich. In the London Mayoral race, voters have a second preference. Here, they don't.
  So, there is no pact at all between Labour and Greens, even in London. All that Ken and Sian are doing is suggesting to their supporters that they trade 2nd preference votes,in order to keep Boris out. (I thought LibDems were supposed to like electoral systems that made things like that -- proportional representation etc. -- possible?!)
  So, Carl, we face the following unavoidable question: ...Either you are ignorant of the electoral system in London -- very unlikely (And, if you are ignorant of the London electoral system, then what the hell are you doing writing into the Evening News about it??).
  ...Or, you knew that what you were writing in your letter was systematically and deliberately misleading. Sadly, that seems much the more likely.
  What a shame, Carl, that your last act as a Councillor (N.B. Your standing down has made it far more likely that Labour will win Mile Cross this year -- maybe YOU are in a secret pact with Labour?!) should be to launch such a scurrilous and fake attack on the Green Party, pretending that we are in a pact with Labour, when nothing could be further from the truth.
  All this brings back with a strange sense of deja vu unpleasant memories of last year's erroneous claims by the LibDems (especially by Judith Lubbock) of there being... a pact between the Greens and Labour. See for a reminder of Hereward Cooke's apology to us last year for wrong claims in LibDem election literature that there was a Green-Labour pact in Norwich. Surely, Carl, we don't have to go through all this nonsense again? Do you want to end up forcing Brian Watkins [new LibDem Leader in Norwich] to make another apology in the Council Chamber, when your foolish words in the newspaper are shown up for the nonsense they are, as I have been showing them to be, here?
[Interesting fact: the LibDems and Labour have voted together in Norwich City Council during the last year more often than either Party has voted together with the Green Party... Ought we to conclude, Carl, that there is in fact a LibDem-Labour pact in Norwich?!]
Carl; you are better than this.
One of the reasons I admired you as a Councillor was your staunch support for decent treatment for non-human animals. This is an area where I agree with you 100%, and always have done - it is a key reason why I left the LibDems.... Carl, I wish you would consider the truth: That it is impossible to be in a Party that advocates neo-liberal economics (as your Party does), and actually achieve justice for non-human animals. Free trade rules etc. kill animals -- look at what has happened to dolphin and tuna, for instance, under the kind of trade rules that LibDems welcome. [See e.g. . And here are some interesting posts on the intimate connection between neoliberalism and animal suffering: ]
You will have gathered, Carl, that I am singularly unimpressed with your letter published in the Evening News yesterday. But I am impressed with you. And I believe that the things that you believe in can come to fruition... if you join us! I'll forgive you for falling in with those tempting LibDem ways of being utterly unscrupulous in an election campaign, if you vow to give them up, and come and join with us in the Green Party in working for a better future for all the creatures of this Earth.
There are now three (and probably more) former LibDem Councillors in Norwich who are backing the Green Party. Two of them, in fact, have joined us as members.
I wish you would do the same, Carl. And then we could forget about this whole sorry episode, and move on, together, on the same side.
The Green Party is the Party of the future. It was a long painful journey for me to realise that -- after I had spent 18 years working for the LibDems. I urge you, Carl, to think whether you really want to be in a Party whose main characteristics are opportunism and dirty tricks -- or in a clean and honest Party that actually has a chance of safeguarding the future of humans and animals alike.
The future's bright: the future's GREEN...
    Come on board, Carl! And all will be forgiven...
 Best wishes;

Friday, 18 April 2008

More on the 'congestion charge' scam - Comments from the Norfolk and Norwich Transport Action Group

Here are the first reactions of Denise Carlo, spokesperson for NNTAG, to the County Council's predictable yet still-appalling announcement today on their latestefforts to con the taxpayer out of money so as to fund their NDR project:

Denise said:

- Norfolk County Council never had any intention of introducing road pricing. Their intention from the outset was to use Government money for a road pricing study to do further work on the NDR. They should pay back the £250,000 study cost to central Government.

-  traffic in the city centre has fallen and conditions for pedestrians and bus users has improved as a result of the traffic management, bus, pedestrian and cycle improvements along St Stephens, Castle Meadow and Prince of Wales Road. We need more modest schemes of this kind and not an expensive road.  

- the early release of the report a month before the Cabinet meeting on 19 May is transparent political electioneering aimed at influencing the local elections on 1 May.   

- it's a bit rich to say that because a pricing scheme wouldn't generate that much revenue, building the NDR at a cost of _£116m_ is better value!

   p.s. Here is the EDP's article on this matter, this morning:

Norwich congestion charge project a sham

Greens condemn Norwich congestion charge project as a sham


·        TIF project was just a 'wheeze' to develop the NDR


Green Councillors today condemned the Conservative administration at County Hall for carrying out a sham study into congestion charging in the Norwich area.  They point out that Government funding intended for sustainable transport has been used to fund traffic modelling for the NDR and to falsely justify building the NDR. 


The Government itself rumbled Councils like Norfolk last year when they warned that Councils would not be able to use TIF funding for road building (see note 1).    


Green County Councillor Andrew Boswell said "We warned in 2006 that the TIF congestion charge project was a 'wheeze' for the Council to do modelling work to justify the Northern Distributor Road.  We have been proved right. It is a disgrace that Government money intended to promote sustainable transport has been used to help develop an old-fashioned road-building project.  "


The Green Party key transport policies for Norwich are:

·        A massive improvement in public transport with a Quality Bus Contract (QBC) to hugely improve Norwich's bus services;   

·        A blanket 20mph speed limit on all urban residential roads, 30mph to remain on ring roads and key radial routes;

·        The completion of the Norwich Cycle Network, including more cycle friendly infrastructure;

·        Greater pedestrian-only areas in the city centre.


Councillor Rupert Read, Norwich Green Party Transport spokesperson said "We would develop real sustainable transport solutions paid for by the cancellation of the white elephant 'Northern Distributor Road'.  20mph limits, a Quality Bus Contract with greater funding, and a complete cycle network would transform the city -  making it much more pleasant and viable for those on foot and on bike, and making public transport in Norwich affordable again. It is a great shame moreover that the County Council has wasted time and money on this pointless TIF study when they could have been spending that time and money instead on improvements to public transport which by now they could and should have put in place. "


Further Information:


1.  The House of Commons Transport Committee carried out a complete study on TIF.  After interviewing Government ministers, they made this statement (176) in the final report at: – with Norfolk being specifically mentioned.

'We urge the DfT to be vigilant in preventing opportunistic attempts to access Congestion TIF funds to support long-standing, controversial and expensive road building programmes'


2.      Norwich Green Party warned that Norfolk County Council was considering congestion charging project merely to fund modeling of the NDR as early as July 18th 2006:



Thursday, 17 April 2008

Green Party: Funding gap makes Norwich 'growth' targets unachievable


Green Party calls for plans for Norwich's expansion into the countryside to be radically scaled-back

Green Councillors in Norwich have challenged the Government's plans to build 33,000 new homes in and around the city by 2021. With an estimated infrastructure funding gap of around £400million, the Green Party is calling on Norwich City Council to tell the Government that the housing targets cannot be met.

An estimated £650million of infrastructure funding will be needed to support the proposed level of housing development growth and the target is
unlikely to be met. Developers would be asked to contribute between £25,000 and £27,000 per house built, which would only generate £165 million.
This has
created a funding gap of at least £380 million, and possibly as much as £485 million.
It seems increasingly unlikely that the Government will supply the rest of the money, as an initial bid from the local councils for £90million only attracted a £12million Government contribution.
Cllr. Rupert Read, Euro-election lead candidate for Eastern Region Green Party, said "This funding shortfall is extremely disturbing. Who will foot the bill? The Green Party will categorically oppose any effort to foist this bill onto Council-Tax-payers."
City Council Leader Steve Morphew also recently admitted that much of the development would be on greenfield sites if the housing targets are to be met.

Funding gap makes Norwich 'growth' targets unachievable
Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Co-ordinator of the Green Party Group on Norwich City Council said: "Greenfield sites outside of the city and open spaces within the city could be affected by the Government's plans for major housing development. This is very worrying. I don't think the plans for this level of housing growth are desirable but the recent news on infrastucture funding suggests that they are not achieveable either.
"Huge amounts of Council officer time are going into the so-called 'growth agenda'. This is a waste of resources. It is time for the City Council to stand up to the Government over these over-the-top housing targets and for the City Council to instead concentrate on securing much smaller-scale housing development that is affordable and of a high environmental standard - and not on greenfield sites or sites that are important for wildlife."
Cllr. Ramsay concluded: "Given the funding shortfall, the Green Party says that the best solution is simply that these development plans should be cancelled, or at least radically scaled-back, now. We are the only party going into this local election with such a clear position, willing to stand up to the Government. Labour and LibDem Councillors have increasingly encouraged the massive housing growth targets. It is time for the Council to challenge them - and only Green Councillors will do that."

Councillor Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich South
07940 930465
Councillor Rupert Read, Norfolk Green Party Press Officer
(01603) 219294 / 592079 


Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bite This, Boris - RR, and others, in the New Statesman.

Your 31 March cover story ("Is Boris faking it? The makeover of a candidate") asks: "Who is Boris Johnson?" I went to Balliol with Boris, studying philosophy with him there and working with him at the Oxford Union, and I have touched base with him off and on in the years since.
What your story mostly misses is Boris's ruthlessness (as well as opportunism) as a politician. Much of what he does, if my experience is anything to go by, is very calculated. His self-presentation as slightly buffoon-like is largely deliberate. He does what he thinks will bring him publicity and affection. And he is not at all averse to deceiving people in the process. For example: at Oxford, when I was president of the university Social Democratic Club, Boris sometimes presented himself as sympathetic with the SDP in order to curry favour with sections of the student body. His self-presentation nowadays as green-leaning is a piece of equally opportunistic and calculated spin.

Rupert Read

Your cover story sold me last week's edition. Of course, Boris Johnson is a fake - a bonking comedian masquerading as a politician. His friendship with the fraudster Darius Guppy should be an indication of the sort of company he prefers. However, your exposé of his mendacity in fabricating a quotation from his historian godfather, Colin Lucas, which got him sacked from the Times, was news to me.
Johnson's lead in the polls for the London mayoral election despite his chronic laziness, as shown by his dismal voting record in the House of Commons, and his undistinguished track record as MP for Henley, shows how we may be sleepwalking into electing yet another incompetent liar into one of the most important jobs in the country.

Arthur O'Connor
Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey

Brian Cathcart's otherwise excellent account of Boris Johnson's disturbingly effective campaign to become Mayor of London omits one important factor: the use of the Evening Standard, London's only paid-for paper, as a propaganda sheet for Boris and against Ken Livingstone. This shameless silencing of alternative voices among the city's media would make Vladimir Putin or Silvio Berlusconi proud.

Julian Bell
Twickenham, Surrey

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Norwich Greenest city in the U.K. - again!

It has just been announced that, once again, Norwich has come top of the
list of Greenest places to live in the entire country, in the annual Local Life survey ( ). (Peterborough comes second.)
But why is this?
The answer can be found here:
 Note especially the following quote from this article:
 "It is thought that Peterborough, which has been an Environment City
 since 1993, missed out on first place
because, unlike Norwich, it does
 not boast any Green Party councillors.

"That could change after the May 1 elections, with a record nine Green
 candidates bidding for seats on Peterborough City Council..."




ITV - 18.25 || BBC - 18.55 || OR WATCH IT ONLINE, ANYTIME, at

The Green Party's visually stunning broadcast for the local elections
airs tonight at 18.25 on ITV and 18.55 on both BBC1 . The film,
produced by Contaminant Media and animated by sought-after Shroom
Studios, uses no actors; instead real people were invited to discuss
their concerns, making a compelling argument for Green solutions for a
more affordable and fairer society.
I've already watched the broadcast -- it is really something! Do watch and
share the link!

Little's Log: Norwich City Council: UEA Students need not apply

Little's Log: Norwich City Council: UEA Students need not apply
I am not usually the world's biggest fan of Tory Cllr. Antony Little, but in this post he is bang on the money. It is a disgrace that the LibDems in Eaton are whipping up anti-student prejudice in this election to try to hold onto this, their last 'safe' seat in the city.
The Green Party is standing a number of students for the Council this year in Norwich, and if elected they will make excellent Councillors, as did Adrian Ramsay (who was still at UEA when he got first elected to the Council.). For example, Ruth Makoff in my ward (Wensum) and Amandine Stone in University ward -- both highly-intelligent and hard-working candidates. It will be especially interesting to see what happens in Uni ward. 'The University ward Labour team' have in the past not been averse to student-bashing, in a 'populist' bid to win votes off campus. But Amandine seems so far to be winning quite a lot of Green votes both off AND on campus.
Perhaps those in the LibDems and Labour who bad-mouth student candidates for Council will have cause to regret doing so, at this election...

Only the Greens have defended the Post Offices, in Brussels and Westminster




 There is a 'Postal Services Directive' making its way through the EU legislative process at present that seeks to commercialise postal services. Labour, Lib Dem and Tory MEPs have all voted for it. The Directive will lead to post office closures
because it prevents governments subsidising any that are a public
service but not making much money.

 The only Party whose Euro-MPs have voted against this Directive is the Green Party.


Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said "It is unfortunate that the other Parties, though locally they say they are against Post Office closures, have national and international policies that point in precisely the opposite direction. It is MPs and MEPs from the three old Parties who are taking the very actions that are making post office closures in Norwich more likely."




On Friday 11 April, Charles Clarke MP was quoted in the EVENING NEWS as saying: "I strongly support the campaigns against the closures of Vauxhall Street and Rosary Road [Post Offices]."

This remark contrasts with his actual voting record in Parliament:

These sites show Charles Clarke's actual voting record on Post Offices. Mr. Clarke also spoke to a reporter at the EVENING NEWS on March 20th, as follows: "Mr. Clarke has distanced himself from criticising the cuts. He added: "I don't think closing branches is a bad thing."


Said Cllr. Rupert Read, Green MEP-candidate for Eastern Region: "Charles Clarke's record proves that he is NOT against the closure of post offices. We in Norwich Green Party say that Mr. Clarke has started misleading the public about his views on post offices, during the last week or so. It is extremely unfortunate that Mr Clarke is misleading the public about his stance on Post Offices for the sake of local popularity at election time."

Cllr. Read continued: "The only Party that can be trusted not to close Norwich Post Offices is the Green Party. Because we actually believe in local services. And the record of our MEPs on this shows the difference between us and other Parties, in this crucial respect."



Green, Green, Green!

A sensible grown-up post here by Kezia, on the London elections.

[London voters: Bear in mind how critically important it is to deliver a strong Green presence in the ASSEMBLY elections. We mustn't let the high-profile Mayoral race overshadow those.]

Kezia also discusses our Party Political Broadcast this evening – do tune in! 6.55pm, on BBC.


Monday, 14 April 2008

Wins are taking Greens to Westminster

Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay tell how close we really are to Westminster. Click here!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

A canvassing tale from Norwich

Eminent Cambridge Green Party blogger Jim Jepps blogs here on one of the spicier moments of his visit to Norwich this weekend, to help us win big on May 1st...
He is now sitting across the dining room table from me drinking a cup of tea and eating a biscuit; we've been prevented from canvassing further this afternoon by a sudden thunderstorm.
He tells me that his experience this afternoon and yesterday has convinced him that Norwich people are not, as had been led to believe, inveterately eccentric!


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Hansen: Climate target is not radical enough

[I don't often do this, but this piece is so important, and so needs to be widely read and understood...]
 Here is an article from the _Guardian_, from earlier this week:

Climate target is not radical enough - study

Nasa scientist warns the world must urgently make huge CO2 reductions

Monday April 7 2008


[ This article appeared in the Guardian on Monday April 07 2008 on p1 of the Top stories section. It was last updated at 01:21 on April 07 2008. ]

One of the world's leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem.

In a startling reappraisal of the threat, James Hansen, head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, calls for a sharp reduction in C02 limits.

Hansen says the EU target of 550 parts per million of C02 - the most stringent in the world - should be slashed to 350ppm. He argues the cut is needed if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed". A final version of the paper Hansen co-authored with eight other climate scientists, is posted today on the Archive website. Instead of using theoretical models to estimate the sensitivity of the climate, his team turned to evidence from the Earth's history, which they say gives a much more accurate picture.

The team studied core samples taken from the bottom of the ocean, which allow C02 levels to be tracked millions of years ago. They show that when the world began to glaciate at the start of the Ice age about 35m years ago, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere stood at about 450ppm.

"If you leave us at 450ppm for long enough it will probably melt all the ice - that's a sea rise of 75 metres. What we have found is that the target we have all been aiming for is a disaster - a guaranteed disaster," Hansen told the Guardian.

At levels as high as 550ppm, the world would warm by 6C, the paper finds. Previous estimates had suggested warming would be just 3C at that point.

Hansen has long been a prominent figure in climate change science. He was one of the first to bring the crisis to the world's attention in testimony to Congress in the 1980s.

But his relationship with the Bush administration has been frosty. In 2005 he accused the White House and Nasa of trying to censor him. He has steadily revised his analysis of the scale of the global warming and was himself one of the architects of a 450ppm target. But he told the Guardian: "I realise that was too high."

The fundamental reason for his reassessment was what he calls "slow feedback" mechanisms which are only now becoming fully understood. They amplify the rise in temperature caused by increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases. Ice and snow reflect sunlight but when they melt, they leave exposed ground which absorbs more heat.

As ice sheets recede, the warming effect is compounded. Satellite technology available over the past three years has shown that the ice sheets are melting much faster than expected, with Greenland and west Antarctica both losing mass.

Hansen said that he now regards as "implausible" the view of many climate scientists that the shrinking of the ice sheets would take thousands of years. "If we follow business as usual I can't see how west Antarctica could survive a century. We are talking about a sea-level rise of at least a couple of metres this century."

The revised target is likely to prompt criticism that he is setting the bar unrealistically high. With the US administration still acting as a drag on international efforts, climate campaigners are struggling even to get a 450ppm target to stick.

Hansen said his findings were not a recipe for despair. The good news, he said, is that reserves of fossil fuels have been exaggerated, so an alternative source of energy will have to be rapidly put in place in any case. Other measure could include a moratorium on coal power stations which would bring the C02 levels to below 400ppm.

Hansen's revised position will pile yet further pressure on Britain over plans to build a new generation of coal power stations. Last year he wrote to Gordon Brown urging him to block the first such power station; the Royal Society has made similar suggestions to the government.


Earth in crisis, warns NASA's top climate scientist
AFP - 4 hours ago
WILMINGTON, Delaware (AFP) — Global warming has plunged the planet into a crisis and the fossil fuel industries are trying to hide the extent of the problem ...


Climate target is guaranteed catastrophe
Guardian, UK - 10 hours ago
One of the world's leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon ...


NASA scientist presses US on climate
The News Journal, DE - Apr 6, 2008
By CRIS BARRISH • The News Journal • April 6, 2008 WILMINGTON -- To stem the spread of global warming, the public must pressure governments and power ...


New Focus on Coal's Part in Warming
Washington Post, United States - Apr 5, 2008
James E. Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute said nations could use less coal if energy efficiency got more attention. (By Melanie Patterson -- The Daily ...


Friday, 11 April 2008




"Local government should be local", say Greens.


With the Boundary Committee asking Councils in Norfolk to put forward revised conceptual models for unitary Councils across the county by today, Norwich and Norfolk Green Parties decided to restate their common position. [A version of this document has just been sent to the Boundary Commission, an hour ahead of their final deadline for comments from interested parties.]

The Green Party continues to support 'four and a half' unitaries for Norfolk:

Greater Norwich (covering the whole of the built-up area)

North Norfolk (covering the coast and the broads)

South Norfolk (taking in part of the current Breckland district)

West Norfolk (taking in part of the current Breckland district)

Yartoft (the urban areas of the current Yarmouth and Waveney districts).


However, if 'Yartoft' were ruled out, the Greens would then support four unitaries for Norfolk:

Greater Norwich (covering the whole of the built up area)

North Norfolk (covering the coast, including Yarmouth, and the broads)

South Norfolk (taking in part of the current Breckland district)

West Norfolk (taking in part of the current Breckland district)

Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Leader of the Green Party Group on Norwich City Council, said, "We believe that local government should be local. Anything less than four unitaries undermines any pretence of all of the people of Norfolk getting local government, and so we cannot see how that would be acceptable.

"We believe that four (or four and a half) unitaries is the position now being put forward by West Norfolk and South Norfolk Councils, so there is increasing support for it."

Cllr. Ramsay continued, "We do not support the idea of 3 unitaries for Norfolk because it would involve a South Norfolk Council that would run from King's Lynn to Loddon – this is far too wide an area to have any real local accountability or sense of identity.

"Needless to say we are also strongly opposed to the two unitary and one unitary (full county unitary) models, both which would create an absurdly large unitary authority. If the Boundary Committee is minded to propose either of these we would want to investigate keeping a two-tier arrangement in rural Norfolk but just introducing a unitary council for Greater Norwich as Norwich City Council originally suggested."

Cllr. Rupert Read, lead European elections candidate for Eastern Region Green Party, is also the Press Officer for Norfolk Green Party. He added: "Some recent discussions between the Boundary Committee and Norwich City Councillors have highlighted the need for the City Council to be clear on the reasons for unitary status for Norwich. It was suggested that if the city region concept and economic and housing growth are the prime motivators than that may be a reason for a larger boundary for the Greater Norwich Council. In our view, however, these have never been reasons for unitary status for Norwich. The key reasons for unitary status relate to local accountability and democracy and to the fact that urban Norwich has different needs to rural Norfolk. This reason points to a unitary council that covers the urban area and no more; and, indeed, we would argue that including rural areas in the new council would start to defeat the object of the exercise. Let the rural areas stay rural, and let Norwich have one Council to cover Norwich – the urban area – alone."

Norwich Green Party Manifesto Summary for May 1st elections!

Norwich City Council Elections, Thursday 1 May 2008

Green Party Manifesto Summary

Everywhere more and more people are realising the importance of tackling manmade climate change. People are looking to vote for political parties that don't just talk about the issue, but that will actually take the steps that are necessary if we want to provide a tolerable future (indeed a better future) for generations to come. Green Councillors in Norwich are already making an impact on the City Council's approach to reducing energy use and promoting renewable energy.

Candidates and councillors in Norwich Green Party want to initiate a real dialogue with the public about council policies. We want an open Council. We want to bridge the gap between council officers, councillors and citizens and ensure decisions are taken in a transparent and accountable way. A Green Council would:

  • Set up area committees with local budgets, where ward councillors have real power to influence what happens in their areas (whether they are from the ruling party or not) and where local people can come along and have their say.
  • Improve community engagement and provide 'neighbourhood plans' that everyone can see and contribute to.
  • Bring the services run by CityCare back 'in house' so that councillors can have more influence in ensuring that these services are run to the satisfaction of residents.

It should be a basic human right that everyone has decent housing. Council homes are crucial to this aim. Greens want to ensure they are properly maintained and keep them in public ownership. We want everyone to enjoy an excellent service and we need to be tough on enforcement for those that don't stick to the terms of their tenancy because of the effect this has on neighbours and future tenants. A Green Council would:

  • Inspect all Council homes and gardens annually, and ensure necessary support is provided for their upkeep.
  • Set up a specialised Void Property Team to deal with the problem of empty homes.
  • Build all new social housing in Norwich to a high environmental standard to help tackle fuel poverty and stop dangerous climate change (we would build to 'code for sustainable homes' level 4, reaching level 5 by 2012 and level 6 by 2016)
  • Require all new developments to include a high proportion of affordable housing (up to 50 per cent).

Norwich and the greater Norwich area could see massive development over the next twenty years with a Government target for 33,000 new homes. Greens believe that this level of housing growth is not sustainable and would have a devastating effect on the Norfolk countryside - by paving over a lot of it! With the Government failing to provide the money needed to fund the infrastructure necessary for this level of housing growth, the City Council should challenge the housing targets set. For any new developments that are built, a Green Council would:

  • Ensure energy efficiency and resource conservation statements are required for all new planning applications.
  • Prevent development on land with high levels of flood risk and land that is important wildlife habitat, such as immediately next to the riverbank.
  • Seek to set a tax for developers who delay in building on land after being given planning permission.

We would continue to invest in a truly comprehensive recycling scheme and would move the City towards Zero Waste. After the current roll-out of recycling facilities across the city is complete, many further improvements are still needed. A Green Council would:

  • Introduce doorstep collections of food waste, batteries and tetrapaks, in addition to the materials currently being collected (paper, glass, cans and - once new waste and recycling system is spread across the city - plastic bottles).
  • Support the reuse, repair and recycling of materials through a Resource Recovery Park.
  • Oppose all plans for incineration of waste.

Due to the energy and initiative of local people Norwich has a vibrant local economy with a high proportion of local and independent businesses. These help give Norwich a distinctive character and help ensure that local producers are supported. A Green Council would seek to enhance this area of the economy by:

  • Drawing up a 'Maximise Local' plan and supporting and expanding the 'Buy Local' campaign.
  • Considering factors such as local produce when allocating new market and street stalls.
  • Establishing more farmers' markets.

Anti Social Behaviour and vandalism are major problems for many Norwich residents. We will continue to work closely with PCSOs and Community Wardens in tackling the problems and encourage residents to participate in the Safer Neighbourhood Action Panels, which set the community policing priorities for each area of the city. A Green Council would:

  • Set up more friends groups for parks and allotment associations, to engage residents in the running of them.
  • Increase the number of allotment plots available in Norwich by bringing all of the unused 'un-lettable' plots back into use.
  • Ensure that trees are only ever felled as a last resort, introduce the regular management of all trees on public land and ensure that any trees that are felled are replaced the following planting season.

We want to provide reliable and sustainable transport to help reduce carbon emissions and avoid the social exclusion of those who don't have access to a car. Green Councillors will push for:

  • Reintroducing Council control over bus services to reduce fares and make routes reliable.
  • Making Westlegate and St Augustine's Street free from motorised transport to help create a cleaner and more pleasant and safe living, shopping and working environment.
  • Rapid investment in a 'Norwich Cycle Network'.
  • Road safety, including 20mph speed limits on residential streets, as a top funding priority.

Transport, waste disposal, education, social services and other important services are currently under the control of the County Council. The Green Party supports unitary status for Norwich so that decisions about these services are taken by councillors who are elected by Norwich residents and not the rural Conservatives who run County Hall. This election is likely to be the last one to the current City Council. Green City and County Councillors will work to ensure that the principles outlined in this manifesto are built into the development of the new unitary council from the outset.

At the 2007 local elections the Green Party was just one vote in one ward away from becoming the second party on the Council! This year, on 1st May, you can make a difference by voting Green and electing more Green Councillors to help build a Greener city.

[ To offer help with Norwich Green Party's election campaign, or if you have any questions, please contact us on (01603) 611909 or Wherever you live in the country, consider visiting us to help out!]

Charles Clarke's lies about Post Office closures

These sites prove that Charles Clarke is the last person in Norwich who one would trust to defend our Post Offices.

See also this remark of his from a recent article in the


Save our post offices

How closures will hit our communities

20 March 2008

MP Charles Clarke, whose constituency is Norwich South, has said he is keen to save post offices in his constituency when that is the best solution, but has distanced himself from criticising the cuts. He added: “I don't think closing branches is a bad thing.”

NOW: contrast these facts with Clarke's extraordinary remarks on the front page article of today's EVENING NEWS:

Charles Clarke, MP for Norwich South, said: “I strongly support the campaigns against the closures of Vauxhall Street and Rosary Road [Post Offices] and I'm glad that there is such a strong demonstration of support from people in Norwich.”

...We in Norwich Green Party say that Mr. Clarke is misleading the public. His record proves that he is NOT against the closure of post offices. He is, not to mince words, lieing about his views on Post Office closures, for the sake of local popularity at election time.

The only Party that can be trusted not to close Norwich Post Offices is the Green Party. We actually believe in local services. [It's called 'localisation': it's the opposite of globalisation.]

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Who Boris Johnson is

Further to my earlier post on this, a little more detail:
I went to Balliol with Boris, studying philosophy with him there and working with him at the Oxford Union, and I have touched base with him off and on in the years since. What most people who don't know him don't realise is Boris's ruthlessness (as well as opportunism) as a politician. Much of what Boris does, if my experience is anything to go by, is very calculated; his self-presentation as slightly buffoon-like is mostly deliberate. He does what he thinks will bring him publicity and affection. And he is not at all averse to deceiving people in the process. For example: At Oxford, I was [for my sins...] President of the O.U Social Democratic Club; Boris sometimes presented himself as sympathetic with the SDP in order to curry favour with sections of the student body . His self-presentation nowadays as green-leaning is, I fear, a piece of equally opportunistic and calculated spin.
  I hope that Londoners will vote Sian Berry 1, Ken Livingstone 2 on May 1st. A victory for Boris would yield a few laughs, but would be a dreadfully-regressive step back in time for our nation's capital city.
1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: April 2008 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.