Thursday, 29 January 2009


Media statement:
Green Party Councillors have been key figures in the several-year-struggle to stop Tesco from imposing its unsuitable store on Unthank Road, Norwich, a store that will damage local businesses and that presents real traffic safety and congestion hazards. Today, the news has broken that this struggle has been lost.
Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, local ward Councillor and Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said: "I'm extremely disappointed by this decision and by a planning process that allows a remote planning inspector from outside the area to overturn the democratic decision of local councillors and the wishes of the hundreds of local residents who have consistently written in to object to Tesco applications for this site. Local campaigners have managed to delay this Tesco by four years by getting the Council to repeatedly turn it down but it is very frustrating that it has now been given the go-ahead.
"I hope we use the strong feeling against a Tesco store to ensure that the local shops in the area are still supported but I'm concerned about the tricks Tesco often uses to undermine competitors. I'm also very concerned that this decision means more delivery lorries will be brought to an already busy and congested street."
Councillor Rupert Read, Green Party Prospective MEP for Eastern Region, added: "In the long run, this dreadful decision goes to show how urgent it is to get Greens into Westminster, so that we can get the planning laws changed that at present allow Tesco to prevail over what are very clearly the wishes of local residents."


Gaza public meeting - I will be speaking at this event

Public Meeting: Palestine Justice And The Key To Peace, Thursday, Feb. 5th 2009, 7pm, Friends Meeting House


  • Ian Gibson MP
  • Joni McDougall (GMB International Officer and National PSC Committee Member)
  • Lesley Grahame (Norfolk Jewish Peace Group)
  • Mohammad Aburdaini (Palestinian student and survivor of Shattilah Massacre)
  • Karen Mitchell (Thompsons Solicitors)
  • Rupert Read ( Norwich Green Party Councillor and Prospective European Parliamentary Candidate)
  • a National STWC speaker


  • Keith Rowley (Convenor, Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Frank Stone (Convenor, Norwich Stop the War Coalition)

More info: contact Keith 01630 618704 or Frank 01493 664499

Arranged, supported and sponsored by Norwich PSC, Norwich STWC and GMB Norwich General Branch

Image:NorwichStopTheWarCoalition.jpg More information from: or Image:psc_logo.jpg

Greens Deplore Court Decision to Sacrifice Thurrock Nature Refuge - Press Statement from Eastern Region Green Party


The Court of Appeal's decision yesterday (28th January) to confirm Thurrock Development Corporation's approval of a major development on West Thurrock Marshes leaves the insect wildlife charity Buglife with a £30,000 bill. The decision hinged on a letter effectively supporting the development from the Government's own 'conservation' agency, Natural England.
Cllr. Rupert Read, the Green Party's Prospective MEP for Eastern Region (which includes Thurrock) has for the last year, along with other Green Party members who have attended the court proceedings, been a consistent advocate of saving this refuge for insect and other wildlife.
Cllr. Read said
"This decision comes at a crucial time in the urgent struggle to help society understand better how many of its day-to-day decisions are undermining the world in which we are living, and life on Earth. Human life on Earth and its wealth-creation activities must be founded on much more secure resources and decisions, resources and decisions that can be sustained. It is not sustainable for us to keep destroying havens for nature in our Region.
With the multiplying environmental crises now affecting the planet, it is absolutely vital that urgent new ways are introduced to assess the consequences of prospective development decisions and activities.
"Business as usual" will only store up more serious problems: dangerous climate change, resource depletion, ecological damage and over-crowding, and lowering of people's quality of life. Instead, we need to be looking for economic-environmental 'win-wins', such as our own 'Green New Deal proposals.
The Appeal Court decision is yet another wake-up call for everyone who cares about the future of human and animal life on Earth."


Candidate inspired by land and homes

(Originally published in BuryFreePress)
Green Party European Parliamentary candidate Rupert Read has spoken of the need for more investment in affordable housing and renewable energy in Mid Suffolk.
The Eastern region lead candidate for 2009 toured the region with Green Party councillors on Friday, to discuss issues affecting the district.

During the visit, he was shown affordable housing projects in Wickham Skeith, Elmswell and Barham, which Green Party district councillors have been instrumental in.

He also met developer Gipping Homes to discuss the need for sustainable building.

Mr Read said: "To see affordable homes going up in these rural areas, particularly eco-homes, is hugely impressive. This is absolutely the way we have to build in the future – in a way that reduces Co2 and lowers energy bills."

But he said it was vital the Government continued to invest in this type of housing to prevent the economy collapsing.

He said: "People involved in these developments are very concerned about the impact of the economic downturn, which is why we need Government investment to ensure we stabilise the economy and stop a big recession."

He added 'excessive and inappropriate' housing, like luxury flats and large houses, needed to be reined in.

"What we need are genuine affordable homes to allow local people to stay in the area they are from," he said.

Mr Read also visited Carter's Meadow Community Woodland, in Cotton – an area of land donated to the village.

With the help of ward councillor Andrew Stringer, the wood has been transformed with wild flowers, bat and bird boxes, a pond, a 'Wood Henge' and sculpture.

Mr Read said it was inspiring to see Cotton being developed in this way.

Speaking about the coming elections, he added: "I would like to have the chance to fight for the best interests of the eastern region and I hope people will give the Greens a fair crack of the whip."

Latest Campaign Video - Rupert Read on Banks

Greens to visit Southend Saturday 31st January

The Eastern Region Green Party campaign team for the June European Elections will visit Southend on Saturday 31st January. I will be joining colleagues for the day as part of the next leg of my "listening tour" of the region which aims to listen to the views and experiences of constituents, to be able to help them more effectively when elected.

We will be meeting people in Southend High Street and elsewhere in the area.

Many people feel they are not being listened to by politicians. We want to show the Greens do want to listen. I hope to learn from this continuing 'tour' about the aspirations and concerns of people all over this great and diverse area from Peterborough to Southend, and from Hemel Hempstead to Great Yarmouth … especially, I hope to hear of people's experiences of the financial crisis and of the rising cost of living.

The Government and Southend Council could be responding to the economic slump by doing more to promote green jobs - jobs in small businesses, public transport and investing in green measures such as home insulation. We would also like to see empty shops rented out to locally based small businesses - that would provide desperately needed jobs, stimulating the economy without harming the environment.

One of the key concerns we have already heard about from local people is the level of development in Southend. Whilst it is right that towns need regeneration and affordable housing, this should be done on brownfield sites whenever possible. Green Councillors have consistently opposed overdevelopment, loss of greenbelt and building over gardens.


Please check out some of these links to my recent euro election campaign media:

Campaign videos:

Radio interview on euro elections + PR:

Article in a major German magazine 'Business Spotlight' on why it's time for true bank nationalisation:



More Pics From My 10 Day Tour!

Images, clockwise from top-left:
Me and Mark Ereira, our new recruit in Bury St Edmunds.
With Peter Lynn, fellow Green Party Euro List Candidate.
All Euro candidates at the regional meeting in Winenhoe.
In Ipswich with our parliamentary candidate Tim Glover.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Suspend EU-Israel Trade Association Agreement! Petition

Keep the pressure up on Israel: join me in signing this petition!
Israel shouldn't be given preferential trade by the E.U. while it illegally
occupies Palestine...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

A Green New Deal

Jim Jepps and Rupert Read say the UK needs a ‘Green New Deal’ to tackle the ’triple crunch’ of credit, oil prices and climate change. (first appeared in Red Pepper)

In the 1930s, the world endured a grim economic depression. In the US, F D Roosevelt pioneered the way out with the New Deal, which helped stabilise the financial system and refloated the economy. We face the same kind of economic problems today but with added ecological threats. The age of cheap, plentiful oil is ending and we cannot simply invest in polluting factories, massive dams, boondoggle transport projects as FDR’s government did then.

If there is to be a new New Deal, it has to be a Green New Deal, which is exactly what a distinguished group of environmentalists and economists, including Andrew Simms, of the New Economics Foundation; Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth; Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian and Green party leader Caroline Lucas MEP, propose.

Drawing inspiration from Roosevelt, the Green New Deal group calls for:

Capital flows to be regulated. The power to fix interest rates and the exchange rate to be restored to elected, sovereign governments. Crucially, this means exchange controls must return.
Publicly accountable central banks to be free to inject debt-free money into the economy and keep the cost of borrowing low (so that loan expenditure projects can be easily financed).
Resources to create jobs, in part by filling tax loopholes and closing tax havens.
A new global and independent central bank to be established. Based on Keynes’s proposal for a global bank (called the International Clearing Union), it will manage and stabilise trade between countries, create a trading currency and a reserve asset that is neutral between countries (perhaps one based on carbon). In short: We need a new Bretton Woods settlement.
Creating a carbon army
Brown talks of jobs in building a successor to the Trident nuclear missile system. But such jobs would be capital-intensive (not to mention potentially a war-crime), what we now have a ‘glut’ of is labour, not capital.

The first thing that a Green New Deal must mean is good, secure, green jobs (see Jean Lambert’s Green jobs to beat recession). We need a ‘carbon army’ of highly skilled green-collar workers, so money is needed for retraining as well as new tranches of public transport investment and to make working on the land more sustainable and localised. By capitalising on economies of scale, the UK could rapidly become a world leader in cheap, eco-friendly energy – not just wind, but tidal, solar and other forms of renewables.

But can government really lead a relocalisation of our economy and society? Yes – in fact, only government can do this. We can have a centralised drive to create the tools for localised solutions. Micro energy production and decentralised district heating systems make sense but require big investment and co-ordination from the centre.

We should incentivise localities to welcome renewable energy’s gift of greater security of supply – perhaps by reducing tariffs in areas that adopt rather than reject wind, wave or tidal power schemes. This works from both the radical left and any mainstream political perspective. We’d be crazy not to pursue an avenue that can become the political consensus.

Currently British manufacturers produce few if any wind turbines, and planning regulations make the whole process of moving to a low carbon economy unnecessarily expensive and time consuming. Gearing the country towards independence from fossil fuels does two things at once. It helps cut our environmental impact and distances us from the instability of international fuel prices and markets. This will help us become a more sustainable and resilient economy in every sense.

It is imperative to ensure this unexpected, if welcome, Keynesian consensus is not squandered. This requires government intervention, so let’s make sure it’s the right intervention.

No taxation without representation
The globalised finance system that we now have would have been repugnant to Keynes, who wanted finance and capital kept national - and thus under democratic oversight.

We need systemic reform of the banking system but reforms alone will never secure long-term safety, because after a while a privatised banking system will start agitating to strip away and circumvent the protections and regulations. Instead, we need a banking system consisting of a large public sector, democratically directed toward a sustainable economy that supports businesses in the real economy, with low interest rates, plus a large network of co-ops, mutuals and credit unions.

A key principle that must govern any just response to the financial crisis is no taxation without representation. If we the people are to put billions of pounds of our money into guaranteeing the banks, then we need to be able to exert real control over those banks to change their behaviour.

It’s a scandal, for example, that Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley are repossessing more homes than their private competitors. If our money is to keep them afloat, let’s demand that that these building societies act for the public good, rather than simply aping commercial concerns. In the longer term, they should be remutualised.

It’s time for a great leap forward in our ability to weather the vast triple threat of dangerous climate change, peak oil and the financial crisis. In our view, putting the banks under public control is a logical conclusion of the urgently needed Green New Deal proposals.

Jim Jepps blogs at the Daily (Maybe) and Rupert Read is one of the 15 Green Party councillors in Norwich and prospective MEP for Eastern Region

Monday, 26 January 2009

For a public Royal Mail!

At the next Full Council meeting of Norwich City Council tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27 Jan.),

I will propose a motion asking Norwich City Council to

support the campaign for a publicly owned modern Royal Mail.

In 2008, Green Party City Councillors campaigned against the closures
of Post Offices in Vauxhall Street, Rosary Road, North Earlham, New
Costessey and Trowse.


This campaign is a campaign deserving strong support from everyone

who cares about the preservation of local communities. Last year we saw how willing the

government was to let Post Offices close, further abandoning communities across Norwich. I fear that a
privatised Royal Mail will seek to cut costs by putting
yet more pressure on local Post Offices, leading to further closures.

The motion states that a publicly-owned service is the best way to
serve the population of Norwich and to safeguard jobs in a time of

The government has a real opportunity to
modernise Royal Mail and to provide services at a local level, but
instead they have opted for a quick and nasty privatisation. This is a
move in the wrong direction, and is especially ironic when you notice

that the government is in the process of nationalising most of Britain's banks. . .


As we have seen before, privatisation is a
false economy which will lead to higher prices and poorer services.



Bring Railways in to Public Ownership, Greens will say at tomorrow evening's Council meeting! [Media release]

Green Councillor Samir Jeraj will propose a motion at the 27 January
meeting of Norwich City Council calling for the Council to back a
campaign to bring the railways back into public ownership. This comes
at the same time as the franchised rail services being provided by
National Express have started to cut jobs in Norwich.

Councillor Jeraj said: "It is deeply concerning that National Express
are cutting jobs. It's common sense to see that the quality of service
will be dramatically affected by this."

"Instead of running the railways for profit, every pound of income
should be reinvested to improve the service and keep fares down.
Last year, National Express announced pre-tax profits of
£90 million, a rise of 9%."

"Rather than seeking ways to carry on with a failed system of private
ownership, we should be looking to create a system of public ownership
which puts tax payers and rail users in control of railway services."

"Rail renationalisation also needs to be combined with localisation.
An example of this would be for train lines such as the Wherry and
Bittern Lines to be owned and managed by a cooperative made up of its


Cllr. Rupert Read, Green Party Transport Spokesman and prospective Green
Party MEP for East Anglia, who will be seconding the motion, added: "There
has been a lot of talk about 'joined-up government'. Well, it is high time
for joined-up railway services in this county and this country -- and that
means it is just common sense to renationalise the railways. After all,
what's good enough for the banks is good enough for the railways!"

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A Hunger For Peace


The recent critically-acclaimed film Hunger brought home powerfully to many of us the brutality of the regime that faced republican hunger-strikers in Northern Irish prisons back in 1981. Fast forward a generation: who in the early 1980s would have thought that Northern Ireland would now (in 2009) be at peace?

I was a witness to one small part of the earliest stages of that real-life drama, the drama of the Northern Irish peace process.

Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, first rose to prominence as a result of the hunger-strikes recently dramatized in Hunger. He was elected an MP in 1983, but refused to take his seat in the House of Commons, because he did not accept the legitimacy of British rule over Northern Ireland. In 1984, he was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt by 'ultra-loyalists'. In 1987, while I was in my last year studying at Oxford, he was invited by my friend Simon Stevens, then President of the Oxford Union, to speak in a major debate over 'terrorism'.

The invitation was extremely controversial. Adams had only recently been allowed onto British soil at all, being considered persona non grata by Thatcher's government. This was to be his first major speech in Britain as an MP and Sinn Fein’s Leader. Many did not want the visit to go ahead.

I helped Simon work on ensuring the visit could successfully happen after all. I vividly recall several phone calls discussing the arrangements, during which we heard various clicking noises on the phone – phone-tapping was a less sophisticated operation, in those days…

Simon had to go through a great deal more, to get things straightened out. He was taken to secret meetings with Sinn Fein officials in safe locations; so fearful were they for the safety of their leader after what had happened to him a few years before.

Before the Oxford Union debate, I met Gerry Adams, and noticed the way he walked, still affected by the bullet lodged in his body. At dinner, I sat beside one of his bodyguards, a man from a background so different from my own, that, by the end of the meal, I felt I could start to understand why someone might take as hard-line a position on the possible use of violence - as a means of resisting what they saw as an occupation - as he and Adams did.

The debate was a little landmark, an early public moment in the slow journey towards negotiations and then, after a decade, peace.

Why rehearse this history? Because my mind is on the terrible conflict in Palestine / Israel. Ireland was colonially occupied by British people, much as Palestine was colonially occupied last century by Jewish (now Israeli) people – therein lies the root of the trouble(s). Decades of violence however seem hopefully to have come to an end in Northern Ireland; not so in Palestine / Israel. Might one dare to hope that, if we fast forward a generation, there could be peace there, too?

But first, there must be a real peace process. That means, for starters, that we all have to be willing to talk to Hamas, the democratically-elected government of Palestine. The Israelis say they will not speak with Hamas until Hamas recognises Israel. But why should Hamas recognise Israel, when Israel occupies Palestine and will not recognise Palestine as a state?

To overcome this mad impasse, it is necessary to talk. If there is ever to be a 'Good Friday Agreement' in Israel / Palestine, then the US, UK, EU and Israel must be prepared to talk with Hamas. After all, if our government is willing to parler with Israel, which has just killed a thousand Palestinians, then should it not be prepared to parler with Hamas, too? Let's hope that Obama sees sense on this and agrees to open up a dialogue with Hamas.

Hamas are allegedly 'terrorists', Israel allegedly not. But: were not the IRA terrorists? Hamas are the elected government of Palestine. After Adams and some of his colleagues were elected, we talked with them. And we talked even with the IRA, who were never elected by anyone.

If there is to be peace in the Middle East, there needs to be enough hunger for it that one is prepared to parler with people who one doesn’t much like. Even with people who kill civilians. As Israel has cruelly killed many hundreds of civilians, in Gaza, in the last month. The dozens of police officers it has killed: civilians. The people sheltering in schools and basements that it has killed: civilians. The hundreds of young children it has killed: civilians…

Friday, 23 January 2009

Some more pictures from my ten day tour of Eastern Region

With Tony Juniper (former director of Friends of the Earth), the Green Party Candidate for Cambridge.

On the campaign trail in Hitchin town centre.

In Bury St. Edmonds with our latest defector from Labour, Cllr. Mark Ereira, and John Matthissen.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tony Juniper selected as Green Party General Election candidate for Cambridge

Radiohead star Thom Yorke backs Juniper to be "a great Green Party MP"

The Green Party today announces that Tony Juniper, recent Director of Friends of the Earth, has been selected as General Election candidate for Cambridge. There will be a press launch at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, starting at 11.30am Wednesday 21st January (please see below for further details).

Tony Juniper has lived in the city for 20 years and has campaigned on green issues for more than 25 years. As Campaigns Director and later Director of Friends of the Earth he led many successful initiatives on a wide range of issues from wildlife protection to organic food and from recycling to fuel poverty. He stepped down from leading Friends of the Earth in July 2008 following the success of the Big Ask campaign which led to the world's first national legislation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions - the 2008 Climate Change Act.

Tony Juniper said

"More and more people can see that if we want a sound economy, a fair society and a secure environment, then we need to make important changes. The Green Party is alone in having a manifesto which shows how these changes can be made through due democratic process while at the same time reducing global inequality. The current economic downturn offers great opportunities to put forward the Green agenda.

I have spent many years influencing politics through campaigning and realise the crucial importance of entering the parliamentary arena. Not only have I seen at first-hand what needs to be done, but I have already spearheaded initiatives that changed legislation through enlisting the support of tens of thousands of citizens.

The incredible research and technology capacity we already have here in Cambridge can be used to help build a truly green economy. This is already beginning to happen in other countries and we are lagging behind. I want to ensure that Cambridge is at the forefront of this new global green revolution. By electing one of the UK's first Green MPs, Cambridge can be certain of playing its part."

Juniper,s selection has been welcomed by Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead, who worked with him from 2005 to secure the world's first national law on climate change.

Thom Yorke said

"Tony Juniper has amazing energy and enthusiasm which inspires those around him, including me. He speaks a language that even I can understand when it comes to green issues and I have spent many evenings learning more from him than I can ever learn from books. Most importantly he has a keen understanding of how to change our political future from the inside without compromise, and has accumulated the most breathtaking amount of experience as head of Friends of the Earth UK. He would make a great Green Party MP, our country need people like him as the environment becomes central to UK politics."

Cambridge's Green Party City Councillor, Margaret Wright said,

"I am delighted that Tony Juniper has been selected. He has all the qualities needed to make an excellent MP for the city."

Dr. Rupert Read, Lead Green Party European Election Candidate in Eastern Region added

"With Margaret's election in 2008, Cambridge gained its first Green Councillor and the city now looks set for further growth of the Green Party. I am delighted to welcome Tony Juniper to our candidate list, here in East Anglia, and I am hugely encouraged by the prospect of voters in Cambridge being able to vote for Tony to be their representative in Westminster, where his abilities and great experience so clearly belong."


Press Launch: Wednesday 21st January, 11:30am-12.30pm.

The King's Room, Cambridge Corn Exchange
Wheeler Street,
CB2 3QB.

Additional photo opportunities:

10am Riverside Cycle Bridge, Riverside, Cambridge. Meet outside Riverside entrance to Museum of Technology.

City centre by arrangement after 12:30pm.

For further information please contact:

Cllr Margaret Wright 01223 362128 07828 912838

Eastern Region Press Office 01376 584576 07951 923073

For more information on Tony Juniper see

For more information on the Green Party see or

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Greens campaign in St Albans

From the St Albans and Harpenden Review

Green candidate Rupert Read visited St Albans today to boost his chances of election to the European Parliament on June 4.

The 42-year-old university philosophy lecturer told the Review: "I have a realistic chance of getting elected - because the election uses proportional representation, I need only about one vote in ten across the East of England region.

"The neighbouring regions - London and the South-East - have had Green MEPs for quite a few years.

"Those MPs have helped local communities, for example by campaigning against unpopular supermarkets.

"And they have pushed through some really good legislation, such as the recent pesticide ban, opposed by most other parties, which will make our food and environment safer.

"The Government and the council should be responding to the economic slump by promoting 'green jobs' - jobs in small businesses, public transport and sustainable agriculture.

"The council should make sure these empty shops are rented out to locally based small businesses - that would provide desperately needed jobs, stimulating the economy without harming the environment."

Mr Read, who lives in Norwhich and sits on Norwich City Council, has taken a year off from the University of East Anglia to concentrate on the campaign.

Greens Call for Just and Permanent Settlement for Palestinians

Lead Green candidate backs peaceful protests at Essex University against totally disproportionate actions of Israel

With the start of a fragile ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, Greens in Eastern Region are again calling for a just and permanant settlement to end the violence and deliver the two state solution that has been talked about for so long.

The Green Party opposes all of the violence in the conflict, from both sides, but notes that the hugely damaging war has had a totally disproportionate impact on the Palestinian people locked into the Gaza strip, with the loss of life being around 100 times greater for Palestinians than for Israelis and with over 300 totally innocent Palestinian children killed. Many more will be vulnerable over the coming weeks, as Gaza remains under siege and the ceasefire will be incredibly fragile until Gaza's borders are opened.

Lead Green Candidate for the European Elections on June 4th, Dr. Rupert Read has backed peaceful protests as a way of drawing attention to the plight of the Palestinian peoples. Dr. Read has taken part in a number of marches and vigils recently and has also spoken out in support of students at Essex University and other universities who are holding protests in support of Palestinian students.

Dr. Rupert Read said:

"I offer my encouragement and respect to the students at the University of Essex - and of several other British Universities - who are struggling for the rights of students in Palestine. It is good to show such care about fellow human beings, even if they may be thousands of miles away, and to make a stand for human rights.

"Israel is in breach of the Geneva Conventions with its war and siege on Gaza. It still occupies Palestine. In such cases the Green Party fully backs such peaceful protests."

Monday, 19 January 2009

Greens Welcomes Norwich Council Action on 20mph Limit [Media release]

Cllr. Rupert Read today welcomed a report to the Norwich Highways Agency Committee (NHAC, which meets this Thursday morning at City Hall at 10 a.m.) on which he sits as a voting member.

The report signals the beginning of the implementation of a blanket 20mph speed limit across residential areas of Norwich, excepting major arteries.

The report recommends trialling the lower speed limit in three residential areas around Norwich and then rolling out the lower speed limit across all 'unclassified' (low-traffic) residential roads in the city should it prove successful. It is proposed that the pilot take place from March to September 2009 in areas around Jex Road, Vauxhall Street and Borrowdale Drive.

Dr. Read, who is the Norwich Green Party's Transport Spokesperson and lead candidate in the Eastern Region for the European Parliamentary Elections in June 2009, has campaigned hard for the speed limit change over the last few years, and it was an amendment by him to an NHAC report last year which made 20mph limits possible in Norwich. He says:

"I welcome this as the next step towards a more sustainable transport system in Norwich. It was especially encouraging to get such a positive response for the 20mph limit in the consultations with residents - it is good to see well over three quarters of those consulted being keen to make 20mph limits in residential areas happen.

"A 20mph limit across the city would make streets safer for everyone, saving lives and encouraging people to switch to more sustainable modes of transportation like walking and cycling. Furthermore, driving at 30 through residential areas is actually less fuel efficient than driving at 20, because with 30mph limits on residential roads drivers are constantly adjusting their speed, accelerating and decelerating, so the change should save motorists a little money, reduce casualties and help save the planet.

"The 20mph limit has already been implemented in UK towns and is the norm for many towns on the Continent. The evidence from these various 'trials' already in place shows the scheme to have substantial safety and pollution benefits, so I do have questions about the need to conduct a further and more modest trial here. But it is certainly very encouraging to see this change becoming a reality after years of resistance by the County Council."

Rupert Read Green Party Councillor, Norwich, and Lead Candidate for Eastern Region for the Greens in the 2009 Euro-elections.

DID YOU KNOW: A vote of about 10% across Eastern Region on June 4 2009 would be enough to get me elected to the European Parliament.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

A Couple of Pictures from the Mid-Suffolk leg of my tour around the Eastern Region!

Bank crisis latest - nationalise, before it's too late!

So, the Anglo-Irish Bank is to be nationalised: . It seems clear that, denials notwithstanding, this is because of a run on the bank, a huge loss of confidence in it.
But why? Why would - how can - a bank that has a 100% government guarantee of its deposits face this kind of problem?
That it is poses a new moment in this vast unprecedented financial crisis, a new dilemma. If even a 100% guarantee of deposits is not enough to prevent a classic bank run, then where are we?
Where we are, is with the only option left being what the Irish government is now starting to resort to - full nationalisation even of institutions that have 100% government guarantees.
Private banks are a recipe for dangerous risk-taking behaviour and, ultimately, for corruption. Nationalised banks are less likely to be corrupt, and far less likely to engage in reckless behaviour of the kind that has driven this credit crunch. A 100% guarantee of deposits is of course potentially a recipe for reckless behaviour on the part of a bank - because the government has written them a blank cheque...
Governments need to move now to take full control of the banks. If they do not, we will see more cases like Anglo-Irish. Government support for banks, even - in fact, in some ways especially - support as strong as that being offered by the Irish government, is simply not enough.
Meanwhile, over here, shares in Barclays and other banks are plummetting... The banking crisis is in a new and extremely worrying phase... It is time to end to uncertainty! We MUST nationalise the banks now!
A failure to nationalise (and partly remutualise) the banking system very very soon may soon plunge us into a Depression.
--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich, and Lead Candidate for Eastern Region for the Greens in the 2009 Euro-elections.   DID YOU KNOW: A vote of about 10% across Eastern Region on June 4 2009 would be enough to get me elected to the European Parliament... 

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Cllr. Mark Ereira's joining us hits the news...

We have already gained our first significant Labour recruit, here in Eastern Region, as a result of the terrible decision over Heathrow:
Among political Parties, only we have a principled position over this. Tories and LibDems support airport expansion in places like Norwich, Carlisle, Liverpool. Only we Greens have a consistent opposition to it.

Leader of Labour Group resigns to join the Green Party (Bury St. Edmund's District Council) - Heathrow 'the final straw'... [Media release]

Suffolk Labour Councillor resigns from party to join the Greens

Heathrow and Stansted decisions "too much to bear"  
Cllr. Mark Ereira-Guyer, long standing St Edmundsbury councillor and current leader of the Labour Group, has resigned from the Labour Party in dismay at the Government decision to give the go-ahead to another runway at Heathrow, and has applied to join the Green Party.
Mark will become the 28th principal authority Green Party Councillor in Eastern Region and his clear and principled decision gives a further boost to the Green Party campaign to win a seat at the European Elections on June 4th.

Mark said

"The vast environmental changes wrought by humanity now threaten us in a most profound way, and the Government's decision to go-ahead with a third runway at Heathrow does nothing to protect us all from the catastrophic impact of climate change and environmental degradation. Alongside their support for expansion at Stansted this is just too much to bear. I am committed to working towards a better world and I want to see the UK Government provide firm global leadership in combating climate change.

Not doing so today has meant, with a heavy heart and great sadness and after 27 years of Labour Party membership, I have been compelled to hand in my Party membership. I believe that the Party has completely lost its connection with its membership and simply refuses to listen to those it should do.

I look forward to continuing to represent the interests of the local community I represent on St Edmundsbury Borough Council as an active and energetic exponent of environmental issues and social justice in Suffolk, the region and globally as a member of Suffolk's Green Party team. "

Cllr Ereira-Guyer served as a St Edmundsbury councillor from 1995 to 2003 and again since May 2007 as representative of the St Olave's ward.  In the earlier period he held several prominent positions in the controlling Labour Group as Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Culture and Chair of the Transport & Public Works Committee.  In 1997 and 2001 Mark contested Bury St Edmunds for Labour in the General Elections; running a close second to the Conservatives. 

Mark has lived in Bury St Edmunds for 15 years, and as a businessman works as charity advisor and consultant; he has two children with his partner, Gaby.  He is also a school governor at Howard Primary School and is a trustee, and active volunteer, for many local organisations.

Councillor John Matthissen, Suffolk Co-ordinator of the Green Party, said

"We very much welcome this long overdue recognition by Mark of his true political complexion.  He is well known to many local greens for his work with Greenpeace and development charities, and his regular attendance at the Bury Green Fair.  We now have representation on three of the seven councils in Suffolk, and are well-placed to move further ahead once decisions are made about the future shape of local government in the county."
For further information:

Cllr. Mark Ereira-Guyer   01284 703526   07913 818838
Cllr. John Matthissen   01449 771742   07976 308128
Eastern Region Press Office   01376 584576   07951 923073

Setting out on a tour of the Region!

 Tomorrow I begin a 10 day tour of the Region in which I am standing for election to the European Parliament. The tour is being dubbed 'the listening tour', because I will primarily be listening to the views and experiences of constituents all over the Region. I need to hear the views of more area residents so that I can help them more effectively when elected.


 I feel too many people in the Eastern Region have not been listened to by politicians. I hope to learn from this tour about the aspirations and concerns of folk all over this great and large area from Peterborough to Southend, and from Hemel Hempstead to Great Yarmouth… Especially, I hope to hear of people's experiences of the financial crisis and of the rising cost of living.


 I start by visiting Diss (South Norfolk) tomorrow morning, to meet people at the market and to listen to the concerns and needs of small business-people, including those who run cafes such as Amandine's and the Angel Café, establishments which endeavour to source food locally and to work as ethically as possible. In the afternoon, I will move on to Mid-Suffolk, to look at affordable housing projects and to hear from the builders about their work to create local and green jobs.


 Over the weekend, I will spend time with the Green Party Councillors and the people of Watford in Herts. On Monday 19th, I visit St. Alban's to engage in a listening-exercise on the doorsteps alongside members of St. Alban's Green Party. On Wednesday 21st, I will be visiting Cambridge and Hitchin (East Herts) where I will be meeting with community leaders, small business-people and shoppers to discuss the economic downturn. I will back in Norwich on 22nd Jan. for a Council Committee meeting. On Friday 23rd I will visit Welwyn Garden City to look at a site threatened by inappropriate development and consider alternative options for Welwyn to both retain its character and flourish economically. On the 24th I will be travelling to Colchester and Wivenhoe to meet with fellow Green Party members and talk with local people there. On Sunday 25th Jan. I will visit Ipswich to doorknock there and speak with local residents, and in the evening I travel to Beccles (in Waveney District) to address a public meeting, at which I will be speaking about what I have learnt over the last 10 days. Finally, that night, I will return to Norwich once again.


It may be tiring, but I am convinced that it will be worth it!... I am really looking forward to listening to what the people of Eastern Region have to say about our current economic predicament, and to talk with them about how we might best get out of it in a way that actually works, and doesn't just land us all soon into another maybe-even-worse crisis…



Standing Firm Against Israeli Aggression in Gaza: events in Norwich and London this Saturday [Press release]

Green Party Councillors Stand Firm Against Israeli Aggression in Gaza
The Palestian death toll in Gaza from the latest conflict now stands at over 1000, mostly civilians, and over 300 of them children. By comparison 14 Israeli lives have been lost, the majority of whom are soldiers. Greens are deeply concerned about the loss of life on both sides; and about the gross disproportion in this conflict.
Green Party Councillors Rupert Read and Adrian Holmes are attending events this Saturday in protest against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and against this Israeli aggression in Gaza.  Whilst Holmes (Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Norwich North) will be speaking at the rally and vigil planned at the amphitheatre outside the Forum in Norwich from 11.30 am, Read will be in London taking part in the rally for Gaza planned to start at 2pm am at Trafalgar Square. ((Read will be available live on his mobile, 07946 459066, to report from the march.))
Read, who is the lead Green Party MEP candidate for the Eastern Region in the 4 June 2009 Euro-elections, said "The Green Party is very concerned about the terrible plight of the Palestianian people in Gaza at present and our MEPs are calling for urgent action from the European Union to put pressure on Israel to stop their wholly disproportionate attack that will perpetuate violence and terror in the region for years to come."  Read experienced the poverty the Palestinians suffer when he vistited their refugee camps in Syria during a visit there some years ago.  With regard to the worsening situation in Gaza, Read said, "The population of Gaza is already suffering grievously from the long-running Israeli blockade and siege, which has accelerated Gaza'a decline into even greater hunger and poverty. Against this background, casualties among the civilian population only serve to make people more angry and sow the seeds for further violence."

The Green Party has demanded an end to Israeli assaults on Gaza, and is backing up its demand with a credible bargaining chip:  The Leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas MEP has called for the suspension of the EU's important 'association agreement' with Israel, a trade agreement giving Israel preferential terms, because of Israel's "grossly disproportionate" action in Gaza. The European Parliament will vote on this agreement later this month.
The Norwich event is scheduled to take place from 11.30 am to 1.00 pm and hundreds of supporters are expected to attend.  The London march commences at 2pm where tens of thousands of supporters are expected to march in the capital.

RR on BBC Radio Norfolk taking on Bob Young of the NFU

'Rupert Read on the BBC welcoming the E.U. Parliament's vote banning harmful pesticides. Go to 20 minutes in, listen, and enjoy!'

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Any manmade-climate-change deniers still out there?


For 18 days the Israeli Government has attempted to justify to the world their decision to unleash a massive military campaign against Gaza by claiming that it was as a direct result of Hamas' breach of the ceasefire brokered by the Egyptian Government.


Hamas has always stated the simple fact that between June 2008 and November 2008 they did not fire a single rocket into Israel.


In a recent interview given to Channel 4 News, the Israeli Government's official spokesman Mark Ragev finally more or less admitted that Hamas did not break the ceasefire. Watch the video, and see the tacit admission; implicit for instance in the admission that Israel acted first, in attacking Hamas in November:

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

2 year delay announced on 'NDR' scheme.

This 2 year delay is a valuable pause for thought, before Norwich and Norfolk commit public money that we don't have - and that will come out of taxpayers' pockets - to a road-scheme that is more out-of-date by the day. The 'Northern Development Road' would lead to uncontrolled urban sprawl, and would increase congestion on many radial roads in and out of Norwich. In an era such as ours when oil supplies are starting to run out and manmade climate change is a dire threat to our very civilisation, surely we can do better than to encourage yet more traffic onto roads... Let's stop, and think - and let's put our money into something sensible instead, such as delivering Norwich a 21st century public transport system.
Now _that_ would be worth investing in.

No to Royal Mail privatisation [Media release]

Green Party condemns Royal Mail Privatisation Plans

Eastern Region Green Party has condemned Government plans to partially privatise the Royal Mail postal services.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has supported the conclusions of a report by an independent review panel led by businessman Richard Hooper which advised selling 25% - 33% of Royal Mail to a foreign buyer. The current pension fund debt, which may deter potential investors, would first be taken on by the Government (1).

The proposals have already proved highly controversial. It is estimated that up to 100 MPs would take part in a backbench rebellion if the current plans went to a vote without modification (2). Jim McGovern MP has resigned his post as Private Secretary to Postal Affairs Minister Pat McFadden in protest (3). And the Communications Workers Union has stated that it will disaffiliate from the Labour Party in the event of any form of privatisation (4).

The proposal also contradicts Labour's manifesto commitment to a "publicly owned Royal Mail."

Prospective Green MEP for Eastern Region, Councillor Rupert Read said:

"We strongly oppose any privatisation of Royal Mail. The Green Party has long campaigned against transferring essential public services to private hands.

"The Royal Mail is a cherished and trusted national institution first established as a public body by Oliver Cromwell. Even Margaret Thatcher thought it should remain publicly owned (5).

"Privatisation benefits big business interests, not consumers. We have seen this in the NHS, BT and the railways, to name a few instances. A report by Postwatch, the consumer watchdog, has failed to find any significant benefits to individual users from the 'liberalisation' of the postal service (6).

"Private companies will cherry-pick the most profitable parts of the organization which currently fund essential but unprofitable services like rural collections, leaving the public to pick up the bill in the future and leaving Eastern Region with a poorer service.

"To call for the part-privatisation of a major British institution at a time when the dangers of "the market" have been so clearly exposed in recent months is clearly madness. The substantial job losses called for by this report are the last thing our struggling economy needs at the moment.

"Royal Mail has just announced an impressive new environmentally-responsible method of business mail 

"This is a great example of what a public service provides and I am concerned that a privatised postal service would not come up with such innovative ideas."


Notes to editors:


  1. For the complete report by Richard Hooper see

Saturday, 10 January 2009

40 years since we first saw the Earth...


Graham Dines, From East Anglian Daily Times Fri Jan. 9. Click to link (scroll down)

WITH European Parliament elections due to take place in June, the Green Party has stolen a march on the others in the East of England, launching its first campaign video as it attempts to garner enough votes to get an MEP elected under the proportional representation system used in the UK for the Euro poll.

Lead candidate Dr Rupert Read, who serves on Norwich City Council where the Greens are the main opposition party, believes he has a strong chance of being elected to Brussels and Strasbourg.

He and the Greens have even been endorsed by Martin Bell, the former broadcaster for stood as an Independent in the 2004 European elections in protest at the method for electing Euro MPs.

Says Dr Read: “At the time of the 1999 elections, there were just two Green Party principal authority councillors in Eastern Region. There are now 27, with the Greens on Norwich City Council becoming the official opposition in 2008.

“There are also now Green councillors in every county in the region. Since 1999, membership of the Green Party in the region has also risen.

“Now more than ever, Green MEPs are needed to pursue peace, to take serious action to stop climate damage, to help stabilise the economy by investing in good green jobs, and so much more.”

The party's main hope is that enough voters become fed up with the main parties and look for an alternative. The Green Party has consistently secured its highest nationwide vote share at the European Elections, with more than a million people voting Green in 2004.

Under the list system of proportional representation, two Green Euro MPs were elected in 1999 - one each in the London and South East regions - and they were re-elected in 2004.

In the East region - covering East Anglia, Essex and the Chilterns - the party is holding a series of public meetings with the next being held in Wivenhoe, near Colchester on Saturday January 24.

At this stage, it's difficult to calculate the percentage vote needed to elect a Green MEP. Much depends on the vote total for the Conservatives, the leading party in the region, which because of their strength across the six counties, are guaranteed three seats. The more votes the Tories receive, the more likely it is that they will get four seats, with the optimistic believing a fifth seat is within their grasp.

To do that, the total Conservative vote in the region will have to be around the 60% mark, which should be beyond them. My best prediction is the election of four Tories, one Labour, and one Liberal Democrat. The seventh seat could go down to the wire, with a second MEP for either Labour or the Lib Dems, or one for either the UK Independence Party or the Greens.
1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: January 2009 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.