Thursday, 30 January 2014

Daily Mail: My readers' letter

My letter on GM, joint with @phil_hutchinson, in the Mail!
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2014 12:07 PM
Subject: Daily Mail: Readers' letters


Thank you kindly for the letter that you sent to us,


your letter has been published in today's Daily Mail on the Readers' letters page.


Attached is a copy of readers' letters page with this letter included.


Your interest in the Daily Mail is greatly appreciated.


Kindest regards,




Natasha Warne

Readers' Letters Editors Secretary

Daily Mail

Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Rochford/Hockley: come join me, on Sat 8 Feb.

Join the Greens




Join the Green Party for a discussion on local issues, focusing on:


Overdevelopment and Planning Policies


Saturday 8th February 2014

11.45 to 13.00


Greensward Academy, Hockley (Lifelong Learning Centre)*



Michael Hoy: District councillor for Hullbridge, and County councillor for Hockley and Hullbridge 

Dr Rupert Read: Green lead candidate in this year's European election

David Eagar: Retired government countryside planner



Michael and Rupert will outline the Green Party's views on planning and overdevelopment, giving a local, national and European perspective.


Then it's your turn for questions and comments!

Michael and Rupert will also take questions on other topics.


* At front of school. Parking in lower playground, accessed from turnaround at school front.

The Greens: The UKIP of the Left?

Is the Green Party a leftwing Party? Are we a protest Party? What do we believe in?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Local Government Chronicle: Brighton Greens lead the way

great article on the Brighton referendum from the LGC Editor:

Brighton: the battle for localism

23 January 2014 | By Emma Maier

Brighton has a well established reputation for being 'alternative'. The city returned the country's first Green MP and the first green-led council, and it was among the first councils to reinstate the committee system. Now the minority administration is vying to become the first to put a council tax rise decision to the electorate.
Whether by design or not, the party that has traditionally shunned leadership is at the forefront of a debate that has wide-ranging implications. This is a battle for localism – for the right and the ability of local councils to set local tax to fund local services according to the priorities of local people.
It is a classic David and Goliath battle: the minority council, painted in the media as somewhat oddball, dares to take on the commonly held assumption that the public wants Scandinavian services for American taxes. It is a high stakes game.
The bar is almost impossibly high. As if asking people to vote for higher taxes were not enough, there is the unpalatable question of the cost of running the referendum, the lack of flexibility in the wording of the referendum question, the need to spend more money campaigning, and the obligation to poll the whole electoral roll, not only council tax payers.
Yet Brighton's Greens, who unlike other councils are not tied by national party conventions, are the first to to be brave – or insert another adjective if you prefer – enough to put their convictions to the test.
They face two major hurdles. First is to get the plan through the council. The Greens hold 21 seats but Labour (14) and the Conservatives (18) do not support it. As Green leader Jason Kitcat says, it is technically possible if some dissenters abstain.
In the unlikely event the plan is passed, the public will be an even greater test. A ComRes opinion poll in Octobersuggested the Greens would come third if an election was called, and Brighton's own consultation on support for a rise was far from conclusive. Only 6% of the 659 respondents supported a rise outright and half said they would support a rise under some circumstances at some point in the future.
A referendum in Brighton would truly be democracy in action. Whatever the outcome, this is a historic case. The local and national news stories will go some way to disabusing people of the common perception that council services are funded entirely from council tax, and will ensure that more people are aware of cuts to central funding.
If a referendum were to be held a 'no' vote would probably finish off Britain's first Green administration. But it could also open up a conversation about publicly sanctioned services cuts – and a debate about the role of local government in future.
A 'yes' vote, meanwhile, could change the whole dynamic between central and local government, and between voters and the council. The implication would ripple much further than Brighton's beaches.
The latter scenario is unlikely. But if it can happen anywhere, it would be Brighton.
Emma Maier, editor, LGC
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  • patrick newman | 23-Jan-2014 9:54 am
    The trouble for the Greens and indeed any radical party is the and Hove bit. Perhaps the position is impossible and they should consider resigning the administration and campaign for protecting local services and allow those who have been responsible for the impasse to deal with the issues. A Lab-Con coalition is not unheard of.
  • davy jones | 23-Jan-2014 11:59 am
    The Greens are to be congratulated for their brave stand. Shameful really that Labour & Tories are conspiring to prevent local people having a say on such an important issue - what are they afraid of ?

gpmedianet mailing list, subscribed as

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

HS2: Despite Supreme Court Setback:

The Green Party will continue to support the anti-HS2-protesters in their ongoing battle.

Following their legal victory in the Supreme Court today (22 January), the Government has vowed to "press ahead" with HS2.

The Court dismissed accusations (1) by objectors that the Government was "cutting corners", by failing to carry out an environmental assessment and in breach of European environmental laws, so as to push the estimated £50 billion project through Parliament. 

The campaigners now plan to take their case to the European Court.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:

"The issue considered by the judges was a narrow legal one and the political questions, of whether the environmental and financial costs of HS2 can be justified, are yet to be answered.

"This case has focused on critically important environmental issues. But there's also an important question, which research has indicated must be answered in positive: even on purely financial grounds, can this money be spent better?"

Green Party Transport Spokesperson, Rupert Read, added:

 "We earnestly hope that Europe will help to stop this wasteful scheme from devastating large chunks of lovely British countryside. You can count on Green MEPs to stand by the anti-HS2 campaign, which unfortunately is being cold-shouldered by every other political party.

"The Green Party is THE party of public transport" he said, adding that "The huge sum of money that the government is proposing to throw away on HS2, for the sake of shaving minutes off rich people's commute from Birmingham to London, could be far better spent on revolutionizing our transport systems in this country."




Under Electoral Commission rules to regulate election spending, the campaign period starts officially tomorrow (Jan 23rd). The Greens are planning to kick off their campaigning in a big way just a week later. 

Activists from all over the region will gather in Norwich for the rally and it will be one of the few occasions on which all seven candidates on the Green Party east region list for the proportional representation election will be on a platform together in one place. 

The keynote speech will come
from Rupert Read, the lead candidate, who came within 1% of winning a
seat at the last Euro election. His speech will focus on the campaign
priorities for the Greens, including supporting public transport and
renewable energy here in the East. Dr Read said: 

"People are
increasingly frustrated with the old Parties. It's UKIP and the Greens
that are on the rise, especially here in the East. But people are now
starting to realise that UKIP is full of people with unpleasant views
about women's rights and gay rights and who are scientifically
illiterate about climate change and much more besides. Those looking to
vote for the future, for their kids, for the common good, can look
instead toward the Green Party. 

"This is an exciting time for Greens.
I intend for my speech to leave the many party supporters who will turn
up next Saturday morning with fire in the belly." 

present at the rally will be a number of Green Party candidates for
target seats on local councils in areas where elections are also being
held in May. Greens are hoping to hold or gain Council seats in Watford, St. Albans, Rochford, South Cambridgeshire, Mid-Suffolk, and Norwich, on May 22nd. 

If you are a Green supporter (or a journalist), come and join us for the rally - 11a.m., Saturday Feb.1st. AT THE UNITED REFORMED CHURCH ROOMS, PRINCE'S STREET,

Rennardism uncovered: my new article on OPEN DEMOCRACY

Monday, 20 January 2014

Green verges for a better environment

Lead Green Party Candidate for the European Elections, Rupert Read, will be joining members of Epping Forest Green Party on Saturday 25th January, as they seek the views of people in Buckhurst Hill East. One main concern for locals in Loughton Way is people parking on grass verges. Rupert Read, age 47, said 'It is a great pleasure to join with Epping Forest Green Party members who, I know, are -- like me -- keen to preserve our green spaces, which make for a better living-environment for us all. I know they will be asking the residents of Loughton Way what they think should be done, and I will be joining with them in this. They and I are keen to show that we are a listening party who actively seek residents' views.' The Green Party came with 26 votes of getting a Councillor, Steven Neville, elected in Buckhurst Hill East in 2012 and did well here in the County Elections in 2013. Buckhurst East Candidate Steven Neville said 'We welcome Rupert's visit, as it shows we could do well here in May and possibly get a Green councillor elected, as well as a first Green MEP. People like what we do and the effort we put in for residents in Buckhurst Hill East.'

Friday, 17 January 2014

EU Elections Youth Question Time event at Epic Studios on Friday 7th February at 13.00

I will be speaking at this: do come!:

European Youth Question Time


Friday 7 February 2014


1-3pm, EPIC Studios, Norwich


Free to attend, all welcome!


The Politics department, SeaMedia, The Centre for Research in European Studies (CREST), see and the UEA students Union have teamed up to raise awareness for and create a bit of a buzz about the upcoming EU elections in May. As part of this campaign, they are organising this EU Youth Question Time event which is for (mainly young) people to come, meet and question current and prospective EU Candidates.


This event will be filmed and broadcast on our site.


The filming will be done by UEA Broadcast Journalism and Howest University College journalism students from Belgium!


As places are limited and filling up quickly, please register on Eventbrite -






UKIP want to ban climate science from schools!

I've just learned something truly disturbing, even heartrending. UKIP Education spokesman, MEP Derek Clark, has just said this, on the record:

We will still ban Al Gore's video for use in schools if I've got anything to do with it. I will not have much opposition within the party. It is, of course, not just this video which needs banning; all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned

This is truly shocking. A wake-up call: Ukip are not just a populist fringe group led by a charismatic joker; they are a dangerous threat to our children and our very future.
Please share this news widely. UKIP want to BAN the teaching of climate science! They want to BAN our kids from learning about the greatest threat currently posed to our very survival, let alone our flourishing, as a species.
This is a wake-up call; we cannot let UKIP get away with growing popularity any longer. They are a dangerous anti-science and anti-truth cult. They need to be stopped.
And they can be stopped. To protest effectively against the old parties this May, to vote in scientifically-literate politicians who care about the future, one need only vote Green.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Piece/poll put me in possible pole position, for this May...:

Are Greens in line to win in Eastern in the Euros?:  Fascinating piece here about our Region by sympathetic observer Steve Hynd.

Meanwhile:  - The New Statesman suggests that Clegg may resign if, as a new poll suggests is possible, LibDems come behind Greens in May... now, wouldn't that be a result...
The new Euro-poll shows Greens only 1% behind LibDems among those certain to vote this May...

Green Party to hold Day of Action this Saturday, January 18th, in Colchester

Colchester Green Party takes its message to the residents of Colchester's Christ Church Ward

Members and supporters of Colchester Green Party will be holding a Day of Action on Saturday 18th January, delivering copies of the Winter 2013/14 Essex Green View to the residents of Colchester's Christ Church ward.

Produced by Eastern Green Party, the publication includes commentary and reports relating to various local and national issues. Items include:

- Details of the Green Party's opposition to a number of countryside and greenbelt developments across parts of Essex

- A call for wide-ranging reforms of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy

- Commentary from Green Party Transport Spokesperson, Rupert Read on what should be done to tackle the increasing alienation of children within modern society.

The Day of Action also coincides with a talk at Colchester firstsite entitled 'East Anglia on the Edge' given by Asher Minns from the Tyndall Centre at UEA, which will highlight the issues caused by climate change throughout East Anglia. 

The hour-long talk will commence at 2pm, and among those attending will be Dr. Rupert Read, lead Green Party MEP candidate in the East of England in the European elections and national Green Party Transport Spokesperson.

Dr. Read commented: "East Anglia is on the edge of a cliff, in terms of climate and low-lying ground, as we saw in the recent severe storms in the Region. I'm delighted to be in Colchester this Saturday, to take our message on this and other key issues of the day to the local area and to listen to local people about what they think most important to our collective future well-being."

A copy of the Winter 2013/14 Essex Green View can be downloaded from


Friday, 10 January 2014

Plebgate? No: #Policegate

So, it was the police, and not the Cabinet Minister, who were most at fault in relation to so-called 'Plebgate'.
This brings to mind the case I made a few months back, about the malaise indicated -- in the police force in this country -- by such events. Have a read:
The bottom line is: if policemen can do this kind of thing to a Cabinet Minister, imagine how the likes of you and I can suffer at their hands. That is what my post concerns...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

My stance on animal-welfare

Having a sound Green outlook on animals is a central priority of mine.


The central ethos behind our policy in this connection, in the Green Party, is to call for nothing less than a complete re-framing of the way in which all of us relate to the animal world. No longer to be perceived as mere things that can be manipulated and mistreated as commodities in a mainly profit-orientated world, animals should rather be seen as sentient beings worthy of our respect. We all know that this is true of our own dogs and cats; it is just a question of extending that respect to animals who are exploited in factory-farms, in sport, etc. .


The Green Party is also very aware of how animal rights and human rights go hand in hand. The amount of land and water needed to sustain animals destined for slaughter is entirely disproportionate to that needed to grow vegetables. As resources begin to dwindle, and with land-use under great pressure, this is not an issue we can continue to take lightly. Worldwide, the amount of grain sent to feed animals could be redirected to prevent more than a billion people from going hungry, not to mention the high rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes that are associated with the meat industry.


Existing Green MEPs have been strong advocates for animal welfare in the European Parliament, for example by backing a campaign to reduce the time that it is legal to transport animals as 'live exports'. If I am elected on May 22nd - and I was just 1% short, last time - then I will be a similarly strong voice for our animal kin.

Overall, we in the Greens would like to move towards a more humane system where animal welfare is seen as beneficial not only to the animals themselves, but also to the environment, human health and in eradicating global poverty and famine. This is about a win-win: caring better for animals, and helping to produce a happier world for humans in the process.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

THREAT TO ANCIENT WOODLAND: Greens say 'NO, Minister!'



Ancient woodland in East Anglia could be sacrificed to building under proposals which open a new front in the battle to protect our environment.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has suggested that developers could encroach upon ancient woodland if that was "offset" by the planting of new trees elsewhere.

But this is about more than numbers. Ancient woodland, by definition, has been in existence since at least 1600. New planting could not replicate the rich biodiversity which has grown up over centuries in places such as Epping Forest and Hatfield Forest in Essex, Foxley Wood in Norfolk, Bradfield Woods in Suffolk, King's Wood in Bedfordshire, Brampton Wood in Cambridgeshire and Whippendell Wood in Hertfordshire.

Tony Juniper, a former director of Friends of the Earth and Green Party Parliamentary candidate in Cambridge at the last election, commented, in the Independent newspaper:

"Our Government's obsession with growth at any cost cannot be permitted to destroy nature's final surviving crown jewels. Ministers are working in Brussels to weaken EU conservation laws; at home, they have slashed the budgets of official conservation bodies and are now looking for ways to smooth the path for development, even in special areas."

Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Green Party in the east of England at this year's Euro elections said:

"The Conservatives have lost their one-time calling as conservers of our natural and cultural heritage.  If I become a Green MEP I will be doing everything I can to make sure that the powers of the EU are a force for good in nature conservation. That means preserving, not destroying, our remaining ancient woodlands."

The Government sees biodiversity offsetting as a means to make the planning system more efficient. The Greens see ancient woodland as being like a person: it isn't replaceable, it's a unique organism and old ones contain a depth and complexity that only long undisturbed stretches of time can create.

Monday, 6 January 2014

500 say 'No' to Norfolk Care Cuts

500 say 'No' to Norfolk Care Cuts

Members of Norwich Green Party  and anti-cuts campaigners will submit a petition of over 500 signatures to Norfolk County Council on Tuesday this week.

The petition opposes proposed cuts by the Labour-led Council to personal budgets, care packages, and preventative services; and calls on the County Council to make social care a 'top priority'.

 Labour-led Norfolk County Council is proposing £56m of cuts to social services. These cuts have caused concern to local charities:

  • Age Concern is running a 'Cut Cake Not Care' campaign against several of the proposals.

  • Norwich Older Peoples' Forum expressed concerns that Adult Social Services could suffer similar problems to Childrens' Services at the County Council, which were severely cut in 2011 and were recently criticised by OFSTED.

  • Disability charity Equal Lives claim that the proposed cuts "violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities".


Councillor Richard Bearman, Leader of the Green Party group on Norfolk County Council, said:

"The coalition Government's austerity reductions are making devastingly cruel cuts to social care inevitable at the time people need it most. The County Council will have little choice but to cut back on essential services that the most vulnerable in society rely on. To add insult to injury, the Labour-led administration have neglected to make social care a top priority. Greens will oppose these cuts in this and future years budgets, and this petition shows the public are on our side."

108 people, most of whom had signed the petition, also took part in a mini-survey which asked the following questions:

Would you be prepared to see a small rise in Council Tax (about 33p per week for a Band B property) to help secure the future of social care?

The results were: Yes 89%, No 4.5%, Don't know 6.5%.

Do you think that funding social care is more important than building new roads?

The results were: Yes 93.5%, No 5.5%, Don't know 1%.

Councillor Stephen Little, Green Party City Councillor for Town Close Ward, said:

"As a party, we understand why, in these difficult times, the County Council should want to freeze Council

Tax and we did also point out in the petition's online preamble that this has made the Council eligible for one-off grant funding. However, we feel it important to make clear that this continual freezing of council tax has meant that each year, the real value of revenues from council tax and the council's ability to raise finance in future years are both reduced."

Quotes from signatories were left on the website and included:

Rachel Keetley: "I work in social care and am already struggling to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our society due to major staff reductions in the last cuts. We have had a severe squeeze on resources available for service users already - this cannot continue if we care about the welfare and dignity of the most vulnerable in our community."

Ashley Williams: "As a carer for a vulnerable adult I consider the proposed potential cuts and restrictions to the scope of personal budgets to be shameful. A civilised society should put those who have become dependent on support high on its list of priorities."

Torah Dye: "I am a support worker and I have witnessed the fear and anxiety that the proposed cuts have instilled in many people. I for one would agree that it would make much better sense for people to pay slightly more council tax if it would mean that social services could continue as they are (if not improve) so that the people who access them can remain as independent and healthy as possible for as long as possible thereby actually reducing their dependence on services in the long term."

Molly Barrett: "The fear alone of this has a devastating effect on people's lives. I challenge councillors who will be voting on this to first shadow for 48 hours someone who will be affected by the cuts."

Malcolm Birtwell: "Having been a social worker I understand just how inportant preventative care services are. "

Georgina Moles: "Social care is in crisis from the cuts imposed by the austerity programme of the Condems to be carried out by the Labour led administration. Stop the cuts NOW."

David Peel, publicity officer for Norfolk People's Assembly said:

"Instead of standing up to the Government on behalf of Norfolk people, the county council is implementing cuts and is causing a care crisis. The price of dealing with the deficit cannot be the sacrifice of the vulnerable. It is unfair, unjust and unnecessary. Heed this petition and stop the cuts now." 

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Imagine the political transformation that this glorious poem might wreak, if it were widely read and acted on...:

Keeping Quiet      By Pablo Neruda


Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

This one time upon the earth,
let's not speak any language,
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be a delicious moment,
without hurry, without locomotives,
all of us would be together
in a sudden uneasiness.

The fishermen in the cold sea
would do no harm to the whales
and the peasant gathering salt
would look at his torn hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars of gas, wars of fire,
victories without survivors,
would put on clean clothing
and would walk alongside their brothers
in the shade, without doing a thing.

What I want shouldn't be confused
with final inactivity:
life alone is what matters,
I want nothing to do with death.

If we weren't unanimous
about keeping our lives so much in motion,

if we could do nothing for once,
perhaps a great silence would
interrupt this sadness,
this never understanding ourselves
and threatening ourselves with death,
perhaps the earth is teaching us
when everything seems to be dead
and then everything is alive.

Now I will count to twelve
and you keep quiet and I'll go.

Dr. Rupert Read, Reader in the UEA School of Philosophy, Vice-Chair of the Green House thinktank, lead Green Party MEP candidate in the East of England in the 2014 European elections, and national Green Party Transport Spokesperson.
End the scandal of advertisers colonising kids minds... #BanKiddieAds! ...Goto , and sign our petition.
Do you micro-blog? I do! 'Follow' me, on both: [my 'politician' account] & [my 'personal' account].


Later in January, this winter's 'PHILOSOPHERS AT THE CINEMA' programme, under my curatorship, commences at Cinema City in Norwich. Do join us for this increasingly-popular series! Book, to be be safe:

Friday, 3 January 2014

ECOLOGIST piece by RR on stopping rail fare fat-cat-tery.

 Re-nationalise our railways! - - Check out my recent piece in _The Ecologist_ on the New Year rail fares protests that I led in my capacity as national Green Party Transport Spokesman - and on (ahem) Dr. Who...

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

'Vote For Policies' Survey

If you haven't done so before, the New Year is a great to find out if, like many people, you are a Green without knowing it:

Vote For Policies is a social enterprise which aims to get people thinking seriously about the policies of political parties (the clue's in the title!) rather than voting because of assumptions about what we stand for.

The national survey results are amazing/encouraging, and it's possible to even see a breakdown for Norwich South, which is possibly even more heartening!
Do share this...

1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: January 2014 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.