Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Greens and older people


Anyone who has canvassed for the Green party will recognise the truth in the statistics that form the basis of Harry Lambert's blog post for the New Statesman:

 


 

It is certainly the case that young voters are more open to our policies. Mind you they generally have longer to live with the consequences of not implementing them!

 

But there is no reason for older voters to be less attracted to the Green party. In fact our policies for older people are much better than those of the three main parties.

 

In particular our Citizen's Income policy of a simple, non-means-tested state income of  £170 per week would lift many out of poverty. Those questioning whether the policy is affordable should note that it is very similar to the reforms the Coalition Government is implementing from April 2016. But shamefully the Coalition policy will only apply to those reaching State Pension Age from April 2016. The Green party's policy would benefit existing as well as future pensioners. This is important because rates of pensioner poverty are highest amongst the oldest pensioners.

 

It is often stated that Greens want to increase the cost of energy and this might be a reason older people are less open to voting for us. But we actually want to help people with the cost of keeping warm by paying for the insulation of millions of homes and prioritising those on fixed incomes such as pensioners.

 

Older people have as much to gain from Green policies as younger people. We obviously have a lot of work to do to get that message across. That is one of the reasons I helped to found the Green seniors network. If you are a pensioner and interested in knowing more about our policies please get in touch! 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Notes from the campaigntrail - V111

This website which allows people to share their 3 favourite Green policies with their friends - do spread the word! 

Notes from the campaign trail V11

DORCHESTER: Green Party storms European elections

MORE than 763 students from the Thomas Haryde School “went to the polls” for a student mock European Election.
Students from all years cast their votes in the first mock election, representing one of the largest electorates of teenagers in Dorset in the run up to the real election. 
During the past week students assembled campaign teams and embarked upon their election trail throughout the school representing the Conservatives, Green Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats and UKIP.  
The campaign teams produced Party Election Broadcasts that were aired across the school and exhibited election posters also. The school also played host to two election hustings, one with a panel of student representatives, and another presenting five candidates competing in this year’s actual election. 
The Thomas Hardye results were as follows: Conservatives 95 (13 per cent), Green Party 351 (47 per cent), Labour Party 86 (11 per cent), Liberal Democrats 45 (six per cent) and UKIP 172 (23 per cent).
The Mock European Election was organised by the Sixth Form Student Union whose aim was to get as many students as possible engaged in the political debate and prepare hundreds of first time voters for the real election day later this month. 
Sixth Form Enrichment Co-ordinator Anna Killick said: “This has been an excellent opportunity for the entire school to find out more about the European Elections and I commend the students for the respect they showed towards each other and the serious way they debated the issues.”
As the European Election uses a proportional voting system the school’s results, if replicated across the South West region, (made up of 
six Members of the European Parliament) would have seen the Green Party gain four MEPs, UKIP one MEP, the Conservatives one MEP and Labour and the Liberal Democrats none.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Notes from the Campaign Trail -V1

ICM Polling: Green Vote Growing as Liberal Democrats Wither



13 May 2014
The Green Party is polling (1) at 10% ahead of the May 22 European Elections, putting it firmly in fourth place and three percentage points ahead of the ailing Liberal Democrats (7%).
 
The Greens have surged four points since ICM’s last poll and are within touching distance of meet their target of trebling their number of MEPs from two (Jean Lambert, London, and Keith Taylor, South-East) to six. Based on a national swing the latest poll would give the Greens 5 seats in England plus one in Scotland. The Lib Dems would have zero seats. Among 18-24 year-olds the Greens are the second most popular political party.
 
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
 
"The results of this poll chime with what I am hearing around the country. 
Former Lib Dem voters feel that the party no longer represents their values, let alone their views on tuition fees, nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons, and on curbing the influence of the banks and big business. 

 
"Former Labour voters are looking at our firm statements that the poor and disadvantaged must no longer be made to pay for the fraud and recklessness of the bankers. And traditional Tory voters are coming to us for our firm defence of the green belt and determination to rein in our still out of control financial sector."
 
Penny Kemp, Head of Media on the Green Party Executive, said:
 
"If the Green Party as predicted push the Lib/Dems into fifth place, I will be asking Ofcom and the Broadcasters Liaison Group to review their recent policy and I will be arguing for a place at the top table."
 
The polling results echo those released on May 2 by the Green Party. That polling, which was conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the Greens, had the Green Party on 8% and ahead of the Lib Dems in four of the nine English regions (the North-East, the North-West, Yorks and Humber and Eastern Region) with both parties polling on 11% in London.
 
1) http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/12/support-labour-drops-tories-lead-guardian-icm-poll?CMP=twt_gu

Monday, 12 May 2014

Notes from the campaigntrail - V

The Greens even get a mention in The Ambridge Socialist
 
 The Ambridge Socialist 4th May CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266
 
The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge
The Wedding episodes: good or bad?
 
According to author and authority on the Archers Linda Grant the recent episodes of the Archers featuring Kirsty and Tom’s non-wedding fell firmly into the ‘marmite’ category. The Ambridge Socialist was not over enthusiastic but this was restrained compared to The Spectator which described them as a ‘new low’. Antonia Quirke in the New Statesman was not enthusiastic either. Gillian Reynolds in the Telegraph was more sanguine. Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett said ‘the divorce rate would be rather lower if more people realised marriage was not for them and did not succumb to bourgeois pressures to get married. This suggests that Tom’s actions were out of the ordinary. Did that make for compelling radio? We’ll let our readers decide
 
 Was Kirsty & Tom’s non-wedding Peak Archers?
 Yes
No
 May Day in Ambridge: Bosses out of Borsetshire
Frustrated at years of failure by the BBC to report May Day events in Ambridge, this year the Ambridge Socialist produced a special issue.
As usual Bert Fry lead the traditional Borsetshire Trades Council march to the village green where a red flag was planted and speeches calling for ‘Bosses out of Borsetshire’ were delivered.
Also on the village green Kenton Archer erected a Maypole and crowned Lyndia Snell [in absentia] May Queen. Traditional festivities at the Maypole included Kenton’s special punch made from whatever he could find in The Bull and Freda Fry’s May Day burgers containing locally reared rabbit….
The Grundy’s People’s Cider stall was also present
Complaints from Neo-Liberal placeman at Borsetshire Land Charlie that all this amounted to a rural uprising against the rightful landowners of the village were robustly dealt with by PC Knacker Burns but Kenton Archer was de-arrested after PC Burns was accidentally hit over the head with the Borsetshire Trades Council May Day flagpole.
 
Ambridge Socialist Editor Keith Flett said May Day in Ambridge should not to be missed unless of course you listen to Radio 4 in which case you did miss it
 The Ambridge Socialist poll RESULT
Who is the most man in Ambridge? Rob 64%  Tom 19% Charlie 7%
 
In Other News
The Ambridge Socialist has agreed to back a range of candidates for the Borsetshire Council Elections on 22nd May including Labour, Greens and TUSC under the slogan Bosses out of Borsetshire
 
According to the new Editor of the Archers [Observer 27th April page 3] the serial is akin to Ibsen, Shakespeare and Hardy. Macbeth beckons. See Nicholas Lezard [Independent 30th April] for a rigorous Marxist analysis.

Notes from the campaign trail -1V

On wearing a Green Party rosette.

I have been wearing my rosette since the campaign started and have not yet had a single adverse reaction from the public - in fact the opposite! I have people constantly coming up to me with good wishes and thumbs up signs. I even had one lovely young woman hug me and say "congratulations for standing". Now, at my age, that does not often happen:-)
I recall that during the GLA election I dropped a £1 in a buskers tin (I always do, when I can afford it).
He saw my rosette and ran after me with a fistful of change of change.
"That's for the Green Party" he said.
On another occasion, I was buying chips and I received two bags. "I only ordered one" I said and he replied "That's for being in the Green Party"


Notes from the campaign 111

The joys of collecting nomination signatures, from a fellow Green Party activist.

I wanted to share an amusing moment or two from the campaign. well, it was a downright soggy day for it, but I had a couple of wards worth of signatures to collect to stay on target ahead of the nominations deadline. The response is generally very good and most people are happy to facilitate our standing candidates. One gets the occasional, "I'd rather not", or "I'm a bit busy right now." But I'm quite the advocate of a soft sell approach and have had some people come back after initially saying, no thanks, "Okay then".

Today, in Harlesden, I had a man turn down the offer and duly close the door only to be questioned by his wife. I could hear her reprimand him behind the closed door and whilst in the middle of the next signature she came back after me, snatched the clipboard out of my hand and said, "I'm signing for the Green Party! I'm signing for the Green Party!" Then she went back into her house with clipboard in hand, "and I'm going to get his signature too!" In fact, the husband did refuse, but the neighbour who had just witnessed the scene with me dared not!

Today, I had another signatory do an amazing rendition of all the drum bass on the street (yes, it was Harlesden :). He was complaining about the way his neighbourhood had changed in the 30 years that he'd lived there, and apparently they only get one hour's sleep a night due to all the music. Then he launched in to a rendition of the kind of noise he had to endure. He was quite advanced in years but could have gone for a recording contract there and then!

Then, two days ago, another example of one family member coercing another -- the head of the house originally said no, then the daughter intervened and although she wasn't resident there thrust the board into her mother's hand and said, "Only the Greens will keep the streets clean and green!"

Thursday, 8 May 2014

News from the campaign trail - 11.

Inspirational official launch of the London green Party campaign this morning. Around one hundred local and Euro candidates braved the rain for our outdoor launch opposite Parliament.
See report and photos here:  http://london.greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/05/08/london-green-party-elections-launch-vote-green-for-real-change

News from the Campaign Trail

Here's a lovely endorsement for the Green Party from , a key CiF contributor.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/08/voting-green-european-elections-why

Key qs:

The surprise was that the more I looked at them, the more I liked them. Their policies appear to me eminently sensible and unabashedly progressive, in most areas. They are the only party which has refused to be drawn into the immigrant-bashing competition with the others, and the only which proposes a vote in the general elections for EU citizens based on residency, rather than nationality. Their commitment to minority rights, including LGBT, is second to none. They alone seem to understand that discussion and collaboration, rather than confrontation, is the way to reform the EU. Their candidates seem passionate and compassionate. 

&

And so, on 22 May I will be voting for the Green party, for the first time. Not as a default choice, but as a positive one. Not as a wasted vote, but as a vote that may add to their already significant 45 MEPs and make a genuine difference. Not as a protest vote against the establishment, but as a strong voice of resistance against the politics of hate peddled by so many others.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

9 Things You Might Not Expect From the Greens’ EU Manifesto



9 Things You Might Not Expect From the Greens’ EU Manifesto


by Adam Ramsay

Whatever you think of the Green Party, it’s worth paying attention to their manifestos to pick up some ideas of things people across the left should be calling for. With the European elections coming up, here are a few of my favourite, transformative policies I spotted in their EU manifesto:

1. Universal Basic Income.

The Green Party has long been an advocate of scrapping the means testing from the benefits system and ensuring everyone has a basic right to financial support, so maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. But lots of people don’t know that Universal Basic Income – which is coming into fashion these days – is one of the Greens’ longest standing policies. By getting rid of the divide-and-rule means testing, Basic Income helps shift the power balance between labour and capital. By supporting people in the non-monetised economy, from care-work to the arts, it helps shift social values. By guaranteeing everyone has enough cash to get by, it would go a long way towards abolishing absolute poverty.

2. Introduce a workers’ right to buy their company.

As the manifesto puts it: “Encourage worker ownership and co-operatives by supporting member states in introducing a workers’ right to buy their company.” This became the policy of the Green Party a couple of years back. In my opinion it’s an answer to the question “how do you shift the economy from corporate to democratic control?”

3. Restore trade union rights.

The manifesto has quite a lot to say about workers’ rights. But ultimately, it’s workers who defend themselves. So perhaps most important is a commitment to allow us to vote to strike on any issue of our choice. In other words, Greens will push the EU to reverse Thatcher’s ban on secondary picketing and laws which have hugely restricted the right to withdraw your labour in recent years.

4. Support Scottish independence.

For those following the Scottish debate, this might not be a surprise. After the SNP, the Scottish Greens are the biggest party backing ‘yes’ vote. But this policy commitment makes the party pretty much the only one in England to hold this position – not because of any romantic nationalism, but because, as the manifesto puts it “government ought to be closer to people”. A ‘yes’ vote would be a significant shift of powers away from the British state, and so has to be a victory for progressives across these islands.

5. Re-build the banking system.

…into one which is made up of “regional, co-operative and municipal banks; green investment banks and credit unions”; and introduce a financial transaction tax. Obvs.

6. Oppose ‘free trade’ deals.

The current trade deal being negotiated between the EU and the US would make renationalisation near impossible and any kind of regulation a lot harder. They would allow companies to sue governments for any laws which would damage their anticipated profits. In other words, it is a transformational policy in the wrong direction. Greens have been opposing it and promise to keep doing so. Just as important is the fact that it’s exactly the sort of trade deal that the EU has long been forcing on poorer countries through Economic Partnership Agreements. The manifesto commits Greens to working towards a system of global trade which allows sovereign governments to regulate, subsidise and nationalise as they see fit, which would be a fundamental shift of global power.

7. Crack down on tax dodging.

The EU is the biggest economy on earth and many tax havens are protectorates or overseas territories of EU countries. It is arguably the one body powerful enough to really beat the crap out of tax dodging. The manifesto proposes doing just that.

8. Free education.

The EU can’t abolish tuition fees in England (which Greens would like to), but it can continue to ensure that British students can study for free in universities in the majority of Northern European countries which are clever enough to realise that education is an investment not a cost. As UKIP start demanding that EU citizens in the UK pay for things like healthcare, there’s a risk that our students stop having the right to free education across Europe. And if education isn’t transformational, what is?

9. Ending austerity.

For too long the EU and European Central Bank have been active in forcing austerity on countries across Europe. The manifesto calls for an end to these austerity policies and for what the inventor of the term “Quantitative Easing” has called “Green Quantitative Easing”. Rather than the European Central Bank buying financial products with the cash it creates, it should use the money to fund the infrastructure needed for the transformation to a low-carbon, socially-just economy.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

FBU Strike

The Green Party Trade Union group sends its support to FBU members striking over the May bank holiday weekend 2014 against “totally unworkable, unaffordable, unsustainable and unfair” changes to firefighters’ pensions.
GPTU recognises that FBU members perform strenuous, dangerous and, at times, heroic work on behalf of the community. Their dedication is needed by us all as they are increasingly on the frontline against the damage being caused by climate change. Instead of taking effective measures to combat climate change the government disgracefully attacks firefighters’ just rewards for their vital work.

Shame on the government and victory to the FBU!
Noel Lynch
Green Party Trade Union Group.

Only Greens will stand up to corporate greed and demand fair wages you can build a life around: http://bit.ly/Q1wgSa 
THE Liberal Democrats have been pushed into fifth place by the Green party in a survey for this month’s European elections as new figures reveal their status as a national party is in danger of collapse.
A YouGov poll for The Sunday Times finds 8% support for the Greens in the Euro elections, one point ahead of the Lib Dems. UKIP are in the lead with 29%, a point ahead of Labour, with the Conservatives on 22%. YouGov projections suggest Nick Clegg’s party would keep only between three and five of their 12 MEPs.
Support for the Lib Dems has fallen to such a degree it is having problems finding enough candidates to stand in council elections that will be held the same day, May 22.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Why are some people intending to vote UKIP

Why are some people intending to vote UKIP on 22nd May?
Firstly, there's always been a shifting "protest vote" in modern British politics, between ten and twenty per cent of the electorate who have no clear principles, allegiances or outlook, beyond a sense of grievance that things aren't going their way.

But to those considering voting for Nigel Farage's "people's army": do you know what you're voting for?
The seriously wacky stuff - repainting trains, making seatbelts voluntary, and all the other stuff Nigel Farage disowns when it's brought to his wayward attention - is bad enough. But UKIP's main programme is even more alarming.

Opposition to immigration has always carried more than a whiff of racism. Around UKIP the whiff becomes a stench. In most cases immigrants are enterprising enough to leave their own countries in search of a better life here, and prepared to work harder when they arrive. So the self-styled "true Brits" - selfish little Englanders -- want the nanny state to keep these hardworking incomers off their patch.

Then we come to Europe. How many UKIP supporters know anything about it beyond what they've seen from a Spanish beach or all-inclusive hotel? Have they any idea what the founding principles of the European Union - above all to prevent another ruinous war, a goal which, remarkably, has been successfully achieved - actually were? European politics can be a bit silly, but by and large it's about improving the lives of all of us Europeans. It's not just jobs either; so much of the legislation that actually makes life bearable - from the goods we buy to the air we breathe - comes from Europe.

Finally, what has UKIP to say about the biggest issue of our century, human-influenced climate change? Simple really: it isn't happening; let's bury our heads in the sand, and it might just go away.
In general historical terms, the denial of climate change is an outrage, because, if unchecked, it will ruin the lives and prospects of the whole of humanity. If, like so many of us, you are disillusioned with British politics, I think there's a way to make your "protest" count for something positive on May 22nd: by voting Green, not UKIP.