Tuesday, 29 December 2009

*Norwich councillor in Gaza house arrest

A Norwich Green Party councillor has been placed under house arrest in Egypt after trying to reach the Gaza Strip to deliver art materials to people traumatised by the conflict in the territory.

Peter Offord, Green county councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, set off last week to join the Gaza Freedom March, a 1,000-strong international delegation calling for the borders to be re-opened to let in humanitarian aid and mark the first anniversary of a conflict with Israel which saw more than 1,400 people killed.

The 62-year-old managed to reach the Egyptian city of el-Arish, about 40km away from the Gaza Strip, but at 12pm on Sunday he was among around 30 activists who were detained in their hotel.

Road blocks have also been set up around the town, with the Egyptian security forces preventing taxis carrying people who appear to be European, from leaving, with two protesters having been stopped and detained by police.

Mr Offord, a qualified art therapist, who hoped to visit the newly set up Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza and donate art materials, said: “We are pretty much under house arrest. We can leave the apartments so long as we don't take our luggage with us, but the minute we pick up our bags, they stop us from leaving.

“The internet connection at the hotel has either gone down or been cut off and there are plain-clothed police at the front and back of the hotel.

“My main aim is getting the art materials to the trauma centre, so I am trying to make contact with the Egyptian Foreign Minister to see if, even if I can't go there, it would be possible for someone else to take the materials to them.”

On New Year's Eve the group hopes to walk from Gaza City to the Erez border crossing to meet a delegation from the Israeli side comprising of Palestinians and Jews who are also calling on the Israeli government to open the border crossing.

But Mr Offord said the group was becoming increasingly frustrated and that such as meeting was looking unlikely to happen unless the Egyptian security forces relented.

He said: “We are frustrated, sad and angry. From the outset we made clear this was a peaceful protest, but as soon as we arrived they enforced a law saying it was unlawful to gather in groups of six or more, so the main protest was banned.

“We are looking at ways we might still be able to get there, but people are becoming demoralised.”

Mr Offord said the trip had still fulfilled its objective to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza and help victims of the conflict.

“It is vital that Gaza and Palestine are not forgotten by the rest of the world,” he said. “It highlights the need for both sides to come to a peaceful resolution.”

Friday, 25 December 2009

*20mph speed zones cut road injuries by 40%, study says

UK cities should have more 20mph speed zones, as they have cut road injuries by over 40% in London, a study claims.

In particular the number of children killed or seriously injured has been halved over the past 15 years, the British Medical Journal reported.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study estimates 20mph zones have the potential to prevent up to 700 casualties in London alone.

At 20mph, it is estimated only one in 40 pedestrians is killed in a crash.
This compares with a one in five chance for someone hit at 30mph.

The researchers compared data on road collisions, injuries and deaths in London between 1986 and 2006, with speed limits on roads.

After adjusting for a general reduction in road injuries in recent years, they found that the introduction of 20mph zones were associated with a 41.9% drop in casualties.

The greatest reduction was seen in children under the age of 11 years and in the numbers of all ages killed or seriously injured.

Cyclist injuries fell by 17% once 20mph zones came in, and injuries in pedestrians have been cut by almost a third.

There was also no evidence of a higher rate of casualties in areas bordering the 20mph zones, as in areas adjacent to 20mph zones casualties fell by an average of 8%.

Expansion
Study leader Dr Chris Grundy, a lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "This evidence supports the rationale for 20mph zones, not just in major cities in Britain, but also in similar metropolitan areas elsewhere.
"Indeed, even within London, there is a case for extending the currently limited provision of such zones to other high casualty roads."

He estimated that 20mph zones in London save 200 lives a year, but this could increase to 700 if plans to extend the zones were implemented.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the study backed their own research showing that 20mph zones help to reduce accidents and casualties.

"Our road safety strategy consultation recommends that local authorities introduce, over time, 20mph zones or limits into streets around schools, and which are primarily residential in nature, to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
"This will save lives and make people feel more secure in walking and cycling on those streets."

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "This research confirms that one of the most effective ways of protecting vulnerable road users, especially children, is the introduction of 20mph zones.

"It lends weight to calls for an expansion of 20mph zones, which RoSPA strongly supports and which we hope will become a crucial part of the new road safety strategy for the next 10 years."
(BBC)

A special word here for Councillor Katie Dawson, Green Party Councillor in Islington. She was instrumental in forcing the 20mph policy through Islington Council in the face of opposition from the ruling Lib Dems. She can sleep well at Christmas knowing that there will be people alive to celebrate next year's festive season who would not have been alive without her efforts.

Friday, 11 December 2009

*London Greens Winter Party

Our Winter Party is shaping up to be a great social event. “Sounds like a jolly party, so I will be there” said a top London (non-GP) Blogger.


Jules, our Social officer has put in a huge amount of work. She has gathered wonderful stuff for our auction and raffle. She is even baking the Green party birthday cake, and wait until you taste Melan’s wonderful cuisine!!
There will be a pay bar and they have got in real ale, especially for the Green Party.


There will be a ‘goody bag’ for everyone (or at least the first 60).


IT IS NOT CONFINED TO GP PEOPLE, SO DRAG IN ALL FRIENDS, FAMILY, WORKMATES ETC. WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.

PARTY WITH A DIFFERENCE!


This year's London Fed Winter Party hopes to be so. Also marking the exact birthday of PEOPLE (from whence we grew), founded 12th December 1972.

Presentations to the longest serving active members and the children from the Euro campaign leaflets.

With talented John Hegley headlining and live music from Afghanistan and the Ukraine; vegan & vegetarian dishes from Iran & Central London (?!). Quality and original auction lots and raffle prizes kindly donated by Ecotricity, Ecover, Wiggly Wigglers & others, including a Bat Walk for two at the London Wetlands Centre. We are going to try our hardest to make this a 'zero waste event' with NO disposable cups, plates, cutlery, anything. Hope to see you there.

Out of the tube, left & left again!

Winter Party

Saturday 12th December

7.30pm to 11pm

The Horse Hospital

Colonnade, Bloomsbury

London WC1N 1HX

See map at www.thehorsehospital.com

Russell Square tube, Piccadilly Line,
Buses: 7, 59, 68, 91, 168, 188

Special guest: Comic poet musician, John Hegley ( www.johnhegley.co.uk)

Delicious vegan & vegetarian feast

Live music

Pay bar

Disabled access

Original raffle prizes, auction, Irish bingo, gift stall & more



FREE admission but donations very welcome. Come along, bring friends. Meet and chat to our MEP, Assembly Members and Councillors. Have a great London night out at this special venue for the Arts.

Live music

Pay bar

Disabled access

Original raffle prizes, auction, Irish bingo, gift stall & more



FREE admission but donations very welcome. Come along, bring friends. Meet and chat to our MEP, Assembly Members and Councillors. Have a great London night out at this special venue for the Arts.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

*Dubai debt woes give Islamic finance its first big crisis

By Andrew Newby

DUBAI, Dec 02, 2009 (AFp) - Dubai World's plan to delay repaying a huge Islamic bond issue may damage the image of sharia finance, not due to inherent problems but rather because investors have ignored key questions, analysts say.

"In many ways, this has been an extraordinary crisis, but it is the first for the empyonic sukuk industry," said Khalid Howladar of Moody's Investors Service.

Another expert, professor Habib Ahmed of Durham University, said the crisis points to the need for a better understanding of the rules applying to sukuk.

"This case is a wake-up call for Islamic finance to focus more on ethical and moral issues that it has been ignoring for so long," Ahmed told AFp.

A widespread view among economists is that fears about the rights of the Dubai World bondholders relate at least as much to a lack of clarity in the Dubai legal system as they do to the rules of Islamic finance.

In addition, much of Dubai's spending has gone on speculative construction projects and the 50 percent fall in property prices in the emirate means all real estate-related finance deals face a problem whether using Islamic or Western rules, they say.

Islamic sharia rules forbid usury, so anyone lending money is barred from charging interest. Instead, investors are granted a share of the assets and in the case of a property developer, the issuer of a sukuk will typically pay a rent until refunding the loan when it matures.

Dubai World's property unit Nakheel, developer of Dubai's iconic palm Jumeirah artificial island resort, is scheduled to repay a 3.5 billion dollars sukuk on December 14, so it is the first subsidiary affected by the group's request last week for a six-months halt to debt repayments.

"The maturity date of the sukuk was December 14, 2009 when Nakheel was supposed to pay the last rental coupon and buy back the assets, but instead declared its inability to perform," said Ahmed, chair in Islamic law and finance at Durham's Institute of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies.

Theoretically at least, Islamic laws on financial transactions have some inherent features that induce stability, he said.

"The ban on interest and other rules would prevent Islamic investors investing in certain instruments such as conventional bonds and derivatives," which caused last year's global credit crunch, Ahmed said.

"Until now, Islamic economists have been saying that Islamic finance was not affected directly by the subprime problems. The Nakheel problem shows that Islamic finance can have similar problems if wrong investments are made," he said.

One reason for this is that many sukuk are structured to resemble conventional bonds, meaning the risks of ownership are transferred to the issuer rather than shared by the investors, the professor said.

"This is one of the criticisms of Islamic products: instead of coming up with products that reflect the spirit and substance of Islamic law, they are structured very similar to conventional products," Ahmed said.

A source who asked to remain anonymous because his company has extensive dealings in the region said credit ratings agencies have valued Islamic debt on the creditworthiness of the issuer rather than the assets because of doubts over investors' claim to the assets.

"Noone has confidence in sukuk investors to foreclose on the assets" they have lent money on in Dubai and several countries using sharia rules, because the legal system in those countries is "underdeveloped," he said.

The Dubai International Financial Centre, a business district which opened in 2004 with the aim of making the emirate a world-class financial hub, uses English law within its perimeter because of the lack of precision in sharia law, the source told AFp.

Moody's Howladar agreed with Ahmed that many sukuks are too similar to convention finance for their own good.

"The desire for Middle Eastern corporate credit exposure and unsecured debt has created sukuk instruments that, in substance, attempt to be identical to conventional bonds," he said in a study released this week.

Restructurings such as Dubai World's are common in mature markets, but the "immature and opaque nature" of Dubai's law system and the lack of precedent "give little comfort to investors spread across the world," he said.

"Given the sheer scale and complexity of Dubai World, this event will be an important test of investors.

Source: Zawya

This article is by Andrew Newby, economics journalist and foreign affairs expert. He is the Green Party General Election candidate for Hendon.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CRUELTY FAYRE



CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CRUELTY FAYRE takes place tomorrow Sunday Nov. 6th.
10am-5pm.



Venue, Kensington Town Hall, just yards away from High Street Kensington Tube.

As usual, I will be running the Green Party/Green Room stall. I will also be conducting the Auction at 2.30pm.

Our stall is downstairs outside the crèche.

Hope to meet loads of you there. If you haven't been there before, it really is a wonderful event.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

*The Internationale starts auction.

The auction on Saturday was a great success.

Adams & Smith Auctioneers (alias artists Hollington & Kyprianou)put on a very professional production. About 50 people attended. I was introduced after a rousing rendition of all six verses of The Internationale.

Among the prices realised:

Packet of anadins......£5.50.

A used golf ball.......£40. This allowed me a rant about the iniquities of Donald Trump's vandalism in Scotland and 'Scottish Clearances'

Bottle of water........£4. The greatest con of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Empty plastic bag......£8. Allowed me to give a quick briefing on these environmental terrors and mention my GLA paper 'Plastic not Fantastic'

Banking counter pen and holder......£48. Made the point that while people were expected to trust the banks, the banks didn't even trust their customers with a plastic pen!!

Several hundred pounds was raised to help send protestors to Copenhagen.

The whole event was filmed and will be available in the near future.


See more at www.electronicsunset.org

Thursday, 26 November 2009

* Auction this Saturday

On this coming Saturday, I will be conducting my unusual auction - ever. I am being transported to the year 2034 to auction off some post-capitalist artifacts.


See the details here:

Welcome to Adams & Smith, auctioneers of late-Capitalist era artefacts.
http://adamsandsmith.wordpress.com/


The year is 2034.

The era of free market capitalism and neo liberalism is well and truly over, and a new world order has taken its place.

In its wisdom, the Federal Council of Autonomous Zones has issued a directive abolishing all cash transactions. To celebrate, Adams & Smith proudly offer 13 lots of genuine, once ubiquitous late capitalist artefacts taken from the Hollington & Kyprianou estate.

Each lot reveals a curious aspect of that bygone age, shedding light on the odd and dangerously contradictory practices of the time. With provenance certified by Tamasin Cave of SpinWatch, each lot unearths the unsavoury history connecting government, big business and the lobbying industry.

With this last ever auction, Adams & Smith are pleased to offer you a final opportunity to bring the trappings of late-Capitalism back into your

Saturday, 14 November 2009

*Animal rememberance

These pictures are from last Sunday's remembrance service for animals in war at the animals monument in Marble Arch.

Sue Baumgardt, Green Party Animal Rights Spokesperson and myself laid a wreath of purple poppies. We were also joined by Steve Norman, well known AR campaigner and target ward candidate in East Finchley.





The service was conducted by Rev. Pastor James Thompson, who is called The Animal Padre. In his sermon he mentioned that at the start of WW1 the Army commandeered all the mules available. However, mules, as with most animals, do not like loud bangs and the general noise of war and brayed a lot in fear. The Army considered this bad for morale, so had tens of thousands of mules operated on and their voice boxes removed.

Friday, 13 November 2009

*Attempt to ban animal campaigners from wearing animal costumes

An attempt to ban animal rights campaigners from wearing animal costumes, 'blood' splattered lab coats and face masks and carry banners with the words 'murder','torture', 'kills', abuses' or 'Novartis' was rejected in a ruling by Mr Justice Sweeney at the Royal Courts of Justice on 30th Oct.

The application under the Protection From Harassment Act was made on behalf of Novartis by, surprise, surprise, Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden (aka TLC) - the go-to lawyer for oppressing civil liberties.

TLC had claimed a demonstration held on Sat 31st would incite criminal activities through 'subtle' means. TLC attempted to argue the demonstration would violate Article 8 of the Human Rights Act - the right to privacy in the home and workplace - and this should override Articles 10 and 11 - the rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

At the hearing TLC was unable to provide any case law to support his claims and the application was refused.

The representative for defendants Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), Dr. Max Gastone, said, 'Novartis were seeking to control the atmosphere on a protest, which would have been a very draconian ruling. Even the police were wary about how what Novartis sought could have been enforced.'

Had Novartis won the case, the ruling would have set a dangerous precedent in curtailing freedom of speech and the right to protest.

Saturday's demo went ahead as planned, complete with giant dissected bunnies, placards of abused monkeys and a banner with the slogan 'Novartis: Animal Abuser'. There were no arrests despite the subtle subliminal urgings to commit crime.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

*Met Police

This is the link for anyone who would like to know about their database record.
http://www.met.police.uk/information/request_forms.htm

Monday, 2 November 2009

*Smears against Peter Tatchell

New censorship fabrications by supporters of Out Of Place

Peter Tatchell writes:

Despite having secured an apology from Raw Nerve Books over a false and libellous chapter in the book Out Of Place, the lies and smears against me are continuing and escalating. For defending myself against untrue allegations, I am now accused of “censorship.”

Out Of Place contains a chapter - Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the 'War on Terror' - by Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem. It was published by Raw Nerve Books in 2008.

These authors make highly defamatory, libellous and untrue allegations against me. This goes beyond reasonable criticism. It involves outright lies and fabrications. Criticism is fine. Untruths are not.

That is why the publishers made this apology to me:

http://www.rawnervebooks.co.uk/Peter_Tatchell.pdf

Dr Jin Haritaworn is based at the LSE’s Gender Institute; Tamsila Tauqir is from the lesbian Muslim Safra Project and was awarded an MBE last year; Esra Erdem is another acdemic, now in the US but formerly connected with Corpus Christi Oxford.

The authors’ friends and supporters are spreading further smears. They accuse me of “censoring” Out Of Place.

Among the academics making accusations of censorship are Dr Umut Erel, RCUK academic fellow at the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance at the Open University, and Dr Christian Klesse, lecturer in Cultural Studies at the Sociology Department of the Manchester Metropolitan University:

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/ek241009.html

The real censorship is by my critics. Some of them are posting entirely false allegations, often on closed lists that do not allow me to post my side of the story.

Many of my detractors now claim that I forced the book to be withdrawn from sale and that I pressured the publishers to declare it “Out of Print.” Not so.

I have not suppressed the book, Out of Place, or forced it out of print.
The book was listed as “Out of Print” on the Raw Nerve Books website before I contacted the publishers and challenged the lies and falsehoods written about me.

The book was not withdrawn on my account. It had already ceased to be available before I approached the publishers.

I have no objection to Out Of Place being reprinted, providing it does not include the lies and fabrications about me. I made this clear to Raw Nerve Books in a letter dated 29 July 2009.

I did not use the libel laws. This is another lie.

When I presented the publishers with evidence that refuted the accusations against me in Out of Place, they very honourably agreed to publish an apology.

Academics are supposed to adhere to the highest standards of facts, truth and of evidence-based assertions, with proper footnoting and sourcing for what they write. The authors of the chapter that defames me did not do this. They made claims that are untrue and for which there is no evidence. They provided no footnotes or sources for their outrageous false allegations. They are guilty of poor research, shoddy scholarship and desertion of academic standards.

Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem suggest that I am anti-Muslim. This is pure fiction. I have campaigned against fundamentalist Muslims (in the same way that I have campaigned against fundamentalist Christians), not against Muslim people in general. I have always made this distinction very clear.

The authors explicitly claim or implicitly insinuate the following:

Tatchell has “claimed the role of liberator and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians.” Not true. I have never made such a claim or adopted such a role.

Tatchell is Islamophobic and is “part of the Islamophobia industry.”
Not true. I have defended many Muslim victims of injustice and condemned anti-Muslim prejudice. Indeed, in 1998 I drafted a law to protect Muslims (and others) against discrimination, harsssment and hate crimes. It was, sadly, rejected by the government.

Tatchell is racist and has engaged in “racial” politics. Not true. I have a 40-year record of anti-racist and anti-apartheid campaigning.

Tatchell has described “Muslims as Nazis” and made the equation “Muslim=Nazi” and “Muslim=Evil.” Not true. I have never attacked Muslims in general – only fundamentalists who oppose democracy, equality and human rights.

Tatchell has “collaborated with the extreme right” and “participated with several racist and fascist groups.” Not true. I have fought the far-right for four decades and been a victim of violent attacks by neo-Nazis because of my defence of black, Muslim, Jewish and LGBT people.

It is utterly shameful for any authors, let alone academics, to abandon honesty, truth and integrity, in order to misrepresent and lie about other people in order to wage petty, sectarian political wars.

We should fight the real oppressors and not pick fights with, and publish false allegations against, other progressive people.

Sectarian attacks undermine the struggle for human rights, social justice, peace and anti-imperialism.

For me, the sole issue is that this book printed lies. I have no objection to people criticising me, but making untrue allegations and smearing fellow comrades is shameful and has no place in progressive politics.

All my articles, speeches and news releases are archived on my website. You can view them here:

www.petertatchell.net

I invite anyone to find evidence that I am Islamophobic, racist or a supporter of imperialist wars or the injustices of the “war on terror.” Take a look at the totality of my campaigns since 1967. Even if you disagree with a particular campaign or article, please judge me on my overall record.

Free speech, which I defend, should not include the right to print lies that cause other people harm and which seek to pursue sectarian vendettas and to discredit political opponents. This is what the chapter in Out of Place did to me.

No one should be allowed to falsely insinuate that someone is a racist and that they collaborate with fascists. These claims in Out of Place are fiction. I have campaigned against these, and / or similar, injustices for over 40 years.
This book should not be allowed to get away with such lies about me - or anyone else.

Lies and libel that cause other people damage (as Out of Place has caused to me) are not legitimate free speech.

You would not like to be falsely accused of equating Muslim people with Nazis, consorting with fascists, colluding with the “war on terror” and promoting a racist and imperialist agenda - which is what this book accuses me of doing.

IslamaphobiaWatch, which some of my critics cite, is not a truthful, honest website. It is run by political sectarians who defame and discredit people they see as political enemies. It is full of outright lies against me and many others, including progressive, left-wing Muslims, anti-racists and supporters, like me, of the anti-war movement.

An attack on me by London's former Mayor, Ken Livingstone, is also cited by some of my detractors. Ken has since apologised for making false allegations of Islamophobia against me.

I count many leading Muslim and black activists among my friends and political comrades. They know my 42-year record of anti-racist, anti-war and anti-imperialist campaigning. They are aware that I have been a fierce defender of Muslim and black communities against state oppression, including trenchant opposition to the so-called "war on terror". They would not support me and work with me if I had done the things that the book Out Of Place falsely claims.

Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem suggest that I am anti-Muslim and implicated in colluding with the “war on terror.” This is not true.

I have been prominent in the campaigns to defend Muslims unjustly accused of terrorism, including Hicham Yezza:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/feb/23/hicham-yezza

and Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch:

http://www.newstatesman.com/society/2008/09/pakistan-marri-british-london

I stood bail and provided evidence for Mr Baluch during his terrorism trial, which helped result in his acquittal (and Mr Marri's).

I have also helped secure asylum for dozens of Muslim refugees and for Muslim victims of miscarriages of justice, such as Mohammed S:

http://www.petertatchell.net/criminalinjustice/judgechallenge.htm

For nearly four decades I have worked with the leading black, Muslim, anti-racist, anti-imperialist and left-wing campaigners in the UK. If I was the racist and Islamophobe that Haritaworn, Tauqir and Erdem suggest, why do these organisations and activists work with me?

I was one of the original endorsers of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK in 1982 and a keynote speaker at its founding conference, and I have supported oppressed Muslims from Palestine, to Iraq, Chechnya and Kashmir.

If, after reading this reply, you feel that I have been unfairly maligned, I hope you might consider posting this response or your own comments to any e-lists that you have access to. I would be most grateful.

I hope this reassures you. Best wishes.

Solidarity!

Peter Tatchell, London
peter@petertatchell.net

Saturday, 17 October 2009

*Lush supports hunt sabs

The cosmetics company Lush is launching a bubble bath it hopes will raise tens of thousands of pounds for anti-blood sports activists.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association will be the latest beneficiary of proceeds from Lush, the ethical producer of handmade soaps which has gained a reputation for backing radical protest groups.

The citronella and peppermint bubble bath, called The Fabulous Mr Fox, will arrive on the shelves in the coming weeks and will be on sale until Boxing Day, a traditional day for fox hunts. The company hopes the product will raise £50,000 for the activists, and said they money will be used to fund vehicles and video equipment.

Mark Constantine, the 59-year-old co-founder of Lush, based in Poole, Dorset, has previously donated large portions of his profits to human rights groups, the Green Party, animal welfare organisations and environmental protesters such as Plane Stupid, who promote non-violent civil disobedience to opposed airport expansion.

Proceeds from the Lush cosmetics empire, which is thought to be worth around £150m, have also been used to fund campaigns to support Sumatran orangutans and oppose the widening of the M1 motorway. Sea Shepherd, that operates vessels to scupper rival ships it finds whaling in the middle of the ocean, has received £22,000 from the sale of Lush products.

Lush, founded by Constantine in 1995, has become a multinational company, with branches in N. America, Japan and Australia. The company claims to give around 2% of profits to charity and is keen to promote itself as an ethical brand. Constantine said funding activists groups was "central to what we do".

Thursday, 8 October 2009

*Errors by NHS staff led to 5,700 deaths in six months

More than 5,700 patients died or suffered serious harm as a result of staff errors in the NHS over a six-month period, figures showed today.

Figures from the National Patient Safety Agency showed that 459,500 patient safety incidents and near misses occurred in England between last October and March.

This is a 12% increase on the previous six months but the agency, which collects and monitors safety data in the NHS, said that better reporting was fuelling the rise.

Read more on this story in The Times

Millions of pensioners will go cold as energy prices soar

Five million people will avoid switching on their heating to keep warm this winter as they struggle to afford higher fuel bills, according to new research.

Polling of pensioners by the charity Age Concern found that 38 per cent were cutting back on gas and 41 per cent on electricity this year because of fears that they could not afford the prices. With 13 million pensioners in the UK, the charity's findings suggest that 5.2 million people over 60 will go cold at some point this winter.

Read more on this story in The Independent

*LEADING GREEN LAUNCHES NEW EURO CAMPAIGN TO REPLACE ANIMAL TESTING

The South East’s Green Euro-MP launched a new campaign in the European Parliament today to urge EU lawmakers to replace the use of animals in testing and research with non-animal alternatives.

Caroline Lucas MEP, who was recently named the new President of the European Parliament’s influential cross-party Animal Welfare Intergroup, has joined with fellow MEPs to sign a Written Declaration calling for increased funding for the development of alternative methods to animal testing – and a 1% ‘research levy’ on products that contain ingredients tested on animals.

The Written Declaration (1), like an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, will become the official position of the European Parliament if it can attract the support of at least half of all MEPs.

Dr Lucas MEP said: “Since 2007, I have been working with MEP colleagues and animal protection groups across Europe on a campaign urging the EU to replace cruel, unnecessary and misleading animal experiments. The existing law on the use of animals in experiments is over 20 years old, so action on this is long overdue.

“The European Commission has already stated that one of its ultimate aims is ‘to replace animal experiments with methods not entailing the use of an animal’ (2). It must now increase funding for the development and validation of alternative research methods – and make the administrative processes more efficient.

“We propose that the Commission now assesses options for increasing the funds available, including the introduction of a ‘research levy’ of 1% of the selling price of products that contain ingredients tested on animals.”

She continued: "More than 12 million animals are used in EU labs each year, yet experiments on animals can be unreliable as a guide to human biology and the range of viable alternatives, such as epidemiology, the use of cell cultures, human tissue and computer simulation, is increasing all the time.

"The Commission should increase funding, introduce quantitative targets for reducing the number of animals used in experiments, and bring in compulsory inspections of testing facilities in order to dramatically improve standards of animal protection.”

Thursday, 17 September 2009

*Urban Green Fair this Sunday 20th Sept Brockwell Park

The date is drawing near and the excitement is mounting. Yes the 2009 Urban Green Fair is set to go for next Sunday- 20th sept- from 11am to 7pm in Brockwell Park, Lambeth.

There is loads on offer:
Mark Thomas, Paul Mobbs on secretive police, Clarence Thompson MBE talking after the Sam the Wheels local heritage film project about Railton Rd, a topical panel on policing protests with the TSG, Jenny Jones, Climate Camp and Liberty.

Also providing a great wealth of fantastic workshops is the Food and Garden Zone, including the prestigious Brockwell Bake Competition, - get your home made bread entries in.

The kids zone is rammed with exciting and creative activities including free food for early risers.

Visit the Lambeth Green Party stall.

Health and Healing will be providing a huge range of alternative and holistic therapies as well as proving a space for user-led groups to discuss issues on mental health, women’s health and community resilience.

Powerful and practical talks at the Climate Change & Energy Transition Zone as well as innovative and practical solutions and demonstrations in the new Building Zone.

Climate camp will have a space with talks and a big push for the next coal power station action on 16/17 Oct in Nottingham.

Free Bike repair from Dr Bike and sustainable transport solutions and a great line up in the Solar Cinema including Age of Stupid, End of the Line, Sam the Wheels and the Agricultural Rebel.

The Urban Green fair will powered by the sun and bicycles and will not use any fossil fuel power.
Full schedule will soon be posted on the homepage but check out the website for further updates:
www.urbangreenfair.org
http://www.facebook.com/l/35577;

* MUSIC GIG – this Friday night.

MUSIC GIG – this Friday night.

Green Party supporter Relentless MC has a music gig coming up. He is a highly talented and entertaining performer and helped us during the election.

It would be great if we had a good turnout of green supporters.

Venue: Elixir Bar, 162 Eversholt Street, NW1 1BL (Close to Euston and
Mornington Crescent Tubes)



Date: Friday, September 18th.



Start 9pm.



He will be joined by guest DJ and GP member T.R.E. who wrote the ‘Green Bus’ rap which some of you will have heard during the election bus tour.


Hope to see many of you there.

More on: www.myspace.com/mcrelentlessuk

*England canal system

From Karen Varga:

As someone who has lived on a narrow boat until very recently, it is a fascinating subject, can be a brilliant way of life, has a very rich heritage and the waterways can be beautiful, educational and interesting from an ecological point of view but the canal network is suffering from lack of maintenance due to cuts in funding by DEFRA, and British Waterways is potentially going to be part privatised. Living on a narrow boat as a way of life is something that is being eroded by the government too due to under funding, poor management and a system that favours the wealthy (moorings are now auctioned to the highest bidder and a lot of old moorings are being rebuilt with very strict rules about ages and conditions of the boats on the new moorings to favour new, expensive boats). If you don't have a mooring and don't continuously move around (difficult with children at school) you can have your boat seized and sold or crushed. In the economic climate with people losing their homes (as I did) or trying to find a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to the modern way of life it could be a great way of life (but quite hard work too) and a source of investment into the waterways - but as always it is sadly being mis-managed on various levels on a capitalist agenda. It is very sad for those who know and love the waterways and the way of life.

Friday, 11 September 2009

*Met Police still entering innocent people on DNA database

A year after the decision by the European Court of Human rights' that the holding of the DNA samples of innocent people needed to be curtailed, large numbers of innocent Londoners are still being entered onto the national DNA database. In 2006/07 the Met Police provided a quarter of all DNA samples added to the national database.

Green Party London Assembly Member,Jenny Jones, said:

"The European Court made the right decision, but the whole wrong headed system is carrying on as before whilst the Government carries out a consultation. It is clearly wrong that thousands of innocent Londoners are still having their DNA added to the database on the assumption that they may be guilty of a future crime."


"The Met take around 80,000 DNA samples every year, but much of this is a waste of effort and money. The DNA records of children arrested but not charged continue to be put on the database. The Met Police do not even know how many dead people are on the database. It is vital for public confidence that the Mayor asks the police to implement the changes that must flow from this decision as soon as possible."

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

*Attempt to silence sheltered housing solicitor.

Yvonne Hossacks, is the solicitor who has been effectively acting on behalf of Sheltered Housing residents up and down the country. She now needs your help.

She is being taken to court by several different councils who are attempting to get her struck off as a result of the work that she has been doing on our behalf to save the wardens. The reasons for the tribunal are:-

1) Improperly encouraging clients to court politicians and media
2) Not acting in the clients best interests
3) Making too many time consuming and costly applications to the councils

All ridiculous, I hope you agree!

Tribunal will be taking place on the mornings of the 14th, 15th and 16th September. The address is 3rd Floor, Gate House, 1 Farringdon Street EC4M 7NS.

There will be a protest giving support to Yvonne each morning from of the tribunal from 9 - 9.30 to let the court know how much we appreciate what she is doing. If anyone can attend on any of these days it will help Yvonne to continue the legal campaign.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

*Arms fair "shames London"

Below is a statement against this obscene event from Jenny Jones, Green Party Member of the London Assembly and of the Metropolitan Police Authority. I remember when I was an Assembly Member asking the same question to the Mayor and was told "The police are there to keep you and your friends out"

As London prepares to host the DESi Arms Fair to-day, Jenny Jones has called on the organizers to pay for the cost of policing the event.

"I can't think of anything more wasteful than the London police using their precious time protecting a marketing place for guns and bombs. It is unacceptable to expect Londoners to foot the bill for an event that they don't want. I will be pressing the London Mayor at question time on Wednesday, to ask the organisers to cover the whole cost of policing the event. At a time when police have been working hard to tackle the problem of knife crime, it is appalling that they have to waste around four and half thousand police officer shifts protecting the international arms trade."

"I've been inside this event to take a look for myself and I think it is obscene. The Government should end all its subsidies for the arms industry. I hope this is the last arms fair ever held in London."


Policing the Arms Fair in 2007 took 4,475 police officer shifts and 294 police staff shifts to police the arms fair at a total cost to the MPS of £1.469m (£1.178m in opportunity costs, £153k in overtime and £138k in non-pay costs).

Sunday, 16 August 2009

*The two-bed thermal envelope

In a Somerset village, a builder is creating zero-carbon homes for less than the cost of conventional ones. By Ashley Seager
The Observer, Sunday 16 August 2009
It's unlikely that you would turn up at a pretty, quiet Somerset village in search of any kind of revolution. In fact, you'd be hard pushed to spot anything revolutionary in the village of Chewton Mendip, save perhaps for a few solar panels on top of the local school.
Blink and you'd miss three terraced houses forming a corner of two streets in the village. They blend in perfectly with the other traditional stone houses. But behind the facades lie brand new homes built with ultra-modern materials and which already meet the government's strict zero-carbon rating that all new houses will have to meet from 2016.
And, crucially, they have been built to a comparable cost to conventional houses, blowing away in an instant the claims of the big housebuilders that meeting the 2016 target will entail huge cost and put up property prices.
It's generally true that in any industry, innovation comes from the small start-ups rather than the big incumbents, and local builder Arthur Bland, combining for the first time some advanced new floor, wall and roof technologies already available in Britain, is proving the point.
"These are the most thermally efficient houses built in the UK in 2008 and are twice as good as the PassivHaus [energy efficiency standard] in Germany," says Bland. "And if I had built them on a larger scale on a larger plot, they would have been cheaper to build than conventional houses; I am quite sure of that."
They say the three most important things in building an eco-house are insulation, insulation, insulation. And maybe airtightness too. And that is what Bland's house embodies: it is so efficient at retaining heat that it does not need any form of heating. In an English house? Surely some mistake?
Bland explains that the revolutionary insulated floor system, from a company called Ecoslab, combined with a polystyrene-and-concrete wall system from Logix and a roof system from Unilin, give the house a "thermal envelope" from which heat and air cannot escape. Daily living generates enough heat - from TVs, kettles, the warm backs of fridges and the people who live in it - that no further source is needed.
Airtightness might sound suffocating, but in fact the houses have a circulation system that changes the air five times an hour. And the clever bit is an exchanger that captures the warmth from stale air, which is extracted from the house by vents, and reuses it to heat water and the air in the rooms. That system is made by a Swedish company called Genvex and costs about £6,000 to install - but once you deduct the cost of a traditional heating and hot water systems, Bland says you are left with a negligible extra cost per house of £500. For the homeowner, the advantage of Genvex systems is that they last much longer than traditional boilers, which need replacing at least every 10 years.
The windows are all triple-glazed and wood-framed to keep heat in. They can, of course, be opened if the house gets too hot in the summer but the Genvex will also provide cool air to keep the places at a constant temperature.
The windows and walls are also very good at keeping sound out - a significant advantage for future homes being built on brownfield sites near other houses and roads. The absence of radiators leaves walls freer than they would have been and the airtightness, if nothing else, means there are no nasty draughts in the winter.
Bland's former wife Linda lives in the middle house with her two children and loves it. She moved in last December when it was completed and so tested it through the cold snow of the spring, when temperatures dropped to -9C.
"For a few days I had a small electric heater on in the living room just to raise the temperature a bit. But after half an hour the house was too hot and I had to turn it off," she says.
"It is a great house to live in and I have no complaints at all. The air does feel dry, though, and I have to water the plants more than I would have done. But that is the only thing I would say. I don't have to lug solid fuel around any more like I used to in other houses I have lived in so I love it."
The house has low-energy lightbulbs, not only because they consume less electricity but also, explains Bland, because the heat from conventional ones would make the house too hot.
He points out that the best thing to do when you have had a bath is to leave the hot water in it to cool, since the heat will be sucked through the bathroom's vents and recycled by the Genvex system into more hot water. "You can get obsessed by this heat business - but it is important," he says.
The three houses share a rainwater harvesting system via a big tank in the communal garden to the rear. The rainwater is used for dishwashers, washing machines and toilets. About 75% of the houses' annual water consumption is provided in this way.
The houses are not yet zero-carbon in the true sense of the phrase since the planning laws in the village's conservation area prohibit the use of renewable energies such as solar panels or wind turbines. As a result, each uses about £600 a year of electricity from conventional sources.
But Bland stresses that the houses meet all the Code Level 6 requirements of the government's code for sustainable homes - a set of rules which is gradually tightening the regulations for new buildings to reduce their carbon output - in terms of the construction.
The addition of, say, solar photovoltaic panels would easily make them zero-carbon or even carbon-negative in the sense that they generate more clean energy than the consume, exporting the surplus to the grid.
The building cost for the three houses was £300,000 for a total dwelling space of 280 square metres. That sort of figure - about £1,100 a square metre - should make the big housebuilders sit up and take notice, especially as Bland says the awkward plot shape and stone frontage added about 20% to his costs. In other words, slightly more standard houses would be cheaper than conventional dwellings even if the solar panels were added on. His system is also quicker than conventional housebuilding.
"There is no great mystery to building houses. If I had not faced the constraints I did on this project, I could easily come in cheaper than conventional houses," he says. "I have simply put some new kinds of products and processes together for the first time. But they can be used flexibly to create any kind of building."
But the big boys, of course, don't like change. Bland took his system to the Ministry of Defence, who had a long-running contract with a volume housebuilder for homes for service personnel. The big housebuilder is charging the MoD £2,000 per square metre for the homes - a high price - and was, not surprisingly, impervious to the MoD's request to copy Bland's model, which would have saved the public purse money both in construction and running costs.
Although producing concrete needs a lot of energy, the Bland houses use much less than traditional houses and require many fewer truck journeys, saving on emissions as well as noise and disturbance - because they use the excavated earth from the foundations as a base for the Ecoslab floor system instead of carting it away to landfill.
You no longer have to imagine the future of housebuilding. It is already here.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

*Support the Chagos Islanders.

Please add your name. These islanders were forcibly removed from their island.Between 1965 and 1973 the former inhabitants of the Chagos archipelago in the centre of the Indian Ocean were expelled from their homeland to make way for a joint UK and US military base on the island Diego Garcia. They have ever since fought compensations and their right to return.

A reminder about the petition at Number 10: please will you sign this and ask your friends and contacts to do the same?

http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Diego-Garcia/


When they reach 500 signatures, the government are obliged to reply. The deadline is 23rd September.


Here is a link to the artwork of Clement Siatous:
http://chagosarchipelago.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 8 August 2009

* Jayne for Chair.

Jayne Forbes is a candidate for Chair of the Green Party Executive.

I have known Jayne as a strong Green Party activist for many years. She was my predecessor as London Coordinator. She was previously Management Coordinator on GPEX and her years as Chair of the World Development Movement brings valuable NGO experience - this is not a time to be learning on the job. She will be ‘a steady hand on the tiller’ - something that will be vital in this coming year.

http://jayneforbes.wordpress.com

Thursday, 6 August 2009

*Support Tracy.



Green Party Executive elections are coming up. I am backing Tracy Deighton-Brown for the important post of External Communications Coordinator.

I have known and worked alongside Tracy for many years. She is a professional to her fingertips which is what the Green Party will need in this coming year, not inexperienced amateurs.

She also knows how to win elections having being a core member our London victories in 2000 and 2004. This year we got our highest vote in a long time. She also masterminded what the Guardian described as the best broadcast of the election - on a shoestring.

She took over External Comms, last year, when it was a shambles and got it into shape. She fought off calls from some of the wilder elements of the party to go for negative campaigning. In this, she was backed by all the top elected people.

Caroline Lucas MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Darren Johnson (Chair of the London Assembly) and Jenny Jones AM are all highly experienced election winners - they all back Tracy!

As Party Leader, Caroline Lucas states:
“As we enter a General Election year, it would be very damaging to risk disrupting all the good work she has done"



http://tracyforcomms.wordpress.com/

Monday, 27 July 2009

*Pigeon website

A new pigeon website has just been launched which will provide us all with more information on pigeons and the humane control of them. It should help those of you who often actively campaign against cruelty against them. There are loads of product reviews of all of the different types of products available on the market as well as documents discussing the law when it comes to pigeon control, do-it-yourself controls, bird flu and 21 amazing facts about the pigeon, it's all there!

The website address is: www.pigeoncontrolresourcecentre.org

Sunday, 26 July 2009

*UK animal experiments rise by 14%

The annual figures for animal experiments, was released by the Home Office this week. The report reveals the biggest year on year increase since 1987.

3,583,223 animals were used in tests in 2008, an increase of 14% on the previous year.

Despite overwhelming public concern and growing pressure for an outright ban, the UK conducted tests on 3,354 primates, our closest genetic relatives, an increase of 7% on last year. This was caused by a dramatic increase in macaques to 3,092 animals (23%).

Furthermore, contrary to the UK being hailed as a nation of animal lovers, 252 horses, 11,916 rabbits, 4,271 dogs and 176 cats were subjected to experiments.

To read BUAV Chief Executive Michelle Thew's reaction to this news and find out how you can help the BUAV continue campaigning against animal experiments, click here: http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.buav.org/a/2009/07/21/172

The Home Office report can be viewed here: http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://scienceandresearch.homeoffice.gov.uk/animal-research/publications-and-reference/statistics/

*True costs of the Afghan War – really staggering.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/revealed-16312bn-hidden-costs-of-afghan-war-1761469.html

"The soaring cost of Britain's military campaign in Afghanistan is laid bare today, as a comprehensive analysis reveals that the cost of fighting the Taliban has passed £12bn. An Independent on Sunday assessment of the "hidden costs" of fighting since the Taliban was ousted in 2001 reveals that the bill works out at £190 for every man, woman and child in the UK – and would pay for 23 new hospitals, 60,000 new teachers or 77,000 new nurses."

AND THE MILITARY, THE GOVERNMENT AND THEIR MINDLESS LETTER WRITERS AND COMMENTATORS CALL FOR MORE MONEY TO BE SPENT!! Hundreds of servicemen will have to spend the rest of their life injured in body and mind, while the damage we have inflicted on Afghanistan will be remembered for generations.

Friday, 24 July 2009

*Market Failure

EDF, who have nuke contracts with neoLabour and are sponsoring the greenwash "Green Britain Day", are fined by OFGEM for delivering poor 'customer service':

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/24/edf-fined-connection-failures-ofgem

Proponents of the idea that the free market and "competition" will improve service as companies compete for "customers" is once again shown to be the fallacy that it is. Instructive too is the fact that the Vestas plant in the IOW was actually making a profit - another example of the failed logic of capitalism.

*Hove election win opens way to Westminster victory*

Greens in Brighton and Hove are jubilant at winning the strategically important Goldsmid by-election in Hove, taking the seat from the Tories.

The result sees the election of the first Green councillor, Alex Phillips, from Hove to Brighton and Hove City Council and deprives the Tories of their majority on the council.

Caroline Lucas, national Green Party leader, said, "This is a spectacular win.

"It signals an unstoppable surge to elect the first Green MP at Westminster, whenever Gordon decides to go to the country.

"With this result, we're on the threshold of taking Green politics to the heart of Westminster."

Alex Phillips said, "Thank you to all the voters who put their faith in me. It's a ringing endorsement of Green policies and the work of Green councillors locally.

"I will be hardworking and unswerving in my task of representing local people and delivering positive Green change."

"Hopefully this means we can put pressure on the Tories and concentrate on our policies of a 20mph speed limit and introducing a living wage, which is more than the current minimum wage."

Councillor Bill Randall, convenor of the Green councillors on the city council, said, "With my council colleagues, we'll be reviewing the options and consulting our membership to ensure that we get the best, greenest deal for local residents. Between us we will do what is right in these very difficult times."

Alex won 38.5% of the votes -an increase of 17% over the last time the seat was contested with a swing of more than 12% from Labour to Green.

Full result

GRN 1,456 - 38.5% (+17.6%) GRN GAIN FROM CON

CON 1,104 - 29.2% (-0.9%)

LAB 816 - 21.5% (-6.8%)

LD 280 - 7.4% (-7.32%)

UKIP 129 - 3.4% N/A (others 6% last time)

Thursday, 23 July 2009

*Rhetorical moral question for the day…is being ‘economical with the truth’ still a lie?

It just all depends on how you look at some things...

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California , was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.
The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory.

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: 'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."


NOW THAT's how it's done, Folks!
That's real POLITICAL SPIN

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

*Meat Free Monday

Sir Paul McCartney has urged meat eaters to consider going vegetarian one day a week. Launching the Meat Free Monday campaign, Sir Paul joined his son James and daughters, Stella and Mary, and a host of celebrities in St James's Park to launch the initiative. Stars, both vegetarian and meat eaters,- joined Macca to raise awareness of the campaign, which will help combat climate change.

The campaign was prompted by a United Nations report, which says meat production is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. This compares with an estimated 13% from transport.

*Massive petition presented to PM

Caroline Lucas submitted a 1.5m strong petition to 10 Downing St on 2nd July, calling on the Government to develop a 'road map' to move towards the end of animal testing.

She was part of an all-party delegation organised by Uncaged, which has collected the signatures on what is understood to be the largest animal welfare petition in British history.

The petition was submitted at a critical point in the historic debate over animal testing - the UK Government is currently asking for the public's views on animal research ahead of discussions with other governments over a new European Union law.

The Uncaged petition cites moral and scientific reasons to work towards eliminating animal experiments. Laboratory experiments on animals often cause severe suffering, and evidence is emerging that shows that animal tests do not reliably predict human reactions - while non-animal methods can offer greater accuracy and safety assurance.

Yet despite this evidence, the number of animal experiments in Britain has actually increased since 2001 to over 3m a year. Dr Lucas is calling for action to reverse that trend and work towards replacing animal experiments with viable non-animal alternatives.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

*What's wrong with the TaxPayers' Alliance?

The article below is from The Other Taxpayer' Alliance. Well worth looking at their website www.taxpayersalliance.org

The TaxPayers' Alliance is a tremendously successful campaign group. Barely a day goes by without Chief Executive Matthew Elliott appearing in the media, representing the views of "ordinary taxpayers". In fact never a day goes by: the Alliance boasts an average hit rate of 13 media appearances a day and puts the links on its website to prove it.

The problem is that it isn't an alliance of ordinary taxpayers at all. It is an alliance of right-wing ideologues. Its academic advisory council is a who's who of the proponents of discredited Thatcherite policies: Eamonn Butler and Marsden Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute, academics Patrick Minford and Kenneth Minogue, Margaret Thatcher's former economic advisor Sir Alan Walters, and others such as ex-Institute of Directors policy head Ruth Lea.

Not everything the TPA says is wrong. Who could disagree with its commitment to "criticise all examples of wasteful and unnecessary spending", or to putting 2012 London Olympic spending under scrutiny? But the Alliance's concern for better public spending is a stepping stone to its desire for less public spending. And far from being a voice for "ordinary" taxpayers, its policies – opposing all tax rises (what, for everyone, in any circumstance?) and backing a flat rather than progressive tax – will increase inequality and shift wealth from poor to rich.

Friday, 3 July 2009

*German Green Party politician fined for playing klezmer music

A Dresden politician was fined for playing loud klezmer music outside City Hall to disturb a neo-Nazi march.

Stephan Kuhn of the Green Party was ordered Wednesday to pay a $210 fine, which will benefit an organization that helps victims of right-wing violence.

Neo-Nazis held a commemorative march on Feb.13, 2008, on the anniversary of the World War II firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces, which right-wing extremists have taken to calling the "bombing Holocaust." In protest, Kuhn blasted the music at the neo-Nazis from the windows of the Green Party parliamentary fraction offices.

According to the indictment, the state prosecutor said it was proven that "loud Jewish music" was played from the window, interrupting a speech that a neo-Nazi was trying to deliver. Kuhn, the state said, thus interfered with the right to free assembly.

Kuhn said he did not regret his actions. "If I was able to stop the flow of brown [Nazi] verbal muck, I am more than willing to accept the payment of a fine," he told reporters.

Reportedly, in a similar case in 2006, a state prosecutor in Mittenberg, in the former west German state of Baden-Württemberg, dismissed charges against a Catholic priest who rang church bells during a neo-Nazi gathering in the local marketplace.

The members of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany were unable to continue their rally and filed suit.

*Support Sea Shepherd

The Netherlands wants to ban the controversial anti-whaling organisation Sea Shepherd from sailing under the Dutch flag. Public Works State Secretary Tineke Huizinga said Friday she wants to amend the law quickly to make this possible.

The American organisation Sea Shepherd has two ships sailing under the Dutch flag. The Netherlands provided the necessary certificate of registry for this in 2007, after Sea Shepherd had promised in writing not to use violence and to comply with the safety rules. Nonetheless, a number of incidents have taken place between Sea Shepherd ships and Japanese whalers in the Antarctic.

Japan has repeatedly complained to the Netherlands about the Sea Shepherd. It appears difficult at the moment to take action against ships that do not comply with the rules, so the cabinet wants to speedily extend its legal options for withdrawing certificates of registry.

THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!

Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 1000 signatures - please sign here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/appeal-to-the-dutch-government-who-wants-emergency-act-against-environmental-pirates-sea-shepherd

Read more here also:

http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-090629-1.html

http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-090702-1.html

Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.

*CARBON REPORT

This looks to be a very interesting report, coming 2 weeks before the government's white paper on energy ... it says that the UK could attract 45% of the global offshore wind market by 2020, delivering £65bn of net economic value and 225,000 total jobs by 2050.

==

http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/publications/publicationdetail?productid=CTC752

==

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/02/uk-renewables-potential-carbon-trust

250,000 jobs and £70bn revenue - the forecast for a thriving UK renewables sector

Study from the Carbon Trust warns that potential of renewables sector will only be realised if government invests in research and removes regulatory barriers

Alok Jha, green technology correspondent The Guardian Thursday 2 July 2009 00.05 BST

The UK could benefit from 250,000 jobs and up to £70bn in revenue from offshore wind and wave technologies by 2050, according to a study by the Carbon Trust. This potential will only be realised, however, if the government gives clear signals to industry, so that investors know where to put their money, rather than leaving new technologies to face the market alone.

The Carbon Trust, a government-backed agency that studies ways to promote low-carbon technologies, carried out economic analyses in six areas of low-carbon industry including offshore wind, wave, solid-state lighting and micro combined heat and power.

The studies, published today, looked at the current status and costs of the technology, how these would develop and what research and development costs there might be in the coming decades.

The studies for offshore wind and wave power showed these technologies could provide at least 15% of the total carbon savings required to meet the UK's 2050 CO2 reduction targets. "The UK's greenhouse gas targets mean that by 2050 We must reduce our emissions to just one-10th of today's levels, per unit of output," said John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser.

"This is a formidable challenge, requiring step changes in the rate at which we improve our energy efficiency and in low-carbon innovation.The Carbon Trust's proposals recognise the need for us to be smarter in focusing our investments, including to help businesses seize the economic opportunities of the transition."

According to the new analysis, published just a few weeks ahead of the forthcoming government white paper on energy, the UK could attract 45% of the global offshore wind market by 2020, delivering £65bn of net economic value and 225,000 total jobs by 2050.

This would only happen with an investment of up to £600m into research, the removal of regulatory barriers and incentives to increase the deployment of the turbines. In the UK this means installing around 29GW of wind by 2020 and upwards of 40GW by 2050. A large part of the economic benefit would come from exporting technology developed here.

For wave, the outlook is more modest. Around a quarter of the world's wave technologies are being developed in the UK and the Carbon Trust said Britain should be the "natural owner" of the global market in this area. It could generate revenues worth £2bn per year by 2050 and up to 16,000 direct jobs.

"These technologies are not green 'nice to haves' but are critical to the economic recovery of the UK," said Tom Delay, the chief executive of the Carbon Trust. "To reap the significant rewards from their successful development we must prioritise and comprehensively back the technologies that offer the best chance of securing long-term carbon savings, jobs and revenue for Britain. Rather than following in the footsteps of others, this new analysis shows it is an economic no-brainer to be leading from the front."

In addition to the direct jobs in these in industries, there would be further benefits to the economy. "The UK's also very good at the secondary service industries - things like the financing of wind farms, the legal documents, environmental assessments," said Paul Arwas, a consultant who wrote the new Carbon Trust report. "Those jobs would be in addition - for offshore wind, it would be another 70,000 by 2050."

None of this will happen, though, without government support. Arwas said that when encouraging new industries, authorities tended to swing between two poles - either direct state funding or allowing markets to decide. "Either the governments didn't intervene at all or, if they did they did it by market mechanisms which are totally undifferentiated by technology. There you end up with a situation where, to take a footballing analogy, you've got the under 21s playing the under 12s."

Instead the Carbon Trust has proposed a new, semi-interventionist, model where the government chooses a family of technologies to invest in, for example wave power, and tells developers there will be subsidies or long-term help available to develop the sector as a whole but without backing individual technologies.

John Sauven, Greenpeace's executive director, welcomed the Carbon Trust's proposed approach. "Every country now needs a decarbonisation plan to help solve three of our greatest challenges - climate stability, energy security and economic prosperity. The UK has an enormous untapped supply of clean, green renewable energy and a world class engineering industry well placed to develop it."

Martin Rees, the president of the Royal Society, said the UK had little choice but to develop these new technologies, given the dwindling supplies of fossil fuels: "In the past we have let opportunities to capitalise on our scientific leadership slip through our fingers. The US and others are investing heavily in low carbon technologies; we must not fall behind and waste the scientific expertise that we have in the UK."

Saturday, 27 June 2009

“Goodbye London”

Luke Jackson's new single “Goodbye London”.

It was animated onto photos of Camden and other favourite parts of North West London.

The vid is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8nrDz1xNFE

Thursday, 18 June 2009

*Anniversary of first election contest.

Today is the 40th anniversary of my first election contest –The 1969 Irish General Election.

I stood as an Independent – there was no Green Party in those days. I’m not sure whether it is a matter of pride or of sadness, but the issues that I campaigned on then are mostly issues on which I’m still campaigning :-)

After the events of the previous year both in Ireland and abroad I decided to have a go.

Always with an eye for a publicity angle, I got my father to ask his second-cousin to nominate me. Since he was the bishop’s brother it got some useful media attention.

The West Limerick constituency is huge – almost the size of London, but with the population of Finchley. Since canvassing the whole lot was out of the question, we decided to concentrate on the towns.

Each day my cousin Dan O’Brien and I would head off and canvas a local town, while my brother Liam, who was also my election agent, would handle things at home.

Then in the evening we would have a outdoor public meeting in the area. My uncle Dick Carey would arrive with his flatback Volkswagen pick-up to use as a stage. Liam would also arrive with more supporters to make a crowd.

The weather was fabulous. I remember once coming back to the car after a few hours canvassing and we could not sit on the seats as they were so hot.

Another feature of Irish electioneering is the after-Mass speeches. There is a good reason for this – it’s the only place where you can get a good crowd together. You make sure the Mass has finished and as the people come out you stand on a wall or chair and start making a speech. One funny point is that it is where my future wife first saw me - making a speech outside a small church in Dromin. Her father said to her “Come away and not be listening to that idiot” He was a Fianna Fail supporter. Seven years later we were married in that church (and divorced ten years later).

It was also my first time on TV. Myself and independent candidates argued that since the big parties had PEBs, we were being discriminated against. Irish State TV, RTE, came up with a solution which was to make a few films of all the independent candidates. I was filmed doorknocking and canvassing. Naturally, we picked a supporter’s house.

It was an exciting time. Naturally we got steamrolled by the huge electoral machines of the big parties. The result was 232 votes, not far behind Labour. I was not a good year for Independents.

It is a bit sad to remember all those who campaigned for me who have now passed on, some who were much younger . My father and mother gave me great support, even if, I suspect, they did not quite approve of politicians:-)

And so, many election campaigns later, I am marking the anniversary by attending a meeting of West Central London Green Party, where we are facing a Kensington & Chelsea Council by-election.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

*Single Issue Myth

Article by Jenny Jones A.M. in to-day's Guardian CiF:


There are many shades of Green

The media should be talking about the Green party's range of interconnected policies, not accusing us of single-issue politics

It's disappointing to see someone of Leo Hickman's stature reinforcing old stereotypes. His assertion that the Greens are a "one-issue" party is plainly wrong and his reasoning – that "the clue's in the name" – doesn't entirely stack up.

Let's think about this for a moment. Suppose there was a party called... oh, I don't know, let's say Labour. By Leo Hickman's reasoning we would all assume it was a one-issue party that dealt only with employment issues. Its flagship policy would be Jobcentre Plus. It would have no policy on crime, because crime isn't work. It could have no policy on defence, health or public transport, except insofar as wages and contracts were concerned. Is that what we would assume about a party called Labour?

Possibly the Greens are asking for trouble because they have a flower as their logo. But then, so does Labour. And the Lib Dems have a startled chicken, but would anyone say this aptly symbolised the Liberal Democrats? (Ok, I concede that particular point).

It always was strange that people would describe the Greens as "single issue". You only ever had to look at our manifesto to see policies on everything that everyone else had policies on.

It's also a fundamental misrepresentation. The Green party – formerly the Ecology party – formerly People – has an ecological perspective. Ecology is about everything and how it all interconnects. How could anyone ever see everything and how it all interconnects as a single issue?

This is what's distinctive about the Green party: it is the original party of joined-up thinking. The other parties have traditionally seen issues as though they were separate things in separate boxes. So, for example, transport policy was only about moving people and goods from A to B. But ask a Green to invent a transport policy for you, and they wouldn't know how to be so narrow. A Green or ecological perspective will, by its very nature, think of the thing itself and how it interconnects with everything else. Hence transport and climate change; transport and social inclusion; transport and congestion and the resulting costs to businesses; transport and disruption of communities; the impacts of transport's noise and air pollution on health; transport and external costs; and so on. That's how you end up with a Green transport policy, as opposed to endless roadbuilding, airport expansions and the highest rail fares in Europe.

That the party that blazed new trails and pioneered joined-up thinking was caricatured as single issue, against all logic, against all evidence, is one of the big ironies of modern British politics.

Most of the time, most people get most of their information about politics from the mass media. It's a relief to see that the media have recently been giving more attention, for instance, to the Green party's economic policies. Indeed, one highly respected journalist in the Daily Telegraph last week congratulated the Green Party for being ahead of the economic curve with its Green New Deal. But the reappearance of the "one-issue Greens" myth in the Guardian, of all places, in the last few days shows that the falsehood still lives.

Whoever this falsehood serves, it doesn't serve the British voter. Democracy depends on good information. The media acknowledge their duty to tell the truth. I think there's one major task the UK media could undertake now, while British politics is in such a state of disarray that the British voter is clamouring for sweeping reforms. It's this: tell the British voter about the Green party. Not about its environment policy, but about its million-jobs manifesto. Its commitment to re-regulating the buses and doubling the number of them. Its policy for re-nationalising the railways and slashing rail fares. Its policy of rescuing the NHS from privatisation, restoring free dental care and dramatically improving maternity services.

These are good policies, and they're policies only the Green party is offering. They're popular policies, and the readers and viewers and listeners would like to hear about them. Telling the voters about all of this can only be a good thing for British democracy.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

*Why you should cast your vote for the Green Party by Shahrar Ali

From this week's Camden New Journal

ACROSS London, Greens have been articulating a positive vision for trans-national action on climate change and social justice.

Many people have been saying they will vote for us but against the backdrop of the MP expenses scandal with a sense of relief that they could count on us. Others have said they would vote Green because they felt badly let down by the main parties.

Let’s not overstate what the behaviour of a discredited political establishment tells us about the possibility of genuine politics; nor pretend that anyone is impervious to hubris. But why have Greens topped a recent public poll asking: “which politicians were most trusted to put Britain before self”?

Green MEPs have been motivated by long-term goals long before it became popular for others to talk the talk. Moreover, we offer a joined-up analysis of how economics, society and environment interrelate. Greens understand that luxury doesn’t buy happiness and that global markets are bad at costing the harm done to our beautiful, priceless planet.

Our elected are too focused on tackling the many pressing external problems to even think about self-aggrandisement. We need to reskill workers in sustainable jobs and pursue massive investment in renewable energy. We need urgent action to put a stop to the increasing numbers, invariably poor, already dying from climate change. We stand for the integrity of our environment and the dignity of humanity, not the establishment of personal property portfolios.

How dignified was the TV spectacle of Blears posing with a £13k cheque?

As if one only had reason to do right when one could no longer be seen to get away with doing wrong! You can put your faith in Greens who stand for what they believe in.

Make your vote count by re-electing Jean Lambert and electing more Greens, too.

• Shahrar Ali is the Green Party’s London Policy co-ordinator and a candidate for the European election. He wrote his PhD on lying and deception in public life and teaches philosophy for life-long learners in Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

*Green Surge continues.

According to Ladpolitcal- the twitter site run by Ladbrokes on political betting...”money is pouring in on the Greens to perform well on Thursday”

I wish some of it would pour into our empty coffers:-)

*The Liberal Democrats: Consistently Inconsistent AboutThe Environment

"The Lib Dems know much more about pursuing the Green vote than about pursuing Green policies" says Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones in a comment piece on the Guardian website today.

"The result of which is that Lib Dem policy pronouncements are marred by inconsistencies and they have a tendency to say one thing at national level and do something else at local level."

"For example, Norman Baker Lib Dem Transport Spokesman has been saying a Lib Dem government would stop spending on road building; but his colleagues in Lancashire are still supporting the Lancaster Northern bypass."

"The Lib Dems have spoken in favour of congestion charging nationally, but against it in Edinburgh, Manchester and York."

"They want a zero carbon economy by 2050 - in principle. But they have opposed windfarm proposals in Cornwall, Cumbria, Devon and Worcestershire."

"The Lib Dems have opposed the expansion of Heathrow, but have been happy to expand Birmingham, Carlisle, Exeter, Liverpool and Norwich airports. They were wildly enthusiastic about Manchester airport's second runway - except for the LibDems in Stockport, which lies under the flightpath."

"The Lib Dems know much more about pursuing the Green vote than about pursuing Green policies. In the "green tax switch" they announced last September, the LibDems promised to "cut income tax and switch to green taxes on pollution instead." No serious Greens would contemplate this."

For the full article: _[How green are the Liberal Democrats?][1]_



[1]: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/jun/02/lib-dems-steal-green-votes

URL: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2009-06-02-Lib-Dems-consistently-inconsistent-about-environment.html

*Save disabled people and their families from the cost-cutters!

For every three diagnosed cases of autism in the under-5s, it is estimated that there are two undiagnosed cases.[1]

Meanwhile recession and cuts in public spending make obtaining a diagnosis of disability more difficult to obtain for children and adults alike. And the DWP is making it harder for people to claim Disability Living Allowance and crisis loans.[2] Green Party Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley says:

"Of course, diagnostic services cost money, and cutting those services means getting disadvantaged families to carry the can in isolation.

"Green Party policy advocates a non-means-tested Citizen's Income to free parents to parent, volunteers to volunteer, etc. Green Party policy of 'green-collar' job creation and CI comprise alternatives to the Welfare Reform Bill.

"Under New Labour and Tory welfare reform measures, even parents of autistic adults would be forced to undergo 'work-related activity' as if parenting is socially irresponsible. ('Safe-guards' given lip-service in Parliament are not spelled out in the Bill.)"

The parent of a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome says in support of Citizen's Income: "The problem is that so many people think that disability could never happen to them."[4]

For more on Green Party policy, go to www.greenparty.org.uk

NOTES

[1] One in 100 children have autism

[2] DWP making it harder to claim crisis loans and DLA

[3] Insulation, house building, etc.

[4] By email to Alan Wheatley

*Green surge continues

In the new poll, conducted by ComRes (1), the Greens have overtaken the LibDems for the first time since 1989. The poll suggests the Greens may be about to match their historic 1989 Euro-election vote of 15%.
The poll shows support for the different parties as follows:

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

Monday, 1 June 2009

*Another rapper supports the Greens.

The rapper and political activist Lowkey will be voting for the Greens/ Jean Lambert in the Euro elections. Lowkey has performed at recent Stop The War and Palestine Solidarity demos, and has reached almost 4000 people on Facebook alone with his endorsement.

Here is a sample of his most recent work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO5Cay6GUkM


The rapper Relentless MC has already supported the Green Party. Jean is a great admirer of his music.

*Greens on course for European election success

Further polls put Greens on course for European election success

Record level of support predicted for a nationwide poll

Based on a new ICM poll, the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH is predicting the Green Party will win EIGHT seats at the European elections on June 4th. The party currently has 2 MEPs in the South East and London.

http://tinyurl.com/mhw256

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


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

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


In total, SIX polls in the last 2 weeks (including a new YouGov poll in the Daily Telegraph today) have consistently given the Greens between 9% and 11% national vote share for the European elections, enough to make several gains under the broadly proportional voting system used, including here in Eastern region. The level of support predicted for a nationwide election is unprecedented. At the last European elections in 2004, the Greens got about 6% of the vote across the UK but with polls under-predicting the actual result.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

*Bookies refuse to qoute odds on 3,4 or 5 Green wins.

I received the following message, today, from a friend:

"Greenies might be interested in the odds that the bookmaker William Hill is offering on the forthcoming European elections -

Greens to win 10 or more seats - 6/1.

They are not offering odds on us to win, for example, 3, 4, or 5 seats. (I phoned to check). I find this a very optimistic indicator, because it tells us that the bookies think that this sort of result is very much on the cards, and so they prefer to not offer odds on it. (The trick of being a profitable bookmaker is that when something is likely to happen, don't offer odds on it at all, or if you do, offer such miserly odds that no-one will bet on it much).

What it boils down to is that the bookies clearly think that we may get for example, 4 or 5 seats - which is a good sign for us.

The point is that the bookies are generally very accurate when it comes to Parliamentary elections, so they are likely to have this one more or less right too."

Monday, 25 May 2009

*Green Left Pamphlet Launch at Housmans Bookshop next Wednesday 27th May @ 7pm

Green Left, the anti-capitalist current in the Green Party, has just published a new pamphlet, which is to be launched at Housemans Bookshop in London at on Wednesday 27 May. Entitled Countering the Crisis, the pamphlet gives an ecosocialist response to the global recession and the threat of climate change.

The pamphlet has two main sections; the first provides an analysis of the current crisis and shows how it is the inherent instability of the financial system that is the prime mover of the credit crunch rather than just the sleight of hand of a relatively tiny number of spivs and hucksters. It points to the phenomena of the financialisation of capitalism - the shift in gravity from production to finance - and suggests that this has been the key factor in the development of asset bubbles and the growth of the increasingly more arcane and risky financial schemes which have triggered the collapse of markets throughout the world.


The second part sets out some proposals for dealing with the twin crises - financial and environmental - that confront us. Central to these is the demand for a massive redistribution of wealth and power. One of the key factors in advancing the financialisation of the economy has been the dramatic redistribution of wealth away from wages as a percentage of the GDP. Therefore, there is an urgent need to redistribute wealth away from corporate profits and towards wages and income; not only because justice demands it but also because it makes sound economic sense.

The pamphlet points out that many of the points it makes have been made elsewhere on the left and that and a number of manifestos round which to organise have been issued, most importantly The People's Charter. It is vital that we start to draw together these strands of opposition to the current system in order to enable the development of a genuinely grass roots movement.

The pamphlet will be launched with a talk by its author, Sean Thompson, at Housmans Bookshop, Caledonian Road (near Kings Cross Station) at 7pm on Wednesday, 27 May.

*Lib Dem lies.

LETTER TO THE PAPERS FROM PETE McASKIE OF HARINGEY GREEN PARTY.
Apparently these fake claims are been published all over London:



I received a Liberal Democrat European election leaflet. On it there is a bar chart illustrating the votes achieved by different political parties, with an arrow pointing at The Green Party saying “can't win here”.


I have spent a lot of time recently explaining to Haringey voters about Green MEP for London Jean Lambert's exceptional performance over the last eight years. They elected her twice. MEPs represent the whole of London, and Haringey despite having no Green councillors was one of the biggest contributors to the successful Green vote both times. I'm confident the residents of Haringey will elect Green councillors next year. We definitely are electable in Haringey.


Before I received my copy of the leaflet, a few people had already asked me about it and asked me if it were true that Greens couldn't win. Having experience of the Lib Dems' use of election statistics in Haringey before, I could without looking at the leaflet explain what they had probably done. They'd used data from a 'first past the post' General Election alongside text about the 'proportional representation' European Election. The small print under the bar chart, which few people read, states which election the figures are from. Is this a deliberate attempt to mislead voters into voting for them, or simply an accidental mistake? I leave you to decide.


For the highest standards of integrity, 'Vote Green' on June the 4th, and in all other elections.

Pete McAskie

Green Party Parliamentary candidate

Hornsey & Wood Green

Thursday, 21 May 2009

*VIDEO ON EXPENSES.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK6P-JW_YU4

is a short piece of film noir about the expenses row, from Scott Redding Associates, written by and starring Darren Johnson.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

*Euro election: How votes are counted

Wonderful new online video explaining how the votes are counted in the Euros and how voting for the Greens can stop Griffin and his sorry mob.

Watch it, talk about it, distribute it widely, especially if you have any friends or colleagues in the north west.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv0uHWxhLgs

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

*Green Party Election Broadcast.

www.thinkagainvotegreen.org.uk

It is the most effective broadcast that we have had in some time. Well done to our GPEX External Communications Coordinator, Tracy-Dighton Brown. A special commendation as the broadcast was done pro-bono and did not cost us
- that's what I call 'value for money'

Shot by Jonty Toosey at Bikini Films, the 2 minute 40 second election broadcast encourages people to think again about the Green Party. It challenges pre-conceptions and dramatises the varied achievements of the party in the European Parliament. The broadcast also contains music from Franz Ferdinand - their song, "Eleanor Put Your Boots On."

Saw Peter Tatchell on TV yesterday discussing the MP expenses scandal. Again, well done to Tracy, Spencer and our media team.

They are proving to be the best media team in my memory.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

*Green Party Election Broadcast - tomorrow.

11th May ITV 18.25,
FIVE (no time yet),
BBC1 18.55,
BBC2 17.55

26th May
FIVE (no time yet),

27th May
ITV 18.25,
BBC1 18.55
BBC 2 17.55

Thursday, 7 May 2009

* Don't lose your voice - register to vote

The European elections are taking place on Thursday 4 June - are you ready to have your say?

One in five Londoners, that's over 1 million people, who are eligible to vote may not register in time. If you're one of those people, you could miss your chance to choose who represents you and your city in Europe.

The European Parliament makes decisions that have a direct impact on every Londoner. Crucial legislation on a vast range of issues, from air pollution and climate change to rights at work and asylum, is set at the European level.

All UK, EU and Commonwealth citizens living in London are eligible to vote, but you must be registered on the electoral role. The deadline for registering is Tuesday 19 May. For advice and information visit

www.aboutmyvote.co.uk or call 020 7271 0500.

You need to vote to have a voice - make sure nothing stops you.


Jean Lambert MEP
Green Party, London
Suite 58, The Hop Exchange
24 Southwark Street
London SE1 1TY

jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

* ‘ShellGuilty’ Campaign Launched As Shell Trial Date Confirmed

Campaigners demand Shell end illegal gas flaring that Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa died trying to stop


LONDON—Days after a judge confirmed Shell Oil will stand trial in New York on May 26th on charges it was complicit in the murders of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Nigerian activists, environmental and human rights groups announced that they have formed a global campaign to hold Shell accountable and demand that it stop gas flaring in Nigeria.


The campaign is being coordinated by Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and PLATFORM/Remember Saro-Wiwa. In addition to the website www.ShellGuilty.com, the campaign will include grassroots advocacy, TV and online advertising, and calls for Shell to come clean about its corporate irresponsibility, human rights abuses and record of environmental devastation. The campaigners are demanding that Shell stop gas flaring.


“Ken Saro-Wiwa’s hanging revealed the true price of oil,” said Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International. “Global movements for corporate accountability and environmental and social justice were inspired in part by the sacrifice of the Ogoni and the vision of Saro-Wiwa. Now, as Shell finally goes on trial for its crimes, we continue the struggle that Saro-Wiwa died for. For the climate and the communities of Nigeria, Shell must end gas flaring.”


“Gas flaring in Nigeria, where Shell is by far the largest oil company, poisons Niger Delta communities and is a significant, wasteful, source of global warming pollution,” said Elizabeth Bast of Friends of the Earth. “It’s time for Shell to end to its human rights abuses and climate crimes, including its gas flaring in Nigeria.”


“We remember Saro-Wiwa by keeping alive his nonviolent struggle,” said Ben Amunwa of PLATFORM/Remember Saro-Wiwa. “People around the world who care about these issues can demand justice from Shell—for all the victims of the oil industry—by joining our campaign at www.ShellGuilty.com.”


CONTACT:


U.K.: Ben Amunwa, Platform/Remember Saro-Wiwa, +44-207-357-0055, +44-7891-454-714, ben@remembersarowiwa.com
Netherlands: Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth, +31-20-5507387, +31-6-21829589, anne.van.schaik@milieudefensie.nl
U.S.: Nick Berning, Friends of the Earth, +1-202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org
U.S.: Steve Kretzmann Oil Change International, +1-202-497-1033, steve@priceofoil.org