Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Jenny Jones: I unequivocally support strikes against ideologically-driven pension cuts

In advance of Wednesday’s public sector strikes, Jenny Jones said: “The Green Party unequivocally supports the strike on public sector pensions and our members will be involved in rallies and picket lines across London.

“We believe this strike could have easily been avoided if the government had been willing to negotiate with unions but their reckless attitude has given public sector workers no choice but to withdraw their labour.

“With the median pensions for a woman employed by the NHS standing at just £3,500 a year and just £2,600 for a female local government employee, the government is relying on misinformation on ‘golden plated pensions’ to push through unnecessary cuts to some of the country’s most important workers.

“The simple truth is the money is there and by cutting tax evasion and avoidance and introducing a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions these ideologically-driven cuts would be exposed as unnecessary.”

Jenny Jones will address rallies organised by the trade unions PCS and Unison on Wednesday.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Greens from all over the country will be voicing their opposition to the coalition cuts on November 30th

The Green Party strongly supports the union’s strike over changes to their Public Sector pension schemes which will see their members having to work longer and contribute more. The 24 hour walk out is set to be the UK’s biggest strike for over 30 years with over 2 million Public Sector employees taking part.

We call for a clamp down on tax evasion by the rich and a tax on financial transactions rather than the proposed public sector cuts and for the Government to urgently review the state pension which remains below poverty levels. We would like to see the rapid introduction of a citizen's pension, paid at a level that allows people to meet basic needs.

Green councillor Rob White reports: "Sadly, the coalition’s treatment of public sector workers has left them with little option but to take strike action. The Conservative led coalition seems to want ordinary people, who did the least to cause the economic crisis, to make the biggest sacrifices. The Green Party thinks this is unfair. Although we regret the inconvenience that striking can cause, sometimes targeted and considered action is necessary.

"This government is taking us backwards. We shouldn't be racing to the bottom, but protecting the pensions of ordinary people and making sure that everyone across all sectors gets a decent pension when they retire. Fair pensions are worth fighting for!"

Greens at Westminster and City Hall will not cross the picket lines to work on Wednesday November 30th.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Vet warns of serious risk to human health

The Green Party calls for action for the drastic reduction of antibiotic usage on farms and welcomes the important report from Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association and Sustain, which demonstrates the seriousness of the issue and proposes practical steps to tackle it.

Caroline Allen, vet and Green Party Spokesperson on animal issues, said, "I am pleased to see this issue getting the prominent coverage it deserves. With pharmaceutical companies able to advertise antibiotics direct to farmers and animals kept in intolerable conditions with high levels of stress and avoidable disease, it is no surprise that antibiotics have seemed to be an easy answer. Unfortunately the price we are paying for cheap meat is a rise in antibiotic resistance, which is a serious threat to human health."

The European Parliament recently voted to support an end to the prophylactic use of antibiotics in livestock farming. This routine use of antibiotics in animal husbandry has been a longstanding issue for the Greens and we have now urged the European Commission to develop proposals that will bring an end to this practice.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South-East England, said, "Antibiotics are being used in this way to perpetuate unnaturally high densities of animals in factory-farming systems, a highly polluting and inhumane practice. I have visited successful organic farms where antibiotics are not used in this way. Given the damaging effects on animals and humans alike, it is now imperative that European farmers move towards a more sustainable and healthy model of farming that does not compromise the health of either animals or consumers."

Friday, 18 November 2011

"Apartheid in the transport system is getting worse rather than better in the runup to the Paralympics

"Ironically, it seems as if the apartheid in the transport system is getting worse rather than better in the run up to the Paralympics," said Jonathan Bartley, a Green party candidate for the London assembly who, as the father of a boy with spina bifida, tackled David Cameron on last year's election trail over the alleged segregation of disabled children in the education system."


Friday, 11 November 2011

London Mayoral and Assembly campaign presents:

Sunday 20th November 2011

“As the campaign heats up, only Jenny Jones and the Green Party have offered the fresh ideas that our capital needs, so come along, have some fun, and help raise some money for a safer, fairer, cleaner, greener London. “ Alistair McGowan

Come and join us and celebrate a wonderful mix of comedy, socialist magic and a soupcon of serious politics.

Headline act is the BAFTA award winning comedian, actor and impressionist Alistair McGowan. Joining him are The Socialist Magician who we have it on good authority can make financial inequality disappear, Abie Philbin Bowman who according to The Sunday Times is the ”Best Stand up under 30” (take note Mr Whitehall) , musical comedian Carly Smallman who Time Out describes as “Very funny, fresh and endlessly creative”, the bitingly waspish Calen Harley and the fabulous George Marshall founder of climate change charity, the Climate Outreach Information. All taking place in a low carbon tent.

All of this wonderful stuff is to raise money for the Green Party’s 2012 London Mayoral and London Assembly election campaign. So if you care about fair pay for London, safer roads, improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, and an affordable home then join us and support Jenny Jones for London Mayor.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Green Party call for an immediate moratorium on fracking in light of breaking news from the U.S.

U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded that fracking does cause earthquakes.
On 5 November an earthquake measuring 5.6 rattled Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Illinois. Before fracking took place in the region Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year, but in 2010 this figure increased by a terrifying 2094% with 1,047 quakes hitting the area.
 Both the U.S Army and the U.S. Geological Survey, who have conducted over fifty years of research into the area, confirm on a federal level that that “fluid injection” introduces subterranean instability and is a contributory factor in inducing increased seismic activity.
The reports come at a particularly interesting time for the UK thanks to the recent confirmed  link between the Cuadrilla fracking plant and the Lancashire earthquakes.
The Green Party has long criticized this practice, arguing that not only is there a risk of water pollution but that an increased rise in seismic activity leaves local residents at risk and feeling anxious and vulnerable.
"It's time for an immediate halt and a complete re-think of the government's approach to these energy resources."

A climate sceptic has said that it is now time to end the debate over whether global warming is real

From to-day's Independent:

A climate sceptic has said that it is now time to end the debate over whether global warming is real after the most definitive study into temperature data gathered by weather stations over the past half-century.

Professor Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has been an outspoken critic of the science underpinning global warming, said that there is little doubt in his mind the phenomenon of rising land temperatures is real. Over the past two years, he has chaired a group of scientists who have carried out an exhaustive analysis of more than 1.6 billion temperature recordings collected from more than 39,000 weather stations at land sites around the world.

The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) study was set up to test the findings of other studies and was part-funded by US billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

"When we began our study, we felt that sceptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some sceptics of that," Professor Muller said.

The Best study has yet to be peer-reviewed but has been submitted to the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Scientists homed in on weaknesses they saw in studies by the Climatic Research Unit and Hadley Centre in the UK, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US.

Professor Muller and his colleagues, including this year's physics Nobel winner, Saul Perlmutter, had suspected the previous work had been tainted by the "urban heat island effect", where increasing urbanisation around weather stations was causing the temperature increases recorded over the past half-century.

But a fine statistical analysis showed the urban heat effect could not explain a global temperature increase of about 1C since 1950. Professor Muller said the warming was not the result of data bias caused by selective elimination of some weather stations from the analysis, or the practice of "homogenisation" to take into account changes in weather station positions or instrumentation.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Green Room in yesterday's Daily Telegraph

London's best charity shops: stylish spoils and sweet charity

Katie Wright unearths fashionable surprises and saves a packet in London's best charity shops.

“….the Green Room (which serves an environmental charity) secrets vintage and costume jewellery between piles of precariously balanced books. Shimmering, one-off vintage pieces can be picked up here for less than a fiver apiece”

Friday, 4 November 2011

£9 million cost of police replacing traffic wardens

It has emerged that the cost of transferring traffic warden functions to the Metropolitan Police's new structure for the Safer Transport Command will cost the Met £9 million. The proposed new structure involves replacing traffic wardens with traffic police community support officers and traffic warden managers with police sergeants. The cost of early departures and the additional retraining and redeployment of traffic wardens is £9 million.

The Met has one of the lowest proportions of civilian staff in its workforce compared to other forces. The replacement of traffic wardens will reduce further the use of civilian staff. Generally use of civilian staff is cheaper that use of police officers.
Jenny Jones said:
“I am worried that the Mayor's fixation with keeping up officer numbers means the Met are taking a backward step by putting officers into roles that can be done by staff. All the advice in delivering a better police force for less recommends making greater use of police staff. Spending £9 million to replace civilian staff with experienced police sergeants and community support officers does not make good financial sense at a time when budgets are being cut.
“Police sergeants are highly trained and should be used in roles that require these skills. The de-civilianisation of the Met is worrying, when jobs can be done successfully by staff for less. It delivers poor value for money for Londoners”.
Question to the MPS 2011-90 traffic wardens

What was the total cost of transfer from the previous traffic warden arrangement to the present system, including the traffic warden supervisors and also retraining costs?


For several years now the MPS and TfL have, in consultation with the Trade Union Side, been working towards a new service delivery model within the Safer Transport Command (STC). This model is based on the use of TPCSOs rather than Traffic Wardens. The business rationale supporting the transition is predicated on the additional powers and therefore operational flexibility provided by TPCSOs as compared to Traffic Wardens. These additional powers enable TPCSOs to deal with ASB, cycling offences, counter terrorism and the ability to detain certain persons. TPCSOs also provide additional tactical deployment options enabling the MPS to meet the changing demands of the service. This increased flexibility will also enable the MPS to more effectively deliver against the requirements of the Olympic Policing operation and this will be reflected in updates to the Olympic planning in this area.

To facilitate the transition to the new STC service delivery model, voluntary early departure offers were made to the Traffic Warden group in November 2010 (Phase 1) and again in April 2011 (Phase 2). The total costs of the 200 early departures is £8.95m (this figure includes both departures to date and planned departures for both Traffic Wardens and Traffic Warden Managers). In addition, we have successfully redeployed 25 Traffic Wardens into the TPCSO role and have a further 21 currently completing the TPCSO training course. On the basis of a 100% success rate (which we anticipate) the training costs for this group will be approximately £73,400.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

We cannot keep quiet on rotten borough of City of London

Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones today reaffirmed the Party’s commitment to the abolition of the City of London Corporation.

Jones said: “It is no surprise that the political consensus is to avoid discussing the City of London’s nefarious practices and influence.

“Half of Conservative Party funding comes from the Square Mile and the proportion of votes allocated to big business within the Corporation increased under the Labour government.

“However we cannot keep quiet about the continued existence of a rotten borough that provides a tax haven for big business, lacks democracy and dislikes protests on its streets.

“With the neighbouring borough of Tower Hamlets implementing some of the worst cuts in the country and basic public services being forced to close, the unaccountable accumulation of the Corporation’s massive property portfolio is entirely unacceptable.”

 The Green Party passed policy at its September conference calling for the Corporation’s abolition.