Saturday, 28 February 2009


"Understanding and caring for people who are different needs to be taught to parents as well as children" the Green Party Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley said this week.

He was responding to news that the BBC has received dozens of complaints from parents against the employment of BBC children's television presenter Cerrie Burnell who was born with one arm. She co-presents the Do and Discover slot and Bedtime Hour on the CBeebies channel of the BBC, and it has been reported that dozens of parents have complained that the presenter scares children. One parent said, "What is scary is the BBC's determination to show 'minorities' on CBeebies at every available opportunity."[1

Mr Wheatley, worked with under-5s in the early 1990s after experiencing disability discrimination at school and says, "Children learn a lot from their parents -- for good or ill. When I received training in childcare, some placements said, "Male students would require too much supervision" as justification for reneging on Equal Opportunities policies. Then came the Nursery Supervisor who prized "excellent male role models to small children" as an antidote to macho culture portrayed on-screen and wider society that leaves parenting to the women. "Some people even argued that a man with bushy hair and a beard would 'frighten the children'. Such statements reflect the parents' values more than reality," he argues.

"What would these parents who believe that 'minorities' should be neither seen or heard on children's television have them do? Is it not time for the parents to grow up to a global world and the social model of disability?" The social model of disability, integral to Green Party policy, points to the physical and social barriers that exclude people with impairments from fully participating in society. "Disabled role models on television can help to broaden the world-view of the parents as well as the children in the spirit of life-long learning in a very diverse society. One-armed people can achieve a lot, though not necessarily in the 'standard' way. Do some parents with both arms intact feel threatened by the prospect of a physically disabled person's success?

"Outside inclusive education hours, Cerrie Burnell as an icon of disability equality in public service broadcasting can help broaden people's horizons and give inspiration to open-minded parents rather than nightmares to Bedtime Hour viewers."

Friday, 27 February 2009

*Hopeful future

London's Green MEP, Jean Lambert, speaks of a hopeful future at Camden public meeting

With the world facing a "triple-crunch" -- climate change, peak oil and the credit-fuelled financial crisis – Jean Lambert, London's Green MEP, told a public meeting organised by the Green Party Trade Union group in Euston last Saturday [Feb 21] that the Party was working, in consultation with unions, non-governmental organisations and experts -towards a complete model for a new economy - a complete Green new deal
that was "international, intergenerational and inclusive".

Some aspects of what were needed were clear, she said. First, Britain had to make a large investment in green jobs: "There are 22 million homes in the UK that need a comprehensive package of energy efficiency. A complete retrofit of Britain's housing to Green standards would create more than half a million jobs. More jobs could be created by improved public transport."

She continued: "The whole focus of trade policy has to change to focus on production methods and the outcomes for producers, rather than just prices to consumers.

"And there has to be a recognition that we cannot rely on the private sector to delivery core public sector services. Even Peter Mandelson is talking about a post office bank. That's great, if you can still find a post office."

In moving towards a low-carbon, environmentally friendly economy, an effective framework was particularly necessary for vulnerable industries such as coal and vehicle-manufacturing, she said. Those workers needed a structured system of retraining, of subsidies to redirect production. "The rule is to make resources redundant, rather than people."

It was essential to acknowledge that many people were now suffering a deep fear and insecurity about the future, she said. "We have to give them hope that the economy and society can be managed better, that Britons can feel their life belongs to them, rather than their being tied on to a daily treadmill whose speed they can't control. People need to feel that their life is grounded in family and community, rather than a cycle of money chasing non-existent money."

Other speakers at the meeting were: Tony Kearns, CWU senior deputy general secretary; Sian Jones, a member of the Trade Union Sustainable Development Advisory Committee Working Group; and Ann Elliot-Day, PCS communications officer.

Friday, 20 February 2009


GREEN PARTY TRADE UNION GROUP & London Federation of Green Parties



The world plunges headlong into Recession, but could this provide the opportunity for a ‘NEW GREEN DEAL’ or a ‘JUST TRANSITION’ from our current economic arrangements which cause economic & ecological disaster.? What will this new economy be like? How can workers’ rights be defended as it is built?


Jean Lambert,MEP
Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London

Tony Kearns
CWU Senior Deputy General Secretary

Ann Elliot-Day
PCS Communications Officer (Green Issues)

Sian Jones
Trade Union Sustainable Development Committee

2.00pm Saturday 21 February 2009
St Pancras Church Hall , Lancing Street off Eversholt St, London, NW1 1AN,
020 7388 1461,
(next to Euston BR, tube and bus station)

To reserve a seat contact ; P.Murry, Secretary GPTU at

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

*Awesome film:-)

Enjoy and share.
(use as possible ice-breaker for a discussion evening)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Sunday, 15 February 2009

*Global warming 'underestimated'

*The severity of global warming over the next century will be much worse than previously believed, a leading climate scientist has warned.*

Professor Chris Field, an author of a 2007 landmark report on climate change, said future temperatures "will be beyond anything" predicted.

Prof Field said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had underestimated the rate of change.

He said warming is likely to cause more environmental damage than forecast.

Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.

Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem.

He said the increases in carbon dioxide have been caused, principally, by the burning of coal for electric power in India and China.


Prof Field said the impact on temperatures is as yet unknown, but warming is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than had been predicted.

He says that a warming planet will dry out forests in tropical areas making them much more likely to suffer from wildfires.

The rising temperatures could also speed up the melting of the permafrost, vastly increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, Prof Field warns.

"Without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought," he said.

From the BBC website.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

*Mayor: 'You're trying to make me look like a f***ing fool'

Key extracts from Mayor Boris Johnson's alleged foul-mouthed rant at Keith Vaz,
chairman of the Commons home affairs committee*:

"I used to think that you were a straight guy. A man that you could do business with. This is f***ing ridiculous."

"You have gone on television and connived to try to give the impression that I f***ing tipped off David Cameron."

"You are trying to make me look like a f***ing fool.

"I cannot believe that you have allowed the (committee) to become a part of this. This is such f***ing bullshit."

"I f***ing warned you beforehand that I would not be very good on details."

"I have been asked endlessly about phone conversations with Paul Stephenson but calls with Cameron were completely f***ing irrelevant."

"You have behaved in an unbelievably naked partisan way...f***ing smear tactics from the Labour Party."

"The key point that is not getting across - I didn't give any f***ing information to Cameron."

Mr Johnson also says he was so "f***ing angry".

* According to minutes reportedly taken of the phone conversation between Mr Johnson and Mr Vaz on 4 February

*Green Party candidate needed five stitches after whaling clash

A British anti whaling protester needed five stitches in a head wound after a high seas confrontation last week between Japanese whale hunters and conservationists.Steven Roest, 42, was left bleeding when his rubber dinghy tried to prevent the Japanese from hauling on board a dead Minke whale.

Mr Roest, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Twickenham, was taking part in a protest organised by Sea Shepherd, an anti-whale hunting environmental charity, to which actor Pierce Brosnan is a listed advisor.

People on the conservation ship, Steve Irwin - said they had been attacked by three Japanese whaling ships at the end of last week.

For the whole story and photo :

Sunday, 8 February 2009

*Key Labour employment plan close to collapse

The best laid plans of mice and investment bankers ....

Those who devised New Labour's welfare reform plans were motivated by corporate bonuses they would acquire for releasing benefit claimants from 'welfare dependency' into paid work -- however low-paid -- or by denying the validity of their attempts to find suitable employment,leading to claim closure by deprivation.

The privatisation of welfare outlined in the Welfare Reform Green Paper was informed by investment banker David Freud's ignorance. The Green Party listening to disabled people and their families when responding with 'Writing off workfare'. We clearly stated that the government agenda was skewed by its perception of disabled people and benefit claimants as 'the problem'. Disadvantaged people are impacted upon by
discrimination rather than laziness. Those who talk of a 'carrot and stick' approach are more into dictatorship than representative government and sustainable society.

Green Party Citizen's Income -- a non-means-tested benefit based on citizenship that would be available to all UK citizens -- is part of the answer. Curbing the bonus culture of market economics and also tackling discrimination would serve a more sustainable future. "Government should listen to disadvantaged people more than to our oppressors," says the Green Party's National Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley. "The DWP advertising budget needs to focus more on tackling disability
discrimination, ageism and sexism rather than 'targeting benefit thieves'.

*Alternative views on the economic crisis

Aunty BBC has done nearly everyone a favour by presenting the
views of some progressive and radical thinkers on the economic crisis
on their website.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Well worth seeing this. Ashley is a leading Green Party activist in East London as well as being a great actor.




Directed by

4TH, 5TH & 6TH MARCH 09

Redbridge Drama Centre, Pirko Studio

TICKET PRICES: £8.50 – Full price & £5 – Concessions
BOX OFFICE: 020 8504 5451
(9am-6pm Mon-Fri)

This dark, gothic play tells the fascinating, hilarious yet terrifying story – involving identity crisis, murder and psychoanalysis – of the strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as told to Carl Jung by an inmate of Broadmoor Asylum.

‘Mark Ryan maps out a pitch black journey into the soul… stunning immediacy and complexity" –
John Martin, The Scotsman

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Coming soon - see the trailer.

*Tell the Government: hands off your NHS records and DNA

Urgent action

The Government has included proposals to allow ministers to issue 'information-sharing orders' in the Coroners and Justice Bill. These proposals would allow medical records, genetic information and DNA collected in the NHS to be shared with any organisation or individual, including private companies, foreign governments and the police, without people's consent or knowledge.

The proposals would allow a national DNA database to be built by stealth in the NHS, with access later given to the police.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that "This Bill strips patients and doctors of any rights in relation to the control of sensitive health information".

GeneWatch recommends that you contact your MP urgently and ask them to oppose the data-sharing clauses in the Coroners and Justice Bill.

You can find more information on:

Sunday, 1 February 2009

*Am I mad, or seeing clearly?

Really great posting from Matt Sellwood:

There have been a number of times over the last few years when I have had occasion to wonder if I am mad. Or if most of the rest of society is mad. Or possibly both. That feeling arose quite tangibly during the Iraq war - but never so much as it has over the last few weeks.

The economy, almost overnight, has switched from boom to bust. A long and 'glorious' (sic) period of growth has transformed into the deepest recession for 25 years. Meanwhile, almost every objective factor in the economy is identical. We have the same number of people, with the same skills, exploting the same resources, to the same ends. And yet, somehow, the mass hallucination that is capitalism and the money structure, has dictated that we can't currently do what we were doing only a few months ago. For absolutely NO objective reason - simply because some jumped up merchant bankers (using the slang term of the phrase, as well as the literal) constructed a fantasy edifice of imaginary money, to which we have to kowtow. And, as a result of this slavery to an economic system that makes absolutely no sense, unemployment lines are lengthening and people are losing their homes.

Surely, this is totally mad?

Meanwhile, our government is taking all the actions that we have been told for years are impossible and utopian when they have been suggested to ameliorate climate change, global poverty and war. 'Quantitive easing' is coming into effect - a ludicrously academic term for printing more money. Banks are receiving enormous bailouts, where money seems to be no barrier...and not even being taken into public control in return. Meanwhile, the Scottish government baulks at a request from the Green Party for £100 million a year for free insulation - a measure that tackles climate change, poverty and creates jobs.

Surely, this is totally mad?

And, of course, then there's my favourite disciple of the madness. James Purnell, our ambitious and oily Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announces his new intentions for welfare reform. At a time of tight job markets, everyone must take what they are offered by the all-powerful market. You have a PHD in nuclear physics and dared to refuse a job shovelling shit, in the hope that you might get to fulfil your potential in another few months? No benefits for you, scum! You have serious depression and don't feel able to work at Maccy D's for minimum wage? Get back in line, you workshy idler! And, meanwhile, the utterly ludicrous imbalance between the amount of time the government spends harassing poor people and the amount of time it spends addressing the tax gap (over £80 billion a year at last count) continues.

Surely, this is totally mad?

I've always thought that economic systems are made to serve people, not the other way around. That our productive capacity should depend on our numbers, our skills, our resources, and not on a money system that bears little relation to any of those things. That our society and its organisation should be tailored to the desires of those who live in it, with due regard to the rights of all, including future generations - but with no regard to the imaginary dictates of capitalism.

Am I totally mad?
Posted by Matt Sellwood at 03:55

*Support grows for Left Green Party in Iceland.

One of two left-wing parties set to form an interim government in crisis-hit Iceland Sunday has seen its approval rating more than double since the 2007 elections, a poll showed.

The Left Green party, which is scheduled Sunday afternoon to create a minority government with the Social Democrats to replace Prime Minister Geir Haarde's disgraced right-left coalition, received support from 30 percent of Icelanders questioned by the Capacent Gallup polling institute.

Broadcast on national radio late Saturday, the survey of 3,700 people showed support for the Left Greens was significantly higher than the 13.5 percent of votes it garnered in 2007 general elections, and up a percentage point from a poll last month.

Haarde's Independence Party -- which along with the Social Democrats made up the outgoing government that was forced to resign on January 26 over Iceland's deep economic crisis -- meanwhile saw its approval rating shrink to just 24 percent, the poll showed.

That is a point lower than in the previous poll and only about a third of the 71.9-percent approval rating it garnered in a survey a year ago.

In the last elections, Haarde's party won 36.6 percent of the vote.

Thousands of Icelanders have lost their savings and jobs since the once-booming financial sector crumbled in October. Many blame Haarde for the crisis that forced Reykjavik to take control of the major banks as the currency nosedived.

The Social Democrats, who are leaving Haarde's coalition to join the Left Greens, have meanwhile also seen their support shrink to just 22 percent, the new poll showed, down from 28 percent a month earlier.

In the 2007 elections they won 26.8 percent of votes.

The poll also indicated that only 26 percent of Icelanders support the government exiting power today, down from 36 percent in the last survey.