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:

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]_



*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


[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:

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.

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%.

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.