21 Sep 2016

Cotswold Green Party AGM - 14th October 2016

It is almost a year since the Cotswold Green Party was founded - 3rd October 2015! Our AGM will be held on Friday 14th October in the Function Room of the Waggon and Horses, 11 London Road, Cirencester. There is cheap parking opposite in the Beeches Car Park, GL7 1BW.

The formal AGM for members will be from 7 until 8pm.


At 8pm there will be a Quiz open to all - members, supporters, family and friends. We will also be holding a Raffle.

We hope you can make it as it should be both interesting and fun.


See www.cotswold.greenparty.org.uk 

21 Jul 2016

Planet 24 Seven this Sunday!

This Sunday is the first time that www.planet24seven.co.uk has undertaken a coming together fun day to celebrate the wonderful diversity of life on this planet of ours.....and how we should think 24 seven how to preserve it for the future.

A message from a local reader of this blog is: 'Please join in. Its very simple. Just have fun on Sunday visiting one of the highlighted sites or just think about your carbon footprint or walk or cycle somewhere you would have driven to'.

18 Jul 2016

Where is the Outcry from Brexiters?

'Take back Control' and 'We want our sovereignity' were rallying cries from those supporting exit from the EU.  

Why are they not protecting Brtitish interests from those foreigners who are gobbling up all our industry, infrastructure and housing?

Today's news is that one of our largest technology businesses is being taken over by the Japanese. Japan's Softbank is to buy ARM Holdings, one of the UK's biggest technology companies, for £24bn ($32bn). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36822806

The Government wants the French and Chinese to invest in our nuclear power industry.  The French already have a considerable stake in our electricity supply.  Thames Water is owned by an Australian company.  The Railways have many foreign owners. Well know British brands like Cadburys are no longer British owned. Houses, especially in London, are snapped up by foreigners as investment opportunities, forcing up house prices for the local population.

British loss of ownership of our industry, infrastructure and housing is the real threat to control of our nation, not the EU. 

15 Jul 2016

This is an excellent time to hide bad news

As an unelected Prime Minister takes up residence in 10 Downing Street without any democratic direction on the nature of post-referendum negotiations and the country watches the dramatic Labour leadership battle, the government is relying on us being so distracted that we don’t notice anything else.

The UN has found the Conservative government’s austerity measures and social security reform to be in breach of international human rights obligations.

Key areas of concern include

  • persistent discrimination against migrant workers
  • unemployment, which continues to disproportionately affect people with disabilities
  • young people and minorities
  • lack of corporate regulation
  • the use of zero hour contracts
  • the new Trade Union Act, which limits the right of workers to undertake industrial action
  • the national minimum wage has been found to be insufficient to ensure a decent standard of living
  • there has been a significant rise in homelessness
  • the Human Rights Act is still being scrapped
  • the number of children living in poverty has jumped by 200,000 in the last year. This means 3.9 million children are now living below the breadline in this country
Yesterday’s report by the Committee on Climate Change found that the government is unprepared to deal with the effects of climate change. It is predicted that global warming will hit UK with deadly heatwaves, more flooding and water shortages. Meanwhile we're still filling the oceans with plastic, and employing disasterous farming methods that are destroying our soils and wildlife.

The country is burning. We are in a state of crisis.

This is all being buried under Brexit headlines. As the increasingly farcical spectacle that is modern day British politics continues to unfold, we cannot forget that there are still injustices to be fought. Right now. Today.

In these times of uncertainty, the Green Party remains united. Whoever is in charge, we know what we stand for. We will continue to fight for social justice, migrants’ rights and weaning our country off its addiction to fossil fuels. Help us do this. Become a member or renew your membership today.

Natalie Bennett
Leader
Green Party of England & Wales

12 Jul 2016

Help make 'Sharkwater: Extinction'

Just over a year ago I wrote a blog about the documentary film 'Revolution' (see here) - it is a film about our ecosystem and our future - and full of hope. Well the activist and biologist Rob Stewart, who made the films is now making another film - and he needs help. It is a follow up to his first critically acclaimed film, Sharkwater. 

The Sharkwater team write: When Sharkwater was released in 2007, it brought the plight of sharks to more than 124 million people, spawning conservation groups, changing government policy and seeding a movement that today has banned shark finning throughout most of the world.   

It was a great conservation success story but sadly, today sharks are being slaughtered for more than their fins.  They’re being killed for use in cosmetics, pet food and livestock feed, and they’re being renamed and fed to us so we don’t know we’re eating an endangered superpredator.  The seafood industry has gone so far as to rename shark “rock salmon”, “flake” and “ocean whitefish” so you don’t know what you’re actually eating.   
                       
An estimated 150 million sharks are killed every year and only 70 million of those sharks are accounted for. The 80 million missing sharks? They’re in your makeup, your fast food sandwich and your pet food. Without knowing it, we’re all part of the greatest wildlife massacre ever known, decimating shark populations by 90%.

The world needs to know what’s happening and who’s responsible - so Rob is making another movie – a sequel to Sharkwater called Sharkwater: Extinction – that will expose the corporate complicity and multibillion-dollar scandal that’s destroying the world we depend on for survival. The first Sharkwater movie took four years to make, but if we wait that long, 600 million sharks will have been killed. So, in an effort to make a difference now, Rob launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the film and we are over 70% funded with just 10 days to go!  Our campaign closes on July 21. 

Go now to: http://bit.ly/SharkwaterExtinction

5 Jul 2016

Letter to Cotswold MP following Cotswold Vote to Remain

Dear Geoffrey Clifton Brown MP,

Please note that, as your constituent, I request that, following the results of the EU Referendum, you should vote against Britain leaving the EU in any vote in the House of Commons.

My reasons for this are as follows:

    Since the result was announced, some of the main reasons that were put forward to support leaving have been revealed as fraudulent. Firstly, there is no possibility of £350 million extra per week being spend on the NHS, despite this being displayed in giant letters on the side of the Vote Leave Campaign “Battle Bus”.  Secondly, it has been acknowledged by the Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, in a television interview, that there is no scenario under which the UK will be able to stay inside the European Single Market without allowing freedom of entry to the UK to EU citizens.

     While the members of the Vote Leave campaign may repudiate these claims now, they certainly did not deny them during the campaign and these same promises were touted by tabloid newspapers such the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, leading to a general perception that these were on offer. The content of these newspapers was so misleading and biased that the general public could not be expected to understand the issues and problems raised by exit from the EU.

    The turnout was only 72.2% and the results were only 48% In, 52% Leave, a very slender margin upon which to make such a momentous decision, much narrower than that of the Scottish Independence referendum and the vote which brought the current government to power.  The future of our country cannot be jeopardised on such a poor mandate, which was only achieved by misleading the electorate.

    The Referendum result is not legally binding on the Government and as the legal processes required to extract the UK from the Union are complex, disruptive and expensive to the point of being unfeasible, then the Government should be able to ignore the result. As the exit of the UK is also likely to trigger a second referendum on independence for Scotland and even calls for the incorporation of Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic, which will cause the break up of the United Kingdom, this is also grounds for ignoring the result.

    Since you yourself were unable to persuade your own constituency to vote in favour of leaving the EU, I therefore call upon you vote against UK’s leaving the EU in any House of Commons vote.


Yours sincerely,
Bob Irving

4 Jul 2016

Minister for Happiness welcomed!

Earlier this year the United Arab Emirates announced that it would be creating a "minister of state for happiness". Strangely as a former Green District councillor I got asked to comment....well how could I do anything other than welcome such news....

"I give a huge welcome to the appointment of a Happiness Minister. We have for too long let the pursuit of Gross Domestic Product rule policy, when happiness would be a far better measure of progress. From a Green perspective, society could aim to decrease the amount of paid work people do (i.e. lower GDP) whilst increasing wealth, health and happiness. This will involve building things to last, increasing energy efficiency and building strong resilient communities. By creating a voice that intentionally looks at social good and happiness there is a chance to create positive change".

My comments got picked up in a couple of places like the article in the photo above! But I revisit now as our politics are in urgent need of a new direction......not suggesting this is a priority (for priorities see 6 point plan re how we can best protect our country against the potential damage caused by Brexit). Greens will also be campaigning hard for democratic reform in the UK and for changing our outmoded electoral system to one that is truly representative. And of course we've also already repeated the calls for a progressive electoral alliance...well the good news is that Friday evening in the Sub Rooms there are further discussions.

It's an opportunity, as George Monbiot put it, "to reject, connect and erect, to build from these ruins a system that works for the people of this country rather than for an offshore elite that preys on insecurity".

See Washington Post announcing news here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/02/10/the-uae-created-a-minister-of-happiness-but-what-does-that-even-mean/

3 Jul 2016

Greens seek six-point emergency plan

Letter from Caroline Lucas...

A week ago we woke up in a different Britain. For those of us who believe Britain's future lies in our EU membership, it was a devastating shock, and for everyone who believes in a multicultural society the last week has been deeply alarming.

I’m really worried about our country.

Not only are we now on course for serious economic turmoil but our politics is broken too. The Conservative party has repeatedly failed us – leaving a country divided and many people struggling to get by. Labour is imploding – with a revolt by some MPs crippling the leadership and leaving them utterly unable to hold the Government to account while they engage in a civil war.

It will be a long time before the dust settles. In the coming months it falls upon us, the Green Party, to put forward a positive vision of what a post-referendum Britain could look like. That’s why today I’m publishing my six point emergency response plan. It sets out how we should respond to the referendum – and how we can best protect our country against the potential damage caused by Brexit.

Our plan is below. It’s only a start, of course, and in the coming weeks and months we want you to be part of this discussion.

We demand a General election in the Autumn so people can choose the Government they want to represent them in the negotiations to come. : the current Government has no mandate for negotiations.

We demand a Parliamentary vote on any ‘terms of exit’ BEFORE invoking Article 50. This stops a small cabal at the top of Government having total control over this country’s future place in the world.

We demand the protection of free movement within the EU, strong environmental protections, workers rights and the Single Market.  We're working with a range of environment NGOs and other experts to identify ways to best protect vital Green legislation

We demand a second referendum on the terms of a final deal. Britain decided to leave the EU, but nobody knew what kind of Brexit was on the ballot paper. It’s only right that we’re all given a say.
 

We demand  an emergency law which guarantees the rights of non-British nationals already living here in Britain. No one who has come here to make a life for themselves should feel threatened by Brexit.
 

We demand the protection of young people’s future. 75% of young people voted to remain. It’s only right that the Government should now guarantee continued funding for Erasmus, student exchanges and EU funded schemes targeted at young people.


This six point plan is only the beginning. In the coming weeks we’ll be redoubling our campaigning on the issues close to our hearts. For starters that means that we will be standing up to racism and xenophobia wherever it occurs. We have a proud history of fighting bigotry and our elected politicians across the country will be focussing on this over the coming days.

When others are divided we will unite to oppose Trident renewal, hold Ministers to account as the Chilcot Inquiry is published and bring legislation to Parliament which will distribute the benefits of migration to all communities in Britain. We’re ambitious for the next few months. In a time of crisis we will stand up for people, and for our environment. It’s no wonder that new members are joining the party at a rate of almost one per minute. But to really make an impact we need your help. Please share our message on facebook and twitter and encourage others to join us in the fight.

Best wishes, Caroline Lucas MP

29 Jun 2016

Green Party calls for progressive electoral alliance talks

Great to see this Green Party news release today:

*Greens call for cross-party pact to challenge Tories at next election

*Commitment to proportional representation would form a central plank of any negotiations

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, Steven Agnew, Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, Alice Hooker-Stroud, Leader of the Wales Green Party and Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, have written an open letter (1) to other parties exploring the possibility of forming a progressive electoral alliance ahead of any potential ‘snap’ election later this year.

Writing to Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, and Leanne Wood, leading Greens Bennett, Agnew, Hooker-Stroud and Lucas said: “In a spirit of openness and transparency, we are writing to you as leaders of parties which oppose Brexit, to invite you to a cross-party meeting to explore how we best rise to the challenge posed by last week’s vote to Leave the EU. We have a UK Government in chaos, an economy facing a crisis and people up and down the country facing serious hardship. There is an urgent need to make a stand against any austerity and the slashing of environmental legislation, human and workers’ rights, that may come with Brexit. With the growing likelihood of an early General Election, the importance of progressive parties working together to prevent the formation of a Tory-UKIP-DUP government that would seek to enact an ultra-right Brexit scenario is ever more pressing. This is an opportunity to recognise that a more plural politics is in the Left’s electoral and political interests.”

In the EU referendum, 75% of those who voted Green in the 2015 General Election voted to 'remain' (2). Since the result was announced, the Green Party has experienced a membership surge, with up to 50 people joining per hour.

Natalie Bennett added: “We’re urging progressive parties to work together to beat the Tories at the next election – and to give us the best possible chance of a progressive outcome from the mess we are currently in. Central to such a progressive alliance would be a commitment to proportional elections for the House of Commons and an elected second chamber. An election should be held this Autumn (3) to give the country a chance to have their say on which team they want at the negotiating table. Any such alliance would, of course, have to be discussed with our members and represent their views and concerns.”