New regional press officer

We’re delighted to announce that Dudley Green Party’s Andi Mohr is the West Midlands Green Party’s new Regional Press Officer. Andi has been doing great things with media in the Black Country with Dudley Greens, and is looking forward to working with local parties across the region to increase our traditional and social media coverage.
You can get in touch with Andi at media@westmidlands.greenparty.org.uk

Skill Up!

As we move into 2017, a two year run up to winning more seats in local elections in May 2019, and a possible early general election, we urgently need to think about skilling-up our members and building an organised and effective campaign team.
So let’s start the new year as we mean to go on with a large Herefordshire contingent to the West Midlands Regional Conference on January 7th, which will be at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham City Centre 10am-5.15pm. This is the training and networking event of the year in the West Midlands, and is a fantastic opportunity to skill-up members and volunteers.
There are some great training sessions lined up, covering issues such as engaging more members and volunteers, producing engaging newsletters, and crafting election-winning messages.
It’s also a chance to inspire newer or less active members to get more involved. There is a session with our fantastic West Mids Mayoral candidate James Burn, and Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack is a special guest speaker.
Entry to this event is at the bargain price of £8 on the door, or £6 if people pay in advance via paypal. Those on low or no incomes can book the bursary fund rate, which is free.
Donations above the cost of the ticket are gladly accepted in order to help cover costs and contribute to the bursary fund. Whichever attendees decide to do, we’re still asking people to register in advance so we have an idea of numbers.
Members should register using the booking link. Any problems please get in touch: julien.pritchard@greenparty.org.uk. And if you do register, let Herefordshire branch know too – we might be able to share travel or sit together on the train!

Is the Richmond Park by-election a test bed for a better politics?

‘We support a progressive alliance: Greens are not standing a candidate’. That’s the Green Party leaflet for the Richmond by-election happening this Thursday, following the resignation of Zac Goldsmith in October over Heathrow expansion, writes Josiah Mortimer of Left Foot Forward.

And it’s brave stuff. This is the first time in recent history that a political party has put out materials backing (albeit indirectly) another party.

Something interesting is happening in Richmond. As I left the train station this Saturday, I was greeted first by a Green stall, explaining why they’re backing a Liberal Democrat-led ‘progressive alliance’ – and by activists from Compass, the left-pluralist think tank who want left-wing parties to work together.

Read the full article here.

End HP’s involvement in Israel’s oppression

Hewlett Packard (HP) is the technology behind the Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

Their systems are used in biometric ID cards which restrict and control Palestinians’ movement. They provide technology and equipment to the Israeli Navy which maintains the blockade of Gaza. Their technology supports the Israeli military checkpoint system.

HP profits from the discrimination and oppression of Palestinians in the West Bank and within Israel. So together with our partners around the world we are campaigning to end HP’s involvement in Israel’s oppression.

More information from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It’s Christmas: a cycle network for Hereford?

Crowds at Hereford’s Castle Green Christmas Fair voted overwhelmingly to spend Santa’s £1,000,000 gift to Hereford on a comprehensive cycle network to reduce the city’s traffic delays and make roads safer, especially for children. Research suggests that school traffic is a major factor in rush hour congestion, so safe cycle networks would make a massive difference for a fraction of the cost and with no environmental damage.

It should be pointed out that Santa, like much political debate at the moment, is fictional (ssshhh, don’t tell the adults), and Hereford has not, in fact, been given a million to spend, although even more oddly the Council are pressing ahead with a short road to the south of Hereford for many times that cost which their own research tells them will do nothing to help congestion in the city.

The opinion poll was carried out at the Green Party stall at the popular annual event, with Christmas revellers voting with baubles for one of three options: a park and ride, a cycle network, or one twenty-third of a bypass. Actually, £1,000,000 will buy even less than this. They were also invited to create a paper Christmas bauble to hang on a Christmas Tree card on which was a message for 2017 to Jesse Norman MP. The tree will be presented to Mr. Norman by Green Parliamentary Spokesperson Diana Toynbee. Message ranged from ‘stop fracking’ (Norman is an Energy Minister and voted in favour – South Herefordshire is in the firing line) to ‘Fair Votes in 2017’ and several asking him to prioritise the natural environment we depend on, and stop Tory cuts to vital services.

Green Spokesperson Rob Hattersley said: ‘It was great so many people wanting Greens to do well in Hereford, and a general feeling that now is the time to engage with politics, not the time to withdraw. It was encouraging too to meet supporters from other parties keen for progressives to work together, on the day when Green co-leader Caroline Lucas campaigns with the Lib Dems in Richmond.’

 

 

 

Shale fracking affects house prices, health and environment, but government don’t want you to know

Of interest to those attending last night’s Big Green Conversation on Fracking, The Guardian reports this morning that Ministers deliberately delayed a report showing fracking could affect house prices, health and the environment until after a crucial planning decision.

Mystery of the disappearing PC World bike racks

Hereford Green Party have asked PC World why the bike racks have disappeared from outside their store.

‘We are sure sure PCWorld want to play their part in reducing congestion and pollution, so we are mystified as to why the racks have gone, quite apart from the fact that if cycling customers cannot park their bikes securely they will shop elsewhere’, said Rob Hattersley from Hereford Greens.

‘It’s really important for customers to know there is somewhere safe and secure for their bikes, or they will simply drive and add to Hereford’s traffic problem’, Rob, a keen cyclist but also a driver, added. ‘A kind PCWorld assistant allowed me to leave my bike inside the store on this occasion! Actually, biking from home right to the till inside was kind of ideal, but that’s not the point!.

 

We’re on fire and most of us are asleep

There are reports in the serious press this morning about how Arctic ice melt appears to be out of control. As it does, the process speeds up, as, for example, ice areas which usually reflect the suns heat become green and soak up the heat instead. As tundra melts, there is an increase in the most dangerous of climate gases in the short term: methane.

This is a total emergency. This could not be more serious and it should be headline news every day. I feel as though I am in a house on fire but as a few of us shout ‘Fire, get out!’ everyone else groans ‘Oh shut up and go back to sleep’, then, as the smoke comes under the door murmur’ ‘I wish they’d shut up, they’re really obsessive about this not dying thing. All I want is another ten minutes sleep.’

And the fact that we are still considering burning more fossil fuel through fracking, and Trump is removing research funding into climate change, shows the level of insanity we are battling against.

There isn’t time! Get involved! Join a political party that takes the issue seriously, or a campaign group! Annoy your friends! (I do, both of them!).

The Brexit Car Crash: what did you do?

If the driver of your car was behaving erratically and endangering you both, and after discussion had refused to change course, would you accept that ‘decision’, or keep arguing that they should slow down?

Brexit is a complete and utter car crash for the country I love and for my children especially, who now face a much harder life than I have had so far as a result. So how dare anyone say I or other ‘Remainers’ should shut up and accept the decision? As it becomes increasingly clear how this is a catastrophic act of national self-harm, surely there is time for us to look at the clear evidence and change our national mind? And even if not, in a democracy, surely we have the right to argue for it? Democracy is not the same as mob rule, and MPs are elected not to follow the mob but to act in the national interest. They are democratically elected representatives, not delegates.

As it becomes clear how much damage Brexit is already doing to us, when we should be focussed on climate change, our NHS and poverty – and part of a secure Europe in an unstable world – Nigel Farage threatens to move to the States after ‘taking back control’! There is still time to change our minds, and we should.

Big Green Conversation for Jan 2017: Make Votes Matter

The Big Green Conversation is switching to the 4th Wednesday each month from January 2017. We’re looking forward to welcoming KLINA JORDAN from Make Votes Matter – the fair votes campaign – to lead a discussion on why we need electoral reform in order to change anything else.

We will also look at how to make the link between fair votes and everyday concerns, and reduce the confusion about the different PR systems the UK could and does already use. Come along and learn enough to impress your friends with your encyclopaedic knowledge of different voting systems!

So that’s at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank Hereford, 7pm for 7.30pm on WEDNESDAY 25h January.

thumbnail of bgc6-makevotesmattersocial
Download the graphic here

Big Green Drinks

Our fifth Big Green Conversation is simply ‘Big Green Drinks’! Take a break from the Christmas madness and come down to De Koffie Pot to review a turbulent political year and toast a more progressive 2017. Thurs 22nd Dec from 7.30pm.

Remember, from January, Big Green Conversations will be every fourth WEDNESDAY. First up: Fair Vote before Fair Society when we will be welcoming a speaker from Make Votes Matter.

Download the poster here: BGC: Make Votes Matter

Will Trump bring down the West?

Readers may be interested in a series of articles by Oxford academics, highlighted by an alumnus on our Exec. These reflect on the US Election. Discover the answers to questions such as ‘Will Trump bring down the West?’ and ‘Is social media killing democracy?’ from authors such as the former Hong Kong Governor and current Oxford Chancellor Chris Patten. Read the articles here.

West Mids Green Party Regional Conference

Politics can feel a pretty scary place right now – but what better way to be part of the positive fightback than to come to the West Midlands Green Party Conference on 7th January 2017?

After a challenging, but nonetheless successful, 2016 for the Green Party in the West Midlands, we’re looking ahead and preparing for greater success in 2017.

So come and join us at the West Mids Regional Conference!

The event is at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham City Centre, starting at 10am and finishing at 5.15pm. We have a great agenda lined up, including some fantastic expert training sessions. There’ll be a chance to hear how our priority campaigns are working hard to make gains in May, and hear all about our exciting West Midlands Mayoral campaign from Mayoral Candidate James BurnWe’ve also got a special guest speaker, with Deputy Green Party Leader Amelia Womack joining us.

In addition there will be lots of opportunities to network and share ideas with fellow party members and campaigners throughout the day.

Don’t miss out on what is the training and networking event of the year in the West Midlands.

Entry to this event is at the bargain price of £8 on the door, or £6 if you pay in advance via paypal. Those on low or no incomes can book the bursary fund rate, which is free.

We will of course gladly accept donations above the cost of the ticket, to help cover costs and contribute to the bursary fund. Whichever you decide to do, please still register in advance so we have an idea of numbers.

Please register using the booking link. Any problems please get in touch: julien.pritchard@greenparty.org.uk

Hope you can join us on 7th January!

BGC on Thursday 24th: Fracking the shire

A reminder that ‘Fracking the Shire’ is the title of our Big Green Conversation at De Koffie Pot on Thursday 24th November, 7pm for 7.30pm. Come along to find out what the fuss is about, what’s going on globally, and how it could affect Herefordshire specifically.

We are trying this event without the complication of Eventbrite – just turn up. But if you use Facebook please do click ‘Going’ and share the event as this really helps us to spread the word.

All welcome – please invite family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. If you can, download and email this poster around – or print and display!

Chancellor’s statement has nothing to say on climate change emergency

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party co-leader and MP for Brighton Pavillion, has accused the Government of ‘shirking its responsibilities’ after today’s Autumn Statement.

Lucas accused the Government of having ‘deeply skewed priorities’. She said: 

“Britain is drifting towards the stormy and unchartered waters of brexit with ministers refusing to reveal the route, or properly adjust the sails according to the headwinds. We needed an Autumn statement which rose to the challenges of the day, but we see a government shirking its responsibilities, lacking any moral compass and leaving us dangerously exposed to both economic shocks and climate change.

“This Autumn statement shows a Government with deeply skewed priorities. At a time of uncertainty they are continuing with plans to give a tax cut to corporations and the highest earners – while our NHS is strapped for cash and local services are under immense strain. We could save billions by scrapping the plans to cut corporate tax and raising the threshold for the highest earners – and we could plough that money into our ailing NHS – but the Government has refused to change course.

Lucas slammed the Chancellor for failing ‘even mention climate change’ in his speech. She said:

“With Trump’s election this could have been a moment for Britain to become a world-leader in the fight against catastrophic climate change but, instead, we see little evidence of a commitment to facing up to the greatest challenge of our times. Indeed, it is shameful that the Chancellor failed to even mention climate change in his speech. By caving into the motor lobby and freezing fuel duty again for the seventh year in a row the Government has made a mockery of the fact that it is the hottest year on record and condemned us to more carbon emissions and deadly pollution.”

“A Government with a genuinely bold vision could have used this Autumn statement to ensure that the economy is future facing on everything from the risks of a potential Brexit to the threats posed by climate change and growing inequality. Instead we have a backwards looking budget that fails to wage war on poverty and fails to grasp the realities of an uncertain world and the limited resources in it. A serious response to the situation we’re in could, for example, have included a nationwide insulation scheme to keep people warm in their homes, cut bills and create jobs in every community. Or the Conservatives could have scrapped their plan to hand cash to corporations and high earners and instead give the NHS the funding it so desperately needs.”

Talk Shop: Brexit – what EU links do we want?

The topic of the next De Koffie Pot Talk Shop is ‘Brexit – what EU links to we want?’ on Thursday, 1st December from 7.30-10pm.

Talk Shop are monthly politics and ethics discussions presented by Perry Walker and Left Bank at De De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Bridge Street, Hereford HR4 9DG. All welcome.

What deal with the EU do we want? What can we get?

There is no charge, and refreshments including local ales and ciders, pie minister pies and scotch eggs are available downstairs in De Koffie Pot cafe during the break.

For more information, phone 07858 750936 or email Perry@openupuk.org.

Talk Shop is an independent initiative and is not organised by the Green Party, however it does form part of weekly politics and ethics nights of which our own Big Green Conversation is a part. The next BGC is this Thursday 24th, 7 for 7.30pm, on the topic of fracking.

Could Hereford’s M&S close?

The Hereford Times is reporting that Hereford Marks and Spencer could be closing after the high street retailer announced it is going to close 30 of its larger stores.

National newspapers have quoted experts at the Local Data Company, who have compiled a list of areas that it thinks are vulnerable. Hereford’s branch in High Town, which sells clothes, homeware and food, is included in this list but this has not been confirmed by M&S.

Read the full report at Hereford Times.

Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future

The book sets out a rationale for a transformation of the mobility landscape and argues that the sustainable transport options simply cannot thrive in a world that remains wedded to more mobility and the manifestations of that cultural and political bias (subsidy, infrastructure and an astonishing lack of attention to death, injury, air pollution, climate change and social justice).

The book argues for the explicit adoption by all levels of government of 3 zeros:

  1.  Zero death and injury in the road traffic environment
  2. Zero air pollution from traffic sources
  3. Zero carbon transport

We have experienced over 200 years growth in mobility measured by the distances we travel every day or every year and this growth is fed by eye wateringly large subsidies, a persistent bias in politics and planning in favour of more distance and more speed and an astonishing lack of awareness of the huge negative consequences of the growth in mobility. This book takes a detailed, forensic look at mobility and concludes that it is bad value for money, damages health and community life and consumes vast amounts of scarce public cash in the name of more and better infrastructure.

Every government and political party with the exception of the Greens, proclaims the benefits of more airport capacity, more roads and bypasses, more high speed rail and accepts the growth in mobility as good for happiness, wealth and quality of life. This book sets out a very different story. More mobility does not produce the good things in life and kills over 3000 people every day in road crashes, creates noise and air pollution that damage health, feeds the growth of greenhouse gases that make damaging climate change more likely and destroys healthy, active travel and community life in sociable neighbourhoods.

The time has come to bring an end to the mobility fetish, to replace far with near, to create liveable and child friendly cities and to bring an end to the role of the car as a default option.

The book shows why this must be done, how it can be done and sets out a policy process to get it done.

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