General Election 2019 – a thank you from Diana Toynbee

Huge thanks to everyone who helped with delivering election leaflets, for campaigning in all weathers and for your donations and support. The overall result for the country is dreadful, but Greens are strong, locally and nationally – thanks to you! I got 4.8% of the vote, well above the England average of 3%. And Ellie got 9.3%, the sixth highest Green vote share in the country!

This amazing effort and result deserves celebration. On Wednesday 18th there’s the Big Green Festive Drinks at Left Bank Hereford from 7.30pm with complimentary mince pies and mulled wine.

We’ll also use this opportunity to have our next Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party meeting, at 6pm – all welcome. 

Green Party Manifesto for 2019 General Election

The Green New Deal – Unleashing a Green Economic and Social Revolution.

This is a comprehensive ten-year plan ambitious enough to tackle climate and ecological breakdown at the scale and speed set out by science.

It will deliver a fast and fair transformation of our economy and society, renewing almost every aspect of life in the UK: from the way we produce and consume energy, to the way in which we grow the food we eat, and how we work, travel, and heat our homes.

This will be a combined investment of over £100 billion a year in the Green New Deal, with an additional investment in Universal Basic Income. Through this investment, we will provide new opportunities for everyone to work and live more sustainably and more securely.

more at https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/#gnd

Remain and Transform

A People’s Vote to decide the way forward on Brexit, in which the Green Party will campaign for remain. A commitment to realise the full potential of the European Union to lead the fight against the Climate Emergency and to improve the lives of workers, low income families and refugees.

more at https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/#rat

Growing Democracy

Replace the First Past the Post system for parliamentary elections with a fair and proportional voting system. We are champions of the Good Systems Agreement, a cross-party commitment to democratic reform brokered by the Make Votes Matter campaign group.

Create a fully elected House of Lords. Members will be elected for a maximum of ten years with half of the house being elected every 5 years.

Give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote and have a say on their future. We will also allow people to stand for Parliament and all other elected offices from the age of 16, offering support to elected young people so that they can combine their duties with studying. We are proud to march with the inspiring Youth Strike activists against climate chaos and know the passion and wisdom young people can inject into our policies.

Require all political parties to report the diversity of their candidates, so that progress in selecting more women and minorities to contest Westminster and local government seats can be monitored.

Protect the BBC, reinstate free TV licences for over-75-year-olds and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market.

Back a Citizens Convention and citizens assemblies to examine further ways to strengthen democracy, including developing a written People’s Constitution and Bill of Rights, and ensure the proposals come before Parliament. This will enshrine genuine democracy at the core of our political system, making sure that ultimate power will always rest with the people.

more at https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/#gd

The Green Quality of Life Guarantee

Delivering Secure Incomes and Secure Homes

Restoring the NHS

Unlocking Education

Restoring our Nature and Countryside

Tackling Discrimination

Preventing Crime

Ending The War On Drugs

Transforming our Relationship with Animals

more at https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/#qol

The New Deal for Tax and Spend

Simplifying Income Taxes

Making Big Business Pay Its Fair Share

Supporting Small Business

Ending Wasteful Spending

More at https://campaigns.greenparty.org.uk/manifesto/#tas

Our General Election Campaign starts here: Diana Toynbee and Ellie Chowns say “Yes to Europe, No to Climate Chaos, Yes to a Fairer Britain”

Diana Toynbee and Ellie Chowns are our Parliamentary candidates. Here is our Manifesto

Diana says: “I’m delighted to be giving voters in Hereford and South Herefordshire a chance to vote for a fairer greener society. We all want a healthy, safe future, but our public services, democracy and countryside are under threat and real action is long overdue.

I’m a practical, realistic person – I understand the issues and am determined to support our economy and protect our quality of life.

I’m very proud to be receiving so much encouragement from local people. They’re telling me that more than ever we need a Green MP in Westminster championing what we care about.

I want to speak for you in Westminster, and work with others for fairer politics. You can be confident that my experience, understanding and energy will make me an excellent MP.”

Please click here to donate to Diana’s campaign

Contact Diana at diana.toynbee@greenparty.org.uk

Ellie says: “I’m delighted to be the Green candidate for North Herefordshire.  It’s time for change!  The old political system is broken, and we need some fresh Green thinking.

I’m standing because I believe North Herefordshire deserves better. We need an energetic MP with strong local roots, strong principles – and a record of getting things done.

I’m proud to have served my local community as a Councillor and as an MEP.  But I know that the big decisions that shape the future of this country are made in Westminster.  If we want to change politics in the UK, we have to change our government.

Bill Wiggin has been the Conservative MP for this area for 18 years, but he’s failed to represent us effectively.  It’s clearly time for change – and with my record of winning elections I’m the best-placed candidate to challenge the Tories here.

Greens success in Herefordshire proves our positive and practical ideas appeal to people across the political spectrum. We lead the political fight against climate change. We’re clearly and strongly pro-Europe. And we’ve always worked for a fairer Britain.”

Please click here to donate to Ellie’s campaign

Contact Ellie at ellie.chowns@greenparty.org.uk

Be In It to Win It:

Register to vote. Registering is easy: follow this link with your National Insurance number to hand. Register by midnight on 26 November. If you don’t have a NI number or you can’t register online, call 01432 260107 for help. And, make sure everyone you know is registered to vote!

Want a postal vote? If you’re not registered yet, you’ll need to register by 5pm 26 November. If you’re already registered, you need to fill in this form and hand it in or post it to Hereford Town Hall by 27 November. If you’re already registered and working away, studying at Uni or ill you can apply for a proxy vote. Here’s the link to the forms: these need to be handed in or posted to Hereford Town Hall by 3 December.

Bridge over the River – Wye?

Letter to Hereford Times 17 August 2017

River’s role
THERE are interesting links to be made between recent items in the Hereford Times.
The river party ‘Wye Float’, and Herefordshire Lore’s new project ‘River Voices: Stories from the Wye’ are just two examples of the central role this beautiful river plays in our lives.
And of course this is the time of year when we see hundreds of tourists enjoying canoeing, birdwatching, and walking the Wye Valley walk.
Our council promotes the Wye as a prime attraction, and recommends walking from Hereford to Breinton Springs to admire this unspoilt stretch of river, and its surrounding meadows, orchards and woods.
Meanwhile, Tony Johnson, our county council leader, tries to persuade us of the ‘need’ for a massive bridge and road through west Hereford ‘to open up space for new housing’.
This road is also being promoted by the council as a relief road for the motorway system! More houses and more traffic – not exactly solutions to congestion!
Last week’s item on planning permission being refused for the decking and summerhouse overlooking the river Wye quoted councillors’ views that the construction ‘adversely affected the character and amenity of the landscape’. Following that reasoning, how much would smashing an enormous new bridge and road through Breinton’s unique scenery ‘adversely affect the character and amenity of the landscape’?!
Mr Johnson also appears in the paper making another desperate plea for suggestions on how to save money.
A good place to start would be to cancel this hare-brained scheme, which, as we know from experience, would end up costing us all a fortune, as well as causing irreparable damage to the precious green lung to the west of our city.

DIANA TOYNBEE

A thank you from Diana

THANK YOU so much for your confidence and support over the past 7 weeks. I’m disappointed not to have delivered a better result. I’m really proud of Ellie in North Herefordshire, who got one of the best Green results in the country.

Thank you to those of you who spent so many hours leafletting or canvassing. Our campaign was professional, principled and passionate – people saw that, and I know that our time wasn’t wasted.

Our 2015 and 2017 campaigns, three county councillors, and ongoing commitment, have demonstrated to Herefordshire that we are competent, hard-working and really care, and we can continue to build on that (after a rest!). I could not be more proud of the campaign we ran, or of the AMAZING team we are lucky enough to have in Hereford. I could not have felt more supported, and appreciate every word of encouragement, every card delivered, and every conversation engaged in on behalf of us all.

I literally lost count of the number of people who told me ‘I love Green policies, and I think you’re the best candidate, but I’m not voting for you’, and this was reproduced around the country. It’s obvious why Green supporters have voted Labour, but it’s been pretty galling when people say a Green vote is wasted here, and go on to vote for a candidate who clearly wasn’t going to beat Jesse either!

Even though this result has been hard for the party nationally, and the thousands of activists who have thrown themselves heart and soul into working for the common good, we are genuinely delighted to see progressive politics back in the mainstream, and very proud of our role in this. It’s so exciting to see young people getting engaged, Tory lies and arrogance backfiring, and national debates continuing about the sort of politics we want.

Caroline and Jonathan have received massive admiration in the media for their outstanding, eloquent, principled campaigning. More and more prominent commentators are calling for an end to the scandalously undemocratic electoral system. PR has to be one of our main campaigns now – not just for the Green Party, but for democracy, and to move beyond the reductive red-blue boxing ring. Democracy needs diversity, and in a fair system there is plenty of room for all. The tide is turning!

Here in Herefordshire we will continue to be active in opposition, exposing Jesse’s voting patterns, protesting cuts, and pushing the local council to be more transparent. And of course we will continue our work for the health of our people, society, public services and nature.

We can all be proud to be members of the most progressive party, and the only one that understands that our natural environment has to be at the centre of political decisions.

I stood for parliament, but I’m just an ordinary member, and would love to get together more with others so we can build our confidence and courage. Please get in touch, with feedback on the campaign, ideas for activities or campaigns, or anything else. Green policies, and the Green way of doing politics, is needed now more than ever, and we have come out of this campaign with increased respect. No-one else is doing what we do, so let’s keep campaigning with pride and courage.

Best wishes, and good heart

Diana

On tactical voting – General Election 2017, note date

There has been much debate locally and on social media about tactical voting and progressive alliances. Greens have stood down in quite a few seats nationally where there is a clear challenger to the Tories, but this has not been reciprocated by other parties apart from in Brighton.

There is no clear challenger in Hereford and South Herefordshire. Labour came third last time, beating the Liberal Democrats who came fourth only just in front of the Greens. Jim Kenyon has muddied the waters and seems to be taking a ‘none of the above’ vote, probably some of whom voted for UKIP last time. Labour, Lib Dem and Jim Kenyon all say they are best placed to beat the Tories. This basically means the votes will split and Jesse Norman is likely to win. It’s annoying, but it’s reality. It’s a similar situation in North Herefordshire, although without such a strong independent candidate.

We urge you to explain to your friends, family and neighbours that the next best result for both seats would be a really strong Green vote. It sets us up for next time – and local elections in 2019. It builds our credibility, and gets our issues on the agenda.

Voting tactically for another candidate isn’t going to beat the Tories here because the vote is splitting. It would be a wasted vote in Hereford. Every Green sympathiser who votes elsewhere actually weakens the Green message.

If you genuinely want parties to work together to beat the Tories and change the voting system, Greens are demonstrably more committed to this than others. A strong Green vote promotes this more strongly than one for more partisan parties. And Labour don’t even want electoral reform yet, which would change the whole political climate overnight.

Difficult days, but let’s hang in there. We are needed. And we need every vote. Please don’t lend it to others – you won’t get it back.

“Defend Herefordshire”, say Greens

Green Party parliamentary candidates issue an eve-of-poll warning that Herefordshire’s future could be at stake if voters fail to “rein in” the Conservatives.

“Today’s Conservatives have forgotten how to conserve, they are failing to look after what is best about our county,” claim Diana Toynbee and Ellie Chowns. “Current Tory policy could lead to the decline and break-up of Herefordshire as a self governing county.“

“Only the Green Party fully embraces the ‘small is beautiful’ concept where local communities retain control and where ‘big’ doesn’t necessarily mean better,” the Green challengers say in a statement.

The biggest immediate threat facing Herefordshire is the Conservative government plan to abolish grant funding to local councils by 2019 and force them to rely solely on Council Tax and Business Tax, they say.

Herefordshire with its relatively sparse and older population could be absorbed by a bigger authority based in Worcester or Birmingham. Deep funding cuts planned for school budgets could lead to the closure of some village schools, further impacting on the character of rural communities.

Added to this, the looming shake-up of parliamentary constituency boundaries will mean a large rural area of Herefordshire and three of its market towns (Kington, Leominster and Bromyard) will be transferred into a new constituency with Ludlow and South Shropshire.

Ellie Chowns said, “Brexit also means more uncertainty. While it gives us a welcome opportunity to reform farm subsidies, we need to safeguard vital environmental protection legislation and do far more to conserve nature and improve animal welfare. Last year’s State of Nature report [1] painted an alarming picture of worsening conditions for wildlife”

Diana Toynbee, the Hereford Green candidate and Ellie Chowns for North Herefordshire say: “We urge all thinking Conservatives to support us – we are the natural alternative to the Conservatives in Herefordshire. If elected we will put our hearts and souls into opposing the damaging changes facing our county. Herefordshire has a prosperous green future with the right policies in place.”

NOTES

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/14/one-in-10-uk-wildlife-species-faces-extinction-major-report-shows

“More than one in 10 of the UK’s wildlife species are threatened with extinction and the UK’s most endangered creatures have plummeted by two-thirds since 1970, according to a major report.”

The abundance of all wildlife has also fallen, with one in six animals, birds, fish and plants having been lost.”

Does Jesse Norman speak for all? H Times letter 25 May 2017

Speak for all?
JESSE Norman has announced that he wants to represent the people of Hereford & South Herefordshire again.
But does he actually want to speak for all of the people in our community, or just the better off?
Does he actually care about those of us who are less well off?
In the last few years, Mr Norman has consistently voted in favour of policies that would restrict the income of people who are already struggling to make ends meet.
In 2013 he voted on numerous occasions to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at 1%, well below the RPI, which was running at over 2%.
In 2016 he voted in favour of cuts in housing benefits and support allowances.
While supporting these kinds of cuts, he also regularly voted against increases in taxation on incomes over £150,000, and voted against taxing the bonuses of bankers.
Child poverty rates are worse now than when the conservatives took power in 2010, hospital waiting times are longer, and social care services are in crisis, yet over the last seven years Mr Norman and his colleagues have consistently sought ways to look after their friends at the expense of those who really need help.
Surely it is time for a fresh voice at Westminster, who will speak for the majority and support those who most need it?
JOHN MCCLOSKEY
Cotterell Street
Hereford

http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/letters/15308666.This_week_s_Hereford_Times_letters/

Vote to stop school cuts

Schools across the country are having their budgets slashed, warns Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford, Diana Toynbee.

9% cut in budget

According to the website SchoolCuts.org.uk, published by headteachers and others, St James’ School here in Central Ward faces a budget cut of £70,651 by 2019, which is equivalent to £338 per pupil, or 9% of the total budget.

Central Ward Green Campaigner Rob Hattersley is a former deputy headteacher at St Thomas Cantilupe Primary. Both his children attended St James’ and he has taught there himself.

Two teachers

Rob said: ‘Cuts of this size are horrendous. This is basically the cost of two teachers in what is already a fairly small school. The government, represented by our own Conservative MP Jesse Norman, are putting governors and teachers in an impossible situation. This will have an real impact on our children’s education.’

The situation is worse at Bishops School, with an 11% budget forecast. That’s £359 per pupil, £393,631 in total, equivalent to 10 teachers.

Education is an investment in our childrens’ future

Diana Toynbee added: ‘We have to stop seeing education as a cost, and view it as investment in all our futures.’

‘We are funding tax cuts for the rich with school cuts for everyone else. If you want to see fair taxation to fund our schools as well as our NHS and social care for our elderly, I urge you to vote Green on June 8th. Every Green vote strengthens that message.’

Diana Toynbee (far left) and Ellie Chowns (far right) congratulate 6th Form Green election candidate Anna Ricks (right) and her campaign manager Lily (left)

Sixth Form Students inspire hope

Hereford Sixth Form students from three political persuasions inspired a crowd of attendees at De Koffie Pot this week with their hopes for the future.

Mock Election candidates Anna Ricks (Green) and James McClelland (Communist) were joined by Campaign Managers Lily Andrews (Green) and Henry Jenner (Labour) to talk about their recent election campaign, what they had learnt, and their hopes for the future of politics.

They then joined in discussion at tables for a serious of topics including ‘What are the top worries for young people today?’, ‘What do we feel positive about?’ and ‘How do we engage young people more in politics?’.

Organised by Hereford Green Party but open to all, Big Green Conversations cover a wide range of political and ethical topics and take place every fourth Wednesday at De Koffie Pot at Hereford’s Left Bank. They are a relaxed, participatory and sociable event to which all are welcome.

Organiser Rob Hattersley said ‘These students were truly inspiring and a credit to their college and to Herefordshire. They understood the issues and although they had concerns for the future they also gave us a lot of hope.’

Top issues raised were not surprisingly tuition fees, student debt and poverty, and the need for better paid jobs in Herefordshire. Young people were also concerned about increasing division in education between schools who compete instead of co-operate, and a high-stress academic system which has implications for mental health as well as undervaluing vocational skills. They did however express real hope for the future of politics, with student Anna Ricks (Green) saying: “It seems that things need to get quite bad for people to get involved, so now we are seeing more young people engaged because it suddenly seems really important.”

Anna added: “We really enjoyed the evening. We felt very welcome and it was great to see older and younger people discussing important issues together and understanding each other.’

Henry Jenner, Labour supporter in the mock election added: “This is a great event which I’d recommend others to come along to, whatever party you support. In our election we actually found we had more in common with each other than we had thought.’

The mock election was won by Labour’s Adam Hill with 136 votes, second was Green Anna Ricks on 64, and third James McClellend (Communist). The Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, who could not attend the event, came fourth and fifth respectively. It is run most years at the college with Labour winning last year as well, and the Greens the year before that.

To engage more young people in politics, the students suggested lowering the voting age to 16, and proper political education for all from an early age, both of which happen to be Green party policy. They also warned older political activists against trying to be too clever with social media! “It has to come from us”, they argued.

Green Parliamentary candidates Ellie Chowns (North Herefordshire) and Diana Toynbee (South Herefordshire) also attended the event and ended the evening congratulating the students for their inspiring input.

Diana Toynbee’s 2017 message to Herefordshire voters

Diana Toynbee, Green Party Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire on June 8th, has given an inspiring message to voters as she launches her campaign.

“This government is making people feel really insecure. Our MP Jesse Norman has voted for these cuts. Even the Tory leader of our local council says we can’t go on like this – it’s a massive financial crisis. We can do better. It’s time for new politics, fresh politics, and that’s what I represent.”

(Editor’s sound note: sorry, we can’t help that the wind is in our sails!)

 

Hereford Times – General Election candidates announced

Lib Dem, Green and Labour candidates for Hereford and South Herefordshire named ahead of June general election

Hereford Times 26 April 2017

THE Lib Dem, Labour and Green parties have named their candidates for the Hereford and South Herefordshire seat ahead of June’s general election.

Lucy Hurds has been confirmed as the Lib Dem candidate following a meeting of the party in Hereford.

She said: “This election is about our future as a country. It is about our NHS, funding for local services, school budgets and our children’s futures.

“The austerity cuts of this government have caused real hardship for Herefordshire residents.

“More and more local people have been coming into our office seeking help and information. We also need to consider the impact on jobs and our economy if we leave the Single Market. We need to have a say on the final deal with Europe. ”

She added: “The choice is quite clear and I urge voters to remember one simple fact. This constituency has only ever elected an MP from the Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties.”

Meanwhile, Green Party candidate Diana Toynbee said her party will challenge an austerity agenda which ‘continues to hurt Herefordshire’.

Diana is an adult trainer and teacher who has worked overseas, including for Oxfam.

Her three children went to Kingstone High School and Hereford Sixth Form College, and she now lives in Hereford city after several years in Eaton Bishop.

Launching her campaign, she said: “This election was called to further the interests of the Conservative party, to gain more power before voters realise what a deep mess they are getting us into. 

“I believe Theresa May intends to use Brexit to tear up EU protections for nature and human rights and bulldoze through the ‘great repeal bill’, rewriting our laws in the image of the Tories.

“Locally, we can all see the effects of savage cuts to public services and benefits for vulnerable people.

“On social care for example, Herefordshire Council, like many others across the country is going to really struggle to deliver a service worthy of the name in a few years time. 

“I am challenging Jesse Norman’s claim to be ‘putting the case for Hereford’, when he has voted for every single cut.”

“The country (and Herefordshire) simply can’t afford another Tory government – real wages growth in the UK since 2010 has been the lowest of all the G7 countries, and the national debt increased by around a quarter under the last two Conservative chancellors.”

The Labour party has also announced that its candidate will be Anna Coda. The party will be holding a street stall in Hereford High Town this Saturday between 10am and 4pm.

Diana statement on ‘progressive alliances’

I agree that the country can’t afford another Tory government, and I’m proud to represent the party which started the ball rolling for a Progressive Alliance, enabling the LibDems to oust Zac Goldsmith in Richmond.

This fast growing movement to prevent another undemocratic Conservative victory is very encouraging, but it must be intelligently targeted. The Compass thinktank has been doing excellent groundwork with Greens, Lib Dems and Labour, and will soon publish the target constituencies where we have the best chance of beating a Tory. Based on analysis of 2015 results, Hereford and South Herefordshire isn’t one of them. If we try it everywhere it won’t work – it will weaken opposition parties and play into Conservative hands.

I hope this is the beginning of more collaboration between progressives, and look forward to finding common ground with local Lib Dems and Labour in the future. In particular, I want us to work together for a fair electoral system which will put an end to this kind of voting dilemma!