News from Hereford & South Herefordshire constituency and council ward areas

Hereford & S. Herefordshire GP AGM

Notes of Annual General Meeting on 11 October 2017 at De Koffie Pot

Present: Giles Boardman, Kyrle du Heaume, Libby Hudson, Elwyn Lear, John McCloskey, Edward Milford, Jeremy Milln, Rob Palgrave, Richard Priestley, Carole Protherough, Maggie Settafield, David Straker, Diana Toynbee, Natalia Waring, Sue Young

GUEST SPEAKER

Ben Boswell (Herefordshire Council Energy and Active Travel Manager) spoke about the Council’s work to reduce carbon emissions and to promote “active travel” and electric vehicles.

Herefordshire Council (HC) has retained its team working on this (of 15 people) despite other cuts. Partly because it has delivered well. For instance, the switch to all LED district lighting (the first county in the country to achieve this) although costing £9m is delivering significant cost savings. It has also helped HC to be on target to achieve the 40% reduction in their carbon footprint by 2020. They are already down 30%.

Ben spoke about how the active travel plan is encouraging walking and cycling. The funding is focused on Hereford itself. They can provide free bicycles to apprentices & cycle parking for businesses. They are developing travel plans for schools (& training pupils in cycle safety), the Enterprise Zone and the new University and have got funding for introducing bikes for public use. There are a number of park & cycle or park and share sites and the cycle route network has increased considerably. Lengthsmen are being employed to keep them clear.

Also encouraging public transport use, car share and electric vehicles. New rapid charge points are being put in for electric vehicles. All this is beginning to deliver modal shift.

A full feasibility study is being undertaken into the potential for a District Energy Project in the City Centre.

There were a number of detailed questions and comments. Further questions can be passed to Rob Palgrave to pass on to Ben for responses.

Rob thanked Ben for coming to speak to us.

FORMAL AGM BUSINESS

  1. Apologies. Rob Hattersley, Sheila Milne, Glenn Storhaug, Jane Straker.
  2. Minutes of meeting on 15 September 2016. Agreed and signed.
  3. Matters arising. There were none.

4. Chair’s report.

Diana thanked the Committee and all who had helped in various ways over the year. She is really proud of what has been achieved.

Much has happened in the year – some of it unexpected. At the last AGM Ellie Chowns had spoken about the Progressive Alliance. This was adopted at the GP Conference and then almost immediately put into practice when the General Election was called! Nationally there was good coverage of the leaders in the election and, though the localresults were disappointing, our local campaign was good and competent and increased our standing.

We had been able to put forward an excellent candidate, Jeremy Milln, for the election in Golden Valley South but were up against a well-known local independent candidate. Nevertheless, the hard work, particularly by Jeremy, brought us more votes than Labour. In both elections the quality of our literature was outstanding. Largely thanks to Rob Hattersley.

The Big Green Conversations have proved that there is a place for a discussion forum on a range of topics. Thanks to Nat Waring for her input and for providing the venue.

Social media and web site presence also good. Thanks to Rob Hattersley.

Rob Palgrave as press officer has been offered a slot in the Talking Points section of the Hereford Times. The first appears tomorrow and another on 21 December. All this helps to raise our profile.

There has been disappointing press coverage of the National GP Conference. The slogan was “speaking truth to power” and Jonathan Bartley in his speech spoke about the way the GP punched above its weight and was far more influential in the political landscape than its numbers might suggest.

Diana concluded that locally we have great respect and have earned the right to be treated seriously.

5. Treasurer’s report. This was circulated at the meeting. John McCloskey said that by the end of the year we had £50 profit over the previous year, thanks to generous donations made for the elections. Expenditure in 2018 is likely to be low, but we need to prepare for significant expenditure in 2019 for the local elections. He suggested that there should be a focus on fund-raising. John was thanked for the 2 years he has been Treasurer.

6. Reports from other officers. These were circulated at the meeting and are copied below. Edward Milford drew attention to the significant achievement of getting a third Green councillor elected and said that there was s very good chance of getting Ellie Chowns elected in the forthcoming by-election in Bishops Frome & Cradley.

7. Election of officers. It was pointed out that only members could vote and each nomination needed a nominator and a seconder. Edward Milford took the chair.

Chair, Principal spokesperson & local liaison. Diana Toynbee was nominated by Kyrle du Heaume and seconded by Carole Protherough. There were no other nominations. Diana was appointed unanimously.

Diana then took the chair.

Vice chair. Edward Milford was nominated by John McCloskey and seconded by Rob Palgrave. There were no other nominations. Edward was appointed unanimously. Treasurer. Rob Palgrave was nominated by Libby Hudson and seconded by Edward Milford. There were no other nominations. Rob was appointed unanimously.

Secretary. Sue Young was nominated by Jeremy Milln and seconded by Diana Toynbee. There were no other nominations. Sue was appointed unanimously.

Membership officer. Kyrle du Heaume was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by Edward Milford. There were no other nominations. Kyrle was appointed unanimously.

Nominating office, agent & electoral returning officer. Glenn Storhaug was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by David Straker. There were no other nominations. Glenn was appointed unanimously.

Campaigns Co-ordinator. Edward Milford was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by David Straker. There were no other nominations. Edward was appointed unanimously.

Press officer. Rob Palgrave was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by David Straker. There were no other nominations. Rob was appointed unanimously.

Communications officer & social media officer. There were no nominations.

Fundraising officer. There were no nominations. But there were some suggestions about fundraising at Big Green Conversations – e.g. table of spare produce and / or books / CDs; services auction. It was agreed that fundraising would be discussed at the next business meeting.

Elections Co-ordinator & Ward Development Officer. Edward Milford was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by David Straker. There were no other nominations. Edward was appointed unanimously.

Social Media Officer. There were no nominations. However, Nat Waring & Elwyn Lear said they would help with Facebook posts.

Big Green Conversation Co-ordinator. Natalia Waring was nominated by Carole Protherough and seconded by David Straker. There were no other nominations. Nat was appointed unanimously.

Young Green representative. There were no nominations.

8. Bank signatories. The 4 bank signatories were agreed as Glenn Storhaug, Rob Palgrave, Edward Milford and Diana Toynbee.

9. Strategy and goals for forthcoming year

Diana suggested that our focus should be on the run-in to the 2019 local elections. We need to seek some good candidates and get them known as soon as possible. Edward added that we should target 3 wards (including Central Ward).

Another area Diana said she would like to focus on is the way we support each other as a group, to make our activities enjoyable and enable us to contribute more than the sum of the parts.

Also, we have been able to produce some beautiful election materials, thanks to some very generous donations, but we now need to replenish our resources. So fundraising will be another focus for this coming year.

10. Date of next AGM. This would be in Sep / Oct 2018. Date and venue to be notified.

11. Date of next business meeting. Tuesday 14 November 19.30 in the Brewery Room at the Barrels.

12. Date of next Big Green Conversation. There will be no meeting on 25 October. The next one will be on Wednesday 22 November.

13. Any other business. There was none.

 

HEREFORD AND SOUTH HEREFORDSHIRE GREEN PARTY 2017 AGM

CHAIR’S REPORT

We have had another very active year – more active than expected! – and I want to thank our team for their commitment and competence – and their support for me as a novice Chair.

I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved – not just of what we do, but how we do it.

It has been a demanding year, and we are all busy people, but when we get together it never feels like a chore – it’s always a pleasure. Thank you too to all our members, without whose energy – and subscriptions – we would not be able to function. I hope we will see more of each other this year.

A lot has happened since our last AGM! This time a year ago, after a presentation on Progressive Alliances from Ellie Chowns, we discussed how to use them to bring on PR, topple Conservative power, and demonstrate the Green politics of reaching out across divides for the common good.

At conference in April – just six months ago! – the party agreed to move forwards with this Progressive Alliance movement. Little did we know we would be putting it into practice so soon … just two weeks later the General Election was called, and we scrambled into action.

Caroline and Jonathan put in excellent performances in the national media, and here in Herefordshire we ran an extremely professional and creative campaign, working at a countywide level for maximum impact, and to share skills. It helped a lot that I had already been selected as parliamentary candidate, and that I had the experience from 2015.

Our General Election result here was disappointing, but I know our campaign consolidated our reputation as a competent, serious force. We are an established part of the local political landscape, and our much respected group of county councillors rose to three this year, with the election of Trish Marsh in March, a campaign many of us contributed to, pounding the streets of Leominster South.

In August we sprung into action again, when another County council by-election was called, in Golden Valley South. To our delight, the highly qualified Jeremy Milln came forward to stand for us. He received over 10% of the vote, and beat Labour, whose candidate was the high profile (and Golden Valley inhabitant) Anna Coda. For a fuller account of our election campaigns, see Edward’s report.

A prominent success of the past year has been the Big Green Conversations, which demonstrate that we are a valued resource for local people, and a forum for exchanging ideas. De Koffee Pot is the perfect venue for our events, and I’m extremely grateful to Nat for her support and hard work.

I’m also very proud of our much improved website and social media presence, which are largely down to Rob Hattersley’s know-how and creativity, not to mention patience.

Another new initiative which will boost our profile is that Rob Palgrave, whose countywide work on press and publicity has been so effective, has been offered a regular opinion slot in the Hereford Times Talking Point. This shows the importance of building good relationships with local media.

How do we fit into the national picture? As you know, our national conference was last weekend, with this year’s slogan Speaking Truth to Power. One of the advantages of not having a massive party whipping machine bearing down on us is that we CAN speak truth to power – nationally and locally. Right here and right now, there is nothing to stop us: We are letting people know how Jesse is voting, demanding transparency from the council, and fighting for decent public transport.

Members – please note that we don’t have to be experts on anything to be part of these actions!

As Jonathan Bartley said in his conference speech: We can be a strong Green voice of Truth.

He emphasised how the Green Party punches above its weight, and is already changing the political landscape: Nuclear weapons, community energy, Universal Basic Income, PR, votes at 16, putting the brakes on Brexit, challenging GDP as a metric… these are now mainstream issues, largely thanks to Greens constantly bringing them to public attention.

Locally, we may not have thousands of members, but I can tell you that the thousands of people in Herefordshire who care about nature, the local economy, human rights and social justice look to us. As local co-ordinator, people often contact me, to ask what we’re up to, tell me about a campaign, invite me to an event, or just thank us. I’m very proud of the trust and respect we have earned. I am confident that it will grow, and now let’s build on this year’s work to grow our influence … and power!

ELECTION COORDINATOR’S REPORT

Prepared by: Edward Milford

At the last AGM, when I took on the role, I expected that the main focus would be to start our ‘target to win’ campaign in Central Ward, to identify other secondary targets and to ensure we were positioning ourselves well for the 2019 local elections.

Events have overtaken us a bit. We have had two council by-elections so far – with a third to come before the end of the year; our candidate for Central Ward has stood down following a job change, and there was the small matter of the General Election.

The first by-election was in Leominster South in March. Our excellent candidate Trish Marsh won the seat to bring our number of members on the council up to three. The North have an effective election-fighting operation, and GP members from HASH made frequent visits to support them. An excellent result.

The second by-election was in Golden Valley South, following the relocation out of the county of the sitting Conservative councillor. We fielded Jeremy Milln as our candidate. At the last election we had come a distant second to the winning Conservative. There was a more crowded field this time with two independents and Labour also standing. It’s a very scattered ward, and this makes campaigning for the elections hard work. It was not a proper target seat and we were pleased to beat Labour at least and to pick up just over 10% of the vote. A well-known independent, Peter Jinman, won the seat off the Tories – reducing their majority on the Council at least.

The third by-election will be in Bishops Frome and Cradley. We don’t have a date yet, but we do have an excellent candidate, we believe, in Ellie Chowns who was the Parliamentary candidate in the North Herefordshire constituency at the General Election. We’ve done well there in the past, and will be campaigning to try and win the seat.

The General Election was both a surprise – given that the Prime Minister had repeatedly said she would not call an early election – and not a surprise in that the opinion polls (and indeed local election results) suggested that the Tories could win a big majority.

The trend over recent elections towards more support for smaller parties was emphatically reversed, and the share of the vote for both Labour and the Tories increased both nationally and in Herefordshire. That made it a very difficult election for smaller parties to contest effectively, and we were squeezed between a resurgent Labour party and loyalty to the Conservatives. Our task was made harder with a well-known local figure, Jim Kenyon, standing as an Independent.

Overall, our 1220 votes, while disappointing particularly compared with the 2015 election result, was a respectable showing in the circumstances. National elections may raise the profile of the Party, but are not yet realistic chance of winning elected office.

For the next 12 months we need to sharpen up our target to win strategy, identify suitable candidates for the seats we are hoping to contest properly, and start building towards 2019.

MEMBERSHIP REPORT

prepared by Kyrle du Heaume

We are very pleased to welcome 42 new members to the Hereford Green Party since our last AGM in September 2016. We are very glad some old timers have returned, but most of those who joined in the last year are new to the Green Party. We hope to keep their interest and encourage them to get involved.

We now have 130 members. Started the year (Sept 2016) with 136 members, so although we have lost some members, numbers are fairly stable.

We also have 248 who have registered as Supporters. How do we encourage these Green Party supporters to become members and take a more positive role?

PRESS REPORT

prepared by Rob Palgrave

Local press coverage of our activities and views in the past 12 months was unsurprisingly concentrated around the June general election. Across the year, we had about 8 items in the Hereford Times, and four officers had at least one letter printed. We also had one letter in The Guardian. We’re pleased to report that the Hereford Times has recently invited us to contribute to their Talking Point column, approximately every quarter. Our first piece will be published on 12 October. We’re always looking for subject matter to include in press releases or letters, so please get in touch if you think of something or see a local issue that you want raised. Similarly if you want to write something yourself that can help raise the profile of your local Green Party

FINANCIAL REPORT

Available on request to members only

Golden Valley South by-election – thanks from Jeremy Milln

Letter to Hereford Times 21 September 2017

 

Poll thanks
TO everyone who voted (or considered voting) Green at the Golden Valley South by-election on September 7, thank you.
We did well, more than doubling the Green Party vote share since the June General Election (this constituency) beating Labour, whose share fell to less than half.
It’s a huge ward and slow going by foot and bicycle, so apologies to those whom I failed to meet.
Cheers to everyone who I did, for my reception was always gracious and patient.
The Green Party stands for fairness, neighbourliness and community, the ingredients of social justice. And also for intelligent stewardship of our environmental capital so that livelihoods may be sustained and the special qualities of this beautiful area are understood and cared for.
In Peter Jinman, an able representative on Herefordshire Council has been elected and am happy to congratulate him on the achievement.
As an adviser to the present government Peter Jinman apparently declined an approach to stand for the Conservatives, leaving us to wonder where, as an ‘Independent’, his leanings may lie.
I urge him therefore to support the Green group on the council and to allow its principles to guide his oversight of the Neighbourhood Plans produced recently by the four parish groups of the ward.
JEREMY MILLN
Green Party Candidate
Golden Valley South Election

11 October. Hereford and South Herefordshire Green Party AGM

Hereford and South Herefordshire Green Party

Annual General Meeting 7.30, 11 October 2017 at De Koffie Pot, Hereford Left Bank, Bridge Street, HR4 9DG

AGENDA

 

Guest Speaker

Ben Boswell (Herefordshire Council Energy and Active Travel Manager) will talk about the Council’s work to reduce carbon emissions and to promote ‘active travel’ and electric vehicles.

  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of AGM meeting held on 15 September 2016
  3. Matters arising
  4. Chair’s report
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Reports from other officers
  7. Election of officers: chair, vice-chair, treasurer, secretary, membership officer, nominating officer, local party contact, campaigns co-ordinator, press officer, communications officer, fundraising officer, ward development officer, social media officer, Big Green Conversations co-ordinator, young Green representative
  8. Agreement of bank signatories
  9. Strategy & goals for forthcoming year
  10. Date of next AGM
  11. Date of next business meeting – Tuesday 14 November 19.30. Location to be confirmed.
  12. Date of next Big Green Conversation – Wednesday 25 October at De Koffie Pot
  13. Any other business
  14. Close 9.00pm

Greens progress in Golden Valley by-election

Jeremy Milln polled 10% of the vote in the 7th September by-election and came fourth, beating Labour. Conservatives slumped from 1364 votes in 2015 (66% of the vote) to 254 (24%).

Jeremy said,

“To everyone who voted (or considered voting) Green at the Golden Valley South by-election on the 7th September thank you. We did well, more than doubling the Green Party vote share since the June General Election (this constituency) beating Labour, whose share fell to less than half.

It’s a huge ward and slow going by foot and bicycle, so apologies to those whom I failed to meet. Cheers to everyone who I did, for my reception was always gracious and patient. The Green Party stands for fairness, neighbourliness and community; the ingredients of social justice. And also for intelligent stewardship of our environmental capital so that livelihoods may be sustained and the special qualities of this beautiful area are understood and cared for.

In Peter Jinman, an able representative on Hereford Council has been elected and am happy to congratulate him on the achievement. As an adviser to the present government Jinman apparently declined an approach to stand for the Conservatives, leaving us to wonder where, as an ‘Independent’, his leanings may lie. I urge him therefore to support the Green group on the Council and to allow its principles to guide his oversight of the Neighbourhood Plans produced recently by the four parish groups of the Ward.”

Full results:

Sept 2017

Peter Charles Jinman, Independent 462 votes

Cole, Simeon Wood Cole, Conservative 254 votes

Richard Baker Independent 152 votes

Jeremy James Milln, Green 109 votes

Anna-Maria Coda, Labour 104 votes

TOTAL VOTES CAST 1081, TURNOUT 40.5%

May 2015

Graham John Powell, Conservative 1364

Jessica Louise Smith, Green 357

Ellen Louise Pawley, Independent 351

TOTAL VOTES CAST 2072, TURNOUT 79% (coincided with General Election)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Milln standing in Golden Valley South By-election

The by-election on 7th September for this County Council ward follows the resignation of Graham Powell (Cons). Jeremy’s campaign leaflet will be hitting the streets very shortly. In it he says:

I’m a self-employed conservation archaeologist from Hereford with children at the Sixth Form College and the Steiner Academy. Locally I’m secretary of the Longtown & District Historical Society and lucky enough to have many friends here. Since I have no vested business or property interest in the ward, my concerns are purely for its people, and for this beautiful and ancient landscape. The Green Party stands for social justice, fairness, equality and care for environment that we may live in happiness together.

If elected I would work hard for:

  • the four parish groups in the Ward (Abbey Dore, Ewyas Harold, Longtown and Vowchurch) with the implementation of their Neighbourhood Plans
  • decent broadband coverage especially in Craswall and St Margarets where many businesses are still disadvantaged by slow speeds
  • affordable housing for local people, enabled perhaps by setting up a Ewyas charitable trust as a means of sharing skills and resources within the community
  • hill farmers concerned about their livelihoods in a post-Brexit world and the opportunities for sustainable diversification
  • our excellent local primary schools, outdoor education and the Mountain Rescue Centre
  • the life of our landscapes and wildlife and the conservation of the historic places we love — especially of our castles, places of worship and our public houses (not necessarily in that order!)

jeremy.milln@gmail.com
tel 01432 357085 mob 07779 034457

This is a great opportunity to strengthen Green Party representation on the County Council. If you can help in any way with the campaign, please get in touch.

thumbnail of Jeremy Milln leaflet A REV1

thumbnail of Jeremy Milln leaflet A REV1

 

Summer socials

Wednesday 23rd August – Summer Social and Quiz at 7.30pm. De Koffie Pot, Hereford

Tuesday 12th September – North Herefordshire Green Party AGM at 6.30pm followed by Bring and Share meal, at Canon Frome Court.

Wednesday 11th October – Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party AGM at 7pm. De Koffie Pot, Hereford

All walks, bike rides, teas etc. are fundraisers for the Green Party and we ask for a minimum contribution of £3.00. Children free. Non-members are very welcome. If coming by car please try to share transport where possible. Many thanks to those who kindly host these events. We are always interested in new areas to walk in, or new social/fundraising ideas so please contact us on 01568 780886 if you would like to hold a walk and tea or any other fundraising event.

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.

Fix it first!

Roads in Hereford are full of potholes and getting worse. It’s partly because the Council spend money in the wrong places, says local Green campaigner Rob Hattersley.

‘We estimate the Council have spent up to £3million just on surveys for a bypass’, said Rob, who lives in Bartonsham. ‘Yet they can’t even find money to fill in the holes. Potholes damage cars and cost drivers, but they also make it very hazardous for cyclists who can be injured, or forced to swerve.

Research shows that 85% of Hereford’s traffic is internal. A bypass would come with more housing, so it is likely to make traffic worse, not better. But safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians would give us more travel choices, reduce congestion and air pollution and improve things quickly, especially for our kids.

Rob says : ‘We should fix it first. We certainly shouldn’t be thinking of an expensive bypass to the east, bringing heavy lorries through Tupsley and Central Ward, as some local councillors have suggested. Even a ten percent reduction in traffic similar to what we see in the school holidays would make a huge difference – and faster.’

Potholes can be reported on 01432 261800 or at www.fillthathole.org.uk

Brexit and the Environment

Join us for a Big Green Conversation about Europe and the environment with Jill Hanna. Jill has spent many years representing the EU at high-level environmental protection negotiations all over the world, including on reforestation, the safe disposal of chemical waste, and climate change. All welcome!

A NEW DATE AND VENUE FOR THE BIG GREEN CONVERSATION FROM HEREFORDSHIRE GREEN PARTY: Burgage Hall, Ledbury on Friday 1st June, 7.30pm.

Big Green Conversations are an informal, relaxed and sociable event to which all are welcome.

Why equality is better for everyone

Join us for a Big Green Conversation about the research on economic inequality and its effects on people and society, as shown in Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book “The Spirit Level – why equality is better for everyone”.  We’ll be exploring the connections between inequality, over-use of resources, and climate change – and thinking about what we can do to change things for the better.  All welcome on Wednesday 31st May 2017, 7 for 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford. Please note that this is the event originally scheduled for 24th May but which has been moved due to a BBC Hereford & Worcester election hustings at Left Bank on the 24th.

Big Green Conversations are held monthly at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank Hereford, usually on the 4th Wednesday. They are an informal, relaxed and sociable event to which all are welcome.

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.’

Talk: Optimal Transport

Local activist and environmental blogger Richard Priestley presents a talk entitled: ‘Sustainable Transport, Local & Global?’ on Wednesday 10th May, 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford. This is part of Left Bank’s regular Politics, Ethic’s and Ecology evenings most Wednesdays.

What might ‘optimal transport’ look like? Do some people suffer from excessive mobility and others from too little? Can global trade be sustainable? What are the latest technological innovations towards zero emissions vehicles and transport infrastructure? Individually and collectively, what can we do in Hereford? Richard Priestley will give a talk, show slides and take questions. He has recently written about the Cities and Cars here.

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!)

 

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