News about topics or campaigns run or supported by Herefordshire Green parties.
“We live in extraordinary political times. This is a crisis on a scale not seen for decades. And the most extraordinary thing of all? This is an entirely manufactured crisis, homegrown in Britain, created by the actions of a handful of people – Boris Johnson chief among them.
Last week Johnson took the unprecedented step of announcing the suspension of Parliament – a move that rightly outraged the majority of MPs and citizens. No wonder so many thousands took to the streets across the country, including here in Herefordshire, to defend our Parliamentary democracy and stop the coup. It was indeed a coup, albeit without ‘tanks on the lawns’ – it was a brazen, autocratic attempt to seize power from elected representatives, by a prime minister with a wafer thin majority.
It was indefensible and appalling – and those are the words of a Conservative MP!
Johnson has been gambling recklessly all along. He gambled that he could pretend the blockage was the EU, when the truth is that his problem is the division within his own party. He gambled that he could side with the Brexiteer hardliners and force moderates to give up. He gambled with the country’s future by threatening ‘no deal’ – a strategy of catastrophic self harm. Johnson’s gambles have backfired spectacularly.
All other parties have been absolutely united in opposing Johnson’s attempt to silence debate – and a significant number of brave Conservatives have put principle before party, and country before personal interest.This week, Johnson not only lost his party’s majority in the House; he lost his very first vote as PM, and all shreds of credibility as a leader.
There is another way forward. As a country, we have been deeply damaged by this Brexit mess. It’s high time we started looking for common ground and rebuilding our broken politics. That’s a task that goes way beyond Brexit – but first we do indeed need to resolve Brexit.
I believe we are better off in the EU, but I recognise that a narrow majority wanted to leave, more than three years ago now. So what we need now is a compromise agreement – the best possible withdrawal deal – which should then be put to the people for the final say.
I would of course campaign, as I have always done, to remain.
Because Brexit was never our core problem. Membership of the EU costs less than one per cent of government spending. Brexit has left us no time to think about the other 99% of government business – vitally important things like the NHS, schools, social care, and tackling the climate crisis.
Brexit would make things worse in all those areas. We are quite literally fiddling while the planet burns.
Fundamentally the Brexit mess has shown just how broken our political system is. Our democracy is creaking at the seams, in desperate need of fixing.
Here are three positive ideas for starters: change the electoral system so that all votes count equally, abolish the unelected House of Lords, and clean up politics by removing the influence of dirty money. A fairer, cleaner, more grown-up politics would encourage our leaders to act in the long-term interest of the country as a whole, and seek common ground rather than taking extreme positions.
It would enable us to re-set our relationship with the European Union, and finally turn our attention to other things that really matter – starting with the climate emergency.”
“I believe a key part of my job as an MEP is to help bring the West Midlands and Europe closer together. One way I can do this is by inviting people to visit the Parliament and see how it all works. So I am always delighted to welcome constituents to visit the European Parliament in either Brussels or Strasbourg.
Visits can include:
- A visit to the Parlementarium, the Parliament’s visitor centre in Brussels;
- A peak inside the Hemicycle and Greens/EFA group room (depending on the Parliamentary timetable);
- Breakfast, coffee or lunch with me in the Parliament’s canteen (depending on my schedule);
- Q&A with a member of my staff team; A visit to the excellent House of European History museum, just next to the Parliament in Brussels;
- A chance to explore the beautiful city under your own steam”
read more here
See Ellie’s video here as she starts work in earnest as our West Midlands Green MEP
We must unite against the forces of raw nationalism and rapacious neoliberalism
Ellie Chowns June 7 2019, The Times
Being a Green in Brussels is inspiring and energising: it’s wonderful to be part of a group that more than doubled its parliamentary numbers in one election, being in meetings helping to democratically decide what our positions should be in shaping the next five years of the European Union.
Hearing how other groups in the EU are scrambling to talk about our issues and pick up our language on the climate emergency and social justice, there is an enormous sense of possibility.
As a development specialist, I’m excited about the work of the parliament’s trade committee, taking up issues crucial to social and environmental justice.
But at least for the next four months, that’s going to be topped by another priority — the debate in the West Midlands about the future of the UK within the EU.
I’m exploring how I can best contribute to that.
One thing I’d like to do is bring Europe to the West Midlands; bring people over from Brussels who can add to understanding of what the EU does for us. I also want to take the West Midlands to Brussels, to showcase our diversity, creativity and innovation.
So much of this debate is about emotion, not data. Crucially what I’ll be doing is getting out and listening to people’s concerns, ensuring they know I’m a direct conduit between them and Brussels. I’ll also be doing my best to ensure that Westminster, which is so distracted, again, by the Tory leadership question, listens and learns.
I want to be part of building a bridge, helping the people of my region to understand more of what happens in Europe, and helping them see its relevance to their lives, from fighting tax-dodging and exploitative employment contracts, to cleaning up our beaches and protecting our wildlife.
I also want to help them get involved, engaged and doing politics themselves, working with their friends, neighbours and communities to take control of their own lives. That means fighting for radical changes in our UK political system, which is so clearly broken. We need to make the most of this political crisis to rebuild a fairer and more democratic UK politics from the ground up.
But this weekend will be a small break, a chance to travel north to Scarborough, where the Green Party is gathering for its conference, a celebration of our wonderful results in the European and local elections.
That Green wave took me to Brussels, elected in a region that even Greens were not talking about as a possible win a week before the vote.
And just a few weeks earlier we doubled the number of Green councillors in England, including many great wins in my own West Midlands.
In Scarborough, which was like my own West Midlands a majority Leave-voting area, we’ll also be seeking to build bridges, joining with local pro-European groups in an “Our Europe” rally that will focus on the benefits of Europe.
Greens have particularly highlighted the rich possibilities that free movement brings to all our lives: the chance to live, work and love anywhere across Europe, and the benefits that people from other parts of the EU bring to our societies.
We’re also staunch defenders of the EU’s record in protecting and extending environmental, social and human rights.
There is much more to do. We face big challenges: social and environmental emergencies, no less. These are problems we can best tackle together, working across Europe, united against the forces of raw nationalism and rapacious neoliberalism and building instead a Europe of hope, fairness and collective action.
Ellie Chowns is a Green MEP for the West Midlands
Diana Toynbee will be one of the speakers
Herefordshire Green Party is absolutely delighted that Ellie
Chowns has been elected as the first ever Green MEP for the West Midlands!
Ellie will therefore be stepping back from her roles as Cabinet Member and Leader of the Green Group on Herefordshire Council with immediate effect. Ellie’s deputy Cllr Trish Marsh will take her place in both roles, as per arrangements already agreed with the Leader of the Council, the Cabinet, and the rest of the Green Group. Ellie will continue to serve as the Ward Member for Bishops Frome and Cradley.
Ellie said ’The Green Party’s success in this European election shows that the people of the West Midlands want something new – a positive alternative to the broken politics of the past. That’s also what Herefordshire voted for three weeks ago, when the Conservative stranglehold on local politics was broken. I’m proud to have been part of negotiating the new cross-party administration in Herefordshire. I know Trish will do a brilliant job as Leader of the Green Group and as Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications, and I’m grateful to her – and all my colleagues – for their support’.
Trish said ‘Ellie’s election as MEP follows on from fantastic Green success in the recent local elections. Here in Herefordshire, we are delighted to have formed a cross-party administration together with the Herefordshire Independents Group and It’s Our County. This kind of co-operation is the politics of the future. I very much look forward to serving in the Cabinet and helping to build a better, fairer and greener Herefordshire’.
Here are the results for Green Party candidates standing in the County Council election.
We stood in 12 wards (out of 52) and received a total of 6652 votes out of 50543 across the County = 13.2%. We had the third highest vote share behind Conservatives who stood in every ward and Independents who stood in 25 wards.
Our targetting of wards was very effective. Measured by votes per ward contested, we were the most successful party:
- Greens 554 votes per ward
- Independents 503
- It’s Our County 438
- Conservatives 331
- Lib Dem 264
- Other 247
- Labour 192
- UKIP 137
The full results for all 52 wards are available as a pdf on the Herefordshire Council website here
TONI FAGAN, Birch – ELECTED with 64% of the vote
ELLIE CHOWNS, Bishops Frome & Cradley – ELECTED with 79% of the vote
JEREMY MILLN, Hereford Central – ELECTED with 54% of the vote
DIANA TOYNBEE, Hereford Greyfriars – ELECTED with 53% of the vote
JENNY BARTLETT, Leominster East – ELECTED with 72% of the vote
TESSA SMITH WINNARD, Leominster North & Rural – SECOND with 36% of the vote
TRISH MARSH, Leominster South – ELECTED with 73% of the vote
FELICITY NORMAN, Leominster West – ELECTED with 73% of the vote
MAGGIE SETTERFIELD, Llangarron – SECOND with 46% of the vote
ROB PALGRAVE, Old Gore – SECOND with 42% of the vote
REBECCA TULLY, Three Crosses – SECOND with 38% of the vote
CAROLE PROTHEROUGH, Wormside – SECOND with 39% of the vote