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.

BGC | Sixth Form Election Report

Don’t forget – Greens and other Sixth Form students are coming to share what they learnt during their mock election and what’s important to young people right now in politics. We might start with ‘WHY CAN’T I VOTE?’. Big Green Conversation at De Koffie Pot, 7 for 7.30pm on Wednesday 26th.

Whatever your political affiliation, come and listen, share, and be inspired with the hopes of a new generation as we move into the most significant General Election in years.

Big Green Conversations take place every 4th Wednesday of the month. They are participatory and sociable and everyone is welcome. It’s not a lecture, nor a debate as such, but a discussion and time to listen to others too.

Calling all Herefordshire FOE supporters

Herefordshire Friends of the Earth are holding their Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 19th April at De Koffee Pot, Left Bank Hereford.

This will be a short half hour meeting to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening and where we go from here. Ruth Stannier and Melodie Winch attended FOE’s West Midlands Gathering in Birmingham on Saturday which was very inspiring and there’s all sorts of campaigns running that we could get involved with.

The AGM will be followed by the monthly Hereford Green Network Gathering at 7.30pm where Nic Howes will
talk about the City Tree Warden survey and new City Wildlife Trust branch’s budding work on “blue corridors” (brook courses) in the City. The Turnastone Peace Choir is coming along earlier that evening too – so it should be a good evening!

New blogs and talks from Richard Priestley

I’ve just posted a blog ‘A strange moment in UK Politics’ and over previous weeks a number of blogs about exponential growth of solar power and of innovation of zero emission transport technologies. www.richardpriestley.co.uk

On the website we have a new MailChimp sign-up form. Please sign-up and you’ll get the each new blog direct to your in-box.

For those of you on Twitter, I’ve recently become an avid Tweeter @richard_global_

For those of you in Hereford, I’m giving a talk 7.30, Weds 8th March at De Koffee Pot. (Happy to do the same or similar talk at other locations) ‘Trump, the Carbon Bubble & possibilities of a better future’

Feedback and promotion welcomed as ever.

Have your say on Hereford’s Big Green Conversation

We’d love supporters to complete a quick and easy survey about our first six months of Big Green Conversations at De Koffie Pot – even if you’ve not come along yet. This will help us to plan the next six months! Head along here.

Big Green Conversations are a new kind of sociable and participatory workshop event looking at the big issues we face as a society. We hold them in the fabulous upstairs room at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, and welcome supporters of other parties, and none. So far we have covered Brexit, progressive alliances, personality types and politics, why people won’t believe evidence on traffic, and fair votes. Have a say on the future of Wednesday Night Politics! Head along here.

 

Hereford says Make Votes Matter

Great turnout for a fabulous evening at Left Bank with Klina and Joe from Make Votes Matter, looking at what’s wrong with our electoral system and how we can put it right. We welcomed a number of Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters as well as Greens and those of no affiliation!

Interesting to see the link between countries with fairer voting systems and better progress on child poverty, inequality, environmental protection, and political engagement.

We also learnt about how the UK has one of the lowest percentages of public support for the government in power, so they lack a democratic mandate. Our current majority government only has support from 37% of those who voted and 24% of the electorate – but other governments with fairer systems get over 50% support.

Defenders of the current nineteenth century system used to say it stopped extremists, but the election of Trump under the US system which is similar to ours has put paid to that!

There was agreement that the current system means millions of voters are not represented in our national parliament. Millions of votes simply do not count, especially in safe seats such as North Herefordshire. Far from complicating things, a fairer system would mean that instead of trying to work through the complexities of who to vote for to keep who you don’t want out, you could, for example, simply number candidates in order of preference.

Surely even our MPs Bill Wiggin and Jesse Norman can count to five? Or perhaps they think we can’t.

Email addresses were taken, and a representative from Hereford will attend the MVM Local Groups Congress on February 5th in London. If a local group is set up, actions could include dramatic representations of the unfairness in High Town and lobbying our MPs.

The key issue is helping people understand how our antiquated voting system is holding up progress on everything else. Most people want to protect a public NHS, yet a government with only 24% support is dismantling, breaking up and privatising it.

If you would like to be added to the MCM email list just head to www.makevotesmatter.org.uk and sign up.

De Koffie Pot to host Make Votes Matter campaigner

An innovative Hereford discussion cafe event is hosting a top campaigner with Make Votes Matter, the national fair votes alliance, on Wednesday 25th January at 7.30pm.

Klina Jordan will be at De Koffie Pot to lead a discussion on different voting systems and how reform could ensure everyone’s voices are heard. Entry is free and those from all political persuasions and none are welcome.

This is the latest in a series of Big Green Conversations presented by Hereford Green Party. The events are relaxed, informal and sociable and take place upstairs in De Koffie Pot at Left Bank every fourth Wednesday in the month. Topics so far have included Brexit, Progressive Alliances, Personality Types and Politicians, and Hereford’s ongoing bypass saga.

Organiser Rob Hattersley said: “We’ve had great turnouts so far for these sociable events. The idea is to listen to each other and understand different viewpoints. With Klina from Make Votes Matter, we’ll be asking how we get majority government with only 24% of the vote, about voters feeling their votes are wasted in ‘safe’ seats, and how different voting systems could mean everyone’s vote really matters.”

Breaking the Austerity Myth

Come along for an upbeat evening workshop exploring the realities behind austerity on Wednesday 18th January at 7.30pm.

This session will be presented by Charles Grimes of Positive Money, and is the first of the new year’s Politics & Ethics evenings at De Koffie Pot from our friends at Herefordshire Green Network.

Every Wednesday evening you will find sociable, participatory workshops going on upstairs at De Koffie Pot. There’s a chance to develop your political understanding with Talk Shop (first Wednesday), a challenge to political assumptions with Momentum (second Wednesday), a growing movement for social and environmental justice through political processes with the Green Party (fourth Wednesdays). And on the third Wednesday of every month Herefordshire Green Network will offer inspiration via practical and issue based workshops on a range of local and national environmental concerns.

Come along for 7.30, bring friends, network, find out more… everyone welcome

http://positivemoney.org/

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

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!

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.

Event | 24 Nov | BGC | Fracking the Shire

‘Fracking the Shire’ is the title of our next 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!