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.

Greens win Leominster South with big majority

Trish Marsh has won the Leominster South seat on Herefordshire Council with a large majority over her nearest rival. Now holding three seats, the Greens are a bigger force than the Liberal Democrats in Herefordshire. With a reputation for hard work and positive ideas, the party is increasingly confident of further gains in Leominster, Hereford, and around the county.

Newly elected Trish Marsh said: ‘I am delighted to have gained the support of residents in Leominster South and pledge to do my best for them however they voted.’

‘I owe my victory to the good people of Leominster who wanted a local, hard working councillor. I would also like to thank my Green County Council colleagues Jenny Bartlett and Felicity Norman. Leominster voters recognise that when they elect Greens they elect people with a solid background in community action who make thorough and conscientious elected representatives.’

‘My campaign challenged Conservative-led Herefordshire Council’s wrong-headed priorities. Lots of voters told us they were fed up of crumbling roads and infrastructure and this is the clear message they have sent. I am determined to continue my campaign for a fair deal for Leominster as County Councillor.’

The by-election was caused by the death of long-serving Independent councillor Peter McCaull. The full results were: –

Trish Marsh (Green) 318 (41%)
John Stannard (IOC) 143 (18%)
Connor Egan (Con) 139 (18%)
Mark Latimer (Ind) 116 (15%)
Clive Thomas (LD) 54 (8%)

Meet Trish Marsh

Trish Marsh is married with two children. She is a former Local Government Officer with Herefordshire Council.  She is a member of Leominster Town Council and is the town’s representative on Herefordshire Cultural Partnership.

Trish is promoting Leominster so it can share in the benefits if the county is successful in its unique bid for ‘UK City of Culture’ status.

Over many years, Trish has worked hard for Leominster and has been a driving force behind several local initiatives.

Prior to council recycling collection she ran Leominster’s first volunteer-led recycling scheme in which money from the sale of ‘waste’ benefitted local good causes.

More recently, she played a major role in saving Leominster Festival from closure.

Trish organises the annual autumn festival of St. Edfrith (founder of The Priory) which helps play a part in bringing Leominster’s rich history alive.

Make your postal vote count!

Trish Marsh, Green Party candidate for the Leominster South by-election on March 23rd, has written to all postal voters to remind them to vote. The by-election is taking place due to the recent death of Peter McCaull.

Trish writes that she has a track record of working for Leominster. She is a member of Leominster Town Council and chair the Finance & General Purposes Committee. Over many years, she has put energy into local community initiatives and in organising town festivals and events.

She is experienced and knowledgeable, saying that as a former Local Government Officer with Herefordshire Council “I have a thorough knowledge of how the council works.”

Trish would be part of a winning team if elected, joining forces with Green county councillors Felicity Norman and Jenny Bartlett. This hard-working pair have won the respect of Leominster residents having been elected and re-elected.

Trish adds: I’m outspoken on issues affecting Leominster. Greens have provided the only real opposition to Conservative-led Herefordshire Council’s indifference to Leominster.  Hereford is getting a £27 million new link road across the city while Leominster’s deteriorating roads go unrepaired.

She ends the letter by pledging a positive approach to work together with all others of goodwill to fight for public services and to get the best deal for Leominster.

The election is likely to be very close between Trish and the Conservatives. Trish is urging voters not to waste their votes on other candidates who can’t win.

Trish Marsh (photo by Green Party member Chris Watson)

Five candidates in Leo South by-election

Green Party candidate Trish Marsh, a former local government officer, is competing against 4 other candidates – all men – in the Herefordshire Council by-election in Leominster.

The by-election on March 23 has been called following the death last December of Peter McCaull (Ind) the Herefordshire councillor for the Leominster South ward.

Trish Marsh (pictured here) is competing with a Tory, a Lib Dem, It’s Our County and another candidate who gives no affiliation or description.

Trish’s campaign manager, Green county councillor Jenny Bartlett:” We are working hard to get Trish elected as the third Green councillor on Herefordshire Council.

“Trish will be a fantastic addition to the Green team at county level – she is already a town councillor and chairs the town council finance committee.” (photo by Green Party member Chris Watson)

New Year elections

Due to the sad recent death of one of our County Councillors, there will be a by-election in Leominster in the New Year. We will be calling on as many of you as possible for help.

Although we do not have scheduled local elections in Herefordshire next year, our neighbouring counties will be very busy and have been developing their campaigns for many months already. If you are able to help them with leafleting, canvassing or in any other way, please get in touch. You could join a Big Day Out or help at other times. The provisional list of Big Days Out for 2017 are as follows:

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.

Greens campaign to keep two MPs for Herefordshire

Greens have called on the Boundary Commission to keep two MPs for Herefordshire, rather than splitting the county into three. Current proposals for new, larger constituencies mean North Herefordshire faces major changes. Some voters will be moved to Hereford & South Herefordshire, some will become part of a new ‘Ludlow and Leominster’ constituency, and others will find themselves sharing an MP with parts of Worcestershire in a new ‘Malvern and Ledbury’ constituency.  Having analysed the proposals in depth, Herefordshire Greens believe that the changes are harmful to Herefordshire and there are better alternatives.

The Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has been required by the government to make proposals to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and to make the size of constituencies more equal across the whole country.   They are currently consulting on their proposals.  The Greens strongly support the idea that everyone’s vote should have equal weight, but are concerned that the current proposals for Herefordshire don’t give enough consideration to some key factors, including county boundaries, the geographical size, the small population and rural nature of Herefordshire.  These are all factors which the BCE says it wants to take into account.

Herefordshire Greens’ alternative proposal put forward to BCE is that every voter in the county should continue to be in one of two constituencies – the North or the South.  While both constituencies have to expand in order to meet the minimum size requirements, this can be done very easily. Just one ward needs to move from North Herefordshire to the Hereford & South Herefordshire constituency to make it big enough, and the North Herefordshire constituency could be expanded to meet the minimum size requirement by including some wards from northwestern Malvern Hills District.

Felicity Norman, Chair of North Herefordshire Green Party said, “It simply doesn’t make sense for our county to be split into three constituencies when it has fewer electors than are needed for two.  The Boundary Commission is proposing changes for us that are more significant than for any other area in the West Midlands, and which mean that the interests of Shropshire and Worcestershire would dominate over those of North Herefordshire for the new MPs.  We think Herefordshire needs two MPs that pay proper attention to Herefordshire issues!”

These boundary changes do not change the first-past-the-post electoral system, which determines who sits as an MP. “We are not against electoral reform – quite the opposite,” said Diana Toynbee, prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hereford. “The Brexit referendum result showed that many people in this country feel that their voices are not heard in parliament. It’s scandalous that under our first-past-the-post system, parties which get millions of votes can end up with virtually no MPs. We are being governed by a party which only 24% of the electorate voted for. Tinkering with electoral boundaries is a waste of time while the basic system is so badly flawed.”

The Green Party is calling for a complete overhaul of the UK’s unfair electoral system, including the introduction of proportional representation so that parliament accurately reflects the votes cast by the electorate, a position with which the Liberal Democrats and many in Labour agree.

The Party has also long campaigned for an elected and smaller House of Lords and an end to the appointment of Lords by the Prime Minister (In his two terms as Prime Minister, David Cameron created over a hundred new peers, taking the total to over 800)

Shropshire Greens: new constituencies shouldn’t divide counties

Green Party candidates for Church Stretton and Craven Arms in the May 2017 Shropshire Council elections put fairness and democracy at the centre of discussions about electoral boundaries.

On Tuesday, 8th November 2016, Hilary Wendt and Steve Hale who have been selected as Green Party candidates for the Church Stretton and Craven Arms division  in the May 2017 Shropshire Council elections took part in an Electoral Commission meeting in Shrewsbury to discuss boundary changes.

 In a wide-ranging discussion they requested that 4 key principles be met before any changes are made:

  1. Parliamentary constituencies must exactly match council areas and should not straddle a Shropshire-Herefordshire boundary
  2. Parliamentary constituencies should take into account the special circumstances of sparsely populated areas like South Shropshire.  Imposing a “one size fits all” population number risks making constituencies far too big in terms of square miles and does not take into account the difficulties of accessing MPs who may well be many miles away from towns and villages.  Our poor quality public transport in Shropshire makes accessibility much more difficult than it would be in a more densely populated part of the country
  3. We must have proportional representation and actively promote a fair electoral system where the number of MPs in any Party accurately reflect the number of votes for that Party
  4. We must not indulge in any kind of gerrymandering.  Boundary changes that favour one party more than another must be rejected 

Commenting on the meeting in Shrewsbury, Hilary Wendt said:  “Our voting system is clearly very unfair and proportional representation is urgently needed to make sure that the way people vote is reflected in the number of MPs from different parties in the House of Commons.

Steve Hale added:   “There are many things wrong with the current voting system and the way we elect MPs but as we make progress towards PR we must make sure that we do not make things worse.  This means we must make sure constituencies exactly match our council areas and very large constituencies in terms of area should not be imposed on sparsely populated areas.  There is a persuasive case for smaller constituencies (in terms of population) in places like South Shropshire where it is very difficult to move around.

Diana on sustrans bridge

Best Green vote ever in 2015

GREENS in Herefordshire made significant progress in the May 2015 General Election, not only saving their deposits for the first time, but with South Herefordshire boasting the highest percentage Green vote in the West Midlands region.

The full results were as follows:-

Herefordshire North result: Daisy Blench (Green) 3,341. Jeanie Falconer (Lib Dem)5,768. Jonathan Oakton (UKIP) 6,720. Sally Prentice (Labour) 5,478. Bill Wiggin (Conservative) 26,716. 

Hereford and south Herefordshire results. Jesse Norman (Conservative) 24,844; Nigel Ely (UKIP) 7,954; Anna Coda (Labour) 6,042; Lucy Hurds (Lib Dem) 5,002; Diana Toynbee (Green) 3,415

Celebrating success in Leominster

DESPITE substantial ward boundary changes that looked set to benefit the Conservatives, Herefordshire’s 2 Green Party county councillors were re-elected with comfortable majorities.

Jenny Bartlett and Felicity Norman of Leominster were celebrating success today after a hard-fought local election campaign involving many hours of canvassing.

The results declared at the local election count at Hereford Leisure Centre were: Leominster West – Felicity Norman (Green Party) 682, Con 486, Lib Dem 174. Leominster East – Jenny Bartlett (Green Party) 748, Con 587, UKIP 264.

Vote for what you believe in

Do you want to be represented in Parliament by someone forced to put party politics above our needs, including voting for brutal cuts to Herefordshire council?  This year you do have a choice – vote Green, for real change.

Austerity has created anxiety and insecurity, but we don’t have to accept this. Government shouldn’t use financial crises to undermine services and sell off our assets; the next parliament must re-balance the system to put nature and ordinary people before profit. Spending on people and wellbeing leads to happier healthier societies and is economically responsible.

Most politicians ignore the link between climate change and social issues. Only the Green Party is saying act now to protect the environment and create an economy that works for people, not just for big business.

Caroline Lucas, MP of the year in 2014, campaigned to tax casino banking, for reinstating the NHS, and to ban fracking. I share her values, and want to join her in Westminster to represent you and hold the next Government to account.

A vote for the Green Party next month says you care about your future, your children’s future, and the world we live in. We all share our one earth, and we have never been more interconnected.  Movement of people around the world greatly benefits Britain; we must understand the causes of immigration, and manage it in a responsible, compassionate way.

We’ve had limited choice at the ballot box in recent years, many people voting for the least bad option – and look where it got us last time! This year, vote Green – for reinvestment in health, housing and education, a reformed EU, and a more equal, peaceful world. Voting for what you believe in isn’t a waste. Add your voice to ours, and demand government that works for the common good.