Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Another Lib Dem flip flop as the Bristol Cabinet approved the road - you just dont know where you stand with them. This list of examples of how Lib Dems change their policies from town to town and city to city to suit their opportunism grows longer.
The Green Party today becomes the only political party to back demands for a state pension of £170 per week and a better future for older people in Britain.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
I agree with the teacher in this story very strongly - let nots forget that Jubilee in Knowle, not listed in the story, is due to close in 2011. More on the issue here:
It’s a stark reminder of what should be self-evident – that people are a part of the environment and that their health and wellbeing are dependent upon it. I’m not shocked by the figures (which some sources state are higher than I've given) in the sense that I’ve worked to point out the problem for some decades now. We really must join the dots and see connections: types of development such as large supermarkets; car dependency and congestion; air pollution; poor health; reduced wellbeing and quality of life. Greens haven’t campaigned against air pollution just because its an environmental issue – its also a development, transport, planning, economic, health and social issue. It needs to be tackled by joined up thinking, which we so clearly have not done if you just look around the city and the country.
Monday, 29 March 2010
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Hot on the heels of our 'In the Firing Line' investigation, which showed that Trident replacement will cost UK taxpayers a shocking £97 billion, we’re busy campaigning to stop the UK building new nuclear weapons.
In December we projected a 100 foot high message to the Chancellor onto Big Ben – an image of a Trident missile with the caption: 'Darling...Cut the crap'.
But yesterday Alistair Darling missed a golden opportunity in the pre-election budget. He could have cancelled Trident, and used the money to help fund new green jobs, protect frontline services and reduce the nation's debts.
Instead, he preferred to effectively cut public sector pay and services by reducing government departmental spending by £11bn.
With an election in the offing, now is the time to tell politicians that we want our hard-earned taxes spent on things we actually need, not wasted on doomsday machines which many former generals admit have no military value.
So we've made it easy for you to write to all your parliamentary candidates in one go, to ask them if they are happy to waste £97bn on a weapon which is irrelevant to the real threats we face.
For inspiration, visit our video wall to get ideas about how we could better spend this enormous sum of money. For just £2bn, for example, we could reduce class sizes in UK schools down to an average of 20 by 2020. We could spend it on tackling climate change and fuel poverty.
On the wall you can post your own views about how this huge amount of cash could be better spent, and you can also watch our Cut Trident animation (complete with soundtrack by Massive Attack) or spread the word by sharing it with your friends.
With President Obama committing to reduce nuclear weapons, and the US and Russia close to agreeing a new arms control treaty, the possibility of a nuclear-free world is no longer pie-in-the-sky. With your help, we want to put the phrase 'Cut Trident' on everyone's lips in the run up to this election, and take a big step towards making it a reality.
Thanks so much for your support,
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Say No to Park and Ride on Stapleton Allotments
We've had expenses scandals. Now its 'MPs for hire' scandals and MPs who break travel rules scandals. Not long before we make Berlusconi look like 'Mr Ethical' and Italian politics look clean!!
Sunday, 21 March 2010
We've lost a great green campaigner with a distinctive libertarian perspective and a very committed, independent-minded and persistent character. I first met Chris over 20 yrs ago and I've worked with him a lot in recent yrs on cycling and green spaces issues. I know just how strongly he felt about excellent achievements like the Bristol to Bath Railway Path.
Tributes to Chris here:
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
2. Raise these issues of concern, and promote rights and resources, for disabled children, young people and families from my constituency in Parliament
3. Visit local services for disabled children and their families on a regular basis
4. Support measures to transform services for disabled children and their families, such as the Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC) programme in England
5. Find out how funding is being used in my constituency to improve services for disabled children, young people and their families
Candidates who've not signed up yet can find out more information and download a copy of the EDCM Constituency Pledge at www.edcm.org.uk/constituencypledgeppcs .
Please sign it and send a copy through to EDCM either by post: Every Disabled Child Matters, c/o National Children's Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE, email: email@example.com , or by fax: 020 7843 6313.
Monday, 15 March 2010
*Bristol doing more to mark the work of Paul Dirac:
Paul Dirac was one of the greatest scientists of the last century. He found a link between Einstein's theory of special relativity and the laws of quantum mechanics. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1933 at a very young age.
There is far too little in Bristol to mark his life and the excellence of his work, despite the fact that Bristol produced him - Bishop Rd School; Merchant Venturer's Technical School, which later became Cotham Grammar School; Bristol University; family lived in Monk Rd and Julius Rd in Bishopston and his father was a very well known teacher locally. All we have is a blue plaque on his childhood home, Dirac Road and the Small Worlds sculpture with its plaque which is quite hard to find.
Would it not be more fitting, given the the scale of this man's achievements, as well as being in the interest of promoting science in the city, to further recognise him by: a) arranging for an annual 'Bristol's Paul Dirac Award' for scientific achievement locally/regionally and/or b) arranging for a set of teaching materials to be written and circulated for use in Bristol schools and colleges?
Saturday, 13 March 2010
A Manifesto for Motherhood: How the next UK Government can ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth safe and every child healthy
Sent a message in support of this manifesto a while back, having been asked as a general election candidate to commit to: scaling up financing for maternal, newborn and child health; placing maternal, newborn and child health at the heart of health system strengthening; and realising the UK's international commitments on sexual and reproductive health and rights and advocate for other countries to do the same.
Friday, 12 March 2010
I'm very sad and also angry about this decision and the previous decision to close St Peters Hospice in Knowle. I campaigned hard with others in the Save Our Hospice group but we were not listened to - its not just the decision I object to, its the very heavy handed and extremely rapid way they have taken it. Such a big decision requires much more and better information and widespread consultation.
I’ve always been a very strong supporter of all IFAWs work eg on phasing out commercial whaling, on reducing ocean noise pollution, on enforcing the EU ban of commercial trade in seal products, on protecting UK seals more effectively, on supporting elephant and tiger conservation, on combating the internet wildlife trade and on effective enforcement of the law banning fox hunting.
I’d also stress that Greens want: all animal experiments replaced with more reliable non-animal alternatives; an end to factory farming, and an end to the promotion of factory farming abroad; the encouragement of low meat consumption. We would: ban live animal exports; end the genetic treatment of animals; ban bloodsports; end badger culling; and ban the use of animals in circuses
In your role as a candidate at the next election, I wanted to make you aware of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) election manifesto launched today.
The manifesto sets out IFAW's vision of the responsibilities and challenges that face the next UK Government on key animal welfare issues. The manifesto looks at areas such as whaling, commercial seal hunting, trade in endangered species and hunting with dogs, and makes recommendations in these policy areas.
You can read the foreword and summary of recommendations here.
Or you can view the whole manifesto on IFAW in Action’s election website or by clicking the report image on the right.
A hard copy will also be sent to you in the post in the next few days.
In the coming weeks, we will be asking our supporters to contact you and other candidates in their constituency to seek candidates’ views on animal welfare and conservation issues.
We will also post candidates’ responses on our website. We would be very grateful if you would consider posting your views (and specifically on areas such as whaling, commercial seal hunting, trade in endangered species and hunting with dogs). You can do so on the form at the link below:
I am sure you appreciate the depth and strength of public feeling in these areas. I hope, therefore, you will take the time to view our recommendations and post your views on our site.
Director, IFAW in Action
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Air pollution from smoke, gases and ash from incinerators must be considered as should any heavy metals left in the ash. The cumulative air pollution impacts on people’s health, already suffering in this area, and on the health of nearby designated sites is unsustainable. S Glos should not grant planning permission and the Environment Agency should not give an operating permit to any mass incineration of waste on Severnside – this area is already heavily polluted, impacting on both human and environmental health.
Consider the effects of pollution from this area, added to the pollution already emitted, on the Severn Natura 2000 Marine site. This area was selected against rigorous scientific criteria to protect the most threatened and important species and habitats in Europe. The site is of international significance (UN RAMSAR listed, up to 100,000 birds over-winter there, Slimbridge is just upstream). It is very close to the incinerator site and is protected with tough limits for nutrient nitrogen deposition.
Because of the traffic on the M5 and the other polluting activities already in the area cumulative air pollution is already a real problem. It is our understanding that only insignificant levels of nutrient nitrogen could be permitted by the Environment Agency ie less than 1% of the critical load.
In our view this mass incinerator is not part of a properly considered and appraised local/regional strategy which both acknowledges and acts on the fact that waste reduction, reuse and recycling saves far more energy than is generated by burning waste. Making fewer new things from raw materials is what makes most environmental sense because stocks of raw materials are finite. We should be doing all we can to recover and recycle valuable materials from our rubbish, rather than turn these materials into a ‘fuel’.
VCSEs have grown and they play many different roles. This includes: provision of services to individuals, groups and to the environment, [though they should not be used to deliver public services on the cheap]; offering mutual provision of support and self-help by members to members; advocacy; education and research; and community business. They play a key part in the economic, social, cultural and environmental life of local communities and our society. Individuals and communities often come together to form organizations to carry out purposes that have not been adequately recognized by other institutions.
The sector competes against vastly better-resourced competitors often on an unequal playing field at present and yet risk taking and innovation is a key characteristic of many VCSEs. This puts them at the cutting edge of social, political, economic and environmental development in our society – though they should not be used as a pawn in the battle to roll back the frontiers of the state. The community and voluntary sector brings many benefits: building of civil society; strengthening our democracy; discussion of topical matters – and taking action on issues; contributing to the economy; helping people who have problems finding paid work transition into jobs; job creation; skills development; research and development; and linking communities.
In recent times Bristol’s Greens have welcomed the local government performance framework National Indicator 7 becoming a part of the Local Area Agreement - the voluntary sector needs the right kind of environment to thrive and this is a step in the right direction – but more is needed. Our policies commit us to: do away with the heavily centralised political system and empower local authorities and VCSE to help each other much more. We want to support and strengthen the community development and VCSEs support functions of Local Government based on principles of empowerment, participation and mutual respect. Greens support quality education and training programmes which increase sector capacity at all levels, both within and outside the formal education system.
Greens will provide sustainable funding of VCSEs and redesign the banking system with more emphasis on local communities and recirculating money throughout the local economy. Our intent is to: overcome problems with access to capital; see reinvestment of profits locally; support community activities and voluntary organizations; have local community banks administer a community development fund; provide investment funds for local enterprises engaged in ecologically sustainable businesses; make loans available to small business and community enterprises using innovative as well as traditional forms of security; have community ownership, including democratically elected, accountable shareholder directors; provide full retail and small-to-medium business banking services. Greens support the development of local currency and time banking schemes such as LETS, Time Banking, bartering and alternative currencies.
We will lay the basis for a cultural shift in favour of VCSEs through a charter for volunteers and carers outlining the statutory right to time off for education, public service and voluntary work. Greens would introduce a minimum income level beneath which no-one could fall, but upon which the vast majority of people could live - a Citizen’s Income - financially underpinning volunteering. We would ensure Government policy across all departments recognizes the contribution of volunteers, and foster a culture which promotes and supports volunteering as a key part of community life.
All elected Greens will keep up the pressure on statutory authorities to abide by Compact guidelines, drawing attention to those that do this well, pointing out those who do not. Recession is biting, EU and UK funding schemes are going/gone – how well are Bristol VCSEs coping with this? With VCSEs in Bristol relatively well-organised and well-represented they are perhaps doing better than many. But we are not out of the woods. We don’t yet have the culture needed to ensure that VCSEs can cope well in hard times and thrive in good times – that culture is what Greens are working for.
Greens want the divisive past few decades reversed so that there is no artificial separation between large and smaller VCSEs and no sacrifice of distinctiveness to compete for contracts. Good funding, effective capacity building, full cost recovery is what VCSEs need. Full and proper participation in decision making and proper use of the sector’s expertise in shaping communities and meeting needs is vital to the sustainable society Greens aim for.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
GREEN CANDIDATE GLENN VOWLES MAKES PLEDGE TO VOTERS ON STUDENT FEES
Tuesday 10 March 2010 – for immediate release
Glenn Vowles, Green Candidate for Bristol East has signed a pledge to voters ahead of the forthcoming general election that he will vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched the Vote for Students campaign to encourage candidates to pledge to protect student interests by opposing attempts to lift the cap on student top-up fees.
The Vote for Students funding pledge states:
"I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament, and will put pressure on the Government to introduce a fairer alternative."
Glenn Vowles said:
"I certainly oppose a rise in student fees, but Green Party policy goes much further. Our position on tuition fees and student loans means that under Green Party policy, students will not have to pay tuition fees. The Green Party supports grants not loans, providing a basic income sufficient for needs while in full time education. "
NUS President Wes Streeting said:
"The vast majority of the general public is against higher fees, and although this review has been set up to report after the general election, voters deserve to know where their MP stands on this highly emotive issue.
"I am delighted that the Green's Glenn Vowles is standing up for students and their families in Bristol East by signing up to this pledge. He has demonstrated his determination to give every young person in Bristol East a fair chance to go to university."
A recent YouGov poll commissioned by NUS revealed that 88% of the public does not think the review should even consider increasing fees, while a majority believes that it should look at alternatives. Last year, research by Opinionpanel (http://www.opinionpanel.co.uk/)
showed that a political party’s position on tuition fees would affect how 79% of students would vote in a general election.
* Media enquiries for Glenn Vowles: Tel 0117 9717023
* NUS Press Office: 020 7380 6604 / 07866 695 010
* For more on the Vote for Students campaign: http://www.voteforstudents.co.uk/
* For more on NUS’ approach to student funding: http://www.nus.org.uk/Campaigns/Funding-Our-Future-/
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
We are neglecting children's emotional and social needs and so we see significant depression, behavioural and developmental problems in children. We also see significant abuse of children. They need real protection, real food, real play, real experience of the world first hand, real and quality interaction with the adults in their lives - and time.
*ensure that vital child protection reforms are fully implemented and resourced, following the death of Baby Peter and other child deaths since
*continue to fund helpline services for children, and for adults concerned about a child’s safety or welfare
*tackle domestic violence from a child’s point of view
*make the internet safer for children
*strengthen the role of the Children’s Commissioner in England
*provide resources for therapeutic services for children who have experienced abuse
The NSPCC has created a campaign website – www.istandforchildren.com/candidate.
What a woman. What a life. We have a lot to do to live up to the example set by this generation!!
Monday, 8 March 2010
Significant stats (5): 200 yrs before there is an equal number of women in Parliament, at the current rate
The front page of the paper had many powerful quotes from a range of women. Views expressed include: recent generations lack of achievement; momentum of women's movement has stalled; women suffering more from cuts in public services; equal pay not achieved; sexism still common; no female editors of broadsheet newspapers; female director general of the BBC needed; one woman a day dies in childbirth; girls suffer circumcision and prostitution; women left for hours on their own in labour...
Great to see Green Party leader Caroline Lucas on The Independents list of 100 women who changed the world (though I'm sure Caroline would say that she has a lot more to do yet!!). I was especially pleased to see scientists Rosalind Franklin, who played a key role in idenifying the structure of DNA, Jane Goodall, who has done vital work on chimpanzees and Helen Sharman, the first Briton to enter space(who I met when she visited the science dept at a school where I was working) listed, but did not see scientist Rachel Carson author of Silent Spring, who should be there. Caroline said this on her blog about the Greens policies:
Today is...a fitting day for the Green Party to launch its manifesto for women.
We support the introduction of quotas to ensure that boards of major companies are at least 40% female, based on the model already successfully implemented in Norway, and currently being considered in France.
We would insist that all large and medium-size companies carry out equal pay audits and redress inequalities uncovered; and that the law be changed to make joint suits for equal pay cases simpler.
We also propose better provisions for maternity and paternity leave, with a focus on paid paternity, to ensure that responsibilities are shared more equally in a way that benefits both parents.
I am proud to be a part of the only political party in Britain that is explicitly committed to equality for everyone, and as part of International Women's Week, I'm delighted to be appearing on Question Time this Thursday - in front of an all-woman audience.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Greens will plan to enable people to access local jobs and facilities close to where they live and promote walking and cycling. We want an integrated, sustainable transport authority serving Greater Bristol (as 6 of the 7 most economically powerful cities in England outside of London have*), convenient, speedy ticketing that can be used on both buses, trains and ferries, real-time information as the norm throughout the system and a transport hub where it makes good sense – right next to Temple Meads railway station on ‘Plot 6’ (pictured).
We will invest in convenient, affordable, accessible and expanded public transport, diverting money away from major road building and subsidies for expanded air travel: doubling the size of the bus fleet, investing £3 billion to buy 30,000 new buses, creating 70,000 jobs; subsidising bus fares and getting new services operational with £2 billion; bringing the railways back into public ownership, spending £2 billion on new track and rolling stock and urban tram schemes, creating 20,000 jobs; through a £3 billion subsidy reducing UK rail fares by one third, bringing them in line with the European average. At EU level Green MEPs are working for the introduction of a core UK rail freight network that includes the Channel Tunnel to connect with European networks.
More detail from: the Green New Deal and this excellent post from Tony Dyer on his Aurea Mediocritas blog.
This post is the sixth of a series giving positive reasons to vote Green in the run up to this years local elections and general election.
Friday, 5 March 2010
Creating new native woods and planting trees is not a luxury but a vital action which will improve people’s quality of life.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Great to see that this is up and running - and working - in Knowle West. I've blogged about this a few times*, as its a longstanding Green policy, a while back. I was concerned at the time that money might not be made available for this restorative justice work.
Received recently from Steve Haines, Director of Campaigns and Advocacy, Save the Children UK: Dear Glenn, Save the Children UK would like to thank you for supporting our Poverty Kills Childhood campaign in the run up to the General Election. We look forward to your continued support in the first 100 days of the next Parliament. For further information on the campaign please visit our website http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/election2010 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd just like here to highlight what Save the Children are asking parliamentary candidates - and in fact everyone else - to sign up to. This is from their website:
Parents across the world worry their children won’t succeed, or even survive, because poverty is killing childhood.
Strong action — not just by politicians but by every member of society — is needed now to prevent the loss of a generation.
This manifesto sets out the key actions the British government must take for the coming parliament if it is to meet its obligations to children living in poverty at home and abroad.
We’re calling on all UK parties to make five key commitments:
Tackle severe child poverty in the UK
Break the link in the UK between poverty and educational achievement
Introduce a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions to benefit the poorest children at home and abroad
Honour existing aid commitments
Act as a global leader on child hunger
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Was very happy to sign up to the Gingerbread campaign against stereotyping single parents after receiving the email below today from, perhaps a little unusually, a certain Roger Berry MP. I will certainly fight such prejudices, along with any similar or related ones - this is essential work if we are to build the fair society and fair future that the Green Party wants.
Dear Mr Vowles,
I’m writing to ask you to support Gingerbread’s campaign to challenge the stereotyping and stigma that single parents face.
Eighty-three per cent of single parents surveyed by Gingerbread said the media portrays them in a negative light. Polling confirms that the wider public overestimates how many single parents are teenage, never married and not in work. Too often they are depicted as scroungers or bad parents responsible for ‘broken’ families.
There is likely to be intense debate around family policy in the run up to the election. Please help make sure this focuses on the facts, not on the stereotypes.
Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have already signed the Gingerbread pledge below:
I promise to challenge prejudice against single parent families and support Gingerbread’s campaign to lose the labels.
Please email email@example.com to pledge your support for the campaign. And I’d appreciate a reply to this email too, if possible, to let me know you’ve signed. Many thanks.
Gingerbread will be publishing a list of signatories on their website, along with regular campaign updates: see http://www.gingerbread.org.uk
Great man of leftist ideas, excellent thinker and writer, inspirational and passionate speaker. A lovely man who stuck to his principles despite the dirty world of party politics and the media (some of whom treated him very unfairly indeed whilst he was Labour Leader).
Pete Goodwin, the Greens candidate for Stockwood, is doing great work on this vital Bristol transport issue. I've commented on this Bristol 24-7 story, giving the wider picture on Green investment plans, beginning...Given the transport problems of the city and the country (congestion, stress, delays, ill-health, both local and global pollution, additional costs…) we need to do what is best to establish an integrated, sustainable transport system – and a hub next to Temple Meads is a vital part of this. People can see it makes good sense and is a great investment with benefits – economic, social and environmental – stretching out to the long term....
See also: http://stockwoodpete.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Severnside Energy Recovery Centre, Land to the north of Seabank Power Station, Severn Road, Severnside, Bristol, Avon BS10 7SD
Advertisement of an application for an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007
Name of applicant: SITA UK Limited
The Environment Agency has received an application for an Environmental Permit under the Regulations from Sita UK Limited
The application contains a description of: the installation; the process, materials, and energy it will use and generate; the condition of its site; the source, nature and quantity of its foreseeable emissions and their potential impact on the environment; the proposed techniques for preventing, reducing, and monitoring its emissions and preventing and recovering waste.
This information is held in registers at the following locations:
South Gloucestershire Council,Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury,Bristol, BS35 1HF
Bristol City Council, The Council House, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR
Environment Agency, Rivers House, East Quay, Bridgwater, TA6 4YS
You can inspect these registers free of charge during normal office hours (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday). You may obtain a copy of documents on the register. A charge may be made to cover the costs of copying.
The Environment Agency must decide whether to grant or refuse the application. If it grants the application, it must decide what conditions should be included in the permit.
Your chance to comment
Any comments should be made in writing by 12 March 2010 to
Please note that any comments we receive must normally be placed on the public register. If you do not want your representation to appear on the public register, you should make a request to this effect.
Monday, 1 March 2010
Cycling is an exceptionally good value solution to so many of the challenges that we face today. We will be looking to the new government to set out a strong and well-funded action plan to deliver these benefits, and to help make cycling mainstream.
We hope we can count on your support for cycling in the new parliament, and will be pleased to contact you about membership of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group – supported by CTC and Britain’s other major cycling organisations – in the event of your election. I look forward to being in touch.
- Improving the training and skills of planners and engineers in order to deliver quality cycle- friendly planning and design
- Tackling the risks faced by cyclists
- Enhancing provision for combining cycling with public transport
- Providing encouragement, incentives and opportunities to try out cycling
- Creating new and improved opportunities for recreational and off-road cycling