Climate change demo chants!

Chorus What shall we do with the climate changes? x3 Early in the morning
up she rises


Make them build council houses
Bricks-and-mortar safe as houses
Secure and cozy homely houses
Early in the morning

Cancel Trident missile system
Put the arms dealers in prison
Nationalise the railway system
Early in the morning

Clean up the air and the rivers in our cities
Make every garden look a little bit pretty
Feed the hungry with a meat-free curry
Early in the morning

Onshore windmills keep on spinning
Waves and sun will keep us singing
Keep the coal in the hole from beginning
Early in the morning

Keep hiring teachers till the lot are literate
Let them work for education so there's full employment
Not just for profit but for the life enjoyment
Early in the morning

Don't let the bankers tell you what to invest in
Give the guys a break when they fail the testing
Raise a Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions
Early in the morning

Don't take it out on the doctors and nurses,
Midwifes didn't cause the global banking crisis,
Mental illness won't be solved by sanctioning benefits,
Early in the morning

Make a gift economy with music blaring,
Build a library so we keep on sharing,
Pay a living wage for the sisters caring,
Early in the morning

I oppose Brent Cross expansion

... though local candidate Adele Ward for Finchley & Golders Green is positive about the living bridge architecture.

Here is what I have to say in a forthcoming press article
"The high-rise, luxury blocks of flats in the latest plan provide none of the genuinely affordable, secure, and zero-carbon homes for people."

Judy Klitsner - a great thinker and teacher - visiting from Israel

I went to a talk last night by Judy Klitsner of great practical and sociological importance.  She does not normally talk about herself but outlined some of the revolutionary leaps in women's rights in the Jewish world (re-defining the word halachah).  I noted some great quotes, and my uncle Benedict photocopied an article which was distributed at a previous partnership minyan.  I have a feeling my mom - a great Jewish educator and feminist - may have met up with her to discuss some of the sources she brought today.

The UK Government passed the Equality Act over 5 years ago.  I seriously doubt whether some of the sexist practices described, which survive from the 20th century, are in line with 21st century law.  Things do not have to be this way.  Let's build the system differently.

She described 3 things:
Exclusion of women from Jewish ritual - because women are spiritually superior (she knew they weren't)
Oppression of women through snius (Jewish equivalent of hijab) rules - because men are animals (so why shut-up women?)
Women accessing Torah.  Can women be rabbis?

Brent Cross Expansion not what we need

As some green leaders published a petition for a London National Park, here's a letter I got printed in the local Times on July 11, 2013
I was disheartened to read they still want to expand Brent Cross shopping centre, but not pay for some of the good elements of the Brent Cross Cricklewood regeneration.
We don't need another vanity project.  What we need in the Brent Cross community is small businesses, we need places to meet without buying junk food or clothes. We don't need more personal debt, but places of worship especially for Muslims who have only one mosque compared to dozens of shuls and/or churches.
We need a better-funded college and high-quality state school system and activities for young people such as a football club, canoeing on the Welsh Harp and an affordable rail link to the beach.
We need industrial provident societies and co-ops, not uncaring slum landlords and mortgages.
We need green jobs to reverse the build-up of litter and discarded furniture.
Ben Samuel
Barnet Green Party

John Cox of Chelsea Close, Willesden, writes
Please take part in consultation
So here we are, five years on and it's an other "Brent Cross Cricklewood consultation"
There are the same people involved, but a few things have changed.
The evelopers are chastened by the credit crunch (the Brent Cross owners nearly collapsed in 2009), but seem determined to build an out-of-town car-based shopping centre, double the size.
The new public streets north of the North Circular Road have gone and privately-owned sweeping arcades have replaced them.  They look fine, but I want to see some publicly-owned land there, part of a safe, livable, yet imperfect town centre, not sterile privatised paths, even if some have "24-hour access".
The developers have added a "leisure" and restaurants to the mix of extra shops,  which are two o f the few growth areas in the current long recession.
The new pedestrian street over the North Circular is a big improvement theough the developers are ignoring how noisy it is there.  Acousitc Screetning can never be effective at least without boxing the street entirely.
I question the plan fo housing and a south school of the North Circular because the developers are sellin gup there.  The yave found no companyu to build them as yet and it is rediculous to start calling the area part of Phase One when it isn't.
There are still no corridors for future light-rail lines (DLR or trams). According to the Mayor of London there witll be ten million people in London by 2030, from seven million in 2000.  We will need a light rail to aviod grinding to a halt.  (A London Underground line under the £4.5 million Brent Cross site could cost maybe ten times as much.)
Any later Brent Cross Thameslink station will apparently be paid for on credit, garanteed by Barnet Borough Council.  THat is risky and I think it means Cricklewood Station would close, which is not exactly a popular move.
Please visit the  consultation and mention safe-guarding of land for light-rail, if you want to support that.  The public can apply pressure to Transport for London because Barnet's transport strategy unit is alarmingly ineffective.
There is a consultation card to fill ou, with three loaded questions "Motherhood?" "Apple pie?" and Would you like cream on that? Everyone will answer yes and the developers will claim everon backs their new scheme.  We need to treat the public better than that but perhaps we are making progress.
John Cox


Someone called Yasmin said on TV the other day she has no choice because the Green Party are the only parliamentary party that aren't anti-immigration.

My MP has still not replied to this letter sent last week, I mean last fortnight... other than auto-reply of course.  If you agree with me please send your MP a letter using , especially if you're in Hendon.
9th November
Dear Matthew Offord,

I am pro migration and always have been.  For me anti-immigration
rhetoric means the same as anti-immigrant rhetoric, and I do not like
the way local people end up blaming and hating each other, so I would
invite you as a candidate for Hendon MP to sign up to a clean campaign
pledge.  The reality is that we are part of the European Union which
gives us a two way street and the right to live as a citizen in any
country in the region (apart from Switzerland, Monaco and so on).  I
wonder what your view is on this.  Would you be able to meet me in
Parliament to let me lobby on this issue which really matters to the
people of Hendon?

Yours sincerely,

Ben Samuel


email from utu health last week

Our NHS is being sold piece by piece

Now your MP has a chance to save it

On Friday 21 November a bill will be put before parliament that puts the brakes on the worst aspects of the government’s pro-privatisation, market driven NHS reforms – making it publiclly accountable once more!
But we need your help to make sure that your MP votes and supports Labour MP Clive Efford’s National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill.
  1. Put pressure on your MP to vote: MPs are in their constituencies this week, why not pay yours a visit? Ring them or send an email. Find out where and when your MP holds their constituency surgery at 
  2. Backing the bill is not enough – make sure your MP commits to turn up to vote on the 21 November in the House of Commons 
  3. Sign the petition
But there’s still more you can do:
  1. Join a big NHS day of action near you on Saturday 15 November. Take part in leafleting and petition signing across England. Find an event near you 
  2. Join the all-night vigil outside parliament from 7pm on Thursday 20 to Friday 21 November to save our NHS. More details here.
Despite David Cameron’s repeated promises of ‘no top down reorganisation’, the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 ushered in the biggest shake-up of the NHS in its history. It flung open the doors to increased privatisation and enforced competition; removed the Secretary of State’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service and has allowed Foundation Trust to make even more money –up to 49 per cent of their income – from treating private paying patients. We would argue at the expense of NHS patient.

Download the briefing to get the facts.

Unite believes that the bill is a step in the right direction to building an NHS fit for the future. It seeks to change the most damaging aspects of the Health and Social Care Act by:
  • Returning to the Secretary of State the responsibility to guarantee comprehensive healthcare provided free at the point of need. 
  • Putting patient care before private profit, protecting our NHS from the competition-led race to the bottom opened up in the Health and Social Care Act and EU competition law. 
  • Limiting the amount of income NHS trusts can make from private patients, ensuring NHS patients are not forced to the back of the queue behind paying customers. 
  • Giving parliament sovereignty over the NHS so that any future treaties or trade agreements would have to be debated and voted on in Parliament before they can apply to the NHS.
Don’t accept excuses – senior Tories themselves admit that the £3 billion NHS shake-up has been their biggest mistake in government. Now is the time for MPs from across the political divide; Conservatives, Lib-Dems and Labour, to right this wrong.  

Thanks for your support 

Rachael Maskell National officer health 
Barrie Brown, National officer health

Adele speaks out on housing

This letter in the standard today.  Well done, Adele. Today I marched with communists calling on Myleene to pay her tax, and tried to get them to join the Greens...

Myleene Klass is right that “mansion tax” is a misnomer. There are several streets in Golders Green and Finchley where the going price of a family home is £2 million or a little less. This proposed tax is causing anxiety, both among the elderly and families on less than massive incomes who aren’t reassured by a roll-up — the latter would make it difficult for them to sell and move if they need a few bedrooms for children or grandparents.
The Green Party calls instead for a Land Value Tax along with better regulation of landlords, and requiring landlords who live overseas to pay tax on their rental income.
Adele Ward, Green Party candidate

Free Education

I will be attending the demonstration for free education tomorrow.  More info about the event can be found on the website of the young greens and

West Hendon Latest

A lot goes on in West Hendon that I can't publish on my blog due to sheer activity.
Here's what's happening today: A dear friend of ours is in court.

BAPS sent out an email so I went this morning and it turns out the case isn't for a few hours. 3.30 room 4.  I hope they allow us in to observe but I've been warned it might be "in camera" which is latin for confidential.  The cases tend to be booked for 5 minutes and many resign to not even go along.  The advice from me is to go along, but I'm not a lawyer.

Mitzvah Day

I had a really fun Mitzvah day.  In the Madden's Free House afterwards it was the first chance to catch up with all 3 of the leading Barnet Green Party members; myself, Poppy, and Adele.  Phil is also amazing for organising today.  I've sent the photo off to the Jewish Chronicle's features editor Barry.  It's got some amusing twitter trolling from the right wing citizen blogger the Barnet Bugle, cheer-led by Mr Mustard.  However, plastic bags aren't really the issue; we've made David Cameron take action on that.  Most of the litter we found was wrappers and drinks cans.

Signing up to The Ten Commitments

The Board of Deputies write in their new general election report
"In some areas, particularly among the strictly Orthodox, the Jewish
community is characterised by large families, which forms an integral part
of their Jewish identity. When one or more principal earners in such a
household becomes unemployed or incapacitated, the need and dependency
on housing and welfare benefits can become acute.
Caps on benefits, including housing benefit, disproportionately affect families
on low incomes. Where families with six plus children suddenly receive the
same amount of certain benefit payments as families with three children,
extreme hardship can rapidly follow.
The policy intention might be that welfare-dependent families living in
areas of high housing costs might relocate to cheaper areas. This is not
practical or realistic for Jewish families in London who have longstanding
ties to their communities and families and whose way of life necessitates
close proximity to community infrastructure like Orthodox synagogues,
schools and kosher food."

and ask for greater flexibility in the benefits system.
Unlike the Labour Party, who call themselves socialist, we Greens take such evidence from the Child Poverty Action Group and the Board of Deputies very seriously.  We're committed to benefit reform, but not in a punitive way described above.  If the Jewish Community wants to stay put in areas like Stamford Hill with large families, the long run solution is the Basic Income Garantee.  This policy gives everyone the right to a basic material standard of living as a right.  If they work, it tops up their income, and if they don't, they don't have to be humiliated or moved from their community.  The economy benefits only the banks, but BIG would create aggregate demand by putting money in people's pockets, which would then circulate and make businesses more successful and serve the people.  It's simply not acceptable that so many people live below the poverty line.

"Great art!"

Darren Johnson, part time art critic, part time housing speaker for the Green Party (when they can put together a decent shadow cabinet!) has called Azaan and his sister's work at last night's meeting on "Council Housing in Barnet?" a work of "great art."
Some messages from the young artists facing eviction from their homes by

Vote of no confidence in Barnet Council

There is a lot of in-fighting in the council between the two main parties, who thanks to the voting system, have a virtual monopoly on local decision making (i.e. cuts).

There is a motion in tonight's meeting from the Tory's housing chairman Tom Davey to explain why he has the interests of the people at heart, but it's unfortunately been misrepresented by political campaigners.  The full agenda is here

The leader of the Labour Group, whom local people may remember lost power a few years ago, has called a vote of no confidence in the Tories!
You can read the motion here
They are making quite a big thing of it in local activist circles, for instance Mrs Angry.  My prediction is Labour will vote for it but it will fall because of lack of support from the Tories.

Some housing campaigners are planning to attend on the same night for the earlier regular monthly meeting.  Good luck to them, they've felt ignored for long enough!

Chomsky Quote from Another Angry Voice going round twitter

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....”

― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good (1998)

Sit in in West Hendon

Today the campaign group Our West Hendon organised a sit-in in the community centre.  They covered the "welcome" sign with a white sheet, and spontaneously entered the building.

Canvassing phase 1

One of the reasons it is important to canvas is to find out what is actually going on!  Labour and their trade unions are saying that "if they get in they'll stop the whole development" on the West Hendon Estate.  This of course puts the planned school up in the air.
That may be true but Labour do not have all the answers.
My emails tell me a demo is being organised outside the community centre today to protest against the plans, which are being exhibited.  I have seen some of the plans on show in the sales centre, and though I stay true to my values, not living on the West Hendon estate give me the luxury of not having a position on this.  We'll see when the project is finished whether it's any good in the long run.
The chap I spoke to also told me there is a lot of subsidence due to the ground water and modern foundations are more established when it comes to stopping the blocks sliding into the water.  We'll see about those too.

BBC Question Time review

A mix of tweets are on the official hashtag in the run up to question time, many supporting Caroline but some claiming to be right wing supporters.  One deputy leader of the Greens, Amelia, is quite a fan of watching along and is pushing the hashtag #invitethegreens
Meanwhile on facebook the London Young Greens co-chair is launching a letter writing campaign on the BBC's factually incorrect defence of their policy - which is to be honest imposed by Ofcom.

Caroline's parliamentary debate is still not up to watch again on BBC iPlayer.

First question was of course drugs:  Amelia tweeted
"I thought drug law was Class A, Class B &Class C. Owen Patterson has educated me that it's actually Upper, Middle &Working Class law "

So can I point out that the Tories are not the only party offering a referendum on Europe.  Caroline Lucas MP voted in parliament in favour of a referendum and we have a clear position of "the three yeses"

The third question should have been TV debates... it was about jihadists going out to Syria, should they be tried for treason?
Caroline "To know where they are rather than in limbo-land".

Benali on legal highs, "I love white people chatting about mosques as if they know stuff. At my Dad's mosque ISIS supporter was challenged & re-educated "

Final IPCC Report

The IPCC is the most authoritative scientific study ever.  It is split into 3 working groups and a number of special topics.
WG I deals with the causes of climate change, human or complex and feedbacks
II deals with the impacts such as flooding, hurricanes Typhoons
III deals with the solution or as they call it mitigation

The synthesis report deals with all areas of climate change and is released on the 31st October 2014.

The reports are long and trendy to talk about but quite heavy reading so will be released and updated in a different way in future.

(insert Haloween pun here)

Council estates as an eco socialist paradise

This morning I'll be popping south to a council estate Golders Green at the invitation of a residents' association, and Adele Ward our local parliamentary candidate will be there as well.
Rain is predicted, and the kids will be mostly at school, but they've called a protest to save the green space on the estate.

Here's an inspiring blog from Cressingham Gardens estate.

It's a shame Poppy couldn't make this due to the short notice of the demo but hopefully we'll return together having got to know the residents association a bit.


Children, Libraries & Safeguarding

Saving local services has got to be one of the reasons why Green Party councillors were elected this year, and why Brighton & Hove will decide whether to give the Green Party an other chance to implement green policies in the local authority in 2015.

Last week Barnet Tories launched a consultation on local Libraries and the back clash has been pretty formidable.  You can see why they held out till the last minute on certain cuts.  Basically the plan is to replace Librarians with volunteers and put accountants not librarians in charge.  The best option they're offering is a franchise like Lambeth, with reduced floor-space, catalogues, and books.  This may make sense from a free-market perspective but personally I see huge value in Libraries for the young and old, educated and non-IT-literate alike.

They're also planning to cut subsidy to nursery schools, which UNISON members have been taking action on.

Questions will be asked, and the Green Party will be outside with Labour local opposition campaigners, residents and workers organisations, protesting loudly but politely!

P.S. Labour's experienced committee member has put this motion to full council on the 4th Councillor Anne Hutton - Save our Library Service pdf icon PDF 13 KB

Road oppression

I was cycling along a 20 mph street in the Hampstead Garden Suburb wearing my new t-shirt and taking a new spade to Diane Berger's house for the next Horticultural Society raffle, and was just pulling up when a lone man with grey hair and a little blue car honked his horn at me as he sped past.  I wonder what motivates these people to verbally abuse people they don't know just on the basis of their preferred mode of transport.

After an excellent workshop on privilege and oppression this weekend, I've found it quite easy to think of ways I am oppressed but hard to admit to times I have oppressed, "other" groups.

Calling all Armchair Activists (and Green press folk)

Natalie Bennett has just tweeted that Theo Simon is standing in Frome constituency.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the South West get a green seat last year, but we need to build our local base from the small groups upward.
We need more likes on this page  Please show your support.  I am a massive fan of one of their candidates for next year's general election and so pleased he volunteered to stand in his local area.  The Green Party is not a very centralised organisation because we like to be strong on local issues and give maximum autonomy to local parties.  So liking all your local party pages really makes a huge difference!
Also, the youth branches all have facebook pages.  I do time-and-a-half on them.

Thank you!

Housing crisis

I've realised that I'm meeting the legal definition of a tenant.
I'm campaigning quite a lot on housing at the moment.  I get that people like Friends of the Earth and GreenPeace are into fracking but it doesn't have quite the same bread-and-butter issue quality as housing.  There 9 million private renters in the UK and they need to be paying in the region of £30 a week not £2600 a month like someone quoted in the business section of the London Evening Standard last week.  Rents are being fixed by the market controlled by the landlords, but we should have the German system where a rent tribunal brings tenants into the picture.  There are also global calls for the government to step in and cap rents.  I think a Green Government would have to serve a Compulsary Purchase Order on the Bishops Avenue to build a council estate.

This evening the London Federation of Green Parties will be having the first regular meeting where we've invited a guest speaker from the Radical Housing Network, a London-based group that fits with my values.  Three people volunteered after it turns out there's a clash with an other housing & homelessness meeting.  The rest of the agenda will be squeezed into 8:30 - 9:00 p.m. and includes deciding whether Green Party Conference should clash dates with a Climate Change demonstration planned in London in March.

I need to think quite carefully with the Green Party how we organise the wealth of housing expertise from Councillors, housing managers, and employees in the housing sector.

In local news the leading homeless charity St Mungo's are taking action today with over a hundred Unite members in that workplace.  For me a major focus of the housing campaign is council housing.  The West Hendon Estate in my ward is said to comprise of 74% "affordable" housing at present, which the main parties running the council believe is too high: Labour want 40% and the Tories around 20%, but definitions vary because in the London plan that means 80% of market rate; something Alex at the MIPIM protest totally rubbished.  He said we wont council housing. Meanwhile UKIP arent' quite sure but they use most of their media  coverage to say they're not racist but immigration is to blame.  I'm really glad the Green Party held a protest at UKIP conference.  We need to get gender-balanced at the highest levels, get involved more, get out, and fight for a fair wages economy, against global warming, and for a fully public NHS.

On Disability

The Green Party's youth wing, the Young Greens, and left wing, Green Left, have been trying to modernise the Party when it comes to equality and the politics of disability.
Today the radical group DPAC are calling for Lord Freud to resign by protesting outside Caxton House in Westminster where the DWP are based. Personally I think it's a shame yesterday's article didn't mention a citizens income: Our values are clear on why this is needed.
It's not my place to speak on behalf of the Green Party on something I'm not qualified in, but I am really proud of what I've done lately to include a range of people as much as possible.  One thing I dealt with recently I'm supposed to keep confidential!
However I will say this: If you have mobility issues, there's space in the Green Party for you.  We have literally thousands of young activists willing to do the legwork leafleting and canvassing where necessary.  But that's backed up by a veritable army of armchair activists whether you're reading this on your new iPad in a sheltered housing or on the bus, or at home, I hope we offer something for everyone.  I salute you!

Green Surge article in the Observer

very true,
but personally I put Bristol West ahead of Norwich South and I don't know about coming second in Holborn & St Pancras; we've one councillor there and I have offered a lot of support in Kentish Town but not heard back.
Also, I think the comments about Brighton are significant.  There are local elections in many of these places on the same day.
I really like some of the political points made in this piece.  I remember when the party was so small you could really get aquainted with most of the activists like a club and build solidarity based on being the only handful of members in an area.  Now we're working much harder to organise a booming membership.  If we get on the TV debates there'll be a spike and we'll have more members than Labour who are desperate.

Caroline Lucas Confronting the Far Right

I think I've hit on a winning formula to get maximum traffic to my site, like the BBC and Avaaz are trying to do to theirs.  Caroline Lucas got a lot of hits when I posted an old video from YouTube and "Confronting the far right" was popular.

You'll have to watch this one really carefully to spot any Caroline but this film is called Bitter Fruit of Palestine, and it's by Richard Morris a Green Party member.  All the other parties backed Israel in the run up to the 2014 elections so if you're looking for something a bit more left wing, only Green will do!

Dear Sidique Kahn

I read this thing in the Independent.  You claim that the Green Party and yourselves share "values" such as the NHS, inequality, fairness.
The NHS is not values!  Saying inequality is immoral is not really a shared value anyway.
In fact, demanding the Living Wage is just the start.  Long term Green Party Policies state that the government would pay a citizen's income because people deserve a basic standard of living.  That's what we call values!
Long term Labour policy, however, is "intensely relaxed about people being filthy rich."  Being against climate change I'll grant you but there's only one Labour politician I think would make a good job of turning London Green, that's Christian Wolmar.  But they're thinking of going back on the open primary idea by charging people to vote.  Good luck mate!

Caroline Lucas MP on cuts

Here is just one of Caroline's Green Party quality performances on #BBCQT

She's also appeared on Any Questions on the radio and is very much in demand.

In the Green Party's 2011 broadcast she did a live speech at a large stand up comedy club called "it's no joke".

Thoughts on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

I might be invited to speak soon at Middlesex University. This is what I might say. Oh, my haven't the BBC been biased lately, or so say Green Party supporters. About 200,000 of us. But as the Vegan Society recommended the Green Party policy on advertising aimed at children be improved to ban the display of animal products, my proposal to adopt this was rejected at the first hurdle because it would be too controversial. I think there are serious problems inherent to the medium of television and I personally don't buy it. I like radio but TV is such a passive and undemocratic force in the world. It is used to promote crazy consumerism. TV makes us less caring, less organised, less relaxed, a weaker society, and unfair economy. The BBC say their decision to exclude the Green Party is based on parliamentary byelections (which cost serious money) and number of votes nationwide (which costs serious money) and their mistaken belief that UKIP make better viewing figures. As if viewing figures is all that mattered to the corporation, which is funded by the TV-Tax payer not advertising. The BBC say they found the TV debates engaged with first-time voters. The Green Party needs to engage with first time voters. Polls show that we're the second or third most popular with young voters after Labour (which is indoctrinated from a young age). I don't believe first-time voters who voted Lib Dem and got Tories are the slightest bit interested in voting this time round, or not for that bunch. Maybe they've woken up to politics but not bedevilled party politics. If TV and media is telling people how to vote, the news is not the product, the people are being manufactured into the machine. You are the product.

Barnet's Council Tax Rip-off

When my dad lost his job I advised him to ring up his energy provider to seek out a better deal.  One of the first tasks he had time to do was to claim council tax benefit.  We pay one of the top rates of council tax and when you don't have anywhere to go, often we feel a lot poorer than we are on paper (we get junk mail from estate agents daily).

The Brighton & Hove Green Party propose an alternative to council tax called Progressive Council Tax.  What is PCT? So basically it means the council has the power to levy a bit more council tax.  However, the majority get it back straight away because it's linked to the ability to pay.

Dave Wetzel who just joined the Green Party here in London liked our promise of a Land Value Tax.  His promises for this tax is almost a panacea, and he claims it would stop urban sprawl.

Looking at the Oxfam Policy website I'm inclined to look at places like the West Hendon estate as paradise.  Sure there may not be public toilets or stacks of loo roll, or any remaining pubs and clubs on the Broad way but at least when you turn the tap on you have clean water.

I've believed for a long time that whilst population is key, it's more about car population, and population of rubbish rather than good people that should be capped.  The implications of the environment and social justice message is very much about re-distribution of wealth.  Recently James Hansen of NASA came up with the idea of a carbon fee.  Put it this way: Average carbon emissions in Africa is less than one tonne per capita.  BRIC countries get 2 tonnes and are looking to make cuts.  Britain and USA are around 10-20.  This should be rationed and brought to zero by 2030.  The Zero Carbon Britain report can show you how.  For me the objective of bringing it down is to allow a longer term availability of energy, lower bills in the longer term, so in seven generations time there'll still be plentiful oil, gas, and coal, but also a safe climate for global prosperity.

An other thing I'll be pushing towards the election for 2015-20 is a £10 national minimum wage which would be a living wage; higher in London, if the cost of living is higher.  This must be combined with a maximum wage as well.  NUS policy is to bring the ratio down to 8:1.  Personally I need a lot more; training is expensive, I work hard, and the cost of living is higher than ever.  Plus I re-invest a lot in tools.

Also since uni I've supported the idea of a basic unconditional citizen's income (BIG).  This was a demand in Occupy and surprise, surprise, the government is doing the opposite.

What happens next

I asked Romayne what happens next after being selected. She says don't say anything. She may not be standing again, and that's a shame, but I won't be silenced that easily. Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog are my own. They may or may not agree with the manifesto, which the Green Party haven't even finished writing yet. My mom says I need a team to help put together propaganda and such, if I'm going to get the most of the campaign. I have been meaning to call on some of our volunteers, and want to run a good campaign. So if you want to join our metaphorical people's army of Green Activists give me a shout.

Pot holes are a national issue

I have suspected this during the county council elections in 2013 when I spoke to a guy on the doorstep who has nothing better to do than report all the pot holes in Potters Bar to the council by telephone. Many local councillors and I'm not attacking any individual politicians here, relied on fixing potholes to get elected in the last few years for their voters. However, there is a national pattern. The cuts, which I've taken a very clear position against at the Green Party's conference, have really hit local roads. Major trunk roads get very little pot holes because of the maintenence regime they have. If potholes are just patched the water very quickly erodes the surface getting deep into the road. The motorways are top dressed every few years with tar and stones. This saves the otherwise expensive job of having to re-do the deeper layers. However, there is an idiotic petition against this maintenence on the grounds that speeding drivers might go over the loose stones and chip a bit of glass window somewhere. The Green Party supports the campaign for a 20 mph default speed limit in areas which are currently 30. I propose extending this regulation to prohibit motor traffic on certain streets. Barnet council has a 5 million gap to fill and keeping all streets up to standard is not going to cut it. Leadership is required to protect social care and sacrifice the little-used access roads. The advantage would also make it safer and more pleasant for our neighbours to play in the streets or maybe have some peace and quite. The slides can be obtained by emailing asking for the Environment Working Group slides from Re about the potholes.

In national news 2

Housing crisis, housing shortage, call it what you will, but I don't know about you but here in outer London we're seeing a lot of housing being developed. We have a system that's totally failing to deliver for people. Central government is clawing back the receipts from when homes are marketed as shared ownership, and even from the right to buy. This leaves Housing Associations with very little to put resources into providing more affordable housing, even if they wanted to. So if you're wondering where all the money has gone? (insert picture of Cameron / Thatcher here)

West Midlands broadcast - full of potential

This is from the Spring but I've only just seen it and it really speaks to a positive vision.  Here's Will Duckworth, who's wife Vicky was selected a while back for the 2015 General Election in her home town Dudley.

Ecology Party

Very few of the policies in the Green Party's epic manifesto are regularly talked about.  Back when the Ecology Party of the '70's was renamed with the name we now know and love, there was a strong anti-science thread to the movement.  How this has changed, now that environmental science is a thing, and most of the parties are more interested in the Chicago school of economics and "social sciences" than scientific evidence.

Sheffield and EU US Trade and investment Agreement

I spoke to a remarkable man in Sheffield Hallam constituency recently.  He is a Quaker and former Lib Dem and joined the Green Party because he liked our catchphrase better.  The Lib Dems was "Stronger economy, fairer society." but he preferred to reverse it into "stronger society, fairer economy."  I also spoke to a lecturer at the former polytechnic there who has campaigned for sustainability for the last 12 years or so.  She just wishes the government would stop trying to get through the TTIP, a secretly-negotiated EU-US trade and investment agreement, and will be out leafleting in Sheffield city centre today as part of the Europe Wide day of action.

In National News

I normally write about my local area but I got a bit bored and decided there's a lot more interesting things to write about following green party conference in Birmingham.  I've been speaking to Green Party members from all across the country.

Bristol is much hyped as a growing Green strong hold. However, nothing is ever easy in politics, especially the messy business of trying to organise.  The hyped human beings in the green group of councillors are proposing a landlord licensing system to the city.  The problem is that despite property developers cashing in on high prices, rents are soaring, and housing is not affordable.  We need a win on this fast or housing is going to disappear.  Rosy from Vice has written eloquently on their website that hidden homelessness is effecting millions of UK citizens.

Meanwhile, the next generation of Young Greens are rising up.  Green Seniors have their monthly social tomorrow with a trip to parliament.  However with hip replacements, illness, and old age slowing them down, they're very much yesterday's news.  They still believe in the Green Party but it's the young and fit who are most active.  The Green Party may be slow to grow our number of MP's but we've made things mainstream that really were seen as fringe back in the '80's things like recycling.

By far the most common political background for Green Party supporters is the old Labour Party.  I'm proud to be a clause 4 socialist, which means we all have the right to define the economic system we live in.  The Green Party has always championed economics that might be called left wing and it's really a whole set of policies that make sense, not just a one issue environmental party.  Some right wing elements are concerned about over population but the Green Party has the structures that allow robust debate.  Labour's democratic structures were gutted long ago.  Even as Left Unity suffer inevitable fractures, the Green Party is a whole ideology with global reach but also deeply local presence.

Lately our messaging has been really professional and much of it has been via the internet.  However you might have caught us on the Daily Politics and the One Show today.  We also have a big piece in the Telegraph.  So there is hope!

Empty properties

The Green Party will be publishing a list of empty properties in Barnet that could house thousands of families, before the General Election.  The buildings could also be used as desperately-needed community facilities such as free meeting places, local libraries, local doctors surgeries, schools, youth centres, popular education, pop up shops, places of worship, changing facilities, public toilets and so much more.

The list will include Church Farmhouse Museum, Clitterhouse Farm, and several mansions on the Bishops Avenue thought to belong to just one family.

The proposals come as VAT on refurbishment and maintenance stands at 20%.  Whilst there is no magic bullet to solve all our problems, a fairer tax system would go a long way to ending this criminally wasteful property market.

Local celebrity campaigner Jasmin Parsons has criticised the Government for going back on its promises to provide Council housing.

Housing Committee is expected to meet at Hendon Town Hall at 7pm till late on October 27th 2014, with full papers available on

Confronting the far-right

This evening on BBC Radio 4, Dimbleby will chair a panel with Paul Nuttal MEP.  One of the things I focused on during the last days of the Euro-elections-campaign was confronting the far-right.  Labour believe that if they ignore UKIP, they will go away.  However, I am deeply aware along with my European colleagues of all faiths and none, that Fascism is enjoying a come-back in Europe.  In many ways it has always been there since the first colonialists in 1492.  Therefore it is pertinent that the debate is taking place in the City of London School, which is founded from the profits of the slave trade.

Like Christopher Columbus, Paul Nuttal MEP is a flat-earther, and it is deadly serious.  He believes that wind turbines are going to invade the country.  I hope Greens will be there to tell him firmly that racism and xenophobia is not on in British Politics, because Labour would rather forget about immigration and the deficit altogether.  I have never been so angry as when UKIP and their facist mates get on the airwaves.

Climate statement

September 19 – 23, New York:
Mobilize and organize to Stop and Prevent Planet Fever!
When we, as human beings, get a fever, we immediately get worried and take action. After all, we know that if our body temperature rises to 1.5ºC, let alone 2ºC [3.6 ºF] above the normal average, there can be severe damage, while an increase of 4-6ºC [7.2-10.8 ºF] or more can cause a comatose situation and even death.
So it is, when planet Earth gets a fever. For the past 11,000 years, the average temperature of the Earth has been around 14ºC [57.2ºF]. It is now about to reach an increase of 1ºC. And, if we do not take appropriate measures now to stop this fever from spreading, the forecast is that our planet will be well on its way to anywhere between 2ºC to 6ºC rise in temperature before the end of this century. Under such feverish conditions, life as we know it will dramatically change on planet Earth.
We have no other recourse but to take action now. Not just any action but the right action and at the right time. When, for example, a human person has a fever, we urge them to rest their body, give them a lot of liquids, prescribe the right medicine, and if the fever goes up we bring them to the hospital and try to find the underlying cause of the fever, which can range from a simple infection to life-threatening diseases like cancer.
Right Prescriptions
In the case of a planetary fever, the right prescription requires at least 10 actions to be undertaken and applied.
  1. Make immediate binding commitments --- not voluntary pledges --- to control planetary temperature rise to no more than 1.5ºC [2.7 ºF] this century by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions per year to 38 Gigatons by 2020.
  2. Let the Earth rest by making binding commitments to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves under the soil and beneath the ocean floor.
  3. Move away from resource extractivism by placing bans on all new exploration and exploitation of oil, bitumen sands, oil shale, coal, uranium, and natural gas including pipeline infrastructure like Keystone XL.
  4. Accelerate the development and transition to renewable energy alternatives such as wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power with more public and community ownership and control.
  5. Promote local production and consumption of durable goods to satisfy the fundamental needs of the people and avoid the transport of goods that can be produced locally.
  6. Stimulate the transition from industrialized, export-oriented agriculture for the global supermarket to community-based production to meet local food needs based on food sovereignty.
  7. Adopt and apply Zero Waste strategies for the recycling and disposal of trash and the retrofitting of buildings to conserve energy for heating and cooling.
  8. Improve and expand public transportation for moving people and freight within urban centres and between cities within urban regions through efficient trains.
  9. Develop new sectors of the economy designed to create new jobs that restore the balance and equilibrium of the Earth system such as climate jobs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Earth restoration jobs.
  10. Dismantle the war industry and military infrastructure in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by warfare, and divert war budgets to promote genuine peace.
Wrong Prescriptions
At the same time, we must also be aware that all actions are not appropriate actions and that some initiatives can worsen the situation. Perhaps our most pressing challenge is the fact that big corporations are capturing the climate agenda to make new businesses designed to take advantage of the crises. In response, we need to send a message, loud and clear, to corporations: ‘Stop Exploiting the Tragedy of Climate Change!’
More specifically, we need to resist the ‘greening of capital’ as the solution by rejecting the following policies, strategies and measures:
  • The commodification, financialization and privatization of the functions of nature through the promotion of a false “green economy” agenda which places a price on nature and creates new derivative markets that will only increase inequality and expedite the destruction of nature.
  • This means saying No to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) … No to Climate Smart Agriculture, Blue Carbon and Biodiversity offsetting --- all of which are designed to create new for-profit business for corporations.
  • Techno-fix “solutions” like geo-engineering, genetically modified organisms, agrofuels, industrial bioenergy, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, hydraulic fracking, nuclear projects, waste-to-energy generation based on incineration, and others.
  • Mega and unnecessary infrastructure projects that do not benefit the population and are net contributors to greenhouse gasses like, mega dams, excessively huge highways, stadiums for world cups, etc.
  • Free trade and investment regimes that promote trade for profit and undercut domestic labor, destroy nature, and substantially reduce the capacity of nations to define their own economic, social and environmental priorities.
Preventative Cure
Finally, we also need to go beyond identifying right and wrong prescriptions to naming the disease that constantly causes and drives this planetary feverIf we don’t take this step, the fever will keep coming back again and again in a much more aggressive way. We need to take stock of the roots of the disease in order to weather the storm.
Scientists have clearly traced the problem of increasing greenhouse gas emissions back to the industrial revolution 250 years ago while tracking the spurt that has taken place during the past century. From this analysis, it is clear that the industrial model of increased extraction and productivism for the profit of a few is the prime cause of the problem. We need to replace capitalism with a new system that seeks harmony between humans and nature and not an endless growth model that the capitalist system promotes in order to make more and more profit. We need a system that links climate change and human rights and provides for the protection of most vulnerable communities like migrants, and recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Mother Earth and her natural resources cannot sustain the consumption and production needs of this globalized modern industrialized society. We require a new system that addresses the needs of the majority and not of the few. To move in this direction, we need a redistribution of the wealth that is now controlled by the 1%. In turn, this requires a new definition of wellbeing and prosperity for all life on the planet under the limits and in recognition of the rights of our Mother Earth and Nature.
We urgently need to organize and mobilize in September in New York and the world to push for a process of transformation that can address the structural causes that are driving the climate crisis.
Initial signatures:
Alternatives International
ATTAC - France
Coordinadora Latinoamericana de Organizaciones del Campo – La Via Campesina (CLOC-LVC)
Corporate Europe Observatory
Ecologistas en Acción
ETC Group
Fairwatch - Italy
Focus on the Global South
Fundación Solón - Bolivia
Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and end TNCs’ impunity
Global Forest Coalition 
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) - Nigeria
Indigenous Environmental Network
La Via Campesina
Migrants Rights International
No-REDD Africa Network
OilWatch International
Polaris Institute – Canada
SENTRO - Philippines
Thai Climate Justice Working Group (TCJ)
Transnational Institute

and so on