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!