4 Mar 2015

The NHS

A year ago a film maker callled Peter Bach made a film about the NHS called Sell Off - The Full Movie.  So far neither the BBC or C4 has agreed to show it.

Peter describes the film as radical - it tells the 'alarming story of how the health service as we know it has been quietly abolished'.

The film is available on YouTube and is well worth seeing. It makes you realise that our NHS is not safe in the hands of the Tories, Labour or the LibDems.

Only the Greens are advocating 'a publicly funded, publicly provided health service'.
The Green Party:
  • Opposes NHS privatisation and treating healthcare as a market. 
  • Opposes the development of Foundation Hospitals
  • Opposes the Internal Market which has wasted badly needed resources on administration, and reduced the efficiency and morale of the whole system
  • Wants to end The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which has been a giant scheme for the benefit of private contractors

    See also the website: http://www.selloff.org.uk/nhs/default.html

3 Mar 2015

Tidal Power - the way to go for UK energy independence

Critics of renewable energy have always cited the unpredictability of wind and solar power. The ebb and flow of tides, however, can always be relied on. Advocates of renewable energy have always said that there should be a mix of clean sources.

Mark Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power, told BBC News: "We have a wonderful opportunity to create energy from the dance between the moon and the earth."
 
There are plans to generate electricity with tidal power in 6 lagoons - 4 in Wales, 1 in Somerset and 1 in West Cumbria. The first is to be in Swansea Bay. The lagoons will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines. 
 
Althought initially expensive to build, these 6 lagoons could produce 8% of the UK's electricity and as they will last 120 years, the cost of producing electricity will reduce considerably over their lifetime.
 
Benefits are enormous when compared to fracking or nuclear as the lagoons provide clean energy:
  • The tidal cycles are well known and so the energy production is predictable
  • Unlike fracking there is no potential for inducing earthquakes, polluting groundwater or releasing climate change gases
  • Unlike nuclear there is no problem with waste disposal or contamination
  • Over time the electricty produced will get much cheaper
  •  British Industry guaranteed central role
 

For more details see an article on the BBC website

See also The Swansea Lagoon Project website

2 Mar 2015

Sarah Lunnon on 'why vote Green'

Here's a film of Sarah Lunnon, Gloucestershire County Councillor saying why to vote Green in a 2 minute film. At the AGM on Friday night there were close to 90 people to hear Molly Scott Cato MEP and Sarah Lunnon speak. Well that evening Sarah was voted the Green Party's Parliamentary spokesperson for Stroud - as many will know Chris Jockel sadly had to step down. As the only candidate this time, all now expect Sarah to be voted as the candidate for the elections in May.  The result should be out in 2 weeks although campaigning has already begun for Greens.
 


1 Mar 2015

Sign petition in support of 20mph in Uplands

Just wanted to write a quick blog on 20 mph....there is a very vocal campaign against the recently introduced 20mph speed limit on Folly Lane, Stroud (e.g. see this week's Stroud Life letters page).  There is perhaps, to some extent, a misunderstanding when people argue it doesn't work....

Yes speeds in many cases have only been reduced a little but this is about changing the culture - we need 20 mph zones but also changes to the way roads are designed - all residential areas should be 20 mph - that is the speed that encourages more people to walk and cycle, that is far less likely to kill or seriously injure you if an accident occurs and creates more pleasant neighbourhoods. It is not surprising that many folk find driving at 20 mph hard - for so long we've seen 30 mph as the slow and 'correct' speed for residential areas - change will take time but is much, much needed. And certainly when knocking on doorsteps there is overwhelming support for lowering speeds. This 20 mph zone will help change our speed culture. It is great that Stroud has joined the many other Councils around the country who are saying yes to 20 mph zones.

A local resident writes: "Folly Lane is close to my house in Uplands, and I have to cross it regularly.  When the speed limit was 30, of course a lot of the cars were doing 40.  The 20mph speed limit is calming the traffic and reducing the risk of my daughter or any other child getting hurt or killed".

Here is an online petition in FAVOUR of the 20mph speed limit that was started by Peter Richardson, the Green Party's District Council candidate for Uplands: https://www.change.org/p/gloucestershire-county-council-keep-the-20mph-speed-limit-on-folly-lane-stroud

See more about arguments in favour of 20 mph at: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/20-why-we-need-it.html

26 Feb 2015

Fairtrade Fortnight:
23 February - 8 March 2015

 
 

This year Fairtrade Fortnight is celebrating the impact of Fairtrade on the producers who grow the products. 'By sharing their stories in a fresh and compelling way, we can remind the UK of the dramatic difference choosing Fairtrade makes and how much it is still needed.'

For a range of stories see: fortnight.fairtrade.org.uk/ 
The main website is: www.fairtrade.org.uk/

24 Feb 2015

Should you vote Green?

Do you think you might want to vote Green, but aren't sure how well your views align with the party's policies? If so, there are some useful online tools that could help you make a decision. The first, Vote for Policies, allows you to pick the areas of importance to you, such as Education, Health, or Environment, view a policy summary from all the main UK political parties for each, and select your favourite. Crucially, the party responsible for each policy is not displayed until you have made your choice, helping you to make an unbiased decision.

The second tool is the Political Compass, which presents a series of statements and asks how much you agree/disagree with them. It uses this information to assign you a position on a grid according to how right or left wing, and how authoritarian or libertarian your views are. This can then be compared with the political stances of the UK parties. Note that the Greens are the only party firmly inhabiting the left wing libertarian quadrant.


19 Feb 2015



The recently published 'Who is my neighbour? A Letter from the House of Bishops to the People and Parishes of the Church of England for the General Election 2015' is a long document.  Section 120 makes interesting reading though:

'120 At this election, we can sow the seeds of a new politics. We encourage voters to support candidates and policies which demonstrate the following key values:
  • Halting and reversing the accumulation of power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands, whether those of the state, corporations or individuals
  • Involving people at a deeper level in the decisions that affect them most
  • Recognising the distinctive communities, whether defined by geography, religion or culture, which make up the nation and enabling all to thrive and participate together
  • Treating the electorate as people with roots, commitments and traditions and addressing us all in terms of the common good and not just as self-interested consumers
  • Demonstrating that the weak, the dependent, the sick, the aged and the vulnerable are persons of equal value to everybody else
  • Offering the electorate a grown up debate about Britain’s place in the world order and the possibilities and obligations that entails'

Voting Green would seem to fulfill all these requirements.

12 Feb 2015

Penny Burgess: Parliamentary Candidate for The Cotswold Constituency 2015

Penny is campaigning: 

  • FOR affordable housing in Cotswold
  • FOR renewable energy 
  • AGAINST fracking
  • FOR voting reform
On immigration and benefits, she says that many of the 'facts' bandied about by other parties are plain wrong: "The real issues we have in this country now are low wages and the high cost of essential items such as housing, utilities, transport and food. Immigrants and 'benefit scroungers' are taking the blame for this and it's simply not true. The austerity policies of this Coalition Government have caused and worsened these problems and they are trying to deflect the blame to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.  It’s dangerous and morally corrupt to do this."

To Green Party members, supporters and undecided voters, Penny says, "Please support me in trying to overcome the stranglehold the Conservatives have had on The Cotswolds for decades. A vote for the Green Party in our constituency is not a wasted vote, it's a vote that says, 'I don't want business as usual, I want something different. I want the country to be run for the Common Good, not for the benefit of the 1%.' "

30 Jan 2015

Earth Hour UK teaser 2015


The countdown has begun....With only a few weeks to go until this year's event, the news is that some of the UK's biggest landmarks, including Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle have already confirmed they'll be switching off!

Earth Hour 2015: Saturday 28 March, 8.30pm. Join in! See more at: http://www.earthhour.org/

29 Jan 2015

Date for diary: Randwick Easter Ceilidh Easter Monday


Randwick Easter Ceilidh Easter Monday, 6th April From 7:30 pm at Randwick Village Hall. Dancing to The Randwick Raddle Men (Additional Musicians Welcome). Various callers -Floor Spots Etc (Volunteer on the night). No Admission Fee (A collection will be made for Cancer Research). Bring your own refreshments:
For further information contact:
Terry Haines –01452 410 885
Richard Hannah – 01905 371 268 – Ghostie.hannah(at)virgin.net

28 Jan 2015

Green politics; not a more radical version of labourism, but different altogether

A local member asked that we add a link to see a letter by Professor Andrew Dobson in response to Peter Hain’s idea of “outflanking” the Greens. See it here.

South West Green MEP welcomes legal challenge to Hinkley C

 Molly Scott Cato MEP has welcomed news that the Austrian government is to mount a legal challenge against the decision by the EU to allow billions of pounds of subsidies for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. See here.

The previous European Commission has approved scandalous nuclear subsidies for the construction and operation of the largest nuclear power plants in the world at Hinkley Point. This opens the floodgates for the construction of new nuclear power plants in Europe. The German green energy supplier, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, have appealed directly to the European Commission to complain against it. But only when the pressure of citizens is higher than the influence of the nuclear lobby will the new EC take back the wrong decision.

·         Sign their petition here: https://www.ews-schoenau.de/campaign.html

The plan is to present the petition to the EC mid-Feb. 

27 Jan 2015

Good news on atomic test veterans

Congratulations to STAND supporter and nuclear veteran, Dennis Hayden. See Philip Booth's film of him last year at the Remembering Fukushima event in Lydney below plus update re the recent court case.
The Fukushima Day Remembrance event was held by STAND (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development) on Tuesday 11th March 2014 at Lydney harbour. There will be another event on 11th March 2015. This film is a short interview with Maralinga Nuclear Veteran Dennis Hayden. Seven British Nuclear tests took place under extreme secrecy between 1956 and 1963 at Maralinga, part of the Woomera Prohibited Area in South Australia (800 kms north-west of Adelaide). The site was also used for hundreds of minor trials, many of which were intended to investigate the effects of fire or non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons. The site was contaminated with radioactive materials and an initial cleanup was attempted in 1967 while another completed in 2000 cost of $108 million. Debate continued over the safety of the site and the long-term health effects on the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land and former personnel. In 1994, the Australian Government paid compensation amounting to $13.5 million to the local Maralinga Tjarutja people. Today surviving Veterans are still seeking compensation.

The event commemorated the dreadful nuclear accident at the Daiichi nuclear reactors in Fukushima exactly three years ago. It was attended by Molly Scott Cato, prospective member of the European parliament for the Green Party, Steven Parry-Hearn, the Labour party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean and James Greenwood, who is the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for the Forest of Dean but who was speaking as a member of STAND. You can see a film with those speakers at: http://stroudcommunity.tv/fukushima-lydney2014/

STAND is a non-political, non-violent pressure group dedicated to stopping the building of a new nuclear power station at Oldbury. You can see more at: http://www.nuclearsevernside.co.uk/

Update!

Dennis and colleagues have campaigned tirelessly for years on behalf of Nuclear Test Veterans and their families. Dennis in particular has been unrelenting in his letter writing and research. Now at last some good news which should have implications for all those campaigning against the dangers of low level radiation.

Here is a short excerpt from Dennis’s report on a court victory that may overturn the 2012 supreme court verdict.
       
“The atomic veterans group litigation of over 1000 veterans and widows, led by Rosenblatt Solicitors of London,  was blocked in 2012 by a controversial Supreme Court ruling which stated nuclear veterans and widows claims for compensation had little chance of success. This class action is a moral and ethical struggle by nuclear veterans and families against the Ministry of Defence.  The MoD have concealed and withheld 1950’s and 60’s radiation levels underpinning the main causal link to the veterans legacy ill health, premature deaths and genetic damage passed to their children.

Damage to health from fall-out at nuclear test locations of alpha and beta particles was dismissed by government lawyers at the Supreme Court in 2012 as being just low dose, low level radiation and therefore of no consequence. However, the Upper Tribunal of the Administrative Appeals Chamber, in a damning indictment by Mr Justice Charles over the decision of the Stubbs Ionising Radiation Appeal Tribunal of 2013 not to grant war pensions to nuclear veterans and their widows, has ruled the Stubbs tribunal had “misapplied the law”.

On fall-out , the prime causal link to ill health in nuclear veterans, Mr Justice Charles confirms the source of causation is because of  the very long half-life of fall out radiation, particularly alpha particles, and the ‘undisputed evidence’ concerning how this type of radioactive contamination might enter the veterans by eating, drinking, swimming in contaminated water, and by inhaling this type of radiation.

The view of nuclear veterans is that during the cold war the Ministry of Defence ridiculed any evidence of causation of ill effects from exposure to radiation. When the men began to die in their 30’s and 40’s and their children were found to have genetic damage, the MoD began to vehemently deny any possible evidence connecting radiation.  Now, as a result of the latest court victory and judicial advances in the understanding of the science of causation,  the truth of the MoD’s betrayal of loyal servicemen and their families is now self –evident.”