East Midlands Green Party Blog

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What times we live in!

All pain no gain GP poster

Let me take you on a journey to a time where the worker’s rights are limited at best.  A time where those without work are forced into unpaid labour in order to get food and lodgings and still often go cold and hungry. A time of rickets and child malnutrition and children crammed into cold rooms. A time of families and young people made homeless. A time when many cannot afford to keep warm. A time when disabled people were seen as second class citizens and Johnnie foreigner is blamed for the nation’s ills. A time when healthcare free at point of delivery is not guaranteed.  A time when single mothers are treated as a blot on society.  Is this Victorian Britain or today, same location? A time of bank collapse, mass unemployment and the people not the banks footing the bill – The Great Depression, the 80’s recession, or today? You do not need a trip in the tardis to find these ills, just the economic, health and environmental injustice born of an insecure boom and bust, profit over people, markets / elite rule philosophy.

Meanwhile the government have not delivered on a manifesto pledge to clamp down on tax avoidance by large corporations. In fact it subsidies multi-national oil companies. Corporation tax has been cut while taxes on those least able to afford them increase. The average pay of FTSE 100 directors has risen and there is an ever widening gap between rich and poor. There  has been no reform of banks with bankers bonuses back in the billions, despite the UK public having to bale them out after practices of reckless risk.

There is an alternative. To say there is not is lazy, ignorant arrogance and lacks vision. We believe in taxing bankers not bedrooms, in cutting waste and warfare not welfare, in investing in children’s futures, empowering the vulnerable, in Green New Deals creating many jobs and sustainable futures. We believe in resilient localised economies, supporting local producers and businesses and re-energizing local communities while maintaining strong global partnerships to work against threats to human rights and security and to protect life-systems of which we are part.

The Green Party is involved in the Coalition of Resistance, with initial signatories including Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas and the Chair of the Coalition of Resistance herself an active Green. They join voices with representatives and individuals from across parties and organisations, uniting people against the cuts and for alternatives. Many Green Party members are active in other groups from Transition Towns, to CND to Trade Unions. There is a flow between these groups as we work together to create change that lasts, that puts measures of equity, well-being and sustainability at its core.

Green Party Anti-Austerity Leaflets:

GP Austerity poster ALL PAIN, NO GAIN


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Derbyshire Green Party


Thanks to the Daily Mail and the Express, anyone claiming benefits has been made to feel as though they were born into a lower caste, hiding their scrounging and skiving behind drawn curtains. The inconvenient truth is, of course, rather different.  Most of those on housing benefits are working but wages are so low they can’t pay the rent. Its high rents in both the public and private sectors that has driven up the cost of housing benefit.  Almost all the money paid in benefits is invested in the local economy. Higher wage earners invest elsewhere including for example the global arms industries.

Does this matter to the Green Party? Well I for one think that “welfare reform” is the most important issue we are currently facing, let me explain why. A few years ago I came to the conclusion that the consumer society bequeathed to us by capitalism has…

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The Wrong and the Right in Energy Policy

The following is the voice of our indomitable Mike Shipley in which he presents a Green Party vision of vital, workable, sustainable energy policy in alternative to the wasteful and socially and environmentally reckless government energy agenda which subsidizes and gives tax breaks to trillion pound Big Oil companies and under-funds renewable alternatives:

The Wrong and the Right in Energy Policy

The International Energy Agency has warned the world that by 2017, we will have a better than even chance of being locked in to a 2C rise in temperature.  This is a result of the investment decisions now being taken that will determine global energy infrastructure for the next 30 years or more. Unless someone, somewhere starts to make a serious commitment to the decarbonisation of  energy production, we will experience at least 2C of global warming by mid century and be on track for at least double this by century’s end.

Who will take that lead?  The International community, bought off by oil interests, have shelved any decision on cutting carbon emissions until 2020. This is too late to stop a 2C rise without truly massive emergency investment.  The British Government has also signalled that it has abandoned any pretence of showing leadership, with a policy portfolio dominated by private interests.  In his last budget statement George Osborne handed tax breaks to oil and gas companies to encourage a new round of exploration in the North Sea and to open the door to gas fracking.  Coupled with his slashing of feed in tariffs for renewables, his energy policy is to lock the UK into high carbon and increasingly expensive fuels for the next generation.  Even the pilot CCS project at Long Gannet in Scotland has been abandoned through lack of support by the private sector.

Osborne is always quick to point out that there isn’t the money available to radically change the UK energy infrastructure.  Oh yes there is.  The trouble it is in the hands of the big oil and gas companies and they won’t pay their taxes or even invest in the next generation of renewable fuels.  As a result of Osborne’s ill timed policy of giving tax breaks to the worlds richest companies, nearly £26 Billion will be invested in North Sea exploration 2011 – 2013.  This is the money that was desperately needed to invest in our sustainable energy future.  Of course the industry and Osborne herald this as good investment, generating jobs and tax revenue.  Except that the investment comes as a result of promise of taking less tax and the industry is globally shedding jobs.  This investment is about private wealth. The Scottish Government estimates that there is £1.5 trillion of oil to be won from the UK Continental Shelf, these companies are investing to get that wealth quickly, and they can only earn it if they burn the oil and release the carbon dioxide.  Osborne has slammed the door on 2C and opened the one marked 4+.  Thank you Gideon!

The oil companies have become untouchable, they sit on mountains of cash and are using it to enrich their shareholders and senior executives, they give vast sums to politicians and organisations that will look after their interests and promote climate change denial.  The top 5 oil companies, which include BP and Shell, made $1trillion in profits in the decade 2001-11.  In addition they receive public money as subsidies and tax breaks,  the richest of them all, Exxon-Mobil, pays a mere 18% tax rate.  If any finance minister has the nerve to demand a higher share of that profit to help a struggling local economy or to build national infrastructure, they pull out and go elsewhere.  This happened in the UK when Gordon Brown increased taxation on the oil sector, in response oil companies reduced output to reduce their tax liability until they got an oil friendly Chancellor.

All this new investment sends a clear signal to the financial markets that the safe place for money is in the fossil sector, Government support for renewables is lukewarm and hedged with uncertainty, therefore it is unattractive to investors, so it is starved of cash.  Investors want maximum and quick profits. The oil that will flow as a result of these tax breaks will be burned adding to the still rising levels of carbon dioxide. Yet as we know that 80% of existing oil reserves needs to remain unburned if we are to limit temperature rise to a level we can reasonably hope to afford to live with. With men like Osborne in control, delivering the policy demanded by Big Oil, that is not going to happen.

 But it doesn’t have to be like this.

At our Spring Conference, a draft policy paper for Energy was presented.  This policy shows how it would be possible to implement an energy strategy that addressed the real issues that are ignored by the Liberal Democrat Conservative Government.  It presents a strategy that enables the full decarbonisation of both energy and transport by mid centuryA strategy that will end fuel poverty, that will create sustainable business opportunities and skilled jobs, that will invest in research and the development of new technologies so creating significant export opportunities.  A strategy that will give the UK a long term affordable, reliable, sustainable and largely indigenous energy supply.  The Green Energy Strategy would turn the UK into a global showcase, demonstrating how a technology based civilised society can operate within the carbon budget required to cut carbon dioxide to a safe level of 350ppm.  Now wouldn’t that be a better policy option than making the richest companies and people in the world even richer while consigning us all to a very unstable and hazardous future?

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Green Party Action to Save NHS Continues

GP NHS placard photo

Derbyshire Green Party people are among our many members taking action against the undermining of the NHS. Nationally our action includes our clear voice in Westminster and, at the end of this post is a link to a press statement from the office of Caroline Lucas detailing proactive actions taken by the party to safeguard a just healthcare system long worked for, protecting health, jobs and services for all. It is now people, together, each using our voice and calling for action from MPs that is urgently needed.  We share a letter from Derbyshire Green Party being shared across different media, written to you all. We ask that you read, share and respond. We must continue because, as we Greens say, Fair is worth fighting for!

Before the last election the Conservative Party said ‘The NHS is safe in our hands.’ …and promised no radical review.  Since forming a government, they have worked relentlessly to find ways of breaking up the NHS and privatising health care based on the US system of private health care insurance that generates big profits for private companies.

Despite constant assurances from ministers that their so called ‘reforms’ would not pose a serious risk to the future of our healthcare system by ushering in full scale privatisation, it has become clear that this is exactly what the government intends to do.

In 2012, the then Minister of Health Andrew Lansley said, when speaking of the Health and Social Care Bill that “there is absolutely nothing in the Bill that promotes or permits the transfer of NHS activities to the private sector.”  In a letter to Clinical Commissioning Groups, he said: “I know many of you have read that you will be forced to fragment services, or put them out to tender. This is absolutely not the case.”

Very clear assurances you might think from a senior Government Minister.  But no so.  In a disgraceful act of duplicity, regulations published earlier this month under Section 75 of the Health Act create requirements for nearly all commissioning done by the National Commissioning Board (NCB) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to be carried out through competitive markets.  This means that any service provided within the NHS will have to be open to tender from private providers.  The system will be broken up, profit making companies will begin to move in to all areas of health care where they smell a profit.

These proposals are symptomatic of the staggering arrogance we have come to expect from the Coalition Government.  They are ignoring the overwhelming advice of all levels of health professionals – not to mention a complete disregard for the democratic process.  There is no public support for the American system of health care in this country.

There is still time to kill these plans before they pass into law on April 1st.  Green MP Caroline Lucas, jointly with Ed Milliband, has tabled a motion to Parliament demanding a debate on these regulations.  If enough MP’s respond to their constituents wishes and take a stand against the Governments plans to privatise our NHS, then the regulations can be stopped.

We urge your readers to contact their MP to demand that they support the motion and kill the regulations.’

Press statement from the office of Caroline Lucas can be read at:



No to the Bedroom Tax

tax bankers not bedrooms


The above video displays only one of the outcomes of the bedroom tax. People with two or more homes are stating that children with disabilities must share bedrooms with other siblings or their families will have benefit cuts. This effects the safety and health of any disabled child, their siblings and their family. It is also economically unworkable, the cost of moving families with disabled children and re-equipping homes with the most basic tools to allow even the minimum safety and mobility would be far greater than any saving made. Single parents, recently bereaved families and those with children away at university are also targeted in these cuts.

Human rights are being violated with this and other unnecessary and unequal cuts.  80% of cuts are to come. Calls for tax justice and fair pay are being increasingly replaced with those in poverty turning on one another in response to government spin-doctoring, which Natalie Bennett at Spring Conference called ‘deeply derisive workers verses shirkers rhetoric’. Blame is placed on those driven into unemployment by public service cuts and economic failures of a system where organisations making cuts often make people redundant before looking at turning off the lights at closing time. Responsibility is placed at the door of those whom accident or illness made too ill to work. International workers often used as cheap labour, hardly surviving on their pay, are hated by those who lose their jobs or take pay cuts to compete. Losses are taken by small and medium sized businesses collapsing under unjust tax laws and other financial inequity. Young people and vulnerable groups pay increasing ecological and economic bills while many become blinded to the real issues.

Be seen to be Green with me on the 16th March at 1pm at Brian Clough Statue off Market Square, Nottingham. Our policies, including for a living wage and for the top of an organisation to be on no more than 10 times the salary of the lowest paid employee, of bank and tax reform and cutting carbon not welfare are important in these times. They are the only concise alternative to austerity.

Please join us for this and other peaceful demonstrations. Please share this with others and use this blog and our facebook group to let us know your thoughts and any relevant local campaigns.

With Thanks,