East Midlands Green Party Blog


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Banker’s Bonuses

tax bankers not bedroomsplease sir I want some more cartoon

 

As part of our month’s focus on money and debt, this powerful article is written by Peter Allen, one of our candidates from Derbyshire, East Midlands, looking at Banker’s Bonuses in the light of national and international crisis:

 

With living standards in decline, a million young people unemployed, a crisis in the NHS and social care,  and rising levels of poverty and homelessness,  whose interests  might the government be trying to defend (at public expense) in the European Court ? … why bankers of course!

 

A few years back, after the financial crash, largely  caused by irresponsible behaviour by greedy bankers trying to line their own pockets, all politicians joined in the chorus of popular anger against them. Cameron and co accused Labour (with some justification! ) of allowing bankers bonuses and pay levels to get out of hand.

 

It was a sentiment that spread across Europe ( although in truth the amount of bonuses paid out in London was far higher than elsewhere in Europe) and has led to a new regulation ( agreed by all the other governments but being legally challenged by the UK ) which caps the bonuses payable to bankers. The cap is pretty generous (100% of their huge salaries or 200% “if shareholders agree”) but is being opposed by Cameron and co who argue that “it will just mean banks increase basic salaries instead”.

 

Perhaps the UK government is actually injecting a reality check, knowing that financial institutions are highly skilled in getting round regulations? Certainly the evidence of the last few years is that, having been bailed out by European taxpayers, they intend to carry on “business as usual”, making speculative decisions in the interests of short term gain, rather than investing for the long term benefit of Europe and the world.

 

The Green Party was not against injecting public money to stabilise financial institutions after the crash of 2008. but it said then, and it says now, that the bailout should not have been unconditional, allowing banks and bankers to continue to behave as previously. Rather public money should have been used to invest in a transformation of our energy supply, transport infrastructure and housing stock, creating decent jobs and starting to seriously address the imminently devastating impact of climate change.

 

In order to ensure the above banks will have to be properly regulated. This will require agreement at international level by governments committed to real reform. The election of such governments will require the creation of popular movements for radical change, across Europe and beyond, to challenge austerity and promote greater equality. Green MP Caroline Lucas, speaking to New Internationalist magazine in advance of the launch of the People’s Assembly earlier this year, summed it up

 

” It was an international banking crisis and this is an international crisis-and although each country has very different circumstances international solidarity and working together is absolutely crucial. Capitalism is international and people’s movements need to be international as well”

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Diary Dates – A Green Month Ahead

With thanks to Nick Martin from Nottingham Secretary  and Simon Hales, East Midlands Secretary we share  important dates coming up, starting this week.  Your voice and standpoints are needed:
  • Nottingham Green Festival:This Sunday 1st September is the annual Nottingham Green Festival at the Arboretum (off Waverley Street). The event runs between 12:00 and 6:00, full of wonderful stalls and activities. Nottingham Green Party will be running a stall.

 

  • Our Leader Visits: We are pleased to announce that Green party leader Natalie Bennett is visiting us on Tuesday 24th September.
    There will be an opportunity for members to hear Natalie speak in the early evening from 6pm – 7.30pm at Ashston Court Hotel, Derby. This venue is right opposite Derby Railway Station.  www.astoncourthotelderby.com/business.html

If you can’t make it you can still be involved in campaigns and actions:


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Green Lights in a Season of Hope

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It is that time of lights in the darkness. There is a photo of me waving a Green Party banner saying ‘Go Solar Not Ballistic’ at a Stop the War March in London 2003. I am sleepless, recovering from flu and lit with determination. Luckily the photo is not digital so I can’t share it with you. It seemed the world was there; millions of people, every creed, every skin colour, every generation linked by values of fairness, justice, peace-seeking. To my mind the problem and the will to go to war was both a social and environmental problem. Human rights, dignity, honesty and the value of life were and are linked with how we guard the planet, share and manage resources.

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Caroline Lucas, Green MP, hosting a meeting on economics at Portculis House, Westminster. Panel included Rajesh Makwana, of Share The World’s Resources, (STWR) Chris Hewett of the Finance Innovation Lab & Benedita from The People Who Share

I recently attended a meeting hosted by Green MP, Caroline Lucas in the Houses of Parliament entitled ‘the sharing economy’. While there are those who say there is no alternative to the present system, we say that system is broken. Einstein said you cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it. Green economic policies include fighting austerity measures and saying no to public service cuts, instead protecting the NHS and education, changing from minimum wage to a fair living wage and increasing jobs and investment in areas such as green technologies and transport.  We believe money should be saved and created by cracking down on tax havens and tax dodging by the biggest corporations and the very richest people, amounting to billions of pounds, to cancel unnecessary road building, costing 3 billion a year, address the billions we spend on unjust and unnecessary wars and outmoded weapons, introduce better regulation of banks and other financial industries. To the Green Party the savings that can bolster our economy should be made, not by hitting the most vulnerable, but by looking at priorities and making lasting, value-based change.

It is the time of year for so many festivals of light started across cultures, across times. A season of re-dedication to peace, friendship and light and the sense we are all branches of one world tree. This is seen in the lighting of candles, kisses under mistletoe  lights of the Christmas tree and the branches of the Menorah at Chanukah and so many other traditions reaching back through eons. In part of my own tradition, there is a story that in first peace after a long war the lights were kindled from the only unspoiled olive oil they thought would not last but did for the time it took to make more. Now, in a time where lack is something many are increasingly concerned about, this meeting of social and environmental need again shows paths to solutions. Talk of responsible resource management, sharing economy and energy policy can seem abstract but they are real and workable in small and huge ways. Solar powered sun-jars and fairy-lights add festive shine without depleting bank accounts or fossil fuels or adding to conflicts fueled by oil shortages. Fuel poverty is rising with depleting reserves of fossil fuels and rising prices. Food and living costs rise too with a fossil fuel focused energy policy and the economy suffers. The Green Party policies are decrease demand for from non-renewable fossil fuels and to make energy generation more local, with more local control, less wastage and increasing efficiency. Renewable energies work best in localised systems where it is more efficient, can come from combined sources – hydro, wind, solar etc and gives more power to communities and individuals. Natural resource use, energy and economic policy meet illustrated by sunjar and solar fairy lights.

At the moment the general state of affairs seems to be unaccountable accounting systems with public service cuts and people suffering with more investment in wars than ways forward and those that can afford most often contributing least. Green choices for many seem a luxury yet green policies can help with the affordability of good standards of living. Green Party energy policies and economics of sharing are those that look at social needs, human rights, resource and money management and accountability. So, at this time of year, where we seek our hope, I find some of mine in a sunjar and fairy-lights, in the meeting hosted by Green MP Caroline Lucas in Westminster on the sharing economy and on a meeting with East Midlands Green Party media team in the house of the woman I hope to be the next MEP for the region. So to close, I welcome you again to this blog and I offer this image of a possible path lit up before us, lit with renewable energy:

ImageWishing you peace