The problem’s not refugees! It’s greed.

I wrote a blog piece once, looking at food in Britain, how much we could grow, and whether we were food dependent.

We were ok! We grow a lot, we could grow a lot more. We could also say Britain is food inter-dependent, as we trade a lot. Food in, food out, and as the planet’s 6th richest country, we can always buy ourselves out of trouble.

In other places, many people naturally want to escape famine, or drought, let alone war, or even just poverty in general. Not everyone does. Not everyone can.

The most interesting thing is that global food production has always outstripped population growth. So Malthus was onto a loser. However, humans have many more impacts. We may not be able to outrun the overall chaos we create – nuclear weapons, continuing major power wars, climate change, pollution – and most of these in pursuit of even greater inequality.

The saddest thing is that, with all our achievements, we think that’s acceptable, capitalism’s ‘collateral damage’. (Not necessarily picking on capitalism, just that we’re told it’s ‘won’ and it’s the ‘end of history’. I don’t think that’s true. It would be depressingly sad if humanity can’t come up with a better balance).

There are tragic consequences to accepting this. Indeed, some aren’t able to outrun these things as we speak – the 21,000 who starve to death a day, the 30,000 a day who die from simple diseases. A large number of them children.

And in the pursuit of profit, we miss out on all the other ‘life-game’ factors that humanity must consider: how should resources be used: limited fossil fuels, highly oil dependent agriculture and transport, potable water.

Then there’s the life-game factors we don’t consider: for many people it’s climate change, or the never-far prospects for nuclear war, or losing your job, or savings, or the next (predictable) economic downturn, let alone the sort of species die-off we’re seeing in the industrial age and the implications this has for us as we cut our own throats, oblivious.

species-extinctions

Things we need to do well:

  • Ensure the food safety of countries around the world. This is to our advantage. As Henry Ford might say, poorer countries can’t afford our stuff, but if they become a bit richer they can. We develop new markets.
  • Eradicate simple diseases. All the medications are there. We can fund it internationally. Healthier, wealthier populations have fewer children (because their children live! They become adults with prospects)!
  • Treaty for peace: draw down to extinction the world’s nuclear arsenals, diversify the companies involved, wind turbines, sea barrages, new safe energy.
  • Replace the drive for profit with a drive for fair trade. Deal increasingly fairly with other/poorer countries, otherwise we just continue the negative spiral of exploitation and impoverishment.

None of this is beyond us! Even global population:  we could fit the whole human world into Texas, with the density of New York. (But who’d want either the climate of Texas or the density of New York?)

Yet, intuitively we know it could be done, there’s no particular limit to how big a city can grow (though we probably ought to think of some!)

If we don’t being to think differently, we will simply hit multiple brick walls this century: fossil fuel depletion, species extinction, marine life collapse, industrial agriculture expense, climate effects – let alone things like the banking crisis, totally of our own making!

A friend of mine coined the term ‘overdeveloped’ countries back in the 90s.

The world is suffering most, not from war-torn countries or from refugees, but from the overdeveloped countries.

The Green Party welcomes Siemens.

Diana Johnson asked in House of Commons yesterday: “Is the Secretary of State aware that the UK Independence party opposes that investment and those jobs coming to Hull, and that the Greens are calling for a boycott of Siemens locally as well?”

My Twitter reply –

– “Greens are calling for a boycott of Siemens locally” – No, we’re not. We never have. We haven’t even discussed it.

– As I informed you explicitly before when you first pushed this 2 months ago.

Our full response: –

The Green Party will welcome Siemens to Hull, its commitment to renewable energy and the 700 jobs it will bring.

Frequently mentioned are 10,000 knock-on jobs from this but we challenge those interested to come up with figures, otherwise it’s just wishful thinking.
700 jobs will be most welcome in an area with high unemployment such as Hull. But 700 jobs hardly matches the 2000 jobs cut by the Labour council and the Lib Dem council before that, promoting the government’s austerity.
hull-cuts-2ndNevertheless, Siemens is a huge multinational, and as such, not the Greens first port of call as we would prefer creating a smaller scale energy-generating democracy – such as Green Party councillors in West Yorkshire are already delivering with solar panels and free electricity for 4000 tenants.
Figures show Hull is going to be the second worst affected council by cuts this year across the whole country.
So after years of delay landing a contract, we look forward to the Siemens jobs actually starting.
Martin Deane
Hull and East Riding Green Party
martin.deane@greenparty.org.uk

Say NO to Hull fluoridation

PETITION: http://change.org/p/hull-city-councillors-no-to-fluoride-in-hull-water

Here’s Dr Paul Connett on the truth about Fluoridation. (Author of 50 Reasons against Fluoridation)

c.5m: Makes point of how tiny the fraction of fluoride is in mother’s milk.

c.20m: Amount of fluoride isn’t relevant to dental health in an area. The wealth of the citizens is a much better indicator.

c.55m: Use of fluoride is topical. You don’t stick it in the water.

On Jan 15, it was announced that Hull City Council is to pursue the fluoridation of the city’s water supply.

We object to this on the following grounds:

  • most of the world’s countries show marked improvements in dental health with or without fluoridation (Image search: WHO fluoride)
  • fluoridation is mass medication with no control of dosage and without informed consent.
  • Germany, Denmark and the UK enjoy the lowest dental decay in the EU, however only the UK partly fluoridates.
  • Most of the world does not fluoridate – but still shows marked dental health improvement. Only 11% of the UK population is fluoridated.
  • Fluoride is the only chemical added to water for medical treatment.
  • There are easy alternatives – eg, brushing puts fluoride onto the place affected where there is some evidence it helps protect teeth, parents can obtain fluoride tablets should they wish.
  • The health warning on fluoridated toothpastes says not to swallow and to seek medical advice if ingested, precisely because fluoride has long been known to be toxic.
  • recent studies implicate fluoride in a number of ailments including the hardening of arteries and therefore heart disease, the lowering of IQ, an increase in tumours and cancers, and number of other serious complaints.

Please see –

http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laneur/PIIS1474442213702783.pdf?id=baak8dkBlaiXPhJTjuTsu

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

And Harvard have recently published a meta-study showing that fluoride lowers IQ in children

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/harvard-study-confirms-fluoride-reduces-childrens-iq.html

Is the Green Party anti-science?

No.

The Green Movement owes a great deal to science, but is sometimes portrayed as anti-science. This is primarily in connection with the opposition of many in the Green Movement to genetically modified food and nuclear power. However this opposition is not an opposition to science, but to these particular technologies. (More)

But a few articles want to weigh in to try to discredit Greens. Here’s one.  

The article implies we wouldn’t treat cancer properly. Not so . However, chemical and radiation treatment is particularly aggressive, and there is more to say, without having to watch the entire series of Breaking Bad!  One example, the placebo effect is a well-honoured effect in medicine, and often a tribute to the power of the human mind as well as the body. What a number of alternative therapies do is seek to harness that and strengthen it. No-one in the Green Party is talking about an aromatherapy cure for cancer, for example! I’m not aware of any CLAIMS for alternative medicine that Greens are backing.

That article is distinctly pro-GM which, in the single form of high fructose corn syrup is America’s biggest health problem, in my opinion (we don’t have it here, nor GMOs generally). The Green Party regards GM as a major environmental problem, polluting natural genes (there have been a number of legal cases). The economic warfare in GM agriculture is marked too, with famers having to adopt a system, often deliberately bred into the seed, and farmers in poorer countries being prevent ed from keeping seed for the next generation.  

The author may be confusing the descriptor “anti-science” with the phrase “anti-huge economic benefits for the various multinationals concerned.” To which we would put our hands up.

Our health policy is here. Read it,. See what you think.http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/he.html

Stem cell –  the author, back in 2009 (the article), also attacks Greens for being anti-stem cell. I had to look it up but here it is:

“The Green Party acknowledges the existing and potential future benefits to humans and other animals from stem cell technologies, using both adult and embryonic cellular material. These benefits include direct medical advances, improved non-animal testing methods for new medical treatments, and the advancement of knowledge. However, we also emphasize the importance of continuing ethical regulation, adequate government funding, and transparency of research in the areas of embryonic and adult stem cell technologies, to protect donors and the public health.”

Not unreasonable.

Martin Deane

MSc

Austerity – it’s not on the Green Party agenda.

council-pressures Cuts to hit Hull City Council are expected to be the biggest in the country next year, bar Knowsley in Liverpool, as the table shows.

This is not unknown.

Governments in power will seek to weaken and marginalise the opposition groups within their own communities. Hence the two worst hit councils are Labour councils – whilst the better off councils will be, as if by magic, Tory ones.

But Hull has been hit hard enough, by first a Lib Dem administration and then a Labour council. Due to the decision by these ruling parties, Hull has lost about 2000 jobs to cuts so far.

But austerity is not on the Green Party’s agenda. What Hull needs is Green Party councillors to fight for budgets we can live with  – rather than the likely hundreds, maybe thousands, of job losses to come.

But there’s another problem.

Across the region, when Green Party councillors have presented their own budget motions designed to save valuable jobs and essential services, they have been stonewalled and voted down by other councillors whether Labour or Conservative or combined.

This isn’t logical; it’s vindictive. It’s deliberately not giving perfectly good suggestions and ideas a chance.

The cure is obvious – elect MORE Green Party councillors – in Sheffield, in Leeds, in Kirklees – and help get those budget alternatives through.

This is desperately needed in Hull too – before Hull’s public sector jobs and services become a thing of the past – as the national Labour Party seems committed to with their wholehearted adoption of austerity.

The people want well-functioning services, elderly to be looked after, people with disability to have a chance, social housing that’s secure, social work that does the job not increasingly rushed and pressurised, cultural assets like museums, well-staffed and open for the people, and the thousand other things a well-functioning council must do.

While the wealth of the 1% is rocketing, the obvious and necessary solution is better taxation. Austerity – it’s not on the people’s agenda either.

Crawberry Solidarity – We want the frackers to go!

Crawberry-Greens-11jan

PHOTO: Hull and East Riding Greens attended in solidarity today’s Crawberry Hill anti-fracking celebration. L to R: Tim Greene (Haltemprice and Howden candidate), Angela Needham (with her back to us! For Hull west and Hessle), Natalie Hurst (Brigg and Goole, looking to camera), Mike Lammiman (Hull council candidate), Val Mager (Beverley resident and first arrestee at the site), Martin Deane (Hull North), Jon Mager (husband of Val and also a first arrestee at the site), and Richard Howarth (for Beverley and Holderness).

A great day today at Crawberry Hill. The best part of 200 people attended to stand in solidarity with the Protectors’ Camp as it now completes 8 whole months of presence and deterrent at the site. All walks of life were represented! Young and old, workers, students and pensioners. Cllr Gill Kennett of Hull City Council spoke; a Hull Unison official handed me their latest bulletin which promoted Frack Free Yorkshire on its front page! There was a welcome contingent from Greenpeace. Media and photographers were there too. There were protectors, supporters, people from villages for miles around, a group from the Manchester campaign from Barton Moss. I’m sure I saw Bez from the Happy Mondays there too! And all this despite cold temperatures and a icy wind that got to your ears and fingers! 

The threat of eviction still stands from East Riding Council. We have yet to hear if defensive court action will dismiss this. Unlike Hull City Council, East Riding has not yet made a commitment against fracking but is doing everything it can to enable it – and thus putting at risk local land, air, and water, the latter especially important as it supplies the city of Hull.  

There were a number of speeches. I was pleased to introduce the Green Party and emphasise our anti-fracking policy – alone among the main parties. I mentioned Green Party candidates in attendance particularly Angela Needham for West Hull, and announced Richard Howarth who is currently under selection to fight Beverley and Holderness against the pro-fracking Tory incumbent.

Richard is already a byword in the local anti-fracking campaign as he has spoken to any number of villages across the sub-region about the dangers of fracking and what is really going on. Both the oil industry sites, at Crawberry Hill and at West Newton A and B are in his Beverley and Holderness constituency.

Two-thirds of the country has been licensed for fracking. Only popular pressure, resistance, camps, direct action, and voting against pro-fracking parties, will see them off.

Comments on the topic are invited.

The Green Party, Nazis, eugenics and population control

Is there an election on?

caroline-sadiq-khanSuddenly Labour have appointed an anti-Green guru, Sadiq Khan MP, to spearhead anti-Green attacks and stories are beginning to emerge comparing Greens to Nazis and implying the stuff of hyper-conspiracy theories such as huge population control!

But posts such as this don’t really do Labour any favours.

Yes Greens are concerned with population, who wouldn’t be? World population has exploded in the last century, 70% of the world’s oceans are overfished, agriculture relies on huge oil industry inputs. But Green Party policy is very straightforward on this: “The Green Party holds that the number of children people have should be a matter of free choice.” It’s not hard to find.

It’s a clear sign of Labour desperation to start comparing Greens to Nazis. What they’re really worried about is people comparing the Greens with themselves!  – A party committed against austerity and its causes (the corruption of banking) compared to one clearly committed to austerity and its causes (the banks)! Or a party committed to a publicly owned NHS, compared to one – and, sure, Labour seriously invested in – but also mortgaged to the hilt by PFI and introduced choice and competition – acceptable memes beginning a policy of privatisation. Labour began the dismantling of the NHS.

What if the jackboot were on the other foot? Would Greens compare Labour to the Nazis? No. Except in one case. Iraq. At Nuremberg the supreme crime was defined as the launching of a war of aggression. Such a war was launched on Iraq, with  America and Britain leading the way. WMD was an issue made up, propagandised by government and parroted by the BBC (98% pro-war). We know WMD was made up, not least from Scott Ritter (UN chief weapons inspector and whistleblower), or post hoc by Dr David Kelly, RIP, but because the Downing Street Memo (2002) makes it clear that facts were being fixed around the policy. A gap between policy and reality big enough to inspire the greatest demonstration by the British public ever on 15th Feb 2003. It wasn’t a ‘mistake’. It was deliberate policy, with Blair talking MP after MP into voting for it. And now 1.5 million Iraqis are dead.

Peace is a major plank in Green Party policy. Not just the avoidance of war but the creation of a society where we can get along adequately.

After the failures of Labour (Iraq, PFI, bailouts) and the Conservatives (austerity, Libya/Syria, Bedroom Tax, foodbanks, etc) people are knocking down Green doors and asking what do you do better? And they’re finding answers such as the Citizen’s Income, renationalisation of utilities and the railways, pursuing greater taxes from those who have greatest wealth (an estimated £120 bn a year is waiting to be recovered), a Robin Hood Tax on international banking  – a microtax but which would see off austerity on its own. And you still get the Bedroom Tax binned, austerity binned and even that much-promised-but-never-delivered referendum on the EU! What’s not to like?

Right now people are voting with their feet.

The Green Surge has meant membership doubling this year! It’s never done that before. In Scotland it’s gone exponential, AFTER losing the independence vote, one that Greens campaigned hard for. Nationally Greens are nipping on the heels of Ukip which claims 42,000 members. Last week, Greens touched 10% in the opinion polls. Yet last December Greens were on 2%.

brighton-reportOther attacks focus on Brighton where the Greens have their only council. Coalition-led and Labour-backed austerity means councils have to slash services or raise more money (a possibility also capped). When Greens in Brighton attempted to raise more money through Council Tax, Labour shot them down. Until recently. Now Labour have pushed through, with Tory help, a hike in Council Tax but just for the poorest!

It’s far better to see Brighton Greens’ achievements on the Council in the round so here’s their 2013 report (PDF).

And it would be far better to stick to the issues – unless, of course, you’re going to lose.