Forget Labour and vote Green in Hull!

Press release just out –

Martin Deane of Hull and East Riding Green Party today will urge voters to vote Green as a serious alternative to 13 years of failed Labour policies. He stands in Hull North in the general election.

“At the University hustings tonight I want to show that it”s only the Green vision that is the antidote to failed Labour ideas right now.

“After the betrayal of Iraq, the refusal to listen to the people over Trident, the bending over backwards to please big banks and huge corporations, people feel they aren’t listened to, they’re patronised, and they’re utterly fed up. They want a real alternative in Hull North and I’m pleased to offer them the Green Party’s vision: of a fair society, of a Britain living within its means, of a Britain responsible in international affairs.

“So I say forget Labour and vote Green in Hull. Here’s why:”

1. They’re not socialist anymore.

2. They’ve presided for 13 years over record levels of inequality in modern Britain, and made it worse.

3. They’ve continued the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

4. The bank bailouts, hundreds of billions of pounds given to the world’s richest industry.

5. Academy Schools, with their marked favouring of business and their unremarkable results.

6. Train prices!

7. Iraq.

8. Tuition fees and student loans saddling a new generation with debt.

9. Swine flu, just the latest scam giving hundreds of millions of pounds to giant pharmaceutical industries for a trivial disease.

10. And Afghanistan.

And here’s 10 good reasons to vote Green

1. We operate from socialist principles – which means:

2. A commitment to £170 pensions per week to end elderly poverty.

3. A doubling of child benefit to help end child poverty for 4 million British children.

4. A commitment to class sizes of 20 children and the 15,000 teachers needed to fulfil this.

5. A pledge of £4bn pounds a year to provide 1 million jobs across the country

6. A free NHS – with free prescriptions, free eye tests, and free dental services.

7. A tax on the rich – starting with the Robin Hood Tax on international finance (a micro tax which still raises £10 bn just for Britain alone)

8. A 50% tax on high earners, £100,000 and above.

9. Scrapping the NI ceiling so high earners contribute appropriately (raising £9.1bn)

10. Scrap Trident. No equivocation. (saves £100 bn).

“All this is costed in our manifesto – before the bankers throw their hands in the air! AND it includes the same Labour commitment to halve the deficit by 2014. Greens have the vision. We know where the money is, how to get it and how to spend it wisely for now and to build for the future. ”

The Hull North hustings begin at 7pm in the Asylum club, rear of Hull Student Union, Cottingham Road campus, Hull University.

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Match fees and URBaN problems

I was really pleased to make it to the URBaN candidates’ debate last night in North Bransholme Community Centre.

 

It was interesting and unusual because it involved local election candidates. On the panel were Cllr Anita Harrison (Ind), Lilly Lawton (Green), and Cllr Carl Minns, Leader of the Council, standing in for the Lib Dem candidate. I can’t remember if the Labour candidate sent their apologies.

 

It was a wide ranging debate covering jobs, local works, youth provision and sport, and more.

 

Two issues stick in my head: one was the charge of £45 – a match – which local teams have to cough up to play on local playing fields. This means the youngsters having to pay regular and substantial subs just to play. Strikingly, and news to everyone there, Cllr Minns was able to inform the meeting that the Area Committee is given the money to cover these fees! Everyone’s question was: why does no-one know about this? And why hasn’t this money ‘trickled down’?

 

I suspect this may get an instant change.

 

The other issue has been going on for 8 years. I am astonished and dismayed that there are 400 houses in the north of the city that have significant sewerage problems and no one knows whether at fault is Persimmon Homes, Yorkshire Water, or Hull City Council. One clue could be the state the developer left even the roads in delaying their adoption by the council.

 

Sounds like they could do with a MP not afraid of legal action or of representing them at the highest levels. Of course, right now, they have no MP.

 

The meeting was organised by URBaN, the United Residents of Bransholme area North and chaired by Cllr. Nadene Burton (Ind).

TONIGHT: North Hull Hustings at the University. 7pm at the Asylum (behind Hull Student Union, Cottingham Road campus).

Should we shorten the term for abortions?

I was impressed to hear Denis Healy (Lib Dem, Hull North) answer a question at a Hull Catholic church on abortion by saying he’d vote for a shortening of the time period for abortions. His response was far quicker and much more vote winning than mine! I assume he’s completely honest in his position but the issue really is more involved for me.

My  answer began with how much I wish we lived in a world where all life was considered sacred and utterly respected, whether child, or adult, male or female, rich or poor, able, less able, – or unborn. But we don’t.

In fact we are *complicit* in the deaths of 50,000 people a day – through poverty: the lack of food, or clean water, or simple medicines, in a world of plenty. It’s not that there’s famine or drought or not enough to go round, particularly. It’s actually a lack of access. This is kept in place deliberately, often, by the powerful in those countries, themselves influenced by state loans, the IMF, the World Bank, and the G8 and G20 countries who put those policies in place and ensure other countries keep them.

But it would be the *simplest* thing, practically, to change that. We could all confirm that all governments must look after their people’s basic needs: food water, health, primary education. And then they get the loans – but backward countries don’t. Surely every country must be able to feed itself before engaging in food trade? How is that difficult??

In Britain, a cold winter will take about 12,000 elderly people – many of whom would not have died were they able to adequately heat their homes. Another 5,000 Britons die from infections they *catch* in a highly pressurised health service, while government makes billions out of two of the biggest killer drugs: tobacco and alcohol.

We live in a secular world. A highly sexualised world. It would be nice if there were no unwanted pregnancies. But stuff happens. Each of us probably knows a woman, or girl, who has had an abortion. For whatever reason – they felt they could not continue, the emotional trauma of having a baby, the relationship which may not have stood the strain, their own readiness or sense of future, their studies to complete, their job to progress.

I’d like to say we look after all life from womb to tomb – a seamless garment… But we evidently don’t. I’d like to have mentioned the rape statistics – which for Britain are horrendous, and horrendous again once you discover how many go unreported. And it doesn’t sit well that these laws are made largely by men, whether in church or state, when it’s not really men paying the price.

If there ever were such a vote then I would indeed vote with my full conscience, in the round, all things considered. There’s not much point divorcing one issue from the whole – the whole really explains the why. The simplest answer to give, and which most Greens will, is that: it’s the woman’s right to choose.  But, to my mind, it still begs questions about the state of relationships and sexuality, responsibility and community.

So, what does the Green Party do for the elderly!?

You mean apart from the £170 pw pension*, getting rid of the default retirement age, and providing free social care for the elderly (like in Scotland)…?

Just as Britain ought to be one of the best places to bring up children, instead of one of the worst, so too ought the basic standard of living of older people be beyond question.

And, because we believe it, we have plans to make it happen…  it’s all here –

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/31-03-2010-state-pension-170-week.html

* £300 per couple.

The Humberside radio debate!

 

Phew! Now to  catch up with yesterday’s radio show!
From a Green Party POV it was great to have some gender balance for a change! 2 boys, 2 girls. It’s a real shame it ends there! The 2 boys were on the ‘nice’ end of the political spectrum and the 2 girls on the nasty end!
Diana Johnson and Ms Aitken would deny it heatedly of course. But many of us remember the Thatcher years – and the Tory would have no problem commending everything she did!
Now, after 13 years of Labour, and presiding over the greatest social inequality since the second world war (and Diana Johnson working in the Treasury) the biggest bailout to banks in history (don’t remember her warning us about those either!), promising cuts across public services – and after her almost 100% voting record for the government she serves so faithfully – she wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
I even managed to agree with the Tory – briefly, to each of our surprise. I forget quite her policy on National Insurance, but ours clearly a commitment to redistribution – remember that R word that Blair could hardly say…?
If you raise the floor at which NI  has to be paid, you favour lower earners leaving more money in pockets. Better still we seek to remove the ceiling so rich earners pay more back into society. She probably didn’t quite get that bit… It is fairer…
However to do the comparison, raising the NI floor (to £125 pw) would cost government £3.9 bn in income. Taking away the ceiling nets government a staggering 9.1 bn. This is a figure beaten only by the £10 bn Greens get back by cracking down on tax havens. Changes in NI really can be a big deal.
Our first pre-recorded question was on schools – and from Heidi who I’ve known for years! The answers were all predictable – about how Hull isn’t doing well enough and about spending millions to improve the results. It was great to be able to say, as a teacher of 20 years: scrap SATs, scrap league tables, free up teachers to teach at their best and students to learn in friendly, exciting environments which aren’t dictated by the National Curriculum or subject to OFSTED inspections at a moment’s notice.
But it was crime and punishment that really got a reaction. At the mere mention of cannabis you might have thought the girls were hit with a cattle-prod! Hang em! Flog em! Throw away the key!
No, they didn’t quite say that – but forget reasoned debate! Neither did they tackle the thorny issue of how many we imprison – locking up, as we do, more per head than any other EU state. They remain unaware that cannabis doesn’t kill or that alcohol and tobacco have a death toll of about 400 a day! Can we move beyond ‘Victorian’ values please?
Denis Healy did well for the Lib Dems – as he needs to. I’d brought along one of his newspapers, but I didn’t have the heart to show him. The top bar chart shows Labour almost neck and neck with… Labour! Yes, the yellow bar was marked Lab, and no one had proofread it! Ah well, wouldn’t want to predict the outcome of that!

 

Green Party – a Double Issue Party!

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The audio!

Hull and East Riding Green Party had our launch last Monday. the TV covered us.

After the mandatory segment on windfarms… in which Bill did splendidly… the telly cut to us up here in Beverley by the  Minster*. We had about 20 members and supporters come out to play and the presenter wanted to talk jobs.

Too often the Green Party is seen  as a single issue party.  In fact we’re a double issue party!  Environmental justice and social justice! I talked about jobs and money. We want jobs in Hull. The Green Party has plans for a million jobs across the country in housing:  insulation and energy-saving, renovation of housing to green standards, jobs for engineers, plumbers, joiners decorators, etc, and we’ve costed plans to spend £4 billion a year on this. After energy saving comes the renewables, people making energy within the city – an energy producing democracy like Greens are spear-heading in Huddersfield.  But for those not working there’s Green money too:  we pledge £170 per week pension, to end pension poverty. We  also provide for the young: by doubling Child Benefit to end the disgrace of 4 million British children in poverty.

Vote Deane! Vote Green.

Why not join us on Saturday, 12.30pm, at our Mammoth Jumble Sale fundraiser!

Next Events:

Jumble Sale, Sat 17 April, Spring Bank Community Centre, 12.30-2.30pm, with cakes!!  *** Thu 29th: Hustings at Hull University, 6pm.  *** Sunday 25th: Hustings at Hull Baptist Church, 7.30pm, top of Chants Ave.

* We had to move to the Minster cos the BBC’s satellite van had no signal at Market Cross.  🙂  Oh the vanity of technology!

No one ever moves to the left when they’re elected!

Hull Friends of the Earth hustings at Bricknell were really good yesterday with a few memorable occasions.

Over the two hours, I brought up a number of issues:

  • ADM closing in Hull on July 1st and how British jobs aren’t being defended by Labour. Vestas. Cadbury’s.
  • How the banks bankrupted the world and could do it again…
  • Record inequality under Labour for a generation
  • How PR is good enough for Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq… but not for us…!

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Other points I made  included:

  • “Economy” – as the “rules of the house” must be redefined
  • Banks DON’T “balance” their books – the system of leverage means some banks were lending (literally creating money) at the rate of 80 times their assets!!!
  • Oil decline, topsoil degradation, overfishing, decline of species should all be acted on too rather than getting hung up on aspects of the climate change  debate.  Don’t miss the wood for the odd tree!
  • Government missing its own targets on climate change

The Tory Victoria Aitken made hay claiming she wasn’t a professional politician, however that didn’t stop David Davis from using her as his very able campaign manager in the infamous Haltemprice byelection.

Our voting system makes life very difficult for most voters. Greens want PR using a STV system (single transferable vote).  Many wonder how to use their vote? Should they bother? In most seats half the votes don’t count, and – like our vote – if Greens had 10% of Parliament, we’d have 67 MPs. Instead of none!

Denis Healy (LD) did list a number of things which are Green Party policy: target of 20 children in a classroom, elected House of Lords, breaking up the biggest banks. I shall have to bring a flashcard saying “Green Policy” to hold up next time, especially when he says “We’re the only party who…”

I said: Use your vote – but it’s only a cross in a box! It won’t work miracles. We ourselves have to MAKE the society we want… THEY won’t.

A question on UK food security allowed me to stress our actual abundance of food but also our completely oil dependent agriculture. What happens when oil declines??  We need to get ahead of the game and incentivise going organic.  In the UK neither do we have energy security.  We rely on coal from around the world – and it’s not fairtrade either!

Diana Johnson MP (Lab) is very proud of her almost PERFECT Labour voting record. She defended this by saying the people of Hull North elected a Labour MP. This is fine – as long as all the people of Hull North are content with all of New Labour policy… Which they aren’t.  In fact we are all victims of so many aspects of it!

I’ve commented to Denis that Greens have probably more in common with LD policy than ever before this time round. I must get someone tro do a chicken and egg analysis and see who’s nicking who’s.  If we get a hung Parliament we’ll see how much we can trust this from a still devoted capitalist party.

The big difference for me is commitment.  Denis did once say he was even prepared to “bat for scrapping Trident” as he put it (previously). This is great to hear.

On the other hand, as a Green, I’ve been arrested over it twice.

Roll on next hustings:

Hull University: TBC

Hull Baptist Church, top of Chanterlands Ave: 7.30pm Sunday 25th April.