10 Reasons to vote Green

1. Fight the cuts!

The Green Party stands full-square in opposition to the cuts. They’re totally unnecessary. This is ideological bias by the Con-Dem government for the banks, for bailouts, for corporate tax avoidance – and against the rest of us.

2. Tax fairly!

After 13 years of “Labour”, inequality is greater in Britain now than any time since World War II. This will worsen with 20% VAT, as young people lose many existing options through cut youth services (especially in Hull with its high youth unemployment), and as up to 1 million lose their jobs.

The changes we fight for are for banks and corporations to pay their way: a Robin Hood Tax on banks, the closure of tax loopholes, the collection of high-earner tax (many high earners on £150,000 and over, have not been taxed for over a year!), and ultimately for the 50% rate to apply to those on £100,000 and over. Our taxes will be fairer and redistributive, not with the heavy bias to the rich that we see now.

3. Free University Eduction.

No to tuition fees. The LibDem u-turn on this was stunning – as is their complete sell-out, so far, to a highly right-wing Tory agenda. This is NOT what people voted for last year, especially with the Lib Dems’ centre-left policy then.

4. Renewable energy for Hull.

Kirklees has lots of it – solar panels, ground source heating, why not us? Energy prices are no joke. Oil decline is about to become a reality. Hull City Council should use its power now to promote wind capability WITHIN the city and/or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants – for the people.

5. Anti-capitalist.

One we thing we can be certain of: the 3 leading parties are as pro-capitalist as they come! The Green Party doesn’t promote itself as anti-capitalist, or pro-socialist, because the terms get in the way. But essentially we put people – and planet – before profit. Politics is for people, families and society; it’s about the Earth we live on, about equality and the sustainability of the way we live now, and the coming generations.

6. Hull needs the best.

A vote for the usual suspects means yet another voice for Labour or the Lib Dems – and, in Hull, all the bigotry that’s associated with it. A Green councillor will work equally with both sides for the best outcomes regardless of party camps.

7. To help protect the NHS and other health provisions, from creeping privatisation, from mass redundancies and from the plans to make all surgeries into consortiums with doctors as managers.

8. An increase in the Green vote will make the other parties stop and take note that people are responding to the pro-people policies we are fighting for, and help decrease their increasing right-wing stance.

9. So little is being done to really protect our local environment. A green voice will make a big difference when it comes to planning applications, for example, and other initiatives to promote nature over unthinking human destruction.

10. Greens are promoting a YES vote to AV. It’s not PR, true, but it’s a step in the right direction. By ordering your preferred candidates, it favours the most widely acceptable candidates and so excludes extremists. AV will create 44 new marginal constituencies.

It’s time to vote Yes to fairer votes.

(Stolen and hijacked from Rupert Read of Norwich Greens and given a shine :))

Our electoral system is unfit for purpose. It was designed for a two-party system and it can’t cope with a multi-party system. We need to fix it  and it’s time for electoral reform. It’s time to vote Yes to fairer votes. It’s time to vote Yes2AV, since the Alternative Vote is the change we need.

How is our current system broken? Being able only to crudely put an ‘X’ in one box just doesn’t work when you have three or more serious candidates standing for election.

In the 1950’s, 97% of people voted Labour or Conservative. That figure keeps dropping and dropping every year, not with just the Lib Dems but the dramatic rise of new political parties such as the Green Party and UKIP. We need a system that allows you to list your candidates by preferences, from 1 all the way down, so that you can vote for those who you support and against those who you oppose. AV is voting for who you really want to vote for – and being able to stop those you really don’t.

Our current system, called “first past the post,” (FPTP) means that you have to try to guess who is best-placed to win, and who you should vote for if you want to keep someone else out. The new proposed system, the “Alternative Vote” (AV) means that you simply list candidates in descending order of preference. AV really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

That’s the core case for voting Yes and joining the countries that use AV in their national elections, such as Australia, India, and Ireland. AV is a modern system, an improvement on the antiquated, outdated First Past The Post system we currently have.

Think about it this way: If you go into a pub, and your first choice drink isn’t available, do you just walk out again? Of course not – you ask for an alternative, your second choice. But under First Past The Post, you don’t get a second choice!

FPTP means no second choice in the pub! But AV means a second choice if your favourite drink isn’t available – or even if it is but you fancy something different! Thank God that we don’t use FPTP when ordering at the bar!

For the same reason, we should stop using it for elections, too! FPTP is far too crude. But AV means greater democracy – it reflects your choices – plural – in the actual vote.

So:  The case for voting YES is clear. What’s the case for voting NO? These are the two main lines I hear:

1) “AV is good for extremists”

This is simply a lie that right-wing newspapers and the Prime Minister, to their shame, are spreading in their desperation to stop electoral reform from winning the day. The truth is the opposite:

AV is a far worse deal for extremists such as the BNP, than FPTP. Which is presumably why the BNP are vigorously opposing it. That’s right: Nick Griffin and his dreadful little-Englander party of racists are campaigning for a NO vote on May 5.

Voting YES to AV – a system in which voters can in effect work together to make life harder for unpopular, hated parties – will help ensure that the BNP never gets elected to Westminster. Moreover, if AV were introduced in local government elections, it would lead to the defeat of virtually all BNP councillors anywhere.

Under AV, you need to get 50% of voters onside to win. The BNP hardly ever achieve that because a majority of voters hate them. The BNP have only ever got one Councillor elected with 50% plus of the vote. Under AV, most people wouldn’t even include the BNP in their list. AV would shut the door on the electoral prospects of the BNP.

The other argument that I hear is:

2) “To hurt the LibDems, vote NO”

The NO campaign, understandably (given that they seem to have no constructive arguments at all) are trying to turn the AV referendum into a referendum on Nick Clegg. This is an unacceptably cynical way to treat a hugely important constitutional question.

But it’s also wrong. The Lib Dems will not necessarily benefit from AV. Under AV, you can give your first preference to whoever you want to win. The Lib Dems might gain under AV in areas where they are weak, as they will no longer be perceived as a “wasted vote” in those areas. But AV will also make it possible if you want to to put the Lib Dems bottom of your voting-order!

Moreover, under AV, the Lib Dems will lose some first preference votes in areas where they are currently strong, as people will no longer be compelled to vote for them ‘tactically’ in order to cast a vote that is not “wasted.” Losing votes where you are strong loses you seats, but gaining votes where you are weak does not. Ironically, AV won’t actually be particularly good for Nick Clegg’s party! AV is good news for democracy – but not good news for Nick Clegg!

To sum up: AV won’t heal everything about our political system. But it is a positive step and it represents real progress. This electoral reform offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help revive British politics.

Are you totally happy with British politics as it is? Do you think everything is going just great? If so, maybe you should vote NO to change on May 5.

AV is fairer. AV allows you to express your preferences and to vote for who you really want to. That will help small parties such as the Greens. But at the same time, AV helps stop extremists (such as the BNP), by allowing you to place them bottom of your preferences. AV is the natural next step forward for British democracy.

Vote Yes to AV

AV doesn’t make a huge difference to voting in  our electoral system. But it makes some. It won’t give us PR but it will get us a little closer there. The Green Party supports AV on May 5th.

But beware of the NO to AV arguments – sometimes they make things up. Here’s a handy guide below.

Martin

10 Facts About The Alternative Vote (AV)

1. If you ever said to someone going to the shops – “get me a coke or if they haven’t got that I’ll have a lemonade’, then you understand the principle behind AV voting. It only sounds complicated if you explain it badly, which the No campaigners are doing on purpose (finding the most wordy academic text they can).

2. Simply rank the candidates in order 1,2,3 etc. You can put as few or as many preferences as you want. If you only want to choose one candidate, like you HAVE to under our present system first-past-the-post (FPTP), you can. The difference is that FPTP ONLY lets you choose one candidate which leads to more wasted votes and immense pressure to vote tactically which gives a distorted view of what people really want.

Imagine being a Tory living in Margaret Hodge’s constituency of Barking and hating the Labour party but wanting to stop the BNP, to make your vote count you are forced to vote Labour otherwise your vote would be wasted and risk the BNP winning with a small share of the vote. This adds another vote to the Labour pile and gives the impression that this is total support for their policies, whereas almost the opposite is in fact the case from this voter and probably many others effectively forced to vote the same if they want their vote to count and stop the BNP.

But FPTP is even worse than this, because it may be that loads of people have changed their mind in the constituency since the last election (which is the only source of information tactical voters really have) and although extremely unlikely maybe your Labour vote might be wasted and another candidate might have been better placed to beat the BNP if you had voted for them instead, so it is possible the BNP candidate wins with a dismal 20 something percent of the vote on a low turnout just because the majority who dislike them had voted for a range of parties.

Think this can’t happen? The BNP have won county councillor seats with just 29% of the vote under our present system. With AV you can vote with your heart and show your true first preference and so on. The Tory can stop the BNP with any one of his preferences, including showing that Labour were only his final preference but this still beats the BNP who he did not rank. AV does away with the electoral roulette that voters currently have to play under the present system of first-past-the-post (FPTP).

3. If you order a chicken curry at a restaurant, but are told that has sold out then decide to have a lasagne instead, you have only had one meal. The same is true for AV, only ONE of your preferences will count towards the end result. Don’t be fooled by propaganda saying otherwise.

4. In every UK general election bar 1997 and 1983, it is predicted that AV would have distributed seats more in line with vote share, i.e. a more proportional or fairer result.

5. Australia has used AV for over 90 years with just one hung parliament from 38 elections. Our present system first-past-the-post has delivered five hung parliaments and three non-working majorities over a similar time-span. So to claim that AV will deliver more coalition government is not necessarily true. Both India and Canada use the Westminster system of first-past-the-post. Canada has now had five hung parliaments out of the last 8 elections and India has a 18 party ruling coalition.

6. NO2AV are claiming millions will have to be spent on counting machines. Australia has used AV for over 90 years and still doesn’t use counting machines. NO2AV are just making things up.

7. “Many Britons already use AV when electing representatives for charities, churches, companies, trade unions, societies and voluntary organisations.”

8. “Whether or not they know it, many millions of Britons already have extensive experience of using preferential selection because they have been regular voters in Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. They not only understand this form of voting; they enjoy it. The no campaign assumes nevertheless that they are incapable of writing 1, 2, 3 on a ballot”.

9. Politicians use AV to elect their own because they know it is more representative, yet want to deny us the chance to use the same system to elect them.

“Labour and the Lib Dems both elect their leaders by AV. Funnily enough, ever since the 1960s, when the Tories started to elect their leaders, they have used either AV or a close cousin. Had they used first past the post in their last contest, the leader of the Tory party would not be David Cameron. It would be David Davis.” Both points 7, 8 & 9 succinctly put by Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer.

10. AV will reduce the number of safe seats. Safe seats lead to the sort of complacency and corruption we saw during the expenses scandal because most of our MPs currently have ‘seats for life’.

Politicians don’t want the Alternative Vote because it will make them work harder to win their seats. They will have to win more support right across their constituencies and no longer can they pretend that only their party has all the answers. Parties will have to be more positive about each other and be honest about where they agree so as not to alienate potential preferences of their rival party’s voters. In short, AV will change politics and the effect will strengthen over many elections. AV will pull away the shroud of FPTP that obscures what people’s real preferences are.

We have this once in a lifetime chance to tell the politicians they are wrong. We need to take it. We are going to be up against the might of the establishment and all the media but people power can prevail. Vote YES on May 5th. See YES to Fairer Votes for more.

(Thanks to Neil Harding for this – http://neilharding.blogspot.com/2011/02/10-facts-about-alternative-vote-av.html )

Total Green Party vote for the region

And the Green Party total vote for the region was 20,824.
It’s a shame all the very hard work that went on only netted a total vote that might not even get one seat! There are a lot of committed and talented people represented here. (Thankfully the local votes tended to hold up).
Here they all are.
Martin Deane
David Blackburn, Leeds West                   :  4.7%,  1,832
Andrew Cooper, Huddersfield                 :  4%,  1,641
Jillian Creasy, Sheffield Central              :  3.8%,  1,556
Andy Chase, York Central                         :  3.6%,  1,669
Kevin Warnes, Shipley                               :  3%,  1,477
Leslie Rowe, Richmond                             :  2.8%,  1,516
Gareth Roberts, Sheffield Heeley           :  2.4%,  989
David Ford, Bradford West                       :  2.3%,  940
Miriam Hawkins, Wakefield                      :  2%,  873
Steve Barnard, Sheffield Hallam             :  1.8%,  919
Kate Sweeny, Calder Valley                     :  1.7%,  858
Chas Ball, Colne Valley                              :  1.6%,  867
Adrian Cruden, Dewsbury                        :  1.6%,  849
Mike Jackson, Yorkshire East                 :  1.5%,  762
Dilys Cluer, Scarborough, W&R              :  1.5%,  734
Shan Oakes, Haltemprice & Howden     :  1.4%,  669
Martin Deane, Hull North                          :  1.4%,  478
Bill Rigby, Beverley & Holderness         :  1.3%,  686
Matt Blakeley, Batley & Spen                   :  1.2%,  605
Martin Hemingway, Leeds NW                :  1.2%,  508
Natalie Hurst, Scunthorpe                        :  1.1%,  396

What about a proportional Hull local result?

The Green vote was much healthier at a local level. We got 11.9% in the locals compared to 1.4% in the generals. This was exactly 8.5 times the general election result and it’s symbolic of how much the general election focus and the FPTP system squeezes the smaller parties’ votes.

If we look at a simple share of Hull’s 90,900 local votes it gives seats as follows: 7 LD, Lab 9, Con 3, Ind 1, ED 0, BNP 0, NF 0, UKIP 1, Grn 1.

Compared to 8,11,2,1,0,0,0,0.

We have to live with the latter results. But I could have coped with the former.


Don’t want the Liberal Democrats to make a deal with the Conservatives?

1642: the Green vote and all that

A whopping 673 people voted Green in Avenue ward (12%). That really is brilliant, thank you very much. Please don’t be backward in coming forward! I’ll be pleased to meet you all!

This local vote almost matched my first MP stand in 2005 (858). And we beat the Tories into 4th place! Always nice!  The turnout was a creditable 60% and  the general election basically doubled the local vote!

With a poor Green vote of 478 for MP (1.4%) many green supporters from 2005 (858 votes) clearly felt they had to vote Lib Dem to oust atrociously NuLabourite Diana Johnson. And you nearly did it too!! Just 641 votes in it slashing her previous 7146 lead. Btw, if we have another general election soon I shall think twice about standing.

Now that we have the Lib Dems as power brokers, can we hope they do the right thing?

Green candidate results:

Avenue (673)

Myton (165)

Bransholme West (243)

Bransholme East (72)

Bricknell (261)

Drypool (228)

A fine result for James in Bricknell, a high score for Greens there, 261 (3.3%) and where 2 were elected. Once again, if only we knew all our supporters! A fantastic start too for Zoe in Drypool with 228 (4.8%). She really garnered lots of support in a short space of time. Normally you could expect about 60 votes for a first stand with no history and there she is in triple figures.

Same too for Mark in Bransholme West. Coming out of nowhere (not that King’s Park is nowhere!) to pick up 243 (5.2%). The double vote for two councillors will have helped, but so too did a platform full of policies to fight inequality in society.

Lilly gained a respectable first 72 votes in Bransholme East, always going to be tough territory with people proud of their existing two independent candidates.

Susan once again took a reliable 165 votes (4.2%) in Myton from the Labour stronghold.

All this gave us a memorable total of 1642 Green votes for Hull all told.

Memorable for being the year that Hull helped start the Civil War!

All Hull results