My visit to Bury St. Edmund’s this Sat. [Media release]

 
Prospective Green Party MEP for the Eastern Region, Councillor Rupert Read, will be speaking at the Green Fair to be held at The Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 22 November 2008. 
 
Cllr. Read, who attends Green Fairs regularly in the county, said
 
“These fairs certainly have something for everyone, from all age groups and backgrounds.  There are a wide range of stalls ranging from energy saving devices to educational stalls from councils.  At the Green Fair in Eye on 8 November, power saving devices were given away, as well as free reusable bags. There are art and craft stalls too and plenty of creative activities for children, both fun and educational. This is the green lifestyle in action: affordable, enjoyable, accessible to all.” 
 
There will be live Folk and Jazz music at the event, with refreshments and meals available. 
 
The event is being arranged by Friends of the Earth in conjunction with the West Suffolk Green Party, and Rupert Read will be speaking about his hopes and aspirations for the people of the Eastern Region if elected to represent them in the European Parliament at the elections to be held on 4 June 2009.
 
Doors at The Corn Exchange open at 10 am and the event will conclude at 4 pm.  Admission to the event is by donation, whatever people can afford.

World day of remembrance for road traffic victims: Norwich Green Councillors to attend Memorial Service at Cathedral [Media release]


Norwich Green Councillors to attend Memorial Service as part of …WORLD DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR ROAD TRAFFIC VICTIMS

On Sunday 16th November 2008 at 3.30pm, at Norwich Cathedral, there will be an ecumenical memorial service to honour too-many precious, unique, irreplaceable men, women and children killed in road crashes.


World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims creates a link between victims of road crashes around the world, all of whom deserve to be alive today to fulfil their hopes and dreams instead of been killed, prematurely and violently. Norwich Green Party Councillors are proud to be part of this event – Councillors Read (Norwich Green Party Transport Spokesman) and Boswell (Green County Councillor) will be among those attending.

As part of the act of remembrance, there will be a display board for photographs of loved ones who have been killed in road traffic crashes. There will also be an opportunity to write the name/s of those killed in road traffic crashes on an Oak Leaf card, which will be placed at the foot of the Easter Resurrection Candle.

Said Cllr. Read, “I feel passionately about those needlessly and pointlessly killed in the annual car-nage on our roads. Initiatives such as speed-limit-reductions, safety cameras, pedestrian crossings, and better support for public transport are key parts of what will bring down this terrible toll, in years to come.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

“Light of Hope” initiative – A Transfer of the ‘Light of Hope’ from one continent to the other will take place by Video link. We are asked to have a light burning as a ‘Light of Hope’, either candle or electric, from 6pm to 8pm on Sunday Nov. 16th to remember road crash victims in the UK and Worldwide.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was initiated by RoadPeace in 1993.

Letter in The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-politicians-pasts-1009596.html

Your front-page headline (7 November) speaks of the banks being “ordered” to pass on the interest-rate cut to borrowers. But what does this really mean? Can a government that is avowedly running the banks that it now owns or part-owns on our behalf on a commercial and “arm’s-length” basis “order” them to do anything?

The Government’s policy on the banks is incoherent. It is desperately trying to avoid calling what has happened by its true name: nationalisation. The Green Party believes that the banks that are owned or part-owned by the public ought to be controlled accordingly – “No taxation without representation”. Our tax money has bailed out these institutions; the least that we should ask in return is for our needs and values directly to guide their lending policies.

It is time that the Government started to take a serious role in controlling the banks it owns. It is absurd, and a grave danger to the prospects of stabilising our economy and avoiding a depression, to have banks hoarding money and refusing to lend. The banks ought not to be lending money lightly to bad credit risks – that, after all, is what got us into this trouble. But when they do lend, they ought to lend at low interest, to facilitate economic activity.

It is way past time now for the Government to insist that the banks that it funds should do this.

Cllr Rupert Read

Green Party, Norwich

GREEN PARTY INTERN NEEDED

To work as a volunteer with Rupert Read (Lead Green MEP Candidate) and Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Campaign Manager) between now and June ‘09.

Minimum Hours: Half a day per week or equivalent.

Minimum Period: One month.

The position would ideally be taken by someone living in or near Eastern Region, but we will also consider those living elsewhere in England.

Job involves: Research and co-ordinating surveys etc in order to provide stronger real news than we usually have (not just opinion). Most of your quality time will be spent creating opportunities for the extra coverage that we need if we are to win a seat in the 2009 Euro Elections.

If you think that you would like to take on this task then please get in touch (contact details below). Now that the Green Party has officially launched its European election campaign, your help could significantly extend Rupert Read’s ‘reach’ and that of the Green Euro-campaign, increasing the chances of us breaking through in Eastern Region, one of our two national target Regions. You would have the opportunity to gain valuable experience working closely with high-profile politicians, liaising with the media and being involved in a region-wide election campaign – great for the cv!

Contact: rupertread@fastmail.co.uk or call Simon Sedgwick-Jell on 01223 474557 or 07961 695882.

Latest on the banks

 The Government’s policy on the banks is incoherent. It is desperately
 trying to avoid calling what has happened by its true name:
 nationalisation. We in the Green Party believe that the banks that are
 owned or part-owned by us, the public — this nation — ought to be
 controlled accordingly. ‘No taxation without representation’ ought to
 be the motto: Our tax-money has baled out these institutions; the least
 that we should ask in return is for our needs and values directly to
 guide their lending policies.
 It is time that the Government started to take a serious role in
 controlling the banks that it owns. It is quite absurd — it is a grave
 danger to the prospects of stabilising our economy and avoiding
 Depression — to have some banks hoarding money and refusing to lend and
 profiteering through maintaining high interest rates, even after the
 Bank of England has cut its rate by such an unprecedented amount. LIBOR
 should come down – the Government should make it so.
 Now, it is true that the banks ought not to be lending money lightly to bad credit risks —
 that, after all, is what got us into this trouble in the first place.
 But when they do lend, they ought to lend at low interest, to
 facilitate economic activity that can prevent a Depression. It is way
 past time now for the Government simply and legally to _insist_ that the banks that it funds
 should do this: if they expect to continue to receive any Government
 support.

I BACK REGIONAL ITV AGAINST JOB CUTS

 
I’m giving my full backing to the NUJ’s campaign to stand up for ITV’s local and regional news services (1); the proposed sweeping job cuts and local service mergers are a regressive step for the fourth estate and a dangerous road to be on.
ITV has announced it will cut 429 of its editorial staff from its local and regional news programmes across the country – in the process merging newsrooms and creating enormous ‘mega-regions’. 
ITV has been reducing its invaluable localised focus enormously since the Conservatives passed the 1990 Act, paving the way for deregulation of the industry and making ITV a business dependent on shareholder profit instead of a protected localised service and alternative to the BBC.  It is a dangerous road to be on.
And now ITV has announced a further downscaling of local input and planning.  This is a dangerously regressive step for the fourth estate, and further jeopardises ITV’s role as an important local news outlet.
There is a greater, not lesser, need for regional media in today’s 24 hour news world.  Local news, like Anglia News, scrutinises local and regional politicians and political bodies and covers regional issues in a way that national organisations can’t. Anglia News is an absolutely invaluable part of the broadcasting world, here in the East — our public life would be much worse off without it or with the scaled down regional news provision that is proposed.
Local news and current affairs coverage on local services like Anglia should not be cut back.  That is why I’m backing the NUJ’s campaign against the ITV cuts and have signed the NUJ’s petition to No.10 on this issue. (2)
 
 


Students rally against top-up fees


(From ‘The Cambridge Student Online‘, Thursday, November 6th, 2008)

Students from four universities and members of various political factions joined forces to protest against tuition fees.

The demonstration – made up of students from Cambridge University, the University of East Anglia (UEA), Anglia Ruskin, and Sussex University – was part of the East Anglia Day of Action. About 150 protesters carried bunches of red balloons and home-made cardboard placards with slogans demanding that the government ‘Make Tuition Fees History’ and that they ‘Bail Out the Students, Not the Bankers’. Many wore home-printed red t-shirts reading ‘broke and broken’.

The demonstration began on Christ’s Pieces with a speech by NUS Vice President for education, Aaron Porter. He told the crowd: “We are faced with a massive problem in the UK; the 2006 introduction of variable fees was an absolute disaster. We need to stand up to the Government and say no to the marketisation of Higher Education.”

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge also expressed his sympathy for the students’ cause: “I fully endorse everything you’re saying, everything you’re doing today. We need to say no to lifting the cap [on top-up fees] – the principle of free education is worth fighting for no matter how long it takes.”

Accompanied by a small police presence the students were kept under the watchful gaze of two top-hatted University Constables and two proctors in mortarboards and gowns. The protesters made their way down to Market Square before marching along King’s Parade and Silver Street to their next gathering point, Queens’ Backs.

Led by a man on stilts, a girl with a ukulele, and a giant red papier mach� pound sign (courtesy of “the collective genius of the East Anglian Masses” – that is, UEA students), the march progressed noisily but peacefully.

The only time the police had to step in was to persuade the protesters to stay on the pavement. Some of their chants included ‘Students unite, education is our right’ and ‘They say cut back; we say fight back’.

A representative from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said: “Every one of the members of the current cabinet benefited from free education. How dare they pull up that ladder behind them?”

Banners revealed the presence of numerous political groups, including the UEA Socialists, members of Education Not For Sale, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party and Socialist Students, as well as the Union of UEA students and the Cambridgeshire NUT. Onlookers also pointed out “at least two Norwich anarchists” and “a member of the Trotskyist wing of the Liberal Democrats”. Although the CUSU banner was carried on the march, CUSU Higher Education Funding Officer, Emily Hammerton Berry, was conspicuously absent.

She defended her absence to TCS, saying: “I came along to the rally at the end but I couldn’t make the march; I had two supervisions, one of which I couldn’t reschedule.” She insisted that she remains committed to the cause of free education, saying: “I really wanted to be there. I’ve been building for this as much as anyone. I attended all the planning meetings and went to the gathering afterwards to help organise future demos and keep the momentum going.”

On Queens’ Backs, Rupert Read, Green Party councillor for Norwich, told The Cambridge Student (TCS): “The question boils down to: do we want our children to go to university and be saddled with mountains of debts? The old system was basically fine – why can’t we have education like healthcare, free to all? If we increased taxes on the very rich a bit and stopped paying for stupid things like nuclear missiles and I.D. cards we’d easily have the money.”

The first speaker on the Backs, Socialist Students’ Edd Mustill, said: “Working class students are being excluded from university. At home I know mates who aren’t c considering going to university because they can’t afford it. This is real life; students are being priced out of Higher Education and no amount of bursaries can fix this.” He added: “This government doesn’t believe in free education. For them, education is a commodity and we are customers. For us, it’s a right to be enjoyed equally by all regardless of background.”

National Secretary of Education Not For Sale, Edward Maltby said: “Students are under attack. The Government is trying to shift the economic burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of students.”

Speaking to TCS afterwards, he added: “The money for free education certainly exists if the Government can spend £76bn on renewing the nuclear weapons system and bail out banks by buying their losses. The top rate of income tax and corporation tax is the lowest in living memory. There is no reason why we can’t raise the money to fund all public services decently and fund free education.”