Norwich Councillor Rupert Read, prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region, has today pledged that, if elected to the EU Parliament next summer, he will support War On Want’s ‘Rough Trade’ campaign to stop the European Union exploiting developing countries around the world. War On Want is fighting to end the EU’s unfair and aggressive trade tactics that help perpetuate poverty for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Rupert Read strongly supports the Fair Trade movement and this Saturday is attending the Eye Green Fair which includes the sale of many Fair Trade products. The Fair takes place in Eye Town Hall on Saturday 8th November: http://www.greenfairs.org.uk/ [Cllr. Read will be there from 10 a.m. til about 3 p.m.]
Cllr. Read will also be speaking from the floor in favour of Fair Trade at a debate this Friday 7th November at the UEA in Norwich. UEA Conservatives are holding a debate titled ‘Free Trade Vs Fair Trade, which will solve poverty in the third world?’ This will be held in the Union House from 5.30 pm. Speaking from the platform against Fair Trade and for ‘Free Trade’ is Sir Teddy Taylor (former Conservative MP for Southend). Speaking for Fair Trade is Stephen Roberson (Fair Trade retailer, wholesaler, importer).

Councillor Read said:

“With developing countries refusing to sign up to the World Trade Organisation’s neo-liberal agenda that would see their future unfairly sold off for the profit of European businesses, the EU is now bypassing multilateral trade talks and instead is bullying poor countries and regions into trading with it directly.

“The EU wants to open up new markets and services in the developing world with a privatisation agenda on poorer countries’ public services, which would see money pouring out of these countries – money that could be better used by the developing countries for national healthcare, clean water provision or education.

“Green councillors in Eastern Region and up and down the country are committed to keeping public services out of the hands of private companies.

“If elected next June as a Green Party MEP for the East, I will continue to fight against unfair EU trade deals that threaten public services, and continue to support Fair Trade“.

Planning Bill – action that _you_ can take…


As you (as a reader of Rupert’s read) probably know, the new Planning Bill is very bad news for taking away the rights of objecting to new nuclear proposals and such major projects as incinerators or airports, and needs to be amended. 

Here is an action which you could take to persuade MPs and Hazel Blears to support the amendments that FoE are proposing in this direction: 
Write to be heard
The new Planning Bill is about to become law, and will remove the right of communities to have a meaningful right to be heard.
This will result in a system that is undemocratic, and which makes it very hard for you to get involved in planning decisions about big projects like roads, airports and nuclear power stations being built where you live.
Write to Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local
Government, asking her to re-think the new Bill – see



Off to an election Party

What is needed now is a mass movement to keep Obama from being as dodgy as he has been much of the time since the Primaries ended.

Take foreign policy: Outflanking Bush on Afghanistan is a pretty worrying sign. Never forget the very dangerous thing about Democrats: they generally spend ages (and money and lives) trying to prove their virility. Biden is a likely case in point.

Having said all that: if I were in a swing state today I would definitely have voted for Obama. McKinney [the Green candidate] has performed poorly in the campaign.: she has disappointed. There is some chance that tonight is a new start, and not merely a false dawn. The hope that has been generated by Obama’s extraodinary and mostly very clever campaign might yet be its own salvation: if it can be leveraged into a movement that stops Obama from selling out more than he already has, and maybe even pull him back some.

[A lot of course will depend on the Senate — that is what one should really watch closely tonight! I predict that the Democrats will come amazingly close to 60 seats.]

Green lead Euro-candidate to speak tomorrow at Cambridge rally against Government’s new student grant cuts: MEDIA RELEASE


Cllr. Dr. Rupert Read, 2009 Green Party prospective MEP for the East, is lending his support to students from Cambridge, Norwich and across the Region protesting against the £100 million cut in student grants, announced by the Universities Secretary John Denham (1) last week.  The cuts will affect thousands of students from middle-income families in the East. Cllr. Read described the cuts as ‘penny-pinching our students’ futures’, and instead called for the return of free, universal higher education.

On Wednesday, November 5th students from the University where Dr. Read teaches, the University of East Anglia (Norwich) will be joining students from  all over East Anglia to demonstrate in Cambridge over this important issue that affects the wallets of many families here. Dr. Read played a leading role in the (just-unsuccessful) campaign to stop top-up fees being introduced under Charles Clarke, then Education Secretary. Dr. Read will be travelling tomorrow with students from UEA by coach and has been invited to speak at the rally in Cambridge.
Cllr. Read said:
"The Green Party have long campaigned hard against the Government's gradual privatisation of higher and further education funding provision.  We will continue to do so until higher education is treated as a human right and not as a privilege to be bought by the wealthiest at the expense of the poorest.  Just as children of all parents should get medical treatment on the NHS, so children of all parents shouldn't be charged to continue education past 16. 
"Higher and further education is central to the social mobility of a society.  The Government makes great claims about giving people the opportunity to better themselves, but by introducing and retaining fees and abolishing student grants it has potentially put some of the brightest off, just because they can't afford to reach 21 and be saddled with thousands of pounds of debt.  
"Is it any wonder that a recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on Britain's stiflingly low levels of social mobility led to stinging criticism (2).  The report stated that 'what your parents earned when you were a child has much more effect on your own earnings than in more mobile countries'; a damning verdict on our Government's insistence on charging for education.
"The Government is penny-pinching our children's futures."
Notes for editors
1. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23579640-details/Grants+cut+for+100,000+students/article.do 
[ & http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7697171.stm ]