Protest Photos!

1. From the Royal Mail privatisation demo in London, 24/02/2009.
2. At Westminster protesting against democratic deficit in the Heathrow expansion decision with MP’s from various parties including John McDonnell and Vince Cable.
(In case it isn’t clear: We had this mock-up / pretend-mace, to recall John McDonnell’s wielding the mace out of frustration at the lack of democracy in the government’s decision to bypass Parliament over the Heathrow 3rd runway plan…)

Nuclear rebuttal

A ‘guest post’ from my pal John Whitelegg:
 
‘A small number of Greens, feeling the urgency of the climate crisis, have suggested a nuclear re-think as a lesser of two evils. But it’s also true that the Green Party overwhelmingly thinks they’re wrong. The case for nuclear power to deal with climate change simply doesn’t stack up.
 
Let’s forget for a moment that nuclear energy is risky, and that after fifty years the industry still hasn’t worked out what to do with the dangerous waste it generates. Even then, nuclear power should still be phased out in the interest of good economics. A recent study showed that the UK nuclear industry has wasted £32 billion. It’s the most expensive form of energy when we take into account its long-term waste costs, even if we ignore the potential costs of a nuclear disaster.
 
But there are other reasons why Greens oppose nuclear power. We want to create a truly sustainable economy. That means viable jobs for huge numbers of people in sustainable industries. Studies have consistently shown that nuclear energy sustains far fewer jobs per megawatt than non-nuclear renewables.
 
It also means creating resilient, diverse economies. Currently many local economies are far too dependent on the industrial monoculture of a nuclear power plant. Renewable energy would not only sustain jobs in significant numbers at major locations, for example where wind turbines are being manufactured. It would also create huge numbers of jobs spread around the entire country, benefitting every local economy, for instance the jobs installing and maintaining microgenerators and servicing very large numbers of small-scale windfarms and biogas plants and so on.
 
Of course, in the immediate term we have a recession to deal with. We need to create very large numbers of jobs right now. We can’t achieve this by building nuclear power stations in fifteen years’ time. We can, however, unclog the planning system so that all the offshore and onshore wind projects that are currently held up can go ahead urgently. We could immediately announce new feed-in tariffs that would give investors the confidence to pour money into renewable energy. We could put the UK economy on something like a war footing starting tomorrow, to get all the wind, wave and solar systems in place that we need to achieve a low-carbon or even zero-carbon economy. If we achieved Denmark’s rate of growth on wind energy we could create something like 200,000 jobs in that sector alone by 2020 – faster than you could build nuclear power stations.
 
And also, as a matter of priority, we could start straightaway with domestic and business energy conservation. Not only would this rapidly create many tens of thousands of jobs within a short space of time – it would also save as much energy as all the UK’s nuclear power stations currently generate.
 
So we simply don’t need nuclear power to stop climate change. But we do need comprehensive Green policies, and we need them to be implemented now.’
 
Prof John Whitelegg, Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development
 
 
 

Carbon News

Greens advise against “panic” over nuclear power

25-02-09

 

Greens advise against
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas says it will take “many years” to build new nuclear plants, during which time renewable energy and efficiency projects could be established

Last post for Mandy

So, the Government is advocating the sale of one quarter to a third of Royal Mail to a private European postal company.

 

On Tuesday I joined hundreds of postal workers at a rally in Westminster opposing any sell-off of this important British institution. They were especially angry about the fact that the Government is refusing to fund the pension fund deficit estimated to be around £9 billion – unless the privatisation goes ahead. This amounts to the blackmail of 450,000 workers by the Government.

 

The privatisation is strongly opposed by the Communication Workers’ Union and more than 140 Labour MPs who have signed a motion opposing it, and for good reason. Putting essential public services in the hands of the private sector will lead to job cuts, cherry picking of parts of the service for profit, and potentially breaking up the service to be sold off. The postal service should not be exposed to the risks that private operators are more likely to take – surely we have learnt that much, at least, from the collapse of our nation’s banks?

 

If it is commercial expertise that Royal Mail needs, then experts can be hired to ensure that such advice is available. The Royal Mail was brought under public ownership by Oliver Cromwell and even Margaret Thatcher thought it should remain publicly owned. Peter Mandelson thinks differently, which says much about how far New Labour has strayed from its roots.

 

Peter Mandelson asks us to trust him with the future of the Royal Mail. I would sooner trust a hungry lion, frankly…

 

If in June I am elected to the European Parliament I pledge to continue to fight hard to keep this vital British institution, the Royal Mail, public. The Green Party is now the only major political party opposed to privatisation.

Letter to the Independent: Not Going Nuclear

Sir;
The INDEPENDENT has played a key role in the greenwashing of nuclear power over the last five years, from its trumpeting in 2004 of James Lovelock’s support for nuclear (omitting to mention that he had been a virtually life-long nuclearphile) to its forlorn attempt now to pretend that ‘the Green movement’ is backing nuclear. What evidence does the INDY produce for that extraordinary assertion? The backing for nuclear, allegedly, of the following four individuals: 

1) Mark Lynas, who has in fact backed nuclear for some time now and is no new convert. Lynas’s most important book is ‘High Tide’, about the impact of global over-heat through rising sea-levels. It would be interesting to hear what the impact will be of rising sea levels upon
nuclear power stations – nearly all of which are built right beside the sea…
 
2) Chris Smith, Labour peer. When I last looked, Labour were strongly pro-nuclear – so no great surprise there. Smith is not a green, merely a Labour appointee.
 
3) Stephen Tindale, formely of Greenpeace. Sadly, Mr. Tindale has leant towards the Labour line politically in recent years, and (unlike some other major figures in green pressure groups) has been notably unsympathetic to the Green Party. His defection to the nuclear lobby is therefore again little surprise.
 
4) Chris Goodall, one lone Green Party parliamentary candidate. If Chris had actually come out strongly and unequivocally in favour of nuclear power, that would have been a bit of a blow. But he didn’t. His nuanced words have it seems been twisted by the INDY to imply stronger support for nuclear than he actually feels.
So: It is simply untrue that ‘the Green movement’ is leaning towards nuclear power now. The INDY is guilty of hype and sensationalism: shoddy reporting. A further key example of this is the crazy statement in Sarah Arnott’s gushing pro-nuclear ‘news’ article (24 Feb.) that nuclear power has “no carbon emissions”. This is a dreadful distortion: yes, nuclear power has no carbon emissions up its chimneys – but the carbon emissions it generates from mining, transportation, refining, processing, and (most crucially, because open-endedly) dealing with its waste stream, are huge.
 
All this is a shame, because it will seriously tarnish the credibility of your (generally excellent) environmental-news team, and the (richly-deserved) strong reputation of Geoffrey Lean and Michael McCarthy.
 
I urge the INDY to come back to reality. Nuclear could never be a responsible choice for anyone who takes the future seriouly, as Greens by definition do. For gifting our descendants with vast piles of toxic waste is nothing less than a mortal crime against our children, and
their children, and their children…

Cllr. Rupert Read, Green Party Prospective MEP for Eastern Region
Norwich

FIELD ORGANISERS NEEDED

Do you want to help us make history and get the first-ever Green Party MEP elected in Eastern Region?

This is an opportunity to work as a volunteer [reasonable expenses can be reimbursed] and gain invaluable experience in a target Euro-Region. The posts are open between between March 4 and June 4 ’09. You will be joining a number of other organisers in an Obama-style on-the-ground campaign [‘field’ operation]!

Minimum: half day per week or equivalent;
Minimum period: one month.

The position would ideally be taken by someone living in or near Eastern Region, but if you live elsewhere in Britain and can come and stay here for a month or more to help us out on this full-time, then you are also eligible (we will in that case work to provide you with accommodation).

Job involves [some or all, depending on your preferences and your availability, of] the following: Doing leafleting, mobilising members and potential supporters, writing letters to the local press, helping to create events for visiting Euro-candidates, watching for hustings opportunities…

If you would like to take on this task, then please get in touch. By doing so, you could really help extend the ‘reach’ of the Green Euro-campaign-team, and increase the chances of us breaking through in Eastern Region. You would have the opportunity to join like-minded individuals who are passionate about our cause, while also working alongside already-elected Green politicians and the media. We are very pleased to announce that we have received a lot of support so far, and really hope you can join us on this hugely significant campaign!

Contact: rupertread@fastmail.co.uk for a full job-spec, including a full list of the areas where we are looking for help of this kind. [Please indicate where you would like to organise, especially if it is where you live. Please note: we are looking for field organisers only to cover parts of the region where we are not already strong. We are looking for people to step up our campaign where as yet there are gaps in it.] Bear in mind finally that hands-on experience of a European Election campaign could greatly enhance your CV… Do get in touch!

Greens Mobilize for 100-day Countdown to Elections [Press release]

 

Greens Mobilize for 100-day Countdown to Elections

 

With exactly one hundred days to go from tomorrow [23rd Feb.] until the European Elections on June 4th, Green Party members from across Eastern England are mobilizing to help elect Dr. Rupert Read as Eastern Region’s first Green Party MEP.
 

Rupert Read heads the Green Party’s full slate list of 7 candidates (1) for the European Elections. Four of the Green candidates are councillors and all of them live in the region; 3 from Essex, 2 from Suffolk, 1 from Norfolk and 1 from Bedfordshire.
 
With the help of an ever growing team of volunteers, Dr Read has already been touring and speaking with people all across the Region, and has launched the interactive www.rupertread.net and his own youtube channel: www.youtube.com/rupertread.
 
Dr Read said
 
“People are joining us from across the political spectrum, because many of them feel let down by politics as usual. They, like us, want cleaner politics and a greener economy; one that invests in local people and creates sustainable ‘Green jobs’. For too long Governments have been letting big businesses and big money call the shots, and look at the mess it’s got us in! It’s inspiring to see so much support, but it’s also a reflection of how much people in the East of England want change”.
 
Dr Read is a Norwich City Councillor and is taking a year off from lecturing at the University of East Anglia in order to run for office. The campaign is focusing on what the Greens are calling their ‘Green New Deal’: giving the people of Eastern England free insulation for their homes, cheaper and more energy efficient public transport, more affordable housing and politics with integrity.
 
The Greens in the UK have had 2 MEPs since 1999 and they are part of the largest united group of MEPs, with Green Parties from across the continent creating a cohesive voice in the Parliament. Dr. Read hopes to join them, and their fight to build a more a localised and stable future for all parts of Europe.
 
In Eastern Region, the number of Green Councillors continues to grow, with a total of 28 Greens now holding seats on Principal Authorities (2) in the region, and in every county. 
 
ENDS
 
 
(2) Not including parish and town councillors, which are additional to that number.
 
WATCH RUPERT’S VIDEO TODAY, WITH 100 DAYS TO GO:

REDUCE rail fares: A great snappy letter from Caroline

Sir,
 
Re “Britain’s rail fares are by far the hghest in Europe…”
 
Here are your options, then. Vote Labour for the highest rail fares in Europe. Vote Conservative for the same (like last time they were in power). Vote LibDem for what Norman Baker calls “an immediate fare freeze” – that is, freezing rail fares at the hghest level in Europe.
 
Or vote Green. We will commit to spending the £500m a year necessary to bring our rail fares in line with those on the continent. We can easily afford it, given that we’re spending up to three times that much each year building, widening and repairing motorways and trunk roads.
 
Yours sincerely
Dr Caroline Lucas MEP
Leader, The Green Party