Lib Dems “running scared” of Greens – Euro Elections 2014

 The Green Party has today refuted Nick Clegg’s absurd and wilfully-misleading assertion (made in his latest Broadcast) that the Lib Dems are the only party fighting to keep Britain in Europe. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said that Nick Clegg’s comments were “deliberately untrue” and that in any case only the Green Party stood for “Three Yeses – yes to a referendum, yes to major EU reform and yes to staying in a reformed Europe”.

 Dr. Rupert Read, lead Green Party MEP candidate in the East of England in the European elections, who recently published a critique of the LibDems’ highly-dubious campaigning tactics ( http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/rupert-read/why-do-lib-dems-care-so-much-about-lord-rennard ), said: “As someone who was once in the LibDems myself, I know all too well how the LibDems operate. This latest ridiculous claim by Clegg is unfortunately par for the course. No wonder they earn the epithet among political activists from other parties of ‘FibDems’.”

Green MEP Keith Taylor, said: “With polls suggesting that the Lib Dems could be entirely wiped out at the European elections it’s no wonder that they are appealing to their core with this pro-EU stance. They are right to support Britain’s membership of the EU, but the fact that they don’t support a referendum to let people choose shows that the word ‘Democrat’ in their name is all but meaningless. 

“Greens believe that the UK should remain part of a radically reformed European. We believe that it’s better to work together with other countries, but we want to see an EU that puts people and the environment at it’s core, not profit. 

 “It’s time that people had their say on our membership of the EU, and Greens will be doing all we can to ensure that Britain remains part of a more democratic European Union that protects our shared environment and rights of workers across the continent.”

 Leading Green MEP Candidate for the South-West , Molly Scott-Cato, said:

‘I would have thought that Nick Clegg’s priority would be to rebuild trust with the electorate but the latest Liberal Democrat broadcast, with its claim that they are the ‘party of in’, can only be designed to confuse voters. The Green Party has been consistently pro-Europe and this attempt to sideline us suggests strongly that Liberal Democrats are running scared and that on the ground their voters are deserting them to come to a party that offers so much more in terms of integrity and policies for the common good, as well as its wholehearted support for remaining part of the European Union.’

 

WHY I’M JOINING ANTI-CAMPBELL DEMO

Critics of Alastair Campbell, former Director of Communications in the Blair government, will join a demonstration when he speaks at the UEA on Wednesday (Feb 5th).

 

Among them will be Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Green Party in the east of England at the European elections in May.

 

Dr Read, who is 80% on leave this semester from his usual teaching and research duties at UEA, so that he can run for election to the European Parliament, said:

 

Blair lied, and as a result hundreds of thousands died. But the man who crafted Blair’s lies was of course Alastair Campbell.

 

“Campbell is partly to blame for the low repute in which politicians are now held by most of the public. But we in the Greens are different: whether you like what we say or not, you can trust us to tell it as it is. I’m demonstrating against Alastair Campbell because I want to put clear green water between the likes of him and the likes of us. And to make clear that we, the British people, have not forgotten or forgiven his ‘dodgy dossier’ which eased the path to the criminal attack on Iraq.”


Mr Campbell, now a novelist and diarist who has recently been appointed interviewer for the lifestyle magazine GQ, is due to speak to a sell-out audience of almost 500 as part of the Spring Literary Festival at UEA. The action outside the UEA Lecture Theatres from 18.15 is supported by People’s Assembly UEA, UEA People and Planet and UEA Greens.

 

MY OPPOSITION TO FRACKING UNDER HOMES

Home owners in the east of England may find fracking taking place underneath their property unless government plans are opposed.

That’s the warning today from Rupert Read, Green Party lead candidate in the east of England at the Euro-elections in May.

Ministers and fracking firms are pushing for a change in trespass law to allow hydraulic fracturing to take place under people’s homes without their permission.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change, headed by Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey, is reviewing whether current trespass laws are fit for purpose. In a Radio Four interview on the proposed law change the Chief Executive of Celtique Energy, Geoff Davis, hinted at his support for making unwanted drilling easier.[1]

 Mr Davis’ intervention came after a group of landowners in Sussex wrote to Ed Davey MP saying they refuse to give permission for Celtique to drill beneath their land. [2]

Responding on behalf of the Green Party here in Eastern England, Dr Read said:

“Fracking potentially threatens homes in Peterborough, in north Norfolk, and on the Cambs-Herts-Essex border. Only the Green Party opposes it. And it’s easy to see why we oppose it, when you hear of this latest outrageous threat. We would never allow nuclear power stations to be built in our gardens, or wind-turbines to be allowed literally to overhang our houses. So why should fracking be allowed underneath our homes?”

Commenting on the response by Minsters and Celtique Energy, Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for the neighbouring Region of South East England, said:

 “The Government and their friends in these fracking firms are looking increasingly desperate in their attempts to impose fracking on a population that’s saying no.

 “It is clear that people across the UK have legitimate concerns about fracking. It is, therefore, shocking that the Government is responding by proposing a law change to drill underneath people’s homes without their permission.

 “Though the British Government has a love affair with fracking, ministers are failing to persuade the UK public of the benefits of shale gas drilling.

“We know that fracking is unlikely to bring down bills and presents a threat to our environment and there is no doubt that local communities will continue to organise against fracking, with or without this change in law.”

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] Today programme 3.2.14, Radio 4, around 7.30am

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/fracking/10613466/Fracking-landowners-form-legal-block-against-drilling-in-South-Downs-National-Park.html

The great flooding: how to stop it happening again?

 
The recent stormy weather has shown how important it is that we prioritise investment in infrastructure such as sea defence and flood protection. In Norfolk and Suffolk alone we have seen storm surges cause serious flooding and damage, and so soon after extensive weather damage to electricity supplies in December.
As the Green Party lead candidate for the East in the May European elections, I am calling on the government urgently to commission an independent, top level assessment on the resource implications of maintaining the region’s infrastructure and utilities during the next 25 years. We are talking here about very substantial sums of money and other resources that have to be earmarked and made available to maintain so many things that we have come to rely upon: highways and other transportation infrastructure, water, electricity and gas supplies, sewerage, telephone and other cabling, quite apart from flood and sea defences.
We know, for example, that the greatest threat to the UK from dangerous climate change is the increased risk of flooding. Yet government cuts to the Environment Agency mean they will lose about 1,700 staff members in the next 12 months, 550 of whom work on preventing and mitigating flooding. It is unlikely that as a society, country, and region, afford to maintain all this infrastructure whilst also committing to numerous other projects. Delays and competition between investments are commonplace, and there is evident scope for government to sharpen its awareness of what and where the priorities are.
Failure, by successive governments, to acknowledge the serious potential of climate change, and the competition for resources, must be addressed without further prevarication. More realistic forecasting and assessment is needed. Green Party thinking is rooted in awareness of these resource issues.
A belated government decision to invest in sea defences at Great Yarmouth following the serious storm surge, is piecemeal, too little, and too late. We need government and politicians who understand the science and engineering of hydrology and earth management. Personally, I want to see the East lead the world in tidal power and wave power: technologies which, as I found out on my recent visit to the Orbis centre in Lowestoft, can simultaneously protect us from tidal surges and from coastal erosion. It is exactly this kind of innovative thinking that needs to be included in the wide-ranging assessment for which I am calling.