Nothing brings communities together like a local issue. And there can be no better example of this in Tamworth than the uncertain future for the former Moorgate Primary School buildings on Hospital Street, The Leys.
The now vacant Victorian school premises, which form a key part of the Hospital Street Local Conservation Area, are under threat of disposal by their owners Staffordshire County Council (SCC).
Having been provided with a brand new two-storey school, built at the back of the existing school site – accessed via Moorgate and funded directly by the government during the school’s conversion to academy status – the school moved out of the Victorian buildings in 2015, leaving SCC with a headache; what to do with the old site?
Clearly, SCC doesn’t want to maintain empty buildings when they are short of funding in these times of Tory austerity, so are seeking to dispose of the site. But how should this be done?
Enter Moorgate Action Group (MAG) who think the buildings need to stay intact (certainly externally unchanged) and reused, preferably for the good of the whole of Tamworth as much-needed community spaces.
As MAG state on their website, Tamworth has lost many local community venues due to redevelopment and sale leaving the town short of appropriate and affordable places to deliver community-led services.
Tamworth Greens are proud to support MAG and their initiative to have the site reused for the benefit of the people of Tamworth and have now included a link to their campaign from our ‘Issues’ list (see main menu).
The Conservative Party managed to take all six Tamworth Divisions in the County Council Elections.
The closest contest was in Amington, with the Conservative candidate beating Labour by just 15 votes.
This is the first time that The Green Party have contested all six Divisions in Tamworth, with Conservative, Labour and UKIP also contesting all six Divisions and the Lib Dems standing in three.
Whilst the Green Party candidates did well and maintained our base level support of around 4% of the vote, it was clear from the results that our share of the vote was lower in the Divisions contested by the Lib Dems. This is something that we need to consider for future elections.
The most visible trend identified was the drastic reduction in UKIP’s share of the vote which appears to have moved to the Conservatives.
Thank you to our candidates for their efforts, especially Lesley and Wil who were first time candidates.
The Green Party Autumn Conference 2016 will be held at the University of Birmingham between 2nd and 4th September.
There will be a stimulating and packed three-day programme of policy-making, topical discussions, training and evening social sessions. By the end of July there will be a detailed timetable including three panel debates, 24 fringe sessions on a variety of topical subjects and a training programme. See the outline timetable here.
Members can register online via the members’ website. They can book for as many or few days as they like, and can even pay on the door if they don’t wish to book in advance. Non-members are also welcome to attend as ‘Observers’ at the same rates. There is a limited access fund for those who would struggle with the costs.
For more information on travel, accommodation, and creche, please visit the website.
To find out more about the policies we will be discussing at this conference, see the First Agenda on the members’ website.
There will be regional tables and meet ups arranged at conference, too, and once registered you should get information from your Regional Co-ordinator about these.
Reacting to the publication of the Chilcot Report, Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:
The Green Party believes the report’s final confirmation that the Iraq war was ‘not a last resort’ and that the British government decided to invade before all the peaceful options had been exhausted is a verdict that must produce action. We must not just say ‘never again’ but act to make that fact.
That the judgements about the severity of threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were presented with a certainty that was not justified is simply inexcusable. Never again must the executive be able to lead us to war based on massaged information.
And never again should MPs be told how to vote on such a critical matter. The Government should, immediately, announce that all future military interventions will have unwhipped votes in the House of Commons. We must never again see MPs being cajoled into voting along party lines when their conscience tells them otherwise. No MP should answer when asked why they voted for war ‘I was told to.’
Those MPs must be given genuinely independent legal advice about the legality of the action. They must know it is their responsibility to act legally, and that they could face sanction if they don’t live up to it.
Speaking from Westminster, Shahrar Ali, Green Party Deputy Leader, said:
The Green Party is resolutely committed to finding non-violent solutions to conflict situations and unequivocally opposed the war in 2003.
The headline points of this mammoth report are chilling, yet unsurprising to all those who have been calling for Blair to be investigated at the International Criminal Court. Whether on grounds of Blair’s intent to bypass the UN, diplomacy not having been exhausted, or critical papers being denied to the Foreign Office, I support those renewed calls for a criminal investigation.
Whilst it is true we face an acute shortage of suitable accommodation, there is no contradiction between continuing to campaign for decent, affordable homes for all and stepping up to meet our obligations to do the right thing and support the Syrian refugees.
On that basis, we would urge people to show the caring, tolerant and compassionate face of Tamworth and bring family and friends to join the “Tamworth says YES to refugees” gathering in Castle Grounds, at 2pm on the 7th November.
We would like to offer you our heartfelt congratulations on the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.
Jeremy is a conviction politician and a man of principle with whose views we have much in common. We look forward, now, to Labour returning to its roots as a social movement campaigning in the best interests of ordinary people.
It is with that in mind that we would like to suggest that, where we now have agreement, we explore ways of working together on the issues and campaigns affecting the people of Tamworth.
We think these should include:
opposition to the austerity measures which are fuelling the growth in food banks;
support for our hospitals in the face of ongoing cuts, ward closures and privatisation of services;
campaigning for high quality, affordable housing to meet very real local needs.
We would also add, especially given the voting records of local Tory MPs including Christopher Pincher:
the threat of ‘fracking’ in the County
the need to defend the legislation outlawing fox-hunting which was brought in by a previous Labour government.
So, whilst we will continue to maintain our independence, particularly at the ballot box, we do wish Jeremy all the very best and look forward to a fruitful collaboration with his colleagues locally.
The first Conservative budget in twenty years has shown nothing has changed apart from the faces.
Despite being told “we are all in it together”, today’s budget shows nothing could be further from the truth.
On a day when hundreds of thousands of public sector workers were told their pay would be subject to ‘restraint’ that amounts to a further 10% cut in their standard of living on top of the 20% they have already suffered, a small number of wealthy business owners were told that the tax they pay on the profits of their companies would be cut again and again and when they spend those profits on million pound mansions they will be able to pass them on tax free to their children.
The public sector workers affected include nurses, policemen, care workers and many others. The very people that supply vital services to us all day in day out will yet again be hit for the benefit of the wealthy.
Does this really sound like we are all in together?
But there is an alternative. By supporting the Green Party you are supporting a fairer society that values all people, no matter what job they may do. By supporting the Green Party you are sending a message to the government to let them know that you don’t accept tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of our NHS, schools and police force.