GreenerIN

Brexit – What Next?

A message from former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

People in Britain are angry at the status quo – and they’ve expressed that anger by voting to leave the EU. We cannot hide our disappointment at this result having campaigned strongly for a vote to Remain. But, we must now turn our attention to the task at hand: unifying our divided communities after an extraordinarily bitter period in British politics. We cannot allow the problems of racism, inequality and alienation that have, at times, been worsened by this campaign to grow.

The referendum campaign was carried out in a manner which does a disservice to the people of Britain. It was a Tory leadership campaign fought out over an issue of huge importance to this country and to Europe. People will have been turned off politics to an even greater degree than before. To help fix this democratic deficit we need electoral reform for the House of Commons to help build a more representative, inclusive democracy.

During the campaign the Green Party repeatedly stood up for migrants much more boldly than any other party, and are hugely concerned that this country’s commitment to the free movement of people is now in peril. We pledge to continue to stand up for migrants and to demonstrate how the free movement of people has enriched not impoverished people’s lives both in Britain and beyond. Please stand with us, and pledge to be a part of that campaign now.

Our party will now mobilise alongside the trade unions, environmental groups and others to defend our hard-won rights at work and environmental protections. Greens will not allow this shock to destroy what we hold dear, and we will redouble our efforts to protect our NHS and public services from privatisation and both safeguard and enhance environmental protections.

Many people have been joining the Green Party in the time since the result emerged. Now is a good time to ask sympathetic friends, colleagues and family to consider doing the same, to join the struggle to protect our hard won gains in coming months and years.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me about where the UK goes from here: you can reach us directly on leader@greenparty.org.uk.

 

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TTIP- What does it mean for Tamworth?

Many people are still unaware of TTIP (The transatlantic trade and investment partnership) and even fewer are aware of what it means for them. So here are a few reasons that you should be fighting against TTIP.

1. Food standards. TTIP will potentially force the EU to allow the use of pesticides it has banned and allow higher levels of legal pesticides than presently allowed. As the negative effects of increasing chemical usage have become apparent over recent decades it is obvious that we need to be REDUCING not increasing the use of chemicals on our food. The intensive methods driven by a few chemical companies will ensure this cannot happen if TTIP is approved.

2. Employment and job security. The EU has admitted that TTIP will cost jobs but the most frightening aspect is the adoption of US employment laws which are known to be amongst the worst in the world. This will erode the benefits gained from hundreds of years of fighting for laws to protect EU workers and leave them increasingly open to zero hour contracts and other unfair working practices.

3. Democracy. With the likes of Christopher Pincher ignoring the people of Tamworth on issues like foxhunting it may feel like democracy is distant already at times, but at present parliament is free to make laws as it sees fit without the direct interference of big business. TTIP will allow big corporations to sue governments that pass laws that are deemed to be against their business. So tobacco companies could sue the government for introducing smoking bans as it would affect their
revenue.

4. Last, but not by any stretch least, the NHS and education. TTIP allows for the opening up of the NHS and our schools to American companies. This would mean that your taxes go into the pockets of rich investors instead of funding the vital services we all rely upon. It also means that the public no longer have a say in the services that they are paying for through their taxes.

Join the fight today and let Christopher Pincher know that he does not have the right to sign away the rights that past generations fought to achieve for us.

Help us to protect their legacy!

Further reading:

#PublicNHS

Public NHS

The Green Party believes that the NHS should be publicly funded and provide free healthcare at the point of need. There should be no private interest in the NHS as healthcare is a public service and should not generate profit for anyone.

The Green Party would reverse all privatisation and repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It would also make mental health a much higher priority than it is now, with funding to match this aim.

No other party in Tamworth is saying this.

Join the #GreenSurge and say out loud #ImVotingGreen.

See these Green Party links:

Stand up for our great NHS

Lisa Crane, Green Party candidate for Stoneydelph, writes:

Following an accident on Sunday, I found myself in Good Hope A and E Department with a deeply lacerated knee. We’ve all heard the jibes about ‘No Hope’ but my experience was the total opposite. The receptionist was friendly and chatted pleasantly with my partner as he told her all my details.

Yes, I had to wait for a couple of hours but it’s common sense that children and those with head injuries who arrived after me should receive priority as my condition, although somewhat gruesome, was stable. Once I was seen by the nurses, they immediately assessed that I would need an X-ray and a doctor, and were efficient, friendly and most importantly kind to both me and my partner. The radiographer was pleasant and caring as were the porters who wheeled me there and back. After the doctors had determined that I’d require a trip to theatre and an overnight stay, this was organised with no fuss although I could hear that the nurses had to make several phone calls to arrange this due to problems with different departments being worried about the deadlines and time scales imposed on them from management above.

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Green – in 2013

New Year message from Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

31 December 2012

The Roman God of the new year, Janus, had two faces looking opposite ways – he had to look back to the past and on in to the future.  Any new year’s message surely has to do the same – so in looking forward to hopes and fears for 2013, we really have to start with 2012.

What will history remember? The Olympics, perhaps; the Greek debt crisis, maybe, although 2012 may not be the label that sits against it; the death of Lonesome George, the world’s last Pinta Island tortoise.

But what history may record for 2012 is that it was the year in which the economic  ideas that have been regarded as gospel, scarcely challengeable in mainstream discussion and embedded at the heart of government, academia and business for decades, were declared failed, their capital zero. It was certainly the year in which the voices against this clearly failed model, from Occupy and UKUncut to the Transition Town movement, became even stronger and more certain.

As the British economy bumped along on a wobbly foundation of low-pay, insecure work; as the instability of the banks continued to pose a huge, unbridled threat; as the public came to recognise that multinational companies were scooping up the meagre spoils of the economy and shipping them off into tax havens; as G4S clearly demonstrated the failure of the outsourcing model – built on the basis that the state carries the risks and the contractors could fail with impunity; it became clear that we need a radical change in direction.

On the global scale, as the Arctic sea ice shrank to astonishing lows, as the bounty of nature continued to shrink visibly before our eyes and food prices soared in response, as industrial farming methods continued to deplete our soils and pollute our oceans, it became even clearer that rapid change had to be made to our ways of life.

Instead of believing that we could run Britain on the basis of casino finance and outsourced services, shipping or flying in everyday essentials, leaving millions uncertain where next week’s rent or next month’s mortgage payment was coming from, it became clear that we must rebuild a proper, balanced low-carbon economy.

It’s become clear that we need to bring food production back to Britain – to restore the ring of market gardens that until recent surrounded our towns and cities, encourage allotments and city vegetable patches and fruit trees, to ensure that our green belt is protected, not buried under car-dependent sprawling suburbs. This was the year in which local food growing clearly became an essential to help feed the poorest in Britain.

It’s become clear that we need resource-efficient local manufacturing, making the essentials of food, clothing, shelter that we need close to where they’re needed. Small positive steps are being made. Over the year I saw small enterprises starting to build this new model of business, from Who Made Your Pants in Southampton, to Furniture Divas in Oxford. But the barriers are many, and need to be slashed down.

And it’s clear that we need to reshape our energy use and energy production. First, we clearly need  to get truly serious about energy conservation (including providing warm comfortable homes for everyone, built to the standards much of the rest of Europe takes for granted). Second, we need to move towards a decentralised, community-owned, flexible and resilient energy production system – on- and off-shore wind, solar, small hydro, anaerobic digestion, waste biofuel, tidal. Third, we need to provide a decent, affordable public transport system – and look at ways we can reshape our economy to eliminate long, miserable, pointless commutes.

All of these changes need to be built on a very different business model – not giant multinational companies emptying out our high streets, importing low-quality, non-durable goods made in dreadful sweatshops, wasting vast amounts of our limited resources. Instead we need strong localised economies, built around small businesses and cooperatives, with decently paid staff offered jobs on which they can build a life.

If I had a magic wand, I would wave it and say, let’s deliver that by the end of 2013. Of course I don’t, and the changes will take more than a year, more than a decade. But my wish for 2013 is that we can identify it as the year in which Britain made serious strides towards a new economic model, a new direction.

Let’s start with a crackdown on multinational companies – make them abandon the use of tax havens and pay fair taxes (as their small business competitors must) and ensure that they pay all of their staff a living wage and offer stable conditions – ending zero-hours contracts and anti-social, exploitative shift patterns. And go on with a serious legislative effort to end the risks of the banks again costing us hundreds of billions – separate the high street banks from their gambling “investment” cousins, install a financial transactions tax, work to promote local banks and credit unions, and insure an effective green investment bank can provide the funds we need for essential work.

Let’s move on to an Energy Bill that puts conservation at the heart of energy policy, that encourages small-scale renewables under community ownership. Add in the renationalisation of the railways as a start towards a sensible, integrated transport strategy, while abandoning the costly, inefficient HS2 plan.

Then let’s act on the NHS – protect our cost-effective, efficient, fair system – keep it publicly owned and publicly run where it is now, and bring back in house as soon as possible the outsourcing to inappropriate profit-driven multinationals. After that, start spreading out to public services. Having made the minimum wage a living wage, and ensure decent conditions for workers, any “efficiency, cost-effective” claims for outsourcing across the public sector will disappear.  As contracts expire, workers can be brought back in house – democratic accountability restored and money put into essential services now cut back.

Then we can deal with poverty – starting with pensioners. People who’ve contributed all of their lives shouldn’t be living in poverty. Let’s bring in a basic £170/week pension that would immediately lift all pensioners out of poverty. And a minimum wage being a living wage would help many workers, while the abolition of the dreadful Atos “fitness to work” scheme – GPs understand the health of their patients and their needs best would take great stress off the ill and the disabled.

Then housing – there’s 300,000 empty private sector homes to be brought back into use, and 37,000 council homes; we’d need a decent regional development policy to help with that. Much simpler – let’s give the growing army of private tenants greater security of tenure, enforce decent housing standards on their landlords, and encourage a new generation of housing co-ops in which people can work through their own housing needs.

Then some quick and sensible measures – abolish Trident nuclear weapons, immediately bring home British troops from Afghanistan – make us leaders in peace, and save some significant cash along the way.

There’s much more I’d like to add in – the abolition of university tuition fees, the restoration of an EMA-type system,  but that’s enough to be going along with for one year.

Of course, there’s no sign of this Coalition government heading in any of these directions, of understanding that the convictions to which they continue to cling are now mere intellectual driftwood, heading fast towards a smashing reef.

But Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions, and we can turn to that image as January begins and hope for change, plan for change, campaign for change. That’s what increasing numbers of British people have been doing over 2012, and more will join them in 2013. I look forward to working with the many, the 99%, who are increasingly prepared to take on the 1% and their representatives.

Key Policy: Health and Education

We are against privatisation and fragmentation of these vital services.

Schools should be run by educators, not businesses, under local, democratic control.

We want to see good, local schools, with their own 6th Forms and increased spending on NHS hospitals and services.

For full details of Green Party UK policies on health and education, please see these links: