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30 Sep 2015

Caroline Lucas on Climate Change, the Corbyn phenomena and the EU

On Sunday 27th September Caroline gave a speech to he Green Party autumn conference.

The full speech is below:

In 10 weeks’ time, the world’s leaders will gather in Paris for the next round of international climate talks.
We’re at a crossroads: climate change is accelerating, the daily lives of millions are already being devastated by the consequences, and time is running out. 
And we are under no illusions. For more than 20 years, governments have been meeting at global conferences to talk endlessly about the crisis, yet greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise.
For those of us who remember Copenhagen and Kyoto, Lima and Nairobi, it’s easy to be cynical. World leaders jet in. They fail to do a deal – then either pretend they’ve saved the world, or break down in bitter recriminations.
What will be different this time? Well, it being Paris, I’m sure the champagne will be properly chilled and the canapés second to none. But the fear is that once again our leaders will put their own, short-term political interests above those of their citizens.
Once again, the main winners will be the corporations and their lobbyists. The stakes are high and the obstacles even higher.
We know that global corporations and governments will not easily give up the profits they reap through the extraction of coal, gas and oil reserves. The brilliant 350.org tell us that just 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of recorded greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Genuine responses to climate change threaten corporate power and wealth, threaten free market ideology, threaten the structures and subsidies that support and underwrite them. But resistance is fertile. And Paris is as much a beginning as it is an end.
Because in 10 weeks’ time, Paris will also be home to the world’s largest non-violent direct action civil disobedience. It will be home to a mass mobilisation from global movements that aim to leave political leaders no other choice than to change everything.
Conference, the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stone. It ended because we had a vision of something we thought was better.
And so in and after Paris, we will be articulating a vision of a fairer, more compassionate world, where energy is in people’s hands, not the hands of corporations, and powered by the sun, the wind and the waves. And sending a message, loud and clear, as we do from our own conference here today, that we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground.
That the era of fossil fuels must end.
That change also requires a transformation in the way we do politics.
The future we want for our children is not going to be created through the politics of the past. When everything has changed so much, and the threats we face as a society and a planet are so deep and complex, we need a new kind of political life.
From Obama’s first election, to the Arab Spring, from Spain to Greece, from Scotland to the Green surge, and now Corbynism – politics is increasingly defined by waves of energy that swell up – seemingly from nowhere – and coalesce around people, parties and decisions.
These waves are not, sadly, the monopoly of those who believe in a better world. The future can also be more brutish and authoritarian, if we let it. 
But by being open to doing politics differently, we can ensure the future is about change made by and for people, in places and ways that make sense for them.
Of course, we need an effective state to intervene on many issues such as the regulation of global financial markets. But more than anything, the politics of the future must be about the creation of platforms, spaces and spheres in which people can collectively change the world – from workplace democracy and self-management, to civic engagement and generating our own community renewable energy. 
But these efforts will be fatally undermined if the neoliberal deregulating zeal of the Tories remains the dominant force in British politics.
Slashing public services; stamping out trade union rights; and environmental vandalism on an epic scale – ripping up energy efficiency measures, privatising the Green Investment Bank, and taking a wrecking ball to what was once our thriving solar industry.
Conference, we say enough. We are working for something better.
And Conference, being in a position to actually deliver that vision of something better is what, I believe, makes it so imperative that we see a realignment of progressive votes to maximise electoral impact.
Finding and cooperating with others with whom we share a belief in a much more equal, democratic and sustainable world.
Of course we will have differences. But we also know that no one individual, no one party, has a monopoly on wisdom. Cancelling out each other's votes is bad enough, but fighting in essentially the same terrain for the same issues and fundamentally the same belief set is madness, when it simply lets the Tories in. 
We share a commitment to a much more equal, democratic and sustainable world.  It is beholden on us to find a way to make the desirable feasible. In a world as complex and rich as ours, we need an equally complex and rich political response. To create a different mood, culture and sentiment to our national politics – one where we see that our differences can become a source, not of division, but of strength.
Conference, the truth is, we need a progressive Labour Party – if that's what Jeremy Corbyn transforms it to be – to do well. Because, like you and me, it’s part of the movement for change.
Progressives are spread about the political battlefield – often more intent on fighting each other – and not the real enemy. But things are changing fast. Old tribal loyalties, that are blind to the good in others, are dying away. We can – we must – respond to that change.
And conference, I’m about to say something a bit controversial!
Who has been one of the most effective advocates of human rights in Parliament? Conservative MP David Davies. Who has pushed the case tirelessly for a reformed voting system? UKIP MP Douglas Carswell.
If we can make common cause, on a case by case basis, even with those with whom we most profoundly disagree on most issues, then why not with those with whom we have so much in common, in other progressive parties?
There is here a simple truth.  We are stronger when we work together.
We know this in our own lives, as families, communities, amongst our friends and in our workplaces. This is one of the inspiring principles of the co-operative movement, of the trade union movement.
And I believe it should guide us as a political movement – strong and self-confident in ourselves, but also ready to reach out to work with others.  With 1.1 million votes we Greens have a vital place in shaping that future, and a distinctive responsibility to the politics of people and the environment, over the politics of individualism and greed.
We don’t have forever to get this right, and I don’t say it will be easy. But Conference, if we’re serious about the urgency of our task, I believe we have no other option.

As in politics, so in Europe. The same underlying principle that we are stronger when we work together.
That doesn’t mean closing our eyes to what is wrong with the European Union. Too much power is in the hands of the elites.  Too little democracy and accountability. Ordinary people feeling closed out from its decisions.
But the same can be said about our own British Parliament. Concentration of power, corruption, remoteness.
Our response to that is not to say, ‘let’s do without Parliament’. It’s to say we must reform it.
The same can be said of the United Nations. But would the world be better off if there were no international institutions to try – yes, failing much of the time, but still trying – to solve the world’s problems?
From the climate crisis to the refugee crisis, from air pollution to workers rights, consumer protection to hazardous waste, we face so many challenges that can only be tackled at a European level.
We need institutions where we can meet as Europeans and try and resolve these issues. And as with the realignment of progressive politics, we have a duty to engage, and to recognise that much for which the EU is criticised is the responsibility of the individual member states.
Greece is, in the main part, suffering because of the intransigence of free-market national governments.
TTIP – the deeply damaging Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - is simply an extension of the free-market logic that pervades all trade relationships negotiated by right-wing governments like our own, and others across Europe.
The way we can free Europe from the forces of globalisation and elitism is not by walking away, but by fighting at the ballot box at general elections in every member state.
As Greens we are committed to the principle of EU existence, to working internationally on the shared issues we face, and to making Europe better from within.
If we want the kind of future we believe is possible, then we need to harness the amazing energy, passion and skills that can be found throughout our party.
Our members have always been the life-blood of our organisation. Democracy, participation and giving people a voice is at the very core of our identity.
And at a time when other political parties are looking to us, to try and rediscover radical ideas such as a party conference that is there to make policy, not look good on TV, it seems right to take some ideas from them in return.
One of these is how we can best nurture our talent, including bringing on the next generation of Green MPs: potential leaders and opinion formers who have the judgement, commitment and a propensity for the incredible hard work that it takes to get elected under our first past the post system.
We will be asking an awful lot from them in the years to come. We must do everything we can for them in return.
That’s why, today, I am proud to announce the launch of Generation Green – a new programme to nurture talent within our party.
It will start by giving five of our election candidates the kinds of training and preparation that their rivals in the other political parties have always accessed. It’s part of a vision to make our party stronger from the grassroots up; to amplify the voices setting out why we are distinct. Leading by example. The party of the future.


12 Sep 2015

Greens congratulate Corbyn on his leadership win

The Green Party has offered its congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn on becoming the leader of the Labour Party.

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
"The selection of Corbyn, combined with the remarkable Green surge of the past year , and the SNP's successes in the Westminster election, shows just how many people support an alternative to austerity economics, a head-in-the-sand approach to our environmental crisis and our tired, business-as-usual politics.

"The Green Party shares Corbyn’s opposition to austerity, Trident nuclear weapons, and the sell-off of public assets and  will be delighted to work with his Labour Party and others who share our views on these and other issues.

"The Green Party is committed to standing up for migrants and refugees and calls on the new Labour leader to challenge the government’s feeble and inadequate response to the global refugee crisis.

"In addition, we hope to engage Corbyn and the Labour Party in discussions about the urgent need for electoral reform. As the May 2015 General Election proved, our outdated and unrepresentative system fails both democracy and the electorate.

"We hope Corbyn will encourage his supporters to join with us and other campaigners working on these issues, and, in particular, on pushing the issue of climate change to the top of the political agenda ahead of the upcoming Paris talks."

"The Green Party’s doors continue to remain open to those who want to create a new kind of progressive politics, working, as we have been consistently for decades, for a society in which no one fears not being able to put food on the table or keep a roof over their head, while we all collectively live within the environmental limits of our fragile planet."

3 Sep 2015

National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network

National day of action, Called by Stand up to Racism, BARAC, Stop the War Coalition, Migrant Rights Network 

This event has been called in response to various reports of refugees fleeing war, persecution, torture and poverty losing their lives or struggling to find a safe haven. This includes the death of 200 refugees off the coast of Libya, around 70 refugees in a truck in Austria and on going reports of refugees drowning crossing the Mediterranean, stranded in Hungary and prohibited from moving around the EU, and those in Calais struggling to find sanctuary.

The government response to this has been disgraceful. Unlike Germany, Italy and Greece, Britain has not offered a safe haven for these people. 

Monday 14 September Home Secretary Theresa May will be meeting with EU leaders about the refugee crisis. We must learn the lessons of history and call on the government to take a humanitarian and compassionate response to refugees.

We are calling on the British government to meet its share of the responsibility for providing protection. Let's send a strong message: we say refugees are welcome here.

We are also calling for a national day of action on Saturday 12 September, organise local events at places of worship or unveil a "Refugees Welcome Here" banner at football matches, use your imagination!

Join us on Saturday 12 September 2015 2pm Downing Street

2 Sep 2015

Greens elect Sian Berry as their Mayoral candidate and name their GLA Assembly list


The candidiates book-ended by Jenny Jones and Natalie Bennett
The London Green Party announced this afternoon that Sian Berry will be their candidate for the London Mayoral election in 2015.

She declared,  "London and its land belongs to all of us."

This is what she said in her campaigning statement:
 
For too long our city has been run for the powerful and privileged. But people are refusing to sit quietly. London is full of amazing communities and campaigns building a new kind of politics. In Europe’s other great cities, citizens are voting for real change on the crest of this wave of activism. Why should London miss out?
I ran for Mayor in 2008 taking us from 7th to 4th, winning endorsements from the Independent and Observer. Back then, London Green Party had around 1,000 members – now we have the talent of 12,000. I’m determined we give Londoners the big, open, inspiring campaign they deserve.

As Green candidate for Mayor, I’ll stand up for the 99%

I want Londoners to shape our manifesto, holding open meetings with communities and campaigners on:
  • Making housing and rents affordable – brutally neglected by the current Mayor
  • Rethinking policing – do we want officers spying on campaigners or investigating tax fraud?
  • Reinventing the City – our international finance experts should be creating new ways of doing business that don’t exploit the majority
  • Getting to grips with killer air pollution – cutting traffic, reducing fares, and making cycling safe
The Green Party List as voted by members was also announced. Seats are allocated on the position on the list and the overall number of vote for the Green Party in the GLA election. The more votes we get the more canadidiates from the list become Assembly Members,  In the last GLA election the top two, Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson, were elected to the Assembly.

List in order:

1. Sian Berrry
2. Caroline Russell
3. .Jonathan Bartley
4. Noel Lynch
5. Shahar Ali
6. Rashid Nix
7. Tom Chance
8. Benali Hamdache
9. Dee Searle
10. Andrea Carey Fuller
11. Rosemay Warrington



Barnet UNISON Save Barnet Libraries March September 12th 2015






































 I’m drawing this to your attention as I think this is something to support. The closure and privatisation of libraries is about that issue but also about the diminishing existence of public spaces and access to culture. When you think about the National Gallery dispute these are very similar issues. Barnet is attempting to outsource its Social Services also. So this march is under the banner of the libraries campaign but is about other campaigns coming along to offer their solidarity and to protest about their issue also. Anything you can do to promote this and support would be gratefully appreciated. The London SWAN banner would be very welcome. I anticipate we will have social workers on the march so it will be an opportunity to promote SWAN.
Thanks,
Barnet UNISON
Save Barnet Libraries March September 12th 2015
Keep up to date go to the new Barnet UNISON website at http://www.barnetunison.me.uk