Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Greens ahead in Brighton

Who says that a Green vote is a wasted vote? News just in from Brighton shows that Caroline Lucas is on course to make history and become the first Green MP. With a tired New Labour regime and a Tory party champing at the bit to carry out 'Thatcherism Mark II' the only progressive alternative vote is for the Greens in Brighton.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader, only candidate able to keep the Conservatives out in Brighton Pavilion constituency

- UK’s first Green MP now a serious prospect - ICM constituency poll

Greens take a 10 point lead over Labour and an 8 point lead over the Conservatives in their target constituency of Brighton Pavilion - ICM Research telephone opinion poll.

Headline results

1. The Greens have the greatest support with 35% of the constituency’s voters followed by the Conservatives on 27%, Labour on 25% and LibDems on 11%.

2. Almost two thirds (63%) of Labour and Lib Dem voters in the sample said that they would be likely to switch their vote to the Greens if that party was best placed to stop a Conservative win. 37% said they were very likely and 26% said they were quite likely to switch their vote in that situation.

Read the full story here.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Greens push for more park land

The Green Party is pushing for extra green space to make up for the land being lost by the changes to the junction at the bottom of Brockwell Park.

Following a motion proposed by Councillor Becca Thackray, the council is looking into the possibility of buying the Vicarage Garden on Dulwich Road, land which could easily be annexed to the park.

It's certainly not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact that the Council has committed to showing an interest is a great step.

We've already heard lots of creative ideas for how the garden could be used if it does become part of the park, e.g. as a community allotment or a nature reserve. Let us know you what you think.

More hot air from Lambeth Labour

Lambeth Council needs to clean up its act to meet its own environment targets.

It’s almost two years since the Council agreed a plan to reduce its energy consumption but we’ve seen very little action so far.

Herne Hill's Green Party councillor, Becca Thackray, was part of the all-party Climate Change Commission that produced 45 urgent recommendations in 2007. Two years on and some of these recommendations still haven’t even been touched.

Progress on domestic insulation has been desperately slow, there’s still no council-run recycling for businesses and the inefficient Town Hall heating system is stuck in the dark ages.

At a time when thousands of people are losing their jobs, it is unforgivable that the Labour are failing to invest seriously in energy efficiency and launch a clean energy revolution that could provide hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Tesco and Streatham's ice rink and leisure centre

Suddenly the room seemed warmer. A strange dark presence breathed and whispered into the room. And there they were. Two members of Tesco's senior management team in the flesh, blinking eerily into the light....

Yes this was the public meeting of the Tesco's "We've Already Got Planning Permission So Don't Try And Stop Us Store" proposals for Streatham: to build a new Tesco's shop and redevelop the leisure centre, ice rink and swimming pool, and build affordable housing to boot. Too good to be true? Actually yes. The plan itself has been on the cards for almost seven years and although Tesco's were given permission to build years ago, um, they haven't quite got round to it yet.

Not that we're particuarly fond of Tesco's but we are stuck in a no win situation.Tesco's already own the land. Years of zero investment have left the leisure centre and ice rink are on their knees. So this was the night where reps from Lambeth Green Party and about 50 other concerned residents and interested parties gathered in Streatham Business Centre to find out where the plans were at and what was going on. In short, not much. Not for the next 8 weeks anyway when we were promised faithfully by Lambeth Council and Tesco's that a new proposal was being 'looked at'.

Despite many questions from people about whether Tesco's were going to keep the ice rink open, and actually when is this all going to happen, to cut 2 hours and 15 minutes short a newmeeting is promised for just before Christmas.

Think Tesco's and the Council will sell us out? Mmm our jury is out too. In 8 weeks we'll see.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Put people ahead of GDP when managing swine flu

The Green Party is calling for Labour to put people ahead of GDP in their plans for managing swine flu.

Joseph Healy, the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall, and the deputy chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum, said:

"In a meeting with the flu planners for London -- which the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum had over two years ago -- we were told that large scale public events would not be closed down because of the economic impact. The chair of the Forum, Malcolm Alexander, and I are due to meet Dr Simon Tanner, the Regional Director of Public Health for London, later today (the 28th of July), when I will be raising more of these issues."

Full press release.

Joseph's blog.

Friday, 24 July 2009

How ethical are Lambeth pensions?

The Greens are campaigning for local authority pension funds to take an ethical stance. At a recent meeting of Lambeth’s Pension Fund Investment Panel, Councillor Rebecca Thackray described the current ethical policy as ‘brief and vague’. Instead, she urged the Panel to be a catalyst for change – by avoiding companies trading in products such as arms or tobacco, or with a poor environmental record. One Panel member responded by claiming that British Aerospace aren’t really an arms manufacturing company! But the Trade Union representative argued that the Panel should see fund managers regularly and receive adequate reports. The financial consultants Mercer were also positive, stating that ethical investments are sounder. The Chair observed that ‘we need to raise our game as a panel’ and Council Officers were asked to give more information on ethical screening in future. Officers also promised to investigate best practice in other local authorities. Lambeth Greens await developments!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Green Party Stall at the Lambeth County Show: a stallholders view

Hurray! It didn't rain. Always a bonus at outdoor events. Though it was very windy and our table and its contents were blown over, causing us to scurry round frantically scrabbling for leaflets, desperate not to make the Green Party the biggest litterers at the show.

First up it was lovely to meet so many people and chat about the Green Party, green issues and stuff.

Highlights? Sunday afternoon when Jean Lambert - re-elected Green Party MEP for London (another hurray) - joined us so that people who voted Green (and thanks to everyone who did) could meet her.

Prompted by Jean making a wise observation that "Going to some Green Party stalls is taking a real trip down memory lane....that was a great leaflet in 1997 - but do we need it now?" (and to make sure it wasn't us she was talking about!) we had a big clearout. Our info is now hideously up to date.

And just for fun the show organisers decided to pitch us right opposite the Conservative Party stall. (Is Green the new Blue?). And jolly entertaining the Conservatives were too.

Eagerly and at every opportunity there they were, tying Tory party blue balloons (with logo) onto any buggy or pushchair that would have one. This was done, I presume, in an effort to turn unsuspecting pre-school infants trundling past on four wheels into a sort of mini-marketing machine for the Tories...

That's one way to secure the young vote.

And Labour? Oh dear. Nobody was at their stall (well not as I nipped past to the loos anyway).

So all in all it was a great event. And did I mention, it didn't rain!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Women forge ahead in Green politics

Cllr Rebecca Thackray, Jean Lambert MEP, and Rebecca Findlay, Streatham Parliamentary Candidate, campaigning outside Lambeth Town Hall for a living wage

In a statement for International Women’s Day, Lambeth Councillor Rebecca Thackray said: ‘Women comprise 51% of the world’s population, yet hold only 16% of the world’s parliamentary and congressional seats. Women make a huge contribution to family, society and healthcare and I would like to see this reflected in our political representation.’

The Green Party aims to lead the way in putting forward female candidates in local government elections. Recently in the North of England and Midlands, 42% of Green Party candidates were women, a clear 9% ahead of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Councillor Thackray commented: ‘The benefit of having women serve political roles is not just an issue of numerical equality. Women MPs address issues of particular concern to their gender but which have huge repercussions for families, such as health, domestic violence and low wages. I am a feminist: I also believe that it does not serve men to have women so poorly represented.’

Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, welcomes the creation of Green Party Women to work in conjunction with an informal group, Women By Name, which has long acted within the party to support and encourage women members to take up prominent roles.

According to Councillor Thackray, ‘The barriers to women entering politics are, bluntly: confidence, culture, childcare and cash. It is in the interests of both men and women to eradicate these barriers.’

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Loughborough Junction Action Group – Get Involved!

The new Loughborough Junction Action Group is holding its next meeting on Monday 16 February at 8pm at the Harry Caddick Centre, 63 Lilford Road (on the corner between Lilford Road and Carew Street).

Anyone local or interested in supporting the Loughborough Junction area is encouraged to go along. The more people who attend the more we'll be able to create change for the area.

  • Current working groups include:
    Promotion, PR, website and visual identity
  • Trees and greenery
  • Public realm, waste and road safety
  • Arts and LJ events
  • Railways and bridges

If you have any suggestions/ thoughts or would like to help out on a specific theme, please contact Elise.

Monday, 9 February 2009

No Education in a Sardine Can!

Lambeth Green Party supported residents of St Martin's Estate, Tulse Hill, in their campaign to stop the Council cramming a new secondary academy school onto the Fenstanton primary school site. Green Party Councillor Becca Thackray protested that crowding nearly 2000 pupils aged 3 -18 into one area would impact negatively on education. Vital green space would be lost, and since academies are run by private sponsors (such as hedge fund managers) the land would pass out of public ownership.

Despite criticism from its own scrutiny committee, the Council has decided to plough ahead with this hugely unpopular scheme.

Charmian Kenner of Lambeth Greens said, "We definitely need a new secondary school in Lambeth but this site is not the answer. Places should be expanded at existing schools while a new site is found. We're also dismayed that the Council did not consult with residents and parents before proposing this disastrous development."

A Living Wage for Lambeth

Lambeth's Green Party councillor, Becca Thackray, has successfully passed a motion to commit the London Borough of Lambeth to paying a ‘Living Wage’ for all its employees.

However, a wrecking amendment put forward by Labour means that the Council can continue underpaying hundreds of staff who work for the Borough as contractors. These include cleaners, security/reception staff and labourers, many of whom are paid much less than regular Council staff.

The original motion stated that, "Lambeth Council reaffirms its support for the establishment of the London Living Wage, set at a level calculated by the Living Wage Unit to avoid the 'working poverty trap' in the capital, a situation affecting around 400,000 Londoners who are paid less than can reasonably fund the basic costs of living in London."

By watering the motion down, Labour have let down precisely those working people who they claim to represent. Their rhetoric about helping the people of Lambeth get through the recession will sound particularly hollow to those earning poverty wages on Labour-run Lambeth contracts.