Friday, 31 January 2014

The extent of collusion of Conservative and Labour groups on councils reiterates the need for a Green alternative

Last night, in an important meeting on Brighton and Hove City Council, the Conservative and Labour groups colluded together as usual. This time, their collusion was on a vote of no confidence in Jason Kitcat's minority Green administration-even though Brighton and Hove council has made some significant improvements to Brighton, and several Brighton and Hove councillors have rightly spoke out against Eric Pickles' twisted version of localism and the callous cuts he has made to local authorities across the nation.

My good friend in Dudley, Will Duckworth, wisely spoke against Dudley Council's austerity budget recently, and also against the severe cuts local councils are facing. The Labour and Conservative councillors on Dudley Council, meanwhile, together voted in favour of a cuts budget. 

There are sadly many councils where Labour and Conservative groups collude together to push neoliberal agendas and misrepresent the people. Cumbria County Council gained some infamy amongst the left for doing so, and in fact I believe such a coalition is continuing. Recently, an independent Labour group formed in Harrow in protest over similar collusion and misrepresentation on Harrow Council, which has traditionally been strong for both Conservative and Labour groups even in bad years for either party.

It is clear that with the Liberal Democrats in serious decline due to them being exposed as just another establishment party, and with UKIP proving to be worse than any of the three major parties on most fronts (not just immigration) and not in contention much in metropolitan areas anyway, the people of Britain should recognise that we Greens can form a real alternative on local councils, and also in Parliament. By electing Greens, we can also help build a movement against the vicious cuts George Osborne, Vincent Cable, and Eric Pickles are forming together, and the total disregard for the environment Owen Paterson is showing.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

On Wythenshawe (again) and other thoughts

Rather interestingly, it has been revealed that neuroscientists have apparently managed to find the conscience within the brain.

They believe they have found it in the neurons of the lateral frontal pole. I however do not believe this, as past psychological evidence has demonstrated that our conscience is formed by our perceptions, our cognitive abilities, our reaction to social situations, and our neurological development. Thus, most of the cerebrum is involved in forming our moral conscience, and that the lateral frontal pole is only a key part of that. Also, in neuropsychology, insecticides similar to DDT have been linked to higher incidences of Alzheimer's disease in those who use them. DDT was banned in the USA in 1972 and many other nations shortly thereafter, but as the onset of Alzheimer's dementia generally does not occur before the age of 70, it is worth mentioning here as the patients studied clearly used it long before it was banned.

On Wythenshawe and Sale East's by-election, now that nominations have closed, I can reveal who exactly which opponents we now face:

John Bickley, UKIP
Captain Chaplington-Smythe (not his real name), OMRLP
Daniel Critchlow, Conservative
Mary Di Mauro, Liberal Democrats
Mike Kane, Labour
Eddy O'Sullivan, BNP

Pity there were no independents or new minor party candidates coming forward at the last minute, as has happened in a few past by-elections of this parliament. Interestingly, our UKIP opponent lives furthest away from the constituency, albeit in Eddisbury,Cheshire,not too far from Manchester but still not in Greater Manchester where the rest of the candidates (ours included) live.





Tuesday, 28 January 2014

How the lords failed to untie the ConDems' gags-also updates on Wythenshawe

Today has been a bad day for British democracy for one very important reason- the failure of the House of Lords to reinsert important amendments to the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, otherwise referred to as the 'gagging law'.

Only two minor amendments (which mean that special advisers will be included in the lobbying part and the somewhat better expenditure caps) made it through- the ConDems overturned every single initial Lords amendment, and the Lords of the ConDems narrowly stopped reinstatement of said amendments- by just 249 to 231 on one hand, and cruelly by a tied vote of 245 to 245 on the other (amendments fall on tied votes). It will now ping pong back to the Commons, but I do not expect even those minor amendments to be retained by this heartless coalition. The other dangerous bill, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, got its third reading in the Lords yesterday, and looms ever closer to Royal Assent.

The so-called Liberal Democrats have proven themselves to be neither liberal nor democratic whilst in office-just a bunch of opportunists seeking power at any cost. There have been more coalition rebels than usual, but not enough in crucial stages. Me and my fellow Greens must now do what we can to help oust both coalition parties from power.

Speaking of Green politics, our candidate for the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election of 13 February 2014 will be Nigel Woodcock. I wish him the best of luck against the many opponents he will face.

Regards, Alan.



Monday, 27 January 2014

My thoughts of the day

A lot of interesting news, for both good and bad reasons, has occurred in the past two days.

First, I find it rather interesting that comedian Rufus Hound will throw his hat into the ring for this year's European elections, on behalf of the National Health Action Party. I am quite surprised he is standing against us Greens, given that NHAP's first electoral candidate was a Green Party member. However, there are likely to be many comedians/comediennes putting themselves forward in the Euro elections, particularly on protest platforms like ANO and the 5 Star Movement.

Secondly, it is astonishing how pervasive the web of sex scandals has become since the relevations about the sickening abuse of children the late Jimmy Savile committed during his many years as a BBC presenter-and it is not just BBC figures being exposed,of course, but many politicians past and present too (especially Liberal Democrat politicians). I sometimes wonder who will be exposed next? Anyway, it is clearly a major symptom of our elitist, unfair society, and revealing more people involved will not prevent a similar scandal occurring in the not too distant future, any more than the Profumo affair did regarding the behaviour of our MPs.
 The entire system needs to be changed, and opened up so that ordinary people can have better chances of rising up the ladder than at present-and that ladder should not have so many rungs.

Thirdly, it is interesting to see who will now come forward in the Wythenshawe and Sale East candidates have been confirmed so far with two days to go until nominations close. Now it just remains for Manchester Green Party to put someone forward.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Why those council tax referendums are important for local government in the UK today

Today, many of my fellow Young Greens came down to Brighton and Hove to help get local support for an upcoming council tax rise referendum (assuming the inconsiderate Labour and Conservative groups on Brighton, who have been colluding to undermine the Green administration, do not block it), which in my opinion will be needed to protect vital services within Brighton. (I would have joined them there but I was preoccupied with a meeting in London at the same time.) Word has it that Brent Council in London (controlled by Labour) plans to hold such a referendum as well.

Since the coalition government took power in May 2010, many local councils in England and Wales have seen their budgets greatly slashed by Eric Pickles , who as Secretary for Local Communities has abusive levels of centralised power over local government finance. Many councils as a result have had to close or privatise important services, and further cuts will mean that they will be unable to perform statutory duties of councils effectively. Since the Thatcherite reforms of the 1980s, local councils have been unable to raise rates or other important finances and have thus been largely at the mercy of central government. Now, councils cannot even raise the council tax above 2% without holding a referendum, but we need to hold it anyway as we have no other means of protecting important services at the moment.

It is clear by now that local government needs more power and more control over its finance, and also the ability to build council homes and seize homes that have been left lying empty for no good reason. We Greens really care about localism-the ConDems do not!



Friday, 24 January 2014

On the Cowdenbeath by-election and other thoughts

Although we did not put forward our own candidate for the Cowdenbeath (Holyrood) by-election, I will nevertheless analyse it. In case you did not already hear, the results of it were as follows:

Alex Rowley (Lab) 11,192 (55.8%), Natalie McGarry (SNP) 5,704 (28.4%), Dave Dempsey (Con) 1,893 (9.45%), Denise Baykal (UKIP) 610 (3.0%), Jade Holden (Lib Dem) 425 (2.1%), Stuart Graham (Victims' Final Right) 187 (0.9%), James Trolland (SDA) 51 (0.25%).

Over the past year, much of the protest vote the SNP gained in 2011 and 2012 to bolster its existing vote base has been falling away, even though there is still strong support for Scottish Independence in many areas. It is not surprising Labour held in this by-election; it was the only Fife seat they did not lose to the SNP in 2011. 

It is not all that surprising that the Liberal Democrat vote fell even further from its weak position (it almost halved!), particularly with the sexual harassment allegations about Lord Rennard and Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock having been prominent news in British media for at least the last week. What I found surprising was that they were pushed into fifth place by UKIP, which is notoriously weak in almost all of Scotland.

The hopeless Scottish Democratic Alliance leader,James Trolland, can at least crow about having received more votes in this by-election than he has in his last three attempts put together (Aberdeen Donside and two Glasgow council by-elections).

In case you ask, I have not covered the two local by-elections that occurred at the same time as neither featured a Green candidate.

I would also like to say that given that the average salary in the UK is £22,000 per year, our MPs, who earn three times this salary per year, should not be receiving taxpayer-subsidised catering at discount prices, and certainly not for rare items most of us do not have access to. I think MPs would find it easier if they just showed some restraint on their spending and tastes.

Finally, I hope we do manage to stand in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election in the end, and this time with our rising support we might save our electoral deposit of £500.

Regards, Alan.



Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Why we Greens need to put ourselves forward in Wythenshawe and Sale East

The Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election of February 2014, caused by the death of its MP Paul Goggins,will be called soon, and deadlines for nominations will come next week.

Here are four very good reasons why my colleagues in the Green Party up in Greater Manchester need to put a candidate forward for this by-election:

1. Standing here allows us to maintain a national profile. For us to present ourselves as Britain's real alternative to not only the ConDems and Labour but also to UKIP, we need to stand in as many Westminster by-elections as possible to give voters the chance to vote Green and for us to be seen as a serious player in British politics. We have a future both inside and outside Brighton.

2. The Barton Moss fracking site is nearby. We Greens need to make sure that this important issue is heard during the short by-election campaign, and make it clear that fracking is not only not a viable solution to Britain's energy needs but also extremely harmful to people and planet, as fracking stories from the USA show.

3. The Manchester City area, which includes Wythenshawe, has many active Greens. Even though it has been a while since the Greens held a council seat in Manchester, we are quite active there and need to show our commitment to helping the people of Manchester. 

4. We will help offer an anti-privatisation, pro-people solution. The issues of recent and upcoming privatisations must be highlighted in this by-election, and Labour who are very likely to win it will ultimately do nothing in the long-term to renationalise services like public transport (both rail and otherwise) or reverse austerity measures, or properly fight for a living wage.

Regards, Alan.

UKIP's (somewhat hidden) hall of shame

There has been more recent news about UKIP foolishness recently, particularly when a UKIP councillor offensively and absurdly claimed that the passing of same-sex marriage legalisation was responsible for the recent floods in Britain. 

Even looking through UKIP's past, before it rose to the prominence it has today, you can see that it was able to attract disgraced politicians, almost always ex-Conservative, from the party's beginnings. Here are just a few prominent examples of the disgraceful politicians that inhabit UKIP's membership list that you may not know are part of UKIP:

Jonathan William Patrick Aitken, the Conservative MP for Thanet for 23 years who later infamously launched a libel trial that failed-he was jailed for 18 months for perjury and ended up bankrupt. His contribution to UKIP seems rather unclear...

John Ernest Douglas Delavalette Browne, the Conservative MP for Winchester from 1979 until 1992, when he had the whip withdrawn for failing to declare crucial business interests. He stood initially as an independent Conservative, doing quite badly on three occasions (1992,1993 and 1997). He has stood for UKIP twice, saving his deposit on each occasion, and his current business background shows he is just as ardent a neoliberal Thatcherite as most 'Kippers'.

Christopher Gill, the Conservative MP for Ludlow from 1987-2001, who is in all likelihood just as old-fashioned and neoliberal as he was when he was in Parliament, notably voting against equal rights and against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords.

 Mostyn Neil Hamilton, arguably the most infamous of this 'hidden' list. He was MP for Tatton from 1983-1997 and was one of the nastiest Conservative MPs of the Thatcher era, and his involvement in corruption with Mohammed Al-Fayed led to his famous defeat by Martin Bell. He was later declared bankrupt after failed libel action, and faded into obscurity until he was elected to UKIP's executive committee three years ago.

Roger Knapman, former leader of UKIP (from 2002-2006) and Stroud's MP from 1987 to 1997. In all fairness, he is not as bad as the others on this list of shame, but still....

Winston Truman McKenzie, a flittering and unsuccessful career politician who switched parties many times in the space of a few years before he joined UKIP. His campaign in the Croydon North by-election was notorious for his homophobic comments.

Piers Rolf Garfield Merchant (deceased), who just after uncomfortably holding on to his seat of Beckenham in 1997 ended up resigning after being caught in a sex scandal; the resulting by-election nearly saw Labour taking the seat. 

There are others I could name of course, but it highlights the fact that UKIP has been disgraceful almost ab ovo -no wonder its first leader, Alan Sked, left it only a few years after its formation.  

It is clear that UKIP's dangerous,racist,xenophobic message must be countered, in this year's European elections and beyond, and shining more light onto what it really is will help in our goal of halting UKIP's rise and showing people the real alternative to the LibLabCons,I believe. 



Monday, 20 January 2014

The shocking level of global wealth inequality is a direct result-and intention-of neoliberal capitalism

Today, it was recently reported by Oxfam, and quoted by the Guardian and the Independent , that the richest 85 people in the world have wealth equivalent to half of the worlds' population-that is 3.5 billion people. 

There is a simple explanation for how this appalling level of wealth inequality has happened- the greed of neoliberalism.

During the period of the post-war consensus of 1945-1980, wealth inequality was decreasing in many developed nations at least, and after former African and Asian colonies gained independence, a few were initially able to make significant economic growth.

After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1972 and the oil crisis of 1973, all that changed.

One of the first key steps to reverse the Keynesian consensus, as I call it, was for the CIA to help army officials overthrow socialist Chilean president Salvador Allende on 11 September 1973 and install Augusto Pinochet, whose dictatorial regime was the first instance of neoliberal economics being imposed on a nation. In fact, for several decades, the USA used its wealth to pressure Central and South American nations to conform to its free-market model and thus ease exploitation of these nations by US-based companies, in line with the infamous Monroe Doctrine.

Then, over the course of a few years, the imperialist International Monetary Fund changed its rules to tip the economic balance more in favour of developed nations and also cause growing African and South American economies to spiral downwards. Many of these nations are still paying debts to the IMF they cannot hope to pay off completely for the foreseeable future.

After the growth of neoliberalism starting from the early 1980s following the elections of Thatcher, Reagan and Kohl, which spread across the developed world, income inequality started to rise rapidly , especially in Britain and the USA, and so far, it is still rising.

This Oxfam statement , and other examples of what neoliberalism has done, makes it clear how much we need to support a green and socialist alternative, in Britain and elsewhere, and help people supporting such an alternative get elected. We all need to work together to bring an end to the neoliberal consensus across the world, as soon as possible, before its greed and recklessness ends up destroying human society as we know it.



Saturday, 18 January 2014

My opinion of London's European Green Primary Hustings

Ladies and gentlemen, there is still time to vote in the European Green Primary-you have until 28 January 2014. Please vote via this link:

I viewed today's hustings in London and this is my opinion of the four contenders, who are Jose Bove, Monica Frassoni, Rebecca Harms, and Ska Keller:

All four contenders did very well on the green issues front, but I must say that Ska Keller performed best here and was most consistent and sensible throughout the debate, and thus she gets my vote first.

Monica Frassoni I would place second. Although like Ska, she expressed useful knowledge thanks partly to her personal experiences of environmental issues and democratic debate in Italy, she seemed somewhat too pro-EU for me to give her my vote first, although her efforts are very commendable indeed.

Rebecca Harms did not seem that confident or articulate compared to Ska,Monica and Jose, although that is likely because she was unable to appear personally and had to address the audience via Skype; there were some distracting sounds in the area she was Skyping from. Nevertheless, she stuck to the point and was able to get the right message across overall.

Jose Bove would get my vote last, albeit only by a very small margin. He is experienced and well-versed in environmental politics, although the fact he is more comfortable speaking his native French than English (he can speak both well,of course) and also his particular green position ('not left, not right, but forward', basically) does not appeal much to an ecosocialist like myself.

Now though, readers, which of the four would you vote for to lead the European Greens in this year's European elections?

Regards, Alan. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

By-election results from 9/1/14 and 16/1/14-also other thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you have not heard yet, here are January's local by-election results involving Green candidates:

Tonbridge and Malling DC, Borough Green and Long Mill: Ind (Mike Taylor): 692 (38.9%), Con 588 (33.0%), UKIP 349 (19.6%), Lab 84 (4.7%), Green 68 (3.8%).

Trafford MBC, Broadheath: Lab 1377 (44.6%), Con 1258 (40.8%), UKIP 234 (7.6%), Lib Dem 150 (4.9%),Green 67 (2.2%).

The Trafford contest has seen some of the lowest local by-election swings (and for all parties that contested as well) I have seen in over a year, particularly as the UKIP vote was squeezed (as was ours) about by the tense Labour-Conservative battle that often goes on in Trafford contests-Trafford is one of only two Conservative-controlled boroughs (the other is Solihull, where we Greens have strong support) but nonetheless has significant Labour support as well. By contrast, many metropolitan councils are Labour strongholds through and through.

There are sadly no other local by-elections this month which we Greens are contesting, but I will cover the Cowdenbeath (Scottish Parliament) by-election anyway.

In other news, I am glad the disciplinary case against the 'Sussex 5' students has collapsed after Sussex deputy vice-chancellor, Michael Davies, stepped down when accused of political bias in the case. However, the case still has not concluded, and thus I ask you to keep supporting the Sussex 5 until they are finally cleared.


The BBC is clearly biased, and in the wrong direction

I have just finished watching Question Time, and it was clear that ultimately, the three major parties of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative are all colluding in support of fracking and other pro-neoliberal issues. (note: although Tim Farron argued against fracking, he is the exception rather than the rule in his party)

The BBC and David Dimbleby (QT's long-serving host) are also on their side, which explains why in this particular environmental debate, the Green Party were unfairly not invited to be on the Question Time panel even though fracking is an important and current environmental problem.

Many say that the BBC either has a left-wing bias or can be trusted because it is publicly funded. Neither of these rumours are true-the BBC has a right-wing, pro-establishment bias, despite putting up the pretence of being fair and impartial much of the time.

This has started to become more evident within the last three years, and in particular since the death of the now-notorious Jimmy Savile, and the revelations of sexual abuse committed by prominent BBC television/radio stars such as former DJ Dave Lee Travis, which they have been less willing to shed light on compared to newspapers such as The Independent and The Guardian. And, like the right-wing media, it gives excessive coverage to the Royal Family and their private affairs e.g. the news they are about to tour Canada, which many British people have done already, and also gives enormous payouts to departing executives for no good reason.

Therefore, I believe we should try and help our public broadcasting service-because for fairness' sake, public media needs to exist and to thrive-move towards a more cooperative model, to hold it more to account so that our licence fee is used responsibly, and end those golden goodbyes.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

The so-called 'free market' is neither free nor fair in reality

Ever wondered what the truths about the so-called 'free market' are?

The free market has been championed by most mainstream politicians for the last 30 years as 'good for the economy' and 'necessary' and 'efficient'. Greens and socialists like me oppose it vigorously simply because we know the truth:

Not only are these myths untrue, the free market is also neither free nor fair, as its progress has shown.

What the expansion of the free market across most of this world has actually done is, within market sectors, concentrated economic power into the hands of a few oligarchic corporations, who essentially share the same agenda as each other-to maximise profits at the expense of people and planet. In many markets there is no real choice-Britain's energy market is a prime example, with six energy companies controlling 99% of household energy, which is essential in our modern society. This is even more true when public services end up getting sold off to private companies, who are fundamentally incapable of running them properly no matter what they try.

Freedom in the free market only exists for the rich owners and shareholders.

By contrast, in fair trade, all who partake in a fair trade enterprise (e.g. a cooperative) will benefit in some way, and fair trade also considers social and environmental impacts, which free trade ultimately never does.

Given the increasing encroachment of artificial climate change, and the fact that billions of people go hungry and thirsty because of the inherent inequality of free trade and agribusiness, our society must undergo a transition to fair trade, on a global scale, before it is too late. Transnational agribusinesses like Monsanto and Syngenta are not only trying to pepper all agriculture with genetically modified organisms, but are also pressuring governments to patent seeds and stop the growing of non-patented seeds. We all need to fight back-now. More information about this can be found via Save our Seeds, Friends of the Earth, and other organisations that support fair trade and organic agriculture, as well as the living wage in Britain and elsewhere.



Sunday, 12 January 2014

On past and present war criminals

Ladies and gentlemen, it has come to my attention that former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, responsible for the deaths of thousands of Palestinians not only in Israel but also in Lebanon during his political career, has died aged 85, after spending eight years in a persistent vegatative state.

Also, a dossier on the grievous abuse by UK and US forces within the illegal invasion of Iraq has now reached the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This will hopefully mean that leading British and American politicians responsible for this illegal war will finally be brought to justice...sometime,anyway.

It is clear that the International Criminal Court needs to focus on all war crimes and all crimes against humanity-not just those committed by African and Asian nations but also by the wealthier nations of the Western Hemisphere, responsible in the past for the imperial colonialism that allowed sectarian conflicts to fester in many of the nations they colonised.

My message to the ICC is this: do not delay in dispensing fair justice, no matter who the war criminals may be or where they may have come from.



Friday, 10 January 2014

Careless cuts cost lives! (and a few other thoughts)

It was reported that as a result of cuts to emergency services in London, imposed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, 10 fire stations were forced to close, including notably Clerkenwell Fire Station, which had served Londoners well for 140 years previously.

Also, there have been significant cuts to the probation service in the past, and also the transferral of tagging services from public to private providers, the problems of which were highlighted last year when G4S and Serco committed fraud by tagging non-existent or dead offenders.

I of course oppose the ConDems' cuts as a whole, but I feel that I need to highlight these cuts in particular because cuts to the emergency services and probation services, and/or privatisation of either, puts public safety- and people's lives- at risk.

No matter how well a private provider's intentions may be, private companies cannot run public services effectively, because they are simply not designed to do so. Public services are created based on need-private services are created based on profitability and desire.

On another note, I would like to say that following on from the wrongful verdict of 'lawful killing' in the Mark Duggan case (even though Mark was unarmed the moment he was shot by police in 2011) that it is serious intrinsic flaws within the police that have meant despite many unlawful suspect deaths as a result of police activity, no police officer has been prosecuted in a single case for at least 20 years. For the sake of the public, the Metropolitan police in particular must face up to serious reform-and soon.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

News from Greater Manchester and other thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are wondering, the polar vortex in the USA is still ongoing, as are flood warnings within England. 

As for political news, the first local by-election of this year concluded as follows:

Salford, South Swinton: Lab 661 (45.1%), Con 298 (20.3%), UKIP 215 (14.7%), Green 196 (13.4%), English Democrats 54 (3.7%), TUSC 43 (2.9%).

It is rather unfortunate that our candidate, Joe O'Neill,slipped from second place in 2012 to fourth here, partly due to the intervention of UKIP (who will still be able to hoover up anti-LibLabCon protest votes locally) and also TUSC; the latter party frequently splits our votes in metropolitan areas.

Also, the Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, Paul Goggins, has sadly died, aged 60, a week after he collapsed during a run. Many have paid tributes to him for his kindness and hard work during the nearly 17 years he spent as MP.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is being read at report stage today in the House of Lords, so please persuade peers you know to stop this dangerous bill. It is wrong in principle-watering it down will do no good ultimately.


UPDATE: The House of Lords defeated the aforementioned Bill by 306-178. A victory for common sense!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Polar vortexes and high floods in temperature areas-more on what climate change could do to us

It was reported only yesterday that the northern part of the USA was experiencing a polar vortex, causing temperatures in some places to drop as low as -50 degrees Celsius-lower than the lowest temperatures of the Arctic Ocean, and cold enough to be life threatening to humans and to generally grind much of everyday human activity to an abrupt halt.

Worse still, this polar vortex is causing the floods that heavily hit much of Britain's south coast to worsen, with waves higher than 10 metres expected in the southwest of England in particular. Quite a few people have already died as a result of these floods-more could follow.

Readers, did any of you see 'The Day After Tomorrow'? If not, please search for it online. If you have, you can now see in retrospect that it clearly had a good point to demonstrate to us about the potential consequences of artificial climate change.

At the same time, the ConDems are failing to adequately invest in flood defence improvements and environmental protection, both of which will be increasingly important in coming years. The halting of the artificial climate change which is causing these storms will need international action, not just within Europe but also across continents.

Otherwise, it is not just lifestyles that will be altered by the effects of artificial climate change and global temperature increase, but our lives as well. And 'altered' will also in fact mean 'ended' in many cases.



Sunday, 5 January 2014

We must safeguard the land in the long-term if we are to survive

The Environment Secretary (or rather the anti-environment secretary), Owen Paterson, is continuing his complete disregard for Britain's natural environment by proposing 'biodiversity offsets', where ancient trees are felled for development whilst planting new trees to attempt to compensate. The HS2 project, if eventually built, will add insult to injury in this regard.

This news comes at the same time of reports of southern parts of Britain facing the worst floods in more than 20 years. The felling of trees, the draining of marshlands, and damage to bogs, just for development purposes, will adversely increase the impact of these floods to urban/semi-urban areas in future.

My message to Britain's worst environment secretary for decades is this: our ancient woodlands and other natural areas took centuries to develop, and thus cannot be replaced by 'biodiversity offsets'; though trees are easy to plant, many will take decades, even centuries, to grow to maturity. Natural trees are important for absoprtion of carbon dioxide emissions and also for protection of grasslands, pasture etc. from flooding. Tony Juniper is right (he recently commented on this in The Independent)-these areas must be sacronsanct, for the good of nature and also the good of humanity. 

It is clear in other parts of the world that when land degradation and deforestation has occurred on a significant scale, and also as greenhouse gas and chemical emissions continue to rise, have disrupted stable weather patterns and left many people vulnerable to natural disasters.

I thus need to stress once again our ultimate dependence on a stable environment, and thus limit development so that it does not encroach on areas of natural beauty, take greater action against companies with little or no regard for nature or people's land, and also try our best to restore life to land that has lost it, and also take further steps towards a carbon-neutral society so that meteorological patterns are no longer distorted to the extent they are now.



Saturday, 4 January 2014

My short tribute to Phil Everly

Phil Everly, half of the once-famous duo the Everly Brothers, has sadly died.

I give my tributes to him for his great work in the early stages of the popular music era, and in particular his love song, 'All I Have To Do Is Dream', which in my opinion is one of the most romantic songs ever created in pop music.

Furthermore, he and his brother Don (who is still alive) managed 19 top 40 hits during their active years and importantly proved an inspiration for many great bands of the 1960s, notably including the Beatles, Beach Boys, and the Byrds, and future pop musicians. Although the duo split up 40 years ago, their songs are still remembered today.

Thus, I give my thanks and farewell to him.

In memory of Phillip Everly, born 19 January 1939, blues and country musician, who departed this life 3 January 2014, aged 74 years.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

European Green Parties are on the up :)

With the European elections of this year less than five months away, and with this year's Euro elections being the most important for many years, let us hear an update on how Green Parties across Europe are currently polling: (note this is based on polls for upcoming parliamentary elections for the respective nation in each case)

Austrian Greens: 13% approximately (last Austrian parliamentary election was as recent as September 2013)
Belgian Greens: 6.3%/4.8% (Flemish and French sections respectively)
Bulgarian Greens: 1-2%.
Cypriot Greens: 3%.
Czech Greens: 3%.
Danish Red-Green alliance:11%.
Estonian Greens: 3%.
Finnish Greens: 8.2%.
German Greens: 10%.
Ecologist Greens (Greek): 2%.
Hungarian Greens (aka Politics Can Be Different):4%.
Irish Greens: 2-3%.
Left Ecology Freedom (includes Italian Greens): 3.1%.
Union of Greens and Farmers (includes Latvian Green Party):approximately 12%.
Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union (closest equivalent): 3.5%.
Luxembourg Greens: 10-11% (recent general election)
Democratic Alternative (Malta): 2%.
Groenlinks (Netherlands): 3.8%
Portuguese Ecologists (aligned with Portuguese Communists):11.2%.
Romanian Greens: 1-2%.
Youth Party (Slovenia): 1-2%.
EQUO (Spain): 2% (also, other regional parties of Spain incorporate Green politics e.g. Initiative for Catalonia Greens).
Swedish Greens: 11.2%.
UK Greens: Expected to poll 10-12% in European elections.

Sorry if I could not provide information for all the Green Parties of the EU; I was not always able to obtain reliable polling information.

The results show nonetheless that we are on the up in Europe overall-which will be very important when it comes to electing enough Green MEPs to stop the European Parliament approving dangerous 'free trade agreements', especially TTIP. It also will not be long before we, the European Green Party, select our candidate for European Commission President. If you are a Green, there is still time to vote in the Green Primary-please vote!

I am also glad that left-wing parties in Europe are on the rise as well compared to the last European elections of 2009, which will also be helpful in the task above. I am a Green first,though,despite being a socialist Green, which is why I have listed polling figures for European Green Parties only.

Best wishes, Alan.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome to 2014!

Well, I hope as many of you stayed up to watch the New Year's fireworks, in case you were not in London to see them in person as many amongst the great British public were.

Like many people, I am glad to leave 2013 in the past, so turbulent it was.

There are many threats we all face in 2014, in Britain and elsewhere, most notable of which is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aka the EU-US free trade agreement. If you do not already know about it by now or how dangerous it will be, please search for it on Google or another reliable search engine. We need to work together to stop this agreement ever being approved.

Let us make this year the year we finally turn back the neoliberal tide, and thus work towards a better and more compassionate future.