Friday, 28 March 2014

Local by-election results (27/03/2014) and other thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen, in case you have not already heard, the latest local by-election results involving Green candidates were as follows:

East Ayrshire, Kilmarnock North (1st preference votes): SNP 1334 (45.1%), Lab 1130 (38.2%), Con 430 (14.6%), Green 61 (2.1%).

Fylde, St. John's: Ratepayers 804 (65.7%), Con 205 (16.7%), UKIP 100 (8.2%), Lib Dem 62 (5.1%), Green 53 (4.3%).

Oxfordshire, Chalgrove and Watlington: Con 871 (41.8%), Lib Dem 629 (30.2%), UKIP 311 (14.9%), Lab 159 (7.6%), Green 116 (5.6%).

Sunderland, St. Anne's: Lab 945 (48.1%), UKIP 555 (28.2%), Con 345 (17.6%), Green 120 (6.1%).

It is interesting to note that the Kilmarnock North by-election is the first time the SNP have held or gained a ward in a by-election since 2011. Also notable are the large swing in Fylde from Conservative to Ratepayers' Association, and the significant swing in Chalgrove and Wallington from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats.

I was surprised that our vote share decreased in the St. Anne's ward, especially as our candidate Emily Blyth (a notable Sunderland green activist and the fiancee of internationally renowned ecosocialist Derek Wall) is a useful campaigner-I suspect that it is due to UKIP taking protest votes that went to us in this ward last time around.

On other notes, I would like to thank everyone who was able to come down to Westminster to pay their last respects to Tony Benn. We will keep the red flag (and the green flag) flying across the land for the people of Britain for him, and continue our struggle against the wealthy elite that is ruining our nation and the world for that matter.

I finally need to say that ATOS' decision to end its contract to carry out WCAs early does not mean we can let it escape justice for its past crimes against thousands and thousands of people with disabilities. It is in any case the concept of WCAs that need to be scrapped and also that we need to instead find an alternative that can actually help people with disabilities and mental health problems, rather than driving them to suicide as ATOS' actions have done to so many.

Alan.

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Strikes, Lies and Politics

Earlier today, many teachers and associated educators across the nation helped stage an NUT-coordinated strike, in protest against the disastrous education policies of Education Secretary Michael Gove. I would like to thank all of you who came out in solidarity to support them, and to fight back against free schools and academisation and show our nation that there is a cooperative and useful alternative for education of our children. 

On Channel Four at 7.55 pm tonight, Tim Farron, the President of the Liberal Democrats, presented a Liberal Democrat European elections broadcast, which was brazenly deceitful. First of all, Britain and the rest of the world does not need more growth-it needs wealth distribution and a cooperative economy which is environmentally sustainable. Secondly, the Liberal Democrats have not helped create a stronger economy or a fairer society-they have helped the Conservatives make our economy and society even more unfair than it got under the Blair years, and with more money being sucked up by parasitic bankers and bosses. Thirdly, Mr. Farron does not mention even once in the five-minute broadcast the severe democratic deficit within the EU, or the threat of TTIP that will allow corporations to override democratically elected governments simply in pursuit of profit.

Since Channel Four has not allocated the Green Party a Political Slot broadcast this week for some unfair reason as it has done to the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP, I wish to remind you all that we Greens have our main three yeses for Europe- yes to staying in and reforming Europe, yes to a referendum and upholding democracy, and yes to major reform in Europe that is needed more than ever.

Alan.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Thoughts of this most dismal of days

Today, the 24th of March 2014 Anno Domini, will go down in the history of the 21st century in many nations-for all the wrong reasons.

Firstly, as was sadly predicted by many, in French local elections the extreme-right Front National (FN) made sweeping gains in many French town halls, capturing notably the town of Heinn Beaumont (a depressed industrial town similar to parts of the Belgian province of Wallonia in many ways) outright as well as many small towns dotted around France. Despite the fact that the FN's leader Marine Le Pen, has not actually moved away from its racist, anti-Semtiic, homophobic rhetoric, the FN could still top the polls in France in the European elections as a result of protest votes, some of which are coming from supporters of the Parti Socialiste (PS) led by Francois Hollande, whose ratings as French President are at a terrible 23% at this time of writing.

Secondly, the so-called Justice Secretary (more like the Injustice Secretary!), Chris Grayling, has now used his powers to ban prisoners in the UK from receiving books from outside (and also other important parcels except under 'exceptional circumstances'), even though forensic psychological evidence has proved beyond reasonable doubt that reading helps strongly with offender rehabilitation, especially given the fact that literacy and education rates are much poorer amongst prison populations in Britain and elsewhere. This outrageous and vindictive move has been rightly criticised by some of Britain's best known writers, including Anthony Horowitz, Mark Haddon, Susan Hill and Phillip Pullman. I ask you all to find petitions asking Mr. Grayling to reverse this move and sign them, and share them.

Thirdly, when I had hope that the people aboard Flight MH370 had somehow survived far away from the plane's destination of Beijing, satellite reports have confirmed that it has crashed into the Indian Ocean west of Australia with no survivors amongst the passengers or crew. Given that the location that Flight MH370 crashed into was south of Kuala Lampur, Malaysia (where it departed), and that Beijing is north of Malaysia, the loss of contact in flight, the fact there would be no reason for the plane to divert from its route to make a fuel stop as Beijing is not so far from Kuala Lampur (the ETA of MH370 for Beijing was 5 hours 40 minutes from the ETD at Kuala Lampur,according to reports) and evidence that passengers with stolen passports got on board the flight, I can safely say that Flight MH370 was definitely hijacked, almost certainly by the two people with the stolen passports who along with 237 innocent people have now died. I give my condolences to the families of the people who were aboard this lost flight.

Finally, and shockingly, 529 people in total have been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court for the murder of a police officer, even though during the absurdly short 2 hour trial the defendants were not allowed into the court and nor were their defence lawyers. It shows most clearly the shocking deterioration into a military dictatorship Egypt has fallen into, worse than even the hated and corrupt Mubarak regime that was overthrown in the Arab Spring.

Hopefully the rest of this week will get better,surely.

Regards, Alan.

 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Two months to go-how we are faring in European election polls

With two months to go before election day, it can be said that the European election campaign in all nations of the EU is now almost in full swing, and there is a tense contest, apparently, between the two more prominent European President candidates, Jean-Claude Juncker (PM of Luxembourg for almost 19 years until recently) and Martin Schulz of the European Union's 'neoliberal triad' of the European People's Party, the Socialists and Democrats, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (EPP, S&D, and ALDE).

Meanwhile, we Greens are faring well in some parts of Europe (e.g. Spain and Portugal) but elsewhere we find our voters often shifting to parties belonging to the European United Left group, as shown in France and Denmark at least. In Italy, the Left Ecology Freedom (SEL) group has wisely made an alliance with the Tsipras List aka The Other Europe in the hope of getting representation. We should nevertheless keep up the good work and help the Green vision spread across Europe, and even in a few nations where European Green Party members cannot get significant representation, helping the respective European United Left member will mean that there is counterplay to the neoliberal capitalist agenda that pervades the European Union. The picture is of course still being complicated by the rising support of non-inscrit (NI) parties, many of which lie on the far-right of the political spectrum; the rest are generally populist protest movements like the 5 Star Movement of Italy and ANO of the Czech Republic. Also, in light of the removal of the threshold in Germany for European Parliament elections earlier this month, national thresholds in other nations of the EU should also be lowered to that of the Netherlands (i.e. only enough votes for one full seat required).

Alan.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Please help us combat the racist right-especially with upcoming Euro elections

In case you do not already know or need reminding, there is an anti-racism demonstration tomorrow in Trafalgar Square, London, at which notably Natalie Bennett and Jean Lambert will be speaking. I would like as many of you as possible,please, to come along; I am unfortunately busy in St. Albans that day, for those of you wondering whether I will be able to make it.

On this note, I am sorry to say that many parties that belong to what I term the 'racist right' (some of whom, like Golden Dawn and Jobbik, are true neo-Nazi parties rather than racist right-wing populists in the manner of Geert Wilder's Party for Freedom) are still polling relatively well in several European nations, such as France, Sweden,and Denmark, amongst others, partly due to protest votes against the three main European Parliament groups (EPP, S&D, and ALDE) whose member parties within national governments have been responsible for implementing vicious austerity policies. 

We, the Greens, contrary to what much of the right-wing media is trying to spin, know that their wealthy friends and the whole neoliberal dogma that has corrupted most of Europe are responsible for the problems many Europeans face, not immigration, and thus our alternative will help combat austerity and help make our society more progressive not just in terms of ethnicity but also on other equality issues-these racist right parties are also sexist, homophobic, and disablist, whatever their views on religious groups. On the other hand, we care about all people regardless of whom they are, and also about protecting our environment and our fellow creatures.

Alan.



 

 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

On the 2014 budget-and what a better 2014 budget should be like

As you know, George Osborne announced his latest budget, which will continue to hurt ordinary people just as he and his colleagues have done during this Parliament. I can clearly say that those small concessions (a rise in the tax-free allowance, bingo and beer duty being cut by small amounts, and a rise in fuel duty being cancelled) are not real conessions at all. In particular, the changes affecting ISAs will just widen inequalities further and those extra loans that will be taken out in the 2014 budget will end up largely funding the export arms industry. This budget will in any case just continue the worsening ConDems' austerity and keep making life harder and harder for society's most vulnerable.

I am glad therefore that there was a good turnout to hand in the 'People's Budget', sponsored by the People's Assembly Against Austerity, to Downing Street, and I am pleased to say that in 48 hours we collected 4,000 signatures for it.

As for a better 2014 budget, here are five important things that should happen in order to get Britain back on track:

1. First of all, reverse the shocking levels of inequality Britain has. This can be done not only by reintroducing the 50p tax rate, it can also be done by restoring EMA, scrapping tuition fees (graduates bring very useful skills indeed), and by making sure both private and public sector workplaces have fair pay ratios of not more than 10:1.

2. Tackle the recklessness of the bankers and bosses. It was their greed, after all, that caused the worldwide economic recession in the first place. However, they still blackmail us into bailing them out at our expense and they still raise their salaries and bonuses often by ludicrous amounts. Bankers' bonuses need to be capped and employers' greed should not be rewarded, via for example, workfare programmes or a failure to enforce the living wage as opposed to the current minimum wage.


3. Invest in green jobs. Britain has considerable green jobs potential because its rivers can be useful for generating hydroelectric power, for example, and wind farms can be useful on Britain's west coast as well. Britain, and the rest of the world, must phase out reliance on fossil fuel-based jobs as soon as possible, not only because fossil fuel reserves are dwindling but also for environmental reasons.

4. Reverse the negative housing trends. Extension of 'Help to Buy' will just reinflate the housing bubble and if implemented could end up causing a housing crash similar to the one that befell Ireland in 2008, with disastrous results. 'Right to Buy' also not only needs to be ended, but reversed, and we need to make sure houses and flats are treated as homes and not as investments or cash cows.

5. Scrap Trident-and other dangerous weapons Britain does not need. Needless to say, the Trident programme needs to be scrapped without delay-Britain does not need nuclear weapons and nor does any nation for that matter-the Cold War is long since over. Britain should also stop wasting money on exporting arms, especially to nations like Saudi Arabia or Israel, as this only funds human rights abuses and further destructive wars.

Regards, Alan.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Thoughts of the day that I turn 23

Ladies and gentlemen, I turned 23 years of age today.

Two days ago, Serbia had an early Parliamentary election. This resulted in the Serbian Progressive Party, which is centre-right and pro-European, gaining a majority of seats in Serbia's legislative assembly (158 out of 250), with many of its newer voters coming from the former voters of the centrist Democratic Party of Serbia. The Socialist Party of Serbia, meanwhile, retained the 44 seats it had in 2012. One positive note about this early election was that the Serbian Greens entered the assembly with 18 seats, thanks to help from the New Democratic Party which it merged with and which commits to green politics. 

Also, it has recently been noted by Oxfam that just five extraordinarily wealthy families are alone worth more than the poorest 20% of Britain's population, in yet another revelation about the growing and shocking inequality in the UK-one of the top 10 wealthiest nations on Earth. I hope this and other news will inspire you to come out to Downing Street tomorrow evening (if you can) at 6 pm and march against George Osborne's latest, worst yet austerity budget.

Finally, a United Nations Climate Change report that is due to be published soon reveals that the global warming that could happen unless we act to halt artificial climate change could seriously damage food and water security, could cause serious economic damage (2% reduction in the global economy at least), and could end up destroying unique landscapes which will end up flooded by sea level rises- and the scales they predict are rather optimistic (a global temperature rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius or more will do more damage than the report expects). I worry that this in turn will lead to feared 'water wars' which could potentially claim the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. 

Alan.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Will modern Europe as we know it splinter apart?

There has been a lot of talk about independence/separation referenda across Europe that have occurred or will occur this year. The referenda in question being Crimean separation from Ukraine, Scottish Independence from the rest of Britain, Catalonian independence from Spain, and most recently, Venice from the rest of Italy.

It is also known that the worldwide economic recession has been a major factor behind some of these referenda, especially in Catalonia which among Spanish provinces is suffering a lot under Mariano Rajoy's neoliberal, Troika-assisted regime. 

As Europe's population continues to grow, many federal states that have traditionally had a strong regional identity within their own nations, such as Bavaria (and to a lesser extent Schleswig-Holstein) in Germany, and Scotland in the UK, are generally becoming more and more resentful of their lack of sufficient autonomy, particularly in economic and environmental matters. These four upcoming referenda are, I am sure, just the start of a chain of events that will over the course of the next few decades cause most European nations to either split apart or at least lose important regions- they are not just coincidental.

 What are your thoughts on this matter,ladies and gentlemen?

Regards, Alan.

 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

My tribute to Tony Benn

As you know, yesterday, Tony Benn, one of the greatest left-wing politicians in British history (some say the greatest and most principled) passed away.

Throughout his long history of activism, he was a staunch radical who stuck to his principles and spoke for the people when it was right and necessary. Within the nearly 50 years he spent in Parliament, he campaigned for a better Britain, for the abolition of monarchy (which we need now more than ever) ,for Britain to oppose apartheid, for Labour to truly turn socialist, and successfully for peers to disclaim peerages,as he famously did so himself in 1963 to reclaim his seat of Bristol South East (now split via Bristol East and Bristol South). He also achieved a lot throughout his years in various cabinet posts in the late 1960s and late 1970s

Even when he retired from Parliament in 2001, he still remained a prominent activist for the 13 years until his death, prominently via Stop the War coalition and lastly the Coalition of Resistance and People's Assembly Against Austerity. The People's Assembly Against Austerity in London last year was the only time I heard him speak in person, and I sadly never got the chance to converse with him before his death, as many of my fellow Greens did.

I give my farewell to Tony thus, and give this message to you: remember him and his principles, and as he did, enter politics to do what is right and necessary, and to achieve what you believe needs to be achieved, and not to be just a career politician.

In memory of Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn, formerly Viscount Stansgate, prominent Labour MP and left-wing activist, born 3 April 1925, who departed this life on 14 March 2014, aged 88 years.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Local by-election results (12/3/14 and 13/3/14) and other news

Ladies and gentlemen, local by-election results from 12th and 13th March are as follows:

Hampshire, Petersfield Butser: Con 1156 (37.3%), UKIP 720 (23.2%), Lib Dem 685 (22.1%), Lab 322 (10.7%), Green 220 (7.1%).

Canterbury, Barham Downs: Lib Dem 337 (37.3%), Con 285 (31.5%), UKIP 164 (18.1%), Lab 78 (8.6%), Green 40 (4.4%).

Luton, Farley: Lab 1232 (72.5%), UKIP 226 (13.3%), Con 154 (9.1%), Lib Dem 46 (2.7%), Green 41 (2.4%).

In Canterbury, our vote was squeezed by the fact that we were the only opposition to the ConDems in this ward in 2011; this time Labour and UKIP stood and probably helped the Liberal Democrats regain this ward. As for Petersfield Butser...nothing much happened (the swings were very low). Another interesting by-election report is of the Liberal Democrats gaining a Ludlow ward by a surprisingly large swing, given their terrible reputation across most of the nation.

In more important news, one of the greatest left-wing politicians of all time, Tony Benn, has sadly died, aged 88, just three days after the death of Bob Crow. I will be posting a tribute to him and all the hard work he did in due course. 

Alan.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Laid bare: The Liberal Democrats' latest acts of stooge-ism

Ladies and gentlemen, despite what they have lost as a result of their collusion with the Conservatives on almost every important issue this Parliament, the Liberal Democrats have yet again acted as pro-free market stooges to the Conservatives and will do so again-and this time, it is getting serious.

On the evening of Monday 10th, almost all the Liberal Democrat MPs (with one exception, Greg Mulholland) present in the House of Commons sided with the Conservatives on the infamous new clause 119 of the Health and Social Care Act, which will allow the Secretary of State for Health to close down hospitals 'if a neighbouring trust is struggling financially' without any proper consultation or scrutiny. As for health minister Paul Burstow's attempt to amend it (when the clause needed to be scrapped altogether), that failed miserably and Mr. Burstow himself did not even vote in the lobby for his own amendment!

Also, a leaked memo from the Lib Dems has revealed on how they plan to attack the Greens in the Euro elections by claiming that opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will cost thousands of British jobs (in fact, evidence shows that free trade agreements which TTIP is based on are costing even more jobs) and also that the TTIP will add £10,000,000,000 to the UK economy. What we can reveal is that TTIP completely undermines democracy by stacking the odds in favour of corporations and that TTIP's effects will actually make some current Liberal Democrat policies impossible to implement in practice in light of the investor-state dispute settlement clause. 

In light of these two pieces of important news, if the Liberal Democrats do indeed suffer a wipe-out at the European elections this May as Tim Farron (their president) fears, it will be exactly what they deserve, and I hope that will consequently quicken this rotten coalition's downfall.

Alan.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

My tribute to Bob Crow

Bob Crow, the leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' Union, or RMT, suddenly died today, aged just 52. It has been confirmed now that a heart attack was the cause of his death (updated). This came to me as a great shock when I first heard about it, and I will miss him and his activism on London's streets.

Bob Crow was first elected RMT leader in 2002 following the death of Jimmy Knapp. In the nearly 12 years he led RMT, he was a resourceful, faithful, and determined leader who wanted to make sure that his colleagues got what they needed in this often dangerous and harrowing work sector. He was also able to ensure he was thorn in the side of the right-wing capitalist elite, and most of all, London Mayor Boris Johnson. Despite the perceived extremism of some of his views, he still got the job done and fought for the members and workers of RMT when it was needed. 

I ask you all to remember his legacy, and continue to fight to bring our railways and other public transport back into public hands, away from the private operators Bob fought against so often. Remember, the future is in all our hands, not just those of one great hero. I would like to thank everyone, particularly the Green Party, who has paid tributes to him so far.

In memory of Bob Crow, leader of RMT from 2002-2014 and left-wing activist, born 13 June 1961, who departed this life on 11 March 2014, aged 52 years.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The effects of the worsening human rights situation in Britain

Yesterday, whilst some of you were busy, possibly attending the demonstration outside the Liberal Democrats' conference in York, I attended the East Anglia Amnesty International UK conference in the cathedral city of Ely, Cambridgeshire. Although much of the focus of that conference was on the rights of asylum seekers and immigrants in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, it highlights how much worse the human rights situation has got in Britain. 

Since the coalition government took office in May 2010:

- Larger numbers of young people are being shut out of further and higher education simply because of their circumstances due to the scrapping of EMA and the trebling of higher education fees.
- Unfair welfare cuts, including capping welfare payment rises below inflation, have forced hundreds of thousands of Britons to use food banks when they can no longer make ends meet.
- ATOS' cruel Work Capability Assessments have resulted in the premature and wrongful deaths of more than 20,000 people with disabilities or mental health problems.
- Drastic cuts in legal aid have meant that many people are forced to represent themselves (without prior legal knowledge) in court, especially in family law cases such as child custody and divorce. All people should have access to fair justice regardless of their means.
- People now wanting to take employers to court, especially in unfair dismissal cases, now have to pay to get their cases heard.
- Secret courts , aka closed material procedures, are now permitted in many civil cases, a grievous violation of rights to fair justice also.
- The coalition has been inciting racism with its infamous 'Go Home' vans (now off the streets,thankfully) and its proposed Immigration Bill, and also unfair new rules for people wishing to bring in spouses from outside the EU.
- The 'gagging law' will result in significant limitations of people's right to campaign on important issues whilst allowing wealthy lobbyists free rein.

And this could all still happen within the next year:
 - Dangerous water cannons could end up being used against peaceful protestors within Britain.
- The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill has still not fallen, and this bill if passed could criminalise almost anything and trample over our freedom of assembly rights.
- The Home Secretary, Theresa May, plans to scrap the Human Rights Act completely as part of the Conservatives' election manifesto for 2015.

Now that the Liberal Democrats have betrayed their past human rights commitments almost completely in their alliance to the Conservatives, it is clear in my opinion that the Green Party will be the best alternative for those campaigning for our rights and the rights of the environment. I also believe that fair and good human rights legislation, within a written constitution, is essential in an ecosocialist society as such a society works on principles of cooperation, fair distribution, conservation of our natural world, and respect for diversity.

Alan.


Friday, 7 March 2014

Local by-election results (06/03/14) and other thoughts

The latest local by-election results featuring Green candidates read as follows:

Ashford, Wye: Ashford Independent 323 (43.1%), Con 240 (32.0%), UKIP 97 (12.9%), Green 55 (7.3%), Lab 22 (2.9%), Lib Dem 13 (1.7%).

Bury, Ramsbottom: Con 1398 (47.0%), Lab 1033 (34.7%), UKIP 351 (11.8%), Green 157 (5.3%), Lib Dem 38 (1.3%).

Given that we had not stood in either ward for a few years, we did rather well, particularly in Wye where our candidate, long-serving member Geoff Meaden, got more votes than the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates combined!  

One notable result so embarassing for the Liberal Democrats it made some national newspapers was in Clifton North, Nottingham where perennial candidate David Bishop of the Bus Pass Elvis Party beat the Lib Dem candidate by 11 votes. What the media did not mention was that UKIP had ruined the Conservatives' efforts in Nottingham once again (Clifton North is one of the few wards in Nottingham with any Conservative councillors left).

Speaking of the Liberal Democrats once again, I wish to remind you that there is a protest outside the Liberal Democrat conference in York tomorrow, and that there will be a 'field hospital' for 'traumatised Liberal Democrats' within the event, run by local Green Party members. If you are able to come along to that protest (I will be busy in Ely tomorrow), please do and expose the Liberal Democrats' core betrayal to not only the people of York but to their supporters past and present.

Alan.

 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Why finance capitalism is nothing more than a giant pyramid scheme

Ladies and gentlemen, you may have heard before about 'pyramid schemes'.

In case you do not know, pyramid schemes are scams which give empty promises of wealth. The starters of this pyramid scheme initially ask people to join them on condition of investing a sum of money, with implicatinos of future wealth if they find more investors. These schemes inevitably collapse, often with serious consequences, due to the fact that our population is not infinite and not everyone will be able to part with cash or be willing to anyway. Thus, pyramid schemes are illegal in most nations.

There is sadly however, one global pyramid scheme that has not been made illegal yet- finance capitalism, the same kind that caused the recession we are in and the same kind that is accelerating damage to our natural world.

As we have seen, all that finance capitalism essentially creates is debt and money-nothing else, and certainly nothing that is actually useful, in the same way that pyramid schemes just transfer wealth upwards without ever creating anything. It is fundamentally reliant on huge numbers of people worldwide getting themselves into debt, people treating almost everything as just an investment to make more money on (which is a factor behind the UK's very high house prices), the creation of electronic money which is entirely virtual and thus ends up destabilising economies, and also like all capitalist systems, endless growth and profit, which cannot happen of course.   Finance capitalism has been propped up by neoliberalism only by exporting jobs abroad, especially manufacturing jobs, often to nations where workers' rights are very limited to nonexistent, where there are no good safety standards or rights to unionise, and where wages are pitiful, by corrupting democratically elected governments, by subverting democracy at most opportunities they get (via free trade agreements,for example), and by bribing the media to promote its agenda and thus persuade people to rack up debts in order to fund the financiers.

There are no good forms of capitalism. Finance-based neoliberal capitalism, however, is one of the worst forms of capitalism conceivable, if not the worst, because of its total lack of restraint and its total disregard for anything but money. This system needs to end, and soon, for the good of humanity and our environment.

Alan.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

My thoughts about the Spring Green Party conference

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am back from the Green Party conference of Liverpool, which was rather tense at times due to the closeness of several votes.

There were many useful highlights of our conference in my opinion, of which I will list the top three:

1. Our unanimous condemning of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) at conference-in related news, we have reported that the Liberal Democrats support this partnership even though this free trade agreement would make implementing some of their own official policies impossible.

2. The joint meeting between GreenLeft and the Association of Green Councillors-a great chance for unity to defeat the ConDems and the rest of the establishment.

3. The Open Mic night at the Ship & Mitre, where I and many others performed, and well. I am glad for the many poets and singers who come to our conferences.

There were a few sad downsides in my opinion however:

1. There were relatively few Young Greens present at the conference.

2. A motion to bar the Population Matters group from Green Party conferences was narrowly defeated for missing the 2/3 majority by one vote-people only spoke against it on procedural grounds despite the clear evidence of Population Matters' racist stance and the damage Population Matters can potentially do to the ecological movement.

3.  Several important policy motions did not get heard when they needed to, when I believed they would.

In the meantime, I hope the Greens can elect more MEPs in May, despite OFCOM's unfair decision to give UKIP, but not us, equal coverage to the three major parties during the Euro elections campaign.

Alan.