Friday, 27 April 2018

Killing ravens

Email to Mike Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage on why I think SHN should withdraw the licence:

There are some great responses, such as this by Chris Packham, by RSPB and by Onekind. There are petition sites too but the real value is in personal letters...

Dear Mr Cantley

You will have received many objections to your proposed cull of ravens. The objections will have set out the evidence that demonstrates why your plans are wrong, immoral and unworthy of your organisation. I do not intend to repeat all the details of those objections but to simply add my signature to those objections.

You are clearly pandering to bigoted populism stirred up by the likes of the Daily Mail and The Scottish Farmer rather than considering the research into wader decline by academics which has shown no link with ravens.

Furthermore, the whole notion that “Ravens kill for fun” trumpeted by The Scottish Farmer would, if it were true, suggest agreement that ravens are sentient beings, which of course they are. If you think it is right to kill sentient beings for their actions then I can only assume that at some point are you going to suggest a cull of the businessmen who kill grouse for fun. I look forward to the Daily Mail headline when you make that suggestion.

I urge you to reconsider your plans, they are short sighted and not based on evidence. They are unkind. Should you truly wish to protect wildlife in Scotland then you would turn your sights on climate change, over fishing, and nature hating activities such as grouse shooting.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Jeffery

Monday, 23 April 2018

Nuclear waste is coming to a place near you

There are plans to make Kent the country's first nuclear waste site...

Apparently the plan is to bury it 1 km down under Romney Marsh in sealed containers.

Containers that must last for thousands of years.

In a place that gets earth quakes occasionally.

By the sea where we get our fish from.

Near the aquifers that supply most of Kent's drinking water.

However we do need to store the waste; the nuclear waste has been created and needs to be dealt with. Of course I don't want it in my beautiful county!

Most importantly we need to stop producing the waste by commissioning no more nuclear power stations. They are simply unnecessary as well as being dirty, dangerous and expensive.

Read more here:

Monday, 19 March 2018

UKOG and the high court

I joined Bianca Jagger, Jenny Jones our Green Party Lord and Gillian Kavanagh from The Warrior's Call outside the High Court this morning for a protest in advance of UKOG's attempt to ban protests outside its oil extraction sites in the South East. Meanwhile the world is ONE degree warmer than the mid twentieth century average and on course to quickly to break the maximum two degrees rise that becomes irreversible. The only way to stop the catastrophe of climate change is to leave the oil in the ground. While UKOG are claiming that they are not planning to frack in the South East, they are planning to use acidisation - the injection of hydrochloric acid into the ground to dissolve roacks and make the oil flow more freely. Most worrying is the assualt on civil liberties. The right to protest is enshrined in law and dissent is a basic human right. We must not be made to sit on our hands while the planet is trashed for the sake of profit.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Maplin, Toys R Us, Carillion - its beginning to feel a lot like 2008

I don't want be a doom-sayer (yes I know that is my natural outlook) but it is beginning to feel a bit like 2008 with Maplin, Toys R Us and Carillion all going bankrupt in the first couple of months of 2018. Woolworths went under in 2008 and was followed by a string of other businesses as we plunged into economic depression.

I suspect the world stage is quite different this time - the 2008 was a global event. However the fragility of the UK, especially with the chaos that the Tories are making of Brexit, will mean that a relatively small economic knock could bring down the house of cards quite significantly.

One of the noticeable drivers of the 2008 shock was the price of oil. It went over $100 per barrel as predicted by peak oil. It hasn't hit that level since but it has risen steadily to $70 over the past 9 months. High energy prices driven by increased demand over a static supply will tumble across the rest of the economy.

While I am very comfortable with the fact that our economy must shrink - it is over blow and unsustainable - it would be far less painful to shrink it in a controlled manner, one that preserves jobs and homes rather than decimates the lives of those at the less well off end of the economic spectrum.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Talking to young people

Had a lovely morning earlier this month talking to local primary school kids about politics.

My thanks to the young woman who wrote to me a couple of months ago inviting me to speak at her school.  I was particularly impressed by the questions that were asked, it was like being at a hustings only more scary!

Questions ranged from benefits to climate change to roads and and cars.  How can people get around without cars? Why do people get benefits? Why does no one do anything about pollution and the environment? Why can't 9 year olds vote? As good, if not better, as any questions in a hustings!

It has restored my hope in younger people. They are the future and the world will be in their hands soon.

Maidstone's M&S consultation

Maidstone people, make sure you tell M&S what a bad idea it is to close one of their town centre shops by merging and reducing it into the other while opening a large out of town shop that has hardly any public transport access.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Hunger strike to make votes matter

A leading member of the Green Party in Kent will be on hunger strike outside Parliament tomorrow as part of a national campaign for Proportional Representation to make votes count. The protest is 100 years to the day that some women were allowed to vote for the first time and has been organised by the Make Votes Matter campaign.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: “Until 1918 70% of adults including all women were not entitled to vote. The campaigns by the suffragists and suffragettes changed that. While almost all adults can now vote, our current voting system means that 68% of us still do not have a vote that counts.

“The First Past The Post system gives us a huge democratic deficit where the will of the people is not reflected in the makeup of Parliament. Most western countries have ditched this system and it is time that the UK did so too.

“I will be joining hunger strikers in Parliament Square to send a clear message to Parliament that we will not allow this to continue. We cannot accept a system that sees governments elected by a small number of voters and that excludes people from being represented by a party of their choosing.”

On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act passed into law, extending voting rights to some women and all men over 21 for the first time. Until then, around 70% of the adult population were not allowed to vote.

Today all adults are allowed to vote but - thanks to our First Past the Post voting system - most of us still don't have a vote that counts. In the 2017 general election, 68% of votes had no impact on the result, either going to losing candidates or piling up in safe seats without influencing the makeup up Parliament.

We're hunger striking to draw attention to the injustice of a voting system that denies representation to millions, returns Parliaments that don't reflect the voters, and gives us governments that most of us didn't vote for.

We're calling for Proportional Representation, so that seats match votes and everyone has a vote that matters equally. And we're calling on everyone who wants fair votes to join the movement and take action to win real democracy in the UK.

The passing of the 1918 Act was the result of decades of campaigning by suffragists and suffragettes. We recognise the severity of what these campaigners went through to win the vote, that for some British people hunger is a daily reality, and that sexism remains prevalent in the 21st Century.

Respecting this, we invite donations from participants (contribute the money you'd have spent on food for the day, ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you) and other supporters and shall split funds between a food bank, a women's charity and Make Votes Matter.