Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Greens in power on Swale Borough Council

Well we have had worse months! I had wondered if there was going to be a rainbow alliance in Folkestone and Hythe but the numbers didn't work. But who'd a thought it would happen in Swale? Greens part of a ruling coalition in Kent? Looks like they are ready to upset some of the housing plans! Well done Tim and Alistair!

Add to this the news that yesterday's EU poll put the Greens ahead of the Conservatives and just four points behind Labour!

You know who to vote for next week!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Green election successes in Kent

Wow, what a month! 15 new district councillor across Kent (see below) and some fantastic results here in Maidstone too. In North Ward, Steve Cheeseman received 25% of the votes and was just 136 votes from winning. In Detling and Thurnham, Jim Shalice also received 25% while in Marden and Yalding, Mick Summergill received 24%. With results like these we can easily gain our first seats next year.

Results from around Kent:

  • Folkestone and Hythe: 6 new Green Councillors – we are now the equal second biggest party on the council.
  • Tonbridge: 2 new Green Councillors – elected with over 80% of the vote in one of the highest turnouts in the country.
  • Thanet: 3 new Green Councillors – in one of the biggest ‘leave’ places.
  • Swale: 2 new Green Councillors – kicking out the leader of Swale Borough Council.
  • Ashford: 2 new Green Councillors – through solid local work, engaging with voters.
  • Plus many town and parish councillors across Kent.

The environment has never had so much prominence, thanks in a large way to the work of Extinction Rebellion and people like David Attenborough. It should have been the top issues in elections since elections were invented - what could be more important than ensuring that we have a world fit to live in?

Soon we will get a chance to vote in the Euros too. Let's make the Euros about the environment, let's elect even more Greens on 23rd May and while your at it, please join us!


Thursday, 2 May 2019

Climate rhetoric needs climate action

So the Commons has declared a climate emergency! Only 50 years too late but better late than never... Interestingly that vote happened on the same day that a court ruled against the campaign to stop the third runway at Heathrow.

We must have radical change and it must start now.

On Tuesday I was speaking on KMTV about the recommendation to end production of petrol and diesel cars by 2025. Some suggest that this is not possible. I suggest it is too late.

Ban their manufacture now.

The idea that we can replace all those vehicles is crazy. The amount of electricity needed to power them would require an additional 50 power stations in the UK alone, and then there's the cobalt for the batteries...

No, while some will need electric vehicles, in general we need a swift and radical change to public transport which requires a massive investment and change of the way we live our lives. We need a swift change to local production and local food. 10,000 lorries a day passing through Kent is simply unsustainable.

Declaring a climate emergency is just rhetoric but it is a first step. Let's see rapid climate action. There are just 11 years left to ensure that we have a future.

Of course, as today is local election day, that action could start with a Green Party vote at the polling station!

Friday, 19 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion

I am really pleased to have been able to take part in the NVDA in London this week. Climate change and the sixth mass extinction are the most important issues of our time and unless we take action now they will be the most important issues until the end of humanity.

People ask me why we risk arrest. I reply, what is arrest compared to our children not surviving. I did not get arrested though but I was and still am prepared to be. My solidarity to those who were.

Sunday saw me at a multi-faith event outside St Paul's and before that a ceremony on the shore of the Thames with Druid friends. Monday I spent with friends dancing in front of a pink yacht in Oxford Circus, admiring the trees on Waterloo Bridge and standing in solidarity outside Shell's HQ.

A few photos...

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Five months is a long time in politics

It's almost five months since my last blog post - sorry! I probably better tell you some of what I've been up to...

Working backwards:

The People's Vote march last weekend, I joined over a million people in London demanding a say on the final deal. It is quite clear that Parliament cannot express a majority opinion in favour of any course of action when it comes to Brexit so let the people have a voice now that we know what it means.

That choices should be 1. Remain; 2. A deal or 3. No Deal. It should be done by single transferable vote so as not to disadvantage any choice.

Last month I was in front of Maidstone's full council meeting pushing them to agree to declaring a climate emergency as other councils up and down the country have done. Surprisingly, after insulting me, the Lib Dems then refused to even discuss whether an emergency should be declared. I would have thought that the Lib Dems should be better on environmental issues than this.

Then there is air pollution... Maidstone has the fourth worst air pollution in the country outside of London. This is of no surprise to us or to anyone else who had tried to walk up Lower Stone Street at rush hour but it is useful to have it confirmed. I created controversy by suggesting that we need a congestion charge in the town - this hit the media and we made quite a splash with the idea.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

100 years ago ended a war that didn't end wars

My great grandfather, Albert Enever (right) fought in WW1. He survived, his brother Ernie didn't. When I say survived, he certainly did physically but I don't know what it did to his mental health as he died in the early 1970's before I got to know him.

Harry Patch, the last surviving Tommy, was quoted as saying: "It wasn’t worth it. No war is worth it. No war is worth the loss of a couple of lives let alone thousands. T’isn’t worth it … the First World War, if you boil it down, what was it? Nothing but a family row. That’s what caused it. The Second World War – Hitler wanted to govern Europe, nothing to it. I would have taken the Kaiser, his son, Hitler and the people on his side … and bloody shot them. Out the way and saved millions of lives. T’isn’t worth it."

and "I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder."

It is most interesting that this second quote down't appear on the BBC's website where I found the first one (I was looking for the more famous second quote). Once again the BBC fails to report the real story and opts for something that is politically more appealing to them.

War is wrong. Always. Yet the UK continues to make and sell weapons to rogue states, to have a military far bigger than is needed for 'defence' - yes I am happy to have a truly defensive military.

Peter Ustinov: "Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich."

Red poppies: I remain saddened by the Royal British Legion for their refusal to put the final and most poignant verse in their campaign advert in 2014. Just for completeness this is it:

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie Mcbride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you 'The Cause? '
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie Mcbride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

As I have done for many years now I have been wearing my white poppy to remember those who fought and died in the wars but also to state clearly that there should be peace for the future.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Avoiding extinction

Today's IPCC report tells us that we are at the tipping point for the climate. A dozen years left. A couple of months ago the Hot House Earth report talked of possible extinction of humans. This really is the brink of catastrophic climate change.

There must be no more debate.

Global carbon emissions continue to grow while here in the UK environmental activists are jailed and fracking is pushed through Parliament on its last day before the summer recess.

This year we have seen wildfires, melting poles, heatwaves across the northern hemisphere and torrential rainfalls. This is just the start. People have failed to take action so the planet is stepping in...

We need urgent concerted leadership by every country in the world, especially those in the west plus China and India.

We need non-violent direct action.

We need people to be brave.

We need action.