Saturday, 7 December 2019

Two hustings

Two very different hustings in Maidstone. Last night I was with Helen Grant (Con), Greg Levitt (standing in for the Labour candidate who felt that being at Maidstone Studios where the leaders' debate was happening was more important) and James Willis (LD), at Beneden School. A crowd of maybe 200 sixthformers, around half of who will be able to vote for the first time this week.

Last Tuesday saw a very different hustings. At the Quaker Meeting House in Maidstone were the climate hustings. This time I was with James Willis and another person standing in for the Labour candidate who had a sore throat. Helen Grant was at a family event (I saw the photos, it looked lovely, she was definitely there) but there was no one to deputise for her and I understand that the organiser offered to change the date of the event to accommodate her but no alternative was offered by her team.

So two headline themes. Firstly, the no show on both by Labour and secondly the larger avoidance by Tories of climate questions and debates.

I did pin Helen down on climate change at the end of the Beneden debate though. When asked to give advice on how to vote and after Helen had talked about the 'record' of Boris Johnson, I suggested that voters should look at how Helen had voted on over the past 9 years and read out from her woeful voting record on climate change which was in stark contrast to her rhetoric on the stage.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Allington incinerator expansion and new household waste recycling facility

"Kent Enviropower", the "energy from waste" EfW incinerator in Allington is consulting on expanding with a fourth turbine to generate more power from burning waste and with a new Household Waste Recycling Facility (HWRF).

I've previously campaigned against the incinerator; burning waste may seem like a great idea but it creates an easy solution to a problem that should avoid in the first place, i.e. creating the waste. So in terms of the expansion of the EfW, I am opposed.

As far as the HWRF proposal goes, there are clear problems:
  • it needs to be driven to (and the Tovil site has a queue of traffic to get in which would may be replicated),
  • it is probably too large (four time the size of Tovil) and, as stated above, we should be reducing the amount we buy and use rather than making it easier to get rid of it.
There is a petition against the proposal. I don't think the argument put forward in the petition is very strong. It focuses on the HWRF which really isn't too close to residential areas and the alternative would be to put it in the countryside with the associated damage and extra car journeys that this would mean. So I'm opposed but for very different reasons from the ones given.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Standing down...

No of course I'm not, that was just click bait! Here's why I want people in Maidstone and the Weald to vote positively for a Green MP for our constituency next month.

Firstly, Maidstone and the Weald is not a marginal constituency. The Lib Dems threw the kitchen sink at the seat in 2010 and 2015 but failed miserably. Labour have never won the seat nor have any chance of doing so. THEREFORE there is no tactical vote here.

Secondly, Labour and the Lib Dems are pro-growth, pro-airport expansion, pro-new coal mines, pro-road expansion and so on. You cannot have infinite economic growth on a finite planet. The Greens have policies that improve our quality of life without economic growth.

Thirdly, the Lib Dems are focused completely on brexit. There are more important concerns. Put the decision on brexit to a second vote and move on to the real issue which is the sixth mass extinction of life.

So, three key reasons why I will not be standing aside for anyone. We urgently need a modern electoral system to ensure that discussions about pacts and tactical voting are consigned to the history bin.

If you would like to see our manifesto:

Please vote Green next month and please join the party!

If you need any more convincing then read this:

BTW, if you are considering voting conservative, please don't. Here are a bunch of reasons if you haven't already realised just how bad they are for life, the environment, democracy, etc. etc.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

An election is not a referendum

Here I am discussing whether or not an election is the right thing to do right now on Paul on Politics. I am ready for an election, they are always interesting and a great opportunity to drum up support but should we really have one at this point?

The country remains split on Brexit and Parliament even more so. It is in stalemate, unable to move in any direction. Labour are posturing to get themselves into the best position to go into an election, Tories are doing the same. Lib Dems are refusing to support a unity government under the leader of the opposition. None of them are acting in the best interests of the country.

An election now would be a referendum. A one issue vote that would ignore all of the other significant problems that need attention. We may end up this a government that has a mandate to solve the Brexit impasse and do untold damage to the the country in other policy areas.

So let's have a referendum first. Get the problem of Brexit out of the way. We know facts now that we didn't know in 2016. We can see the pros and cons. We are better informed.

Then let's have that election, an election on a range of issues, the most important of which has to be the environment and the future of our planet.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

London's S14 is undemocratic, unlawful and murderous.

The Green Party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald and active member of Extinction Rebellion has called on government to overturn the Met Police's banning of XR protests in London and has labelled the Section 14 ban as an affront to democracy.

Stuart Jeffery, Green Party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald: "Our UK constitution contains a fundamental right to protest, a right that the Met Police seem to think they call ignore. Banning protests across the whole of London is an affront to democracy and must be overturned.

"When your house in on fire, you do not silence the smoke alarm to prevent your kids waking up. Our planet is on fire and those in charge are attempting to silence the alarm. There are just 10 years left to take action and to prevent the collapse of humanity. There are just 10 years left to ensure our children survive yet the government is ignoring the science and is refusing to take the actions needed.

"I have therefore written to Priti Patel calling on her to quash the undemocratic, unconstitutional and dangerous Section 14 order. I have also written to the Cressida Dick reminding her that we are doing this for the children of the police too."



Thursday, 3 October 2019

Greens select Maidstone and the Weald parliamentary candidate

Maidstone Greens have selected Stuart Jeffery as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald in the likely General Election later this year.

Stuart, who is a well-known green activist in Maidstone and involved in Extinction Rebellion, will also be campaigning on social justice and for a final say on Brexit, a second referendum.

Stuart Jeffery: “I am delighted to have been selected to run for Parliament in Maidstone and the Weald. I have been thoroughly appalled by the actions of the Conservatives and Lib Dems over the past 9 years and their complete lack of interest in the environmental crisis that is unfolding around us.

“We have deadly air quality in Maidstone, ridiculous housing proposals on green spaces around the borough, a completely lax attitude towards the climate emergency and continued increase in inequalities that both Conservatives and Lib Dems have presided over, it is time for a fresh approach to tackle the most pressing issues of our time.

“I will also be campaigning for a second referendum. No one voted for a no deal Brexit or a return to the troubles in Northern Ireland. We are all far better informed than we were 3 years ago so it is time for a final say on what happens.”

Monday, 30 September 2019

We need a moratorium on building on farmland around Maidstone

2000 large houses to be built on farmland around Marden and now plans for 5000 on farmland outside Lenham. These are not the high density affordable homes, close to jobs and sustainable transport links that people need. No, these will mostly be large executive houses that the majority cannot afford and that nobody needs.

We Greens have fought building on 'greenfield' sites for many years. For greenfield, read farmland and woodland. Farmland and woodland are vital to our future. What is more important than food and oxygen? A five bed detached house with cinema room and hot tub? No...

We must concentrate our efforts to meet the true demand for homes. Our young people are struggling, they need flats and affordable houses with a bit of a garden, close to schools, shops and jobs. Why don't we build those?

Single people are struggling. They often need smaller flats with a bit of community. And people are getting older, they often need some form of supported living, i.e. just enough help to keep them out of a care home. Why don't we build these?

So I am calling for a moratorium on house building on farmland and woodland, our greenfield sites. I want the council to take a long hard look at the true needs for housing and to stand up to central government when it tries to impose unnecessary housing targets.