Sunday, 8 March 2020

Stockbury Roundabout changes

Just one day left to object to the "improvements" to Stockbury Roundabout...

If it helps, my objections are:

  1. On the basis that this scheme will increase traffic volumes and therefore be in breach of the Climate Change Act 2008 and the government’s commitments for the UK to net a net zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2050. The recent ruling on Heathrow is precedent for this.
    1. The aims of the scheme state: “improve journey times”. There is clear evidence of improved journey times equating to an increase in traffic.
    2. The aims of the scheme state: “support economic growth”. There has been no substantive decoupling of economic growth with CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. The impact on surrounding villages.
    1. Stockbury will be negatively affected by the changes and will be effectively isolated.
  3. The AONB: The proposed garden village on the A249 that would be supported by the scheme is in an AONB.

 Objections can be sent to by 9 March 2020

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Climate change and biodiversity consultation from Maidstone Borough Council

Last year I prompted the council to declare a climate emergency. Very little seems to have happened since but they are now consulting on climate change...

Please fill in with your thoughts!!!

Friday, 10 January 2020

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

My letter to Labour Party members

Firstly, I do not want a Labour government, I want a Green government. However I think most of us would agree that having some form of left of centre government would be preferable to the result of the 2019 general election which has seen just 44% of the electorate vote for the Conservatives but that has resulted in a significant Conservative majority. Imagine how the brexiteers would feel if 48% of the vote meant no brexit?

I want you, Labour Party members, to accept responsibility. Responsibility is not blame, it is the understanding that you have collectively brought us to a situation and that you have the power to change things in the future for a better outcome. I am asking Labour members to take responsibility and respond to the challenge so that we never again have a majority government in parliament elected by a minority of voters.

Winning seats in elections is no longer about policies, it is about having an effective electoral strategy, a leader that is seen to be credible, acting tactically and having a clear simple message, none of which were evident in Labour's campaign. Most importantly, the failure of successive governments to implement a fair and democratic voting system means that we need to act tactically until there is proportional representation.

Which is why I want to work with you tactically at all levels of government and in all elections.

Labour members, please start to work cooperatively, tactically and collaboratively and we might start to see different results. Please do not give me the excuse that Labour policy is to stand in every seat; you as Labour members need to change that and if you can't right now then you need to find a leader that will change the way your party does politics.

Finally, if you won't listen to me, listen to George. George is correct, the Right have worked out a winning formula which means the left needs to work out a response that works.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Thank you and reflections on GE 2019 in Maidstone and The Weald

Well that was depressing but with a ray of hope. A brief election in the dead of winter dominated by an issue that should never have been in play while the huge existential threat of climate change and the sixth mass extinction is conveniently overlooked.

On the plus side the Green vote increased overall by 60% and my result of 2172 (or 4.2%) was up from 888 (1.7%) in 2017 - a whopping two and a half fold increase and the highest ever in Maidstone and The Weald.

Hannah Temple in Faversham and Mid Kent did excellently too! These increases mirror the rise we saw in the Euros and Locals this year. They are a real game changer that we will capitalise on in next year's locals.

Across the country we got 865,000 votes and one MP. How many votes does it take to get an MP I hear you ask... that depends how unfair the ruling parties make the electoral system. The Tories got 38,000 per MP according to the Electoral Reform Society Don't you just love the smell of British democracy?

With these votes under a proportional system there would have been 18 Green MPs and Corbyn would have been leading a coalition (yet Labour still doesn't support PR...). Based on the last national vote under PR (the EU election this year) there would be around 70 Green MPs.

We had a couple of hustings in Maidstone and The Weald. Sadly there was no photo of James Willis (Lib Dem) candidate giving the Helen Grant (Conservative) a hug and telling her what a nice person she is.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is claiming a 'stonking' mandate having received 44% of the vote. Less than the Remain vote in the referendum. But then he has got 56% of the seats with 44% of the vote - yes there's that great smell again.

It is worth remembering that the Conservatives national vote share was only 29.29% of the total electorate (13,941,086 votes cast of 47,587,754 total electorate) while Helen Grant's was 41.02%
(31,220 of 76,110 electorate).

Anyway a few photos of the night starting with my air punch at the 2172 being announced.

Photos by Matt White and Steve Cheeseman

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. Of course the Labour and Lib Dem record on climate change is not great either with continued support for road building, airport expansion and a new coal mine in Cumbria.

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.