May 17, 2017

Meet Clive Gregory – Green candidate for Gillingham and Rainham

Previously Green PPC for Rochester and Strood in 2014 by-election and 2015 GE

Email: clivegregory@medwaygreenparty.com

CliveGregoryMain1I have lived on the Hoo peninsular for 25 years and am a freelance musician (bass) and sound engineer. I own a locally based PA/sound services and hire business – Clive Sound.  I also have a company that publishes music tuition books. Alongside this I am a part-time carer for my parents, a responsibility I share with my sister.

My career has allowed me to meet and work with people from all walks of life, from those that regard themselves to be at the top of the hierarchy to those that struggle daily to survive and everything in between.  I’m politically opposed to hierarchy and elitism and believe that everybody deserves equal respect and opportunity.  The individual, as a creative force, bound together with all other individuals to create a fair and just society should be the focus of those elected to represent us.

We live in a world where politicians are to some extent controlled and manipulated by powerful forces that are not elected, nor have any respect for democracy and the rights of the majority of the population.  Big banks and mega corporations, many of whom have budgets greater than some countries, control much of the real power of the world.  They ruthlessly use weapons such as debt, deceit, control of the media and very probably influence where military intervention and de-stabilisation occur.  It is no surprise to note that these same controlling forces do not care for our world and the environment in which we live.

There needs to be a quantum shift in the way we vote and run our politics and financial systems.

This requires a voting system that delivers a parliament that represents the political makeup of voting intentions – proportional representation and a chance for real democracy.

An end to revolving door politics where government ministers and MPs can use their political careers to gain access to excessively highly paid jobs with businesses that have benefited from policies created by those same politicians.  Yes an end to political corruption.

A renewal of the nation’s commitment to the NHS: private companies already control too much of the NHS services but the rundown of the NHS is a deliberate act by politicians controlled and influences by big business.

A complete overhaul of the financial system and an end to commercial banks creating 97% of all money that comes into the economy, so allowing them to control our money supply and rendering parliament powerless in controlling the direction of the nation.

A living wage, not just a minimum wage that needs to be topped up by the taxpayer in the form of benefits subsidising companies and allowing these same companies to keep employees in a permanent state of fear and uncertainty through zero hours contracts and low pay.

The world needs to stop burning fossil fuels and instead embrace renewable energy technologies and our government, rather than taxing renewable initiatives, should be putting massive investment and belief in the UK’s ability to lead the way in these technologies and techniques.  The current administration seem to want the exact opposite, allowing other nations to lead the way whilst taxing and punishing those businesses that want to use renewable energy.

Fracking should be opposed and indeed banned as an approach.  It is not only highly destructive but it’s actually not economically viable – although unscrupulous companies realise that they can exploit governments lack of expertise and make high profits in the short term leaving the nation to pick up the pieces of, quite literally, a fractured land.

Social housing needs to be expanded massively – not high profit buildings that will probably never be lived in.  This social housing also needs to embrace new technologies that allow people to create all the energy they need through renewable energy techniques and high insulation standards.  If profit is the sole motivation for house building then nothing will be achieved.

Housing and other infrastructure expansion should be carefully controlled to ensure that development is non destructive.  We’ve already destroyed too much of our natural land area.  Locally this is represented by a need for housing but where our natural resource – including the Hoo peninsula – needs to be protected.  It is not acceptable for local politicians to even consider construction on a SSSI.  The local council should also be rejecting government plans to build more houses than the area can support.  Medway is already one of the most densely populated areas in Kent and is close to its maximum capacity, so the target of 30,000 new homes should be revised.

May 13, 2017

Cancel Trident and pay for the NHS instead say Medway Greens

nhsMedway Green Party’s three election candidates are calling for a shift in priorities towards greater investment in the NHS and away from privatisation.  This includes a reiteration of the Green Party’s ‘bold’ pledge to scrap the Trident nuclear weapons programme [1] and divert the estimated £204bn [2] cost to the NHS.

Sonia Hyner, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood, says:

“The Green party would rather focus on saving lives.  This means cancelling the multi-billion pound nuclear monstrosity that is Trident and adopting real measures to improve everybody’s health and well-being.  It is about having the right priorities.  That is why we are calling for the money which the other parties would waste on Trident to be spent on our NHS instead”.

Medway Green Party is also seeking to draw local people’s attention to the upcoming consultation on local health services which will be carried out in June. The Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan (‘STP’) [3] contains measures to redistribute funds from hospital to community care within a context of £22 billion in cuts to NHS funding nationally [4].

Bernard Hyde, Green Party candidate for Chatham and Aylesford comments:

“While we agree that improvements in our community services are long overdue this should not be at the expense of hospital care.  Rather than robbing Peter to pay Paul, we should be making greater investment into both community services and hospital care”.

According to Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, the proposed changes are part of a package of privatisation of the NHS.  Clive says that “as social care services are largely privately run, the recommendations in the STPs are likely to mean even more public funds being siphoned into boosting the profits of private companies rather than being spent directly on care.  This is on top of the disastrous PFIs which have brought the NHS to its knees and ongoing outsourcing.  Our NHS was once the flagship healthcare system of the world.  Sadly, the bankers and the greed of the corporate world seek to regain control of all of our public services.  This needs to be stopped before it is too late and we have no NHS left”.

The Green Party remains committed to the NHS Reinstatement Bill, and to the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which forced a commercialised model on the NHS in England. [5] The Green Party would also deliver free social care for the over 65s in line with the recommendations of the Barker report. [6]

NOTES:
[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-nuclear-first-strike-war-green-party-fanatics-jeremy-corbyn-jonathan-bartley-a7700071.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/12/replacing-trident-will-cost-at-least-205-billion-campaign-for-nuclear-disarmament

[3] https://www.medway.nhs.uk/downloads/STP/20161021%20Kent%20and%20Medway%20STP%20Draft%20Plan.pdf

[4] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/secret-plan-22billion-nhs-cuts-9299803

[5] http://www.nhsbill2015.org/our-supporters/

[6] https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/manifesto/Green_Party_2015_General_Election_Manifesto_Searchable.pdf (p22)

 

 

May 12, 2017

Meet Sonia Hyner – Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood

Sonia’s email: c/o medwaygreenparty@googlemail.com

Sonia Hyner 2017 intraArts

My career background is in social care and support. I worked for Citizens Advice for 21 years, seven of those in Medway, actively supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing.  I then retrained to teach English to adults at Further Education College.

I have been politically active for a number of years and took part in the London march in 2003, against the war in Iraq. I have attended many anti-discrimination protests on racism and homophobia and was part of the march that took place in the by-election in 2014 when the people of Rochester united to prevent Britain First from entering our towns.

As an active peace and climate change campaigner, in recent years my beliefs have been further enhanced by embracing Green politics.

As we re-evaluate our relationship with the EU and the rest of the world I believe the Green Party has a vital role in effecting the change we need including the promotion of a Green economy that looks at sustainability in terms of local economies producing goods for their own communities, thus becoming more resilient as well as reducing our Carbon footprint.

Our health and public services are very much in the spotlight, particularly as the Kent and Medway Sustainability Transformation Plan is shortly to go to consultation.  We must ensure that our health and social care services are not threatened by the plans.  We also need to work harder to match local skills to jobs.  We are suffering from a lack of trained GPs locally, and other healthcare workers.  In the meantime we need to value the vital contribution of healthcare workers from abroad who are propping up our services.  Ultimately I am an advocate of taking back control of our public services, such as the NHS and railways, by placing them fully into public hands.

In order to increase our skill levels, young people need to be given the opportunity to train without being burdened with long term debt and we would support the abolition of tuition fees alongside other ways of supporting young people such as allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote so that they can decide their own futures.

Lack of truly affordable housing is also of great concern. The Medway Green Party have recently sent an extensive response to the consultation on Medway Council’s Local Plan which will map out Medway’s future until 2035 and we are keen to highlight our approach.  We need to ensure that valuable natural land isn’t given over to private developments that no one can afford locally. National politics contributes to the lack of housing as the Tories sell off Council homes and refuse any funding which would allow the Council’s to build any more. We also have an issue with rising homelessness locally a result of national policies which have cut access to housing and social support.

For a truly secure future, we also need to think very carefully about the government’s promotion of fracking and nuclear power plants and warheads and I embrace the Green Party’s work in peacefully campaigning to highlight the dangers.

I value political organisation that encourages partnership working with other like-minded political and interest groups, embraces diversity and encourages participation from minorities.

The Green Party wishes to effect change for the common good.  I am looking forward to telling the people of Rochester and Strood about our brand of Green politics and how things could be better for them.

May 12, 2017

Medway Green Party selects its General Election candidates

Three candidate imageMembers of Medway Green Party have chosen three local people as their parliamentary candidates to stand in the Medway constituencies in the upcoming General Election on June 8th.

Teacher Sonia Hyner has been selected to stand in Rochester and Strood. Sonia’s career background is in social care and support. She worked for Citizens Advice for 21 years, seven of those in Medway, actively supporting members of the public to help alleviate poverty and secure housing, before retraining to teach English to adults at Further Education College.

Sonia has been politically active for a number of years and took part in the London march in 2003 against the war in Iraq. She has attended many anti-discrimination protests against racism and homophobia and was part of the protest that took place during the by-election in 2014 when the people of Rochester united to prevent Britain First from marching.  Sonia is keen to promote a Green economy and protection of our public services.

Sonia says: “As an active peace and climate change campaigner for many years, my beliefs have been further enhanced by embracing Green politics, particularly in terms of the promotion of a Green economy that looks at sustainability in terms of local economies producing goods for their own communities, thus becoming more resilient as well as reducing our Carbon footprint. I am also concerned that our public services are protected, our young people are supported, and that our housing crisis is averted in a way that will still protect our natural environment.

“As a regular on the doorsteps of Rochester residents as part of our ongoing campaign for the Council Elections in 2019, I am looking forward to this opportunity for explaining our brand of Green politics to the people of Rochester and Strood and how things could be better for them”.

To contest Gillingham & Rainham, the Green Party has selected local businessman Clive Gregory. Clive is a freelance musician and sound engineer who runs a PA/sound services and hire business. Alongside this, he is a part-time carer for his parents.

Clive stood for the Greens in Rochester and Strood in the 2014 by-election and 2015 General Election and strongly campaigned against the proposed Lodge Hill development.  He is concerned about the expansion of development locally and keen to promote a new kind of politics that challenges elitism.

Clive says: “We live in a world where politicians are to some extent controlled and manipulated by powerful forces that are not elected, nor have any respect for democracy and the rights of the majority of the population.  Big banks and mega corporations, many of whom have budgets greater than some countries, control much of the real power of the world.  There needs to be a quantum shift in the way we vote and run our politics and financial systems.

“This requires a voting system that delivers a parliament that represents the political makeup of voting intentions – proportional representation and a chance for real democracy.  I am concerned that the obsession with private profit aided and abetted by politicians is ruining our public services”.

In Chatham and Aylesford, the Green candidate is Bernard Hyde, a self-employed chartered architect and town planner specialising in energy efficient buildings, both locally and overseas. He wants to create a sustainable future in which people and the environment that supports them matter most.

Bernard says: “The physical resources of the world in which we live are finite and we have already used up substantial quantities of them. We inherit the planet from our parents, but we also borrow it from our children. It is our duty to act in an intelligent, mature and compassionate way towards those around us and those who come after us.

Although our resources are finite, our potential to create innovative solutions to a myriad of problems is infinite. Every single person has a role to play and has potential to contribute to a better future. Educational opportunities must therefore be equal for all, healthcare must be equal for all, housing must be available to all. How else can everyone contribute unless they have reached their potential in mind, body and well-being?”

Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party co-ordinator says: “We are delighted to have three great candidates with strong local connections in Sonia, Clive and Bernard to represent us in the forthcoming General Election.  The Medway Greens look forward to supporting them in explaining how our brand of Green politics could make things better for the people of the Medway Towns.”

 

 

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April 24, 2017

Party People – achieving truly sustainable development in Medway’s Local Plan

Please see below a piece written by Steve Dyke for Medway Messenger’s Party People column and published on 13th April.

Since writing this, the deadline for responding to the Local Plan consultation has been extended once again to 30th May so there is still time to get your response in!

Details of the consultation can be found here.

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With the deadline for responding to Medway Council’s latest consultation on its Local Plan approaching, my hope is that the Council will review all responses received and be prepared to adapt the Plan accordingly.

To achieve truly sustainable development in Medway requires boldness in planning in order to reduce our ecological footprint to a ‘one planet’ level.  This should be seen as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.  Imagine Medway with a proper cycle network, reliable, accessible and cheap public transport and low energy homes affordable for local people.  Developing the technological expertise locally to build off-site constructed energy efficient homes and renewable energy technologies could reinvigorate our local economy.  This is what is truly meant by “meeting the twin challenges of global competition and a low carbon future”.

We must also ensure that we protect valuable existing green spaces from development.  The most sustainable development option would be to focus on brownfield sites in urban locations close to travel hubs, suggested by the Council within one of the four options in their consultation document. However, they could go much further, such as making better use of existing space through utilising empty premises or building above car parks and in the air space above existing buildings.

Of particular concern is that the Council still wish to press ahead with major development at the Lodge Hill SSSI.  This is despite a policy approach stated in their consultation promising that “a high level of protection from damaging impacts of development will be given to Sites of Special Scientific Interest”.

Medway Green Party would love to see Medway become an inspiration for other areas on how sustainable development can be achieved.  My fear is that we will end up with piecemeal, destructive, unsustainable growth.  I hope the Council will prove me wrong.

April 18, 2017

Green Party Election Broadcast 2017

Released today!

Intended for the local elections in May but could also apply to a General Election in June.

April 12, 2017

Medway Green Party slams Lower Thames Crossing decision

Medway Green Party has expressed its disappointment at the decision made today to proceed with ‘Option C’  for a new Lower Thames Crossing.

Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Co-ordinator says:

“We feel sad for those in Shorne and Chalk and the other villages in Kent and Essex near the proposed tunnel or on the route of its associated road network who will be directly affected by this project.

“Once again an environmentally damaging infrastructure project has been justified on the grounds of making motorists lives better and the possible economic benefits it may bring.  Yet again it has been decided that the solution to traffic problems is to build more roads.

“However any short term benefits in tackling congestion are likely to be eroded by an increase in road travel and the existing Dartford crossings will soon be back up to full capacity.  The new tunnel will do little or nothing on its own to alleviate the existing high levels of pollution in Dartford and Thurrock.

“With the decision made, we now need to know urgently what mitigation measures will be put in place to safeguard the natural environment, address air pollution, protect the affected communities, minimise any increase in traffic on already stretched local roads and prevent infill development following construction of the tunnel.  We urge Medway Council to be mindful of the impact this project may have on its residents in Strood and other areas west of the River Medway.”

April 5, 2017

Medway Greens call for fairer politics in light of election expenses scandal

Medway Greens are calling for fairer politics in light of the confirmation that the Conservative Party broke the rules which limit election spending.

The Rochester and Strood by-election in 2014 has been highlighted by the Electoral Commission as one of the occasions in which spending exceeded legal limits leading to a fine being imposed on the Conservative Party of £70,000.

Clive Gregory, former Green parliamentary candidate in the Rochester and Strood by-election says:

“The confirmation of illegal spending puts further light on how unequal the battle is. It seems that the £100,000 limit on expenses, intended to produce a level playing field, wasn’t enough for the Tories, who have put themselves above the law and any sense of fair play. We are never going to take the corruption out of politics unless we remove the power of big money. The current way we do politics, including our unfair voting system, squeezes out grassroots political movements orchestrated by ordinary people in favour of the money men”.

Mary Smith, is Medway Green Party’s Treasurer and Election Agent and therefore responsible for declaring election expenses. Mary adds:

“There is zero possibility of Medway Green Party exceeding the limit as our available funds are very small in comparison to the limit. However declaration of expenses is rightly required by law of all individuals or parties competing in an election and we do of course comply.  It rather adds insult to injury that while we carefully record the smallest of amounts, the richest of the political parties has seemingly been covertly spending hundreds or thousands of pounds on hotel bills in order to bring in party staff and activists.  It must also be dispiriting for voters.  This isn’t how democracy should work.

“As often happens, the person or persons who are prepared and able to spend the most money get the result.  Ironically, in the Rochester and Strood by-election they didn’t. However we will never know how much impact the money spent on the by-election had in raising the profile of the previously little known Conservative candidate and her subsequent General Election success”.

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April 5, 2017

Medway Greens saddened by Gibraltar Farm decision

An adapted version of this was published in the Medway Messenger last week.

**Steve Dyke: “We already have excessive demand for housing in Medway and the goalposts keep shifting”.  

**Sonia Hyner: “Capstone Valley is the only green area now in this part of Medway. The rest of it has been built on”.

**Steve Dyke: “There are better alternatives to building on Greenfield, such as higher density development on Brownfield sites in urban locations and close to travel hubs (to cut down on car use)”. 

Like many in Medway, the Green Party was saddened by the Government Planning Inspector’s decision which gave the go ahead for development at Gibraltar Farm.  The plan to build 450 homes on the site had been rejected by Medway Council but they were overruled by the Inspector.

Sonia Hyner, a Medway Green Party Officer who lives in Lordswood comments:

“I was truly horrified to hear about the proposal for 450 new houses to be built at Gibraltar Farm and hope that it can be further challenged. I have known this area for the past 50 years and, in this time, it has shifted from a patchwork of farms to being largely built up. Most of the building has been in relation to new housing and there have been some benefits such as new linking roads and new shopping areas. However, Capstone Valley is the only green area now in this part of Medway. The rest of it has been built on”.

Medway Council stipulates a low standard of green space provision compared to adjacent local authorities of 3.25ha per 1000 population. This compares to standards of 6.14ha per 1,000 people in Tonbridge and Malling, 10.1ha in Gravesham and 7.39ha in Swale. [1] Medway also has a higher population compared to adjacent areas [2].  However, in Medway Council’s Local Plan consultation, much of the land proposed for potential development is Greenfield.  Additionally the Medway Towns are under additional pressure because of migration from London boroughs, due to the high property prices there, which in 2014 totalled 33% of all migration into our area. [3] According to local Estate Agents this trend has continued. [4]

Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Co-ordinator comments:

“We already have excessive demand for housing in Medway and the goalposts keep shifting.  There is a risk that landowners will be tempted by the high premiums offered by developers. This is not helped by the decision regarding Gibraltar Farm which could open the floodgates for similar planning applications. The only real way to protect Medway’s green spaces is to draw a hard line around them and not allow development in them under any circumstances.

“There are better alternatives to building on Greenfield, such as higher density development on Brownfield sites in urban locations and close to travel hubs (to cut down on car use).  This is suggested by the Council within one of the four options they have proposed in the Local Plan consultation.  This may end up as the preferred option of Medway Green Party which is currently drafting its full response to the consultation.  This is not least because all the other options on offer explicitly mention development at Lodge Hill, an SSSI and of national importance to wildlife.”

Medway Green Party is encouraging those with concerns over developments such as Gibraltar Farm to visit the Local Plan consultation on the Council website and share their views.

The deadline for responses is 18th April.

*************************************************************************************
ENDS

NOTES:

[1] Issues and Options consultation (p65) http://www.medway.gov.uk/PDF/Final%20Issues%20and%20Options%20Public%20Consultation%20Copy.pdf [p66]

[2] Strategic Market Housing Assessment – “Based on the 2011 population level, Medway makes up the largest proportion of the population in the wider HMA, at 34%” – Housing Market Area (HMA) has been identified as consisting of Medway, Gravesham, Swale, Maidstone and Tonbridge and Malling)  http://www.medway.gov.uk/pdf/Medway%20SHMA%20Final%20Report.pdf (p42)

[4] http://www.medway.gov.uk/pdf/Medway%20SHMA%20Final%20Report.pdf (p38)

[5] http://www.medway.gov.uk/pdf/Medway%20SHMA%20Final%20Report.pdf (p53)

March 15, 2017

Noise, Health and Ecopsychology

An issue that effects us all as with increasing development is the rise in noise levels mainly from additional road networks which impede on our ability to enjoy the noises of nature such as birdsong.  The tranquility that nature provides has been suggested in studies to be important to our mental health and wellbeing. Additional discussion of the content of the video is provided in this accompanying article.