Posts tagged ‘Politics’

May 4, 2018

One year to go to Medway Council elections

While many people in the country are milling over the results of the 2018 Council elections, in Medway we were asked by local reporter, Dean Kilpatrick, to provide some thoughts on Medway Council’s elections next May.

Please see full article from Medway Green Party below:

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Medway Council is not renowned for its recognition of democracy and there appears to be little exception to this in regard to the Local Plan consultation.  The latest proposal to build a “rural town” on the Hoo Peninsula arguably favours the interests of developers over local people who want to preserve our green spaces and certainly don’t want a new town at Hoo.

This together with the continued identification of the SSSI at Lodge Hill and now Deangate Ridge Golf Course and other valuable green spaces such as Capstone Valley in housing proposals is I predict likely to be the biggest issue on the agenda as we approach the 2019 local elections.

Both the Conservatives and Labour administrations fully support massive development and fail to recognise and indeed simply don’t understand the importance of our environment locally. We are privileged to live in an area of international importance and need to preserve it. Only the Greens are questioning both the need for so many houses and the decisions the Council is making about where to put them.

The proposals are also completely inadequate in fulfilling local need for affordable housing.  Medway is regularly being advertised as a commuter town with pitches for buyers for new, undoubtedly expensive, riverside apartments in the pipeline. Is this the pipeline development mentioned in the Local Plan which the Council has already approved?  The current requirement of local people should be addressed first; this is social housing. There also needs to be more proactive effort to reduce climate change by ensuring that any building allows for maximum energy production and efficiency.

As with many legislative bodies from the EU commission down to the humblest local council, transparency is an issue. Medway is a good example of a few individuals thinking they know best and to implement their plans they involve others reluctantly.  Local people no longer accept this style of governance – its day is ending. What people are calling for is to be included in planning and decisions.  Proportional representation would be the best way to begin this change.

Meanwhile, both Tories and Labour seem to believe that the only answer to overpriced housing is to build more houses ignoring the need for more socially rentable housing locally and ignoring the role that financial markets have had in the massive escalation in prices of market housing.  Most people are completely unaware that the economic system is at the core of the majority of disastrous policy decisions. Some like Kate Raworth in her book “Doughnut Economics” [1] or the Positive Money group [2] challenge the status quo, but the problems with our economic system are largely left out of debate.  Greens will endeavour to highlight alternative economic solutions both at a local and global level.

The risk of increasing congestion and rising pollution from all the additional cars on our roads is also likely to be a factor.  We will need to be thinking of more sustainable travel solutions.  We also need more electric car charging points.  There seems to be no anticipation by the Council of the emergence of electric vehicles.

Concern regarding single use plastics is becoming more prominent following the excellent Blue Planet programme.  While the Council has agreed to stop using SUPs on Council premises more can be done. It surprises me that while the charge on plastic bags has helped reduce use, that plastic bags haven’t been eliminated altogether. Why don’t shops supply paper bags for groceries as they do in America?  The Council also needs to do better at reducing landfill. That Medway Norse has taken over the contract for running household waste recycling centres is something that needs watching.  They don’t seem to have done very well with Deangate Ridge Golf Course!

Finally the fight to protect our local public services including health, education and social care is likely to feature, all of which are suffering through Government cuts to the Council budget.

Who can predict any result in these unpredictable times but we believe that in May 2019 there will be even more need for Green voices on the Council.

Clive Gregory

Green Campaigner and PPC for Rochester and Strood

[1] https://www.kateraworth.com/

[2] http://positivemoney.org/

 

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March 3, 2018

Vote Green on International Women’s Day – March 8th #RochesterWest

220px-Annie_Kenney_and_Christabel_PankhurstThe Rochester West by-election is on the same day as International Women’s Day (1). One of the reasons I decided to enter politics was because of a lack of female voices in public life.  I felt that if I wanted women to have a voice, I needed to stand myself to contribute to that change. So as the only female candidate in the by-election, I feel honoured to stand on this day which begins a year-long campaign to further gender equality.

International Women’s Day was started by the Suffragettes in the early 1900s; the first International Women’s Day was in 1911 (2). Thanks to the suffrage movement’s determination to effect change, women have had the vote for 100 years and my view is that this has helped the country to enjoy relative peace since 1945.

However, we have to remember that the right to a political voice is often fought for, it is not given! Men and women’s voices still need to be heard on issues such as the blight of litter and landfill on our communities, the fundamental right to have a home and to continue to have accessible health services.

Medway Green Party considers that social rights are inextricably linked with the environment, but rights have to be fought for peacefully. This fight, which for me has been inspired by the determination of the Suffragettes, is one I aim to continue on behalf of the people of Rochester West, if elected on International Women’s Day on 8th March.

Sonia Hyner – Green Party Candidate Rochester West

Sonia was inspired to write this letter by reading “Hearts and Minds – The Untold Story of How Women Won The Vote” by Jane Robinson – Penguin books 2018. http://www.jane-robinson.com/

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NOTES

[1] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

[2] https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

Some additional information on the Suffrage Movement:

Women’s Full Political Enfranchisement – 1792 to 2018

The right to a political voice is often fought for, it is not given!

This is seen in Mary Wollstonecraft’s book of 1792:

A Vindication of the Rights of Women

A Bill to enfranchise women was presented to the House of Commons in the years: 1872,

’75,  ‘ 76, ’ 78, ‘ 79, ’84, ’86, ’87, ’97, ’92, ’96, ’97, ’98, ’99 and in 1901, ’04, ’05 and so on. All of these Bills were lost.

In 1897, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) or Suffragists was formed under the leadership of Millicent Garrett Fawcett who espoused change through political reform.

The Suffragettes under Emmeline Pankhurst founded The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) 1905. Empty political rhetoric resulted in them smashing the windows of the gentry and tying themselves to railings. Emily Wilding Davidson fatally threw herself under the King’s Horse at Epsom.

By 1907, women organised a large-scale outdoor women’s suffrage meeting through the NUWSS, called the Mud March. Fifty-four suffragettes were arrested.

In prison, under the Cat and Mouse Act, suffragettes were forced fed, released to get well and re-arrested and force fed again.

The Representation of the People Bill received Royal Assent on the 6th February 1918, allowing qualified women of 30 or over to vote. The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act was passed in 1928, extending the franchise to women aged 21.

 

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February 16, 2018

Candidate profile – Sonia Hyner #RochesterWest

Sonia HynerSonia Hyner has lived in Medway since 2002 and has been an active peace and climate change campaigner for some time.  She worked for Citizen Advice for 21 years, supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing, before recently retraining to teach English to adults at Further Education College. Sonia also stood as the Green Candidate for the Rochester and Strood constituency in the 2017 General Election.

Sonia says: “One of the reasons I decided to enter politics was because of a lack of female voices in public life.  I felt that if I wanted women to have a voice, I needed to stand myself to contribute to that change.  The Conservatives currently dominate the Council and people feel that the Council doesn’t take their wishes and needs seriously. People deserve better!  Voting Green in Rochester West will help to provide more balance on Medway Council as well as encouraging and protecting values that currently have little or no voice such as….

 

Medway’s Environment and Sustainability:

A Green councillor would work to put environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing at the heart of council decisions and to protect our local countryside and green spaces from needless development. Globally many plants and animals have died out because their natural habitats have been destroyed. We must fight to protect our healthy green spaces, and clean up our toxic air, as well as for all development and transport to be truly sustainable. One of my key interests is in reducing litter and landfill and improving recycling locally.

Our NHS and Public Services:

Nationally our NHS is being sold off to private companies at an alarming rate. Our local services are at risk – this needs to stop! The recent Carillion disaster demonstrates a total failure in both Labour and Tory economic policy and their management of public services. I would do all I can to protect and improve our local public services.  People need to come before profit!

Homes that meet the needs of Medway:

We need to provide homes that local young people can actually afford.  The Medway Local Plan consultation estimates that 75% of new homes need to be affordable over the next 25 years to meet the needs of the local population, but the Council is only planning to enforce a requirement for 25% and is failing currently to achieve even that. There are alternatives such as Community Land Trusts which support local communities to build their own homes at prices they can afford and many would agree that we need the Council to start providing enough homes again. I would do all I can to ensure that all local people have a decent home.

If elected as councillor in Rochester West, I will make it my duty to strive towards making Medway the responsive, supportive and secure place I know it should be; respecting and listening to ALL voices in the community.”

January 24, 2018

Sonia Hyner to stand for Greens in Rochester West by-election #RochesterWest #GreenMedway

SonSonia Hyner 2017 intraArtsia Hyner has been selected as the Green Party’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Rochester West.  An active peace and climate change campaigner for a number of years, Sonia worked for Citizen Advice for 21 years, supporting members of the public to alleviate poverty and secure housing. She recently retrained to teach English to adults at Further Education College. Sonia stood as Green PPC for Rochester and Strood in 2017 and knows the Rochester West area well, having been a campaigner on the doorsteps in recent years.    
Sonia says:
“I would understand that people may be a bit weary of elections having been through eight elections in the past three years in Rochester West, but this does provide an opportunity to produce a bit more balance on Medway Council. The Council is currently largely dominated by Conservatives, with Labour the only real opposition.  A Green voice on the Council would provide more opportunity to put environmental sustainability, health and wellbeing at the heart of Council decisions. Currently those who support Green values have no consistent voice on the Council at all. I would call on anyone who does to get out and vote Green on March 8th”.
Steve Dyke, Medway Green Party Coordinator says:
“I am delighted that Sonia has been selected as our candidate in the by-election.  She is a passionate believer in green politics who would work hard to represent the interests of all those in Rochester West, whatever their background, while bringing a much needed environmental perspective to the Council.”
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June 16, 2017

Thank you voters – General Election Count 2017

We would like to thank everybody in Medway who voted with their hearts last week for a Green future in the General Election.  We had anticipated a lower vote this time due to tactical voting by people trying to overcome the limitations of the ‘first past the post’ electoral system.  While out canvassing, many people told us that although they would prefer to vote Green and intend do so in local elections, they would be voting Labour this time in an attempt to defeat the Tories. Unfortunately this didn’t actually change much locally.

Nationally, while we welcome the big shift towards progressive politics, we are left with a minority Tory government who will go to any lengths to retain power, including an irresponsible deal with the DUP, a party with controversial views on climate change, abortion and gay rights. Yet more people voted for progressive parties! Also of note is that while the DUP received fewer votes than the Green Party, they now have ten MPs while we still have only one!

Our current electoral system is inherently undemocratic by failing to reflect the true opinions of voters.  The Green Party will continue to fight for a fairer voting system in which everyone’s vote counts.

Locally, we are undeterred and looking forward to continuing our various campaigns in the coming months and years to allow more of you to see what Green politics is about.

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Clive, Sonia and Bernard, our candidates after votes had been declared

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May 26, 2017

Tory cuts obsession threatens our future by Bernard Hyde, Green candidate for Chatham and Aylesford

sure start demoThe threatened closures of Sure Start Centres in Medway are part of a political strategy that has been threatening our social support systems since 2010 when the Tory-led Coalition Government came into power.   It was at that point that the Tories decided that it was “fair” to inflict the debts caused by the bailout of unscrupulous banks following the financial crisis on the rest of us, and in particular the poorest and most vulnerable in our society [1], by starting a programme of continuing cuts which have attacked our social security and public services.

The argument by the Coalition Government was that it was unfair to inflict this debt on future generations.  Putting aside that the current Government has actually grown the level of debt it inherited [2], this misses the fact that the size of public debt is only one aspect that will determine the potential of our children’s and grandchildren’s adult lives.  The condition of public infrastructure, hospitals, schools, housing, transport, social care, social support services and the natural environment our children and grandchildren will inherit will all have a huge impact on the quality of their lives. There is little advantage to having low public debt if you will not be able to be treated when you are sick, housed when you are homeless, or if the natural environment which supports your very existence has been destroyed beyond saving.

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.

Bernard Hyde
Green Party candidate for Chatham and Aylesford

NOTES:
[1] http://www.social-policy.org.uk/downloads/idow.pdf (p8)

[2] https://fullfact.org/economy/labour-and-conservative-records-national-debt/

 

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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 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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