Posts tagged ‘Politics’

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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October 10, 2016

Medway Greens select candidate for Rainham Central by-election

Professor George Meegan has been selected as the Green Party’s candidate for the upcoming by-election in Rainham Central.

george-meeganProfessor Meegan is passionate about both protecting our cultural and environmental heritage and creating a better future for children and young people.  He is a top international prize winner in the field of education who stood as an independent parliamentary candidate for Gillingham and Rainham in the 2010 General Election in order to promote alternative forms of education, but has since joined the Green Party.

Professor Meegan says:
“I am running for the Green Party for one reason: I recently became a grandfather and I want my granddaughter to experience the wonderful world that I have experienced. However I see a degraded and polluted planet. We are facing the biggest threat to humanity in the form of climate change. We are being subjected to polluted air daily and our rich cultural heritage and green spaces are at risk of being compromised. As well as the threat of their lives being devastated by environmental catastrophe, our young people are being denied the opportunities in life that we had before them. We need to do all we can to reverse this trend in order to protect the futures of our children and our grandchildren.  The Green Party is not like the other main parties.  The Green Party believes that decisions should be made as locally as possible by those it most affects, and that is why I am honoured to run for the Green Party”.

Rainham is George’s current and childhood home, although he has travelled extensively during his life and career. He was educated at Meredale, Wakeley Road, and Orchard Street Schools. He joined the Merchant Navy at 16, but later in his career (until recently) he worked as Associate Professor of Maritime Sciences at Kobe University in Japan and has delivered lectures across the world.  A programme of education that he designed has been incorporated into the Japanese school curriculum. He has now returned to live in Rainham, but frequently travels abroad to voluntarily further his work in education within indigenous populations.

He says: “I believe in working to ensure that each individual child receives the right kind of education to allow that child to be the best that they can be. This means that we need to move away from standardised curriculums and endless testing and focus on developing the interests and aspirations inherent in each child.  Yes, children are the future and the high stakes testing is wounding some kids.  I have been told that children here in the Medway Towns have developed Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome due to the pressure they are being put under. Not every child thrives in a one size fits all environment. The potential of any child is huge, but not always in academics. I am passionate about working to ensure that the education system serves all our kids well”.

His other passion is walking. In his younger years he received extensive media coverage for completing the longest journey on foot in history, of 19019 miles across the American continents, and has received many accolades and awards for his long walks, including eight entries in the Guinness Book of Records.

George says “I have never been afraid of a challenge. If elected, I will strive to deliver a better future for both residents in Rainham Central and for the Medway Towns as a whole”.

February 21, 2016

Make politics fairer say Medway Greens

Medway Greens have called for fairer and better policed politics.
This is in light of the revelations by Channel 4 News that The
Conservative Party may have broken electoral spending rules in the
Rochester and Strood by-election in 2014.

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

“The claims of illegal spending put further light on how unequal the
battle is. It seems the £100,000 limit on expenses, intended to
produce a level playing field, may not have been enough for the
Tories, who have allegedly 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.

“Added to the effect of financial imbalance, the communication of
ideas and solutions which differ from those of the powerful is made
much harder by our first past the post electoral system.  As well as
meaning that millions of voters are unrepresented, this broken
electoral system squeezes out grassroots political movements
orchestrated by ordinary people in favour of the money men.  Electoral
reform isn’t just about an attempt to get some form of true democracy,
it’s also about reducing corruption and making things more difficult
for those that can spend huge sums swaying elections to their
advantage; an advantage that consequently works for the richest and
most powerful members of our society”.

Mary Smith, Medway Green Party Treasurer and Election Agent adds:

“I have been watching the re-run of ‘The Pallisers’ and the
similarities are frightening.  It seems the only thing that has
changed in 150 odd years is that over-spending is now illegal; but
no-one seems to be policing it.  Channel 4’s news item was well put
together and seemed to make a good case.  However, as it takes some
considerable time to make an investigation of this depth, I would very
strongly suggest that the one year limit, within which legal action
can be taken, is not nearly long enough.

“As often happens, the person or persons prepared to spend the most
money gets the result.  Ironically, in this case 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”.

April 27, 2015

Last 10 days of Medway Greens General Election Campaign

It’s a busy time as we approach the last stretch of the campaign before polling day on Thursday 7th May.

At the weekend we had a further stall on Saturday in Rochester High Street, and door to door leafleting on Sunday, this time in the rain, which helped keep us cool.

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Two of our candidates, Clive and Luke received the 38 degree petition to save the NHS in both Gilingham and Rochester High Streets on Saturday.  If Chatham 38 degrees members were looking for candidates, our Chatham and Aylesford candidate, Luke Balnave was there, he just couldn’t find you! As part of a party that has gone further than any other with its commitment to fully reinstate the NHS to its original purpose and remove market forces completely, our Green Party candidates were obviously very happy to receive the petition.

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Clive and Luke with 38 degrees member (Luke on right)

 

Next week’s stall is likely to be in Strood. Further details to follow.

There are a few hustings coming up this week. This evening (Tuesday 28th April).the Medway Greens will be represented by Luke Balnave, PPC for Chatham and Aylesford at a hustings organised by the Medway Muslim Community in the Gillingham Mosque, Canterbury Street, Gillingham. This hustings will have a Muslim focus with Q&A from that community. However, others are welcome to attend .

Please notify Green Party member Mike Phillips if you wish to attend (as he needs to provide the organisers with expected numbers of attendees). You can contact Mike by e-mail on :- mike@mephillips.co.uk

Or if you prefer to stay indoors, you could look out for Clive Gregory, our PPC for Rochester and Strood who is likely to be gracing our TV screens making the Green case for saving the NHS. The interview recorded today in Brighton is due to be broadcast this evening (Tuesday 28th April) on BBC South East Today at 6.30 pm on BBC1 . 

Clive BBC South East

Here is what Clive had to say about the experience:

Interview with Mark Norman from BBC SE today in Brighton’s NHS training suite – great to have the opportunity to put the Green Party’s case for taking the NHS back into public ownership, increasing funding in the meantime, ending the lunacy of PFI’s and the tax on sugar to subsidise fresh fruit and veg… this and more – although we’ll see what get’s left in on the edit. Also learned from the student how to do a resus’ properly – I can’t believe how hard you have to work. 30 chest compressions at 120 bpm then 2 breaths then repeat until the ambulance gets there – and compress the chest 5-6cm – you have to apply your full weight – unbelievable but amazing. Students were really on the case but the point they all made was that if there’s one reason that the NHS is struggling to attract staff it’s impossible hours and working conditions. They don’t go into the profession for massive salaries (although they want respect and reward) but they want a high quality of life and only the Green Party understand this and will fund the NHS so that the staff are rewarded with a great profession AND a high quality of life.

Further events this week so far are as follows:

Wednesday 29th April 
Clive will be attending a debate at King’s School, Rochester.
And later on, at 7.30 pm, Clive is due to be on Radio Kent  debating benefits for immigrants with a UKIP candidate.
Thursday 30th April at 7.30 pm
Hustings at St Mark’s Church, Gillingham – Our candidate for Gillingham and Rainham, Neil Williams, is on the panel,
November 16, 2014

Medway Greens – Saying No to Racism

Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood joins anti-racism stand-off in Rochester.

Clive Gregory was the only candidate of the main five parties to be seen at a stand-off in Rochester High Street on rsz_p1040081Saturday in which Medway residents and anti-racism protesters used peaceful means to block the way of the extremist right wing organisation, Britain First.  Britain First were outnumbered by the protesters who stood behind a banner with the words “They shall not pass” and the slogan “Rochester against Fascism”.

Clive Gregory says:

“I’m a passionate believer in free speech.  I believe free speech is total, we cannot filter out the bits we don’t like and still call it free speech.  However, Britain First have gone beyond expressing opinions in the spirit of free speech and have become purveyors of hatred, backed by aggression and a desire for confrontation.

“It was great, therefore, to stand shoulder to shoulder with other local people, anti-racism protesters and Green Party colleagues, in sending a strong message to Britain First that they are not welcome in Medway.

“We would also like to thank the police for ensuring calmness in Rochester and for allowing the people of Medway to make their stand against racism.

“As the last weekend before polling day, we had planned to do some canvassing both in Rochester and Strood but the standoff went on longer than we expected. We therefore cancelled the planned canvassing for the day. We felt it more important to stand our ground with the other three hundred or so protesters, until Britain First had no option but to retreat”.

Medway Green Party have chosen “Green Party – saying no to racism” for their voting ballot papers on Thursday.