Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Vote. It's no joke!


It's no joke!

Vote Green to keep the real jokers at bay.

To help - contact martinjdeane@gmail.com

Voting CAN change society

Letter to the Hull Daily Mail

19.4.11

Dear Editor,

A lot of people in Hull don't vote, especially in local elections - but that vote was hard fought for: so is the sort of society we really want.

It was in 1918, after the huge loss of life of the First World War, that all men over 21 could vote (over 19 if you'd been on active service). Men.

Some women campaigned through the 1920s, for suffrage, the right to vote - for all women, not just those with property. After a decade campaigning, being slammed in the press, and tough campaigning too - they destroyed art exhibits, even burned down buildings and churches - women won the vote with a bill through Parliament in 1928.
After the slaughter, this time the Second World War, came the major achievements in society of a National Health Service, of housing, of social security, of free education for all.

Voting - and especially becoming more involved - offers you the opportunity to change society. Yes, we need representatives who won't let us down - but WE also need to hold them to account.

Who knows? Maybe in the end we can create a fairer society. Maybe we can even stop the slaughtering too.
Yours sincerely,

Martin Deane

Hull Green Party

Monday, 18 April 2011

10 Reasons to vote Green in Avenue

#1. Youth unemployment

Hull is among the highest for youth unemployment in the country. The Lib-Dem Council is making the problem worse by making Council workers redundant and cutting young people's services. A Green Councillor would do their utmost to challenge the government, the present Council response, and work with all committed parties to protect jobs and services. Young people should not be let down.

#2. Local Planning

The Con-Lib Coalition is unpicking the Planning system which has protected our environment since 1945. The tool for this is the 'Localism Bill' currently in Parliament. This gives more power to big businesses and volume housebuilders. As usual with governments, they are focussed on the supposed housing shortages in the South East. Hull doesn't so much have a shortage of houses, rather too many of its houses and flats are in poor condition.

Greens will work for a programme of repairing and refurbishing houses and improving insulation would:
- Improve living conditions for Hull people
- Reduce energy use and fuel poverty
- Make the best use of resources such as building materials
- Create work for small local building firms
- Create job and training opportunities in building trades.
- Improve the appearance of our city.


#3. What would a Hull Green Councillor do?

The Localism Bill currently allows developers to avoid legal agreements which require housebuilders to provide funding for public facilities for the people who will live in their houses (Section 106 Agreements). Hull City Council depends on such payments to provide and maintain parks, open spaces and children's playgrounds. Your Green Councillor will do their best to ensure that developers pay their fair share towards the maintenance of Pearson Park and other open spaces.


#4.What would a Hull Green Councillor do?

Hull Green Party welcomes the ending of the waste contract with WRG which would have involved building a waste incinerator. Your Green Councillor will promote alternatives such as the repair and reuse of furniture and household goods, more local recycling, and anaerobic digestion, while at national level seeking to reduce wasteful packaging.

#5. Allotments

Hull has a significant waiting list for allotments. On Newland Allotments there are disused and underused plots which are too big. It should be relatively easy to sub-divide plots to make them more manageable. (Technically this is Newland area but some of the occupiers are Avenue residents. By comparison, Richmond Street Allotments are full).

#6. Make unused land productive

Green Party Councillors will help and support community groups who want to take over the maintenance of areas of land, especially derelict or under-used land, eg for growing fruit or vegetables.

#7. Grow your own!

Greens will encourage and help home growers to set to and grow their own, for greater ownership, self-sufficiency and to combat increasing food prices.

#8. Green spaces

A Green councillor will work to maintain and improve parks, gardens and public utilities. They will work to stop the erosion of green space. Pearson Park: Your Green Councillor will work to bring together all interested parties to seek funding for improvements to Pearson Park. The park is a central green hub for the area and could benefit from a serious bid for Heritage Lottery Funding.

#9 What would a Hull Green Councillor do?

Your green Councillor will look to gain Council support for applications for funding for the preservation of Britain's last remaining civilian bomb site on Beverley Road and its interpretation to remind people of the effect of wars on civilians.

#10. Bike it!

Green councillors will fight to make city roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists (cycling is booming in Hull), work on providing more facilities and better, safer, integrated cycle lanes. Public transport is good in the city but still needs improvement to make it increasingly attractive, easy and affordable. Greens will work with providers on this.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

10 Reasons to vote Green

1. Fight the cuts.

The Green Party stands full-square in opposition to the cuts. They're totally unnecessary. This is ideological bias by the Con-Dem government for the banks, for bailouts, for corporate tax avoidance - and against the rest of us.

2. Tax fairly.

After 13 years of "Labour", inequality is greater in Britain now than any time since World War II. This will worsen with 20% VAT, as young people lose many existing options through cut youth services (especially in Hull with its high youth unemployment), and as up to 1 million lose their jobs.

The changes we fight for are for banks and corporations to pay their way: a Robin Hood Tax on banks, the closure of tax loopholes, the collection of high-earner tax (many high earners on £150,000 and over, have not been taxed for over a year!), and ultimately for the 50% rate to apply to those on £100,000 and over. Our taxes will be fairer and redistributive, not with the heavy bias to the rich that we see now.

3. Free University Eduction.
No to tuition fees. The LibDem u-turn on this was stunning - as is their complete sell-out, so far, to a highly right-wing Tory agenda. This is NOT what people voted for last year, especially with the Lib Dems' centre-left policy then.

4. Renewable energy for Hull.
Kirklees has lots of it - solar panels, ground source heating, why not us? Energy prices are no joke. Oil decline is about to become a reality. Hull City Council should use its power now to promote wind capability WITHIN the city and/or CHP (Combined Heat and Power) plants - for the people.

5. Anti-capitalist.
One we thing we can be certain of: the 3 leading parties are as pro-capitalist as they come! The Green Party doesn't promote itself as anti-capitalist, or pro-socialist, because the terms get in the way. But essentially we put people - and planet - before profit. Politics is for people, families and society; it's about the Earth we live on, about equality and the sustainability of the way we live now, and the coming generations.

6. Hull needs the best.
A vote for the usual suspects means yet another voice for Labour or the Lib Dems - and, in Hull, all the bigotry that's associated with it. A Green councillor will work equally with both sides for the best outcomes regardless of party camps.

7. To help protect the NHS and other health provisions, from creeping privatisation, from mass redundancies and from the plans to make all surgeries into consortiums with doctors as managers.

8. An increase in the Green vote will make the other parties stop and take note that people are responding to the pro-people policies we are fighting for, and help decrease their increasing right-wing stance.

9. So little is being done to really protect our local environment. A green voice will make a big difference when it comes to planning applications, for example, and other initiatives to promote nature over unthinking human destruction.

10. Greens are promoting a YES vote to AV. It's not PR, true, but it's a step in the right direction. By ordering your preferred candidates, it favours the most widely acceptable candidates and so excludes extremists. AV will create 44 new marginal constituencies.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Vote AV - for a game changer

Letter to the Hull Daily Mail, 12th April 2011

Dear Sir,
In addition to voting for the usual suspects, this year, for the first time ever, people have a chance to vote for a game changer, an actual, favourable, change in the system.
Voting the AV system in will mean we can vote for the parties we prefer, in order, on the ballot paper. This gives you more power as a voter. The AV system is already in use in most political parties and in trade unions too.
It's not rocket science, but what it does allow is a voter to express your real preferences - rather than vote x to keep out y or "It's only a two-horse race" etc. AV opens the system up a bit. And if your top preference doesn't win enough votes, then your second preference will then count too.
Ok it's not the system we really want, because we believe the people's votes should actually be represented in proportion. However it is a step in the right direction.
AV keeps extremists out (contrary to some lies), gives voters a bit more power and will help end the "safe seat" culture more quickly.
So after Iraq, PFI, the creeping privatisation of health, the hundreds of billions given to the banks, the deficit being used to bash us over the head, record inequality under the last government, and increasing under this one, the rich becoming richer and being taxed less, the decimation of jobs and services in Hull, wouldn't you like a little more say?
So vote AV on May 5th.
Best wishes,
Martin Deane
Hull Green Party

http://twitter.com/martinjdeane

It’s time to vote Yes to fairer votes.

(I’ve stolen and hijacked this from Rupert Read of Norwich Greens and given it a shine :) )

Our electoral system is unfit for purpose. It was designed for a two-party system and it can’t cope with a multi-party system. We need to fix it and it’s time for electoral reform. It’s time to vote Yes to fairer votes. It’s time to vote Yes2AV, since the Alternative Vote is the change we need.

How is our current system broken? Being able only to crudely put an ‘X’ in one box just doesn’t work when you have three or more serious candidates standing for election.

In the 1950’s, 97% of people voted Labour or Conservative. That figure keeps dropping and dropping every year, not with just the Lib Dems but the dramatic rise of new political parties such as the Green Party and UKIP. We need a system that allows you to list your candidates by preferences, from 1 all the way down, so that you can vote for those who you support and against those who you oppose. AV is voting for who you really want to vote for – and being able to stop those you really don’t.

Our current system, called “first past the post,” (FPTP) means that you have to try to guess who is best-placed to win, and who you should vote for if you want to keep someone else out. The new proposed system, the “Alternative Vote” (AV) means that you simply list candidates in descending order of preference. AV really is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

That’s the core case for voting Yes and joining the countries that use AV in their national elections, such as Australia, India, and Ireland. AV is a modern system, an improvement on the antiquated, outdated First Past The Post system we currently have.

Think about it this way: If you go into a pub, and your first choice drink isn’t available, do you just walk out again? Of course not – you ask for an alternative, your second choice. But under First Past The Post, you don’t get a second choice!

FPTP means no second choice in the pub! But AV means a second choice if your favourite drink isn’t available – or even if it is but you fancy something different! Thank God that we don’t use FPTP when ordering at the bar!

For the same reason, we should stop using it for elections, too! FPTP is far too crude. But AV means greater democracy – it reflects your choices – plural - in the actual vote.

So: The case for voting YES is clear. What’s the case for voting NO? These are the two main lines I hear:

1) “AV is good for extremists”

This is simply a lie that right-wing newspapers and the Prime Minister, to their shame, are spreading in their desperation to stop electoral reform from winning the day. The truth is the opposite:

AV is a far worse deal for extremists such as the BNP, than FPTP. Which is presumably why the BNP are vigorously opposing it. That’s right: Nick Griffin and his dreadful little-Englander party of racists are campaigning for a NO vote on May 5.

Voting YES to AV – a system in which voters can in effect work together to make life harder for unpopular, hated parties – will help ensure that the BNP never gets elected to Westminster. Moreover, if AV were introduced in local government elections, it would lead to the defeat of virtually all BNP councillors anywhere.

Under AV, you need to get 50% of voters onside to win. The BNP hardly ever achieve that because a majority of voters hate them. The BNP have only ever got one Councillor elected with 50% plus of the vote. Under AV, most people wouldn’t even include the BNP in their list. AV would shut the door on the electoral prospects of the BNP.

The other argument that I hear is:

2) “To hurt the LibDems, vote NO”

The NO campaign, understandably (given that they seem to have no constructive arguments at all) are trying to turn the AV referendum into a referendum on Nick Clegg. This is an unacceptably cynical way to treat a hugely important constitutional question.

But it’s also wrong. The Lib Dems will not necessarily benefit from AV. Under AV, you can give your first preference to whoever you want to win. The Lib Dems might gain under AV in areas where they are weak, as they will no longer be perceived as a “wasted vote” in those areas. But AV will also make it possible if you want to to put the Lib Dems bottom of your voting-order!

Moreover, under AV, the Lib Dems will lose some first preference votes in areas where they are currently strong, as people will no longer be compelled to vote for them ‘tactically’ in order to cast a vote that is not “wasted.” Losing votes where you are strong loses you seats, but gaining votes where you are weak does not. Ironically, AV won’t actually be particularly good for Nick Clegg’s party! AV is good news for democracy – but not good news for Nick Clegg!

To sum up: AV won’t heal everything about our political system. But it is a positive step and it represents real progress. This electoral reform offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help revive British politics.

Are you totally happy with British politics as it is? Do you think everything is going just great? If so, maybe you should vote NO to change on May 5.

AV is fairer. AV allows you to express your preferences and to vote for who you really want to. That will help small parties such as the Greens. But at the same time, AV helps stop extremists (such as the BNP), by allowing you to place them bottom of your preferences. AV is the natural next step forward for British democracy.

The Hull Lib Dem Cuts

1400 Hull jobs are expected to go. The unions warn this could rise to over 2000. Cuts include museum services where hours will be cut as well as opening times.

But the headline cut in Hull is surely the massive attack on Youth and Children’s Services. 1 in 5 young people in Hull live in poverty. 1 in 5 adults are unemployed. School attainment is amongst the lowest in the UK.

The Council cuts mean young people in Hull will be affected by:

  • 32% cut in Children and Young People’s services.
  • SureStart: funding slashed by 50% (1). Lib Dems technically not “closing” the 14 of 21 centres, but staffing and provision are set to be minimal, the unions claim “a receptionist and a caretaker”! (1)
  • Unison estimates only 46 of 244 workers will remain. (1)
  • Connexions: 100% cut in careers guidance for young people. (2)
  • Young People’s Support Service cut 50%. Used by 1500-2000 young people every month, for help in finding a place to live, a job, education grants, etc. (2)
  • Youth Worker Training cut. No further provision to train youth workers. (2)
  • Looked-After Children’s Services cut — only two learning mentors to remain for the city. (2)
  • Family Group Conferencing cut. Help for families to stay together when crisis hits, and preventing youngsters being taken into care. (2)
  • Disability Respite cut—did provide short term breaks for disabled children and young people. (2)

Day Care Centres: NINE still threatened with closure …

Teaching Assistants cut: the Council has already made hundreds of TAs redundant and will cut back classroom support further.

It’s not as if Hull can afford more redundancies at this time, or that Hull doesn’t have enough unemployment! But this attack on communities and services cannot go unanswered which is why 5 Green Party members have put themselves forward as candidates:

Avenue Ward: Martin Deane

Newland Ward: Mike Lammiman

Myton Ward: TJ White

King’s Park Ward: Mark Gretton

University Ward: James Russell

- If you can help, please get in touch.

Hull candidates in full.

————————-

1. Guardian

2. Hull College SU

The Violence in Society...

I was speaking to a friend recently about last Saturday’s march. She may not have known precisely what the marchers were marching for – despite being a very able professional - beyond it being the unions “anticuts”. She may not have known how large it was as a demonstration, maybe second only to the Iraq one in size.

She may, also, not have heard of the Robin Hood Tax: she may not know there is NO tax on international finance deals despite these wrecking the global economy in 2008. Despite being really proud to pay taxes herself, she may not know that those on £150,000 and over have not paid their 50% tax for a year, or of the 13,000 jobs to be lost at HMRC, nor that most of this money won’t be recovered. But she certainly knew about the violence, the attacks on property and the thugs.

But there’s lies in all this. From the highest levels. And they will be repeated ad nauseam by people who should know better – or who choose not to. But we ALL should know better because we’re all targets of current government policies and hyping violence at a demo really aimed at them is their way out of having to answer for their own social violence.

In this Newsnight report, according to the nice female police Asst. Commissioner, there were arrests at this demo beating a record of 5 years for a public order event. She talks about the fear of customers as Fortnum & Mason was invaded by over 100 protesters from the group UKuncut.

The trouble is – there wasn’t any trouble!

The Guardian has video of a nice female police inspector, on the scene, saying they were “non-violent” and “sensible” (as confirmed by other independent reports like Green Party Adam Ramsay or this 15 year old girl’s account, and other video). The inspector even says on camera “that’s why people were kept in here” implying the police were dealing with actual violence outside and so prevented peaceful demonstrators leaving the shop!

Yet there were 149 charged with 138 arrested at F&M. - Just watch these charges disappear when it gets to court in a few months time! This is purely for headlines now! It’s propaganda. This was a peaceful sit-in that not even the shop has protested, nor were customers harassed or even prevented from shopping!

Only a few days ago MPs voted to support the No Fly Zone over Libya. Supposedly to defend the rebels there, only 13 of the 670 MPs voted against this. Really it was a rubber-stamping of the decision already taken by Cameron to back it. This despite polls showing the public very ambivalent about getting involved in Libya.

But where’s the No Fly Zone over Gaza? There isn’t one. And there never will be one while Israel remains backed by America – no matter how many Palestinians suffer or die – or rebel.

Choosing to back the banks, choosing to cut public jobs, welfare, DLA, EMA, housing benefit, youth organisations, day care centres, essentially protects the rich and the powerful who will become richer and more powerful through these policies. They will get the money that is being “saved” – not some deficit balance!

The estimated total of one million jobs beginning to be lost by these policies (500,000 public sector jobs and another 500,000 estimated to be lost from knock-on effects) will have effects to last for years – not a few days of clearing up mess or replacing windows.

We must be aware of violence in all its forms – not just what the media, or the powerful who control them, choose to show us.

Or else we are the manipulated ones merely bowing to thought control in a democratic society.

Miliband’s new campaigns!

In the wake of yesterday’s historic march, Labour’s Edward Milibland announces his new campaigns:

  • NO taxes on the banks!
  • NO taxes for the wealthy! (these haven’t been collected for over a year anyway…)!
  • NO closing of tax loopholes!
  • DON’T chase major tax avoiders!
  • DON’T re-regulate the financial sector!
  • CUT all the services anyway! (just spread them out a bit more).

The Labour Party leader, Ed Milibland, was very poor yesterday! His was the total hypocrisy of equating the 500,000 marchers (figure via police announced by Len McCluskey from stage) with apartheid and the civil rights movement, etc – WHILE he fails to share the ACTUAL policies the march was about!

A Real Alternative? Unbelievable, isn’t it? And major Unions think this is where hope lies?!?

Hull, on the other hand, was rather splendid. Somewhere around 17 coaches went, including the (Fire Brigade) FBU’s 3 from the area. (Twice the number of coaches that went for Iraq in 2003).

We had a great time. The demonstration was massive, very good-natured and determined. But we all know the battle goes on.

The message must get through: tax the banks, tax the ultra-rich, make the cuts history.

—————

Update: After rumours of attack on Fortnum and Mason’s, a mob of tweed-clad old Etonians retaliate and vandalise Lidl in Slough. #mar26

Tw: Best placard so far: ‘there are two things I don’t like about nick clegg: his face’ #26march #march26

Tw: The march was a total success – 500k. Pity the ‘alternative’ is cuts over 72 months instead of 54 months. Ed is not the alternative.

Workers may March but Labour isn’t the alternative!

The biggest march this decade, to be held on Saturday, will have only one political party speaker: Ed Miliband.

Is Saturday’s huge demonstration really going to be a March for an Alternative? Or a march for more failed policies from a favoured party?

The TUC March for the Alternative on the 26th, calls for a Robin Hood Tax on banks, for closing tax loopholes and for policies for jobs and green growth.

Caroline Lucas MP, the one Green MP in Parliament, has been calling for these policies for over a year! And more: for an end to tax avoidance and evasion, for increased taxation of the rich, for closing tax loopholes for banks and big business, and not for destroying a million jobs through cuts but for creating one million jobs in green industries instead!

The policies the TUC March is calling for are from her manifesto!

But they’re not in Ed’s! Ed Miliband wrote Labour’s manifesto which called for these same cuts over 6 years, just not 4 1/2! How much history are people expected to forget to think that Labour are the answer?

Greens today call on the TUC and trade unionists to really fight the cuts, to put real pressure on politics and invite a greater representation of anti-cuts parties and politicians.

———————————————————
Martin Deane
Letter to TUC
info@tuc.org.uk, media@tuc.org.uk, bbarber@tuc.org.uk

Dear TUC,

As a teacher, an active anti-cuts campaigner and a member of a political party, I am utterly dismayed to hear today that Ed Miliband MP is to be the only party political speaker from on 26th March.

I am ashamed and disgusted by this sectarian move to allow a platform to a leader of a political party who has been advocating almost the same cuts as well as supporting the privatization of our beloved public services for over a decade.

Caroline Lucas MP is a sane voice in Parliament who has been calling for the policies this March is promoting for over a year! For an end to tax avoidance and evasion, for increased taxation of the rich, for closing tax loopholes for banks and big business, for creating one million green jobs instead of destroying a million. The policies the TUC March is calling for could be from her manifesto! But they’re not in Ed’s!

Is this really going to be a March for an Alternative? Or a march for more failed policies from a favoured neoliberal party?

I write to urge you to reconsider your decision. The March is important but if it’s simply pro-Labour then it will then be the TUC which is selling out the people. The trade unions monopolising the anti-cuts movement for the Labour Party line would be a failure of pluralistic politics, and bowing to the conservative ideology of present Labour policies. It will be truly and simply un-trade unionist.

It will be a shame if the TUC acts in this manner. Please act immediately to provide a range of political representation for people who will really fight these cuts.

Sincerely,

Martin Deane

Hull

Create jobs not destroy them

The Green Party doesn’t accept the current propaganda that it’s necessary to have cuts to pay off the deficit.

The deficit has been at higher levels in history without being used as an excuse to launch an attack on ordinary people across the country. This attack is the most blatant, at this time, after just paying up to a trillion pounds to the banks to bail them out.

In the General Election last year we attacked the parties and their plans for cuts. Since then after people arguably voted for a hung Parliament, we have seen the Lib Dems unashamedly sell out the voting population (and the others!), jump into bed with the Tories and prepared to destroy a million jobs.

Our platform last year, the Green New Deal, showed how we can raise billions of pounds by taxing simply where the wealth is in society. Instead we see a rise in VAT which taxes everyone and taxes the poorest disproportionately. Our plans create a million jobs in vital green industries like energy conservation and renewable production, instead of destroying tens of thousands of jobs in the health service and more in council services across the country.

The cuts are “Disaster Capitalism” as Naomi Klein might call it. The disaster is the deficit, and big business has spotted a way to make money from it. It doesn’t matter that maybe a trillion quid has been given to the banks. Nor that the deficit has been higher with no great problems. All that matters is that they convince us the cuts are necessary. It’s propaganda. Once the cuts are in then they can move in companies to take over parts of the NHS or social services roles. And make another killing…

Connaught workers protest