If agreed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could extend the power of multinational corporations to sue national governments. Campaigners argue that the granting of this power to businesses will undermine basic citizen rights and could lead to the erosion of laws designed to safeguard public services and the environment.
Green Party Member of the European Parliament Jean Lambert (pictured above with Young Greens at the TTIP demonstration in London) said:
“When citizens of Europe elect their representatives they expect them to act in the public interest. If they don’t, then they have the right to vote them out at an election. TTIP could completely undermine this very basic principle. If corporations don’t like a law that caps their carbon dioxide emissions or they want to avoid meeting vital workers’ rights just so they can cut costs, they’ll be able to use their financial muscle to take governments to court and have the laws changed to suit their own interests. Where does that leave the public and the ordinary voter?
“Protecting basic human rights and safeguarding the environment is at the heart of Green Party politics. That’s why I am so proud to support this national day of action and I am working hard with my fellow Green MEPs to stand-up to this corporate power-grab and oppose the passage of this deal. Whilst we have been disappointed that the Coalition and opposition Labour Party have given their tacit support to this trade deal, we are hopeful that today’s huge display of opposition will convince them of the urgent need to take a stand and protect the basic rights of the British and European public.”
Today’s national demonstration was organisation by the “NoTTIP” action group, a network of campaigns united in their opposition to the proposed trade deal. The demonstration was timed to take place two days before a new round of negotiations between EU and US representative began.]]>
The figures published by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) show that the UK Government does not expect London to meet its Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) legal limits until after 2030, according to revised projections released today. Previously projections from DEFRA and City Hall had put the date at 2025. The original legal compliance date was 2010. DEFRA estimates that around 4000 Londoners a year die prematurely due to air pollution.
ClientEarth has brought the case against the UK Government on behalf of its citizens for its failure to adhere to legal pollution limits set by the EU to protect the public's health.The case was referred to the Court of Justice of EU by the UK Supreme Court where it is currently being heard. Commission lawyers described the case as “perhaps the longest running infringement of EU law in history”.
Alan Andrews, a lawyer for Client Earth said: “It’s bad enough that the government has no intention of complying with these limits in the foreseeable future. It’s even worse that they’re trying to hide behind legal procedural rules to keep this quiet. We have a right to breathe clean air and the right to know when the government is failing to protect us."
Jenny Jones, centre left: "Politicians at all levels of local and national Government have failed to take the decisive actions needed to reduce pollution"
Green Party members in the London Assembly and in the European Parliament have consistently pushed for legal limits to be enforced by the swift introduction of a central London ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ by 2018 and by ensuring that all cars, taxis and vans in the city conform to "Euro 4" low pollution standards. During periods of high pollution, Greens have also called for the Mayor to issue "smog warnings" to help vulnerable Londoners protect their health.
Speaking after DEFRA's revelations, Green London Assembly Member Baroness Jenny Jones said: "
Jenny Jones AM said:
“The news about air pollution seems to get worse, not better. Politicians at all levels of local and national Government have failed to take the decisive actions needed to reduce pollution. People’s health has suffered directly because of the complacency and inaction of successive Government Ministers. This latest admission about the extent of the air pollution problem reinforces the case against more road building in London and for the introduction of pay as you go driving to bring down fares and reduce traffic.”
London Green Party activist Charlie Kiss, left, with Green Islington Councillor Caroline Russell at the rally in Trafalgar Square
The Green Party pledged to support the employees’ right to strike and to picket peacefully in order to assert their right to fair wages and proper treatment. Public sector employees are facing unprecedented financial hardship with part-time and female employees the most affected under the Government’s ideological austerity agenda.
The strike saw more than one million workers protesting the Government policy of frozen and restricted pay and will include workers from the PCS, The National Union of Teachers, Unison, and others.
Thousands of people around the country gave up a day’s pay to express their unhappiness with the Coalition Government’s economic attack on public sector employees.
In a joint statement, London's Green Councillors said:
"Public sector workers play a vital role in delivering the services that we all rely upon but severe government cuts have removed the funds needed to sustain the essential services they provide and has resulted in 1 in 4 local authority employees struggling on low wages. The sheer extent of the damage caused by the government's economic programme is evident in the scale of the strikes taking place. That so many people feel moved to take action shows how frustrated and overburdened public sector workers are feeling.
"The London Green Party stands with those workers in sending a simple message to the government: we can't go on like this. We can't continue with rapacious cuts to the NHS, the closure of local children's centres, and mounting queues at foodbanks. The government must hear the public's message that cuts are hurting the people of Britain. An alternative economic strategy and an alternative future is possible and together with communities up and down the country we will be out promoting that message on Thursday."
With local residents and workers keen to make the most of the summer sun, the park has seen a big increase in visitors in recent weeks. Sadly bins in the park have been unable to meet this increased capacity (image above, credit: Caroline Russell) leaving litter, bin bags, and discarded BBQs scattered across the park’s grass and public walkways.
Public concerns about the state of the park and an increase in bin fires have been raised with the Council by newly-elected Green Party Councillor Caroline Russell. Ms. Russell is calling on her fellow Islington Councillors to increase the number of bins in the park and provide safe facilities for BBQ disposal.
Councillor Russell said:
“Surrounded by local schools, offices, and homes, Highbury Fields provides an important focal point for the local Islington community and those from across London looking for a barbecue venue. It’s a place where families can enjoy a day-out, people can come to make the most of the summer sun, and workers can get that all important break away from their desks.
“Sadly the parks’ popularity is not being matched by investment in its amenities. Bin fires are increasing and discarded BBQs are causing fires in bin bags stacked by overflowing bins. Children, parents, friends, and families should be free to enjoy the space the park provides without having to be confronted by piles of litter and disused BBQs and those working for the Council should be protected from the risk of burns from smouldering refuse. I’m calling on the council to make a commitment to clean-up the park, increase the bins available and provide facilities to safely dispose of BBQs and recycle picnic debris. Everyone enjoys sharing food with friends but safety must be managed both for park visitors and those who work for the council.”]]>
Sir Richard Branson has called for four new runways and a new airport to be built, a month before a critical aviation consultation closes. The billionaire tycoon, speaking to the Financial Sunday Express, said that Heathrow and Gatwick both need two new runways each - and that even if the extra runways are built at Heathrow and Gatwick, they would only be a 20-year stopgap measure.
Hours later, the Airport Commission published its environmental impact study on the Thames Estuary airport proposed by the Mayor of London (often referred to as "Boris Island"). The report concludes that the scheme would result in a large scale direct habitat loss to Special Protected Areas in the Thames Estuary and Marshes. Special Protected Areas are those which EU member states, including the EU, have a duty to protect in order to safeguard habitats of threatened bird species. The cost of providing the required habitat compensation if the airport goes ahead could be as high as £2 billion. The report, however, noted uncertainty as to whether this compensation would even be possible.
Darren Johnson (above, as pictured in the Lewisham News Shopper) responded:
“Calling for larger airports and more flights is fine if you live on a tropical island and your only concern is making bigger profits.
"The Airports Commission has confirmed what a costly environmental disaster the Mayor’s Thames Estuary Airport represents - besides which, far too many people in London already have to live with the downsides of noise and pollution. Heathrow alone is the most noise polluting airport in Europe, affecting the lives of more than three quarter of a million residents.
"Rather than building more airports and more runways we need action to reduce air traffic, not increase it. Some of the UK’s leading companies, like M&S and Vodaphone, have cut their business flights by more than a third and made much greater use of video-conferencing for example. We do not need to simply accept further airport expansion as somehow inevitable.”]]>
Green Assembly Member and working Peer Jenny Jones has published a report looking at the potential of solar and some of the barriers London faces to joining the solar revolution sweeping the country.
Jenny Jones, right, here visiting solar installations in Kirkless, Yorkshire. London has the lowest uptake of solar panels of any region on mainland Britain.
The report found that only one in 260 London households have gone ahead with solar panels; only an eighth of the rate of installation in the South West of England. This is despite the benefits offered by solar energy - London has the potential to supply a fifth of its electricity needs from photovoltaics. There is currently wide variations in take up rates between London boroughs: LB Waltham Forest has one solar PV installation for every 88 homes, whilst in neighbouring Enfield it's one for 362 homes.
In order to increase uptake of solar technology in the capital the report recommends the formation of a dedicated City Hall team to help businesses, tenants and communities install solar on the empty roof tops of London’s commercial and industrial businesses, supermarkets, flats, schools, transport and public buildings.
Jenny Jones AM said:
“Given that solar photovoltaics have the greatest potential of any renewable electricity generating technology, it is astonishing that the Mayor is not promoting and helping London’s residents, businesses, schools, communities to harvest solar electricity from their underused and empty roof tops”
“What Londoners deserve is an enthusiastic advocate of solar energy, a clean energy source that will not only cut our bills and our carbon emissions, but it will help address looming energy supply disruptions. What we don’t need is a Mayor fixed on promoting dirty ‘fracking’ wells around the country and all the inherent environmental hazards associated with them.
“The Mayor should learn from the success stories around the UK, or from countries like Germany, which has a similar climate to southern England and recently broke its own record of generating 50% of its total electricity needs from solar energy. Solar panels are easy to install on all shapes and sizes of buildings”]]>
The King’s College analysis of Nitrogen Dioxide pollution, which is produced by diesel emissions from buses and taxis, has revealed on Oxford Street is the most polluted place in the world. Average levels of the toxic pollutant are currently three times the EU safety limit.
High concentrations of nitrogen dioxide can trigger asthma and heart attacks after even a short period of exposure, which is why the EU requires members states including the UK to ensure that NO2 remains at safe levels.
Greens in the London Assembly and in the European Parliament have consistently pushed for legal limits to be enforced by the swift introduction of a central London ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ by 2018 and by ensuring that all cars, taxis and vans in the city conform to "Euro 4" low pollution standards. During periods of high pollution, Greens have also called for the Mayor to issue "smog warnings" to help vulnerable Londoners protect their health.
Green London Assembly Member Jenny Jones commented on King's College's findings:
“The Mayor’s delays and dithering on combating air pollution in London means that not only more people will die prematurely or be seriously affected, but visitors and tourists could now be deterred from visiting Oxford Street.”]]>
The Green Party have released an animated film to highlight the encroaching privatisation of the NHS by successive Conservative and Labour governments
Today's "Save our Surgeries" rally was called to highlight the pressure GP surgeries are currently facing after the latest Coalition Government reforms. Keep Our NHS Public campaigners argue that the recent withdrawal of the "minimum practice income guarantee" means that surgeries in more deprived areas will be penalised, and even threatened with bankruptcy:
"Good quality surgeries (who spend the most, employing more staff to provide the best possible service to patients) will be the first to go. This will open the door for more GP surgeries run by large private firms on the cheap. "
"The government is targeting poor areas to push it's agenda of increasing privatisation of the health service."
London's Green MEP Jean Lambert said: “This Government promised to defend the NHS – but the reforms it has introduced have done exactly the opposite.
"Greens believe in an adequately-funded publicly-provided NHS, run in the interests of people – not profits."
Yesterday's hearing at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), is the first since the two Green Parliamentarians began legal proceedings in May this year following email monitoring revelations by Edward Snowdon.
Lawyers for the two Green politicians argue that there is a strong likelihood that both Lucas and Jones’ communications are being still intercepted as part of the "Tempora programme" exposed by the whistle-blower.
The Tempora programme, operated primarily by GCHQ, monitors and collates, on a blanket basis, the full range of electronic communications data produced in, or transiting through, the United Kingdom and numerous other countries. The communications it intercepts includes emails and other internet traffic as well as telephone calls.
Th lawyers claim that the surveillance of the Parliamentarians' communications was unlawful, being in breach of the Doctrine implemented by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, in 1966 which provides that no Member of Parliament's telephone shall be tapped (updated in 1997 to include email).
"Greens are strong advocates for the protection of digital rights" London's Green MEP Jean Lambert, left, with Green MEP for the South East Keith Taylor during their successful campaign against ACTA
Speaking about the importance of the issue of digital rights to the Green Party, London's Green MEP commented:
"Greens are strong advocates for the protection of digital rights from vested commercial interests, and the safeguarding of our data and privacy from mass e-surveillance, as exposed by Edward Snowden's revelations.
"Green MEPs led the initiative within the European Parliament which successfully stopped ACTA, the controversial international "anti-counterfeiting trade agreement" which would have undermined digital freedoms. We are also one of the only parties opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which includes e-commerce provisions that could undermine the protection of EU citizens' private data."
On the first day of the hearing, tribunal President Mr Justice Burton judged that the proceedings should not be carried out in secret - a rare move opposed by the intelligence agencies - to avoid criticism that the IPT operated in a "Kafkaesque fashion". The government's lawyers say they will neither confirm nor deny the existence of the interception programmes that were disclosed by Snowden.
Baroness Jones said:
“It is extremely important that when complaints such as mine are made to the Tribunal, the evidence and legal arguments involved, as far as possible, are heard and considered in public. The Tribunal must adopt a presumption of openness and transparency and only when issues of real national security arise, should an exemption to this presumption be considered.
“The Wilson Doctrine recognises a fundamental principle of our democracy; that the country’s intelligence agencies should not bug or spy on any Members of Parliament.
“This Doctrine is crucial to the work of all those sitting in both our Houses of Parliament and I hope the government will now take the summer to consider its position carefully and confirm in September that it intends to uphold this important right which protects parliamentary correspondence."
The hearing has now been adjourned until October 2014.
Speaking in the video, Jenny revealed: "In the South-East of Croydon there is more land given over to golf courses than to housing." The London Assembly member was also invited onto the show to debate the issue with golf-loving Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan.
According to Sports England, golf is played by only 2% of Londoners on at least a monthly basis. In England as a whole, only 0.68% in those who classed themselves as "non-white" play golf at least once a month. Men are approximately 7 times as likely as women to play, whilst those who are most affluent are around twice as likely to play compared to those who are less well off.*
Meanwhile, new figures show that rough sleeping in the capital is now double the level it was when Boris Johnson became Mayor, with three in ten sleeping for more than one night on the streets.
Johnson promised in his 2008 and 2012 manifestos to ensure that nobody spent a second night out, effectively ending rough sleeping.
Speaking on the BBC programme, Jenny said that she would rather see some of the land currently given over to golf courses - which cover 1% of the UK - used to build homes to combat the housing crisis. She also argued that developing golf courses could limit the building of homes on school playing fields.
In addition to building more social housing in the capital, Greens in the Assembly have pushed for rental caps to ensure that Londoners are not priced out of their homes.
Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson added: “This is a preventable tragedy. The Mayor needs to lobby for stronger protections for private tenants and against cuts to benefits and public services if he wants to finally deliver his manifesto promise to end rough sleeping in the capital."
*In comparison, 38% of those who classed themselves as "non-white" say they play sport at least once a week. The ratio of men to women playing sport on a weekly basis is approximately 4:3 and of the most affluent to middle or low affluence is approximately 4:3.
Green Cllr Sian Berry (second left), Green campaigner Charlie Kiss (third left), Green Party Leader and Camden local Natalie Bennett (centre right) and Green Cllr Caroline Russell calling for reinstatement of cancelled cycle project on Clerkenwell Road (as pictured in the Islington Tribune)
Camden council began the cycle path on Clerkenwell Road 10 years ago. It was originally intended to extend to the central London area of Fitzrovia in the West, and to Old Street and Shoreditch in the East as a joint venture with Islington Council. After spending a suspected £30,000 constructing a 70ft by 10ft wide "boulevade" including its own cycle traffic lights, however, it was abandoned by Camden Council. Islington Council also failed to take up the scheme.
Despite the poor provision for cyclists along the route (the path has now been bricked up at either end), up to 60% of journeys along Clerkenwell Road are now made by cyclists - double the number when construction first began. Last year, cyclist Francis Golding, will killed after being hit by a coach on the western stretch of the road - one of six London cyclists who died in collisions in 2013. Tragically, an inquest found his death might have been prevented had there been a protected cycle lane in place.
To highlight the need for work to continue on provision for cyclists on the route, Green Leader Natalie Bennett and Green Camden and Islington Councillors Sian Berry and Caroline Russell joined in a "flash mob" at the junction of Farrington and Clerkenwell Road organised by the London Cycling Campaign's Andrea Casalotti (above, far left)
Speaking to the Islington Tribune, Cllr Caroline Russell, who represents Highbury East ward, said: "Anything that starts addressing the traffic domination of our roads and makes them more people-friendly has got to be good. We understand we must allow for the city to function but a safe space should be reallocated for cyclists."
Green campaigner Charlie Kiss who was also at the protest, added: "We need safer cycling in Clerkenwell - especially considering 60% of traffic are people on bikes!"
London Cycling Campaign's Andrea Casalotti is calling for the Councils to create a "Clerkenwell Boulevade" to create safe space for cyclists using the route. To find out more please visit his google plus page.]]>
Darren Johnson, centre right, has called for better provision for pedestrians and cyclists on Abbey Road and across TfL's network
The report, which is due to be presented by Transport For London's Commissioner on 3rd July, found that the volume of traffic observed across all London roads increased by 1.8 per cent over 2013/14. On main roads maintained by TfL, morning rush hour congestion rose by as much as 3-4%.
The rise in traffic volume has led to ballooning delays on London's roads, reported by TfL as a "deterioration in Journey Time Reliability”.
The Green Party's Darren Johnson, an elected member of the London Assembly which was set up to scrutinise the Mayor's decision making, said the increase in delays was a result of Boris Johnson's transport policy:
“Longer traffic jams and delays is the opposite of what the Mayor promised Londoners, but it is the inevitable consequence of high fares and giving priority to cars. The Mayor needs to reverse the policies that are clogging up London’s streets, by lowering fares and lifting his freeze on expanding the bus fleet. We need positive initiatives that get people out of their cars and encourage public transport, bikes and walking.”
“The Mayor has tried changing the traffic signals to speed up the traffic, but in the long term this has the opposite effect, as it encouraging more cars to join the traffic jam. The Mayor should focus on safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians who take up far less space than cars. We have had a lot of promises about cycle lanes and safer junctions but hardly any delivery.”]]>
Darren Johnson Green Party Assembly Member and Lewisham Councillor from 2002-2014, had petitioned the Mayor for life saving 20mph limits throughout his period representing residents in the borough. Most recently, Darren handed in a petition to the council officers on behalf of campaigner Clare Griffiths, signed by 170 residents. The petition call was at the time rejected by Mayor Bullock.
Cllr John Coughlin, left, with Lewisham Greens, for whom the news is a welcome reward to years of campaigning
Speaking to local paper Lewisham Mercury, Darren commented:
"After years of pushing for a Lewisham-wide 20mph and being told time and time again that Labour in Lewisham would not be following other boroughs in introducing one, I am absolutely delighted by this U-turn.
"It is clearly the way forward for a safer and more pleasant environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Lewisham residents will benefit massively from this."
Green Cllr John Coughlin, who was elected to represent Brockley ward in May 2014 following Darren's decision not to restand, added:
"I warmly welcome Mayor Bullock's commitment to the introduction of a borough-wide 20 mph limit on Lewisham roads. It is an issue which the Green Party has long promoted, both in full council and in the local community. I believe it makes sense and will result in safer, less-polluted streets to the benefit of all road users, whether they be pedestrians, cyclists or motorists. Reducing speeds on our roads will make them safer for everyone.
"I fully intend to hold the majority Labour council to its commitment."]]>
The demonstration was organised by the campaign group the People’s Assembly and saw thousands of campaigners march from Oxford Street to Westminster.
London Young Greens were out in force at today's protest (image from @LondonYGs)
In her speech addressing the crowd, Green MP Caroline Lucas criticised the governments record of cuts whilst continuing to fund Trident and failing to crack down on big business tax avoidance. She added: "the Peoples’ Assembly shows that there are alternatives to the cruel and counterproductive austerity agenda, and that the people are prepared to fight for them.”
Romayne Phoenix, the Green Party’s Welfare Spokesperson, member of Lewisham Green Party and Co-Chair of the People’s Assembly who was also at the event, commented:
“It’s galling to see how the government continues to march ahead with its austerity measures, flagrantly dismissing the destructive affects they are having on our society. Inequality is on the rise. The number of food-bank meals needed to feed hungry families across the UK has doubled in the past year. Britain needs an alternative – sheer human decency demands it.”
Dave Plummer, London Green Party activist, added:
“It is fantastic to see the incredible range of people and campaign organisations that have turned out today to support the March Against Austerity. Whilst on the one hand it shows just how badly affected so many people have been by the cuts it also demonstrates that there is now so much agreement and collaboration in the fight for change. The Green Party is immensely proud to be one of those organisations calling for an end to austerity and for investment in an economy that puts people first”.
The People’s Assembly is a coalition of campaigns, unions, writers, politicians and performers united in the goal of bringing an end to the government’s austerity programme. It was founded in February 2013 and is supported by a range of prominent political activists including Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, the writer Owen Jones, and the comedian Francesca Martinez. The late Labour politician Tony Benn and General Secretary of the RMT Bob Crow were also amongst its founding members.
Artist's impression of the new look Tottenham Court Road (from wearecamden.org).
Last week, Camden Council launched a public consultation on its West End Project, which envisages significant change to the layout and use of Tottenham Court Road, Gower Street, and neighbouring streets and spaces. The project has the ambitious overall objectives of making this part of London much more pleasant to be in, much more attractive to get to/from and around on foot and by bike, and better for access by both bus and train (including from the new Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station). Details can be found here.
The basis for achieving these objectives is the return of both Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street to two-way working, the exclusion of all motor traffic except buses from Tottenham Court Road during weekdays, significant reductions in traffic flows on the majority of streets in the area, and the reallocation of carriageway space for walking, cycling, trees and public space.
Green Party's Local Transport Spokesperson and Green Islington Cllr Caroline Russell has joined with Bruce McVean, Founder of Movement for Liveable London, John Dales, Director of Urban Movement and Mark Ames, editor of the ibikelondon blog in an open letter lending support to the project.
"Each of us has different views as to how the current proposals could be improved, and we will be making different representations to Camden accordingly.
"However, the reason we’re putting our names to this open letter is that, while our views on the current proposals might differ, we share the view that Camden’s overall vision of streets that are more inclusive of walking and cycling deserves our support.
"The West End Project presents the real opportunity to show how even the busiest London streets can be reclaimed from motor traffic dominance and made into much more enjoyable places for people. If successful, the project will do much to enable progressive schemes to be implemented elsewhere in this city, and others."
The 4 campaigners urge those who live, work in or visit the West End to support the aims of the project, and to reply to the consultation with constructive criticism as to how it can be improved.
Both Sian Berry, transport campaigner and Green Party Camden Councillor and Green Assembly Member Darren Johnson have both been long time proponents for the redesign of Tottenham Court Road to make it safer for vulnerable road users.
Responding to the launch of the consultation, Darren said: "Getting rid of lorries and cars from Tottenham Court Road would be a positive step forwards and opens the way for reducing traffic throughout the West End of London. London could become a city of buses and bikes, if the Mayor and the boroughs did some bold thinking and examined how other roads could be redesigned.
"However, we should be aiming to reduce the traffic and pollution on our streets, not just displace it onto other roads. Streets become nicer, more human places, as soon as you make the safety of pedestrians and cyclists your number one priority."
Read the full open letter:
We support Camden’s vision for the West End and we hope you will too
Last week, Camden Council launched a public consultation on its West End Project, which envisages significant change to the layout and use of Tottenham Court Road, Gower Street, and neighbouring streets and spaces. It’s a project with the ambitious overall objectives of making this part of London much more pleasant to be in, much more attractive to get to/from and around on foot and by bike, and better for access by both bus and train (including from the new Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station). Details can be found here.
The basis for achieving these objectives is the return of both Tottenham Court Road and Gower Street to two-way working, the exclusion of all motor traffic except buses from Tottenham Court Road during weekdays, significant reductions in traffic flows on the majority of streets in the area, and the reallocation of carriageway space for walking, cycling, trees and public space.
Each of us has different views as to how the current proposals could be improved, and we will be making different representations to Camden accordingly.
However, the reason we’re putting our names to this open letter is that, while our views on the current proposals might differ, we share the view that Camden’s overall vision of streets that are more inclusive of walking and cycling deserves our support. The West End Project presents the real opportunity to show how even the busiest London streets can be reclaimed from motor traffic dominance and made into much more enjoyable places for people. If successful, the project will do much to enable progressive schemes to be implemented elsewhere in this city, and others.
Projects like this are hugely complex, none is ever perfect, and no individual or group is ever likely to have all their needs and aspirations met. That’s one of the reasons we don’t all agree as to how Camden’s proposals should be developed. But we’re determined that our criticism will be constructive, so that the Council is encouraged to build on, not retreat from, its current proposals. We urge you to do likewise.
Bruce McVean, Founder, Movement for Liveable London
John Dales, Director, Urban Movement
Cllr Caroline Russell, Local Transport Spokesperson, The Green Party
Mark Ames, Editor, ibikelondon blog]]>
The London Green Party responded to news of a fresh appeal by the police by circulating this graphic on social media sites
John Catt, a life long campaigner and talented artist, was told by three senior Court of Appeal judges in 2013 that the file kept on his activities at legal peace protests between 2005-9 were a violation of his human rights and should be deleted. The Met have recently confirmed that they are appealing the decision in the Supreme Court.
Jenny has signed a witness statement to be used in the upcoming lawsuit and has given her backing to the 89 year old Brightoner, writing in the Guardian that "when the police's work on domestic extremism involves spying on elected politicians and artistic pensioners, they have lost sight of what they are there to do."
Writing of her discovery that the Met Police kept a file on her activities as part of counter terrorism work, she said: "I would describe myself as many things, but domestic extremist is not one of them. As an elected politician who has never been arrested, I was naturally surprised to find I even had a file on this database. "
Jenny obtained her file last year using data protection legislation, requiring her to fill in a large form and pay £10. In her article she said of its contents:
"I don't know what I expected to find, but the three pages can only be described as pathetic. Quite honestly, I want my money back.
"Flicking through the file I was able to read copies of tweets I had made, a note that I was speaking at a demonstration in Trafalgar Square – even something saying I was the Green party mayoral candidate for London and was worried that I might be kettled on a protest. Most of the information came from public sources. How could it in any way be seen as useful intelligence? This was a complete waste of police time and resources.
"At first I found it amusing that the information held on me was so pointless. However, my file and this database should be seen in the wider context of police surveillance against activists. At one end of the spectrum is the collection of publicly available trivia about an elected representative; at the other are the undercover police being sent to spy on a grieving family, and into the homes, lives and beds of women."
The gathering was called to address the topic: "After the Euro Elections — Stand Up to Ukip, Racism and Fascism."
Addressing the conference, lifelong human rights campaigner and Green MEP for London Jean Lambert spoke of rise of fascist parties across Europe – and how to combat them, through support for human rights, individual migrants and a sense of solidarity in campaigns for decent pay, defending benefits and housing provision.
"I am really proud to represent London in the European Parliament, and to show how people from different backgrounds...can live together and create a city that is vibrant and dynamic and built on mutual respect."
In an article for the Morning Star before the conference, UAF Vice-Chair Hugh Lanning said that he believed the political elite are scapegoating migrants for the problems caused by the banking crash and the subsequent bailout.
"Those who argue for migration controls hide behind talk about skills, language, numbers and over-population.
"In reality we know that they really mean skin colour — are you a Muslim, do you speak English or are you poor and in need of work?"
"The problems that people are confronted with, and that Ukip is capitalising on — lack of jobs, lack of affordable housing, declining public services — all stem from the chosen path of austerity."]]>
Spikes outside a London Tesco and an exclusive apartment block in Southwark were recently removed following protests by those such as London Green Amelia Womack, pictured
“These spikes are an inhumane and callous reaction to a growing problem of rough sleeping under Boris Johnson’s watch. Instead of trying to deter people who are in a desperate situation, these building owners should be contacting homeless services to ensure anyone sleeping rough on their land is helped.
“I shall ask the Mayor to contact the building owners about removing the spikes and linking up with his No Second Night Out initiative. He also needs to face up to the rising numbers of rough sleepers in London, and lobby for the housing and welfare safety net to be repaired. With such insecure tenancies, cuts to benefits and cuts to homeless services, more and more vulnerable people are ending up on our streets.”]]>
An image, via the Independant, taken from Baroness Jones's Buzzfeed listing 10 of the most compelling reasons why water cannon are a bad idea for Londoners.
A MOPAC decision notice from 9 June 2014 signed by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime approves the purchase of three second-hand water cannon from the German Federal Police costing £218,205 in total. Each cannon costs £30,435 and then the transportation, refitting and fixing to meet safety standards costs £42,300 for each cannon.
This means that only a decision by the Home Secretary not to license the cannons can prevent these weapons becoming part of policing in London.
Green London Assembly Member and working Peer Jenny Jones has been a vocal opponent of bringing water cannon to the streets of the capital - along with the majority of Londoners, British Police Forces and the London Assembly. Responding to news of the purchase she said:
“Pre-empting the Home Secretary's decision is rash and smacks of arrogance on the Mayor’s part, not to mention a possible waste of taxpayers' money at a time when the Met is making huge cuts. It’s also ignoring the views of the vast majority of Londoners who don’t want water cannon. If the Mayor had actually taken the time to look his own consultation he would have seen 98% of people opposed the plans for water cannon.
“We've been told by police chiefs that water cannon would have been useless in the riots and yet still the Mayor seems fixated on giving the police this weapon. It's an indiscriminate military weapon that risks injuring and distressing innocent bystanders and making things worse rather than containing situations. Water cannon have no place on the streets of London and I hope the Home Secretary sees sense.“
As part of the campaign to pursuade the Home Secretary not to give in to the demands of the Mayor and license the cannon, Jenny has put together an article on the popular social news site Buzzfeed listing 10 of the most compelling reasons why water cannon are a bad idea for Londoners. Read here]]>
Ritzy workers are on strike following months of dispute with management over the failure to pay a living wage - as pictured on the Brixton Blog
The Green Party's Cllr Ainslie was recently elected to represent St. Leonard's ward, Lambeth and is an ongoing supporter of the workers' campaign. Following his visit to the picket line yesterday he said:
"At the Ritzy, 2 medium sized boxes of popcorn cost £8.20; 1 glass of Merlot £9.80; a cinema ticket £12.50. Staff currently get paid £7.24 for an hour of their life. As a member of the highly successful Ritzy, I am appalled that management are dragging their heels on the LLW. Picture houses need to do the right thing."
Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett added her support to the campaign, saying: "I want to express my full support to the Ritzy cinema workers, and give my full backing to their strike action.
"Everyone deserves a wage that they can build a life on, not simply scrape by, always living hand to mouth. The demand to be paid a London Living Wage (of £8.80 an hour) is more than reasonable and it is shocking that management feel their staff do not deserve even that.
"For management to pull out of talks shows a complete lack of respect for their staff who often work long and anti-social hours. The union and the workforce have bent over backwards to be reasonable but there comes a point when there are no options but strike action.
"I fully back BECTU's call for a boycott of all UK cinemas operated by Picture House (who run the Ritzy) and call on the employers to meet their obligations to society by paying their workers the living wage and to commit to maintaining at least that level in future."]]>