With Eid taking place today, London Green Party Councillors would like to wish London’s Muslim Community Eid Mubarak. We’re keenly aware that this summer's hot and muggy weather will have made Ramadan an even more difficult experience than in previous years. Eid 2014 will therefore be a day of great celebration.
At this time we firstly want to celebrate the contribution that the Muslim community make to London. This Eid, as always, will see Muslims donate millions to charity, and that Zakat will make a huge difference to communities both here in London and internationally.
Secondly we’re minded this Eid to consider the plight of those in Gaza. The plight of Gazan Civilians is extremely harrowing and it is our sincerest hope that this Eid can bring an end to the bloodshed and a step towards a a more peaceful time ahead for the people of Gaza.
Scott Ainslie, Green Party Counillor for Lambeth
Siân Berry, Green Party Councillor for Camden
John Coughlin, Green Party Councillor for Lewisham
Caroline Russell, Green Party Councillor for Islington
In order to combat the capital's housing crisis, Mayor Boris Johnson has set the target of delivering 55,000 "affordable" homes by 2015 (a target that he is expected to miss, for the second time). To achieve this target, London developments competing for planning permission need to contain an average of 50% homes that will be on the market at "affordable" rates.
Left, the luxury lobby of One Commercial Street, marketed to wealthy City workers. Right, the side-alley entrance reserved for affordable housing tenants. Photographs: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
The Guardian investigation found that developments are increasingly attempting to circumvent the resulting social mixing by creating separate entrances (dubbed "poor doors by papers in the US, where the trend began) for less affluent residents. Even lifts, bicycle storage spaces, rubbish disposal facilities and postal deliveries are often segregated in the "two tier policy" for new apartment blocks hitting the market.
Guardian journalist Hilary Osborne reported: "At one building bordering the City financial district, wealthy owners accessed their homes via a hotel-style lobby area, while social housing tenants enter through a side door in an adjacent alley alongside trade entrances."
"In marketing information for another development currently under construction, would-be residents have been promised that the affordable homes will have a separate entrance, no access to car or cycle parking and that post and bins will also be divided."
"As in New York, there are concerns that it is leading to increasingly divided communities."
Greens in the London Assembly have consistently pushed for better housing provision for ordinary Londoners, whom Green Party politicians describe as getting merely "the crumbs" left over by rich investors.
Green AM Darren Johnson commented in the Guardian's report: "This trend shows contempt for ordinary people, and is about developers selling luxury flats to rich investors who don't want to mix with local people."
He added: "The mayor and councils have been turning a blind eye to this for too long, they should simply refuse applications that have separate facilities or that refuse any affordable housing on this basis."
Jenny Jones AM criticised Boris Johnson for allowing Coca-Cola Great Britain to sponsor the FreeSport programme for the next two years. This follows his decision to allow McDonalds to sponsor the Schools clean-up program.
Jenny recently asked Boris Johnson in a written question “In the middle of an obesity crisis, how can you justify allowing McDonald's, an organisation associated with highly processed, high fat, high sugar and unhealthy foods, to host their 40th year anniversary at City Hall?
Jenny Jones said: “The Mayor has a track record of linking up events involving children with companies promoting products with lots of fat and lots of sugar. As Mayor, Boris Johnson is meant to be promoting healthy lifestyles, but instead he is potentially adding to the queues at doctor and dentist surgeries. Free Sport is great, but you need to keep it sugar free.”
I can see why Co-ca Cola and McDonalds want to get direct access children at these events in order to sell more and make bigger profits, but I don’t understand why Boris Johnson is helping them do it. We are in the middle of an obesity crisis and he has a responsibility for public health in London.]]>
Green AM Darren Johnson calls for the Mayor to 'face up to the failure' and to 'start lobbying for a larger housing budget'.
Papers for the Mayor’s ‘Homes for London’ board confirm that the Mayor will deliver 52,749 affordable homes using GLA money by March 2015, short of his 55,000 target, meaning he expects to break a key manifesto promise on affordable housing for the second time. The papers also forecast that he will deliver fewer affordable homes in his second term than any Mayoral term since 2000-04.
Darren commented, “I’m dismayed that the Mayor expects to break a key manifesto promise on affordable housing for the second time by failing to deliver the 55,000 homes by the end of March. Instead of trying to move the goalposts, he should face up to this failure and start lobbying for a much bigger housing budget."
“Londoners are suffering from crushing housing costs and more and more families are being shipped out of the capital. It’s astonishing that the Mayor would be so relaxed about this abysmal record on affordable housing in the middle of such a serious crisis. Many of the homes he is funding aren’t even affordable for the people they’re supposed to help.”]]>
Lambeth Town Hall where the Lambeth City Council meet. Photograph courtesy of Steve Cadman.
Labour is planning to amend Lambeth Council’s constitution, effectively silencing the voice of the one in six Lambeth residents who voted Green in May.
The constitutional changes will be presented at Lambeth’s full Council meeting tomorrow (23rd July).
The Green Party received the second largest vote share in Lambeth at the recent Council elections, ahead of the Conservatives and Lib Dems. But under Labour’s constitutional changes the Green Party won’t be allowed to speak as part of a new, regular, one-hour, showcase ‘themed’ debate. Councillors from other parties will have the automatic right to speak.
The Green Party will also be limited to asking just one question and proposing one motion at each full council meeting. Neither of these can be debated under the new arrangements.
Green Party councillor Scott Ainslie said “Almost half the votes in the recent council elections went to opposition parties. But opposition groups will have no chance to initiate debates on any subject under Labour’s changes. Instead of giving local residents a voice, Labour is further centralising power and control, and removing accountability.
“What is worse is this is being done under the guise of giving local residents more of a say. But Labour will force through these constitutional changes without any consultation. Labour will control who attends, Labour will control who speaks and Labour will control the subjects being debated. The Council faces the bizarre prospect of debates on the environment without a Green voice!”
The Greens have tabled an amendment to a motion at full council, proposing that time in full council meetings and subjects for debate, be apportioned fairly according to the share of the vote obtained in the recent council elections.
The Greens have also proposed that more time is given to deputations from local residents, which will be be limited to two under the new constitutional arrangements, lasting just three minutes each.
The Greens are also calling for more wide-ranging involvement of local residents in council business, including places on Overview and Scrutiny Committees, and the opportunity to decide on the subject of council debates, with independent, rather than party-political selection of which local residents get to speak in council debates.]]>
Green Councillor Scott Ainslie criticises Lambeth Council's policy on council tax support.
A new report published yesterday shows Lambeth Council is topping the league table for penalising those who fall into arrears as a result of its cuts to council tax support.
According to the report, produced by two national charities, Poverty Action Group and charity Zacchaeus 2000, in the first year of cutting council tax support Lambeth Council has:
The report highlights that a council tax support-claiming household in Lambeth could have an annual bill of £197 which would skyrocket to £634 because of Lambeth’s policies, making it even less likely that the debt will ever be collected.
Green councillor Scott Ainslie said: “Lambeth Council’s policy on council tax support is putting an unbearable burden on those who can least afford it. Many people are already struggling to pay because of its cuts to council tax support. But even when residents are trying to find the money to pay, the Council’s summonses and unnecessary court charges are pushing residents further into hardship, and making collection even more unlikely.
“The receipt of a court summons is also an intimidating experience that can have a severe impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of someone in a vulnerable situation. Lambeth Council should recognise, like other local authorities, that their policies on council tax support are plain wrong.
“Greens support the recommendations of the report that Lambeth should reverse its cuts to Council Tax Support, which will end up costing it money in the long run. It should also minimise court costs as other boroughs have done, refrain from using baliffs in council tax support cases.”]]>
With London’s temperatures due to soar over the next two days, peaking at 31C during the day and 19C at night on friday, London Assembly Member Jenny Jones is concerned that London’s streets, homes, workplaces, emergency services, utility companies and public transport are not being adapted anywhere near fast enough to cope with more frequent ‘overheating days' and ‘heatwaves’.
The London Assembly Environment Committee heard evidence that the average 18 ‘overheating days’ a year in London are expected to double by 2020 under projected changes in climate to about 33 days, with the number of fatalities from higher summer temperatures increasingly significantly.
London Assembly Member Jenny Jones AM said “As London becomes intolerably hot and muggy over the next few days, this should serve as a warning that extreme weather events are becoming the norm.”
“Instead of seriously ramping up our ability to cope with rising temperatures, the Mayor is still playing with the idea that we are entering a mini ice age and dodging the fact that carbon emissions are the dominant cause of global warming. Whilst this position may appease his powerful climate sceptic mates, and avoids him taking hard and costly decisions, we will all pay dearly for this failure in the future”
As a start, Jenny is calling for:
1. An urgent Mayoral climate change conference with genuine mainstream climate experts to look at how London will cope with extreme weather events. The Mayor is known to seek advice from amateur weathermen and a known climate sceptic.
2. Trees and urban greening to cut urban heat island effect (HIE) – the Mayor should focus on greening and tree canopy cover in central London, along roads and other built up locations where HIE is most pronounced. It is not clear how the Mayor will achieve his aim of increasing tree canopy cover by 5% by 2025, the equivalent of 2 million extra trees. The Mayor rejected Jenny’s call to consider the ‘Million Trees New York City’ model which delivers 100,000 trees each year, compared to his 10,000 over four years.
3. Develop a costed and clear action plan Ensure that the Mayor’s forthcoming Infrastructure investment plan puts climate adaptation and mitigation at its core, with a fully costed and comprehensive plan to increase the resilience of London’s infrastructure, it’s buildings and businesses. Along the lines of New York ‘A Stronger, More Resilience New York’ plan which commits $10 billion in funding to support implementation.
Lambeth Green Councillor Scott Ainslie (right) calls for "justice for all those whose lives have been destroyed by Carroll and all those who facilitated his offending."
A Lambeth Green Party councillor is backing calls for an investigation into what the Daily Mirror has called “an apparent cover-up” by Lambeth Council, relating to foster care failings.
According to the paper, Lambeth Council was involved in “what appears to have been a concerted and involved effort by several influential people” to secure permission for convicted paedophile Michael John Carroll to be a foster carer.
Local Green Councillor Scott Ainslie is urging cross-party support for a full investigation. An inquiry is already being called for by two MPs.
The Daily Mirror reported that the manager of Angell Road children’s home in the eighties, Michael John Carroll, had previously been convicted in 1966 for sexually assaulting a twelve year old boy. An application by him and his wife to foster two young boys was rejected by Southwark Council in 1986. This led to a prominent Labour politician contacting Southwark Council to put “direct pressure” on them in an attempt to reverse the decision.
Carroll and his wife then took the case to the neighbouring Wandsworth Council. Lambeth’s executives backed his application and failed to disclose Southwark Council’s previous involvement. After this application was also rejected, Lambeth Council eventually began paying Carroll £67.85 a week in 1990 to act as carer to one of the boys, and prior to that four senior Lambeth officers recommended allowing Carroll and his wife June to become both the boys’ “official aunt and uncle”.
Carroll was eventually convicted in 1999 for a series of child sex offences dating back over three decades.
Richard Clough, who was then the General Secretary of the Social Care Association, has questioned why Lambeth Council went to “extraordinary lengths” to enable the Carrolls to officially and unofficially foster the children. A witness has also since alleged that the same unnamed Labour politician made night-time visits to Carroll’s flat within Angell Road children’s home.
London Metropolitan Police are presently examining new allegations relating to Lambeth care homes, but neither they nor the Home Office are agreeing to investigate any possible cover-ups.
Lambeth Green Councillor Scott Ainslie supports MPs Simon Danczuk and Tom Watson’s call for a full “Hillsborough style” investigation into all cases on a national level, and is urging Lambeth’s MPs and councillors to support a full enquiry into Lambeth Council’s conduct.
Cllr Ainslie said: “It is shocking to hear the allegation that Lambeth failed to disclose their contact with Southwark to Mr Clough's public inquiry. A fully independent investigation should be set up. This dark chapter in the history of Lambeth must be investigated so the facts about exactly what happened and who was responsible are made clear. There must be justice for the people whose lives have been destroyed by Carroll and all those who facilitated his offending.”]]>
Darren Johnson campaigning to spread the 20mph speed limits throughout London.
The government intends to change the law to give local authorities the power to stage motor races on public roads. Under the proposals, local authorities would acquire the powers to suspend speed limits and some traffic regulations under specific conditions.
David Cameron, Prime Minister, made the announcement on a visit to a new Williams F1 team engineering centre.
The government has conducted a consultation on the issue.
Darren Johnson AM commented, "Motor racing sends out the wrong message about what London’s streets should be used for. London has some of the most polluted streets in the world, so do we really want to celebrate motor racing in the heart of our city?”
“Formula One should stick to the dedicated race tracks and leave our streets for ordinary Londoners to enjoy. The Mayor should get behind local demands to spread 20mph speed limits across London’s roads, rather than using London’s roads for an event which has nothing to do with London being a cleaner and healthier city."]]>
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.]]>