North Staffs Green Party Relaunch.

North Staffs Green Party is set to relaunch itself following a meeting in Hanley today. The Greens who have fought local elections in the past in the area have decided to organise on the basis of the three district’s that make up North Staffordshire.

It was agreed that the Greens would on campaign on two main issues in the coming months. Firstly to work with others to organise against the coming cutbacks in public expenditure and especially the introduction of Workfare into the area. Secondly, to build alliances with environmental groups, community associations, and the trade union movement to push the idea of a Green New Deal to ensure that the area does not miss out on the potential for green jobs.

The Greens also want to develop a base amongst young people whao are often the most enthusiastic and receptive to the positive messages from the Green Party. It will attempt to build a membership base in local Universities, Colleges and Schools.

It is the intention of the Green party to put up candidates in Stoke, Staffordshire Moorlands and Newcastle in local elections next year.

The Green Party acting Co-ordiantor for North Staffs Bill Cawley said

” It is our intention to be a progressive force in local politics. These last weeks both nationally and locally have seen the emergence of a cosy consensual mush which has taken without any critical thought the need to make cuts that will have the most direst impact on the poor and vulnerable in society. We want to work with a range of groups especially the trade union movement to challenge this conventional wisdom. We think that the area needs a new approach which the Green party can bring to politics in North Staffs”

Whither the left?

To quote from an Ancient Chinese General

“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected”.

I think that out of the wreckage of the New Labour experiment I think that people on the left should not be too downcast. I think that this represents a great opportunity. I also think that Brown in the last few days has played a blinder and has made the prospect of a Labour Government very likely in the not too distant future. Personally I think to get through the terrible disaster of the last few years with over 250 seats with a rejuvenated local government base is not a bad spring board.

As for the Lib Dems I think that there position is an extremely difficult one. I feel that they are open to attack not the least from the party that I am a member of the Greens.

It is considered to be a Chinese curse to live in interesting times. I don’t think so.

What Now For The BNP Nationally And In Stoke-on-Trent?

As the dust settles on both the General and Local Elections, the various parties will start analysing their performances and making the changes they need as a result.

Questions are being asked of the party leaders, particularly those who failed to deliver.

Gordon Brown is facing calls from a few of his MPs to step down and the same can be said of the British National Party Leader Nick Griffin.

There are many calls for Griffin to stand down and it is thought that Eddie Butler who is head of the Party’s Election Department could challenge him for the party leadership.

Contributors to a number of far right Internet forums are also questioning Griffin’s leadership. There have also being a number of high profile fall outs within the party in recent times.

First came the spat between Alby Walker and the BNP.

Walker accused Griffin of using the party to make himself rich and famous. He also claimed that there was a vein of holocaust deniers and members who display Nazi-esque sympathies within the party.

Then came the very public falling out between Griffin and Mark Collett, who at the time was the party’s publicity Director.

There was no shortage of publicity when it was revealed that Collett was plotting to overthrow Griffin as leader.

The result was that Collett allegedly threatened to kill Nick Griffin. The Police were called in to investigate the matter.

Finally, just two days before the election, another fall out rocked the BNP.

As a result of a dispute between Nick Griffin and former BNP webmaster Simon Bennett, the latter shut down the Party’s Website, Facebook and Twitter pages. The result was that the party was left with just a single temporary holding page on their home page on Election Day May 6th.

At the BNP’s recent election manifest launch, Nick Griffin was at pains to point out that his party no longer needed the mainstream media as their website had more hits than that of the Labour Party’s, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems put together. Those words must be coming home to roost right now.

Griffin failed to make any impression what so ever through the ballot box in Barking. He finished a distant 3rd behind Labour’s Margaret Hodge, who doubled her vote and Conservative Simon Marcus.

The BNP did increase it’s share of the national vote by 1.83% but failed to deliver the Member of Parliament it claimed was within their grasp.

In Stoke-on-Trent, BNP Deputy Chairman Simon Darby staged a massive campaign. He worked the constituency tirelessly. But his work failed to materialise into votes and he crashed to a humiliating defeat in Stoke Central.

Darby finished 4th behind Tristram Hunt [Labour], John Redfern [Lib Dem] and Conservative Norsheen Bhatti who is of Asian heritage.

The electorate often described as the BNP ‘jewel in the crown’ chose an ‘Asian belly dancer’ as the BNP often refer to her, over the Deputy Chairman of a nationalist party. Surely there can be no greater insult to their policies?

Mike Coleman failed to oust Rob Flello in Stoke South whilst Melanie Baddeley failed to make any impact in Stoke North and managed to go through the entire campaign without giving a media interview on her chances and her party’s core aims and values.

The only time she did engage with the media was in reaction to the news that her husband had been arrested and subsequently charged with possessing cannabis. He is currently on Police bail.

Mike Coleman is keen to get the message out that his party is not defeated and will pick themselves up and work towards the all out elections for Stoke-on-Trent City Council in 2011.

But, the BNP will have their work cut out if they are to halt and reverse their apparent decline.

At the local elections they lost 26 councillors across the country including all 12 from Barking and Dagenham.

They now have just 19 councillors in total across the country and are 15 behind the Green Party who have 34.

To put their task of challenging the 3 main parties into context you need to realise that the Conservatives have 3369 councillors, Labour have 2865 and the Lib Dems have 1665 across the country.

We managed to catch up with Stoke BNP Group Leader Mike Coleman earlier today who remains upbeat about his party’s performance and future prospects.

Listen to the Audio Interview below:

The Poverty Trap and Citizen’s Income

There are moments in your life when things happen which cause you to question your opinions and why you believe in the things that you believe in. Such a moment happened yesterday when I was working as a volunteer at a CAB. I do a few hours a week usually on a Wednesday or a Saturday and I usually enjoy the challenge

A woman came into the bureau. She was a single parent and had children. She worked part time- 20 hours a week- and was finding life a struggle. For one thing she could not understand the frequent changes to her council tax and Housing benefit. She produced a sheaf of papers. There must have been 50 to 60 pages that represented the frequent letters sent to her by the local council in an attempt to explain her frequent and fluctuating levels of Council Benefit. Now I have been working as a volunteer for the CAB for approaching 18 months and I dread welfare rights checks because of their complexity.

The bureau’s “bible” is the Child Poverty Action Group’s Welfare Rights handbook, which runs to 1500 pages. The CAB has an excellent adviser net, which I could access.

But the truth remains that benefits are incredible convoluted. I sat down with the bureau manager and we went through the correspondence and after further conversations with the woman I understood. It seems the changes were a consequence of 3 pay changes from £5.84 when she started her job last year to £6 when she got through her probationary period and finally £6.12 an hour before Xmas. Some changes to Child Benefit had ironically worked against her. Unfortunately, it seemed even though she was increasing her pay it was not really benefiting her as it forced upwards the amount of Council Tax she had to pay virtually nullifying any wage gain. She earned £147 a week, which was topped up to around £380 with Working Tax Credit and also with Child Benefit.

She was paying about £50 a month in Council tax as well as Rent to meet.

There was an over payment of council Tax benefit of £169 and the local authority had called her in to talk to their fraud officer. It goes without saying that she was very aggrieved at this and was wondering if it was worth working as any extra pay was going to the Council. The involvement of the fraud people just added insult to injury. She felt that it was too much and that she intended to give up work.

I answered that by working she was serving as a role model for her kids who could see that there mum was really trying in very difficult circumstances and not be reliant on the state. I don’t think it was a very convincing case I was putting up.

If anything this case as well as others proved to me yet again how in need the welfare state and what a disincentive it could be for people who were trying to make their way. I seem to recall some data produced by the Liberal Democrats that showed the taper effect for people on low incomes even with working tax credit and that the marginal tax rates were in the order of 70%.

There is also some work done by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on welfare benefits that indicates that work incentives are most weakened through the withdrawal of means-tested benefits and tax credits, not through high rates of income tax. Over two million workers in Britain stand to lose more than half of any increase in earnings to taxes and reduced benefits. Some 160,000 would keep less than 10p of each extra £1 they earned.

This woman was a case in point

My own view is that I support the implementation of a Citizen or Basic Income because it addresses the very problem I saw earlier this week. It was their support for Citizen’s Income or Basic Income as it is sometimes called which has lead me to support the Greens

CI addresses the three following areas

THE UNEMPLOYMENT TRAP. Most claimants would like to work but they are the victims of a system, which has undermined the financial rewards that used to make work worthwhile. Income tax, council tax and National Insurance contributions are charged on earnings below out-of-work benefit entitlements. Many unemployed claimants, especially lone mothers and people with disabilities, find it difficult and often impossible to earn enough to offset loss of their benefit and pay their taxes, fares to work and childcare costs.

THE POVERTY TRAP. Working families with children can claim means-tested Working Families Tax Credit, but this replaces the unemployment trap with the poverty trap. By the time they have paid their taxes, some families get only a few pence out of each extra £ earned. The balance is skimmed off by the Inland Revenue and the Department of Work and Pensions.

PENSIONERS. Many pensioners (mostly women) are still not entitled to a full basic pension because they have not been in full-time work for long enough, if at all, usually because they are looking after others. Instead, they are expected to claim means-tested benefits. Other pensioners, who have worked and saved all their lives, find themselves no better off, sometimes worse off, than if they had not saved at all. They find that their savings or their small inadequate pensions disqualify them from income support and housing benefit.

It’s good to be GREEN!

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Recently we brought to the inside track on the new party ‘The Jury Team’ .

To continue with our theme of demonstrating that the electorate does not have to turn to extreme parties to register a protest vote we bring you this latest news on the Green Party’s bid to get more representatives in Europe.

A YouGov poll published recently suggests the British public trusts Green politicians far more than those of other parties.

Over 2,000 people were asked – regardless of the party they normally voted for – which party’s politicians they thought were most likely to put their own financial interests before the interests of their country. Allowed to choose three parties, only 5% named the Greens as likely to put self-interest before the country’s.

The survey also shows:

  • Labour appeared to be the least trusted, with 45% of respondents naming Labour politicians as likely to put financial self-interest before their country.
  • The Conservatives were almost as bad, with 40% naming them.
  • Next were the BNP, the LibDems and UKIP on 20%, 16% and 15% respectively.

The new poll was released in the same week that campaign group Open Europe rated the Green Party’s leader Caroline Lucas as the joint best British MEP on accountability, transparency and reform. The bottom nine places in the Open Europe survey were occupied by four Conservatives and five UKIP MEPs – with the tenth-worst British MEP slot being held jointly by UKIP leader Nigel Farage and an MEP each from Labour, the Conservatives and the LibDems.

Voter-intention polls show Greens are up, UKIP and BNP down

The Greens say that while there’s much talk of an anti-sleaze protest vote going to the racist BNP, in fact the opinion polls are showing the Green Party to be a far more likely recipient of any protest vote.

  • The ComRes poll of 17 May, commissioned by UKIP, put the Greens on 11% and the BNP on just 4%.
  • The ComRes poll put the Greens on 13% across Northern England – easily enough for Green candidate Peter Cranie to defeat BNP leader Nick Griffin in the North West contest.
  • The ComRes poll showed the Greens in third place in the South East, ready to return party leader Caroline Lucas MEP and scoop up a second seat for Brighton councillor Keith Taylor.
  • A YouGov poll commissioned by the Green Party (2) suggested 34% would either definitely vote Green or would consider voting Green in the Euro-elections if they knew more about them.
  • And the Guardian/ICM poll of 22 May put the Greens on 9% – just behind UKIP (10%) but way ahead of the BNP (1%).

The Guardian/ICM poll showed a Green increase of 50% compared with the actual 2004 vote (up from 6% to 9%) while UKIP was down more than a third (from 16% to 10%) and the BNP vote was cut by about four-fifths (down from 5% to 1%).

The Greens point out that polls ahead of Euro-elections usually under-estimate the Green Party. In 1989 the Greens were showing in the polls at about 7-8% but their actual vote turned out to be 15%.

The Greens believe their million-jobs manifesto for tackling the recession and the climate crisis at the same time has probably struck a chord with a lot of people.

Note

1. Poll commissioned by the Green Party and conducted by YouGov. Fieldwork 13-15 May 2009. Sample size 2,111. The exact question was: “Regardless of the party you usually vote for, which party’s politicians do you think are most likely to put their own financial interests ahead of the interests of the country? [Please tick up to three.]”

2.  Poll commissioned by the Green Party and conducted by YouGov. Fieldwork 29 April-1 May 2009. Sample size 2,046.

Source: Green Party.

Do not turn to the extreme over our MPs expenses

Tony Walley

Tony Walley

Comment By Tony Walley.

On Friday evening I will be recording the latest ‘In Converstation’ interview with Rob Flello the MP for Stoke South.

I am really looking forward to it and I know that I will get honest answers to the questions I put to him.

In recent comment articles I have written I have been criticised for being outwardly anti BNP and I have to take that on the chin. But at the same time I can’t be what I am not.

I have been delighted and encouraged by the response we have had to our ‘In Conversation’ pieces. Both the Brian Ward and the Mike Barnes interviews were listened to by many people and when we do put out these types of features our site hits rise dramatically.

The reason I oppose the BNP so much is that they cry foul and make out that the media are out to bring them down but when any news story appears they jump on the bandwagon and try to claim the moral high ground. What finer example of this is their than the ‘British Jobs For British Workers’ where they were unilaterally rejected at the picket lines and forced to film away from them . The other example is the spitfire fiasco where the tried to claim the image of the spitfire for their Euro Election campaign only to find out they had used the image of a Polish spitfire. They were also threatened with court action by Dame Vera Lynn for the use of her songs in the same campaign.

This is where they fall down you see. They try and claim national symbols and pass them off as their own which goes against the hearts and minds of the vast majority of people who passionately believe our city and our country should be an inclusive society regardless of sex, sexuality, race or religion.

Today I have read articles in which the BNP propaganda machine is in full motion and claims that no BNP MP would have claimed the expense allowances that the mainstream parties MPs have. How convenient! The claim is completely irrelevant because this far right party have no MPs. So they can say what they want, it makes no difference. More importantly the claims have no creedence.

Our three local MPs have not been implicated in any wrong doing regarding the allowance claims revelations in the

Rob Flello MP

Rob Flello MP

Telegraph.

On the 17th of May we ran an article which clearly stated the 2007/2008 expense claims of our MPs:

“Collectively Rob Flello, Mark Fisher and Joan Walley claimed  more than £450k in the main for travel, second homes and the running of offices.

Out of the three Stoke South MP Rob Flello claimed the largest amount. He ranked as the 75th highest claimant out of the 645 MPs’ with a total of £162,116.

Flello claimed £150,405 for running a second home and a constituency office.

Stoke North MP Joan Walley claimed a total of £146,719 in expenses. This amount included £134,210 on allowances

Mark Fisher MP

Mark Fisher MP

and £12,509 in travel expenses. This put her in 325th place out of 645 MPs.

Stoke Central Mp Mark Fisher claimed a total of £147,664 which included £139,360 in allowances and £8,304 in travel expenses. This put Fisher in 309th out of the total of 645 MPs.

Our three city MPs are by no means abusing the system. I Live in Stoke South and I have visited Rob Flello’s constituency office and it is professionally run and is more akin to a public drop in centre. We get regular mail through the door updating us on what is happening in the community of Stoke South.”

Now if these claims had shown anything untoward in them you can bet your life that the Telegraph would have exposed it in the manner that it has exposed the distasteful and outrageous claims by some of our country’s MPs.

There are now 56 Labour MPs who’s claims have been exposed as excessive, 41 Tory MPs and 9 Libdem MPs.

We have to put it into context, there are 106 MPs named by the Telegraph out of 645, but most of them are claims made legitimately under the current system which has been in operation since 1983.

There is no doubt in my mind that MPs allowances have been used to top up MPs earnings and some have used the system to maximise their income.

But who is to blame? The MPs? No not for me. Those who have stepped outside the law, yes they should be treated in the way that all abusers of expenses are treated in businesses through the land. In other words show them the door!

Yes lets have a open and transparent system that can not be abused. But let’s pay our MPs the going rate that allows them to operate two homes if needed. There should be no second home allowance for those MPs who have homes within London.

But let us not turn to extreme parties if we want to protest at the upcoming European Elections.

Let us see straight through the the propaganda of the far right. Let us realise that this is yet another bandwagon for them to jump on.

If you want to protest, vote for the Libdems who’s MP’s are largely untouched in this scandal or the Greens who are making a difference across Europe but please not the BNP who don’t want apart of the union that exists between Europe. It has been suggested that the only reason that the BNP are fielding candidates for this election is to tap into funding which they can use to spread their message of hatred and non tolerance. Wouldn’t this too be an abuse?

Please protest if you feel you must but let’s not allow an extreme party to prosper because of  our anger and their willingness to exploit situations and to claim the moral high ground where they can get away with shallow words and claims that can not be founded.

Remember you can dress a pig in a suit but you will never stop it squealing!

The Euro Elections Starting Gun – Who’s First Out Of The Blocks?

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter.

Well the European Election campaigns have started in earnest, so what can we expect in Europe from our political parties?

Labour:

As yet Labour have not launched their national campaign statedgy, but here in Stoke Labour MEP Michael Cashman got his campaign underway yesterday. Speaking from the £2.2 million Silverdale Enterprise Park, built mostly with European money.

He said: “This is a wonderful example of what we have done with European money and the county council and European parliament working together to boost the economy for local people.”

Liberal Democrats:

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launched his party’s Euro Campaign by saying the UK must “stand tall” in Europe if the British people are to get the full benefit of EU membership.

Mr Clegg said the EU offered “safety in numbers” in a recession and help for jobs and the environment.

Labour was “finished”, he said, while a vote for the Tories would be “wasted”.

In the 2004 European elections, the Lib Dems were pushed into fourth place behind the UK Independence Party.

He said Labour was deflated and disunited while a vote for the Conservatives next month would be a “wasted” one as they were on the sidelines of the European debate.

“The Tories want to pull down the drawbridge, turn the clock back and retreat to the fanatical fringe of European politics.”

Mr Clegg urged voters to take next month’s EU elections seriously, saying Europe took collective decisions on key issues like climate change which affected people’s daily lives.

“We have to act together if we want to make Britain safer, if we want to safeguard jobs and protect the environment,” Mr Clegg – who was an MEP for five years before being elected to the House of Commons in 2005 – said.

“We are stronger together. We are poorer apart. It is as simple as that.”

The Lib Dems were the only party which could get out of Europe “what British families need”, he stressed.

Mr Cleggs party trailed in behind the UK Independence Party in 2004, with 14.9% of the popular vote.

Politicians from the three major UK parties have expressed concerns that voters could use elections for the European Parliament to punish them for the expenses row bedevilling the House of Commons.

Lib Dem West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne has served on the European Parliament for 10 years and says her party believes the UK is stronger working with its neighbours.

She said: “We believe that laws should always be made at the most local level possible, but there are some areas when Europe needs to work together. The global recession, climate change and cross border crime are some of the biggest challenges Britain has ever faced, but we can only tackle them if we co-operate with other European countries.

“No one has faith in Gordon Brown or Labour rule any more. The Conservatives and UKIP want to isolate Britain, which would be an historic mistake.

The BNP:

BNP Flag logo

BNP Flag logo

The British National Party has launched its campaign for next month’s European Parliament elections, predicting it could win up to seven seats.

The party is contesting all 69 seats at stake in the UK mainland regions, on a platform of demanding the country withdraws from the European Union.

Leader Nick Griffin, a candidate in North West England, said the BNP also wanted to stop Turkey joining the EU.

His party was a threat to “tired, corrupt old politicians”, he added.

The BNP, which currently has no Euro MPs, is contesting about 465 county council seats in England’s local elections, which also take place on 4 June.

This is up from 39 candidates four years ago.

At the BNP’s campaign launch in Essex, Mr Griffin said: “There’s no protest vote like a British National Party protest vote, because all the others are in it together.

“Everyone knows we are the ones that they hate… We are the ones who are really a threat to their rotten, internationalist, liberal system.

“So we are the ones people have got to vote for if they want to protest against what the old politicians – the tired, corrupt old politicians – have done to this poor country of ours.”

Outlining his party’s anti-immigration stance, Mr Griffin said: “Not all immigrants are terrorists but all terrorists are immigrants or their immediate descendants.”

On its opposition to Turkey joining the EU, he said: “While we are in the European Union we most definitely, and above all else, oppose its expansion to bring 80 million low-wage Muslims into Christian democratic Europe.”

Simon Darby, BNP candidate for the West Midlands, said the party was concerned about exposing alleged EU corruption, incompetence, fraud and waste.

He said: “BNP MEPs will always vote in the European Parliament in the best interests of Britain and the British people.

“We will seek to expose and oppose. We will work closely with MEPs from other countries that share our aims and beliefs, in order to be more effective.

“We will maintain the highest standards of probity and integrity. In this regard, all BNP MEP candidates have signed a pledge to donate 10 per cent of their pre-tax salary to local cultural groups and activities in their regions.

UKIP:

The UK Independence Party could topple Gordon Brown by beating Labour into fourth place in next month’s Euro elections, says leader Nigel Farage.

Launching the party’s election campaign, Mr Farage said the “humiliation” of being beaten by UKIP would force Mr Brown to quit.

Mr Farage also claimed the best way to defeat the BNP was to vote UKIP.

And he hit back at claims that the party, which came third in 2004′s euro poll, would lose many seats this time.

UKIP, which campaigns for Britain’s exit from the European Union, achieved a breakthrough in 2004, winning 16% of the vote and beating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place.

It has performed less well in elections since then and has lost three of its 12 MEPs, including television celebrity Robert Kilroy-Silk, who left to form his own party.

It also faces competition from new Eurosceptic parties such as the trade union-backed NO2EU and the pan-European Libertas, which wants wholesale reform of the EU rather than withdrawal.

But Mr Farage – who has said he will quit as leader if the party returns fewer than 10 MEPs – was bullish about its prospects at its campaign launch in central London.

UKIP West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass said his party was worried about the cost of European membership.

He said: “It is costing us dearly, not just the £40 million a day we give to the EU but also the jobs lost, like Peugeot to Slovakia.

“We seek to send a message to the professional politicians by increasing our share of the vote from 2004 when we surprised the political establishment by finishing third ““ beating the Lib Dems.

“In the West Midlands UKIP scored over a quarter of a million votes missing out on electing a second MEP by just 4,500 votes.

Conservatives:

The Tories have yet to announce their Euro Election campaign. But locally, Simon Tagg, chairman of Newcastle Conservative Association, said the party believed in the European Union but also wanted to keep independence.

He said: “We believe in working closely with our European partners for the benefit of our local community.

“However, we would not give any more powers to Europe without a referendum in this country. We want to give people the choice of how to go forward.”

The Green Party:

The Green Party’s party election broadcast for the European elections will be on the following confirmed times and dates:

- 11th May, 1755 on BBC2, 1825 on ITV, 1855 on both Five and BBC1

- 26th May, 1855 on BBC Wales

- 27th May, 1755 on BBC2, 1825 on ITV, 1855 on both Five and BBC1

Green Party candidates for the West Midlands in the European elections to be held on Thursday 4th June 2009:

1. Felicity Norman

Lead candidate for the West Midlands region in the European Elections to be held in June 2009.

Felicity Norman has a wealth of experience through travelling widely, living and working in many different parts of the world. Her work has included agriculture and teaching. She is married with two daughters and lives with her family on a smallholding in Herefordshire, where she teaches part time.

I am delighted to have been selected as the Green Party’s lead candidate for the West Midlands in the 2009 European elections, and look forward to putting forward Green policies and ideas wherever possible. Green MEPs, Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert have done a wonderful job in Brussels and Strasburg for the past few years, together with their Green colleagues from other European countries, in promoting the Green agenda, and I look forward to joining them. I am especially interested in food, farming and rural affairs and will be campaigning hard for agricultural policy reform: boosting organic farming, small family farms, allotments, support for local food, no GMOs, and better animal welfare standards. Although I am a supporter of the EU, I am very critical of many of its activities. I shall be working with other Greens to make the EU more open and accountable, less beaurocratic and centralised, and far greener. I will be campaigning for a Europe that puts people before profit, protects workers and minorities, and challenges poverty, discrimination and injustice both here and in the wider world. I want to see a Europe that takes seriously the dangers posed by Climate Change and Peak Oil, as well as other threats to the environment, and works for truly sustainable solutions; a Europe where justice and sustainability underpin all aspects of political decision making.”

2. Peter Tinsley

Peter is a management consultant, retired NHS manager and lives in Selly Park, Birmingham. He is a member of the Selly Oak Strategic Partnership representing voluntary and community organisations and has been a member of the city-wide partnership.

Peter is particularly interested in developing a Green perspective on Foreign Affairs and Defence within Europe. He has been a member of the party since 1990 and is currently the Elections Officer for the West Midlands.

3. Chris Williams

Chris, aged 25, is one of the youngest Green Party candidates at the European elections. Graduating in Biochemistry at Oxford University three years ago, Chris has since spent a year travelling from Morocco to Cape Town and the past two years working for an environmental campaigning charity. Passionate about social justice, he now works full time promoting Green politics.

Chris lives in Solihull where he recently coordinated the campaign to elect the first Green Party Councillor on to Solihull Council. The difference that makes is already being felt. He will spend the next year campaigining on Green politics in the West Midlands region.

4. Ian Davison

Ian Davison grew up in Cambridge and went to Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences. In 1984, while studying for a PhD in psychology, he joined the Green Party and he was involved in starting and running a university green group.

Ian then trained as a teacher and taught in state secondary schools for 14 years with a variety of roles including head of science and senior teacher. Currently he is a research fellow at the University of Birmingham. He mainly conducts research in postgraduate medical education.

Ian lives in Leamington Spa with his partner for the last 23 years. Their two children attend local state schools.

5. Vicky Dunn

Vicky Dunn is 31 years old, has lived in Kidderminster for four years and has been an environmental and peace activist for the last ten years. Vicky has a PhD in environmental chemistry and has worked as an environmental business advisor, helping West Midlands businesses save money and resources. She has also worked as a local authority health and sustainability officer.

Vicky recognises that Europe has driven forward the environmental agenda on waste, producer responsibility and carbon trading but also recognises that people see European decision making as remote, and there is much scope to devolve its power.

6. Dave Wall

David was born and brought up in Birmingham, leaving the West Midlands for five years to science at University then teach for a year in Turkey before returning to Birmingham for a brief stay before moving to Lichfield in Staffordshire.

Dave has had a fragmented work history which included computer programming, science teaching, and NHS Administration.  He has experience of Trade union work as District Secretary of his Union whilst working for the West Midlands Regional Health Authority.

Dave has been actively involved in Voluntary and Church activities, having been an elected member of the Board of Management of Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, and also elected to the Lichfield Diocesan Synod.  He is actively involved with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust as a Trustee.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIaqH84Yvzc

Read The Sentinel article here.

Over to you, what do you want to see during the Euro Election campaign? Should we be in Europe at all? Are You pro or anti  Europe?………….

Source: BBC

Companies with Stoke contracts in illegal blacklist scandal

By Tony Walley

Last week a national newspaper reported on the activities of a Worcestershire company which has been collecting and selling information to a range of construction companies about workers that were regarded as being “trouble makers”. The database that contained over 3,000 names of people who had a history of trade union membership or who had raised concerns about health and safety on building sites had been maintained.

Companies paid the company £3,000 a year and then a fixed fee on each name they wanted to check up on. Details of workers’ employment history and trade union activity were written on cards. This entirely covert operation helped building companies vet new employees.
This process is illegal  and a serious breach of the Data Protection Act and is a system that has effectively blacklisted workers preventing many from employment opportunities.
Amongst the names listed in the Guardian newspaper were a number of companies that have major contracts with North Staffordshire public bodies
  • Balfour Beatty has a contract with the City Council to rebuild local schools. It is one of five bidders which have been short-listed for a transformational £250 million partnership which will help kick-start the development of Stoke-on-Trent city-centre business district.
  • Laing O Rourke has a major contract rebuilding the University Hospital of North Staffs.
  • Carillion which built and maintains a number of new psychiatric hospitals in North Staffordshire.
  • Kier Group which 12 months ago took over the responsibility of maintaining the city council housing stock  in a £400 million deal.

Green Party Logo

Green Party candidate in the Leek East by-election, Bill Cawley said:

” This is shocking that companies that have received large amonts of public money to build new schools and hospital units in the area should have acted in this way. Trade Unionists and many who raised concerns about safety have been treated shabbily and many denied work opportunities. One man an electician had only 36 weeks employment in the last nine years simply because he was a trade union activist. How can an area with a strong Labour tradition allow this situation to continue? It is appalling that a number of companies have been involved in hospital projects especially as on average nationally two workers are killed on construction sites per week”

BNP MEMBERSHIP LIST LEAKED! – 10000 IS THAT IT?

Shock Horror! The BNP’s membership list has been printed on the Internet! Who cares?

The only thing that it as brought home to me is how insignificant this minority party really are.

For all the huff and puff we hear on this blog about how they are the future for our City nay, our Country. this list proves that it is all piss and wind!

Lets put this pathetic number into some sort of perspective shall we:

Tory Party 290000 members
Labour Party 210000 members
Liberal Democrat Party 70000 members
UKIP Party 16000 members
Green Party 12000 members (England, Scotland, Wales N.Ire)
BNP 10000 members.

At the last General Elections the BNP polled at total of 191,519 votes out of a possible 27000000 votes cast!

The BNP won over 100 council seats at the May 2008 elections in the United Kingdom which is in fact, less than 1% of the total number of seats available.

In Stoke on Trent the BNP polled 8086 vote out of 55288 (14.6%).

Given the fact that Labour is supposed to be on it’s arse in this city and is most certainly suffering from the ineptness of the policies of the Labour Elected Mayor, Mark Meredith, Labour managed to poll 14038 vote out of the possible 55288 cast (25.3%)

We are constantly told on this blog by certain posters that the BNP in this city, are like the 2ND coming of the Messiah! The first coming of the No9 bus seems more apt to me!

BNP membership is frowned upon in many organisations, the Police, Fire Brigade, Teaching, Further Education, the Clergy, the Armed Forces, and so it goes on. This leaked membership list has people as young as 14 on it, which in my opinion should be against the law!

Nick Griffin admits that some of his members, especially those in the professions listed above are vulnerable. I say if a name appeared on one of the mainstream parties membership list no one would give a toss! Could it be that association with such an extreme, hateful party who’s policies are based on the colour of one skin, might be reviled by the vast majority of the British people.

There is no doubting that the BNP have 9 councillors in our city and have prospered because of the EMB.

The EMB have no doubt taken the voices of every single separate political party represented in Stoke on Trent and left just the collective of the EMB and the extreme views of the BNP.

The BNP would have us believe that they are the answers to all our prayers but in truth, given the above statistics we would be better of voting for UKIP or the Green Party if we were looking to place a protest vote.

Over the next few months we will be bringing the other parties to the forum and giving you the cities electorate the chance to make your mind up which party best represents your ideals and I’m sure if we did this the BNP’s popularity would diminish.

The BNP would have us believe that they are a united organisation but this membership list was posted by an angry member who wants to start off a leadership contest. This dissenter believes that Nick Griffin is too dictortorial and want rid of him. This latest rift comes not long after Griffin kicked out most of his executive who also wanted rid of the Welsh Wizard! They went on to form their own far right party called the “Voice of Change” (CLICK)
The BNP are about as united as the “Strictly Come Dancing” judges!

The BNP a credible alternative to the mainstream parties? I’d better be off…. the No9 bus is due………… Oh look a flying pig!