29 Dec 2014

Please prioritise #GreenParty motion supporting #Kurds #Rojava

The ballot to priorise motions for Green Party England and Wales spring conference has opened.

You can vote here http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1938402/b86cec820060

And you will need your user name and password for the members site.  Only open to GPEW members.

Please support the Rojava motion!

Rojava and the Kurds

Members website discussion here.
Derek Wall*, Adam Ramsay, Alcuin Edwards, Anne Gray, Caroline Allen, Emily Blyth, John Street, Les Levidow, Peter Allen, Robert Price, Ronald Lee.
This motion promotes solidarity with the Kurds in Rojava where they are promoting a self-governing ecological society, feminism and pluralism. Rojava is under attack by Islamic fundamentalists and should be given solidarity.
Add into RoPS
“On Rojava and the Kurds
The Kurds of Syria created a self-governing territory in 2012, known as Rojava (Western Kurdistan, Syria), which includes three cantons, Kobane, Afrin and Jazire. Rojava, while predominantly Kurdish contains communities self-identifying as Syriacs, Arabs, Armenians, Christians and other groups The largest political party in Rojava, the Peoples Democratic Union (PYD), is the sister Party of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Both political parties are inspired by the ideas of the social ecologist Murray Bookchin and the writings of Abdullah Ocalan. Rojava is being governed with attention to principles shared with our Green Party including grassroots democracy, ecological economics and social justice. Rojava promotes secularism, pluralism and feminism. Described by some as the Chiapas of the Middle East it is a beacon of hope not only in the region but globally Sadly relations with neighbour Turkey are tense and Rojava has been assaulted by Islamic fundamentalists belonging to the so called Islamic State.
It is vital that the Green Party of England and Wales shows solidarity with Rojava, defends their revolution, supports its Charter and self-autonomy based on pluralism, freedom of belief, gender equality and democracy as a model for all of Syria and learns more about this rare example of an attempt to create a sustainable,self-governing and feminist society.
1 The Green Party of England and Wales calls on Turkey to recognise Kurdish aspirations for peace and self-determination, recognising Rojava and negotiating with the Kurdish communities for a full and just peace settlement.
2 The Green Party of England and Wales supports the campaign to delist the PKK from the list of European Union and UK terrorist organisations.
3 The Green Party of England and Wales will promote greater understanding and solidarity with Rojava."

27 Dec 2014

Green Party to review its internal democracy and structures!

Well with over 30,000 members the Green Party of England and Wales is reviewing its structures, do we need to change Green Party Executive, Green Party Regional Council and reboot are internal democracy?

I have been sent the following and would value you other suggestions on governance if you have them I will blog!  This is one perspective parts of which I agree others of which I don't.

IMPORTANT! You probably know that the party is currently consulting on future governance structures. This affects all of us, and the consultation ends on 31st December.
At the heart of this are some really deep questions of principle, as well as specifics of how the party is structured. On the principles, I've consulted with a few like-minded colleagues and put together this charter which I hope will help people (if they agree with any of it) respond to the consultation. I would recommend you all to respond to the consultation, but whether you have time or not, I would encourage you to pledge support for part or all of the charter by emailing greencharterbox@gmail.com or leaving a comment here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/forum/national-forums/general-member-discussion/6885
The governance consultation can be found here: https://my.greenparty.org.uk/news/governance-review-consultation

The Green Charter
We firmly believe in the need to review and reform Green Party governance. The current Party governance systems and structures are often insufficient to cope with the demands that a democratic, inclusive and participatory political party places on them. We believe that any changes proposed should adhere to the following principles:
1) We must retain the principle of a member-led Party with local decision-making taking precedence, and of a decision-making structure in which our leaders and officers work to empower the members, rather than exercise power over them.
2) Members should be first and foremost members of their local parties, then of regional parties, then of GPEW. Democratically agreed decisions and strategies at a local level should be made by local parties, subject to the need for local parties to cooperate with one another and subject to formal and transparent safeguards that core Green Principles are being adhered to.
3) The Party Conference must remain the sovereign decision-making body of GPEW, agreeing all policy, organisational and constitutional changes. But all efforts should be made to increase the numbers and diversity of members who attend.
4) Responsibility for the management of GPEW between conferences must lie with bodies that are directly elected by the entire Party membership, a GPEW conference, or an England-and-Wales-wide conference of an organised section of the party (such as Young Greens).
5) Members of all elected decision-making bodies must all be accountable to, and recallable by, the Party members that elected them.
6) Green MPs, MEPs, Assembly Members, and councillors should be accountable to both their electorate and - with power of recall as a last resort- the Local or Regional Party that selected them as candidates, but there should be a formal link between the party on a national level and all elected Greens (and Green Peers) with ultimate power of recall held by conference.
7) All decisions at conference and within elected bodies should be made democratically following standing orders and a full and inclusive debate, with diversity of participants maximised.
8) GPEW elected bodies should, as far as this can practically be achieved, seek to contain a minimum quota of members who identify as non-male, BAME, LGBTIQ, disabled and other groups that are disadvantaged in society and are underrepresented within the party and/or in politics. These must, where possible, be directly elected by members of an appropriate self-organised group. The party should also seek to maintain a good geographical spread of members of elected bodies.
9) Paid staff should be employed to support and/or advise on democratically agreed policies and strategies. In order to remain a member-led party, the decisions of officers elected by members should always take precedence over non-elected staff, although those staff will often be expected to give expert advice.
10) Powers of any disciplinary bodies should be limited to taking action where members are in breach of core Green principles or preventing the party from being a safe space for members. Genuine political disagreements, where all members are acting in accordance with core party principles, should be kept separate from this process.
11) Members who are not elected to a specific committee should find it easy to be aware of the work of that committee, and all papers, agendas and minutes (except anything referring to staffing, disciplinary or sensitive personal issues, or to sensitive electoral strategy decisions) should be made available to all Party members.
12) The party's governance structure should remain geared towards affecting change through both electoral and extra-electoral methods. The structure must help the party to be an outward looking, cooperative part of a wider movement, seeking to work with like-minded groups and bodies where possible.

3 Dec 2014

MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

just had this, good news

Press release: Tar sands oil - MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil


Press release – Brussels, 3 December 2014

Tar sands oil
MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

The European Parliament's environment committee today voted to reject new fuel quality rules proposed by the EU Commission, which failed to include a separate methodology for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil (1). After the vote, Green climate change spokesperson Bas Eickhout, who co-sponsored the rejection, said:
"Tar sands oil should not and cannot be part of the European fuel mix. The production of oil from tar sands is not only dirty and damaging to the environment, it also has a far greater impact on climate change than conventional oil. If the EU is serious about combatting climate change, it needs to be consistent with all its policies.
"In voting for this rejection, MEPs have voted against easing the way for tar sands oil to enter the European market. Despite the spin, tar sands oil has nothing to do with European energy security but is instead merely about placating the Canadian government in the context of the EU-Canada trade agreement. We do not need this highly-polluting fuel and we should not be encouraging its production.
"The bigger picture is the future of the fuel quality directive itself. It was one of the 5 legislative measures adopted by the EU at the end of 2008 as part of its climate and energy package and is a crucial piece of legislation that should deliver actual emissions reductions for 2020 and beyond. Today's vote should be seen as the basis for providing a robust methodology for EU fuel quality rules beyond 2020."
(1) Under the EU's fuel quality directive, suppliers are obliged to reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuel 6% by 2020 (compared to 2010). Originally, the idea was to have separate default values for calculating the lifecycle emissions of different sources of fossil fuels, so oil from tar sands would have its own greenhouse gas intensity value, separate to conventional oil. However, earlier this year, the Commission came out with a new proposal, with no separate method for tar sands oil. This would essentially make it much easier for increasing the share of oil from tar sands on the European market.
Today's vote by the environment committee must now be confirmed by the European Parliament plenary as a whole.

1 Dec 2014

Caroline Lucas says Cameron 'obssession with new roads is environmentally reckless'

Roads funding: Only Greens committed to delivering a real transport revolution

1 December 2014
*Transport policy still heading in the wrong direction
*Major new road schemes 'economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless'. 
The Coalition government’s re-announcement of plans to invest £15bn on roads over the next five years locks in our unhealthy, carbon-intensive transport policy, says the Green Party, the only party committed to delivering a genuine transport revolution.
Under the plans - initially announced in 2013 - £15bn will be spent on 100 new road improvement schemes and1,300 new miles of extra lanes will be added to motorways and A roads.
More must be done to reduce petrol and diesel use and make walking and cycling safer says the Green Party. Yet more roads are not the answer to our transport crisis.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“The Prime Minister’s obsession with major new road schemes is economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless.
“The Coalition’s claim to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is already in tatters. Recycling discredited road building policies from the Thatcher Government of the 1980s will only make matters worse.
“Road building simply does not reduce congestion. For decades, even the Government’s own studies have been showing this. Road building encourages more traffic, worsens air pollution, and causes severe loss and harm to our precious countryside. As new roads simply clog up, the economic arguments evaporate – especially when compared to the alternatives.”
Rupert Read, Cambridge MP candidate and Transport Spokesperson, said:  
“That the government is doubling down on its expensive, unhealthy, and carbon-intensive transport policy on the same day that it is pulling a political stunt on NHS (1) funding speaks volumes about the Coalition’s warped priorities. Imagine what our NHS could do with this £15billion rather than the paltry £2billion currently on the table.” 
Cllr Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson, said:
"The government announcement of £15 billion to be spent on roads across the country is both short sighted and retrograde.  If you build roads you get more traffic clogging up our towns cities and villages, adding to road danger, air pollution and congestion. The government should be investing in our public transport infrastructure and building convenient networks of cycling and walking routes rather than creating more traffic jams.
"The more we learn about the damaging impact of diesel pollution and physical inactivity on our health, the more urgent the need for this change in direction and priorities becomes. The £100m offered for cycling is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions being spent every year on roads while walking does not even get a mention. If the government is serious about creating jobs and supporting a sustainable economy they should be seizing the huge opportunities available from investing in new, less carbon-intensive transport technologies and looking to reduce our need to travel by car."

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