Monthly Archives: November 2010

Partial relief for Welsh students

Welsh students will be protected from increased tuition fees, the Welsh Assembly Government says.Education Minister Leighton Andrews made the commitment as he outlined Wales’ response to the UK government’s plan to increase fees in England. In Wales, basic tuition fees will rise to £6,000 per annum, or £9,000 in some circumstances. But the assembly government will meet the cost of extra fees for students from Wales attending any UK university.

Welsh students who go to university in 2012-13 will therefore be paying the same in real terms as students who go to university in this academic year, i.e. £3290, plus living costs. This is a huge relief from the appalling increases facing English students, but it is long way short of what the Green Party would provide.

Under a Green Government there would be no student loans as there would be no tuition fees and living costs would be met by Citizens Income. In the short term we will reintroduce student grants to meet living costs. Higher Education is essential in developing a civilized society. Education should be treated as a process and not a product. It should enable a democratisation of knowledge and skills which are available to anyone who wants to study for a degree regardless of their age or background.

How do we pay for all this and the rest of our progressive programme? Check out our election manifesto details of how we would manage the economy to make this all possible AND reduce the deficit in a manageable way.

Green MP sponsors amendment calling on Lib Dems to honour pledge over student fees

Caroline Lucas, Britain’s first Green MP, today sponsors an amendment to an opposition motion on tuition fees in an effort to toughen-up Labour’s critique and call to account Liberal Democrat MPs who have failed to honour their pledge to oppose increases in tuition fees.

Today sees an Opposition Day debate on school sports funding and then tuition fees (1). Labour leader Ed Milliband has put forward what the Greens regard as a weak motion (2) calling on the government to publish its education plans in detail and expressing concern over student debt. The Green Party leader, together with MPs from the Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, has tabled an amendment (3) spelling out a much tougher critique of the government, noting Labour’s role in introducing tuition fees in the first place, and calling on Lib Dem MPs to honour their pledge to oppose rises in tuition fees.

Caroline Lucas commented this afternoon from her constituency, where she was taking part in a student-led protest against tuition fees and education cuts:

“Given that 90% of MPs went to university, mostly without having to pay tuition fees, it’s completely unacceptable that the Tories and Lib Dems are getting away with this.”

“Liberal Democrats are breaking the promises that helped them get elected, and meanwhile Labour is failing to provide the real challenge the country wants to see.”

Creative houses from reclaimed stuff – could this catch on around here?

In this funny and insightful talk builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details that should refresh your own creative drive! 15 mins well spent, here:

11 yr old Birke Baehr: What’s wrong with our food system?

11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food — far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case for green and localised food production.

Watch now:

Green Women Leaders – France, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, UK

A funny thing happened after the world’s failure to agree on a climate-change plan at the 2009 Copenhagen summit: 2010 became the year of the Greens; and more specifically, of the Green women. Cécile Duflot, head of France’s third-most powerful party, is being dubbed a kingmaker for the 2012 presidential race and recently led the French Greens to strong showings in the European parliamentary and regional races. Renate Künast presides over Germany’s Green parliamentary coalition at a time when the party there is polling higher than ever. Italy’s Monica Frassoni is the continentwide face of this growing surge as co-president of the European Greens. And Brazil’s Marina Silva, a rural labor activist and former environment minister, surprised everyone by forcing her country’s recent presidential election into a runoff, placing a strong third with the highest vote share ever garnered by the Green Party there. And not forgetting our very own Caroline Lucas, making the breakthrough as the first Green MP at Westminster.

What these women share isn’t just political ambition; it’s also their conviction that the environment is the electoral issue of the future. Economy down? Create green jobs. Worried about feeding a resource-hungry world? Time to innovate new green technologies. “We have vision and think long term, but we apply our political beliefs in concrete reforms,” Künast said in August.

Someday sooner than you think, they might get the chance. Isn’t that right, Delyth?!

New: Poll shows Greens on target for Assembly Election

Wales Green Party have welcomed the new ITV Wales/YouGov opinion poll giving the Greens 10% in South Wales Central National Assembly Region. Under the proportional voting system, this would be more than enough to elect a Green Assembly Member on the second, regional ballot.

Wales is split into 5 regions for the second vote, South Wales Central includes Cardiff, the Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf. Greens received 6.4% across the Region the last time an election was held using proportional representation, during the 2009 European elections with 8% across Cardiff. Based on previous results 7-8% of the vote is needed to elect the first Green AM in South Wales Central.

Jake Griffiths, Wales Green Party Leader and prospective Assembly Member, said; “This poll gives recognition to the work we have been doing locally and shows us on course to elect our first Assembly Members in May. Greens in the Welsh Assembly would be joining Caroline Lucas, who was elected as Britain’s first Green MP in this years General Election, and Green colleagues in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the European Parliament.”

He continued “Green AMs are needed to challenge the devastating cuts to public services being imposed by Westminster and to get Wales onto the path for a low-carbon economy. Our policies would create jobs to beat the recession as well as tackling climate change, and these ideas must be heard in the Assembly chamber if we hope for them to become reality. Caroline Lucas, our first MP has already made her place in asking difficult questions that MPs from the old parties shy away from. Green AMs would continue this tradition in truly holding the Welsh Government to account.”

He concluded by appealing for those considering voting Labour to back the Green Party on the regional ballot:

“Labour have never elected a regional AM in South Wales Central since they win most constituencies, over 70,000 wasted Labour regional votes were cast in 2007, if just a small fraction of these switch to the Greens we will elect our first AMs. Electing a Green is also likely to deprive the ConDem parties of an extra Assembly Member.”

Revised date for NEXT MEETING – and a few other things!

Hi Members/Friends, 

First of all, thanks to those that responded to the email re the small problem with the next meeting. I had half a dozen responses which raises a couple of issues.

Firstly, those that did not respond did not return a ‘Read Receipt’ either, so I do not know if they are getting my emails or not. Can I therefore please ask for a response or a Read Receipt so that I can amend my records and use other means of communication if this is not getting through.

Secondly those six responses split themselves evenly over the three options presented! I have therefore come up with a compromise that I hope is agreeable, even though it was not one of the options previously presented!

I have booked the Haywain Function Room for Tuesday 21st December, from 7.30pm. I am hoping that Neil will be on holidays and available on a Tuesday on this occasion. Those that I see to speak to have said this suits them ok, so I hope as many as possible will be able to come, despite the proximity to Christmas. I promise to get a round in! The provisional agenda is below.

Many thanks,

Andy Chyba
Bridgend Green Party
Mobile: 078 1066 3241

    1. Welcome and Introductions
    2. Apologies for Absence
    3. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
    4. Officers’ reports
    5. Blog articles
    6. Discussion points: WAG campaign / Bettws campaign / Topic for next meeting
    7. Any Other Business
    8. Date of Next Meeting