Monthly Archives: June 2011

Proud to be Welsh!

Johnny Linehan

“Do you want to know why I think that there never will be fracking in Wales?
Today all the schools in Wales were closed or partially closed, unlike England and Scotland.
Solidarity and an acute understanding of what matters and a willingness to stand up against what is wrong – That’s the Welsh!!!!”

Thank you Johnny!!

Johnny is one the main forces behind the FRACKING HELL UK Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_181312585243017&id=222190311155244

“Wales – A Cooperative Nation” – Conference at UWIC in Llandaff on Saturday 2nd July

I will be attending with the No Fracking UK group and speaking at the Combat Climate Change Forum. Lots of other things of interest to Greens!!

Venue Address:

UWIC School of Management,

200 Western Avenue, Cardiff

Llandaff

Cardiff CF5 2YB

Wales A Cooperative Nation
The Co-operative Group in association with the IWA

Conference Agenda

9.15am Registration & Coffee

9.45am The Co-operative in Wales
Gareth Williams – The Co-operative Bank

10.30am Combining Commerce & Ethics
Paul Monaghan Head of Social GoalsThe Co-operative

11.15am Coffee Break

11.30am Mini Forums
What can Wales do to:
Tackle Global Poverty?
Combat Climate Change?
Inspire Young People?

1.00pm Lunch
Between 1.15pm 1.45pm Leanne Wood AM will be presenting her discussion paper A Greenprint for the Valleys in the Hospitality Suite

2.00pm Co-operation in the Community (3 x 20 minute sessions)
The Wales Co-operative Centre
Communities First
MENCAP

3.00pm Mini Forums Feedback

3.15pm Wales A Cooperative Nation
Prof. Mark Drakeford AM

4.00pm Conference Closes

Campaign Against Climate Change – Anti-fracking Events for your diary

The Campaign Against Climate Change is a well established campaign with many prominent people involved, including Caroline Lucas, Jean Lambert (Green MEP) and George Monbiot. They are getting increasingly involved in the anti-fracking issue. Their National Coordinator, Phil Thornhill, wrote to me and said:
Obviously we are coming at this very much from a counter- climate change point of view.
And we do feel theres an urgent need for some visible ‘on the streets’ type opposition to the creeping shale gas epidemic.“As part of this they have organised two high profile events.:Fracking Hell? What will shale gas mean for the UK?
Public Meeting, Tuesday 19th July,
6.45pm in the Conway Hall,
Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (Holborn tube). .
Full details: http://www.campaigncc.org/frackingmeeting

I will be in attendance and have been offered the opportunity to say something about what has happened/ is happening in Wales. If anyone is free, the event is free and I would welcome your company. I have just booked train/tube travel for just over £30, leaving just after lunchtime.

Looking a little further ahead:

Camp FrackWeekend of 17th-18th September.
Put this date in your diary more info soon.

Join the resistance to the fracking invasion! Stop the massive expansion of shale gas extraction in the UK! We need renewables – not another source of fossil fuel!

Camp Frack will be close to the operating rig at Singleton, near Blackpool. It will be organised with the support of a local landowner. It will involve workshops on shale gas, and on planning the campaign against it. It will involve raising local awareness about the problems with shale gas and an action day of peaceful protest against the drilling activities currently in progress in the Blackpool area.
Full details here: http://www.campaigncc.org/campfrack

This happens to be the weekend after Green Party Conference – in Sheffield, which I hope as many of you as possible will try to get to.

Green Party Autumn Conference 2011

9-12 September, Sheffield Hallam University
Timetable
Conference opens with the Leader’s speech at 1.30pm on Friday 9th September and closes at 3.10pm
On Monday 12th September.
Download a preliminary timetable here.

Bookings
Book online
Download a postal booking form
Note: Non-members are also welcome to attend Conference as ‘Observers’ with access to the majority of sessions
But without voting rights. Observers should book in the same way as members using one of the methods above.

Full details here: http://www.greenparty.org.uk/conference.html

Eco-socialism

Most people assume I am in the Green party because I used to be a Geography teacher. In fact, it has rather more to do with the fact that I am a socialist. Capitalists trash the planet in pursuit of this years profits and dividends. In doing so, who suffers the consequences of environmental degradation the most? The poor and the vulnerable. Hence environmental issues are socialist issues.

This can be seen at any scale, from global to local. It is, for example, why I am so passionate about stopping capitalist interests frack up my home region. It is about the legacy we leave our children with.

On another level, consider this:

Wales Green Party leader Jake Griffiths recently visited a newly built Eco-social housing site, owned by Cadwyn Housing, to demonstrate the widespread benefits renewable technologies could bring to Wales. The Green Party is highlighting how its policies to create a sustainable economy will help to tackle social and economic issues as well as environmental ones.

Jake Griffiths said:

“This is a great example of the benefits increased investment and imaginative thinking around renewable technologies could bring to Wales. Renewables won’t just tackle environmental issues like climate change and resource depletion, they will also address many of the social problems we are faced with.

“For example, renewable energy and better insulation mean cheaper heating bills for tenants. On a wider scale this kind of thinking would massively help to reduce fuel poverty and prevent the disgraceful situation we found ourselves in last winter when 25% of Welsh households struggled to heat their homes (1).

“Converting to renewables would create thousands of green jobs, and help put people back to work. They would also give us more energy security at a time when oil and gas supplies are becoming more and more unstable. And of course they will also help us to reduce our carbon emissions and tackle climate change. This really is a win-win situation.”

Greens are calling for increased investment in social housing to support the depressed building industry, create jobs and address demand and affordability. They also argue that new housing should be regulated to introduce minimum standards.

I hope you can all see how it all fits together.

Andy

(1) http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/02/09/children-living-in-fuel-poverty-see-health-and-education-suffer-91466-28138372/

Threat to Bettws Surgery – Public Meeting

It was good to see a good Green Party presence at the meeting – but as it was called and organised by Gareth’s mum, we had to turn up!! Well done Kay!!

It was a pretty well attended meeting overall. It was chaired by a Community Councillor (who seemed think this was about the extent of his commitment to the cause) but featured Janice Gregory AM, who is clearly on the case and doing the right things, and Dr Porter from the sugery, who was very articulate and impressive.

The points in my open letter were repeatedly stressed by the majority of contributors. The absurdity of the Rural classification by the ABM Health Board is clear to all and there is considerable hope that this will be duly overturned.

We will do our bit in encouraging the letter-writing approach that was generally acknowledged as the best strategy at the moment.

My Open letter has had responses from ABM Health Bridgend Director, Matthew Bunce, and the Welsh Assembly Civil Servant handling the issue, Mark Welsby. They both stress that no decisions have been made, and I get the distinct feeling that the great and fast groundswell of opinion against these proposals will win the day.

You can help by writing too:
Write to Mark Welsby, Dept of Health & Social Services,

Welsh Assembly Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ

Or email him: mark.welsby@wales.gsi.gov.uk

TELL HIM: Why Bettws is a Rural village and not an UrbAn town –

What it would mean to you to lose your doctor’s surgery.

Singularly less impressive was the absence of any other elected representative. Bettws Cllr. Michaelides could not tear himself away from his Mayoral duties, which got the appropriate groans that acknowledged no surprise there! But credit where it is due, Janice Gregory was the most important person to be present and she clearly knows the community well and is fighting their corner. She generally impresses me whenever our paths cross. She might even be the last Socialist in the Labour Party!

Bettws surgery closure proposals – an open letter

Here we go again with public service cuts that hit the poorest and most vulnerable members of society the hardest. The Glamorgan Gazette quotes an anonymous ABM Health Board spokeswoman trying to argue that:

  • Bettws is urban – as a geography teacher of 20 years, I can assure her that it does not match any definition of urban I have ever seen, and was clearly classified as rural in the Bridgend’s Rural Development Programme Local Development Strategy October 2009, produced under the auspices of Cllr David Sage (Chair – Bridgend Rural Partnership, Bridgend County Borough Council – lead body)
  • Decisions will be based on providing the best possible service for residents – given the demographics, the socio-economic circumstances of the area, and the already inadequate services to the area in terms of public transport, for example, it is utterly preposterous to consider closing such a facility in such an area. No wonder the anonymous spokeswoman wanted to stay anonymous and expressed concern about the way the situation has been managed. It has, indeed, caused unnecessary alarm and anxiety, because it simply should not be allowed to happen.

If the Labour administrations permit such a punitive service cut to such an area to happen, it will simply serve to underline the growing reality of how far they have abandoned their traditional support base. Socialism was created to look after communities like Bettws and protect such communities from the ravages of market forces and right wing ideology. Are there any socialists left in the Labour Party? I had to turn to the Green Party to find a socialist manifesto. It really is time for socialists in Labour to step up to the plate on issues like this one. We are watching.

      
Andy Chyba
Bridgend Green Party
Blog: https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/
Mobile: 078 1066 3241
Email: greens

Why Canadian Tar Sands are relevant here

Our friends at the Cooperative are at the forefront of the campaign to stop tar sands exploitation – especially in Canada. Alongside the issue of fracking for shale gas, it is the focus of their huge TOXIC FUELS campaign. It is therefore worthy of our support on so many levels. Check this out and then sign and share the petition.

Right now, EU law makers are introducing an important bill which would impose strict pollution standards on car and lorry fuels and would effectively ban tar sands fuel, the world’s most filthy and environmentally destructive transport oil. But shockingly, the UK is opposing it.But perhaps we should not be shocked given the pathetic stance the |UK Government have taken on the Fracking issue.

Our government is bending under pressure from the oil industry and the Canadian government, who stand to make billions if they can get an ally to water down the law and remove the clause that bans tar sands. We can expose these dirty dealings, and demand the government support the law and protect the climate.

In 2 days, campaigners will meet with Transport Minister Norman Baker. Let’s show him the British public is united against any attempt to undermine this critical legislation — sign here, then send this to everyone!

Sign the petition