Monthly Archives: July 2011

Compass encourages Labour / Green Party co-operation

Food for thought here. Personally, I think this reflects not so much the Labour movement looking at the Green Party position on sustainability etc. – but more a realisation that the Green Party is the most credible left-of-centre/socialist party in Britain today.

Reviews a new e-book by Compass (the UK’s most influential left-of-centre pressure group), Good Society / Green Society? The Red-Green Debate. The collection of essays hopes to stimulate deeper discussion between greens and the broader progressive movement, both within and outside the Labour party.


In one of the opening contributions to the book, Victor Anderson (former environment advisor in Ken Livingstones Cabinet) argues that these are auspicious times for red-green relations. Gone are the days, he writes, when socialists used to reject environmentalism as merely a bourgeois distraction; the state of the planet has got too bad to support that view any more. Instead,

although social democracy still has more impact in the world than green politics does, the greens are no longer the poor relation in the dialogue that they once were, and they have a clarity which many on the left envy.

Socialist thinking has been in decline for twenty years, but the green analysis has become sharper as the scientific evidence base for ecological problems has grown.


Is an EU ban on fracking around the corner?


We started in a muddy field near Llangeinor in January. A mere7 months later, we have the first indications that the EU may consider banning it.

Extract taken from:

In a study requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, scientists conclude that “at a time when sustainability is key to future operations it can be questioned whether the injection of toxic chemicals in the underground should be allowed, or whether it should be banned as such a practice would restrict or exclude any later use of the contaminated layer… And as long-term effects are not investigated.”

Bailey further explains “while the toxic chemical input is of major concern, the industry fails to respond sufficiently on the many other problems of oil and gas exploration and production, which is becoming more risky as resources run out. These problems include leaks or failures of steel and cement drill casings, deep-well injection of toxic waste which may also increase seismic activity, the storage of explosives on farms and in communities during seismic surveying, increased green house gas emissions, offshore and onshore oil spills that damage fisheries, and waste product contamination of air, water and soils.”

“The industry’s failures are backed up by insufficient laws that often do not require resource consent, do not provide adequate testing or follow-up procedures and rarely allow for public input. The levels for determining who is an affected party are ridiculously low and those parties have little power to change the activities anyway. Landowners have legal rights to refuse entry but are often bullied or coerced into submission as can be seen in the US and Australia.”

“Calamity Spelman needs to start doing her job properly” Natan Doron

Natan Doron is a researcher at the Fabian Society.

Caroline Spelman became Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in David Cameron’s coalition cabinet in May 2010.

“Is every policy environment secretary Caroline Spelman associates with a shambles? After the forests sell off failure, the circus animals ban farce and the badger cull catastrophe, comes Spelmans unwanted meddling in our nations planning laws.”

See his article in full here:

Rory Stewart: Time to end the war in Afghanistan | Video on

It is not often I agree wholeheartedly with a Tory.

It is not often they know what they are talking about. This guy does.

How much is spent on chaplaincy services by Welsh NHS trusts?

The cost of hospital chaplaincy

  2007/8                   2008/9

North Wales NHS Trust          £ 159,289              £ 170,144

Velindre NHS Trust                   £ 18,934                £ 19,514

Cwm Taf NHS Trust                  £ 46,093                £ 97,809

Abertawe bro Morgannwg £ 218,299             £ 216,642

Hywel Dda NHS Trust                 £ 63,185             £ 115,774

Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust    £ 240,596             £ 251,483

North West Wales NHS Trust       £ 95,429             £ 103,877

Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust            £ 312,000             £ 300,845

Powys Local Health Board           £ 35,228               £ 38,119

======= =======

                                                  £1,189,013            £1,314,207

                                                       2009/10                 2010/11

Betsi Cadwladr NHS Trust*          £ 259,042             £ 221,619

Velindre NHS Trust#                       £ 57,162                £ 30,857

Cwm Taf NHS Trust                      £ 117,990               £ 111,974

Abertawe bro Morgannwg     £ 214,000               £ 231,842

Hywel Dda NHS Trust                   £ 124,556               £ 131,000

Aneurin Bevan NHS Trust             £ 259,910               £ 260,589

Cardiff & Vale NHS Trust#             £ 293,158               £ 293,351

Powys Local Health Trust                £ 46,603                £ 45,389

======== ========

                                                      £1,372,421             £1,326,621

The provision of a hospital chaplaincy service is not a statutory obligation for the NHS although it is a statutory obligation for the prison service and the armed forces. It is probably best described as a traditional provision by the NHS.

A million and a quarter pounds each and every year into the future may be seen as a small contribution but only by obtaining many such small contributions may these increasing demands be met.

The creation of a Hospital Chaplaincy Fund to cover the cost of religious care by hospital chaplains would relieve this drain on NHS resources.The proposed charity would need to raise about £1.5 million per year to maintain the present service. This is ought to be entirely achievable for a supposedly valued service. While the present fiscal arrangements are in place, a portion of this amount would be met by gift aid tax which is returned by the Treasury. The Welsh Air Ambulance charity raises £5 million per year.

In Wales the largest single faith community is the Anglican Church in Wales. Alan Rogers , of the Charitable Chaplaincy Campaign, has written to the Bishops and Archbishop of the Church in Wales suggesting that they might be the natural leaders in this enterprise. The reaction has been, the NHS has taken responsibility for religious care, so the Church need not act. Regrettably there appears to be a lack of leadership from the Church in this matter.

As a consequence, a strong political lead is required. The CCC suggest that this should perhaps amount to a declaration of a time period for the transition to charitable funding. Anyone want to second this motion?

Palestine petition

If you have read the posts about Pippa Bartolotti recently, I am sure you will want to support this petition.

The Palestinian people are calling on the world to recognise Palestine as a state. Over 120 countries have endorsed the call, but the US and Israel are opposing and key European leaders are on the fence. If we can persuade Europe and the UK to support this non violent, legitimate bid now, it could spur a dramatic shift towards peace. Click to sign the urgent petition:

Sign the petition

Fracking Hell? What will shale gas mean for the UK? Listen to the sound recording of this meeting

Caroline Lucas – from 3:10 to 10:30
Kevin Anderson – from 14:50 to 33:30
Michael Meacher – from 33:40 to 52:40
Phil Mitchell – from 52:50 to 63:20
Andy Chyba – from 63:25 to 67:55

N.B. Gareth Harris is in the bottom right corner.
Caroline Lucas left soon after speaking.

Alternative source: