Monthly Archives: December 2011

Bridgend Green Party Meeting Agenda and seasonal get together

Meeting preceded by informal seasonal get together over a bar meal (c.£5) and a drink at 7pm
(RSVP as kitchen is opening just for us and I need to give approximate numbers – thank you)

Bridgend Green Party Meeting
Thursday 15th December 2011 at the COITY CASTLE INN Lounge.
Bottom of Tremains Road, (by big railway bridge) Bridgend, CF31 1HA . 8.00pm (ish)


  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers’ reports
  5. Campaigns update – esp. fracking/pv for free
  6. Elections – BCBC 2012 – Nomination of Candidates
  7. AOB
  8. DoNM

NOTE – Venue is 2 minutes walk from both the Bus and Train stations in Bridgend.
See map:



PS – On a purely personal level, and as a humanist, may I take this opportunity to wish you an enjoyable festive season and a happy winter solstice – bringing the return of lengthening days on 22nd December; something we can all celebrate!

National Emergency Shortfall Appeal

(I am amending a personalised letter sent out to all members in the hope that non-members who frequent this blog may feel they they have sufficient respect for the aims and work of the Party to feel that they may wish to help us continue our work)

Dear Members and Supporters,

I am writing to you ask you help the Green Party make up a shortfall of £104,000.

Donations are very urgently needed, please reply by 19th December, with a gift of whatever you can afford.

We are very grateful for everything you have done in the last year, but the situation is now serious. £104,000 must be raised to cover a the shortfall created by the costs of the successful campaign to get our first MP elected, alongside under-performing appeals earlier this year.

As you should know, the Green Party is funded purely by its members – not by millionaire corporate donors. That means it is much harder for us to raise money than for other parties, but it also means we are a truly independent voice – locally, nationally and in the EU.

It would be most unfortunate to have to cut our budget just at the time we should be attempting to grow it. It would seriously hamper our ability to support getting more Greens elected at all levels, as well as hampering the fight against the most dangerous and damaging Government since Thatcher’s.

We all share Caroline’s concern at the way the Tories are so openly looking after their powerful friends at the expense of the most vulnerable segments of our society – a society that they are making more unequal with every day.

And unsurprisingly it seems they’ve now discarded any pretence to be “the greenest Government ever”. They have:

  • Encouraged the frackers
  • Slashed marine renewable energy
  • Caused chaos and dismay in the solar industry
  • Promoted deep water oil drilling
  • Refused to cut UK carbon emissions unless other European countries do
  • Proposed to let developers carve up the countryside, including Green Belts

Add to this the deepest cuts to benefits and public services in peacetime, and attempts to privatise NHS services and schools, and the scale of the work we need to do becomes clear.

Caroline has been recognised as the most influential MP in Parliament (, yet she has to operate without our ability to fund policy research and other fundamental resources that other parties can put at the disposal of their MPs. Such resources would also be invaluable to our other elected representatives at all levels.

With vital elections next year, including here in Bridgend CBC, It is vital we clear this deficit now.

With the right response, we hope to be able to fulfill the following vital expenditure:

  • The appointment of Regional Co-ordinators – to support candidates in all future elections
  • Investment in policy research and development
  • Campaign spends – to get our voice heard on key issues

Again, many thanks for all your support in all manner of ways. We hope we can continue to rely on this support in the future, irrespective of whether you are able to help with this appeal at this time of hardship for so many.

With best wishes and thanks,
Andy Chyba
Bridgend Green Party

Please send your donation via

Or post a Cheque payable to The Green Party to:

Remember how Iceland went bankrupt? Why no news since?

“Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the countrys banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors. But as investments grew, so did the banks foreign debt. In 2003 Icelands debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent. The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro. At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.”

What has happened since is a shining example of participatory democracy resting control of a country’s destiny away from capitalist interest groups. It can be done. It has to be done. The fact we have heard nothing of it in our media tells you all you need to know about who pulls the strings.

“What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Icelands leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Icelands citizens responsible for its bankers debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.” “Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country. As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF. The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: We were told that if we refused the international communitys conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North. But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.

“In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt. The IMF immediately froze its loan. But the revolution (though not televised in the rest of Europe, unlike Greece’s), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis. Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.”

“But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.”

“The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution. And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.”

“They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.”

“Thats why it is not in the news anymore.”


Northern Ireland Assembly members have called for a freeze on gas exploration in Fermanagh to avoid the consequences of fracking.A Green Party and Alliance Party motion against the potential use of hydraulic fracturing, which pumps water into the ground to release shale gas, was passed with the support of Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

But predictably the DUP rolled in behind its Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster. Mrs Foster said it was correct to pursue the possibility of identifying a source of locally obtainable fuel, but Green MLA Steven Agnew said there was no guarantee Northern Ireland would benefit from such a find, which he said he opposed anyway, urging emphasis on alternatives to fossil fuels.

Stephen Agnew presented the Assembly with a petition of more than 2,800 signatures ahead of the debate on fracking. He said groups of worried residents had travelled from as far as Fermanagh and Sligo, with areas of both the north and south of Ireland affected by potential fracking operations.

Mr Agnew said fears over environmental damage and health concerns had seen the process halted in parts of the US, Germany, South Africa and France.

Assembly members cited tremors in an area of the north of England where fracking was being employed.

He said: “The people of Northern Ireland need a full review of this decision and a ban on this process. This process could severely impact our tourism industry, agriculture, our water quality, environment and our health.”

Where does this leave Carwyn Jones’ Labour administration in Cardiff Bay? Looking like King Canute in the face of the tide of concern and opposition to fracking. He needs to grasp the nettle and take an historic opportunity for the Welsh Government to make a telling impact on UK policy for a change, and unite with his Conservative rival Andrew RT Davies in calling for a moratorium on fracking related activity in Wales.

Important AVAAZ petition – sign it now and share everywhere

Our planet is dying and big oil companies have key nations in their pockets, blocking any chance of a climate treaty. We have 4 days till UN talks end — let’s call on the EU, Brazil and China to lead us towards a deal to save the planet! Click here to sign the urgent petition:

Sign the petition

Two letters published today, that we could all put our names to, that savage the Conservative’s claims that they would be the ‘greenest government ever’!!

The following two open letters, published in the Observer and elsewhere today, are a direct response to things mentioned in the Chancer’s (sic) Autumn Statement last week. As such, they do not even touch on the litany of environmental mismanagement dished up by this Government elsewhere, such as the fracking issue.


For 15 months, we have observed with growing concern this government’s failure to live up to its promise to be the “greenest ever”. Now, following the chancellor’s autumn statement, we can say that the coalition is on a path to becoming the most environmentally destructive government to hold power in this country since the modern environmental movement was born. As George Osborne sat down, our political culture crossed a line and became a little more like that which dominates Washington DC. We know from experience not least by observing events across the Atlantic – that when such a line is crossed it is extremely difficult to retrieve lost ground.

The chancellor has proposed:

Tax breaks for the country’s most polluting industries.

A revision of the basic safeguards that protect our most precious wildlife sites from development.

A major expansion of airport capacity in the south-east of England

Support for a major expansion of the road network.

Aggressive implementation of a new presumption in favour of development in the planning system.

Osborne has proclaimed that protecting the environment is against the public interest something no senior politician in this country has done in recent history.

George Monbiot author; Jonathon Porritt, Tony Juniper former directors, Friends of the Earth; Joss Garman co-founder, Plane Stupid; Tamsin Omond co-ordinator, Save England’s Forests campaign; Caroline Lucas MP Green Party leader


The environmental movement has spoken out repeatedly against policies that put short-term profit ahead of our countryside and wildlife, eroding our natural capital and quality of life, but rarely have we been as incredulous as we were last Tuesday, hearing the autumn statement. The stunning disregard shown for the value of the natural environment not only flies in the face of popular opinion but goes against everything the government said in June when it launched two major pieces of environmental policy the natural environment white paper and the England biodiversity strategy.

It is increasingly clear that society needs a new economic model that accounts properly for our natural capital. Yet with this statement, its “red-tape challenge”, sudden cuts to solar subsidies and its ill-conceived planning reforms, the government is continuing an out-of-date approach that casts regulation and the environment as enemies to growth. Is the environment really an obstacle to economic productivity or is it in fact the very basis of it? Not a hard question to answer and there is an increasingly powerful body of evidence that demonstrates this, including the government’s own national ecosystem assessment.

How can the prime minister tolerate this gaping intellectual and political inconsistency and walk with open eyes down a path that condemns future generations to a lower quality of life and to a massive and costly struggle to rebuild the country’s natural riches? We appeal to him to champion long-term, sustainable economic policies that will bring much-needed prosperity without destroying all that millions hold dear.

Mike Clarke chief executive, RSPB; Shaun Spiers chief executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England; John Sauven executive director, Greenpeace; Stephanie Hilborne chief executive, Wildlife Trusts; Andy Atkins executive director, Friends of the Earth

Wales Is The Fuel Poverty Capital Of Britain

Only yesterday I flagged up the Wales’ Government’s Fuel Poverty programme – NEST.Today, the news emphasises just how inadequate attempts to solve the problem have been in Wales to date:
Includes video news story.
Read the comments too.

Here are the levels of fuel poverty by region, with the percentage of people affected and the average household energy bill over the year:

1. Wales, 32%, £1,312.
2. East, 31%, £1,283.
3. North, 26%, £1,282.
4. Scotland, 25%, £1,280.
5. South, 24%, £1,295.
6. Midlands, 22%, £1,293.
7. London, 16%, £1,293.

The problem with NEST, and its predecessor HEES, is that it is money made available for people that know that it is available. Efforts to promote the schemes to those that need them are virtually non-existent and rely on people like us, in the Green Party, and charitable organisations like Groundwork, to get out and try to ensure people get what they are entitled to receive.

Fuel poverty has a significant impact on the health, social and economic well-being of householders. It also impacts on the resources of public sector services, such as the NHS, through increasing the need for householders to access services or increasing the level of support they require. By reducing the risk of householders living in fuel poverty in Wales we can help reduce the negative impact on peoples lives and the pressure on public services.

By tackling fuel poverty, we will make a contribution in tackling the following negative impacts:


Increased respiratory illnesses including asthma.

Increased blood pressure and risk of heart attack and stroke (cardiovascular disease).

Increased levels of slips, trips and falls, particularly in older people as cold can reduce mobility and cause a worsening in the symptoms of arthritis.

Stress and mental health issues driven by concerns over bills and/or energy debt.

Increased pressure and cost on health and care services.

Fuel poverty contributes to excess winter deaths: (ONS data)

  • There were an estimated 25,700 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2010/11, virtually unchanged from the previous winter
  • As in previous years, there were more excess winter deaths in females than in males in 2010/11
  • Between 2009/10 and 2010/11 male excess winter deaths increased to 11,200, but female deaths fell to 14,400
  • The majority of deaths occurred among those aged 75 and over; however, deaths in this age group fell between 2009/10 and 2010/11, whereas deaths in persons aged under 75 increased
  • The excess winter mortality index was highest in Wales in 2010/11, whereas in the two previous winters it was highest in the South East of England


Fuel Poverty impacts on education achievement where only one room may be properly heated, resulting in the lack of a quiet, warm space to study or increased levels of absenteeism as a result of sickness.

Social Exclusion

Fuel Poverty can increase social isolation because of a reluctance to invite friends into a cold, damp home.

High fuel bills leave householders with less money available for food, other day to day expenses and social activity.


Fuel poverty impacts negatively on the economy because of increased levels of sickness.

Tackling fuel poverty and reducing the amount of money spent on energy bills can have positive effects on local regeneration because people have more money to spend in the local economy. The key element of official Green Party Policy is:
EN400 The distribution mains for electricity and gas will be brought into a fully accountable public sector. Energy production would be a mixture of public and private enterprises.

Only by bringing the control of the the energy infrastructure, and strict regulation of the energy markets, into public hands can we stop the energy companies profiteering (in the news yet again today: ) at the expense of the fuel poor. It is also the only way we are going to re-structure the energy mix we use to become truly sustainable; alongside the only way forward, in terms of alleviating fuel poverty, that we currently have – i.e. making our homes more energy efficient.

GPMediaNet Green MP Named Biggest Influencer In UK Politics ThisYear


02 December 2011


Green MP Caroline Lucas has been recognised by a prestigious political body as the MP who has most influenced the political agenda in 2011.

Since her election to the constituency of Brighton Pavilion in 2010, the UK’s only Green MP has made a significant impact through her work on a range of issues – from putting pressure on the Government to tackle fuel poverty and drop Trident, to campaigning for Parliamentary reform and fairer rail fares.

Lucas received the Political Studies Association award for ‘Influencing the Political Agenda 2011′ from Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow at a packed ceremony in Westminster this week.

Caroline Lucas said:

“I am honoured and delighted to collect this award from the Political Studies Association – and appreciate the judges’ recognition that having even one Green in Parliament can make a positive difference.”

The panel of judges at the Political Studies Association said:

‘Caroline Lucas has made unprecedented steps forward in raising the profile of the Green Party. The achievement of winning a seat in Parliament under the First-Past-The-Post electoral system should not be underestimated.

“When considering these factors alongside her role in influencing the AV debate, we felt she was a worthy winner of the 2011 award for Influencing the Political Agenda.”


The Political Studies Association is the leading organisation in the UK linking academics in political science and current affairs, theorists and practitioners, policy-makers, journalists, researchers and students in higher education.

For information about the 2011 award winners, visit:

Melissa Freeman
Senior Parliamentary Press Officer
Office of Caroline Lucas MP