Monthly Archives: March 2012

Monthly Meeting Agenda

Bridgend Green Party Meeting
Thursday 22nd January 2012 at the COITY CASTLE INN Lounge.
Bottom of Tremains Road, (by big railway bridge) Bridgend, CF31 1HA . 8.00pm
ALL WELCOME
AGENDA

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers’ reports
  5. Campaigns update
  6. Elections – BCBC 2012
  7. Green Wales
  8. AOB
  9. DoNM

NOTE – Venue is 2 minutes walk from both the Bus and Train stations in Bridgend.
See map: https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/next-meeting

PS – Responses to the survey sent out to members a couple of weeks ago would be very welcome, especially from those of you that do not come to meetings.

Save the NHS

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We have just days to save the NHS. Opposition from doctors, nurses and patients has rocked the government. Our massive outcry now can persuade undecided members of the House of Lords to say no to the bill on Monday and get the government to publish its report on the risks of these changes. Sign here to save the NHS:

Sign the petition

Swansea Public Meeting + Penarth Green Question Time + Come Dine with Me!!

It has been a busy week, with a couple of outstandingly successful events.

On Tuesday, I was happy to share the platform with a guy called Ed from FRACK OFF (who had come all the way from Brighton with a few colleagues) at a well attended public meeting (70+) held at the Environment Centre in Swansea, sponsored by Swansea FoE and Swansea Green Party.

Between us we ran through the key implications of the mad rush to exploit extreme fuels. Ed focussed on UCG (Underground Coal Gasification) – planned for Swansea Bay – while I focussed on tight gas (such as Shale Gas) – sites to the north of Swansea – which can both involve fracking and whole range of serious consequences.

This was followed by a lively Q&A session which covered issues ranging from CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) to planning issues.

The whole tone of the meeting was about informing people and making clear what we DO know and what we DO NOT know. Both Ed and I tried to keep things factually grounded and rational. It has long been clear to me that there is no need to exaggerate or misrepresent things with these issues. We can leave these tactics to the the ‘other side’ as they get increasingly desperate to secure their crocks of gold at the expense of all of us and future generations.

There was a clear sense that the attendees see the need to oppose all such developments and I challenged them to follow the Lllandow model of grass roots opposition and offered them my support in doing so. I hope someone over there will now pick up and run with it!

On Thursday, Neil, John and I went down to the Windsor Arms in Penarth for a Green Question Time sponsored by Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. This was again a packed room (60+) showing yet again that there is a growing appetite to engage with these issues.

There was a high quality panel (https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/green-question-time-penarth/) that grappled with issues such as renewable energy, fracking, incineration, nuclear power and food. Our very own Pippa Bartolotti was outstanding, showing a passion and knowledge that the other panelists had to acknowledge. Eluned Parrott (Lib Dem AM) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru AM) both exhibited a clear commitment to the Green agenda on these issues. David Melding (Con AM) waffled on and sat on the fence most of the time.

Vaughan Gething (Labour AM) was the biggest shock, to me at least, as with only the evidence of their utterances at this event, you would have sworn that he was the Tory!!! At national level this not even remotely surprising any more, but I constantly hear from Labour activists that here in South Wales they still cling to their socialist heritage. Well not in Mr Gething’s case he doesn’t, despite his Union and Co-operative connections. He kept banging on about being ‘honest’ about the shortcomings of renewables and the need for nuclear and the probable need for incineration and the slow gestation of new technologies etc. It would have been nice if he had had the decency to ‘honestly’ say that the reason he thinks all this is because he knows there is no intention of the Labour Party (or any shade of Government likely to gain power) making the commitment and putting in the investment to create the renewable energy infrastructure, that we all know we will have to rely on sooner or later, while we still have the relatively cheap quick fix of fossil fuels to exploit. Shameless and shameful. That he sits on the Environment and Sustainability Committee worries me after this evening. Maybe, as a GMB member, he is hoping to see a big comeback for Boilermakers!!

P.S. One unexpected fun twist was the revelation that Pippa has been starring in Come Dine With Me on Ch4 this week!
Here is the episode where “Pippa Bartolotti hopes to work her magic with an ‘Up-cycling’ dinner party, including locally-sourced vegetarian food, charity shop dress, and fortune-telling with witch doctor’s bones!”
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/come-dine-with-me/4od#3296343

Frack Film

Hello Andy,
We met at the Green Conference at the Adelphi Hotel on Saturday after the Frack policy debate…

Re the 17th, can we arrange in advance to do an on-camera interview and can you think of any questions that need to be asked but generally don’t get asked about the UK situation?

Paul Littler (Freeworld-Films)

REPLY:

Hi Paul,

Sorry for the delay in responding.

No problem doing and interview. The aspect of all this that I think is being neglected is the issue of democracy and accountability in the planning process. It is the central theme of my submission to the planning inquiry, which I have attached for you.

All the other issues are pretty obvious but the subject of largely polarised opinions.

That there are inherent risks to water supply, health issues, enhanced seismic activity and consequences for global warming (and all that implies) is established.

The extent of these risks is subject to intense debate and largely impossible to assess with any degree of accuracy or certainty due to a whole range of technical issues.

Similarly, the arguments over the economics of the industry are riddled with uncertainty and contorted by vested interests.

It therefore boils down to whether the risks are worth taking or not.

My own position is simple enough on all these matters:

  • The risk of groundwater contamination is small in probability terms for each individual borehole, but given the number of boreholes we would be faced with, it is close to an absolute certainty that even with the strictest of regulation, there will be multiple instances of contamination.
  • Contamination incidents will probably not show up for a long time and quite possibly not until people start reporting the health consequences. The contamination will be nigh on impossible to predict, control or remedy.
  • I have little faith in the industry declaring all chemicals used on every frack, or the regulators being able to monitor this and enforce regulations. The cocktail needs to change on virtually every frack job and most chemicals can only be tested for If declared. It has only been developments in the use of these chemicals to assist the processes involved , alongside directional drilling technology that has enbled to frackers to even comtemplate commercial exploitation of these resources.
  • The use of explosives to shatter rock and extend faults, the massive pressures used, and the use of any fluid at all in these cracks and fault lines is all bound to create more seismic activity. I do not think this would ever be serious enough in itself to be a direct threat, but the consequences for borehole and aquifer integrity are a threat – yet again difficult to predict, control or remedy.
  • In terms of future needs and energy security, there is no long term future for fossil fuels. They will all run out. The consequences of using them to date have created the global warming consequences that are going to bad enough as it is. Squeezing the last remnants of them out of the earth’s crust only puts off the inevitable day that we have to switch to more sustainable energy sources and exacerbates the adverse consequences of global warming.
  • The argument that gas is a cleaner fuel than coal is specious and facile. It ignores the total carbon footprint of exploitatation (this is subject to considerable debate), but also assumes we use gas INSTEAD of coal instead of in addition to coal.

Add this little lot up together and my answer to the big question is NO, the risks simply are not worth taking!!

      

March 2012 is Move Your Money Month!

This is the month we act together to make banking better.

If you’ve been thinking about moving your money, now’s the time to get it off the ‘to do’ list and into the diary. Check out some of the inspiring stories from other pledgers on the homepage.

To build support for the campaign and better banking, during Move Your Money month we’ll be:

  • Launching a new guide to ethical ISAs to help you find an ISA that works for you and wider society
  • Supporting open day events at Credit Unions
  • Teaming up with NUS to launch their switching toolkit for Students Unions
  • Linking up with interested groups around the country and encouraging local action
  • Collecting your best ‘I’m cutting up my card now’ photos
  • Collecting signatures for an EDM

In the US it is estimated that 650,000 Americans moved their money in the 4 weeks leading up to ‘Bank Transfer Day’ on Nov 5th 2011. It’s now time for consumers in the UK to act together to create a better banking system!

What you can do

Pledging to move your money is the first step towards building a better, fairer and safer banking sector. The more of us that move our money, the greater the positive impact we can have.

Let your friends, family and colleagues know its time to take action – check out our template emails, flyers and posters.

Email Template:

Dear [insert name – personal emails work best] ,

I just pledged to Move My Money!

In doing so, I chose to make my money work for a banking sector that values ordinary people, small businesses and ethical and social responsibilities – not bulging bonuses, risky speculation, tax avoidance and unethical investments.

I’ll be moving my money on [insert date] . I think you should too!

Find out what all the fuss is about at http://www.moveyourmoney.org.uk

[your name]