Monthly Archives: September 2012

Banking petition

38 Degrees Logo
Dear Andy,

A parliamentary committee has just kicked off an investigation into the banks. They were told to look into banking after the scandal in the summer. [1] These MPs could clean up banks for good. But will they? If all bankers get is a slap on the wrist they’ll carry on as if nothing’s changed.

Bankers are pleased it’s MPs and Lords looking into what they’ve been up to rather than a judge. That’s because in the past they’ve expected to be able to twist MPs’ arms so they get an easier ride. But the MPs on the committee need our votes to stay in their jobs. So let’s remind them who they really work for, with a petition signed by tens of thousands of us, telling them to get tough with the banks.

Can you sign the petition asking the committee to get tough on banks?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/banking-inquiry

It’s not long since the Bob Diamond scandal, but some MPs might think public outrage has faded. Let’s prove it hasn’t. A massive petition will let them know that we think banks should work for all of us, not just a few super-wealthy bankers.

There are over a million 38 Degrees members across the UK – including lots in the local constituencies of the committee MPs. So we can take our message right to their doorsteps. If MPs give banks an easy ride, we’ll target them locally to let voters know who their MP is really representing.

Please take 30 seconds to sign the petition. Let the MPs know we’re watching:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/banking-inquiry

To make sure the MPs hear us loud and clear, we’re teaming up with Which? Their consumer clout combined with 38 Degrees people power is a formidable combination. When we took on powerful energy companies together earlier this year, we ended up saving thousands of people a total of over £8 million on their bills. [2] Now, let’s stir up the banks in the same way.

All of us paid to bail out the banks. They should put customers before huge bankers’ bonuses. We need tougher rules to keep banks in line and proper punishments for bankers who break them. It should be easier to move our money when we’re not happy.

Let’s make sure the MPs have these demands at the front of their minds as the inquiry starts. Can you sign the petition now?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/banking-inquiry

Thanks for being involved,

David T, James, Hannah, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES

[1] Timeline: Barclays’ widening Libor-fixing scandal
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18671255
Parliament: Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards appointed
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/professional-standards-in-the-banking-industry/news/appointment-of-commission
[2] Which? press release: More than 36,000 people make The Big Switch
http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/06/more-than-36000-people-make-the-big-switch-287912/

House Prices: Why are they so high? (From: POSITIVE MONEY)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y4WmDoYJhnk#!

In the ten years up to the start of the financial crisis, house prices rose by over 200%. Why?
A common belief is that there are too many people, too much immigration, and too few houses to go around. But this is a myth!The general consensus peddled by the media and politicians is that its a supply and demand problem too many people and not enough houses. Some political parties even claim immigration is the cause of higher house prices (despite the fact that while the population grew between 2007 and 2011, house prices fell by almost 10%).

While a lack of construction is undoubtedly contributing to higher house prices in some areas of the country, it is not the key reason for the massive increase in house prices over the past 20 years.

When you take out a mortgage, the money doesnt actually come from somebody elses savings. No. Its actually just created, electronically, by your bank typing numbers into a computer.

And its those newly-created numbers, or newly-created money, that you can use to pay for your new house. Since every mortgage works this way, all the crazy lending before the crisis created hundreds of billions of brand new money.

If we want to keep houses affordable for ordinary people, we have to look to the banks, and together take away their power to create money.

Well only get change when enough people understand how it really works. Help us spread the word.

Some more insight into the organisation behind the Bridgend Christian School

Christine Gregg was fired from CEE, the UK arm of Accelerated Christian Education, following a long period of being thoroughly taken advantage of. She is now keen to expose the inner workings of the company, in particular its abuse of staff, in-fighting, and breach of employment law.

Read her exposé here:

http://www.church-on-the-rock.org/forum/index.php/topic,106.0/topicseen.html

March against religious attacks on human rights

I wish I could get to London to support this cause

From: Peter Tatchell

Subject: March against religious attacks on human rights

*March against religious attacks on human rights*

*Defend religious freedom, oppose religious privilege*

Saturday 15 September 2012
Assemble: 13:30 Storeys Gate
March: 14:00-15:00
Rally: 15:00-17:00 Surrey Street (Temple Place)

Join the march and rally against religious attacks on human rights. All
across Europe, religious leaders are orchestrating campaigns against
equality for women and LGBT people, said Peter Tatchell, Director of the
human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Most UK religious leaders oppose same-sex marriage. They support legal
discrimination against same-sex couples. Some faith organisations ban women
clergy and bishops. Others oppose divorce, contraception, abortion, donor
insemination, embryo research and adoption by same-sex couples. Several
have been involved in child sex abuse and the cover-up of these crimes
against children.

Cardinal OBrien in Scotland has stirred homophobic prejudice and
intolerance by comparing gay marriage to slavery and by denouncing marriage
equality as grotesque and as an aberration that will lead to society
degenerating into immorality.

Saturdays protest demands an end to religious privilege and to religious
exemption from the equality laws. We support women’s rights, children’s
rights, LGBT rights & all human rights.

While we defend the human rights of all believers and non-believers, it
cannot be right that faith organisations have special rights and privileges
in law.

It is not compatible with democracy for the Church of England to be the
official state religion and for 26 of its bishops to sit automatically in
the House of Lords, with the ability to influence legislation. This is an
insult to people of other faiths and to those with no faith at all, he
said.

*The secular Europe campaign opposes:*

Privileged status of churches under Article 17 of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union
Official state religions and established churches
The special status of the Vatican at the United Nations and its economic
and political privileges across Europe
State-funded religious schools

*The secular Europe campaign supports:*

Freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech
Womens equality and reproductive rights
Equal rights for LGBT people in all the European Union
A secular Europe democratic, peaceful, open and just, with no privilege
for religious organisations
One law for all, no religious exemptions from the law
State neutrality in matters of religion and belief

*CONFIRMED SPEAKERS:*

Robin Ince, Comedian and BHA Distinguished Supporter
Chris French, Skeptic and Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths University
Warren Ellis, Writer and BHA Distinguished Supporter
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner
Joan Smith, Journalist
Mejindarpal Kaur, Legal Director, United Sikhs
Richard Norman, Philosopher
Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs, British Humanist Association
Terry Sanderson, President, National Secular Society
Antony Lempert, Secular Medical Forum Chair
Adam Knowles, Gay And Lesbian Humanist Association
Nahla Mahmood, Council of ex-Muslims of Britain and One law for All
Sue Cox, Survivors Voice Europe
Maurizio Turco MP, Italian Radicals

*For further information:*

Peter Tatchell

www.petertatchellfoundation.org

Video of the Green Left Fringe from the Autumn Conference

Comprehensive coverage of the Green Left fringe, courtesy of Pete Murry:

http://greenleftblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/green-left-fringe-fringe-at-green-party.html

My contribution is at about 21:12 of Howard’s section:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_A_6BuBeKUI#!

Some more Conference bits

Good coverage of the Conference in this Guardian video:

‘The Greens are turning into a force on the radical left’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2012/sep/10/green-party-gain-crisis-video

Good contributions from Romayne Phoenix and Sean Thompson – of Green Left.

Talking of which – can you spot the Bridgend delegation at the Green Left Fringe here:
Andy in Green (not asleep!) and Gareth looking the smartest member of the whole audience!

Some National Conference highlights

I have not long returned from three days in Bristol at the Green Party Autumn Conference.It is always a great event and this time we had the added buzz of unveiling our new leadership team.Natalie Bennett’s inaugural speech as leader went a long way to assuring people like me, on the Left of the party, that she is going to steer us in roughly the right, or should I better say ‘correct’, direction. She has a very clear vision of what she wants to achieve, and the intelligence and determination to achieve it. Considering she only landed the job a few days ago, there is time for her to add a little polish to her presentation skills.


Will Duckworth, newly elected Deputy Leader, is a star in the ascendency. I strongly recommend you listen to his speech in its entirety. I may be biased here, because those of you that know me well will see quite a few parallel’s with my own story, but Will adds a tremendously warm and endearing personality to steely determination and inspirational success. He is a true man of the people, for the people.


PART 2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8hUTWSH00DM

Will’s successful election was also the pinnacle of Green Left’s success in getting numerous people into positions of influence in the Party – vital to ensuring that the Party stays truly ecosocialist in overall philosophy.

It is particular cause for celebration that Howard Thorp has become Campaign’s Co-ordinator and Derek Wall has become International Co-ordinator. They will both take places on GPEx – Green Party Executive – and be very influential in steering the Party’s course over the next two years at least. Oh, and I have also secured a place on the Green World Editorial Board, filling a seat vacated by Natalie Bennett’s and Derek Wall’s promotions. http://www.greenworld.org.uk/

Hopefully there will be more Green Left committee representatives announced tomorrow. The Green Left Fringe Meeting was encouragingly well supported, and although the theme was somewhat dystopian, there was a good buzz nonetheless.

http://bristolgreenleft.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/green-left-fringe-packs-yha/
Left to right: WILL DUCKWORTH / DEREK WALL / ROMAYNE PHOENIX / HOWARD THORP

And as proof that good news travels fast, we even had an amazing “Clause Four” moment during the debate on Howard’s ‘Economic Democracy’ motion. This is currently best reported here on the Bright Green Scotland blog:
http://brightgreenscotland.org/index.php/2012/09/green-party-clause-four-moment/

All good stuff!!

Andy.