Monthly Archives: May 2014

It is time to join the Green Party


Last week, more than at any time I can remember, politically active friends from across the left – from the feminist, student, anti-austerity, environmental and democracy movements, seem to have turned out in droves to vote for The Green Party. This is an appeal to them – you – to join the party, and to get involved.

Perhaps it seems obvious to you why you might. Maybe you’ve long been looking for a party which wants a democratic transformation of the economy; which supports free education and will defend the NHS; wants to cap rents and bring back council housing; fight to keep oil in the ground and stand up to austerity, the banks, corporate power and the frightening growth in inequality; a party which won’t pander to the scapegoating of migrants or people on benefits, and will point the finger of blame firmly where it belongs: at the powerful; a party which brings together ideas from the feminist, anti-racist, environmental, disabled people’s and working class movements, radical democratic movements, the peace movement, the LGBTIQ movement, and so on.

Maybe you can already see why you’d want to be a member of a party which allows its membership to set its policies democratically; around the core principles of radical democracy, equality, social justice, peace and the environment?

That party exists. It came 4th in the European elections. You can read its most recent manifesto here. If it’s obvious to you why you’d want to join, stop reading and go and do it (or, if you’re in Scotland, here or in Northern Ireland, here).

Parties are about more than elections, but engaging in electoral politics is one key thing they do, and I think more of us need to start doing just that. It’s one tactic among many. It should never come at the exclusion of other political tools, but to avoid using elections is, I think, a big mistake – for a few reasons.

Firstly, elections drive much of the political agenda. Even most modern civil disobedience – think UK Uncut or much of climate camp – aims primarily to shift debate rather than actually disrupt permanently. If this is what you want to do, then why would you ignore such a huge inroad into the national conversation as elections? If you’re a genuine anarchist, I can understand. Otherwise, I don’t.

Secondly, getting prominent spokespeople into council chambers and parliaments is vital. Was it Lenin who said something like “even a pile of horse shit can make a good stage to stand on”? This isn’t just about getting MPs onto Question Time. The main role of a local councillor is being a (minimally) paid organiser. If you want to engage in political action in your community, being given a small salary and a minor platform is hugely helpful. Without infrastructure, movements dwindle rapidly. Councillors are a good way to get it.

Thirdly, elections force you to talk to people. You don’t win (if you’re on the left) unless you knock on doors and chat. It is, of course, entirely possible to do this without elections. But the people I know who actually get round to it frequently out-with the electoral process are few and far between.

Ultimately, by standing in elections, you take votes away from the powerful, which forces them to win those votes back off you, driving politics in a progressive direction – and, ultimately, you might gain some power – which, ideally, you’ll then work to hand to the community you represent as fast as possible.

You can stand in elections without joining a political party, but if you are interested in a broad political project, in grouping together with people with similar ideology to you and getting them elected too, and in developing a programme for how you might change things, then that’s what a political party is and does.

And parties are about more than elections. Politics requires infrastructure. It needs people who will organise rotas for who is going to go and reach out to whom, places that as yet uninvolved people can come to meet and organise with those of similar ideology, spaces for people to get a political education, think about what they believe and together work out what they want to do in the world. It needs us to come together across generations and beyond our groups of friends – with those whose routes were different from ours, and so are coming from slightly different places. Parties do all of these things. In short, our social movements need an electoral expression. If you wish to change the world (and surely we must), I think you should probably join a party – not as the exclusive output for your politics, but as one of them.

Why the Green Party? I’m not going to rehearse the arguments against Labour here. Suffice to say that even in those areas in which they ought to be strongest, they are pathetic: Greens have supported more strikes in the last fortnight than Labour has in its whole history. I hope the next government is Labour rather than Tory, and I think we should all seek to encourage it to do better, but I think more influence is placed on them from outside than inside – if they can get your support without changing their position, that’s what they’ll do. Perhaps most importantly, as anger with the establishment soars, I don’t understand why radicals would side with the establishment.

The case against Lib Dems is obvious. Respect have vanished, and No2EU’s performance showed little hope of the march of a new socialist party of that ilk. In the elections last week, the Green Party showed it was more able to unite the left than Left Unity ever has and National Health Action is a genuine single issue party with no ideological platform, much as it’s a vital issue, much as I hope they do well where they stand.

More importantly, Greens reflect better than any other party what I would see as the shared values of much of what you might call the activist left of my generation. The party is radical in its economics – aiming to socialise financial institutions, nationalise public services and monopolies and defend trade union and workers’ rights – but has learnt the lessons the left needs to learn. It is founded on the principle of decentralist democracy and power to the people, rather than believing that the alienation of markets can be defeated only with the bureaucracy of the state. It supports a citizens’ income, a workers’ right to turn their company into a co-op. It is feminist, anti-racist, and has always stood for LGBTIQ rights.

It does have problems. One is that it is seen solely as being ‘about the environment’. But it is beginning to challenge that perception, and the more people who join it from across radical politics, the more it will articulate a broad vision for society. Of course we must save the planet, but we’ll only do that by changing the system. Another is that it needs better to involve and be led by people of colour. With this, in particular, we need help from new members.

But as I have argued, the election results last week showed something remarkable. Greens came (admittedly distant) second across Manchester and are now the opposition in Liverpool, Solihul, Lewisham, Islington and Norwich. We came first across not just Brighton Pavilion constituency, but also Bristol West and Norwich South and very nearly Glasgow Kelvin. We won a seat in a Belfast City council ward so big that on its own it gives us a good chance of winning a second seat in the Northern Irish Assembly, and one of Northern Ireland’s leading feminists very narrowly missed out on picking up another seat, apparently in the face of opponents (from the Labour affiliated SDLP) telling voters that she wanted to kill babies because of her prominent and vocal campaigning for the right to an abortion in one of the few parts of the EU in which it is still denied.

The party had a vast number of candidates standing in the local elections – we ran in all but one seat in the Wirral, in most seats in Carlisle, St Helens, Southampton, almost every ward I could find results for in London in hours of googling. In fact, though I’m sure they exist, I am yet to find a town or city in England which had local council elections last week and in which Greens didn’t stand in most or many wards. Apart from the more left wing trades unions (you should certainly join one of them too) how many genuinely radical, member-run organisations have anything like that reach on the ground?

Finally, it’s important to understand how much difference you can make by joining and becoming active in the party. Greens got an MEP in the South West of England this week. A significant part of that success comes down to the rise of the Bristol Greens. Whilst they have mobilised significant support, I could list a handful of people who, together, have made that happen. Across the country, other Greens missed out by a few votes. A group of four or five people in a couple more towns, cities or areas of those regions could have persuaded enough people to make the difference. Last week, five friends and I got two city councillors elected in Oxford – two people who will now be political organisers for four years, bringing infrastructure and activity to the communities they represent. As British politics contorts itself in the wake of the UKIP Euro-victory, we’re going to need to organise ourselves into a large, national, sustained and vocal response. There is no need to start from scratch in building this.

If you do join the Green Party, I guarantee you that you will find people you disagree with. I assure you that you that you will find yourself frustrated at times. Because politics is a collective endeavour, and people can be bloody annoying. But ultimately, if we’re going to change the world, then we’re going to have to do it together, including with some people who have slightly different priorities from us.

Likewise, I am sure every member disagrees with some of the party’s positions. But there’s a democratic process for debating and changing policies, and the activities are driven by voluntary members. It’s not because the party is perfect that you should get involved, but to help build it up, to improve it. There has to be a compromise between on the one hand the vast and centralised tent that is the Labour party and splintering like Trotskyites each time we disagree.

Over the last five years, the membership of the Green Party of England and Wales has more than doubled. Largely, that new intake is young, radical, and impressively good at organising. It’s people from the anti-austerity movement, the student movement, the feminist movement. I’ve been a paid up Green half my life. I’ve never known such a thrilling time to be in the party. Conversely, with UKIP on the march, I’ve never known a scarier time in politics. It’s time to join us.

Analysis of the Euro Election Results in Wales

The raw data for the whole of Wales:

Rarely can ‘no change’ (as in seat allocation) involve quite so much change!!

Before I have a stab at what it all might mean, let me pull out some facts:

  1. Turnout increased by almost 50,000.
  2. Only 8.9% and 8.7% of the Welsh electorate voted for Labour and UKIP respectively.
  3. Only 4.8% and 1.4% of the Welsh electorate voted for Plaid Cymru and the Greens respectively.
  4. Labour beat UKIP by a mere 4350 votes.
  5. Plaid Cymru came within about 7500 votes of losing their seat.
  6. The drop in the Green vote mirrored what happened nationally (-1%) and remained in the mid 30,000s in Wales.
  7. Only Labour and UKIP increased their votes from 2009.
  8. Labour may have increased their vote by over 67,000, but they are still more than 90,000 behind what they polled in 2004.

So what does it all mean?

Personally, I feel vindicated in appealing for Greens to support Jill Evans (Plaid Cymru lead candidate) It seems unlikely that I swayed more than a few hundred votes, but this could have proven critical. (The downward trend in PC support is something that should concern us, given that it is not coming our way). Furthermore, had Greens got behind the call in more substantial numbers, we could have ensured that it was the Tory in jeopardy, rather than Jill. It also makes Pippa Bartolotti’s blatant misinformation regarding the state of the polls, and her prospects of winning a seat, all the more embarrassing. I suspect, however, she was fooling nobody but herself.

It is clear that only UKIP has anything to crow about. But that has to be kept into context. They have come from polling less than 20,000 votes in 1999 to more than 10 times that in 15 years, but it still represents just 8.7% of the electorate. Of course, we in the Green Party would be ecstatic with such figures, but what does it say about the state of our democracy when a few people jumping onto a bandwagon of jingoistic scapegoaters becomes seen as a game changer?

UKIP gained 114,000 additional votes, but the Tories lost 17,000; the BNP lost 30,000 and No2EU lost 6,000. That little bunch if right-wingers adds up to 53,000 that switched allegiance – 13,000 to the fascists of Britain First, and 40,000 probably to UKIP. Add a big chunk of the 50, 000 that didn’t vote last time and we have probably explained about half the UKIP gains.

It is hard to imagine many Plaid, Greens, or Socialists switching to UKIP. Collectively they lost about 26,000 votes. I know some of all these parties supporters switched to Labour, and this averted the danger of of not just UKIP coming top in Wales, but potentially (as looked quite likely in some polls) that UKIP could take two seats in Wales!

I suspect that a big chunk of the disillusioned 44,000 that abandoned the Lib Dems probably did not bother to vote at all, and who could blame them. It is probably just as well, as if they had all switched to Labour, Jill Evans would have probably lost her PC seat. But to my astonishment, it seems that quite a few did switch to UKIP too (see below). I have anecdotal evidence of this in Bridgend as well. I would have thought their association with Tories would have been toxic enough for them, but it seems that some have developed a rabid right-wing streak!

YouGov research of UKIP voters in 2010 revealed:

This leaves the biggest mess of all in the shape of the Labour vote. They have regained 67,000 votes, which sounds good, but are still 90,000 short of their 2004 vote, which sounds terrible, given the respective fortunes of the governments of the day. Labour have picked up some tactical left wing votes in attempt to block off the UKIP surge, but they will not necessarily hang on to these. And the real worry is the reality of them beginning to haemorrhage the ‘working class’ vote to UKIP. It is difficult not to get a bit condescending about this, but by their own admission UKIP have difficulty appealing to the “educated, cultural and young.”
This is tricky, but there is no polite way of saying that voting UKIP is not smart and not in most UKIP voters self-interest. There is research out there that shows that a large proportion of UKIP voters support left-wing ideas. They should, perhaps, be voting Green!!

Why 73% of UKIP supporters should actually vote Green


Another Angry Voice is the blog of an interesting character
from Yorkshire, Thomas G. Clark. His style may not be to everyone’s
taste but he usually makes valid points. See what he makes of the
Euro Election results here (his take on the Greens’ performance is interesting):

So what is it that makes these people vote UKIP? This flowchart below may appear somewhat condescending, again, but it serves to emphasise the appeal of UKIP to some people’s inner bigot. In classic scapegoating tradition, lets blame society’s ills on foreigners and gays rather than take too hard a look at ourselves. The tragedy is that in jumping on the bandwagon, people don’t look at the small print – just look at that last purple box on the flow chart?

How long before we hear the squeals of regret? After all, the BBC didn’t mention any of these points, did they? How were we supposed to know we were signing up for that?!!!

(Click on image to emlarge)

So our response to UKIP has to change. We cannot ignore them. But we can ignore their bigotry. Bigotry appeals to bigots and we have to accept (until we tackle its sources) that bigotry is alive and well in Britain today, despite the implosion of the BNP. One of Thatcher’s legacies is that greed and self-interest have become acceptable attitudes for the majority. So it is self-interest that has to be at the centre of our messages. I am not convinced that an appeal to vote “For the Common Good” will have much traction. But promoting left-wing ideas that serve the needs of the majority could well work.

Even UKIP voters see the sense of renationalising rail and energy, in terms of making them affordable and focussed on their needs rather than serving the business ‘elite’ (like HS2). Add to this protecting the principles of our NHS, enhancing rather than removing maternity/sick/holiday pay, having a living wage instead of a minimum wage, tax rises for the richest rather than the poorest, cuts in defence spending to increase education spending.
Add it all together and we may just get through to them!

Andy Chyba

Hackney result shows what we are up against!

UK democracy at work via the FPTP system:

So the Tories and Lib Dems get 7 seats between them and the Green Party gets NONE despite gaining more votes than both of them put together!!

And just in case you haven’t noticed, Greens poll more than 100 times the votes that UKIP get.

And just for good measure, Labour get less than three times the green vote and get clean up 88% of the seats (with 58% of the votes.

Truly proportionate representation would have yielded;

  • LABOUR 33 seats (and still overall control)
  • GREENS 12 seats
  • TORIES 7 seats
  • LIB DEMS 5 seats

greenleftdiscuss BBC Petition

Begin forwarded message:

From: Josiah Mortimer <josiahmortimer>

Hi all, this petition launched last night against the lack of BBC coverage of the Green Party has now smashed 5,500 signatures.

Please sign, share, and re-post on blogs, websites and with any press contacts you have –

You can complain directly to the BBC here –

I’ve also done a brief blog on it here – feel free to re-blog, copy/modify etc –

Best wishes


Reclaim the Power – We can stop fracking in the UK! – planning gathering at Upton community protection camp May 31-June 1

Pls fwd
Reclaim the Power – We can stop fracking in the UK! – planning gathering at Upton community protection camp May 31-June 1

It’s 1 week to go until the Reclaim the Power gathering at Upton
Community Protection camp in Chester, May 31-June 1

With 132 local anti-fracking groups all over the country and public
acceptance of fracking falling below 50% last week, it’s clear this
industry has no social license to operate. But the government is
pressing ahead. We can fight back, support local communities, get
skilled up and start creating the world we want to see.

Reclaim the Power have 2 further organising meetings before we hold a
mass action camp bigger than the one we had in Balcombe last
year that shut down Cuadrilla for 6 days.

If you can’t make this weekend, the next gatherings are: June 21-22 and
July 19-20:

The mass action camp is AUGUST 15-21 – SAVE THE DATE!

Upton community protection camp is about halfway along Duttons Lane, Upton, a turning
off the A41, and the council seems to have just erected a new street
sign to help you find it. Postcode is CH2 2PE.

There will be a minibus leaving London at 6.30pm Friday 30th from Archway and returning Sunday June 1st by 10.30pm If you want a place emailinfo

See you in the fields!

“We Need to Talk About Fracking” Tour

This high profile event hits 5 UK cities:

  • Glasgow – June 9th
  • Nottingham – June 10th
  • Manchester – June 11th
  • Swansea – June 12th
  • London – June 16th

The event website should be up and running from tomorrow morning (Sunday 25th).

I am helping promote the Swansea event, but if you need info on the other events, let me know and I’ll give you contact details.

I have taken delivery of 1000 A5 size leaflets and 100 A2 posters advertising the event (see below). I need help distributing these around South Wales, and especially the Swansea area.

The tour visits Swansea, for one night only, on Thursday 12th June, at the George Hall (attached to Brangwyn Hall),-3.960212,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x486e8ad39fe9c7a5:0xaac884a90dd892bc

The event is backed by some interesting people, including Russell Brand, prominent US activist Elizabeth Arnold (, some prominent academics such as Professor Smythe (, Reclaim the Power and ‘Agent Provocateur’, Joe Corre (é), who appears to have supplied all the posters/leaflets.

So this is a call out to anyone who can help get the posters/leaflets out. An appeal from the organisers:

“We need the posters and flyers to hit areas where people are undecided or pro fracking, more than we need to hit the usual suspects. We want to be able to show that we have allocated tickets to create a balanced audience. It’s the women’s institutes, the fire stations, the golf clubs, the posh restaurants, theatres etc that will really help. And the posters look good and the flyers are good quality and the venues are prestigious.”

Contact me to arrange delivery of your posters/leaflets. I will try to deliver to anywhere in South Wales within the next 7 days.
Only ask for numbers you are prepared to commit to distributing.

Email me at: andy.chyba or phone/text me on 078 1066 3241

fracking poster a4 with 3mm bleed.pdf   (CLICK TO SEE POSTER)

EU election in Wales – too tight to call – use your vote wisely!!

The only major regular poll of Welsh voters is the ‘Welsh Political Barometer’ that samples over 1000 Welsh adults every quarter.

Its most recent poll results are just out, from polling done 12th -14th May.

In summary:

Note though that this graph shows figures for those that declared a definite intention to vote. If you look at the full figures for everyone polled, the Tory/Plaid positions are reversed.
Add to this the fact that if Labour polls more than double the votes of whoever comes 4th, they nick a second seat from them. The above graph shows Tories on 16% and Labour on 32% !!!

So in essence all that seems certain is that Labour and UKIP (ffs!!) have one seat each in the bag, and it is then a case of perm any two from three for the other two seats between Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Tories. i.e. it could be Labour/PC, or Labour/Tory, or PC/Tory.

The Greens have made some gains, rising from 3% in February to 6% currently (just 1% behind the LibDems) The gains appear to be mostly from Labour, which is good news, but …..

Given the overall picture, I have no choice but to re-iterate my plea for Green Party supporters to wake up and smell the coffee. We simply have to rally behind Plaid Cymru and ensure that Jill Evans is re-elected, especially if it heightens the probability of the Tory losing her seat instead.

Let me remind you of what is at stake:

And this is just one key issue. Jill is a very experienced, highly respected and valued member of the Greens/EFA bloc in the EU. It would be a tragedy of epic proportions for Wales, and beyond, if Jill is not returned to carry on the good fight. Gaining a couple of MEPs in England will be great, but it will be scant consolation for us living in Wales if we lose the only true ecosocialist voice we have.

Do not listen to Pippa Bartolotti’s delusional pretence that she is ‘in with a shout’ – I would not have stepped aside if that were ever a realistic proposition.

The future of the Wales Green Party has to be in working alongside, and not against, Plaid Cymru. There is a lot of support for this vision from ecosocialists across Wales and beyond.

It starts with us doing the right thing  tomorrow. Vote Plaid Cymru and ensure Jill Evans is returned as OUR MEP !!

Andy Chyba

Ukip’s Rise Should Provoke Soul-Searching Among Our Political Class

Natalie Bennett

Green Party leader

Reprint of Huffington Post Article

So the Ukip mask of respectability, always very thin and ill-fitting, has slipped. After what’s now generally known as Nigel Farage’s “car-crash LBC interview” and a leader in the Sunsaying that the party’s position is “racist”, the party has been forced to take out a full page advert in the Telegraph to counter Ukip’s perception as a bunch of xenophobes.

Just consider the “clarification” Nigel Farage offered, in careful consideration in the cold light of day on Saturday morning: “any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door”. That is a statement that can only be described as bigoted, racist and disgusting. Those “Romanian people” might be doctors, or IT professionals or care workers, or Roma seeking a better life away from prejudice and as likely as any other people to be good neighbours, who’ll feed the cat or lend you a cup of sugar.

However, as the Telegraph points out, with probably up to 40% of votes in the European election already cast (by post), the immediate electoral impact may be limited. But it should be a powerful reason for every voter opposed to Ukip’s approach to immigration, Europe, charging for NHS services and many other issues to take ten minutes to get to the polling station on Thursday.

What Ukip’s rise should do is provoke seriously soul-searching among our political class about why it has been able to get so far with its dangerous, divisive and damaging rhetoric, and been almost unchallenged.

The three largest parties haven’t taken on Ukip, but all too often pandered to it, seeking to pull back Ukip voters by outdoing it in rhetoric and policy.

The Tories and Lib Dems have introduced the dreadful Immigration Bill, which seeks to turn landlords and NHS staff into immigration agents. And just this weekend, we saw Ed Miliband again grovelling in apology at the former Labour government’s immigration policies. Do we see similar words on its disastrous encouragement of financial sector excesses, of the fact that after 13 years of a Labour government inequality had actually increased? No.

This is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid. By pandering to Ukip’s stance on immigration and Europe, the three largest parties have helped to make its claims that immigration has “caused” low wages, has “caused” housing shortages, has “caused” crowded hospitals and schools seem plausible.

It’s perhaps not surprising that the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour don’t want to dig any deeper, for it’s the failed policies of their two successive governments that have given us today’s fragile economy and struggling society, both of which are failing to work for the common good.

The fact is that no immigrant from any nation arrives at the White Cliffs of Dover and declares: “I want to work for poverty pay, in awful conditions, without any job security”. The state of our job market isn’t the result of immigration, but the result of failed economic and pay policies. Labour brought in the minimum wage, an important advance, but then allowed its value to slip down and down, topping up the difference with government benefits that amounted to corporate welfare – subsidising giant profits for multinational companies that aren’t paying staff enough to live on, and all too often are forcing them on to zero-hours contracts and into casual hours that send them to food banks.

As for housing, well there are 600,000 empty homes in Britain, many in places with few economic opportunities, while 8 out of ten new jobs created since 2010 have been in London. There are now more bedrooms per person in Britain than ever before – resources, like cash, concentrated in the hands of the few while many are crowded together in often miserable conditions – at the extreme in East London’s “beds in sheds”.

Inequality and regional disparities, not immigration, combined with the disastrous privatisation of Right to Buy and inflation of a new housing price bubble, plus low wages and ballooning student debt, have created ‘Generation Rent’, not immigration.

And schools and hospitals? Well we have Michael Gove’s disastrous free school policy, spending money with profligate glee on pet projects while not allowing local authorities to plan sensibly for baby booms, the fact that the is NHS bearing the £3bn administrative cost of the Health and Social Care Bill, and the loss of £20bn of so-called “efficiency savings” from 2011 and 2014.

Voters are understandably, rightly, concerned, worried, frightened, about their future and those of their grandchildren.

Additionally, they are increasingly aware that our environment is showing the strain of overuse and exploitation – extreme weather, rising sea levels, polluted air – adding to their concerns.

It’s not surprising that Ukip’s nasty, simplistic recipe of ‘blame the foreigner’ has got traction. But it’s past time for its claims to be tackled and its prejudice to be exposed. Well done to LBC presenter, James O’Brien, for starting that process.

Now it’s up to all of us to continue that. And we need to offer, as the Green Party is doing on Thursday, hope, plans for a better society, one that provides security, comfort and a better life for all.

Follow Natalie Bennett on Twitter:

A freaking terrible idea – a brilliant short animation by Amy Cox

Published on 16 May 2014
My final animation for my Level 5 Convergence / Divergence unit at the Arts University Bournemouth.
I made a short animation to highlight just a handful of the negative effects that fracking will have on the UK. I was advised to cover only a few of the impacts as opposed to as many as possible. I covered both environmental and economical issues. Personally, I find the environmental effects scarier, but I want to aim my animation at a broad range of the general public and differences in opinion might mean that some are more concerned about the state of the economy.

The intention of my animation is to leave viewers feeling inspired to make a positive change; perhaps to participate in peaceful activism against fracking. I also wanted to inform and educate people about exactly what fracking is – many of my peers, upon hearing the theme of my animation, asked me ‘What is fracking?’ hence the first blue-prints scene.

I used Adobe Photoshop to illustrate the scenes, then imported the layers in to Adobe Flash where I created multiple motion, alpha and brightness tweens. I had to export from Flash in 15 second chunks, meaning the relocation of keyframes every 360 frames on each of my approximately 400 layers. I then imported these in to Adobe After Effects, to stitch together, then exported in to Audition to add the sounds that I had downloaded from to add the effects. Then I recorded my voice over and my friend Laura on her ukulele, and combined everything together. I exported from Audition, and imported the audio and visual files in to Premier Pro and exported the whole media all together.

This was done entirely off my own back – so I do apologise if I have misrepresented any information here.…

Resignation of membership by John Evans

John has asked me specifically to post this. It with some regret that I do so, but I understand his sentiments, and this is a forum for open-ness and honesty if it is nothing else.

He will be sorely missed by the local party, and he held the post of Wales ERO with distinction.

We will remain good friends and who knows where the future will lead us.


Dorothy Wilson, Membership Secretary, Wales Green Party.

It is with great regret, that I find myself in the position of having to resign my membership of the Green Party.

I have thought long and hard about this over the last three months.

There are many different reasons that, as a whole have brought me to this decision. More recently, there are two straws that broke the camels back, as such.

Straw 1.

Is, Wales Green Parties stance on the legalisation of cannabis and especially WGP Spokesperson, Pippa Bartolotti’s remarks regarding this on WGP website.

To be clear, I don’t oppose the development and use of cannabis in a medical context. Indeed, I know people who suffer crippling medical conditions who get respite from their condition and are able to carry on a near normal and fulfilling life, due to the use of cannabis. These are people who have had no success relieving/controlling their condition with prescription drugs. I feel strongly that people in this position should not be criminalised for cannabis use.

For Pippa Bartolotti, in her capacity as party Spokesperson, to state, “Cannabis has wrongly been labelled a gateway drug. It is not. It is the criminalisation of it which is the gateway to harder drugs” is extremely naive.
To state “No one has yet died from cannabis” I ask her to explain that to the families of those that have died from “hard” drugs. In the majority of cases these families will tell you that their loved ones started their drug taking with cannabis and progressed onto the hard drugs that eventually killed them.
I ask Pippa Bartolotti, to explain to me, how a friend of mine who had used no other drug than cannabis, suffered extreme paranoia from using cannabis and took their own life.

I would say to Pippa Bartolotti that for every one person that dies via drug use, there are a large number of victims of drug use left behind. The family and loved ones of the person who has died.

In her statement on WGP website, the Spokesperson for WGP, appears to think that a major benefit to society of legalising cannabis consumption would be taxation. This taxation would not come close to covering the cost to the NHS, of treating the victims of cannabis use, who suffer from paranoia and anxiety as well as a multitude of other mental health disorders, brought on by the use of modern (stronger) strains of cannabis, that are commonly available now. Are in fact the norm. If anybody thinks there is a benefit to society from cannabis in any form is mistaken. The only benefit would be drug companies developing prescription drugs for specific medical conditions and these being only available on prescription from a doctor.

As for drug dealers at the school gates. I hope WGP Spokesperson, Pippa Bartolotti doesn’t think that they are any different from drug dealers anywhere else. Wherever they deal they will have customers of all age groups.
Does she honestly believe that by legalising cannabis it will put these drug dealers out of business. That they will not carry on as before. Believe me, they don’t only sell cannabis but a whole cocktail of drugs.

I cannot believe the naivety of people who think legalising cannabis and allowing it’s sale via licensed outlets would stop the sale by unlicensed (criminal) dealers. The product from unlicensed dealers would be cheaper and stronger than from the controlled licensed outlets.
Just look what the ever increasing taxation of tobacco products has done. Created an ever growing black market.

This is not just me spouting unsubstantiated views. I have witnessed first hand the horrific effects illegal drugs have had on people around me. People very close to me. Everyone of whom started their drug use with cannabis. Legalising cannabis will not bring about the change WGP or Pippa Bartolotti think it will.

If there is anybody out there who is under the misapprehension that cannabis is not addictive. This may have been the case up to about 20 years ago, but the strains that are grown now are addictive and can be highly addictive.

Straw 2.

In an interview given to journalist Graham Henry, Sennedd Corespondent, Wales online. WGP Spokesperson, Pippa Bartolotti, labels a whole generation of our population as racist.

How ignorant.

I am absolutely horrified that the leader of the political party I am a member of could say such a thing.
Does she think that by alienating a whole generation of voters, who in her own words “this is the generation that gets out and votes” will help the party in it’s European campaign or any other campaign.

I believe, that telling a journalist, that a whole generation of the population of this country is racist, has done far more harm to the Green Party, than anything members, who, in my time as a party member have said or done, that has led to their expulsion or suspension.

Where are these members who call for expulsion or suspension now. Strangely quiet it seems.

I challenge you to stand up and be counted.

In conclusion.
In conscience, I cannot be a member of a political party that advocates the legalisation of cannabis, or, whose Spokesperson believes a whole generation of our population to be racist.

John A. Evans