Monthly Archives: September 2014

How do we make this epic? With you. (PEOPLE”S CLIMATE MARCH)

Dear friends,

Something special is happening — in just over a week we will take to the streets of London and our local communities for the largest climate mobilisation… ever. Join us to help make history!

Unprecedented numbers are expected on the streets of New York, as well as in Rio, Delhi, Jakarta, London, Paris and other major cities worldwide. In the last few weeks, we’ve also seen over 1,500 events registered across 136 countries – all united in demanding ‘Action, Not Words’ on climate change.

We’ve timed this People’s Climate Mobilisation to coincide with the UN climate summit taking place in New York. What we do together on 19 – 21st September can set the agenda and help raise the ambitions of world leaders going into critical climate negotiations in 2015.

This is going to be BIG. Really big. And that’s exactly why we need you too. Will you join a People’s Climate Mobilisation event near where you live? (or start one?)

In our hundreds of thousands, we must demonstrate to our politicians that money is not everything, that together our voices are louder than the fossil fuel industry that has been causing climate chaos and blocking progress on climate change for decades.

But it won’t happen without all of us. RSVP today so you don’t miss the largest climate mobilisation in history.

In London you can join on the massive People’s Climate March London. The Fossil Free Bloc – demanding that real leaders ditch this rogue fossil fuel industry – will meet at Kings College London (next to Temple Place) at 12.15 pm. Look out for giant inflatable carbon bubbles!
And around the UK there are events from Stroud to Sheffield, Dudley to Edinburgh – from picnics to petition hand-ins, marches, vigils, bike rides and political lobbies.
It’s not too late to register an event – no matter how big or small – or turn out for one already happening near you.

Please join us and be part of the largest People’s Climate Mobilisation ever seen

This summit isn’t the beginning, nor will it be the end. But this is the fight for our future. It’s time to stand up, be counted and vote with our feet.

Let’s make sure this IS the biggest mobilisation on climate change the world has ever seen – Join us on September 19-21.

See you on the streets,


p.s. If you’re still unsure about whether to join in or not, here’s 10 reasons why I personally think you should join us!

Scotland YES today; Wales YES tomorrow

I am getting increasingly pressed for my view on Scottish and Welsh independence. This is it – as it stands today.

Official Green Party policy on the matter is short and sweet: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will enjoy the degree of autonomy, perhaps involving full self-government or independence, which the citizens of each, expressing their views through referenda, wish them to have.

This is a bit of a cop out admittedly. What do we think they should wish to have? Natalie Bennett has made it clear why we support the Scottish YES campaign. She points out that, at one level, answering why the Green Party of England and Wales supports a YES vote in the Scotland independence referendum is easy. The clue is in the name; our members in Scotland chose independence in 1990, and since then we’ve agreed that on issues specifically relating to Scotland, the England and Wales Party will take its lead from the Scottish Green Party.

And the Scottish Green Party is throwing itself heart and soul into the Yes campaign, where the focus has been on the chance to build an exciting, new, different, fair and equitable society. But our support for a “yes” vote isn’t just a matter of passively following the lead of the Scottish Green Party, nor is it even just our no-compromise respect for the principle of self-determination, the right of people to decide their own future.

First, we can see the enticing possibilities for a new state in Scotland. It’s a country whose voters have never voted neoliberal. Tory dogma of privatisation of public services and its austerity agenda has got the Tories to where they are today north of the border, which is nowhere at all. This is why the Blue Tories are being kept at arms length and the Red Tories have been charged with leading the NO “Conservatives and Labour together” campaign.

There’s clearly a great possibility of rebuilding the welfare safety net that this government has been dismantling, and stopping and reversing the privatisation of the NHS, of taking advantage of the tremendously rich renewable energy resources, that our current government is determined to ignore, as it rushes to appease the Ukip anti-wind lobby and the oil and gas frackers that help to fund the Tories (and for whom so many of their MPs work).

It could be a great model for us to follow. However, there are some cold economic facts that lead me to be cautious, at this stage at least, about thinking that independence for Wales could be as successful as I believe it can be for Scotland.

So what do we the statistics tell us?

(All figures c. 2012 per capita per year)

Indicator:                  GVA1             Tax revenue2                Public spending3

England                 £20,450               £7,600                               £8,530

Scotland                £19,750               £7,100                              £10,150

Northern Ireland    £15,800              £5,700                                £10,880

Wales                    £14,850               £5,400                                £9,700

(1 Office for National Statistics    2 Institute of FiscalStudies    3 House of Commons Library)

All economic indicators have limitations, but I favour GVA (Gross Value Added) as this is linked as a measurement to GDP, as both are measures of economic productivity. The relationship is defined as:

GVA + taxes on products – subsidies on products = GDP

As the total aggregates of taxes on products and subsidies on products are only available at whole economy level, Gross Value Added is ideal for measuring gross regional domestic product of entities smaller than a whole economy.

Scottish readers will dispute these figures, as if they succeed in getting a geographical share of North Sea oil and gas, their GVA shoots up to around £24,000 (England’s would come down slightly), while their tax revenues would also increase to around £8,000. Either way, these figures are substantially greater than for Wales. The difference between the tax revenues and public spending figures is a crude indicator of the gap in public finances being bridged by borrowing. The gap is almost 50% bigger for Wales than Scotland.

It is patently clear that Scotland is in a vastly better position to balance its books and survive independently. If it secures its fair share of North Sea resources, it would be better off than England. This is why the English establishment is worried about losing Scotland. England (not Scotland) is better off together.

Do not expect such resistance to the idea of cutting off Wales (or Northern Ireland). It is patently clear that England would be better off without us. One pound in five earned in London subsidises the rest of the UK – Northern Ireland, Wales and North East England receive more than a fifth of their income as subsidies from outside the region (according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research).

Does this mean Wales should reject independence? Probably, at this time at least. Some sort of Devo Max would be the most sensible route to pursue right now. But I do not completely rule out independence. It would need a political revolution in order achieve the economic restructuring that could make us better off, but that is possible.

Put simply, although Wales may have a significantly smaller cake to share out, it could be shared out a lot more fairly. And there is evidence that this, in itself, can help drive up living standards and quality of life for just about everybody.

If you look at the Nordic countries (Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark – less so Norway as it shares the North Sea with Scotland), They are relatively sparsely populated, with few industrial raw materials and difficult environments. It does not stop them beating the UK in terms of GVA. It does not stop them having much better public services. It does not stop them regularly topping the ‘Happiness’ charts.

Their secret is a simple one. Reducing income inequalities. Tax the rich and eliminate poverty. This is anathema to the neoliberals of the Con/Dem/Lab establishment. Real progress in Wales would therefore not be achieved by independence as we would simply be substituting one self-serving bunch of neoliberals (Westminster’s blue Tories) for another lot (Cardiff Bay’s red Tories).

Scotland’s SNP government has the Nordic Model firmly in their sights. Wales’ only hope is for the ecosocialists in Plaid Cymru and the Green Party to hold sway and build a successful alliance together. There are genuine prospects of this happening. If they can become the new establishment in Wales, then, and only then, should the people of Wales consider full independence. My worry, re Plaid Cymru is that may get overexcited if Scotland votes YES, and wish to jump too soon. This could be catastrophic. Scotland’s time is now. Wales’ will come – but it is a long way off just now. But watch this space.

Andy Chyba


Bridgend Green Party Meeting Agenda

APOLOGIES FOR THE LATE AGENDA YET AGAIN!! (only just back from Green Party Conference this time!)

7.00pm Thursday 11th September 2014 at theThe Pencoed Social Club, Hendre Rd. Pencoed (1 minute walk from the station – across the level crossing)

ALL WELCOME (Especially new members!)


  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers Reports
  5. Councillor feedback
  6. Campaigns Update- bedroom tax/fracking/NATO Newport
  7. Elections – standing in General Election? Council target seat?
  8. Autumn Conference feedback
  9. AOB
  10. DoNM

REMINDER – If anyone needs a lift to any of our meetings, let Andy know (andy.chyba) and we will organise it for you.

Click on images to enlarge:

Venue 1 Venue map Venue 2 Venue photo

Review of 2014 Autumn Conference in Birmingham

This Conference was the biggest and one of the the best Conferences of recent years.

Conference was at Aston University from Friday 5th September to Monday 8th. The venue was excellent, being the best example I have seen of a campus style University within walking distance of a city centre. It provided first class facilities for workshops, fringe meetings and plenaries, alongside good quality catering and on site accommodation in a hotel or student accommodation. It was highly regrettable that the the usual crash space provision was not provided, making it very difficult for many on low incomes to attend. I have usually used the crash space myself, as it has always been part of the Conference craic as far as I am concerned. This and the slow bar service are the only criticisms of the Conference provisions.

As for the Conference itself, there were a noticeably more ‘newbies’ than ever before and this gave the whole event an added buzz. In particular, it was great to see so many new Young Greens about, making tremendous contributions in all manner of ways, from their traditional hosting of the Quiz night, to putting on the most exciting fringe of the weekend – Get Organised – aimed at raising young people’s awareness of trade unions and encouraging them to join and get involved.

The keynote speeches hit the right notes, although some of the things in Natalie Bennett’s speech might need a little refining (e.g. £10 minimum wage; banning zero-hours contracts)

Caroline Lucas was a star turn as usual – truly inspirational.,-mp-for-brighton-pavilion,-speech-to-the-green-party-autumn-party-conference/

And it was good to hear from the newly elected deputies, Amelia Womack and Sharar Ali. They are certainly going to broaden the appeal of the party in the coming months and years.
(I cannot find Sahrar’s speech – which is a pity as it was excellent; laying down the gauntlet for reaching out to wider communities.) (Addendum: link to speech on youtube in first comment below.)

Lots of important issues were discussed in various forums, including minimum wage/citizen’s income/wage ratios, restating of the Party’s ‘no nuclear’ stance, tackling gambling exploitation, and, perhaps most importantly of all, the fight against TTIP (I will blog about this separately soon).

As for Wales Green Party’s contribution, I am afraid it reached new depths of ignominy. Pippa’s speech was. at least, inoffensive and was well received by some, although it left many wondering about its relevance (she focussed on the No To NATO events that were not specifically Green Party events), but this was as good as it got. She had only been allocated 5 minutes, but rambled on for nearer 9 ( I was co-chairing the session at the time so running the stopwatch on it – we would have had to pull the plug on her at 10 minutes).

A little later in the same plenary, Ann Were presented a motion on ‘speeches to conference’. This was a thinly veiled attempt to ensure an automatic right to a speech for the Wales Leader at every conference. The Wales Leader speech had been pulled (along with the Deputy Leader speech) at the previous Conference in order to create room for our 6 MEP target candidates to have a slot and gain some exposure. This appears to have been deemed unacceptable to Ann and Pippa, however, the motion they presented was poorly put together, threatened gender balance in the speeches, and looked to remove the scope for Conference Committee to exercise discretion in the Conference itinerary. This in itself would have seen it defeated, but with many present still able to recall Pippa’s disgraceful rant at Nottingham 17 months ago, it was kicked out by a massive majority vote by the well attended plenary.

This could be written off as just one of those things – motions fall routinely enough – but there was no excuse for what followed a few hours later. The next plenary looked at the reports from the officers of the Party. There was a fair bit of disquiet about the failure of about half a dozen officers to submit reports in time to be included in the agenda for consideration by the membership. Pippa’s Wales Leader report was one of these. It was explained that some had not received reminders in time and this was accepted by most, because all, except Pippa, were present to give a verbal report in person instead. Votes are taken on whether to accept or reject the reports presented. All were accepted. Pippa’s disappearance so soon after the plea to have a speech enshrined as a right went down like a lead balloon and she received a near unanimous censuring vote in her absence. This is unprecedented in my time of attending Conferences. All being well, I will be able to redress the image and opinion of Wales Green Party in the wider Party over the coming months and years.

Despite this, there was no getting away from the the very positive air and sense of urgency and desire to get on with raising our game in the light of the the influx of new and active members across the Party. It is going to be a very interesting 12 months coming up in all manner of ways!