Tuesday 10 May 2011

Local election and Electoral reform - or not

Bill and I received around 900 votes each, with Michael Jackson in Nafferton getting ca 950 - well done Mike! Locally it was a Toryfest as usual but even more now in ERYC, so there is virtually no opposition - what a disaster for all of us and the environment. Until we get a new voting system we're destined to continue with good numbers but not enough to get elected....and meanwhile the Tories are destroying the few safeguards we have.

On the bright side, the Greens did well nationally, picking up seats even against the odds

Letter to Graham Stuart MP

Dear Graham,
We were not impressed with the general arrogance of the Conservatives at the election count. You should also be aware that several of our Yes to AV and Green Party signs (correctly placed) near polling stations were mysteriously removed.

However, the main reason for me contacting you is that I understand the government is considering rejecting the advice of the Committee on Climate Change. This doesn't fit with promises to be the "greenest government ever".... Or does the Conservative Party know something the rest of the world does not know?

Please can you write urgently to the Prime Minister and ask him to accept the advice of the Committee on Climate Change in full. That has to include accepting their recommendations for future targets. If we are serious about tackling climate change, we have to bring down emissions at the rate which the scientists say is necessary.

It is unacceptable to argue that these changes to the targets should be made for reasons of short term economic necessity. If you are really green, you have to look at the big picture - long term.

Shan Oakes

Monday 2 May 2011

A tip for politicians

When life seems hard - see above (statue with no name on Beckside), get yourself into the nearest hostelry and find some allies!!

Why I like doing politics (2)

This was baby Joshua's christening party at the Forester's pub on Beckside - the family invited us in and it was great fun as you can see - we drank a toast to 5 month old Joshua and it was a really lovely occasion. Thank you Joshua's family for these fantastic photos. Loved it!

What I don't like about politics (1)

The worst thing about this job is when people just aren't interested. You can't really blame them. One reason is the ridiculous 'first past the post' electoral system we currently have in this country which means that most people's vote doesn't count. However, I want to remind them that democracy may not be perfect but it's the best system humans have thought of so far for running our affairs and it's precious so we should participate. People have died for the vote, and in other parts of the world people are still dying for it. When people say 'I'm alright thanks' (meaning 'I'm not interested') I have to move away quickly before I say something I'll regret, like, 'You call this state of affairs alright then, do you?....Don't you care about your children?'...etc.

Anyway - all the more reason to vote Yes to AV because it will mean that our votes actually count.

Why I like doing politics (1)

The best thing about canvassing is the people you meet. I met a woman I used to teach years ago in Beverley. She said she had hoped to see me because she wanted to tell me something: apparently i had said to her (when I was manning a stall, some time after we had both left school) that the school system does not serve a lot of people well because it is too focussed on academic results, so that less 'academic' kids feel like failures. She had been one of those people - always in trouble. Apparently my comment had helped her decide to do a course at Hull Uni which she is really enjoying. This made my day.

I also met a woman last saturday whom I'd taught in Hull in 1975 and we were both amazed that her name came straight to me....weird but true. She said she had seen me on TV. I was able to apologise for all the stuff I must have got wrong in my first teaching job (I'm only 7 years older than she is) but she kindly said I was a nice teacher... Another really lovely encounter, and if I wasn't doing this job it wouldn't have happened .

Election canvassing feedback

Some comments we've had:

'not interested thanks'.

'what do you think of beer prices?'...
'we think landlords are being exploited by the big breweries.'..
'Oh do you?..well i'll be voting for you then.'

'we're the lot fighting vested interests which are poisoning the world'..
'That sounds good - I like that.'

'Yes - give me a vote green poster - i want to annoy my neighbour!'

'Im alright thanks'.

'Yes i'll vote for you - I'm not voting for any of them others'.

'That's a mint bike - give us a poster for the window'

Sunday 1 May 2011

Saturday in Beverley

Saturday in Beverley- we had an especially good response to our 'Cut pay to fat cats not jobs in public services - all Tories out' poster.

New local Party mascot

This snake looks happy to have found a new home. She was languishing on a charity stall a few minutes previously. You are welcome to send suggestions for a name for her.


I've sent in my postal vote and my Yes to AV. Although AV isn't perfect, it's far better than FPTP (which we have at the moment) because every vote will count. It's a step in the right direction. The people wanting to keep FPTP are the Tories, the right wing of the Labour party and the BNP. The No campaign reasons are ridiculous. They seem to assume that people are completely stupid and can't count to 3. A lot of money has been poured into the No campaign. If this country decides to continue with FPTP we will deserve what we will get - more of the same dire politics.

Spring - and Green posters - busting out all over

Lots of people are putting up Green posters. Lots of support for the ' stop the cuts' campaign.

Kids campaigning for a better world

Kids are green. We know this as we've done research on it. They want a good and fair world. So we have no compunction about roping the kids in to campaigning!

FAQ: So how did you get to Budapest?

We went by North Sea ferries from Hull to Rotterdam (overnight).
We were struck by the contrast between Hull and Rottm in terms of wind turbines: Hull has one visible from the ship - and this pic is of Rotterdam dock. We then took trains to Munich and a sleeper train to Budapest. The photo of recycling bins was taken on a station - Dusseldorf I think.

Bike tour of Budapest - European Greens

The Hungarian greens took a few of us around their beautiful city showing us the political scenery: arts centres which had been rescued by the people, squares dominated by big business interests, recycling points which are as yet little used.

European Greens in Budapest

A guy in breathing apparatus just happened to be passing and joined in with our demonstration against the use of nuclear energy in the wake of Fukushima - on the bank of the Danube

European Greens in Budapest

We attended the European Greens' council in Budapest in early April...an inspiring event. This is one of the members of the Hungarian Greens, or 'Politics can be different' (LMP). One of the bridges across the Danube can be seen behind him. After the formal proceedings they took us on a bike tour of Budapest. We particularly liked the 'ruin pubs' - in one of which the LMP had celebrated its latest election victory.