Letters to the Press

Phillpott is right about Labour, so vote Green

First published Tuesday 14 October 2014 in Letters by Peter John

Sir - John Phillpott asserts that the "big hitters" of the Labour Party who tried to kill off his column in the 1990s have failed to "move on" (Worcester News, 4 October).

Not only is he correct, citing Labour's current embargo on any response to the Phillpott file. Even more telling is the fact that today's Worcester Labour Party is run by mostly the same people who ran it in the 1990s.

Phillpott contrasts this with the ability of Worcester's Green Party leader, Louis Stephen, to accommodate him in discussion while often "agreeing to differ".

Labour's contribution to democratic debate was to lumber us with an MP for eleven years who demanded total conformity and the vetting of letters to your column and who succeeded in driving away a string of senior Party members, including two council labour group leaders.

The practice of control freakery was nurtured by Joy Squires in the '90s, then party chair, now Labour's Parliamentary Candidate.

Regrettably, the 2015 general election will see people flock to the rosettes without any consideration of the quality of their candidates.

However, should the people of Worcester take a closer look at their candidates, they would find the Green Party's Louis Stephen standing head and shoulders above the rest.

He is a decent man representing a principled party, not lobby fodder for Labour or the Tories which has been Worcester's fate since 1997.

Peter Nielsen.


We need political solution, not bombs

First published Tuesday 14 October 2014 in Letters by Peter John

Sir - In your editorial on 26th September, you wrote that 'there is a moral imperative to stop in its tracks a movement (Isis) glorying in barbarity' and you praised Barack Obama for 'taking a lead against this 'Network of Death''.

By sanctioning more bombing, our government has helped to expand this 'Network of Death' – it has been reported that more than 6,000 fighters have joined Isis since the bombardment began.

The humanitarian arguments used by yourself and politicians in parliament to justify the latest round of bombing could, if consistently applied, be used to justify an air war against Israel: 2,100 Palestinians were killed during 'Operation Protective Edge', including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals.

Of course, it is absurd to demand that people should be bombed in order to save people when there are political solutions available.

Neil Laurenson


Is this support for NHS privatisation?

First published Saturday 20 September 2014 in Letters by Peter John, Editor

Sir - The Prime Minister promised that there would be 'no top-down reorganisation of the NHS', yet the Health and Social Care Act introduced in 2012 led to a reorganisation of the NHS that has cost billions.

He had no mandate to do this.

Talking of a lack of democracy and accountability, as was reported in the Worcester News on 2nd September, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could give corporations the power to sue the NHS if it fails to privatise its services.

Tucked away on page 6 of the Worcester News on 6th September, Robin Walker MP was quoted as saying that he is "broadly supportive" of TTIP.

Does this mean that he is broadly supportive of the privatisation of the NHS, despite having said three years ago that the Government does not want to privatise the NHS?

Neil Laurenson

Worcester Green Party

Neil was right all along

First published Friday 1 August 2014 in Letters

Sir - Green Party Councillor Neil Laurenson called for our city council to recycle food waste last year and helped to arrange a cross party visit to a "best practice", Conservative-led South Oxfordshire Council to see the policy in action.

Despite seeing convincing evidence that such recycling can be both profitable and environmentally responsible, the idea was rubbished by our Tory group at the time and then again ridiculed during campaigning for the last council elections.

Now an influential group of MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee has called on all local authorities to ban the sending of left-over food to landfill as one way of helping to end our "disposable society". Mahatma Gandhi had it right - "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Neal Murphy

Worcester Green Party

Only the Greens are fighting austerity

First published Thursday 31 July 2014 in Letters


Sir - I read on the Worcester News website that the Labour Party's leadership has seen off a grassroots attempt to reject austerity measures if Ed Miliband wins the 2015 election.

According to Oxfam's 'The True Cost of Austerity and Inequality' report, when all austerity measures are taken into account, including cuts to public services and changes to taxes and welfare, the poorest tenth of the population are by far the hardest hit, seeing a 38 per cent decrease in their net income over the period 2010-15.

he Labour Party has chosen not to oppose this trend – therefore, if anyone is against the government's austerity measures and in favour of an economy that puts people first, I would urge them to support the Green Party.

Neil Laurenson

Worcester Green Party

Greens support public sector strike

First published Thursday 10 July 2014 in Letters

Sir - Worcester Green Party supported the public sector strike.

We know that strike action is a last resort and not taken lightly.

Public service workers have seen their pay fall by as much as 20 per cent, while prices have continue to spiral.

Many are low-paid workers who provide a very useful service in social care, cleaning, refuse collection and many other services that we all rely on.

We need to fight the Government's attempts to destroy decent pay and pensions for normal working people.

The Government needs to stop giving tax cuts to the super-rich and clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, estimated to be at least £120 billion.

Why should millions of people pay for a crisis they did not create?

Neil Laurenson

Worcester Green Party

Cuts in flood spending cause long-term damage

First published Thursday 13 February 2014 in Letters

Sir - We're used to floods in Worcester. However, exceptional floods in 2000, 2007, 2012 (the wettest year on record) and now 2014 (the wettest winter on record) tell us more about our changing climate than attempts by Eric Pickles to blame the flooding on the Environment Agency or the absence of dredging.

Politicians continue to prioritise economic growth and concreting over more land, above work to slow catchment runoff and defend vital transport links like the main railway line at Dawlish.

River dredging might have had limited benefit in Somerset, but this wasn't done due to government spending constraints. Don't forget that it was under this government that the total flood defence budget fell from £670m to £573m in 2011.

Money would be saved in the long term by investing in measures such as schemes to plant more trees and create bogs in the uplands and making floodplains rougher by planting trees and other deep vegetation. Largely because they haven't done this, the government is now spending vast amounts of money having to cope with the floods.

The lesson to be learnt here is that spending money on preventative measures invariably saves money in the long term.

Councillor Matthew Jenkins

(St. Stephen division, Green Party)



Green Party Meetings

Come along to our monthly meeting to discuss our plans for Worcester and Worcestershire. Our next meeting starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21st November in The Paul Pry pub (back room) on The Butts, WR1 3PA. It would be great to see some new people.

For more information, contact Louis via email or telephone 01905 359 509.