Letters to the press in 2009

Council must act to cut speed limits

SIR - The latest research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that creating 20mph speed limits in London streets has cut road injuries drastically.
While casualties as a whole dropped by 41.9 per cent, the numbers of killed or seriously injured children were reduced by half in the zoned areas.

When is Worcestershire County Council going to wake up and start taking seriously a policy which will save lives and make people feel more secure in walking and cycling on our streets?

Chris Lennard, Worcester Green Party (19 December 2009).   

Good reasons to carry out policies

SIR -Your editorial "Do we take a risk with our climate?" (November 8) is spot on.

No one is disputing that carbon levels in the atmosphere are rising. Most scientific bodies recognise the danger of their destabilising effect on global climate. One of the founding principles of the Green Party's manifesto is the precautionary principle: even if we are not sure, it is wise to assume that we are responsible, until it is safe to assume we are not.

You state that 61 per cent of people "agree with Government spending money to fight climate change even if doing so hurts the economy".  But in fact, the Green Party's policy clearly shows that investing in the alternatives to polluting fossil fuels, together with a shift to a more sustainable economic model, will actually benefit society and the economy as well as reducing greenhouse gases.

Nationally, this means implementing a Green New Deal with a programme of investment to insulate people's homes, and get local renewable energy and public transport infrastructure projects up and running, creating local jobs and benefiting everyone. If you took away the need to reduce carbon emissions this investment would still improve life in communities across Britain.

The point to remember is that if we are wrong about man's contribution to climate chaos there are still good reasons to implement our policies.

If the climate sceptics are wrong the implications for our children and grandchildren and for all other life on this planet are dangerous and irreversible.

Chris Lennard, Worcester Green Party (14 December 2009).  

Speed killing children for sake of a few minutes

AS THIS is National Road Safety Week, it seems apt to take a fresh look at 20mph zones around our schools.

Last year, the British Medical Association called for the application of 20 mph zones throughout residential neighbourhoods, as well as in the immediate vicinity of schools, where they are commonly applied.

Pedestrians hit by a vehicle at 20mph have a much greater chance of survival - only one in forty dies at 20mph, compared with one in five at 30mph.

However, the BMA point out that for a child hit by a car at 20mph this translates as a five per cent chance of dying compared to a massive fifty per cent at 30mph.

The difference between a two mile journey at 20mph and a two mile journey at 40 mph is just three minutes. Speeding drivers are killing our children for the sake of a couple of minutes.

Green Party Councillors in Leicester, Norwich and Hackney have initiated 20mph schemes in their authorities, and Greens on the London Assembly are currently pushing for 20mph zones in the capital. In this year's local elections, Worcestershire Green Party called for the County Council to help reduce the impact of the motorised ‘school run', by supporting initiatives such as Safe Routes to School, Walking Buses and more 20mph zones.

Such measures have been shown to reduce traffic, ease parental fears, and reduce the numbers of children killed and injured on their way to school. Time for action!

Chris Lennard, Worcestershire Green Party, Malvern, 4 December 2009 

Greens are keen on animal rights

SIR - May I echo the sentiments of Louis Stephen ("Animal welfare is an important part of the Green Party manifesto," Letters, November 21).

At election time this year, an analysis done by Protecting Animals in Democracy showed that the Green Party's MEPs scored joint best, with Plaid Cymru, on animal rights.
The analysis cited the Green Party's leader Caroline Lucas MEP as being "especially active for animals and helps to table pro-animal laws. The Green group is now an influential force in the European Parliament, and UK Greens can rally their colleagues to help make a major difference for animals."

It noted that the Euro-manifestos for Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives did not mention animal protection as an issue at all. In September, Caroline Lucas was named the new president of the European Parliament's cross-party Animal Welfare Intergroup, having played a key role in the creation of legislation to ban the sale of cat and dog fur in the EU, and in the recent ban on the import of seal products.

Elected Greens are indeed having a major impact on animal welfare legislation - not spin and soundbite, but an integral part of our policy.

Chris Lennard, Worcester Green Party (27 November 2009) 

Green Party big on animal welfare

SIR - In his letter of November 14, Jon Burgess suggested that the hunting issue is just spin and soundbite for the Green Party.

Animal welfare is an important part of the Green Party manifesto for social and environmental justice. Too often we are accused of being a single issue environmental pressure group. We are so much more than that. Our policies on health, education, the economy, policing, civil liberties and animal welfare mean that the voters are increasingly turning to the Green Party as a radical alternative to Labour and the Conservatives.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party (21 November 2009). 

Government has to end child poverty

ACCORDING to the Campaign to End Child Poverty the recession has led to one in fivr children in the UK living in households where neither parent has a job. In a country as wealthy as the UK, parents who lose their jobs should not have to worry whether they can keep their children warm this winter in their poorly insulated homes.

When the Labour government was elected in 1997 they made reducing child poverty one of their main priorities. However, as the number of children living in poverty has surged in recent years, Alistair Darling has instead promised another £40billion to bail out our banks.

That is almost ten times the amount the End Child Poverty coalition predicts is needed to halve child poverty by 2010. People are disillusioned with the government and the bigger political parties. The Green Party is the only party offering a fresh alternative.

Our ‘Green New Deal' plans for a million low-carbon jobs to tackle the recession and the climate crisis at the same time. The Green Party currently has a
total of 119 primary authority councillors. People are voting Green not just as a protest, but because Green Councillors have a good track record and our policies are increasingly what people want.

Paul Snookes, Worcester Green Party (13 November 2009). 

Why waste time on fox hunting?

SIR - Credit where it is due. We support the Labour Party in passing the current law banning fox hunting.

It is a great shame that the Conservatives seem intent on wasting valuable House of Commons time to reopen the debate on this cruel blood sport.

The Green Party is campaigning to curb factory farming, would ban live animal exports and, of course, fully supports the ban on fox hunting with dogs.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party (9 November 2009) 

Council could help us through winter

Sir - Rising gas prices and the recession means many will struggle when it gets colder. Most of the energy coming out of a radiator goes straight out the door, windows, walls and roof. With good insulation you get much warmer at a fraction of the cost. But many householders do not have the cash to invest.

Kirklees council in West Yorkshire has won awards for their warm zone strategy, by which everyone is helped to insulate their house. This isn't just about saving money, but reducing the city's dependence on imported gas, and reducing emissions.  If we pick local contractors to fit the insulation, all the money will stay in Worcester.

Anyone who feels as strongly about this as I do could write to their councillors to urge them to support an insulation scheme in Worcester.

Justin Kirby, Worcester Green Party (4 November 2009). 

The time has come for some new faces

IN response to the letter (New political blood needed, October 9) from Stanley Parr, it is expected that due to Labour's unpopularity and the expenses scandal affecting all three main parties, many of the current sitting MPs will be voted out at the next general election.

We welcome this opportunity to renew the body politic with fresh blood and hopefully new thinking. However, until we sort out the behind the scenes funding and lobbying of the bigger parties from the vested interests of big business we can probably not expect too much more from the traditional parties.

In the end we get what we deserve - if you want real change vote for a different party.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party (16 October 2009). 

Unemployment is the real issue, not debt

SIR - The Lib Dems are no radicals. Nick Clegg's latest lurch to the right, calling for "savage" cuts in government spending is clear evidence that he is never going to "go radical". Lib Dem promises on scrapping tuition fees and maintaining universal child benefit are being abandoned.

Labour, the Conservatives and now even the Lib Dems are positioning themselves in the same crowded "centre right". The main parties are vying in a competition to "out-cut" one another on public services. This has the effect of deflecting attention from the real issue.

Britain's debt as a proportion of national income isn't particularly high by historical standards.

At a time when the number of jobless people is nearing 2.5 million, including nearly a million 16- to 24-year-olds, the subject which should be dominating the headlines is unemployment.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader, is advocating a different way forward. "Massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create hundreds of thousands of tax-generating jobs, and address the climate crisis", she says.  "Tax increases for the very wealthy, plus a crackdown on bonuses and chief executive pay, would raise billions, and start to address the shameful increase in inequality under Labour. Scrapping Trident and ID cards would save billions more."

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party Parliamentary candidate (2 October 2009). 

With your help city can improve

SIR - Worcester Green Party wishes to thank every voter who supported us at the county council elections last Thursday. Compared to the last county elections in 2005 our overall share of the vote has more than doubled and is well above the national average. In the three divisions of St Peter's, Warndon Villages and Riverside we achieved a creditable second place, and in Claines we pushed Labour into fourth place.

Clearly, due to MPs expenses scandals, there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction with the traditional parties in Westminster. It is a testament to all of you who, in such large numbers, voted for a party whose national leader, Carolyn Lucas, was recently voted Observer Ethical Politician of the year for the second year running.

With your continuing support we can make Worcester an even better place to live, work and play in.

Paul Snookes, Green Party - Battenhall and St Peter's (9 June 2009).  

We need a Green New Deal, not a Brown New Deal

Gordon Brown's proposed investment in electric cars and green energy is unambitious, 100,000 jobs is nowhere near what a real Green economic package would create.

Germany is creating 750,000 green-collar jobs over 10 years, many of them in waste-management technology where they are leaving the UK behind. Denmark has created 100,000 jobs in wind energy in a country the size of North West England. The UK has been wasting opportunities for years and the Brown New Deal is another wasted opportunity.

The Greens have long argued that sustainability cannot be tacked-on to an outmoded and unsustainable kind of economy. Who would put hundreds of millions of pounds into nuclear power, when everyone knows green energy sources create far more jobs per megawatt without the safety risks? The Brown New Deal means continuing to throw public money into projects that have a low job-creation ratio.

A Green New Deal would fundamentally re-engineer the economy - we'd get value for money and sustainability at the same time. A Green New Deal would be far richer in terms of job-creation. There are 22 million homes in the UK that need a comprehensive package of energy efficiency. We need this because of climate change, because of peak oil, and because it will create large numbers of jobs. A complete retrofit of Britain's housing to Green standards would create more than half a million jobs. And unlike Labour's flagship policies like nuclear power, the Green jobs would be created in every community in the country including Worcester.

Louis Stephen Worcester Green Party (6 January 2009)


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 16th January 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.