Letters to the press from January to April in 2010

Green party offers a real alternative

SIR – Nick Clegg’s appearance on the TV debates has at least demonstrated that there are more than two parties out there.

But imagine if Green Party leader Caroline Lucas had been involved. Fresh from her recent triumph on Question Time, Caroline would have taken all three of them to task – and provided a real alternative – on safeguarding our public services, on tackling climate change and on creating new jobs.

This is the first general election where pollsters, pundits and the bookies are predicting a breakthrough for the Greens and it’s important that people hear from more than Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems.

Nick Clegg is just as much a part of the political class as David Cameron and Gordon Brown. He used to work for GJW, a firm of lobbyists, in the early 1990s. Recently, he declared his admiration for Margaret Thatcher. If people want a genuine alternative who acts in their interests, they will have to look beyond the three big parties.

Louis Stephen, Green Party parliamentary candidate (27th April 2010)  

We need to create real communities

SIR - John Phillpott wrote (March 20) of "a Stalinist plan to swamp south Worcestershire with thousands of houses" and invited a Green Party response. I assume he is referring to the joint core strategy being developed by a partnership of Worcester, Malvern Hills and Wychavon district councils to plan for the housing needs of this area over the next 20 years.

The Green Party recognises that with people living longer and the current trend for smaller households, we will need more housing. To avoid making soulless dormitory towns we need to create real communities that have schools, shops, leisure facilities and open space if people are to have a good quality of life. Communities should be involved in shaping housing policy and Green Party members have been contributing to the public consultations that have been going on over the last few years.

The new houses need to be energy efficient with a high standard of insulation. Housing densities can be increased by high-quality design, but we favour reducing roads and parking space within developments and keeping traffic speeds down to give pedestrians and children priority.

We want good public transport and safe cycle routes linking people to their workplaces. We want allotments, green space and play facilities. We realise all this comes at a price and nationally the Green Party is committed to a green new deal, with a £6 billion fund to help councils pay for 60,000 new homes, providing 140,000 jobs and helping to support local economies.

Louis Stephen, Green Party Candidate for Worcester (7th April 2010) 

Vote for a less divided country

SIR - A vote for the Green Party is not a wasted vote, but a vote for a fairer and less divided country.

The Green Party has got elected representatives in local councils all over Britain, and in the London Assembly and the Scottish and European Parliaments.

When Greens are elected, people like what they see and generally come back for more.

Examples of local Green Party councillors making a difference are in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where they saved the Uplands post office, in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, where they provided free home insulation (worth up to £400) to 40,000 households, and in Norwich where they worked with local residents in successfully campaigning to stop the closure of a Sure Start nursery.

If you believe in a fairer society and don't believe that the major political parties deserve your vote, then I ask you to consider voting for the Green Party.

Matthew Jenkins, Worcester Green Party (19th April 2010) 

The election is not a two-horse race

SIR - Re: Mike Foster's letter Think Very Carefully When Voting (March 24).

The Labour Party would have you believe that this is a two-horse race and that we should just choose between two parties - Labour and the Conservatives.

Thankfully, we still live in a democracy and it is up to the people of Worcester to choose our next MP, not from just two candidates but from a whole range of candidates across the political spectrum.

The beauty of our system is that literally any of the candidates could win.

The Green Party tirelessly campaigns to preserve our environment and to create sustainable inclusive communities. We stand for social justice and fairness.

In last year's county council elections the Green Party more than doubled its vote from the the previous county elections to 17 per cent and beat Labour in four of the 10 Worcester divisions.

I would urge everybody to resist the false choice restricted to just Labour and Conservatives.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party (6th April 2010). 

Hospital is service, not a business

SIR - I understand New Labour's much-vaunted private finance initiative for the building of the Worcestershire Royal Hospital saddled us all with a £720 million repayment over a contract period of 25 years.

Figures reported in the Worcester News show we will have paid many times the value of the hospital from the public purse by the time it comes back into public ownership. This is just part of a recent trend supported by the grey parties to treat our hospitals and health centres like businesses rather than vital public services.

The Green Party wants to ensure that no more public money is wasted on badly implemented privatisation schemes.

When people support the Green Party in this election they will be voting for local services that are easy to access and are truly local.

We will oppose cuts, closures and privatisation within our NHS and protect the jobs of public sector workers.

Robert Wilkins, Worcester Green Party (22nd April 2010) 

Go online to keep cruelty in the past

SIR - As the opinion polls narrow, the Tories will be fighting for every vote in marginal constituencies like Worcester.

They will need to listen to the electorate. You can lobby the candidates at keepcrueltyhistory.com.

It is a great shame the Tories seem intent on wasting Commons time to reopen the debate on this cruel blood sport. The Green Party is big on animal welfare, campaigning to curb factory farming, would ban live animal exports and supports the ban on fox hunting with dogs.

Louis Stephen, Green Party candidate for Worcester (12th March 2010) 

Green Party is the truly fair option

SIR – Gordon Brown has urged voters to "take a second look" at New Labour as he launched its election campaign under the slogan: "A future fair for all". This sounds similar to the Green Party’s slogan: "Fair is worth fighting for".

Under New Labour the richest 10 per cent of the population have become more than 100 times as wealthy as the poorest 10 per cent. Millions are angry with New Labour but also worry what a Tory victory would mean. Both parties have made it clear they intend to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis.

The main priorities of the Green Party are jobs, protecting public services from cuts and protecting the NHS from privatisation. It has 126 councillors on 43 councils across England and Wales. This number looks set to grow as more people vote for an alternative – a party that represents their interests, not the interests of banks and big businesses.

Louis Stephen, Green Party candidate for Worcester (2nd March 2010) 

They're breaking up public services

SIR - Through creeping privatisation, New Labour is breaking up our public services and betraying the founding principles of the NHS.

The concept of public finance initiative (PFI) funded infrastructure was designed to buy now and pay much later. Paying for public buildings using money raised in the money markets puts the public sector in debt to the private sector for decades. A case in point is the Worcestershire Royal Hospital which has a book value of £87 million that will end up costing us £720 million.

While the bankers have been bailed out and are again already trying to pay themselves millions in bonuses we need to remember who will end up paying for the bail out - the people of Britain, through future cuts in local health sector jobs and our cherished services.

The Green Party would protect NHS jobs and services. It is calling for an end to PFIs and would return to traditional funding of public services that provides better value for money.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party parliamentary candidate (22nd February 2010) 

Surely we all agree on clearing snow?

SIR - The law seems to say that if we clear the snow from the path in front of our house and then someone slips and falls we could be sued. When I was a child I remember clearing the snow and I enjoying the satisfaction of making a little contribution to the friendliness of our local area. It's a world we seem to have lost - we now look for someone else to blame.

This is not a trivial matter. There is a shortage of salt and grit for the council to use even if they have the budget. Everyone knows someone who has slipped on the ice. Some elderly people have practically been held prisoners in their own homes. Laws and conventions are created by government statute and hundreds of years of case history. We should still expect councils to take the lead on snow clearance on public roads, cycle and footpaths, but if the individuals in a community want to clear the snow outside their own homes they should be encouraged and protected not penalised by the law. This is probably something that, even in this, a general election year, all politicians can agree on.

Louis Stephen, Worcester Green Party (21st January 2010).

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.