Tuesday, 24 July 2012

My priority campaigns

The Green Party needs to make decisions about what it's priorities for campaigns are. My view is that next year we should focus on three areas, and those areas would be in order of priority:

1. The economy - alternatives to austerity - promoting the Green message for economic change including the Green New Deal, one million climate jobs, the Citizens pension and protection of public services - especially the NHS. We need show the important role that public services can make in re-vitalising the economy. We also have to make the case for the low-carbon green economy, reforming the banks and stooping the tax dodgers

2. Energy - we need to make the connection with the economy and the fight against climate change. Searches for new sources of energy such as fracking are only avoiding the inevitable changes we will have to make to lower carbon emissions and create jobs

3. Local food - this is perhaps not so obvious but there are important links with 1 and 2. Firstly climate change is threatening food production - there is a drought crisis in the USA which is still the 'breadbasket' of the world. Encouraging local food production not only reduces carbon emissions it also stimulates local economies and creates jobs. In the longer term we will have to move to more localised economies

Do you agree with my priorities? Please let me know what your priorities are. You can comment here or contact me via email.

West Cheshire GP fundraising event on Sunday - the sun came out to join us - a really good afternoon

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Why I am standing for the post of Campaigns Coordinator

We are living through a time of environmental and economic crises. Reckless casino capitalism has resulted in a massive debt bubble, which has bust the banks and is causing real long-term damage to our economy. The changing global climate is causing chaos, and further economic damage. We cannot continue with 'business as usual', we need real, and lasting change. That is why I and many other people have joined the Green Party. I believe the Green Party, is the only mainstream political party, which has the policies that can make the changes we need happen. I've been a member since the late 1990s, when I realised I had to 'get out of my armchair', get active, and fight to protect the environment and the public services on which most of us rely.

The Green Party has worked hard at the grassroots to get people elected. We have had an excellent leader in our MP Caroline Lucas. As a minority party we have a mountain to climb to form a Green government, and at our current rate of electoral success that would take over a century. What we need is a breakthrough of the kind Respect achieved in Bradford West. We need to lift our vote nationally and really get our message across. That is why it is so crucial we have an active, committed Campaigns Coordinator in the party, who will promote the Party as a campaigning party and help to promote our policies to millions of disillusioned voters. That is why I sought election to the Campaigns Committee in February and that is why I am standing for the post of Campaigns coordinator.

We are a small party with limited resources and If elected I would want to use the Internet and digital media to the full to get our policies across to as many people as possible. I have a decade of experience as a blogger and tweeter and I know the power of online media. As well as using our blogging power, Twitter, and Facebook better, we need to use our website and members site as a repository of campaigning materials. We need to bring together all the excellent campaigns resources we have developed so that they are easily available for all our activists to adapt and use, locally and nationally. I would also like to see a re-invigorated campaigns committee bringing together regional campaigns coordinators by holding some meetings outside London to involve our activists in the regions, and holding meetings by telecon to save costs and travel.

If you like my ideas I hope you will support my campaign and encourage other members in your local party to vote for me in the GPEx elections in August. You can contact me at howard.thorp@btinternet.com. If you are on Facebook please 'like' my FB page.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Yes to a referendum on the EU!

According to Paul Cotterill on the Liberal Conspiracy blog Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party,  has outflanked Labour on the issue of a referendum on the EU. He is right. Outflanking a gauche and leaden-footed Labour leadership isn't difficult these days. Labour is completely hamstrung by its New Labour legacy, and because of its complicity in privatisation and austerity it is incapable of challenging the most dangerously reactionary government in a century.

Caroline said: "I support a referendum on our membership of the EU because I am pro-democracy, not because I'm anti-EU - and because I want to see a radical reform of the way Europe operates. The EU has the potential to spread peace and make our economies more sustainable, and to promote democracy and human rights, at home and throughout the world. But it must urgently change direction, away from an obsessive focus on competition and free trade and towards placing genuine co-operation and environmental sustainability at its heart."

Caroline has called this exactly right. We need to challenge the lack of democratic accountability and neoliberalism of the EU. Most people don't want us to leave, but this is a Europe of austerity, dominated by the ECB. The way the Greeks and Irish have been humiliated is appalling, and all to bail out French and German banks. That is unacceptable. We need start a movement to liberate the EU from the dead hand of neoliberal failure, and make sure that the Green Party is at the forefront of that movement.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Green Party make further gains in local elections

Locally we had a good series of results in the four wards in which we stood, coming second in Gowy from nowhere. We still have a lot of work to do and we need to build up a stronger local campaigning party.

In the wider North West, Hilary Robinson was elected to Alsager Town Council; our first Green Councillor in Cheshire, and John Coyne retained his seat in Liverpool which had seemed vulnerable to a resurgent Labour. In Lancaster we had a disappointing result losing 4 councillors to Labour who had a good result in the north of England - totally underserved given the cuts they had planned in public services and the privatisation of the NHS which they had already started upon before the general election last year.

Nationally, we went into our election campaign with 116 councillors on 42 councils and have come out of it with 130 on 43 councils, a gain of 14 seats.

Norwich fought off Labour in two wards, as well as gaining an additional seat in Thorpe Hamlet, to bring their total seats on the council to 15 - adding to its tally of city councillors at every election since 2002. We also gained seats in Bolsover, Bristol, Herefordshire, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk, Malvern Hills, Mid Suffolk, Reigate, Solihull, South Hams, Stafford and St Albans! The outstanding Brighton results were also a real highlight: we gained 10 more seats, taking our total to 23 and making the Greens the largest party on the council.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Greens fighting hard in West Cheshire elections

Members of the Green Party in Cheshire West and Chester have been working hard in our target wards of Gowy and Davenham and Moulton. We have been busy talking to voters and delivering election flyers over the past week and the weather has been very kind to us. By the 5th of May we will have delivered over 7500 flyers in the two wards.

Our campaign is focussed on fighting the cuts imposed in Cheshire by the Coalition government. George Osborne's £81 Billion cuts package is totally unjustified and genuine threat to the welfare state which will cause suffering to the weakest members of our society, including the poor, disabled and unemployed.

We have seen the effect that cuts have had in Ireland where the economy has been devastated. You can't cut your way out of a recession - that is what happened in the 1930s and it lead to a decade of economic stagnation and conflict which cost millions of lives.

The Green Party has a fully costed economic programme which will protect public services and create jobs, lifting us out of economic stagnation and building a future for a sustainable economy which will help us deal with the consequences of climate change. A couple of Green councillors in West Cheshire would make all the difference - wherever you are vote Green on 5th May!

Sunday, 24 April 2011


For the record - I don't agree with Nick. Like many people in this country I'm appalled by the role the Liberal Democrats (LDs) have played in propping up a reactionary, class war Tory government which is seeking to return us to the inequality and public squalor of the 19th century. £81 billion pounds worth of cuts which will hit the poor, low paid, unemployed, disabled and women hardest would be bad enough in itself but what accompanies it makes it much, much worse - the privatisation of the NHS, the bogus 'Big Society', the sell off of forests, student loans at £9,000 a year, the scrapping of environmental bodies, the attack on the public sector and pensions, the support for bankers who created the economic crash, nepotism for neighbours by Cameron, and the absurdity of calling environmental protection legislation 'red tape' all add up to a nightmare for the British people. Those of us who lived through the Thatcher era never thought we could be shafted to such an extent again - but that is what is happening as I type this.

We should never have been so surprised at LD support for this Tory government and its cuts agenda. In 2004, prominent LDs including Clegg, Laws and Cable contributed to the 'Orange Book' which was essentially a neoliberal manifesto. The reactionary take-over of the LDs had begun. Just as with New Labour The LDs swung to the right abandoning the social democratic approach the LDs had been found on.

So what has this got to do with the referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV)? Given the above - its not surprising then that many on the left now want to punish Clegg and the LDs by voting down AV. The theory is that if the referendum is lost the Coalition government will split, forcing an election in which Labour and Ed Milliband will ride to the rescue of the nation. In my view this is very short-sighted for several reasons; firstly, there is no guarantee that the Coalition will split. The LDs are in a very vulnerable position at the moment and they don't want an election. Not only do they fear meltdown but they have no funds to fight a campaign; secondly, even if the Coalition does split there is no guarantee that Labour will win or the Ed will ride to the rescue if they do. New Labour may be dead but it certainly hasn't been buried; finally, and most importantly the AV referendum offers us something very rare in British politics - a chance to bring about progressive electoral reform.

AV isn't perfect, its not as good as proportional representation (PR), but it's a hell of a lot better than what we have at the moment - a rotten voting system well past its sell by date. If the referendum is lost it will put back electoral reform for a generation. The beauty of AV is that it increases voter power and makes MPs more accountable to their electorate - so what if it slightly benefits the LDS? - that is the popular view based on previous voting patterns, but it assumes that many will put the LDs down as a second preference - now that is much less likely. Neither will it benefit the BNP as has been suggested - it will benefit you the voter by putting more power in your hands. Don't believe the outrageous lies put about by the No campaign. Vote YES on May 5th and help to break the mould of British politics. AV now PR later!