Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Green Queen's Speech

This is what we could have had if we'd elected a Green government - a positive programme which would have created hope for the future, and an alternative to the mire which we are in. Well done Channel 4.

Green MP's alternative Queen's Speech

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 25 May 2010

As the Queen prepares to travel to Westminster to make her first speech setting out the coalition's planned laws, the country's first ever Green MP Caroline Lucas writes for Channel 4 News to describe what her alternative Queen's Speech would look like.

My government's overriding priority is to modernise the British economy for a low-carbon future, to create an economy more balanced between manufacturing and services, more resilient in the face of financial crises, where wealth is more equitably distributed and the more vulnerable in society are offered greater protection.

My government will bring forward a bill to initiate an emergency investment package, to cost £44bn, which will be intended to create over one million new jobs and training places.

This investment programme will result in significant improvements to public transport, including fare reductions of up to ten per cent. It will provide free insulation for all British homes. It will transform Britain's renewable energy sector into a world leader, which in turn will support the restoration of domestic manufacturing industry. It will also set our country firmly on the road to a zero waste economy.

In parallel with this bill, my government will continue the previous government's efforts to tackle Britain's budget deficit by 2014, but with greater emphasis on raising tax levels on the wealthiest thirteen per cent of earners.

The redistributive tax measures will ensure that a non-means-tested citizen's pension may be introduced at the level of £170 for individual pensioners and £300 for couples. This will ensure that no British pensioner is living below the poverty line.

My government will cancel new road building plans and transfer £30bn from the road building budget towards public transport and measures to promote and facilitate cycling and walking, including safe routes to school programmes.

Other fiscal measures my government will bring forward will include measures to ensure that the costs of high-carbon modes of transport better reflect their costs to society.

My government will introduce a bill to prevent any further private finance initiatives, and to keep the Royal Mail in public ownership, as the first step towards reversing the privatisation of public services.

My government will seek effective global and European collaboration to combat climate change, in a globally equitable manner, which will involve 90 per cent cut in UK CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, starting with a ten per cent cut in the coming year and following with successive year-on-year cuts to ensure the overall target is met.

My government will complete the reform of regulation of the financial services industry to ensure greater protection for savers and taxpayers, but will bring forward further legislation for the establishment of a nationwide network of not-for-profit community banks, and to separate retail from investment banking. Those banks which are wholly or partly state-owned will pay no bonuses above £25,000, and a permanent tax on bonuses will be introduced. A "Robin Hood tax", a tax on financial transactions, will also be established.

Recognising the international nature of the problems in financial services, my government will actively pursue with our European partners regulation at an EU level.

My government will introduce legislation to bring about wide-ranging political and electoral reform, including a fair and inclusive voting system which will be extended to a fully-elected second chamber.

My government is committed to making Britain a fairer and more inclusive society, and to this end will bring forward legislation to promote this. This will include a requirement for all companies to have at least 40 per cent of their boards of directors made up of women, and to penalise employers who implement unequal pay. The same legislation will strengthen the protection of disabled people and those with mental health problems against discrimination.

My government will bring forward plans for a very early withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan. At the same time it will seek international support for the establishment of a peace conference involving all Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, and measures to enhance economic and political stability in Afghanistan.

Legislation will be brought forward to decommission Britain's nuclear weapons.

Other measures will be laid before you.

I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A great night for the Greens!

Election night was a very long night in the Memorial Hall but well worth staying up for in the end. Caroline Lucas was elected as MP for Brighton Pavilion - a historic moment for the Green Party and one which we have been waiting for far too long.

I'd like to thank the friends and party members who helped me throughout my campaign and the people in Weaver Vale who voted for a radical progressive programme based on hope not fear. I'd also like to thank the returning officer, the people who worked so hard to count the votes, and the other candidates and agents who were all helpful, friendly and considerate.

One of the outcomes of this election is that it has become clear to all that we can no longer continue with an eighteenth century electoral system in a modern democracy. There is an urgent need for electoral reform including fixed term parliaments, proportional representation and an elected second chamber. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats must now seize the historic opportunity to make this happen.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

10 good reasons to vote Green tomorrow

The Green Party has policies that are distinctive from the other parties. We would protect social services and create 1,000,000 jobs in energy conservation, renewable energy and social care to fight climate change and save you money. Here are ten good reasons to vote Green tomorrow:

1. Stabilising the economy

Regulate the financial sector, permanently tax bankers’ bonuses and introduce the Robin Hood tax on international financial transactions, while reducing corporation tax for small firms.

2. Creating jobs

Create one million jobs in areas such as local manufacturing and food production, public transport, renewable energy, home insulation and repairing and recycling goods.

3. Education

Abolish formalised SATs testing for 11 year olds and reduce the huge paperwork burden on teachers. Protect schools and universities from cuts and privatisation, and abolish university fees.

4. Protecting public services

Protect public services from cuts and privatisation: keep the NHS public, protect Sure Start nurseries, re-open Post Offices, abolish charges for prescriptions and dentistry.

5. Pensions and care for the elderly

Introduce free social care for the elderly as in Scotland and raise the basic state pension to £170 a week.

6. Affordable housing

Take action to ensure that the million empty homes nationwide are brought back into use; introduce free home insulation for all homes within 5 years; and enable local councils to build new council housing again.

7. Transport

Redirect transport funding towards public transport, regulate the buses and renationalise the railways to ensure we have affordable and reliable public transport in the future. Improve cycle routes and pedestrian safety measures.

8. Youth facilities

Double spending on out of school services for young people to give them something to do and somewhere to go and introduce a national youth volunteering programme for the under 18s.

9. Climate change and energy security

The UK should lead the world by example in tackling climate change: energy efficiency measures in buildings, reducing travel miles by providing services like Post Offices locally and localising the economy, investment in renewable energy rather than nuclear power.

10. Democracy and Parliamentary reform

Replace the House of Lords with a fully elected second chamber; decentralise power to local councils and communities; restrict the lobbying power of big business over MPs; prevent MPs from holding directorships and consultancies that stop them being full-time MPs and may result in conflicts of interest.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Weaver Vale campaign update

Last week things really began to feel like they were speeding up and I had an unexpected disaster when my WiFi packed up causing me to miss a couple of important emails but now I'm back campaigning online. I've been answering as many emails as I can and tramping the streets of Northwich delivering about 750 election flyers - mainly in Kingsmead. The biggest disappointment and frustration of this election for me has been not being able to spend much time talking to constituents. If I had done this, as I would have liked to, I wouldn't have been able to get my flyers delivered.

The big event of the week was the candidate's debate at Mid Cheshire College. All the candidates - Tory, Lib Dem, Labour, UKIP, Green and 3 independents - except the BNP - turned up. For such an important election the turnout was disappointing with the venue being about half full. Although advertised as a debate - it really consisted of us answering a series of questions in turn. Given that there were eight of us this was quite a cumbersome process. I missed the email with the questions and was probably less prepared than the others although I thought I made a reasonable job of it given that it was my first hustings. I managed to ask the Tory candidate Graeme Evans why the Tories were planning to give away £7 billion in tax cuts to the rich at a time when they are planning to cut public services but predictably I didn't get an answer!

The election is getting really close and I'm hoping this will be a real breakthrough for us. If things go well we could get 3 0r 4 MPs elected. After the huge let down of the European elections I'm not building my hopes too high because there is a danger that now, as then, our candidates will get squeezed out because people who would like to vote for us know we can't form a government. You should vote for the party you believe in and whose policies you find best. That is the only way we'll get real change in the UK.

The Green Party is the only party that is offering a economic alternative to the failed policies supported by the main parties. We want to get people back to work and give the economy a real boost at the time of recession. Our plan to create 1 million jobs and protect public services is far more ambitious than anything the other parties have to offer and would be good for the people of Weaver Vale. We have plans for a Citizens Pension that would end pensioner poverty and overall our policies are the best according to the 226,000 people who have visited http://www.voteforpolicies.org.uk. Why not take a look at this site yourself. You may be surprised to find out you are a Green voter after all.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

As the General Election approaches

The Green Party campaign in Weaver Vale

I must have been one of the first candidates to arrive at the Forum in Chester to get my nomination papers confirmed. This is an anxious time for candidates because a mistake on the forms could mean that you have to re-submit. That would be no fun for me as I live 20 miles away and had to take a day off work to get there, plus the window - just 4 days between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm - is ridiculously short. I met up with Tom Barker the Green PPC for City of Chester. Our nominations went OK and we retired to a nearby pub for a celebratory drink. Our campaigns had begun in earnest.

So what do you do if you are a GP candidate in a constituency where there has never been a GP candidate before and you have no well oiled party machine to give you support? You make the most of the resources you have. I have had help from the few members we have here and some good local friends and supporters all of whom have made a great contribution by tramping the streets delivering our flyers. But we have only 3000 flyers for a constituency where we could have done with at least 30,000!

My employer has helped by allowing me to take unpaid leave which I will have to make the most of in the coming days until the election. Part of the deal is that I have to resign if elected! Well, I think that is unlikely. So far I have delivered the best part of 1000 flyers myself - thank goodness the weather has been fine - although the barmy June-like weather we are having is only another reminder of climate change. Most of my campaigning has been through the web. Is this the best approach? Should I be spending my time knocking on doors or replying to the many emails I've received ? The simple answer is I don't know. The target I'm setting myself is 1000 votes. Depending on turnout that probably won't be enough to save my deposit but it would be a respectable start.

This is a potentially a momentous election and it's a privilege to be taking part. I joined the Green Party because I believe in its policies and principles. Like many others I used to be a Labour supporter. But when they abandoned their core beliefs - I abandoned them. Ultimately you have to vote for what you believe in. If you want change for the better you have to engage in the political process. Apathy only benefits the ruling elite who have been exploiting the British people for far too long. The Green Party has policies which are fair and just and it is the only party which has the policies to tackle social injustice and climate change.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

My priorities for Weaver Vale

David Cameron is asking the electorate to vote for change but if voters back him, New Labour or the Liberal Democrats, they will get more of the same – business as usual. The same failed economic policies that have lead to the current economic crisis and the banker’s bonus bonanza will be followed. The Green Party has policies that will create jobs, protect vital public services and tackle the current economic crisis in a way that is fair to everyone. That’s real change

My priorities are jobs and public services. We are still in an economic crisis and there will be savage cuts and job losses in public services if New Labour or the Tories come to power. The Green Party policies include the protection of public services and the creation of one million jobs in insulating homes and renewable energy. These jobs will help the one million young people who are unemployed find meaningful work and learn new jobs and skills, as well as saving families money on their energy bills and reducing our carbon outputs.

We would also intoduce a living wage of £8.10 per hour to replace the minimum wage and a citizens pension of £170 pw for single people and £300 pw for couples to end pensioner poverty.

This programme is fully costed and will be paid for by fairer taxation including the removal of the ceiling on national insurance contributions and scrapping Trident and ID cards. It would be wrong, when our economy is so fragile, to introduce the kind of savage cuts proposed by the other parties.

If you want to find out more about our policies take a look at the previous post on this blog.

Green Party Policies

Green Party policies

The banking system

When it comes to the banking system The Green Party believe the government has acted completely irresponsibly. They have forced us, the tax-payer, to bail out the bankers. Yet they have failed to ensure that the same banks give desperately needed credit to families and independent businesses.

We will fight for a fair financial deal, with community banks, credit unions and mutuals. This will ensure those who need financial help are given realistic loans, so they can survive the current economic hardship that we are facing today.

We also believe it’s unfair that these irresponsible bankers continue to earn extortionate salaries and bonuses, while 330,000 hard working people still earn less than the low minimum wage. Which is why we will fight to introduce a High Pay Commission to ensure bankers and other highly paid executives in the private and public sectors are not rewarded for their failure.

Health and the NHS

The Green Party think it's unfair that public money is wasted on botched privatisation schemes.

The yearly cost of these privatisation schemes is over £1billion pounds and we are the ones left to foot the bill.

The government tells us that the schemes will provide us with choice. In reality it does nothing to ensure that efficient and effective health care is provided and it actually reduces some of the many health benefits we currently enjoy. It's unfair that quality of care suffers when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.

We will fight for a fair deal for those needing health care by opposing cuts, closures and privatisation and by demanding a full programme of locally accessible services. In particular, we will maintain the principle of a free NHS by implementing in England and Wales the scheme that provides free social care to the elderly in Scotland.

We believe in keeping the health service free – we would abolish prescription charges, re-introduce free eye tests and ensure NHS chiropody is widely available. We will also fight to restore free dental care and provide everyone with the choice of an NHS dentist.


The present pension system is a disgrace. We think it's unfair that people who have worked hard all their lives are eventually denied the pension they were promised, leaving many facing poverty and hardship.

The Green Party in Parliament will fight for a fair deal for older people. We would ensure all pensioners receive a basic non-means tested £170 a week. We would also ensure they receive free care and support for those living independently, at home, in sheltered and extra-care housing or in residential care.

The Green Party would introduce a free home insulation programme for all homes that need it, with priority for pensioners and those living in fuel poverty. We aim to insulate 4 million homes every year.


Right now Britain has a shortage of affordable and good quality housing to buy or rent. At the same time many home-owners are in danger of losing their properties in the recession and homelessness is still affecting thousands of people.

The Green Party will fight for a fair housing deal for all. We want to make it easier for people to get on the property ladder, to protect home-owners and to eradicate homelessness for good. Our comprehensive proposal includes:

  • Building a new generation of quality council homes
  • Supporting the development of housing co-ops
  • Bringing back into use Britain's 300,000 long-term empty private sector homes
  • Renovating Britain's 37,000 empty council homes to help cut waiting lists
  • Giving social housing tenants greater control over the management of their homes and neighbourhoods
  • Improving the quality of housing stock to help reduce household bills
  • Helping people at risk of repossession keep their homes via a Right to Rent scheme.

Jobs and a living wage

Right now unemployment is skyrocketing and the government is doing little about it. Our policy is to fight for a fair, stable and sustainable economy.

Top bankers continue to pocket your money in the form of unearned bonuses, while factories, firms and farms are forced to lay off more and more workers by the day, week and month.

This must end. Our major and immediate priority is the creation of an extra million jobs and training places. An immediate £44bn package of measures would include workforce training, investment in renewables, public transport, insulation, social housing and waste management.

These jobs will provide our country with the vital 21st century infrastructure it needs, including an efficient public transport system, homes that are warm and cheaper to run and much lower energy costs for businesses.

The gap between rich and poor in the UK has never been wider and it continues to get worse. We think it's unfair that the Government has failed to do anything about it.

We are demanding the introduction of a 'Living Wage'. This will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families and eradicate poverty in Britain for good. The Green Party will fight for a National Minimum Wage of 60% of net national average earnings (currently this would mean a minimum wage of £8.10 per hour).

We will also fight for a fair financial deal with community banks, credit unions and mutuals to provide realistic loans to families and small businesses.


Train fares in England are some of the highest in Europe. The Green Party would bring trains under public ownership to ensure we have a better service and lower fares. By doing se we can provide a real alternative for those wanting to leave their car at home.

We would divert money currently being wasted on huge road projects (about £30bn) and put more of the UK’s transport budget into public transport, especially local schemes for walking, cycling and bus-travel.

We would spend £1.5bn subsidising existing public transport to make fares up to 10% cheaper and £30bn over the Parliament on investing in a better system. This will have the effect of strengthening communities, promoting a greater appreciation of place, reducing crime, improving the health of the population, and reducing traffic fatalities. And it would also create 160,000 jobs.

Young people

We think it's unfair that young people are demonised for hanging around on our streets. In most cases they simply have nowhere else to go and activities for young people are being reduced across the country.

The Green Party will fight for a fair deal for young people and their parents by investing in their future. We will pledge to double spending on youth services, spending an extra £1bn a year so that local councils can provide a variety of activities that give young people fun and affordable things to do.

The Green Party’s plan to fund 2000 Young People's Centres would create dedicated spaces for young people to meet and be creative. The centres would also offer access to information and specialist support for teenagers in difficulty.

Every young person under the age of 18, and in full time education would also be entitled to off-peak free bus fares.

If you want to find out more go to http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies.html

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Green Party General Election Launch

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas launches our election campaign

Now we are underway at last

The phony war is over and we are now in the election proper. Here in west Cheshire Green Party members have been working to make the best of our limited resources. We have raised just enough money to pay for the deposits of 2 candidates: myself in Weaver Vale and Tom Barker in City of Chester. Now we have to use all of our remaining funds to get our election flyers printed.

The Green Party doesn't have the resources of the main grey parties. We don't have corporate donors and rich tax exiles like Lord Ashcroft to fund us. We rely on small donations from party members and people who are sympathetic to our cause.

The next job for me as a candidate is to get my nomination papers signed and handed in. This is more onerous than it sounds. Forms have to be filled in correctly, and can only be delivered by the candidate or agent by hand between 10-4pm on weekdays between 15 and 20th of April! For those, like me, who work full time and have no agent this means taking at least 1/2 day off work. This is the worst bit for me because I know if I make a mistake I will have to go back and do it again - taking more time off in the process. That's democracy in action - but it could be a bit more user friendly.

I'll be posting more here about how our campaign in West Cheshire progresses. In the meantime if you want to find out more about the Green Party and its policies follow this link

Friday, 12 March 2010

Party Meeting 24th March - change of date

Our next Party meeting will be at 1 Elmwood Avenue, Hoole, Chester at 7.30 pm on the 24th march.

This meeting was previously planned for the 16th March and has been moved.

We will be planning our general election campaign – so come and join us.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

What do you want your MP to fight for?

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party leader, talks to voters in Brighton and explains what the Green Party is fighting for [from the Channel 4 Political Slot]:

Friday, 12 February 2010

Green Party Meeting 16 February

We are holding a meeting on the 16 February at 1 Elmwood Avenue, Hoole, Chester at 7.30pm. This is an important meeting because we will be planning the launch of our general election campaign. We expect the election to be on 6 May and we have a lot of work to do to get prepared.

Please make an effort to attend if you can. I’ll be travelling from Northwich if anyone needs a lift.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Incinerator plans will blight Northwich

The proposed Brunner Mond incineration plant in Lostock comes alongside the Bedminster plant at Lostock, the proposed RSS plant in Wincham and the proposed Covanta incinerator in Middlewich turning mid Cheshire into the Northwest’s favourite dumping ground. And this with the incinerators which will be built in Runcorn (850,000 tonnes) and Ince Marsh (600,000 tonnes). It’s not just the potential health impacts and increase in heavy traffic that should cause people concern it’s also the threat to greener methods of waste management.

Incinerators cost huge amounts of money to build on the Private Finance Initiative and are operated on long term contracts. They have to be fed. As we reduce the waste we produce we will have to either import more waste into Cheshire or burn waste that could have been recycled. So incineration threatens to undermine best waste management practice.

The ‘Sustainable’ Energy Plant at Brunner Mond is neither sustainable, eco-friendly nor green. The proposal to import a further 600,000 tonnes of waste into Cheshire for incineration is bad news for the people of the Northwich area.

Incineration is a form of waste disposal which is opposed by the Green Party. We should be concentrating our efforts on genuinely green and sustainable methods of waste management such as waste elimination, reduction, re-use and recycling. Surrey County Council has recently ditched plans for two incinerators because the amount of waste in the County is falling. If they can do that – so can we. Why do the councillors in Cheshire West and Chester Council have such low aspirations when it comes to waste management in this district? I oppose the Brunner Mond plans to build an incinerator in Northwich and support the efforts of CHAIN to stop Northwich being blighted.

My General election campaign

So that's it. I am the Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate for Weaver Vale. Why am I doing it? Because someone has to. Someone and some party has to try and break the mould of British politics and build a better future. Its a difficult nut to crack I know. I've never fully understood why. Why do people continue to support two main parties that now have very little to offer us? Parties that are fighting over the same sterile ground.

Of course I know why there are lots of people who want don't want to vote for the Green Party. They think we're a bunch of tree hugging hippies. But we are serious people who want make a real difference and we've got the policies to prove it. We don't have the resources and donations from big business and wealthy individuals that our opponents can rely upon.We have a mammoth task to get our message across but we are going to give it our best shot.

Political apathy suits the Tories and New Labour. It simply makes it easier for them to govern and get elected. At a time when the political class is devoid of ideology, stuffed with careerists and in the pockets of big business we need people to fight for social and economic justice. The Green Party needs your support.

To see what can happen where the Green Party has an active membership watch this video about Adrian Ramsay's general election campaign in Norwich South.

I'll be keeping you up with how my campaign is going on this blog. If you want to help in my campaign please contact me at howard.thorp@virgin.net

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Fundraising for the general election

Our party is in the process of raising funds for general election candidates in the constituencies of City of Chester and Weaver Vale. Unlike the major parties we don't receive money from big business and wealthy individuals. We have to raise the money ourselves. We will need at least £1000 to fight this election and £2000 if we are going to do any serious campaigning. This is a miniscule amount of money compared to the major parties but a lot for hard pressed ordinary people in a time of recession.

We believe that it is essential to give the people in these constituencies a real choice – an alternative to the ‘grey’ parties who all sing from the same hymn sheet and offer little hope for a brighter future.

If you want to support our campaign, by making a donation or helping to deliver our leaflets, or in any other way - please contact me at howard.thorp@virgin.net.