Tag Archives: Natalie Bennett

UK; Big business and democracy

By Leon J Williams

If you asked someone on any street in the UK ‘What is the City Remembrancer?’ What do you think they would say?

I may be underestimating my fellow countrymen but I reckon the vast majority wouldn’t have a clue.

The ‘City Remembrancer’ is a title given to the only unelected person allowed to sit in the House of Commons.

This person is a representative of the ‘Corporation of London’ (the City) whose interests are, of course, the interests of Banking and the financial sector.

The UK, who eternally criticise the European Union (EU) for a lack of democracy should first make sure that their House is in order first (pun intended).

Remove the City Remembrancer, The House of Lords, the monarchy and anything else that is not elected by the people, for the people!

The Greens had this to say:

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has written to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, asking him to consider removing the City Remembrancer from the floor of the House of Commons, and to end the Remembrancer’s special privileges in viewing legislation as it is being drafted.

Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, said: “The fact that the City Remembrancer is the only non-MP allowed on the floor of the House of Commons is an historical anachronism*. The presence of the City Remembrancer on the floor of the House of Commons, gives the Corporation of the City of London and, by association, the financial industries, what seems to amount to an undue and undemocratic level of access and representation. No other industry or body has such special access to Parliament.”

The House of Commons library has advised that the rules on access to the Chamber are not a matter of legislation, but under the control of the Speaker.

Natalie noted that the London City elections took place last week, and the votes of the 9,000 were dwarfed, as always, by the 32,000-strong business vote, and that a survey by Bloomberg had shown how unrepresentative the business vote was of the workers, its alleged reason for existing. **

Natalie continued: I’d like to see the Remembrancer excluded from the Commons, as a highly symbolic act that would signal Parliament’s independence from the Corporation and all it represents.

Ms. Bennett added: “The Green Party has been leading the way on campaigning to rein-in the powers of the City of London. It was Labour Party policy until Tony Blair reversed it just before 1997, it has been Lib Dem policy in the past.

“The strength of the arguments for ending this feudal anachronism and bring the City of London within the framework of London – together with the large nestegg of the City Cash, which could be put to the benefit of the people of London rather than the global financial industries – have been clear for more than a century***.

“Removing the Remembrancer from Parliament would be a real start on this process.”

*This dates back to 1571.

** http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-25/sexism-in-the-city-of-london-as-men-rule-in-elections.html

*** Since a Royal Commission that reported in 1894.

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Green Party seeks help

Green Party of England and Wales£45,000 urgent funding need: As the Tory led Coalition batters the needy and disadvantaged with the ‘bedroom tax’ and other welfare changes, Labour is targeting Caroline Lucas’s seat as one of their key seats to recapture at the next election. She is one of the few MPs to really expose this Government and fight for those whose lives are being decimated.

As Leader of the Green Party one of the key responsibilities that Caroline passed on to me was to secure funding to help the party take its next step up. That is why I am launching a £45,000 appeal to build a campaign fund to fight three major elections in two years – and to speak up for those whose lives are right now being devastated by this Government.

After three years of this Government we are seeing their plan for dismantling the NHS and welfare system reaching a critical point.

Are you able to help at this point with a donation towards the £45,000 needed to begin our campaigns for three elections in two years and meet immediate needs – like fighting the appalling measures of this Government?

Please click here to donate now to our urgent appeal.

You will know of the ‘bedroom tax’, but there are also a series of other brutal and callous measures that came into force on 1st April.

Meanwhile, the Coalition is still working on plans to force the privatisation of NHS services.

Your help is needed so we can turn potential into more votes and more seats. We must fight three major election campaigns in two years – European, General as well as local in 2015.

£35 could help us buy specialist software to run much more effective election campaigns or your £50 could support local parties with training materials to help them take action against NHS privatisation and cuts.

You can be sure that the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat electoral machines are already gearing up for the election, but it is harder for us. Everything here is done on a shoe string – there are no millionaire backers (and we wouldn’t have it any other way because millionaire backers normally expect to buy influence).

Not only will your donation help us build our election fund it will also enable us to take action now for those who are suffering because of the Coalition’s actions.

This is a Government that is abandoning the principles of the welfare system that was set up, nearly 70 years ago, to ensure that no one went without food, a home or health care.

You will know of the ‘bedroom tax’, which is a cruel and unjust tax. It is supposed to force people to move if they have what the Government defines as a spare bedroom.

The reality is that there is a massive shortage of housing for people to move to. In Newcastle, for instance, there are only 50 one bedroom houses for the 7,000 who will be penalised by this law.

So people who are already struggling to survive will be forced into even deeper poverty – going without meals or heating or even ending up homeless.

Yet we know there are caring and practical alternatives. The Government could follow the Green Party policy and invest money in building eco homes on sustainable sites – creating thousands of homes, jobs and boosting the economy.

I know you will share my alarm at how far this Government is going. Your donations are vital in enabling us to credibly fight and win more seats in the upcoming elections, giving us the means to speak up.

Please click here to donate now to our urgent appeal.

And all the while this Government is working on plans to privatise all local NHS services. You and I know that they are trying to turn the NHS into an American system, which is both incredibly expensive and incredibly unfair.

The Green Party is the only party that stands for a truly free NHS. It was Caroline who created an Early Day Motion calling for a proper debate on regulations that would have forced local GPs to put all services out to tender. This has now been amended as a result of Caroline’s motion.
You can really see that this is Government by greed – the greed of the few – not Government by need.

But you can start to change that by helping the Green Party to grow with a donation today to meet pressing needs.

A donation of £35 could help us buy specialist software to run much more effective election campaigns or your £50 could support local parties with training materials to help them take action against NHS privatisation and cuts.

I thank you for whatever you are able to give. £35, £50 or even £100 from you would be a big help towards the £45,000 needed now to tackle three elections in two years – and stand up for those who are being devastated by this Government.

Please go to www.greenparty.org.uk/appeal now to donate.

With thanks,

Natalie Bennett

Green Party Leader

Green Party hits out at welfare cuts

From the Green Party via the BBC

The Greens say recent welfare cuts in the UK will lead to a rise in people needing these emergency food supplies.

Green Party of England and Wales“What we want to do is to ensure that welfare benefit payments meet people’s basic needs. We’re here in the sixth richest country in the world and what we’re seeing is more demand for places like this every week.

“We’ve got the bedroom tax, council tax benefit cuts, cuts in the Disability Living Allowance. We believe we should have a minimum wage and we should have sufficient benefits and that should be paid for by making sure that rich people and multinationals pay their taxes” she said.

Despite a lot of people wondering how long the Green Party could last, it has just celebrated its 40th anniversary, shaking off its tree hugging, eco-warrior image. “We have the same basic principles – a fair society in which everyone has sufficient, within the limits of our one planet” says Ms Bennett.

These days you’re more likely to hear about the fight for a living wage than saving the rain forests. Even so, will people struggling to make ends meet automatically think of the Green Party offering them a practical alternative?

Ms Bennett does not believe the party is a luxury for easier economic times and denies they are struggling to make their voices heard.

Wind power

She’s a strong advocate of wind power, which she believes will help bring down the cost of energy, despite news that bills will rise to pay for greener electricity.

Ms Bennett claims renewable power is vital for the future: “we need that renewable energy”, she says.

“We have choices, we do need to replace some of our power plants. What we’d like to promote is community owned energy where turbines are owned by people living there and profits flow down to the community.”

She also criticised incinerator plans in the county: “they’re a 20th century idea that shouldn’t continue into the 21st century. We should be concentrating on reducing waste instead of locking yourself into decades long contracts with incinerators.”

Norfolk has more Green county councillors than anywhere else in the country and they are keen to improve on that.

“We are hoping the east will elect a Green MEP at the European elections next year”, she says. “We got 15% in the last general election in Norwich, we want to build on that.”

Tough times put the Greens under pressure and the protest vote appears to moving elsewhere, so these elections will be a significant test for this party that has seen consistent growth for more than a decade in the eastern counties.

UK Greens call for rail renationalisation

From the Green Party of England & Wales:

Green Party of England and WalesGREEN Party leader Natalie Bennett has called for the renationalisation of the nation’s railways, as she backed a campaign to stop rocketing ticket prices forcing people to stay at home – or into cars.

Ms Bennett, who will be taking part in the national Love Trains – Hate High Fares demonstrations this Thursday (Feb 14), said that the Green Party was supporting the campaign to renationalise our railways.

She said: “Privatisation has been disastrous for the rail system. It has failed on every possible criteria.

“One of those is clearly high fares. I’m delighted to support this event, as the cost of tickets has increased shockingly. Prices have increased in many cases by more than three times the cost of living. It’s forcing travellers off the trains, and putting huge strain on household budgets also under pressure from rising food, energy and housing costs.”

Since our rail service was privatised in 1993, some rail journeys, including London to Manchester, the cost of which has risen by 208 per cent, London to Exeter (205 per cent) and London to Cardiff (196 per cent) have increased in price by a rate that dwarfs the increase in the overall cost of living, the Retail Price Index, which has gone up just 66 per cent over the same period.

Rail fares in England were famously the most expensive in Europe – in many cases ten times those elsewhere in the EU for journeys of the same distance – even before the Coalition allowed a further increase in January this year, and Ms Bennett called for an end to the failed privatisation experiment.

She said: “Renationalisation can help bring prices back down and help people get back on the trains. Private companies’ priority is profit, not services, and they are taking huge profits out of the rail system, at the expense of all of us who use them.

“Ticket prices are making it impossible for many to use the trains. It stops families and friends getting together and even stops people taking jobs because the cost of travel is so high.

“Environmentally, it’s vital, too. The Green Party wants to make in all areas of life the environmentally friendly choice the cheapest, simplest and most convenient option. We should work to ensure rail travel is always be cheaper than driving.”