Friday, July 4, 2008

National Coverage at Last for the Greens!

Thursday was another good day on the campaign trail with continuing positive responses from the people in the street. Lesley and Nick joined the campaign trail for the day and I had a long session with the Guardian over the lunchtime.

But the big feature of the day was the amount of media coverage we received.

Following on from our spot on the BBC Ten O’clock news on Weds evening we picked up national coverage in the Mail and Telegraph and a crisp piece on Radio 4‘s PM programme recorded in Cottingham pubs on Tuesday.

On the PM programme:

“We are opening up the [civil liberties] agenda because we feel that there are huge issues underlying what has been brought to light. Things like the end-of-oil, the way we are being taken over by the huge corporations, the devastation of the planet. The fact is that we have got to do something about it. We have got to change. So our message is change is necessary, the old parties have had their day and I think we are possibly going to see a much bigger green vote than some people might expect.”

And in the Daily Telegraph:

"I think 42 days is far too much. This country used to pride itself on habeas corpus. The Green Party is the party of civil liberties. ID cards and all these things are the result of the increasingly totalitarian state we are living in. People are not stupid. We have got a completely mad kind of politics. The whole world is being forced into slavery of the great corporations. Tesco's is doing a world take-over at the moment and it's not only Tescos."

When asked about whether the Greens wanted the price of petrol to stay as high as it is now and whether fuel taxes should continue to rise - this is not simply a yes-no answer; it involves a package of measures.

So a day on consolidation with no set backs. And pledges to support the campaign keep coming in. The “Paypal system” is now working well and donations continue to come in via the internet. We continue to be very moved and inspired by people’s generosity.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Practical in Civil Liberties

Dynamic David Duo make swift getaway at South Hunsley School

After the ‘jog’ yesterday, the pace quickened up and we joined the feeding frenzy at Willerby Manor, being interviewed by a series of journos – with reports all over today’s press. the Telegraph, Mail and Hull Daily Mail all encouraged us – still silence from the others. Late last night I made notes of what followed…

Civil liberties suddenly became an immediate issue in the constituency today! We were excluded from a meeting that David Cameron and David Davis had set up with members of the East Riding of Yorkshire Youth Assembly and a number of Conservative supporters.

I had previously been emailed by the Youth Assembly organiser to ask if I would attend an Assembly meeting to discuss the issues with David Davis. I had replied saying I would be delighted. I have attended several Assembly meetings - which are usually held in Beverley where I live. I had also requested David Davis to include us in meetings to debate the issues to which he had agreed.

We turned up at the school and were kept out. First we were refused entrance to the site, then, after great debate with the Head, we were allowed into a side room with the promise that we could meet the young people after the Tory meeting. The head teacher, was very helpful, but had little control over arrangements for the 'private hire' of a room in the school premises. We were horrified at the high degree of police presence and the fact that our promised discussion with the young people had been hijacked and turned into a one party PR event for the Tories with no opportunity for legitimate debate.

I tried to tackle the Dave Duo on this when they came out of the building (a friendly journalist had lent me a mike), but they had clearly been made aware of my intention and dived into their car (whilst a policeman held me back) as if they were in some sort of danger. Obviously even they realise they have a lot to hide. So much for civil liberties!

After the 'dignitaries' had departed the Youth Assembly came to meet us. We had a great discussion about what had just happened: they could see this was unfair - 'That’s not democracy!' said one representative.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Support the campaign

You can now donate online with your debit or credit card. (To comply
with UK electoral law, we can only accept donations from individuals who are on the UK electoral register. Other donations will have to be

Blow away the cobwebs

A post from Bill - husband and agent. The Candidate has zoomed off into the constituency bedecked in rosettes - having decided that if she was off for a jog (a customary event in Beverley), it would be best where the voters can see.

I hope she is back for the interview we have with Bloomberg News later this morning!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A PM Pub Crawl

The day has rounded off with a pleasant pub crawl in Cottingham with Ben Wright a Radio 4 journalist from the PM programme (Thursday 5-6pm). The responses were amazingly supportive from people of all ages. A young mother in the garden of the Duke of Cumberland totally agreed with the Green perspective and wished us good luck. Her partner was unwilling to speak 'on air' but told us how his work as a heating engineer has been transformed recently with the increased demand for renewable energy installations. They suggested we go on to the Tiger next, so we did, and met three men who initially said they were not intending to vote because they just didn't bother, but decided to vote for us after our chat. They agreed it would be fantastic for Haltemprice and Howden to return the first Green MP to Westminster. We then moved on to the King William where a Tory voter said that he would not be voting for David Davis because he thought calling the by-election was a waste of public money, so he would now vote Green having spoken with us, and advise his Tory colleagues to do the same.

As we waited for the train to take Ben back to Hull for the night, we heard loud clattering and were amazed to see a white horse being led up and over the railway bridge...practising for 'doing weddings'. Unfortunately the camera wasn't to hand.


DONATIONS, which are welcome, can be made out to Hull & East Riding Green Party at the address below, or using the bank details which follow:

Co-op Bank, Alfred Gelder St, Hull
sort code 089299
acc no 65169216

Please let know that you have made a donation, as it's important that we track these.

We need a Green voice in Westminster

We are pleased with the coverage in the Hull Daily Mail.

Civil liberties ARE at the heart of Green policies. But our context is so much greater than anything represented at Westminster at the moment.

We must have a Green voice there.

If our system did fairly represent people's votes we would have about 30 MPs by now, instead we are impatiently waiting for one!

(Click picture for full size version).

Sleepless in East Yorkshire

It has been just two weeks since the story broke that Davis was going to make his gesture and free up the H&H constituency for a proper representative. In those moments of wakefulness which were common, but thankfully have now diminished, I ask myself, ‘Why am I putting myself through all this?’

Well, it began at an early age... yes it did… my wonderful, kind, tennis-playing Dad, Arthur Jones, died from lung cancer when I was 5 and I haven’t forgiven whatever caused it. I have a good idea what did: he was in the army right through the war - in ordnance which means he was close to all kinds of chemicals involved in weaponry. He had also smoked a bit so I wouldn’t let my mother do it. I now know the story of tobacco. There was also the explosion at Windscale (now re-christened Sellafield) in 1957. Added to this, I understand from my mother that some of the hospital treatment Arthur had was hopeless.

From all this I think I learned to be suspicious of human activity in general. I’ve only made these connections in the last few years, and it still makes me cry when I think about it. This suggests to me that this is the deep motivation for what I do.

We moved into the wilds of the Cotswolds where my mother got a job teaching in a boarding school and I was a rather feral kid - usually to be found in the woods in a tree house with a book and the cat. This was therapeutic for me, but lonely for my mother (widowed at 29).

By the sixth form (Plymouth, 1970) I was deeply worried about pollution. My spin on the Affluent Society (a popular paperback at the time) was to use the expression ‘Effluent Society’. I became an English teacher in Hull and East Riding and I know that my preoccupation with human effects on the environment had a big influence on what went on in my classroom. Luckily, kids are interested in issues of social and environmental justice too.

Ah well … off to badger the burghers of Kirkella

Monday's campaign trail

Willerby went well earlier today, we had a captive audience by the shopping centre. Then it was off to Skidby to do some door-knocking with the team and meet the Hull Daily Mail - part of our ongoing “give us some decent coverage because we are a serious party” campaign which we dished out to all the major media.

We had the mandatory pictures by Skidby Mill – well, the Mail did say we were into renewables – so it must be true...

We were well received around Skidby. Clive reports a very high proportion of conversations with people who are giving the Greens “very serious thought”, not having voted for them before.

I met someone I used to work with in Humberside County Council, and rested my insect bitten leg in the famous windmill whilst chatting to a very green volunteer who will pass on our leaflets. I spoke at length to a man on a roof and a man with a dog; a mother and son and cat in their farm yard who looked like a scene from a painting by Hopper; a man who said David Davis never replied to his letter about the local travellers; a woman who has decided she is too old to drive but still keeps her car in the garage under sheets and goes to sit in it sometimes. She decided to put up our poster in her window. One family almost slammed the door in my face - and then mentioned they’d already voted – for us!


Donations to the campaign fund can be made using the bank details at bottom.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Getting up steam in Little Weighton

We moved on to Little Weighton Steam Fair where, amidst clouds of smoke and tunes from Mary Poppins played on a steam organ , we chatted to people drinking tea or beer. One 5 year old asked, ‘what party are you going to?’ When I explained that a ‘party’ is a group of people who have ideas about how to make things better, he wanted to know where the others were. I pointed to Clive, Martin and Bill. He then asked, ‘ so what are your ideas?’ I explained about oil running out and he suggested bikes and horses. What unerring logic kids have - particularly before they get old enough to get caught up in the mating game! My previous research with 100s of kids shows that the younger they are the greener they are.

Some people just feel fed up with politics in general and don’t want to vote at all, and who can blame them when they have been betrayed so often. When told that politicians are just in it for the money I explained that I’m definitely not. To prove it, if I am elected - about which I’m feeling more and more optimistic - I undertake to give half my salary to the Green Party. I’m in it because I can’t bear to think about what’s going to happen to people, and other species, in the future.

North Cave Car Boot? They want CHANGE!

Another fine day we’ve had! We zoomed off like the Trumpton Fire Brigade to North Cave car boot sale - where we found lots of Green-minded people. Women in particular seem to understand the dire situation the old parties have got us into and the desperate need for change. People want local decision making, they are sick of being conned by politicians who don’t practise what they preach, they know the Iraq war was about oil, they know we are all being exploited by government backing big business, and they want it to stop.

They can also see that with only one of the lame old parties standing in this election the Greens have a chance to make their ideas clear and to get plenty of votes, so lots of people said they would vote for us because THEY WANT CHANGE.