Thursday, November 4, 2010
This new regime proposed by the Con Dems, puts UK education amongst the most expensive in the world whereas the Green Party wants to see education free including at university level, and to fund it by tax changes for those on 100k and over, among other changes.
At least £20K for fees over 3 years, plus a similar amount for accommodation and living expenses, will be hanging over most graduates for a good deal of their working lives, and may have to be paid back at the rate of £2,000 plus over 30 years - much like a mortgage. Many young people would feel intimidated by this prospect and the total number of students is likely to fall. If a graduate who was in employment later lost his/her job, the debt would remain on the books and actually increase as there is an interest charge, so that if the graduate returns to employment in a job earning more than £21,000 pa, s/ he will stand to pay back the added charge in the long run.
The position of the very poorest students was better covered, but the implication for those just above the bread line would be serious . Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have made the economic argument that these changes are necessary and "progressive", but the changes are going to hurt and there will be political repercussions, if not on the scale of the derided poll tax, but widely and permanently. The shift from state responsibility for the costs of higher education on to the shoulders of the individual is going to be profound. with thanks for commentary from Peter Reeve.
Friday, May 28, 2010
It became quite clear as we approached polling day that people were going to vote tactically. Many people said to us, apologetically, that although they wanted to vote Green, they would in fact be voting Lib Dem or Labour because they wanted rid of the Tories and they wanted proportional representation. Even the far right wing parties did better than the Greens because those voters are typically less reflective and so tend not to vote tactically.
Knowing that we could not win this time in this very conservative area, a lot of the energies of the local party were focussed on supporting the Greens' campaign in Brighton Pavilion – where, at 6am on May 7th, Caroline Lucas was elected Britain's first Green MP . She is the first Green MP worldwide to have been elected under a first-past-the-post system: a spectacular achievement. There are of course, many Greens in government in other countries, as well as in the European Parliament. In the UK, Greens are in the Scottish Parliament, London Assembly, on many councils – and, at last, in Westminster!
So thank you to all those who voted for a fairer world (whichever box you put your cross in). The next job for us all is to push for a fairer electoral system which will make every vote count, so that people can vote from the heart, and the real issues can come to the fore and be addressed in the interests of people and planet instead of in the interests of corporations and the very rich.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
and 'ERYC leads where Cameron will follow' (referring to the grotesque discretionary early retirement pension fund payment for a senior officer of East Riding of Yorks Council)
Saturday, May 1, 2010
'Call for apology follows market confrontation
A ROW has broken out between a clergyman and former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis after a confrontation at a market place.
Father Oliver Coss has called for an apology after a confrontation with Mr Davis in Cottingham market as he tried to persuade him to take part in a hustings event he was organising.
But Mr Davis, who is campaigning to regain his Haltemprice and Howden seat, insists that during the exchange he was "firm but polite" and dismissed the incident as a "storm in a teacup".
Mr Coss, assistant curate of St Mary's Church, Cottingham, approached Mr Davis at the market along with Father Paul Smith, the Rector, after being told the politician was unable to attend Sunday's event, and said they were "astonished" by his response.
Mr Coss, who said he was a Tory voter but would be rethinking, said the meeting turned into "a deeply confrontational episode in front of our parishioners".
Now Mr Coss has written about it on social networking site Facebook where he said: "I want nothing more than an apology and this hustings to take place without any further unpleasantness".
But Mr Davis denied allegations he was rude. He said he already had campaign commitments when he received a written invitation the day before the encounter, and said a call received by a secretary several days earlier had not been passed on to him.
"I had no intention to be rude to anyone," he said.'
This has become a pattern. In the 2008 byelection the Tory campaign team used the same excuse (communications mix-up) to explain Mr Davis's refusal to engage with me on the civil liberties issue. What is he worried about?
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Great day today - Beverley, Saturday Market, Butter Cross. We thought how little this spot is used when it could be a wonderful stage for street theatre etc. Just shows how much our community needs enlivening. More trading of locally grown food needed too.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The Tory MP, Graham Stuart, on the other hand, said that if the Tories get into government at the coming election, he hopes the anti-hunting law will be repealed - so that this bloodthirsty 'sport' can resume. Mr Stuart spoke of retaining the 'freedom' to indulge in hunting foxes. The Greens' view is that we certainly want to retain our freedoms, but that archaic customs such as hunting and killing animals with dogs should no longer be seen as acceptable behaviour. Barbarity towards animals supports and encourages barbarity towards human beings.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Nearing town, the first thing I noticed was the huge carpark in a field. I later discovered it's for the Press Association. As its quite a step back to the station, I decided I'd better first find out train times and was told Shire Hall was my best bet for tourist information - but - Shire Hall is closed on mondays and tuesdays. So where could I get information? This search gave me insight into the kindliness of people in Howden: the owners of the Minster View Hotel found me a train timetable, the landlord of the Wellington Hotel let me use his computer to try to check current train times (not easy!), and one of the post office staff found me an up to date timetable. I bought a meaty little magazine - Howden Matters - and chatted with the owners of various hostelries and shops. Some were angry about East Riding Council drawing yellow lines on the road and fining people for parking...but, to be fair (and I'm no admirer of ERYC), others felt it wasn't such an issue. Cars! It was nice to be free of one.
Having spent monday evening at a meeting in Hornsea of small traders trying to develop survival strategies for the arrival of Tesco, I do feel Howden is very lucky to have the ethical Co-operative and not to be dominated by the big-bully supermarkets. There are some great little shops in Howden - including butchers, deli, homecare - long may they thrive.
I spent a really pleasant afternoon in historic Howden and hope to return soon - thanks for the friendly welcome!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
The afternoon proved how caring young people can be, so it’s worrying that, in my experience, many young people don’t vote at all, often saying they know nothing about it. This allows the ‘grey’ parties (and the far right parties) to win seats because many older people seem to vote out of habit - or protest. It’s often younger people who want sensible fair Green politics, but who don’t vote…so its easy to see why we don’t get the positive change we so desperately need.
So, I’m inviting colleges and schools to please hold hustings (a meeting with questions to a panel of politicians) in the run-up to the general election. There was a Green landslide vote at Wolfreton School hustings (see below) : when people hear Green policies they like them. If you know a school or college (or, for that matter, any group at all) which is looking for a Green speaker, or a Green panellist for a hustings, do please get in touch with us.
I was delighted to be invited to Wolfreton School recently to participate in a political hustings in the run-up to the General Election. The audience was the whole of Year 10 and some sixth form politics students. The venue was the lecture theatre with adult politicians stage left and student politicians stage right. The adults represented Labour, Lib Dems, Conservatives, and myself for the Greens. The students represented Labour, UKIP, Green, BNP, Tory and Lib Dem. Tom (aged 13) also spoke as a member of the UK Youth Parliament. The politicians, young and old, described their policies, and questions followed.
Natalie and I gave the message that Green is the only way out of the recession. We can afford our policies because we would cut out the massive UK spending on ‘defence’. We would create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in agriculture, house refurbishment, insulation, public transport, and new energy technologies.
The audience voted and the result was a LANDSLIDE vote for the Greens!
Young people invariably believe in Green policies, but if they don’t vote (when they can), the older voters put in the OLD outdated parties and we get old outdated policies to keep us in the same old mess.
Many thanks for the event, Mr Richardson – if only more schools would do this….well done Wolfreton!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
A bit of multi-tasking here: we wanted to do some campaigning, and needed to take some pics for our General Election Freepost leaflet, so invited passers by to join us and choose a poster to be seen with - we really enjoyed it despite the rain. The dogs were camera-shy.
Imagine the old parties doing this - would they get people to stand by them with posters saying, 'Let's buy a new Trident missile' or 'Privatise the NHS' or 'Support Big Corporations' or 'Send more soldiers to war'?!!!
It's good being Green because our policies make sense.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I sent this to the BBC 'send us a story' site today:
The Greens take issue with the Tories’ elitist approach to teaching and learning. Tories, typically, would assume that a good teacher is a commodity: they can be ‘made’ and ‘bought’.
The assumption that more pay will attract ‘the best’ teachers is also at fault - but this is the attitude we would expect from the Tories. A committed teacher will not be ‘bought’.
What the Tories, and the other ‘grey’ parties fail to understand, is that the aims of ‘education’ need a fundamental rethink. It’s not ‘bad’ or ‘good’ teachers that are the issue, but outdated assumptions underpinning our education system. The Greens advocate education which develops the whole child: learning to be, to do, to know and to live together (as recommended by UNESCO), rather than the ‘jumping through hoops’ style of education which we have all become used to and which causes such havoc.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I sent this letter to the Beverley Guardian today....
East Riding residents say the icy roads and pavements are a disgrace. Driffield, for example, has been even worse than Beverley. I've spoken to officers of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) and they say they treat 38% of the road network on a precautionary basis and an additional 12% on a ‘responsive’ basis, but little or no funding is allocated for cul-de-sacs or pavements. Meanwhile the injuries are mounting - along with all their pain, cost and inconvenience. A&E in
The ice issue is yet another example of ERYC’s poor record in deciding on sensible and humane priorities. ERYC seems to have priorities other than residents' welfare and safety - or surely there would be plans in place for emergency situations such as this? It should be a priority to enable people to get out of their houses. There's job potential too. Plenty of people would have been pleased with some seasonal paid work clearing smaller footpaths. Maybe there is a lack of ‘special vehicles’, or maybe health and safety regulation is being allowed to get in the way of common sense? Whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for leaving residents trapped at home or risking serious injury by going out. It’s the Council’s job to sort this.
But it’s a political decision - and ERYC is Tory-dominated. Do we want to see more neglect of public service and cost-cutting in the future? It’s ironic in this context that Graham Stuart (Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness) talks of care of those who are ‘elderly, frail or lonely’ – the very people who have been frozen into their homes. Green politicians, whether on local councils, in
Let’s have more sense and fairness instead of hidebound political thinking in pursuit of ‘targets’…and empty rhetoric.
Sincerely, Shan Oakes Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for