_Newsnight_ local election special — Green Party on the up!

                    Theres a great sequence from Michael Crick on last night’s Newsnight:
It starts with them saying there’s apparently sign of the election in Reading;
then they find the Tories, who meet an ex-Tory voter who doesn’t like Cameron, because he’s too privileged;
then they go around with Labour, who talks to somone who won’t vote for them, they try to argue for local issues but the bloke wants to use his vote to give ‘Brown a kicking’;
then they go round with the Lib Dems, who try to persuade somone to vote for him — she says No: ‘I’m making a statement and voting Green’. (The LibDem admits in his ‘pitch’ speech that the Green Party may well break through onto Reading Council, tomorrow.)
They said the only posters they could find were ours, Vote Green Party!
You can see it at
Click on Labour Battle for Reading
or http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7372441.stm
or someone has put it on you tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG-m1yjpJqE
Newsnight didn’t go looking for the Green Party at all — …but they sure as hell found us!


From the Green Party

Observer backs
Siân 1, Ken 2 vote

In an historic first, the Observer has backed a Siân 1, Ken 2 vote on Thursday, the first time the party has had a broadsheet backing our election campaign:

“The party has already used its toehold on the London Assembly to wring green concessions worth millions of pounds out of the mayoral budget.

“A respectable score for Ms Berry, an intelligent and articulate advocate of her cause, would send a clear signal to whoever wins the mayoralty that London cares about environmental policy. It would also deprive the British National Party of fourth place, a small but notable step towards the mainstream.”

Read the Observer leader

Greens best for business, say FSB

The Federation of Small Businesses’ London Policy Unit has praised Siân Berry’s policies as the most sympathetic to the needs of small enterprise in London.

In a mailing to all of the FSB’s members in the capital, the Federation says:

“There is a strong case for saying that the Green candidate Siân Berry is most ‘on message’ with what we are saying, followed by Boris Johnson for the Conservatives, with Lib Dem Brian Paddick trailing in third place ahead of current Mayor Ken Livingstone.”

Meanwhile, Siân has also launched Greens Mean Business, a website promoting Green businesses – showing she is ready to help make business greener is whatever practical ways she can.

FSB story
Greens mean Business launch

Green councillors will press for warm, affordable homes

Greens don’t just want homes to be greener – they also want them to be available to everyone for rent at prices that everyone can afford.

That’s why Peter Tatchell launched our warm, affordable homes policy on Friday, in Oxford, where he will be standing for parliament.

Green councillors are already leading the way on housing, in towns like Morpeth, where Greens have secured £200,000 for affordable housing, and Kirklees, where Greens have secured £143 million dedicated to bringing council housing up to a decent standard.

Read more about Greens and warm affordable homes

Find out about your local Green candidates

If you haven’t already found out, you can check our full candidate list at VoteGreenParty.org.uk

You can also watch our election video and other videos from the local campaign, and read about our key policy ideas for councils, like free insulation, free school meals and safer streets.

Join today
Donate - help us win
Get involved

Published and promoted by Jim Killock for the Green Party, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

Apology – Judith Lubbock

On Sunday 20 April 2008 an article was posted on this blog entitled “Judith Lubbock perjures herself again.”

Mrs. Lubbock has since contacted me to confirm that she has never perjured herself and requested I publish an apology for making such an allegation.

In the circumstances I am happy to confirm that it was wrong of me to falsely state that Mrs. Lubbock had perjured herself and I apologise unreservedly for making this allegation.

Cllr. Rupert Read.

One week til May 2!

I.e. Til the day after Polling Day… By which time to results will be in, the dice cast…

In terms of what will happen on election night (and some counts will go on during the following Friday[May 2]): I will be experimenting this year with communicating the results of key contests involving Greens across the Region (plus selected key results from around the country) as they emerge, directly. I will be doing this via ‘Twitter’, my new frequently-updated, mobile-phone-

based MICRO-BLOG, at http://twitter.com/RupertRead . IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE THESE UPDATES (on your computer or on your mobile), THEN GO TO THIS SITE NOW AND SIGN UP to ‘follow’ updates from me.

Covering Israel-Palestine – The BBC’s Double Standards

[Another excellent piece here from the people at Medialens, covering what
was an abysmally unbalanced piece of reporting from the BBC, where they
really missed the story, in their anxiety not to offend the Israeli embassy
and apologists for Israel in general who mount an effective 'media flak'
operation — including even targetting this blog!]

_An Exchange With The BBC's Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen_
The media reported last week that at least 22 people, including five
Palestinian children, had been killed during Israeli 'incursions' into Gaza.
The Israeli military 'operations' were 'sparked' by a Hamas ambush that had
left three Israeli soldiers dead. Reporting followed the usual script that
Israel's state-of-the-art weaponry is deployed as 'retaliation' for
'militant' Palestinian attacks.
The latest deaths followed the killing in early March of over 120
Palestinians under a massive Israeli assault on Gaza. (See our Media Alerts:
'Israel's Illegal Assault on the Gaza "Prison"', March 3, 2008,

http://www.medialens.org/alerts/08/080303_israels_illegal_assault.php; and
'Israeli Deaths Matter More', March 11, 2008,

One of last week's dead was a Reuters cameraman, a 23-year-old Palestinian,
killed by a shell fired from an Israeli tank he was filming. Few details
emerged of the other numerous victims of Israeli violence.
Media Lens emailed Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East editor:
"In the BBC's recent reports about the violence in Gaza, the only victim of
Israeli firepower that I can recall the BBC naming is Fadel Shana, the
Reuters cameraman.
"As you know, 22 people were killed, 5 of whom were children. Why are their
names not provided by the BBC? Where are the further details that tell us
something about them as individuals? Where are the interviews with their
grieving families?
"If logistical problems make it difficult to do this, shouldn't you explain
this clearly and prominently to your audience?
"Surely if 5 Israeli children had been killed, the BBC's news coverage
would have been significantly different." (Email, April 17, 2008)
Bowen responded on the same day:
To read the rest of this media alert, please go to:

Another reason why 20’s plenty

As I have argued in several previous posts, 20mph limits in residential
areas [which is Green Party policy] would _reduce_ carbon emissions,
because they would incentivise walking and cycling, the main barrier to
increases in which is fears over safety.
Furthermore, however, there is an additional crucial argument in favour
of 20mph limits:
Most cars hitting 30mph in residential areas will be doing so through
fast acceleration and deceleration, which is highly inefficient
fuel-wise. The argument in favour of 30mph rather than 20mph limits is
predicated upon tests of fuel-consumption WHEN DRIVING AT A CONSTANT
SPEED. But constant driving at 30mph in residential areas is very rare
[and when it happens, is rarely safe!]. Constant driving at 20mph is far
more plausible – and less fuel-inefficient than rapid acceleration and

Rupert Read
Green Party Councillor, Norwich, and Lead Candidate for Eastern Region for the Greens in the 2009 Euro-elections. Why not try my new BLOG, 'Rupert's Read': http://rupertsread.blogspot.com

See also www.oneworldcolumn.org [for my regular op-ed journalism]
I TWITTER. DO YOU? Check out my new frequently-updated, mobile-phone-based MICRO-BLOG, at http://twitter.com/RupertRead

Open letter to Carl Mayhew

Dear Carl;
   I always appreciated your independence of mind, while you were on Norwich City Council. It was good to see you not always following the LibDem Party line. Sometimes indeed voting with us while all the rest of your Group voted against us.
  That made it all the more disappointing to read your ill-advised letter in yesterday’s Evening News. In your letter, you accused us of having a pact with Labour, here in Norwich.
   When I read that, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to vomit. The idea that I would be seeking a pact with the Party [i.e. Labour] who for the last several months have been attacking me (as Transport Spokesperson for the Norwich Green Party) in my ward so maliciously and misleadingly that we are taking legal advice on how best to respond is laughable.
   And what was your evidence, Carl, for this alleged ‘pact’? Your evidence was the mutual endorsements for 2nd preferences between Ken Livingstone and [Green Mayoral candidate] Sian Berry in London. Combined with the fact that I had expressed my support for those mutual endorsements for 2nd preferences, so as to avoid the nightmare scenario (to which the LibDems seem dangerously indifferent) of Boris Johnson winning the London Mayoral race. [See blog posts from earlier this month.]
  Pretty tenuous evidence. But, of course, it quickly disintegrates into being no evidence at all, as soon as one realises that the electoral system in London is different from that in Norwich. In the London Mayoral race, voters have a second preference. Here, they don’t.
  So, there is no pact at all between Labour and Greens, even in London. All that Ken and Sian are doing is suggesting to their supporters that they trade 2nd preference votes,in order to keep Boris out. (I thought LibDems were supposed to like electoral systems that made things like that — proportional representation etc. — possible?!)
  So, Carl, we face the following unavoidable question: …Either you are ignorant of the electoral system in London — very unlikely (And, if you are ignorant of the London electoral system, then what the hell are you doing writing into the Evening News about it??).
  …Or, you knew that what you were writing in your letter was systematically and deliberately misleading. Sadly, that seems much the more likely.
  What a shame, Carl, that your last act as a Councillor (N.B. Your standing down has made it far more likely that Labour will win Mile Cross this year — maybe YOU are in a secret pact with Labour?!) should be to launch such a scurrilous and fake attack on the Green Party, pretending that we are in a pact with Labour, when nothing could be further from the truth.
  All this brings back with a strange sense of deja vu unpleasant memories of last year’s erroneous claims by the LibDems (especially by Judith Lubbock) of there being… a pact between the Greens and Labour. See http://theonlygreenroom.blogspot.com/2007/06/lib-dems-leaflet-rift-set-to-deepen.html for a reminder of Hereward Cooke’s apology to us last year for wrong claims in LibDem election literature that there was a Green-Labour pact in Norwich. Surely, Carl, we don’t have to go through all this nonsense again? Do you want to end up forcing Brian Watkins [new LibDem Leader in Norwich] to make another apology in the Council Chamber, when your foolish words in the newspaper are shown up for the nonsense they are, as I have been showing them to be, here?
[Interesting fact: the LibDems and Labour have voted together in Norwich City Council during the last year more often than either Party has voted together with the Green Party… Ought we to conclude, Carl, that there is in fact a LibDem-Labour pact in Norwich?!]
Carl; you are better than this.
One of the reasons I admired you as a Councillor was your staunch support for decent treatment for non-human animals. This is an area where I agree with you 100%, and always have done – it is a key reason why I left the LibDems…. Carl, I wish you would consider the truth: That it is impossible to be in a Party that advocates neo-liberal economics (as your Party does), and actually achieve justice for non-human animals. Free trade rules etc. kill animals — look at what has happened to dolphin and tuna, for instance, under the kind of trade rules that LibDems welcome. [See e.g. http://www.coastalpost.com/95/12/1.htm . And here are some interesting posts on the intimate connection between neoliberalism and animal suffering: http://www.geocities.com/wmids_animalaction/jonny-ablewhite-july06.html  http://www.uta.edu/huma/agger/fastcapitalism/2_2/boggs.html ]
You will have gathered, Carl, that I am singularly unimpressed with your letter published in the Evening News yesterday. But I am impressed with you. And I believe that the things that you believe in can come to fruition… if you join us! I’ll forgive you for falling in with those tempting LibDem ways of being utterly unscrupulous in an election campaign, if you vow to give them up, and come and join with us in the Green Party in working for a better future for all the creatures of this Earth.
There are now three (and probably more) former LibDem Councillors in Norwich who are backing the Green Party. Two of them, in fact, have joined us as members.
I wish you would do the same, Carl. And then we could forget about this whole sorry episode, and move on, together, on the same side.
The Green Party is the Party of the future. It was a long painful journey for me to realise that — after I had spent 18 years working for the LibDems. I urge you, Carl, to think whether you really want to be in a Party whose main characteristics are opportunism and dirty tricks — or in a clean and honest Party that actually has a chance of safeguarding the future of humans and animals alike.
The future’s bright: the future’s GREEN…
    Come on board, Carl! And all will be forgiven…
 Best wishes;

More on the ‘congestion charge’ scam – Comments from the Norfolk and Norwich Transport Action Group

Here are the first reactions of Denise Carlo, spokesperson for NNTAG, to the County Council’s predictable yet still-appalling announcement today on their latestefforts to con the taxpayer out of money so as to fund their NDR project:

Denise said:

– Norfolk County Council never had any intention of introducing road pricing. Their intention from the outset was to use Government money for a road pricing study to do further work on the NDR. They should pay back the £250,000 study cost to central Government.

–  traffic in the city centre has fallen and conditions for pedestrians and bus users has improved as a result of the traffic management, bus, pedestrian and cycle improvements along St Stephens, Castle Meadow and Prince of Wales Road. We need more modest schemes of this kind and not an expensive road.  

– the early release of the report a month before the Cabinet meeting on 19 May is transparent political electioneering aimed at influencing the local elections on 1 May.   

– it’s a bit rich to say that because a pricing scheme wouldn’t generate that much revenue, building the NDR at a cost of _£116m_ is better value!

   p.s. Here is the EDP’s article on this matter, this morning: