@ColcGreenParty My recent Colchester visit to support the Green Party election effort there

Me with some of the Green Party candidates standing in the County Council elections in Colchester, last weekend.

Rupert Read
Green Party East of England Co-ordinator.
[If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob AT gmail.com]
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The Grand National – why it just isn’t fun any more

As the Grand National approaches tomorrow, we’ve already had one death at Aintree, this year: http://metro.co.uk/2013/04/05/battlefront-death-at-aintree-shows-organisers-have-grand-national-meeting-safety-badly-wrong-3584482/. The macabre ‘betting slip’ above, drawn up as a reality-check by smart opponents of the race to illustrate the nature of the problem here, is in that sense, sadly, already out of date. (If you had your money on the 4-1 outsider, you’ve already lost…)
Despite ‘the National’ being part of our annual life when I was growing up, I won’t be betting on any horses or taking time out of my weekend to watch it.
So why the opposition? There will be activists from the Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe (FAACE) protesting outside Aintree station to raise awareness of the number of fatalities of horses in the race.
The thing is: it is one thing for humans to take part in a risky sport, if they choose to. It is quite another to subject animals who have no choice in the matter to even greater risks.
It is just wrong, it just ain’t fair, to gamble with horses’ lives every year in this way.
It’s time for the Grand National to fade out, and for jump-horse-racing to be put on hold.

Green Party Leader in Norfolk as Foodbank Braces for Effects of Cuts

The new leader of the Green Party in England and Wales Natalie Bennett will be visiting Norwich tomorrow (Friday April 5th) to launch campaigning for the county council elections next month.
She’ll be visiting Norwich Foodbank to highlight the impacts of recent welfare cuts and find out why the foodbank expects a huge rise in people needing emergency food supplies.
Ms Bennett said: “I’m visiting Norwich Foodbank to highlight widening inequality. On Saturday we will see a £100,000 tax break to UK millionaires, while this week’s cuts hit struggling families and those receiving benefits the hardest.”
A key element of the Green Party platform for the forthcoming county council elections will be protecting services for vulnerable people. Norfolk has six Green county councillors, more than any other county in the country. At the county council budget meeting in February, the Green Party tabled an amendment to protect social care funding and mental health services.
City Councillor Lucy Howard said: “Here in Norwich the recent cuts will result in a rise in the use of food banks by families plunged into poverty. The cuts will worsen child poverty, which in certain wards in Norwich is already very high: in Mile Cross 40 per cent of children live in poverty, as do 37 per cent in Wensum  and 36 per cent in Mancroft.”
Norwich food bank has seen many local families referred to them by care agencies every week. Over 1,000 local children have been helped by their foodboxes in the last six months. 
Natalie will be accompanied by Dr Rupert Read, the east of England Green Party lead candidate for the next European Elections. They’ll meet Project Manager Grant Habershon who will explain how Norwich food bank gave three days of food to 5,500 local people last year and that they expect that number to increase to over 8,000 local people this year. Mr Habershon told the Green Party that he expects the recent benefit changes, coupled with the current economic conditions, where wages and benefits are static and essentials such as food and energy prices are rising, to increase the need for food banks.
Natalie Bennett and Rupert Read will be donating food to the Norwich food bank with local Green Party members. They will be available for photographs and interviews at 12:30 to 1.30pm on Friday 5th April at Norwich Foodbank, Henderson Business
Centre, 51 Ivy Road, Norwich NR5 8BF.