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Friday, 23 June 2017

FED is DEAD... Renewables give new life...



  • Fuel Element Debris (FED) Dissolution ended 17th June 2017
  • Government fined £100 million - Taxpayers foot bill

  • Of course, the headline reflects the relief that the process of FED Dissolution at Bradwell has finished yet also effectively leaves a bitter ‘taste’ of potentially radioactive sludge in the Blackwater estuary. This was just one of the significant items of news from the latest Local Community Liaison Committee (LCLC) meetings held Wednesday 21st June 2017 attended by members of BANNG, West Mersea Town Councillors, representatives from other local councils and, notably, Cllr Paul Smith, leader of Colchester Borough Council.

    Historically the LCLC meetings have always been relatively inconclusive with an apparent defensive response from questions raised by attendees. This time the atmosphere was tangibly different, presentations celebrated progress made rather than delivered with an air of concealment and, significantly, questions raised from the floor were answered with a clarity and detail that hitherto had been absent.

    After the usual opening formalities new site closure director Bob Nichols (Bob) was introduced and he proceeded to deliver his report. Within this the news on FED was made and it was clear that there is a palpable sense of relief that all FED has now left the site. A total of 1000 batches of FED waste were processed through the dissolution plant, 140 tonnes were classified as Low Level Waste (LLW) and sent to Drigg whilst 65 tonnes were classified as Intermediate Level Waste (ILW).

    Additionally, other concerns raised in the December 2016 LCLC about site security once in Care & Maintenance (C&M) were also allayed along with one of my specific requests to carry out a ‘dry run’ of the movement of Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) containers from Southminster to the ILW store. To date 134 Bradwell ILW packages have been completed out of an expected final total of 146 Bradwell packages to go into the store. The inbound shipments from Dungeness and Sizewell are expected to start arriving in September of 2 shipments per month of 3 containers each.

    With the Bradwell site decommissioning progress the phrase “Lead and Learn” was quoted a few times as, essentially, work at Bradwell leads the way and this information will be shared to aid the work on the other 11 Magnox sites. Technically the whole site has been sub-divided into 20 areas including sections such as earth mounds outside the current perimeter fence (Area 9) where some contamination was found from a pre 2002 leak from a drain. Utilising this zoning process will result in the development of a knowledge base that will be held for future technicians to consult when the final dismantling takes place around the year 2100. Does my daisy look big in this?!!

    With the substantial progress made Reactor 1 will be C&M ready by October this year and, subject to Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) inspection, fully in C&M by 2018 with Reactor 2 following 6-9 months later. 62 buildings have been removed since April 2016 and large quantities of asbestos disposed of from the reactor buildings. The issue of the type of cladding was tackled within Bob’s report and has the highest fire resistance rating making it clearly different from the type used around Grenfell Tower.

     Bob suggested that, in his unofficial view, security guards should be employed but, as yet, that is not confirmed, He did confirm there will be some staff (I hesitat to use the description ‘skeleton staff’!) remaining on site.

    It should be noted that seismic activity was included twice in the talk.

    During questioning Bob confirmed the concrete bases supporting the remaining boilers are undergoing major structural strengthening. He also confirmed the FED Dissolution plant will be dismantled over the next 4-6 months once its components have been decontaminated. The pipework will still be used to discharge rainfall.

    Next up was Jonathan from the NDA who gave more background into the monumental bungle the government over awarding the contract to Cavendish Fluor. Whilst he reinforced assurances that this will not happen again and the setting up of an enquiry lead by former National Grid’s Steve Holliday the fact is the taxpayer will be paying £100 million pounds. This is yet another sum to be added onto the true cost of Nuclear Power, the most subsidised form of electricity generation (pause to imitate Jeremy Clarkson) “In The World”.

    This section was a bit gloomy but Jonathan both answered questions comprehensively and has offered to be a contact within the NDA to find the best person to forward subsequent enquiries to.

    The Environment Agency Phil Heaton’s turn followed who gave no substantive new information or data. I questioned him about the Track of the Port of London Authority survey vessel which he knew nothing about, however, a Magnox member of staff answered that it had been employed to check seabed scouring.

    This was followed by a presentation from Simon Napper from the relatively newly formed Radioactive Waste Management, part of the NDA. This included a comprehensive image of the process of developing a final repository for the full range of existing radioactive waste. Professor Andy Blowers was mentioned and praised as one of the contributors to the overall plan.

    Simon handed over to a colleague and, despite the massive importance of this project, his unscripted talk rambled on and on to such an extent that the plot became more like a script from ‘Yes Minister’ where I imagined Sir Humphrey attempting to explain to Jim Hacker the need to have a consultation period on a forthcoming consultation yet be unable to specify costs because how could one estimate something that hadn’t happened yet! I think this was the low point as it is clearly so critical to move forward in having a definite plan to deal with waste.

    Overall I would conclude that this LCLC marked a turning point. Whilst there were only crumbs to glean about Bradwell B at least we know that the Blackwater Estuary will no longer receive radioactive pollutants and that the site will be more robustly secured once in C&M. However, there is still the issue of intermediate level waste within the graphite cores still in-situ.

    A closing paradoxical thought is that Bob mentioned that Magnox will never release FED dissolution effluent into the wild again, confirming fears that it should never have happened. This demonstrates that BANNG and companion protesters were right all along.

    Now there is ONLY one way to avoid future radioactive deposits being released into the Blackwater estuary and that is to prevent Bradwell B ever being built...

    P

    Tuesday, 20 June 2017

    The Rubber Wellies - Pirate Song #TunesDay


    Went to see The Rubber Wellies recently at the rather wonderful Folk at the Froize, a monthly or so event in darkest Suffolk which combines live music and delicious food, what could be better?!

    I first caught the Wellies at the Greenbelt Festival, at which they will be appearing this year too, and I was hooked. Their song lyrics' apparent charm often camouflage hard hitting social justice messages and therefore their appeal is on multiple levels. The musicianship and relaxed stagecraft is impeccable and ideal for the intimate venue the Froize provides.

    I strongly recommend you catch them before they become a distant spec on a massive stage!

    P

    Wednesday, 7 June 2017

    One more sleep...




    No vote is wasted, ever. And a vote for the Green Party really counts. Furthermore in this General Election there is the exciting prospect of returning more Green MPs to join the outstanding Green figurehead Caroline Lucas who has served her Brighton Pavilion constituency as the sole Green Party Member of Parliament since 2010.

    The Green Party comes under unjust criticism from people that are either entrenched in a pre-conceived view or those that have clearly not investigated the manifesto and the policies it covers. I candidly admit there is an unfortunate (and incorrect) image of the Green Party membership that we are all tree hugging vegans who want to return to more primitive times. The big irony is that the Green Party is actually the ONLY political party that has the clearest objective to protect our planet from us all being forced back to earlier times by the onset of irreversible climate change.

    I encourage you to check out your Green Party Parliamentary candidate and if you're local to me then please get out tomorrow and vote for Blake Roberts our outstanding candidate for the Harwich and North Essex constituency.

    P

    Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Thursday Thoughts 11th May...

    So there are just four weeks left to the General Election and new Manifestos are appearing (or leaking) today. Regardless here are a couple of thoughts to peruse that have caught my eyes and ears this week:

    The inimitable Robert Llewellyn ranting about negatives and positives to do with the election, world politics, dieselgate and exciting developments in the renewable industries. Favourite line: "Let's burn coal and make children sweep the chimneys"!


    The brilliant Caroline Lucas visits the Isle of Wight (I might have said that's where I was born and bred?!) to support the Green Party candidate, Vix Lowthion, in her campaign to take the seat from the Tories.

    And, finally... an incredible programme recently shown on the BBC "Bronx to Bradford: Friars on a mission". Sadly it's only available for a couple more days, it's so good I recommend coughing up a quid or two to purchase a download when it becomes available. It matters not whether you are a person of faith, this is touching, authentic, gut-wrenching and incredibly uplifting...

    P

    Monday, 8 May 2017

    Where do we Go Green from here?


    So having just worked up to the County Council Elections we now find ourselves hurtling toward the big one, General Election 2017 (hashtag GE2017!). With our sole defence of the Green Party seat in Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas has worked tirelessly to both be a fantastic MP as well as a figurehead for the Green Party. So what are the options?

    Progressive Alliance...
    This seeks to make deals with the other progressive, left leaning parties to step aside if this represents the best prospect to take a seat from the Conservatives. This needs to be able to work both ways on an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back" basis. This worked brilliantly for the Richmond Park bi-election when the Greens actively canvassed for Sarah Olney of the Liberal Democrats who then defeated Zac Goldsmith (albeit an independent candidate by then having abdicated his Tory seat). Similarly The Lib Dems are not standing against Caroline Lucas. However, this principle is fraught with risk and the potential for one party to renege after the other has given way is ominous. The very latest is this is not going to be Green Party policy this election.

    Shifting Sideways...
    One of the prominent Green European MEPs, Molly Scott-Cato, is moving across to stand as an MP for Bristol West. Whilst her reputation precedes her and she has a highly visible public profile she is standing against a female Labour MP who turned in a 5,763 majority in 2015. Another example is former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett who will now be standing for the Sheffield Central constituency.

    Location, Location, Location...
    I have to claim a particular interest in this approach! I am proud to have been born and bred on the Isle of Wight where the Green Party candidate for the island constituency is Vix Lowthion. She secured 13.4% of the vote in the 2015 General Election but that was then behind the now spent force of UKIP (21.2%) and the recently disgraced Tory MP. Furthermore she is riding on the crest of a huge increase in support for the Island's Greens in the recent county elections along with the justifiable anger about the potential of Fracking sites on the garden isle.

    Keeping it Local...
    I am delighted that our Colchester and District Green Party able to field two candidates as two constituencies cross our patch. Mark Goacher, a relatively seasoned campaigner, stands in Colchester and one of our rising stars, Blake Roberts, stands in the Harwich and North Essex constituency (which covers Mersea Island).

    So where do we go from here?

    The very good news is that it is looking promising for Caroline Lucas to be returned to the Houses of Parliament for a further term. For some others, such as Vix and Molly, there is a real chance of gaining at least another seat.

    Locally, however, it is really tough...

    Potentially Colchester is a marginal seat as there may be a strong Lib Dem challenge from Sir Bob Russell. I think it is more likely the Conservative Will Quince will increase his majority. I think both Mark and Blake will garner enough votes to be a worthy component of the Green Party national vote and I commend them to you.

    P

    Saturday, 6 May 2017

    It's been a Hard Day's Night...

    CandidatePartyVotes%Change
    John JowersConservative252548.67%1.67%
    John AkkerIndependent105820.39%20.39%
    Bry MogridgeLabour53310.27%-5.13%
    David BroiseUKIP4749.14%-18.66%
    Jo HayesLib Dem3176.11%1.71%
    Peter BanksGreen 2815.42%0.12%
    ElectorateTurnout% Turnout
    14344518836.17%

    In fairness I'm still recovering from Polling Day for the Essex County Elections last Thursday 4th May. Despite the ignominy of trailing back in last place I do celebrate the 280 folk that care enough to vote for a vision that includes the survival of our planet beyond our own generation, thank you!

    The Greens have gained seats nationwide and we do have some promising prospects for the forthcoming general election but it seems the image of The Green Party is still seen as just a bunch of tree hugging, sandle wearing vegan hippies that want to switch the lights off...

    The trouble is I found the prejudice about the party is so deeply embedded when I chatted with voters. Many are simply not prepared to even discuss the fallacy of their perceptions and fiercely want to protect their position of one I can only describe as wilful ignorance. Equally I experienced a warmth and respect from both unexpected sources and those already in my circle of friends. Above all the heartfelt messages of support and encouragement I received yesterday cheered my spirits no end, my spark returneth!

    Now it is onward to the General Election 2017. The Colchester and District Green Party have a fantastic candidate for the Harwich and North Essex constituency in my colleague Blake Roberts who will be saying hello soon!

    Once again a HUGE thanks, you know who you are!!

    P

    Wednesday, 3 May 2017

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles...


    Whilst the film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (click for trailer) is set in the United States and the internal plane travel is not so prevalent over her in the UK there are a couple of apposite analogies to our current times.

    Firstly The Green Party vision for transport would centre on the middle option or, indeed, all local mass transport systems such as trams and buses. Within the Manifesto there is a commitment to taking the railways back into public ownership along with encouraging people to use the bus, cycle or walk locally. I remember seeing a roadside placard proclaiming "Cheap Flights - Costing the Earth" on the A120 near Stansted Airport; cutting, clever and correct!

    Early in the film, without giving a spoiler, a freak snowstorm results in all flights being cancelled. I doubt the notion of Climate Change was at the fore in the scriptwriters mind, however, it gently illustrates the power of nature over best laid plans. Of course, as signed up Green Party members we are strong on Climate Change policies which include the reduction of the Air Pollution that air flight, ships and road transport contribute. Here technology is providing some answers, as in electric vehicles, but psychologically we still need to be less wed to car ownership regardless.

    More disasters befall the two main characters, brilliantly played by Steve Martin and the late John Candy. As the story unfolds, despite their seemingly irreconcilable differences, they have to form a strategic alliance to make any sort of progress. Which neatly leads me on to the second analogy, that of co-operation between political parties.

    Since becoming involved in entry level politics I have met good, principled people of all political persuasion. Inevitably there are some that I share more values with than others. I have seen firsthand how consensus has such a positive effect on moving projects forward and the well-being of the participants.

    So I suggest parties must determine the best way of working together, whether that be in coalition or progressive alliances. Using a nod toward music let's see harmony above hostility...

    See you at the Polling Station!

    P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Douglas Cameron Banks
    Colchester and District Green Party all of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Tuesday, 2 May 2017

    It started off so well... Election Fever


    This is the election week my brain was focused on, working towards Thursday 4th May. I had a plan worked out day by day, I could see a pathway forward. But now these County Council Elections have been completely overshadowed by the snap General Election coming up next month. Of course, there were rumblings that a May / June General Election could be on the cards yet it still feels as though everyone has been caught on the hop. And the cost of having another election day not in sync with the County Elections must be yet another waste of the public purse that could be better spent elsewhere.

    So I fear the turnout this week will be derisory. Intriguingly, though, it could trigger some interesting results, possibly yielding healthier returns for those that choose to canvass diligently. Here, in my division of Mersea and Tiptree, there is a strong, independent candidate with seemingly limitless funds giving the current incumbent something to be concerned about. In contrast, my campaign, as the Colchester and District Green Party candidate, has been fiscally hampered by voluntary prudence so, instead, I have concentrated on using this blog along with other Social Media portals Twitter and Facebook.

    I stood as a candidate for the first time last year in the Colchester Borough Elections and was delighted similar literary efforts resulted in a healthy increase in votes and percentage share. I am hopeful the trend will continue again this time and will be honoured if you see fit to help achieve that goal by Voting Green!

    P


    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Douglas Cameron Banks
    Colchester and District Green Party all of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Saturday, 29 April 2017

    Embracing change for the Common Good -#MyManifesto



    #VoteGreen2017 in the Essex County Council Elections on May 4th 2017
    Download full leaflet here, folds down to A5 landscape orientation.

    P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Friday, 28 April 2017

    Being Green #MyManifesto week four


    Take me Higher - Aspiration not Austerity
    Everyone needs encouragement whether starting out or later in life. There has to be a culture in which aspiration is encouraged and nurtured [read more]

    Ban the Bombmongers...
    Tory Sir Michael Fallon's extraordinary statement declaring the UK's Nuclear arsenal is no longer considered just as a deterrent but as the possibility of a first stike... [read more]

    Stop calling us Ordinary, we're all Extraordinary!
    I know I'm not the only one who gets infuriated when politicians refer to the general public as 'Ordinary People'! How very dare politicians unilaterally decide to distinguish themselves as Extraordinary whilst implying the rest of society isn't? [read more]

    Learning not Loading - Love your Teachers
    So everyone needs to value our teachers more. Let us allow our teachers to inspire without the enormous burden of endlessly having to submit data [read more]


    and from:
    Being Green - #MyManifesto week three

    Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter
    My local rant about the weekend litter around the bins on Mersea has received more views, to date, than all the previous blogs below [read more]
    Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy  Part Two of my previous day's post as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections [read more]

    Equality not Inequality - Looking Through You
    A reaction to the news of the snap election focusing on how inequality blights this country and increases poverty [read more]

    What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss
    Celebrating the diversity of the human condition. Therefore relishing campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst [read more]


    and from:
    Being Green - #MyManifesto week two

    Welcome not Waiting - transforming finances...
    A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”! [read more]
    Homes not Houses - Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...
    It seems every hamlet, town, village and city is under pressure to accept unsustainable housing quotas. The Green vision is for the creation of affordable, energy efficient homes rather than comply with excessive, energy hungry property developments. [read more]

    Health not Wealth - Song for Nye
    We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government. [read more]

    Trust not Terror - Mersea Island beach hut fire... My short report and photographs from the morning after. I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued? [read more]


    and from:
    Being Green - #MyManifesto week one

    May the Fourth be with you...
    One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

    Travel not Traffic
    The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

    Nature not Nuclear
    Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]
    Respect not Reject
    In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

    P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Thursday, 27 April 2017

    Take me Higher - Aspiration not Austerity


    To make an idea come to life is always going to involve hard work. The ratio of inspiration to perspiration is always going to favour the latter! However, there has to be an environment in which aspiration is encouraged and nurtured.

    Ironically, sometimes the energy for embarking on a visionary project can be birthed in the very circumstances you want to leave behind. Even relative poverty can be the driver to pursue your original idea. But that should never, ever be used to justify Tory style policies of austerity.

    The Green Party is committed to building a fairer and more equitable society with policies that will give the opportunity to be aspirational:

    • Citizen's Income - where everyone has an income regardless. This actually saves taxpayer's money
    • Three Day Weekend - a vision to improve health and wellbeing - yielding more efficiency and safer productivity

    Furthermore their is a rational commitment to reducing spending on flagship, grandstanding projects:

    • NO HS2
    • NO Hinkley Point C
    • NO Trident renewal

    Let's move away from complacency and cynicism. They are the greatest hindrance to aspiration.

    And on that note it is just one week to the Essex County Council Elections, make your voice heard by voting Green!

    P

    Wednesday, 26 April 2017

    Ban the Bombmongers...



    Although I consider negative campaigning somewhat of a soft option I could not let this moment pass. A couple of days ago the so called Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today's programme stated "We have made it very clear that you can't rule out nuclear weapons as a first strike". Now this is an incredibly dangerous statement that has serious implications.

    Firstly I think it is important to recall that it was this same Michael Fallon that, on the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn to Labour Party Leader, repeated ad nauseam on news broadcasts that Mr Corbyn's dire faults included "a threat to our national security". This is because of Mr Corbyn's history with the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Ever since the criticism of the Labour Leader has been relentless in respect of his views that he would not consider pressing the nuclear button in response to a nuclear attack. Good for him!

    Secondly Parliament has been persuaded that the whole point of the Trident renewal programme is based on the premise of the UK needing a Nuclear deterrent. However, this latest statement, which included that chilling phrase "first strike", therefore means the Tory government no longer considers our nuclear arsenal as a deterrent but one of an initial attack as a Nuclear Aggressor.

    I put it to you that Sir Michael Fallon is a danger to our national security, a warmonger and, along with his cronies, is not fit to serve this country. Ban the bomb, ban the Tories and Vote Green for our National Security...

    Here endeth the Lesson

    P


    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Tuesday, 25 April 2017

    Stop calling us Ordinary, we're all Extraordinary!


    I know I'm not the only one who gets infuriated when politicians refer to the general public as 'Ordinary People'! It seems to appear during every Party Political Broadcast, quoted during interviews and used by BBC Questiontime panels. It is such an insult! How very dare politicians unilaterally decide to distinguish themselves as Extraordinary whilst implying the rest of society isn't?

    People are ALL extraordinary and, if I am to make my point completely inclusive, EVEN politicians!!!

    It is inevitable that whatever career or vocation you follow that there is a 'bubble' factor in that it takes a degree of extra effort to look beyond the boundaries you find yourself in. However, that should not be used as an excuse to continue to use inappropriate categorisations of the 'Other'.

    In the Green Party we are blessed with having such an extraordinary Member of Parliament in Caroline Lucas. If you have yet to read her book 'Honourable Friends?' then now is the perfect time before this snap General Election to see why voting Green is Extraordinary!

    P


    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Monday, 24 April 2017

    Learning not Loading - Love your Teachers


    My first proper, full time job was as a schoolteacher. I'd just left university (UEA), having struggled through my physics degree, and had not secured a job despite having run a up a sizeable debt buying my first Hammond organ. The doors of the music business were not flung wide open and I was bandless and, frankly, clueless!

    As one of the first ever Uni graduates from my old school, Gaynes School Upminster, I visited to say thanks to teaching staff and found myself promptly ushered into the headmaster's study and interrogated as to my career plans. My two cunning, alternative plans of becoming a rock music star or steam engine driver were, putting it politely, frowned upon! However, I walked out with a completely unexpected job offer.

    As it turned out it was another couple of years before it became possible for me to take the plunge into full time music. But my time in the teaching profession was formative and I loved it. It is clear to me that the job has radically changed since back then. Now there is a disproportionate onus on submitting data to faceless bureaucrats rather than being the role model that inspires the next generations.

    And teachers are given such a hard time in the press! I find the whole business of parents going to court to challenge schools about taking time out during term time astonishing... no one ever mentions the scandalous outcry that would ensue if teachers decided they should take advantage of out of season air fares?

    So everyone needs to value our teachers more. Let us allow our teachers to inspire without the enormous burden of endlessly having to submit data.

    And thanks, you certainly inspired me...

    P


    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Saturday, 22 April 2017

    Being Green - #MyManifesto week three


    Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter
    My local rant about the weekend litter around the bins on Mersea has received more views, to date, than all the previous blogs below [read more]
    Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy  Part Two of my previous day's post as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections [read more]

    Equality not Inequality - Looking Through You
    A reaction to the news of the snap election focusing on how inequality blights this country and increases poverty [read more]

    What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss
    Celebrating the diversity of the human condition. Therefore relishing campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst [read more]


    and from:
    Being Green - #MyManifesto week two

    Welcome not Waiting - transforming finances...
    A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”! [read more]
    Homes not Houses - Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...
    It seems every hamlet, town, village and city is under pressure to accept unsustainable housing quotas. The Green vision is for the creation of affordable, energy efficient homes rather than comply with excessive, energy hungry property developments. [read more]

    Health not Wealth - Song for Nye
    We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government. [read more]

    Trust not Terror - Mersea Island beach hut fire... My short report and photographs from the morning after. I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued? [read more]


    and from:
    Being Green - #MyManifesto week one

    May the Fourth be with you...
    One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

    Travel not Traffic
    The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

    Nature not Nuclear
    Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]
    Respect not Reject
    In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

    P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Friday, 21 April 2017

    Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter



    I find it very difficult to be positive about litter! So, instead, I decided to respond to plenty of online ire about the litter near me on Coast Road, signed up to be one of Colchester Borough's Litter Warriors team and get my hands (well, gloves!) dirty. Now this is not a pleasant job at all but, as the saying goes, someone needs to do it otherwise, overnight, the seagulls and foxes transform the adjacent landscape into a piece of kinetic modern art worthy of display in the turbine hall at Tate Modern (just jokin').
    I perceive there has been a cultural change in the attitudes towards litter in that there is a responsibility to want to dispose of litter but at the expense of abandoning the better practice of taking it home and, if no space left in the bin, piling it up alongside for volunteers, like yours truly, to clear up.


    I'm not sure if there is an easy answer as it seems to be that piling it up is preferable to discarding anywhere. It begs the question: would removing bins make it worse or would that force folk to take their waste home? What I can say authoritatively is that the Island's food vendors must look beyond their forecourts to see how much the bulk of their boxes, rather than simple (news)paper wrapping, causes the bins to overflow far too quickly. Show responsibility where it is clearly due, please. I must stress that West Mersea Town Council is mindful of these issues and has recently changed the process around bin emptying. This has moved responsibility onto Colchester Borough's contractors and, since that contract commenced this April, has worked well. The exception was the incredibly mild and sunny weekend a couple of weeks ago, I collected 9 bags in total, 2 on the Saturday and 7 Sunday, just from the mess around the bin at Monkey Steps and the two bins by the Boardwalk... Rant over, to be continued! P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Thursday, 20 April 2017

    Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy...


    This is a quick Part Two from my post yesterday as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections.

    The religious folk will appreciate the first part of the title above comes from the Bible (Romans chapter 12) and the section I refer to is "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". Generally a lot of religious activity is perceived as 'mindless', whether that be repeating the same words week on week or in a violent response. Yet what this is saying is contrary, start thinking differently, don't go with the status quo, refresh the grey matter...

    The second half of the title is a comment I heard from a First Nation Indigenous Native Tribal Chief living in what we call North America. The context was an interview with a tribal chief about the financial prospects within his reservation where a restriction was about to be lifted which would yield an exclusive revenue stream. The interviewer suggested that these folk would now 'become rich' and the wise response was "we've always been rich, just not wealthy". The reason it stuck with me is because of equating both the word "rich" and "wealthy" with money was a narrow perception. We can now also see to be rich can actually have a much wider meaning to do with history, culture and knowledge.

    So where am I going with this?

    I very much see the Green Party is able to fulfil and match these points because it thinks differently:

    • Whilst employment figures are needed, contentment in employment is more important.
    • National security should not be defended by an out of date (and probably faulty) nuclear deterrent but rather by, as a minimum, equipping our armed forces with appropriate protective wear and by recruiting more police.
    • Our Benefits system could be completely overhauled by implementing a Citizen's Income model.
    • Our public transport systems can be revitalised by cancelling the ridiculous HS2 project and returning services to public ownership where we can share the profits.
    • Instead of planning for more traffic we need to switch to zero emission vehicles and reduce car ownership. This will protect urban and rural air quality.
    • Our investment into the NHS has to increase massively, even if it means a tiny, negligible increase in taxation along with marrying both health and social care.
    • Scrap plans for Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B. Within the renewable energy sector invest in energy reduction, community energy and energy storage systems... creates plenty of jobs!
    (watch this space - I will probably add to this!)

    P

    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Wednesday, 19 April 2017

    Equality not Inequality - Looking through you...



    So we've had the announcement, confirming some rumours late in 2016, just when you thought it was time to draw breath, another election, this time, the big one! Of course, it means all the non-in-power parties have to rush around with just a few weeks to make their pitches. It is unlikely the polls will be massively incorrect this time, so the outcome is both a foregone conclusion and challenging.

    Here, on Mersea Island, during the 2015 hustings held in the local parish church there was a question about Food Banks. Bernard Jenkin (Conservative) answered the question with a flourish of positivity suggesting that Food Banks were wonderful and to be applauded. Apart from the resulting derision from the assembled masses two things stuck in my mind. Firstly was the extent to which he completely misgauged how to approach an answer and secondly how he refused to see there was even one speck of responsibility of the (then) Coalition Government's austerity measures.

    Inequality blights this country and whilst I do not for one minute imagine society all at the same level I absolutely believe a more equitable one can exist. And where this has been achieved in other countries their world is better with better employment, lifestyle and minimal crime. The Green Party has positive ideas to move towards this goal and I applaud its vision.

    P


    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Tuesday, 18 April 2017

    What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss...



    Back in the early noughties I attended an inspiring and prophetic lecture by Peter Cochrane, a technical futurologist, who laid out some predictions. The significant core of his presentation was how the public would research less and less using reference books / papers and, instead, would seek information predominantly online using Wikipedia pages and search engine results.

    Roll forward to today, 15 years on, and we have seen the emergence of the expression 'Alternative Facts' referring to a piece of false propaganda. Beyond this we have seen the use of online health diagnosis tools to such an extent that it seems we can decide nearly everyone is afflicted by some obscure condition or another.

    So, surely the question "what is normal" is somewhat obtuse?

    In the past, folk with an apparent mental illness, including stress disorders attributed to military service plus those on the Autistic Spectrum were often banished to institutions into living conditions that would now be considered appalling.

    Right now, and speaking from personal experience, I want to celebrate the diversity of the human condition. Therefore I relish campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst.


    P
    Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

    Monday, 17 April 2017

    Bradwell B: expensive, dangerous, unnecessary



    will hold an
    Open Meeting on 25 April at 7.30 pm
    at
    United Reform Church Hall, Market Hill, Maldon CM9 4PZ
    (parking at central White Horse Lane or Butt Lane public car parks, £1 in evenings)
    A new nuclear power station
    at Bradwell – expensive,
    dangerous and unnecessary

    Speakers

    Prof. Stephen Thomas, University of Greenwich, Expert in Energy Policy Prof. Andy Blowers, OBE, Open University, Chair of BANNG, author of The Legacy of Nuclear Power (2017) Prof. Keith Barnham, Nuclear & Solar Physicist, Imperial College London, author of The Burning Answer: A User’s Guide to the Solar Revolution (2015)

    There will also be a Question and Answer session.