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...


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.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

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

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

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!!


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!


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!


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