Archive for the ‘ green party ’ Category

May 3rd Local Elections

This is a bit late but then again I’m kind of unwell right now so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. My blog, my rules.

I stood as a candidate for the Green Party for the first time ever this year in the Lozells & East Handsworth ward. It’s a very safe Labour seat so I wasn’t expecting to win, but I feel it’s important that the party is there and available so people can have some element of choice. I came third, beating the Liberal Democrats and coming in 125 votes behind the Tories – Labour won by a massive margin but I’m just happy to have taken part. I’m also really happy to see how well the Green Party has done in the West Midlands. A year ago we had 3 councillors on 3 councils. Now we have 12 councillors on 7 councils! We’ve gained in Nuneaton, Dudley, Chelmsley Wood and Worcester. I’m so proud to be a part of it.

My local ward, a old Tory safe zone, is now controlled by Labour as is the city of Birmingham. We’ve been struggling under the weight of a nasty ConDem coalition for 8 years and they’ve finally been booted out. I’m not getting too enthusiastic about things changing under Labour but I am hoping things won’t continue to get worse.

The ConDems have destroyed social care in Birmingham and it desperately needs salvaging. After one wave of huge cuts which was followed up by the decision to only award support to those assessed as having ‘super critical‘ needs they got hit by legal action and it looked like things would get a bit better. Then in February this year they announced a further £62m in cuts, £30m from adults & communities (which deals with all disabled people over 18) and £22.5m from children, young people & families. The latter cuts coming only a few short years after the tragic death of Khyra Ishaq because, in part, of the poor state of children’s social services in the city. Why these cuts? When the deputy leader, Lib Dem Paul Tisley, was asked why they had cut these areas and not others he explained they had “…sought to identify the things that people value the most.” Implying that supporting and safeguarding the vulnerable was not high on their list of priorities. This is one of many reasons I am extremely glad these people are no longer in power.

Birmingham also voted ‘No’ to having a elected Mayor. Whilst I’m happy we aren’t getting one (I feel it undermines the council and places a lot of power in one person) I’m disappointed in the lack of information given out to residents. I think democracy only works when people are able to make an informed choice and given the lack of information provided it was impossible for many to do that.

Regardless, I feel more positive going forwards. Cameron & Clegg have been given a kicking which will hopefully make them realise that the country won’t stand idly by whilst they treat us like fools.

It’s April Already!

I’m still unwell so I’ve cut down my activism work because something had to give and whilst I love trying to fight for my rights it is really draining.

I’m standing as a candidate for the Green Party in the council elections which is quite exciting. The area is a Labour safe-seat so I’m not going to kid myself that I’ll get more than a fraction of the vote but still, I think it’s important to keep the party on the radar and give locals the option of another choice.

I’m excited about speaking at the INTERSECT conference in Bristol this May. It’ll be great to meet other activists and hopefully I’ll be able to explain why disability rights are a feminist issue in a clear and concise manner.

I have also been doing some low-level local activism in my area by calling the council and speaking to them about lack of lowered kerbs and poor short-term civic planning with regards to disability. My bank and a few other companies that are big enough to know better have also been on the receiving end of some calls and letters pointing out that I think it would be reasonable for them to improve access given their resources and provision of a public service. It may not do much, but hopefully if someone else complains in the future it will strengthen it until they do something.

So that’s me, what have you been up to?

The Green Party Opposes ‘Availability For Work’ Testing & Current Government Contractors

This Saturday 25 Feb 2012, Green Party Spring Conference 2012 passed a ‘Record of Policy Statements’ [RoPS] motion that proposed clarifying major differences between the stance of the Green Party of England & Wales vs the consensus of the other parties. RoPS  statements work as guidelines for elected Green Party MPs while we do  not have a sufficient majority to implement Green Party policy as government policy.

The synopsis for the ‘Availability for Work’ motion reads:

“Pending the introduction of a Citizens Income*, which will remove the  perceived need by the government for ‘availability for work’ tests, the Green Party believes that such decisions remain within the remit of the NHS.”

Alan Wheatly, who proposed the motion made a quick speech in support which went as follows;

“Friends, elected Greens, grassroots Greens and disability benefit claimants inside the Green Party and beyond, this motion seeks not just to bury the involvement of dodgy unaccountable companies in the lives of vulnerable people.

“It seeks also to make life worth living for those that other parties portray as excessive baggage, for whom the Hippocratic Oath is a luxury. Atos Healthcare tells its trainee
Examining Medical Practitioners: ‘You are treating claimants, not patients.’

“The friendly amendment [changing reference to ‘own GP’ to ‘within a publicly owned NHS’] has my name to it and reflects e-mail and workshop discussion. The private sector despises vulnerable people, and individual GPs are not omniscient, but a publicly owned NHS is wiser and  more all-embracing.”

Happily the Record of Policy Statement motion was passed unanimously and so the following wording will be recorded into RoPs:

“The Green Party has a commitment to the introduction of a Citizens Income which will mean that the need to test ‘avilability for work’ is no longer required. In the  meantime we believe that decisions about whether someone is healthy enough to be required to be ‘available for work’ should be made within a publicly owned NHS.”

In short, as far as the Green Party of England & Wales is concerned, it opposes the Unum/Atos approach that the other major parties either celebrate or tolerate.

* For those who do not know the Citizens Income would replace social security benefits and would be a non-means tested, non-taxable, non-withdrawable income paid to everyone so that no-one goes without. It would be topped up by wages and would allow people greater freedom of choice in their lives. It is written about here and a leaflet on the subject can be downloaded here

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