Friday, 30 April 2010

Pete McAskie - Muswell Hill General Election Hustings

Pete McAskie (pictured), the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, spoke at the recent Muswell Hill General Election Hustings at the British Legion, Muswell Hill Road. The event was organised by Friends of the Earth and Highgate Pensioners Association. This is an edited version of what Pete said to the meeting.

We need a more equal society, action on climate change, cut wars, Trident and ID cards, not public services.

Like the Government, we aim to more than halve deficit by 2013.

Our financial system is out of all proportion to the real economy beneath it, and we have lost touch with our environmental underpinnings. Casino capitalism has taken over with the impossible goal of limitless growth. It is a dangerous and careless fantasy. Social mobility has declined and inequality has risen over the past thirty years. Inequality makes us ill, increases crime, creates stress & much more. We may be much richer than in 1950, but we are no happier.

The financial sector needs much more regulation and there should be a tax, a permanent tax on bankers’ bonuses. Income tax should be at 50% on incomes over £100,000. A National Min Wage of £8.10 should be introduced which will save up to £6bn a year in tax credits, Council Tax and Housing Benefits.

We propose the Green New Deal. A £44bn investment priority to create one million jobs/training places through investment in renewable energy, public transport, insulation, social housing & waste management. This promises job security and economic stability.
By contrast, Labour’s “green” new deal is for modest £100m less than one twentieth of the subsidy for the motor industry, and the Lib Dems offer only £3bn for their version.

On Housing we would provide £4bn a year to local authorities for social housing, mainly conversion/renovation yielding 80,000 jobs across the country. There are one million empty homes in the UK. Half this number through empty property use orders. To relieve pressure on housing in the South East of England we would see development spread more evenly around the country. Incentives should be made available to create a million solar roofs per year, a free home insultation programme for four million homes a year & raise energy standards in building regulations, including embodied energy building materials.

We aim to protect public services. They are the foundation of an equitable society, and should be publicly owned, publicly funded and publicly accountable. We propose a 50% increase in Carer’s Allowance and an increase in respite breaks. Not only is this fair, but carer’s actually save the state £87 billion a year, by carrying out their vital work. We will also phase in free care for the elderly.

In schools, we will recruit more teachers so that average class sizes are brought down to twenty, which is, after all, only the EU average. We will phase in the abolition of tuition fees at Universities, and phase out City Academies. The SATS school testing regime will be scrapped and wholesome, free school meals will be available to all school children.

We think that the present general election system is unfair. It’s unfair that 200,000 voters in marginal constituencies effectively decide an election for a voting population of over 40 million. We would introduce the proportional Additional Member system.

And of course, the environment. Miners used to take canaries down mines with them to check for poisonous gases. That’s what climate change is today. A warning of more general ecological collapse. Evidence from Copenhagen showed that government’s haven’t grasped scale of change needed.

Our lifestyle depends on burning fossil fuels. We are addicted to it and vulnerable to fluctuations in its market especially the approaching peak oil scenario. Nuclear is not the answer, it too depends on dwindling uranium deposits, and does produce radioactive waste, and there is the danger from leaks and the chance of a major disaster. There is still a lot of coal around, but this is even worse than oil for carbon and other emissions.

We need a more decentralised energy system using micro generation and local distribution networks, saving energy lost now in transmission. Together, with a massive investment in green energy projects, (wind, wave and solar) with a nationwide insulation scheme, and increases in public transport, all creating over one million new jobs.

Expansion of public transport, walking and cycling is critical to decarbonising our transport infrastructure. The only sector in which emissions are still rising. The £30 billion allocated to road building, we'll switch to public transport. We'll also put an extra £1.5 billion in to make fares up to 10% cheaper. Return the railways & tube to public ownership, stop airport expansion and introduce VAT and fuel duty to the aviation industry, raising £10bn a year.

Internationally, we favour the introduction of the Tobin Tax, (sometimes now referred to as the Robin Hood Tax), which taxes international financial transactions and redistributes the money to green energy projects and to developing countries so that they can grow sustainably out of poverty.

We need to stop engaging in foreign wars. In Afghanistan, the best way forward is to call a regional peace conference involving the Afghan people and countries in the region, with a view to exiting our armed forces as soon as is possible. We should also stop subsidising the arms trade and get rid of our nuclear weapons.

So, our vision is of a fairer society and an economy working with nature rather than against it. Vote Green on 6th May

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Fair Deal for Haringey Children: the problem of unfair school funding

The funding of education in Haringey is unfair. Haringey is placed fourth on the list of London boroughs according to levels of deprivation yet it is funded as if it had been placed ninth. The result of this is that schools in Haringey receive over 1,000 pounds less per child per year than those in neighbouring boroughs such as Islington and Hackney.

Haringey is an outer London borough with inner London characteristics and problems. It has an ethnically diverse and, in certain parts of the borough, highly mobile population with a relatively high proportion of children with special educational needs, receiving free school meals and/or speaking English as a second language. For some time now there has been a campaign to get a fairer deal for Haringey children and Haringey Green Party has supported this campaign. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is presently consulting on proposals to change the way it allocates money for education, beginning in September 2011. For the sake of our children, it is vital that Haringey schools receive the increase in funding that they need to improve the life chances of some of the most deprived children in the country.

Each one of us can make this outcome more likely by taking part in the consultation. The consultation document is off-putting at first sight. It is long and full of technical detail. But all we need to do is to fill in the first page and then go to question 14 about ‘Area Cost Adjustment’. The options proposed by the Government are less than satisfactory and would not completely remedy the present unfairness. One of these options is the ‘hybrid’ model which, if adopted, would provide Haringey with an extra 10.8 million. The other, called the General Labour Market approach, would leave things roughly as they are.

To respond to the consultation, visit and click on ‘Consultation on the future distribution of school funding’. Consultations are listed in order of their closing date. The consultation about school funding closes on 7th June. The form can be filled in and submitted online or it can be downloaded and sent by email or post.

Kathryn Dean (pictured, centre above, wrote this piece), she is a Green Party candidate at the local elections for Fortis Green ward

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Vote Green for Global Justice

Thursday’s second election debate was a real damp squib. So much for a big debate on international issues. A handful of international questions were asked, before Murdoch’s Sky decided that what was really needed was a return to the same old domestic questions as were asked in the first debate: are there too many immigrants and the like.

And this was a big shame. International affairs have played a big role in political debate in this country during the whole of New Labour’s term in office. From a positive start in May 1997 with the creation of the Department for International Development and the promise of an ‘ethical foreign policy’, goodwill towards Labour has been squandered on illegal or ill-advised wars, over-spun commitments to tackle poverty, and an approach to trade and economics (thanks to Mandelson and Brown) that would please Thatcher and Reagan.

That’s why it was heartening to read the World Development Movement’s new report Vote for Justice which rates the political parties’ manifestoes on global justice issues: trade justice; more and better aid; making the economy work for poor people; and repaying the global north's climate debt. Overall, the Green Party’s manifesto was ranked as best for global justice, with the Lib Dems, Labour, and especially the Tories, falling some way behind.

WDM marks us top on our commitment to fairer trade with poorer countries (an issue that Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and prospective MP for Brighton Pavilion has prioritised during her time in Brussels as an MEP), top on challenging institutions like the World Bank for the destruction wrought on developing country economies, and top for international financial reform (Gordon Brown has had ample chance to push this issue in the past 13 years and has failed to do so). The Green Party commitment to stop new dirty, coal-fired power stations wins us top marks, as does our policy to cancel immediately the debts of the poorest countries.

WDM marks the Lib Dems poorly on international financial reform, and also questions their commitment to improve the quality of aid too. And as for the Tories, they scramble home with a miserable 3 out of 10 score overall.

We are not perfect and WDM sets out where the Greens could do with tightening up one or two of our policies (especially on what we would do about ‘ecological debt’), but the report is proof that the Green Party is about progressive policies overseas - and that has to be a vote-winner.

Vicky Cann
Green Party Candidate
West Green ward

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Local Elections – Crouch End Hustings

Residents in Crouch End held an elections hustings event at the their annual general meeting on Tuesday 20th April, at Christchurch Church Hall on Crescent Road. They invited candidates from the Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative and Green parties to address the meeting. The Green party was represented by Pamela Harling (pictured), this is an edited version of what she said.

I’m Pamela Harling and I have lived in Crouch End for 15 years. My fellow candidates, Stewart Horne and Duncan Ford, also live in this ward, and I think that we can do better for this great community here in Crouch End.

Why vote Green? Here are just three good reasons…

Only Greens will bring fresh solutions and new ideas to old problems. As an example, we plan to fight for a Free Mass Insulation Scheme, in part funded by an energy company. This will lift the borough’s poorest out of fuel poverty, create local jobs and cut our CO2 emissions, as well as saving every resident money on their fuel bills. This CAN be done – it just requires the political will. That’s what Greens will provide.

Haringey Council has been rated as the worst performing council in London , according to the Audit Commission. For years, the ruling Labour Party and the opposition Lib Dems have been at loggerheads, more interested in political point-scoring than serving local residents. We think this is the wrong way to go about local politics, and would seek to get some balance onto the council and hold the big parties to account.

There are Green councillors in surrounding boroughs, including in Camden , Hackney and Islington, who’ve done a great job. For example, Katie Dawson in neighbouring Islington has worked hard to implement a 20 mph speed limit on all residential roads, as well as establishing a repair service for household goods, creating new allotments and more apprenticeships.

In short, you have a choice. More of the same, or new voices with passion and ideas for Crouch End.

If, like us, you want to live in a fairer, more equal and greener borough – please vote Green in Crouch End in the local elections. We’ll ask awarkward questions on the council and by electing the borough’s first Green councillors, YOU can make history in Haringey.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Inefficiency and Health Service Reform

I have never been especially opposed to reform of the health service. I can see that if you are going to provide better services with less money, things have to change. When it turned out my local GP, the Laurels PMS practice, was offering unprecedented access by opening on Saturdays and Sundays, I felt vindicated.

Then one day I phoned up for an appointment as usual. Because it was not an emergency (my little son had itchy skin), I was told in rather dismissive tones by the receptionist that I couldn’t have a slot - I would have to wait for a doctor to call me back.

Isn’t that what GPs are there for - non-emergencies? I said as much to the receptionist.

“Tell me about it,” she replied, letting out a long sigh. “I don’t know why we can’t go back to the old system. Patients are getting really annoyed.”

But things got worse. I received a letter asking me to make an appointment for a routine screening. So I called as requested. Three hours later, I was still dialling - the line was perpetually engaged. At the end of the day, I was still dialling. Three days later, I was still dialling.

It is easy to get angry with public services, and a lot of the time it is just projection. But not being able to get through to the appointments line for 48 hours? Definitely they're bad.

In the end, I had to go in person. I live close by - but if the Laurels had already been a polyclinic, serving people who live really far away? What would those people do? What if I was calling about something more serious than routine screening?

I spoke to another receptionist who is often behind the desk, a wonderfully helpful woman. Today, she seemed a little harassed.

“Everything is changing,” she said, “we’ve been taken over by a private company.’

She was apologetic about the engaged appointment line, and said the phone had been on divert by mistake, but was now fixed. Yet the next time I needed to make an appointment, I still couldn’t get through on the phone and had to go in once more, as did my partner a few days later.

The receptionist was wrong about something else. A company has taken over The Laurels, but it’s a consortium of doctors, not the private sector. It’s worrying that they can’t even answer the phone. Perhaps I am, after all, one of those people who believes our public services need protecting against so-called reform.

Varya Shaw
Green Party Candidate
West Green Ward

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ex Labour Councillor Stands as a Green

Hi, my name’s Lucy Craig and I was a Labour councillor for 12 years on Haringey Council. On the whole it was an experience I enjoyed. Working as a politician at local level, I loved getting real results for real people. It didn’t happen all the time, but enough to make me feel I was doing something worthwhile! However, my growing disillusionment with New Labour meant that after 12 years of working hard for residents and the local party, I decided not to stand for re-election in 2002.

At the time I still felt reasonably optimistic that those of us who felt that New Labour had lost track of the party’s original egalitarian and progressive principles might regain some influence in the party. However, that was not to be and still shows no sign of happening. Then, after a membership of 25 years, in 2005 I was expelled from the party for publicly advocating ‘tactical voting’. I believed that a Labour Government with only a small majority would be forced to be less arrogant and would have to take more account of the electorate and back-bench opinion - this was perceived as a ‘crime’!

However, I am now involved with local politics once again. I haven’t re-joined the Labour Party. I am now in fact an activist for the Green Party. Together with my Green Party colleagues – including many other ex-Labour members and supporters – I am working towards getting the first Greens elected to Haringey Council. Our neighbouring boroughs Hackney, Islington and Camden all have Green councillors and I think it’s time Haringey did too.

Why? Well, we clearly need a fresh, honest approach to politics in this borough. For too long, the politics of tit-for-tat insults and political point-scoring between Labour and the Lib-Dems (and before that the Tories too) has meant that the people of Haringey have been getting a raw deal. Witness any full Council meeting – it resembles small children bickering in the playground!

I am confident that Greens will rise above this and address the local issues that really matter to you. Encouraging transparency and discouraging overspending on consultants and spin. Encouraging cross-party co-operation rather than name-calling. Championing the environment and public services in a manner you can sadly no longer expect from other political parties.

So, if like me, you are tired of and disappointed by Labour and indeed the other ‘grey’ parties, please, nevertheless, come out to vote on 6th May. Don’t waste your opportunity to try to positively change things – come out and vote Green.

PS If you’re still labouring under the illusion that the Green Party is a ‘single-issue party’, take a look at the party’s website for the full range of its policies and/or to become enthused about how our whole economic system could be changed for the better take a look at!

Lucy Craig is standing as a Green Party candidate in Alexandra ward.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

General Election Leader Debate

Watching the ‘Prime Ministerial Candidates’ debate, it was impossible not to be struck by how little difference there was between all three candidates. Clegg played the outside role dictated to him by his party’s position, but pretty much all the candidates had more or less the same sort of answers to the carefully vetted questions.

This was only the first of three debates, but what was perhaps most revealing was the questions that weren’t asked. The debate was very much conducted on safe territory for the neo-liberal consensus to which all three candidates subscribe. No questions on climate change or peak oil, where the combination of market and moralising that they all like so much offers little or nothing. No questions on why Britain is involved in two wars in Muslim countries where it has little direct interest – just an easy ball on whether ‘our troops’ have enough kit. Clegg at least had the decency to raise the cost of replacing Trident, but all the candidates seemed to agree that the one thing we can afford was continued participation in whatever wars the Americans need us for.

And not even a question on the banking crisis. There was some verbal joshing on the precise mechanics by which the candidates propose to cut public spending, but nothing about how we got into this mess (bailing out the incompetently-run banks) and why it is so important to cut the deficit (er, to make sure that those same banks will carry on lending to the state at interest rates it can afford). Even this limited engagement with the question of who is going to pay the bill clearly went down like a bucket of cold sick with the minutely-analysed studio panel; so that’s probably the last we’ll hear about that. Until after the election, when you can bet that whoever wins will “discover” that the problems of the public finances were worse than they’d previously thought.

Jeremy Green
Green Party Candidate
Muswell Hill Ward

Avenue Gardens Resident’s Association Local Election Hustings

Avenue Gardens runs from Woodside ward to Bounds Green ward in the northern part of the borough, and the resident’s association organised a local elections hustings on Thursday 15th April.

The Green Party was represented by Andrea Phillips (pictured) one of our Bounds Green candidates. The format was centered around five questions below which the residents wanted candidates to answer This is an edited version of the answers that Andrea gave to these questions at the meeting.

How would you solve traffic problems in our local streets?

“I would support a weight limit for vehicles using Park Avenue and surrounding residential streets. And in the longer term weight limits for HGV trucks across London. To do this I would encourage the establishment of depots round on the North Circular and M25 making use of disused warehouses, to trans-ship to smaller vehicles.

“Green Party thinking is to move away from speed bumps, but I think they can be very effective in certain situations. There are other solutions: chicanes, pinch points, smiley frowny faces and tree avenues. I suggest: clear signing that vehicles are entering a residential area, along with 20mph speed limits and pinch points at entrances, supported by staggered speed bumps. Locally, Green Party policy is to limit speed to 20 miles an hour on all residential roads, which will make streets more pleasant to be in, to walk or cycle along. Green Party policy is to reduce car use, invest much more money in public transport, encourage walking and cycling and to support car clubs.”

How would you protect our green spaces?

“Will a Green Party candidate fight for the protection of green spaces. Of course. Protection of open spaces is a Green Party priority.

“My voice will be the voice in defence of wildlife, supporting biodiversity, open spaces and nature reserves - a voice speaking to mitigate against the damage caused to wildlife from buildings, pathways, roads, and traffic; to reverse loss of habitat ; and to ameliorate against possible adverse effects of future developments.

Are council resources being wasted and poorly used, and if so, what should be done about it?

“We need a full energy audit of all council services. And, alongside it, an environmental audit. Now, more than ever before, is the time to focus on where there is waste. Particularly, during this recession with more focus on waste in spending, we need to seriously consider whether or not Private Finance Initiatives are such a good thing. My opinion is that in future, they need to be avoided, as they are a lot more expensive. . Green Party policy is for public ownership of public services.

“Haringey has spent a lot on PR recently. Do we really need ‘Haringey People’ magazine? It’s all rather nauseating self propaganda for the Labour Party rather than real news.”

What are your thoughts on high rise and dense building developments in the area?

“I am basically opposed to the government policy of allowing the free market to create more jobs and increase the population in the South East. London Boroughs are slated to have vast increases in population. This is not something we necessarily want. And developers have been using this as reason for increasing the height of building developments in Haringey. Many areas of the U K are depopulating, so why not create jobs there, with affordable housing?

“My stance is in opposition to anymore high rise buildings in this area, because they would inevitably alter the nature of our community. High rise buildings make it more difficult for community spirit to thrive.”

How would raise standards in the borough’s schools?

“The Green Party wants to raise standards by decreasing class size to 20 (about average in the EU), increase nursery education, abolish SATS, and have a good local school in every area. Many studies have proved that class size affects children’s learning.

“SATS regime of targets and testing, justified as a means of ensuring accountability of schools to parents and government, undermines the teachers’ professional status. Haringey Green Party supports educationalists and teaching unions who have been campaigning against this testing regime.

“Education in Academy schools, run by private money, takes accountability and control away from the local community. In the worst cases, they are run by large corporations for profit. I welcome a more decentralised, democratic and co-operative form of education trusts, involving parents, teachers, colleges, universities and trades unions.”

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Inequality and New Labour

The Governments own National Equity Panel produced a report called Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK

It shows:

The households in the top tenth the UK wealth distribution have total wealth 100 times those in the bottom tenth.

The share of wealth of the top 0.05% of the population declined from 1937 until the 1070’s – but by 2000 this was higher than it had been in 1937.

In the 1990’s the top tenth increased its share of national wealth – but all of this was due to the increased wealth of the top 0.1%.

This is not an inevitable consequence of globalisation or the market economy, or any other such bullshit. In other European countries the share of the top 1% did not increase, as it did in the UK (it declined from 1937 to the 1970’s there just the same).

Britain is a more unequal society than our European counterparts. It has become more so during the thirteen years of ‘New Labour’ government. All the drivel about ‘fairness’ or ‘an aspirational society’ cannot hide this. If I needed reminding why I wasn’t going to vote Labour, now I don’t.

Peter Mandelson’s famous dictum that New Labour was ‘intensively relaxed about people getting filthy rich’ is the real face of New Labour; what we are seeing at the moment is the one that they dust off every few years for elections.

Jeremy Green
Green Party Candidate
Muswell Hill Ward

Friday, 9 April 2010

Greens Stand Record Full Slate in Haringey

The Green Party will contest every seat on Haringey council at the local elections on 6th May this year. From Northumberland Park in the east of the borough, to Highgate in the west, residents will have the opportunity to use their votes for three Green Party candidates in every ward. In London, each borough ward is represented by three councillors, and the voters get three votes each. In total, Haringey Greens are fielding 57 local election candidates.

This is the first time that we have fielded a full set of candidates, which in many ways is a sign of the growing stature of the Green Party locally. Membership has more than doubled over the last four years, enabling us to field all these candidates, and to finance campaigns at the local elections as well as stand General Election candidates in both Parliamentary constituencies. Pete McAskie will stand in Hornsey and Wood Green, and Anne Gray in Tottenham constituency at the General Election.

Right across London, record levels of local election candidates will stand for the Green Party, with a further 6 boroughs having a full slate of candidates, I hear, and we will contest every General Election constituency in the capital.

We think it is important to give people the opportunity to vote Green, and to represent something of a real choice at the ballot box. The Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Parties, all stand for the elitist neo liberal consensus policies which have proved to be so disastrous for people in the UK and around the world. We have a vision, of a different way to run our economies, which is ecologically sustainable for the planet and fairer for the people who live on it.

If you are frustrated that your vote makes no difference, if you are outraged by the way a minority gorge themselves whilst others have nothing, if you are concerned by what kind of future our children will have on a warming planet, then take a look at the Green Party. Our campaign slogan is ‘fairness is worth fighting for’, so help us take the fight to the establishment at these elections, by voting Green on 6th May.

Monday, 5 April 2010

William Morris, a Green Socialist

I took some time off electioneering, if not politics, over the Easter holiday, and visited the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow. The great man lived in this house from 1848 to 1856. The gallery is located on Forest Road in the neighbouring London borough of Waltham Forest.

As well as being a leading figure in the art and crafts movement in the second half of nineteenth century England, Morris was a famous socialist and conservationist. For me, this makes him a very important thinker and writer, as socialism in the twentieth century became almost totally productivist in practice. Which I think, took socialism down the completely wrong path and played a part in the demise of the system, both practically and ideologically. Indeed, if socialism had taken a true, and ecologically sound route, Green parties would not need to exist.

Morris was against industrial mass production and in favour of the beauty of the artisan’s individual skill and craft. He theorised that capitalism not only alienated workers by making them into small wheels in the mass production of bland commodities, but was also unhealthy for the workers in body and spirit. You can see the results today, in high levels of absenteeism and stress amongst the workforce. Greens tend to advocate a different measure of wealth and well being to the current emphasis on economic growth and GDP. Morris led the way in this type of thinking.

Politically, he was a member of the Social Democratic Foundation first, and then the Socialist League, and was always making speeches at rallies and writing pamphlets, books and even a play. His most famous political book, News From Nowhere, sets itself in a future, post socialist revolution society. He shows his distain for the Houses of Parliament, by describing it as the place where the horse dung is kept in his brave new world.

Traditional socialists should think about Morris’s concept of socialism, especially in an age where the very nature of our political/economic system is exploiting people and planet to the ruination of both. Twentieth century socialism was just as bad, if not worse, than capitalism for the environment and the people who lived under those regimes.

At the gallery itself, you can see examples of his furniture, textiles, wallpaper, tapestry, ceramics and political writing. It is all very beautiful work, in keeping with Morris’s essential ideas on the nature of work and production. It is well worth a visit, and entry is free.

You can find out more about the gallery here…

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Greens Advance in Haringey

The above graph illustrates the steady progress that the Green Party has made in Haringey over the last four years. In the 2006 council elections we polled 9.7% borough wide. In the 2008 London Assembly elections our vote rose to 12.7% and in the 2009 European elections we got a spectacular 17.4% of the poll across Haringey, beating the Conservatives.

There are, I think, a number of reasons for this advance by Greens at these elections.

The 2008 and 2009 elections were proportional voting type ones, where voters know that they have more chance of electing Greens than in the traditional first past the post system, so people are more willing to vote for us.

The green agenda has been getting more publicity in recent years, what with man made climate change in the news regularly, and a consensus building that we need to do something about it. At the same time, concerns are rising over the possibility that we are close to the ‘peak oil’ scenario, where oil is now running out quicker than new sources are being found. Energy security is also an issue, with many of the fossil fuel supplying countries in unstable parts of the world.

There is a general dissatisfaction with the main political parties, centred mainly around financial scandals, whether it is spurious claims on the public purse, or offers by MP’s to take payments for lobbying on behalf of commercial organisations. The impression is of a bunch of people on the make, and a desire from the public to protest. Let’s face it, there is plenty to protest about.

The Green Party nationally has been trying to broaden its appeal by highlighting our social policies, which focus on social justice, fairness and equality. I think this has had some success, although there is much more to be done in this regard, as many still view us as a single issue, environmental party.

Locally, we have canvassed thousands of people in the borough, and delivered tens of thousands of leaflets over the past few years. For a party short on financial resources, we don’t have the backing of wealthy businessmen or trade unions, this has been a fantastic effort, and I’m sure has played a significant part in our rising share of the vote in Haringey.

Now we have the local and General elections almost certainly both on 6th May this year. Again we are back to first past the post elections, but my feeling is we will maintain our progress, and we have an excellent chance of making an historic breakthrough and having Greens elected to the local council for the first time. In Stroud Green, our target ward, all the signs are that people are ready for change, for the kinds of policies and energy that Greens will bring.