Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why vote Green? Part Eight...

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On environmental issues Greens are several decades ahead (see picture and report from 1989 for instance; click to enlarge). We continue to lead the way: illustrating the interdependence of our economy and society with the environment; protecting green spaces from inappropriate housing, road and other developments; prioritising refurbishment of empty properties; pushing for affordable housing on brownfield sites to meet local needs; working for car-free and energy-efficient developments; putting public transport and the needs of pedestrians and cyclists before motorists; protecting woodlands and open, natural and green spaces; obtaining funding to restore derelict land; working for high air, water and land quality.

We are widely recognised for our environmental leadership. Greens are particularly keen to stress policies on the economy, health, education, transport, defence and so on in addition to and in combination with environmental ones. Our economic and social systems exist within the environment and are dependent upon it and Greens – being joined up thinkers – address all issues AND how they interrelate. This is essential if we are to solve problems, take opportunities and secure our wellbeing.

Thoughts on The Age of Stupid

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Having presided over the showing of The Age of Stupid and ensuing discussion at The Thunderbolt pub yesterday evening, here are a few thoughts from the notes I made. There is no lack of human ingenuity or 'grey matter' (as someone in the film put it), so if we set our minds to a task we can achieve success - including building the fair and green society needed to cut and cope with climate change. We need to re-establish the idea of leaving the world a better place as our notion of progress as opposed to passing on ever-larger problems to future generations. Its no good pretending climate change is not happening, going along with predominant public thinking, or talking about issues but not taking action - the established facts are that we need a total re-ordering of society to solve problems, take opportunities and secure our health and wellbeing. Happiness is not 'stuff'. Climate change is ultimately something of a leveller, with rich and poor at the mercy of natural forces. Are we knowingly going to wipe ourselves out? Surely not. Do we think we are worth saving? Yes!

Brunel backs launch of complete slate of Green MP candidates in Bristol

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Enjoyed taking part in the launch of Bristol's Green Parliamentary candidates yesterday. Good to see that it was covered well by local BBC TV and radio, as well as HTV news. No-one from the Bristol Evening Post was there though (its coverage of the local and general elections has been pretty minimal so far). Great fun to see 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel' backing the Greens call for a state-of-the-art multi-modal transport hub on Plot 6 right next to Temple Meads (see video for Stephen Petter's excellent performance).

We have an economic mess, inseparable from the political mess. Current politicians have and are failing to invest in the future - just look at Bristol's transport problems for instance. Investing additional billions in public transport is great [and much needed] joined up thinking: good transport policy as it provides quality alternatives to the car; good health policy as it cuts stress from congestion and illness from air pollution; good economic policy as it creates thousands of jobs and gets people to work on time; good environmental policy as it makes more efficient use of fuel and so fights climate change.

Action on women's equality

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Email below received from the Fawcett Society. Just sent my responses, saying yes to: tackling the gender pay gap; increasing support services for victims of rape; addressing the low level of rapes that end in a conviction; working to assess the impact of any cuts on women's income and public services.

Subject: Will you pledge to support action on women’s inequality in Bristol East and the wider UK?

Dear Mr Vowles,

I am writing on behalf of Fawcett Society members in Bristol East and across the UK to ask, if you are elected as an MP on May 6th, will you support action on women’s inequality in Bristol East and the wider UK?

In the South West Region region the pay gap between men and women is still a scandalous 18.8% and only 4.6% of reported rapes lead to a conviction. There is also mounting concern that action to tackle the UK’s deficit, in particular public service’s cuts, may well disproportionably disadvantage women if more consideration is not taken into how tax and spending policies may impact men and women differently.

In this context we are keen to hear whether if elected as MP for Bristol East you would:

Support local and national action to tackle the gender pay gap?


Increase support services for women victims of rape as well as address the low level of rapes that end in a conviction?


Work with Fawcett and others to ensure that both local and national deficit cutting proposals are assessed in terms of how they would impact on women – both regarding access to public services and women’s income’s?


We would be grateful if you could please respond by reply to the questions above as soon as possible and no later than 12 noon on Wednesday 28th April when the responses of all the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate’s in Bristol East will be published both on our web and in local and national media for the information of voters.

Links to answers given by your party nationally can be accessed here:

Since 1860, when our founder Millicent Fawcett led the campaign for the women’s vote, Fawcett has a proud record of working with parliamentarians to continue to progress equality between men and women.

If elected as the next MP for Bristol East we hope very much to be able to rely on your support.

With best wishes,

Ceri Goddard
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Fawcett produces a regular supporters’ e-bulletin, and briefings on key issues affecting women’s equality in the UK, please indicate here if you would like to receive these updates: