Monday, 12 April 2010

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Meet your Parliamentary Candidates

If you want to ask your General Election candidates a question you will have an opportunity on Tuesday 27th April at St Mark's Broomhill (7 for 7.30pm). Jillian Creasy will be speaking for the Greens and I believe all the other candidates have been invited. There are lots of other hustings- (see the calendar on Sheffield Green Party website) but this is the only one I know of where all the Sheffield Central Candidates will be involved.

In all my years as standing in the local elections (and I have stood in every one since 1994-see all the results here) I have never been invited to debate with my fellow candidates to give people the opportunity to decide who they should vote for. Surely there is an organisation in Manor Castle Ward that could host a debate? Churches, mosques, societies etc need to get involved with democracy and quiz the would be councillors about their policies. This year I will be standing against the former leader of Sheffield Council Jan Wilson. I know Jan is a hard working local counsellor, for whom I have a lot of respect- but I do have fundamental differences with her on policies, and the people of Manor Castle should be able to understand those differences before they cast their vote.The two big parties are currently bombarding us with General Election leaflets, but very few of them contain any policies! The Green Party can't afford to compete with that volume- we just don't have the finance. But the literature we do give out will contain our policies so that you know what you are voting for, and it will also be easily found on our website.

So if you are involved with a local religious group or community organisation, why not organise a hustings? You will need to act quickly though as there are only 27 days to go before the election!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Take a look at this:

I've just emailed my prospective parliamentary candidates to demand that they supports real transparency in lobbying to help clean up politics and asking them to sign Sheffield Green Party's Clean Campaign Pledge.

Whether it's tobacco advertising, arms deals, GM food, or airport expansion, companies pay people to try to influence government. We've got a right to know what they're doing, especially when its our prospective MPs who are working as lobbyists.

Please email your candidates now and ask them to commit to lobbying transparancy, it only takes two minutes:

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Election campaign begins...

Sorry I have been so quiet lately. I have been getting ready for the election. I am pleased to say it's nearly ready. Please have a look and give Sam and I some feedback. All we need now is for Gordon Brown to give us a date! I have also been officially accepted as the local election candidate for Manor Castle Ward. We know this election is on May 6th which is why everyone thinks Gordon Brown will call the General Election on the same day. So you are likely to have 2 votes on May 6th. Please vote for Jillian Creasy in the General Election and Graham Wroe in the local election.

If you would like to help with the election campaign there are many different ways you can do this- here are a few ideas.
*Join the Facebook group and tell all your friends about us.
*Put up a poster- you can print one off here or contact me for a ready printed one.
*Make a donation to help us compete with the massive resources of the 3 main parties.
*Volunteer to leaflet your street or area- contact me very soon if you would like to do this.
*Help us canvass- we are constantly out and about knocking on peoples doors, talking to them about problems in their area and asking them to vote Green. If you are interested in doing this we can give you "on the job" training, and you can work with an experienced canvasser until you feel confident to have a go by yourself.
But probably the best way you can help is to talk to your friends and neighbours about why you are voting Green. Help us to overcome our stereotype of being a "single issue party" and tell people "I'm voting Green because I don't want the creeping privatisation of the NHS to continue" or "I'm voting Green because I want our troops brought home as soon as possible" or "I'm voting Green because we need to create a million new jobs to build a sustainable future".

Sheffield City College is now graced with 3 wind turbines, to go with the pv solar panels on the tower that have been working for a while. The next stage of the development is now underway with the demolition of D and E blocks and the old bridge across Granville Road, that will create space for the landscaping and new pond. Further details about the new building here.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Conference highlight

Apart from my emergency motion, which was passed unanimously,this speech was one of my highlights of conference.

Here is the text of my Emergency Motion on the Yarlswood hunger strike, which is still continuing.

This conference notes the on going hunger strike at Yarlswood Detention Centre and the demands of the hunger strikers, including

*Access to appropriate medical treatment.
*an end the detention of children and their mothers, rape survivors and other torture victims,
*an end to the detention of physically, mentally sick people and pregnant women.
*an end to the separation of children from their mothers.

This conference is appalled at the way the hunger strikers have been treated, being locked outside without outdoor clothing, and in corridors without toilet facilities. Some women have been beaten by the guards.

This conference calls on for the immediate release of the Yarlswood 4 (Aminata Camara from Guinea, Sheree Wilson from Jamaica, Shellyann Stupart from Jamaica, Gladys Obiyan from Nigeria), who have been put in prison even though no charges have been made against them.

This Conference resolves to send a message of support to and a copy of this motion to the Rt Hon Phil Woolas Minister of State for Borders and Immigration.

Here is a little more background to this if you haven't seen it in the press.

Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, were resident in Yarl's Wood IRC on Monday 8th Feb, when an absolute and unwarranted response to a peaceful hunger strike by Serco staff, led to eight hours of chaos. Many of the detainees were injured, Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, were removed from association and transferred to Bedford police station, where they remained overnight. They were then transferred to Colnbrook STHC, where they were this morning.

Gladys Obiyan, alleges that in the police station on Tuesday morning, when they were about to be moved, the police roughed her up.

At 01:15 this morning they were told they were being moved to prison, HMP Holloway and HMP Bronzefield, when they asked why they could not be returned to the detention estate, they were told there were no bed spaces available, this is blatantly untrue. women in Yarl's Wood this morning confirmed there were plenty of empty bed spaces.

All the women are deeply disturbed at the prospect of being put in prison.

None of the women have been charged with any offences or were in any way involved in any actions at Yarl's Wood that were other than peaceful.

UK citizens cannot be remanded to prison, except they have been brought before a judge and the judge orders it so.

Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, have not and will not be brought before a judge, they are being remanded to prison on the whim of Phil Woolas MP
Minister of State for Borders and Immigration.

What You Can do to Help:
The detained women are asking you to Email/fax/phone/write Phil Woolas MP, requesting that Aminata, Sheree, Shellyann, and Gladys, are returned to Yarl's Wood immediately or released into the community. Download model letter , which you can copy/amend/write your own version, there are no Home Office reference numbers available as the women were moved from Yarl's Wood, with out their belongings.

Rt. Hon Phil Woolas MP
Minister of State Borders and Immigration
3rd Floor, Peel Buildings, 2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Telephone: 020 7035 0195
Fax: 0870 336 9034

Please let the campaign know of faxes/emails sent:

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Why you should vote Green!

New video from Caroline Lucas-enjoy.

Monday, 8 February 2010

EMT at it again

East Midland Trains are continuing to upset and bully the people of Sheffield with their ridiculous tactics of denying people access to the bridge across the station. They seem determined to alienate as many people as possible.

Following article is on page 2 of tonight's Sheffield Star.

08 February 2010

By Nick Ward

FURIOUS campaigners have slammed railway bosses for stopping people without tickets crossing the Sheffield station footbridge.

The move, on Friday evening, comes just months after campaigners won their fight against an application to install ticket barriers to stop anyone without a ticket using the bridge.

Stagecoach, which owns East Midlands Trains, applied to install barriers to improve security and stop fare dodging but faced a massive protest when the plans were announced in 2008.

Sheffield Council's planning board rejected the scheme in November.

Protesters were angry the barriers would prevent residents from using the station footbridge as a route between the city centre and Norfolk Park.

Members of campaign group Residents Against Station Closure say they are furious after the bridge was closed to anyone without a ticket on Friday evening.

Protester Graham Wroe said: "The six members of a city planning board unanimously voted to reject the scheme after receiving nearly 1,250 objections - and slammed the station operator for pursuing the plans despite such overwhelming opposition.

"But now EMT are continuing to disrupt pedestrians journeys, forcing people to use the unlit and dangerous covered bridge which has no disabled access, or take an extremely long detour to get round.

"On some previous occasions when EMT have carried out ticket checks they have issued pedestrians with tickets to enable them to cross the bridge. On this occasion they failed to do this and forced everybody to walk round.

"We are calling a meeting of Residents Against Station Closure on Monday February 15 at 7pm at Victoria Methodist Church, Stafford Road, to discuss our response."

Fellow campaigner Mark Halsey has written to East Midlands Trains saying: "I wish to complain at being stopped on the footbridge at Sheffield station this evening.

"This is despite the fact that Sheffield City Council, when you applied to install barriers, made it clear that while you are entitled to run a penalty fare scheme, this only applies to the platforms on which your trains operate and that you can at no time prevent pedestrians from using the footbridge over the station.

"I would like an explanation as to why your staff and company think that the civil law doesn't apply to them."

East Midlands Trains said the ticket checks were part of an ongoing plan to prevent people trying to travel without a ticket and have been carried out for a number of months at Sheffield station. These ticket checks are also carried out in other stations across the East Midlands Trains network.

Loads of good comments on the website
and a very supportive editorial
Don't alienate Sheffield folk.
EAST Midlands Trains are right to be concerned over fare dodgers, who deprive the company of vital revenue which, in turn, threatens its role as employer to thousands of people. But it is not acceptable that their campaign to stop people travelling without a ticket should result in pedestrians being prevented from using a footbridge at Sheffield railway station, which is what happened the other evening when the rail company ..carried out a ticket check operation.
An application for ticket barriers at either end of the footbridge, in effect restricting its use only to train passengers, has already been thrown out by Sheffield City Council, which felt the apparatus was out of keeping with the character of the railway station.
In reality, though, this decision would have been driven equally by sympathy for the campaign against the loss of the footbridge to general use.
For the rail company to unilaterally close off a well used and much appreciated thoroughfare which not only links a major part of Sheffield with the city centre but also joins Hallam University with its bespoke tram stop, is to ignore the feelings of the public at large. The irony is that they no doubt sympathise with the company in its plight against fare dodgers.
We would appeal to them to find an alternative way to achieve their goal without alienating Sheffield people.