Conference firsts, publicly owned trains and Young Greens campaigns – UK Green news round up week 6
Clare Bailey hosts first conference of Green Party in Northern Ireland as leader
While Stormont is still at a standstill, the ongoing churn of the political calendar continues. On Saturday 9 February, the Green Party in Northern Ireland and hosted its annual conference. And it was the first held with new leader Clare Bailey at the helm.
The conference was addressed by a range of high profile speakers from across Britain and the island of Ireland, including Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie, Green Party of England and Wales deputy leader Amelia Womack and Irish Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
During her first address as party leader, Bailey placed climate change at the centre of her agenda. She argued that constitutional issues and borders are insignificant when compared to the challenges of climate change. As part of her keynote speech, she said:
A border down the Irish Sea or across the island of Ireland matters little in the face of climate breakdown.
We have been given 12 years to the point of no return if we don’t radically change how we live.
Climate chaos is real and that is coming, regardless of any constitutional changes.
Patrick Harvie calls for Scottish railways to be brought into public ownership after Scotrail fiasco
Railways are back in the news again. And the case for bringing them into public ownership has been increasing. This week, Patrick Harvie joined the chorus of voices demanding railways be delivered by a publicly owned rail operator.
He did so after weeks of Scotrail’s disastrous running of railways within Scotland. The rail company has now received two warnings from the Scottish Government regarding their performance.
In a lengthy article in the National, Harvie argued:
Railways are a public service. They should be run by the public sector, in the exclusive interest of the public instead of shareholders – or indeed a company owned by the public sector of another country. In the long term there is a critical need to scrap the current, confused system and put in place a simpler, publicly run model.
In the short term, Scottish ministers should take the bull by the horns and prepare a public bid – which could be put in place at the earliest opportunity.
Sian Berry throws support behind the Mirror’s homelessness campaign
Green Party of England and Wales Co-Leader Sian Berry has come out in favour of the Mirror’s homelessness campaign. Tweeting earlier this week, she said:
— Sian Berry (@sianberry) February 6, 2019
The Mirror’s campaign has seen journalists sent out across the country to reveal the scale of the UK’s homelessness crisis. Official figures recently released showed almost 5,000 people are currently sleeping rough. The charity Shelter have suggested as many as 320,000 people are in various forms of homelessness.
Caroline Lucas continues tour of leave voting areas
The Greens’ sole MP Caroline Lucas has been engaging in what has been described as a “listening tour”. This has consisted of Lucas, a staunch supporter of a so called “people’s vote”, speaking and engaging with voters in leave voting areas.
This week, she released the first video summarising the events. In it, she says:
In 2016, you gave the establishment a kicking. You were right then – and you still are… It’s time for politicians like me to listen. We are a country of grotesque inequalities where the status quo is intolerable for far too many. Where most of us don’t have a voice when it comes to the decisions that affect us. Our country has never been so divided or Parliament so hopeless.
Watch the full video here:
Dear Leavers, Thank you. You were right to give the establishment a kicking.
— Dear Leavers (@DearLeavers) February 8, 2019
Young Greens election campaign kicks into gear
The Young Greens of England and Wales have kicked off their local election campaign in earnest this weekend.
On Saturday, they travelled to Brighton to campaign for Young Green candidate Hannah Clare:
Over 1000 doors knocked and stacks of leaflets delivered.
Perfect way to kick off our tour of Young Greens action days. Looking forward to the next! pic.twitter.com/XexiaPv6g4
— Young Greens (@YoungGreenParty) February 9, 2019
And on Sunday, it was Spalding that received a visit, as the Young Greens descended upon the South Lincolnshire town:
Another strong day out campaigning for an incredible Young Green candidate!
The Tories have taken voters for granted for years in Spalding, and Alistair Crisp is stepping up to make sure the community's needs are heard.
Another 400 doors knocked! Let's keep this ball rolling!! pic.twitter.com/RLFI7SwULJ
— Young Greens (@YoungGreenParty) February 10, 2019
The Young Greens claim to have knocked on nearly 1,400 doors this weekend, with the two action days being part of what they describe as the “most ambitious Young Greens election project ever”.
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