22 May 2016

***** The Brent Walk for Change *****

***** The Brent Walk for Change *****

Hello Friends. Would you like to join us? This will be a shared sponsored walk to enjoy ourselves, exchange ideas and to collect some change from our sponsors to help fund our groups. It is open to any voluntary organisations in Brent working for Environmental and/or Social Justice. You don’t have to fund-raise if you don’t want to.

It will take place on 17th July 2016 starting at 2.30.

It is about 6 miles long with points along the way where people can join or leave.  We will start from  Stonebridge Park Station and walk the Brent River Park path (kingfishers have been seen here)  to Wembley Stadium area (Wembley Park Station) then follow Barnhill Road taking in the new Chalkhill Park, St David’s Open Space (orchard, BMX track, canal feeder – muntjac deer have been seen here). Birchen Grove (coffee/tea available at Garden Centre cafĂ© if we are early enough), Welsh Harp to Silver Jubilee Park, cross into Fryent Country Park for a picnic on Gotsfords Hill then through the recently added Masons Field to Kingsbury Station.

We would be glad if your group would like to join us. If you would, then please contact the organisers, Martin Francis and Pam Laurance.

Contact details:
Martin - mafran@globalnet.co.uk    07910 315 139
Pam - info@brentfoe.com    07985 375 798

Martin is an experienced “Guided Nature Walker”. He runs the Brent Schools without Walls Scheme. http://www.brentschoolwithoutwalls.btck.co.uk/
Pam is one of the joint coordinators of the Brent Friends of the Earth Group

Martin will do a risk assessment of the route and both of us have insurance for our own groups but please note that each group is responsible for the health and safety of people coming from your group and for your own fundraising. (We have some fundraising forms we can email to you if you would like them.) I am attaching a map of the route.


If it rains on the day please phone to find out if we are carrying on or postponing.

17th July 2016 – 2.30





7 May 2016

How Brent Greens fared in the GLA and Kilburn elections


There are full details of the Brent and Harrow results on www.wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk.  In summary  we came third in the London Mayoral campaign and Sian Berry achieved the highest number of second preference votes. In the Brent and Harrow constituency contest Jafar Hassan and the Lib Dem candidate jostled for third place with an eventual narrow margin for the Lib Dems. On the London list we won two AM seats for Sian Berry and Caroline Russell with Shahrar Ali just missing out on a third Green seat.

In the Kilburn by-election there was again a narrow margin between Lib Dems and Greens with Pete Murry achieving a 9% vote which is one of our better by-election votes. There was a 7 vote margin between Greens and Lib Dems in the Lib Dem's favour but there was a discrepancy of 14 votes between the total votes cast and each candidate's vote totalled.  A long and arduous recount may have made a difference but it not justifiable for a third place.

This is what the Green Party had to say yesterday:


The Green Party has recorded its best ever election results in London where Sian Berry, the Green Party’s London Mayoral candidate, came third and the Party retained its two London Assembly seats.

On the Assembly, councillors Sian Berry and Caroline Russell replace Baroness Jenny Jones and Darren Johnson, who have both stepped down after 16 years of outstanding service.
The Scottish Greens enjoyed a superb night, growing their representation from two MSPs to six. In winning election, 21-year-old rising star Ross Greer became the youngest-ever MSP .
Reacting to the outstanding results in the capital, Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
The Greens standout results in London demonstrate how a positive campaign with good ideas for London can resonate widely with voters. We thank all our candidates, activists and supporters for delivering our biggest and best campaign in London to date.
Sian Berry said:
Today is a victory for the politics of bringing Londoners together not dividing them. I’m proud that Londoners have voted for good, positive ideas in such numbers. In every vote Greens have cemented our position as the number three party in London, coming third in the vote for mayor, on the Londonwide list and in a majority of constituencies. The immediate priority for Greens on the London Assembly now will be to push the new mayor to make the right decisions on road-building and estate demolitions and to clean up our city’s filthy air.
In the local elections, the Green Party saw strong results in the West Midlands and the South West. In Stroud, where Natalie visited on the eve of the poll, the Party retained five councillors and added three gains. The party retained all its councillors in Solihull and made two gains. The party now have 27 Green Party councillors on 11 councils in its growing West Midlands powerbase (including making a breakthrough in Cannock Chase and winning a hard-fought seat in Worcester that led to the Tories losing control of the council). The party also won a first-ever seat on Weymouth and Portland council.
Reacting to the local election results, Natalie said:
My thanks to everyone who voted Green yesterday, particularly those who voted Green for the first time, of whom I know there were many.
I also want to thank all of the candidates, members and supporters who helped us to stand in the largest-ever number of council seats, 54% in these elections compared to 25% in 2012.
That reflects the growth and development of the Green Party since then, with membership five times larger, and we’re looking forward to the county elections next year to further increase our representation.
The new Green councillors will join a team who are dedicated to standing up for the most disadvantaged, to taking real steps to alleviate the ever-worsening housing crisis, and to helping communities live within the environmental limits of our one fragile planet.
The breakthroughs we have made mean more councils will now have Green voices, voices that scrutinise, challenge, and ask tough questions. Sadly, we have lost some long-term, dedicated, valued councillors in Norwich, Oxford and other places. I thank them for their years of service to their communities and the Green Party and am sure that the parties there will be bouncing back in coming years, with strong representation still on both councils.
The final Green tally of English council seats will not be known until Sunday when the Bristol City council count is completed. Bristol is the Greens’ stronghold in the South-West and the party is poised to increase it representation from 14 councillors.
The Scottish Greens increased the presence in Parliament threefold and achieved almost a 14% increase on their best-ever total in the regional vote across Scotland.
Turning her attention to Scotland, Natalie said:
This was a great night for the Scottish Green Party and they are taking a great team into Holyrood. As well as the much respected Alison Johnstone and Patrick Harvie, Ross Greer will be the youngest MSP and land reform campaigner Andy Wightman will be a formidable force.

2 May 2016

How to vote Green on Thursday


#VOTEGREEN2016




It's less than a week until the 5th May elections, and over 1500 Green candidates across the UK are campaigning to be elected to councils, assemblies and as mayors. Greens make a real difference in local communities - they fight for clean air, for decent homes and for a society that works for the common good, not just the privileged few. 

Locally we have Jafar Hassan standing for the Brent and Harrow constituency and Shahrar Ali is Number 3 on the Green Party List - vote Green on the orange ballot paper. 

Sian Berry's campaign for Mayor is rapidly gaining support. While we were leafleting in Queen's Park yesterday a Brent Labour councillor commented on her positive presentation of Green policies. Give her your first preference vote for Mayor.


30 Apr 2016

Jafar Hassan explains why you should vote Green in the GLA election next week

This is what Jafar Hassan told the Harrow Times when asked why people should vote for him as the Green candidate for the Brent and Harrow constituency. LINK


Green Party candidate Jafar Hassan said:
"London is in an awful housing crisis and the Green Party are the only ones with a viable plan to support and protect renters, and ensure housing is genuinely affordable. 

"This city is becoming more expensive to live in, making it harder for communities to stick together, but also making it completely unfair for those travelling from the zones in Harrow and Brent. We are campaigning to introduce a flat fares system making it cheaper to travel if you're a part time worker or living in the outer parts of London. 

"Investment in cycling and speeding up the introduction of zero emissions taxis and buses. During the school rush on busy roads around Brent and Harrow it is a disgrace that children are being exposed to so much toxic air on a daily basis. I will be fighting for safer cycling routes and ensuring all of the bus routes in our boroughs are electric powered. 

"I've lived in north west London my whole life, I studied both my journalism degree and masters in politics in London. This city along with my upbringing has shaped who I am. My mum who came to this country from Iraq before even turning 20 raised my sister and I on her own. I learnt from her the importance of persevering through difficult times and never losing hope. I will fight to give London back to Londoners and give them the Green policies they want. 

"We absolutely need more Greens on the London Assembly. Your votes for the Green Party in London elections have ensured investment for Cycle Superhighway and Cycle Hire, helped create the London Living Wage Unit, meaning that 60,000 Londoners are now paid a Living Wage, and pushed new housing developments to have more affordable housing. If you only want to give us one vote make sure it is on the orange ballot paper, where if you vote Green, you get Green."

If you want more Green Assembly Members vote Green on the orange ballot paper


26 Apr 2016

Junior doctors' strike: The Green Party stands in solidarity with NHS staff

Junior doctors' strike: The Green Party stands in solidarity with NHS staff

Green Party press release
For immediate release – 26 April 2016
Junior doctors' strike: The Green Party stands in solidarity with NHS staff
* Natalie Bennett: 'The government must change the way it treats our NHS’
* Larry Sanders: 'Junior doctors are heroes in the fight for a high quality NHS' 
Speaking ahead of the planned junior doctors' strike, Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said:
“It is sad that junior doctors have been forced to this point by the obstinate approach of the health secretary, whose flat-out refusal to drop his insistence on imposing a new contract has scuppered any possibility of meaningful talks with the British Medical Association.
“Industrial action is a last resort and I know from having spent time on the picket lines over recent months that junior doctors are taking this unprecedented action with a heavy heart.
“The government must change the way it treats our NHS and reopen negotiations with the junior doctors. A caring health secretary would negotiate with the junior doctors to produce an acceptable contract.
“Until then, I, and fellow Green Party members and supporters will continue to stand in solidarity with NHS staff as we fight for what’s right.”
Larry Sanders (1), the Green Party's Health and Social Care Spokesperson and the brother of US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, added:
“The Green Party supports the junior doctors’ strike because the new contract, if imposed, would have disastrous effects on patients and the NHS.
“We are pleased that medical risks will be minimised by the back-up of senior doctors.
“The junior doctors are heroes in the fight for a high quality NHS. They do not want to strike; their pride is in their work.
“Jeremy Hunt is attempting to force a contract on them which puts patients at risk and reduces their pay. If he succeeds he will drive devoted doctors from the NHS. We already have too few doctors, nurses and hospital beds, with £22 billion of further cuts in the pipe line. A victory for Hunt would be an important step towards a profit-based NHS.”
ends
Notes 

17 Apr 2016

Air pollution: Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April at 7.30pm in Kilburn.

Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April at 7.30pm in Kilburn. The meeting will discuss the current situation with air pollution, which is a serious health threat for Londoners and is a major problem in Brent part1: Introduction by Pan Laurence of Brent Friends of the Earth and reading of letter from Dawn Butler, M.P. for Brent Central url:https://youtu.be/ABRfXa7FqEE Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 2 : Councillor Joel Davidson, Conservative candidate for Brent & Harrow in the London Assembly election url: https://youtu.be/Rot6my997s8 Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 3: Councillor Navin Shah - Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow, Labour candidate for Brent & Harrow in the London Assembly election. url: https://youtu.be/dnkaPDOa64g Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 4: Jafar Hassan Green Party candidate for Brent & Harrow in the London Assembly election url:https://youtu.be/_LIaFmVQPEA Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn.part 5: officers from Brent Air Quality Team url:https://youtu.be/G_dA5pUdniE Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 6: Councillor Eleanor Southwood – Lead member for the Environment at Brent Council url: https://youtu.be/-qJjORg3vEA Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn.part 7: Olly Hayes -Campaigner from Friends of the Earth H.Q. url: https://youtu.be/I9GGfhWC5YY Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 8: Questions and discussion first part url:https://youtu.be/sqFEEiPy-1o Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 9: Questions and discussion 2 url:https://youtu.be/5zhrRuey4LE Brent Friends of the Earth public meeting on Tuesday 12th April in Kilburn. part 9: Questions and discussion 3 url:https://youtu.be/9nPCKHW5Xgk

16 Apr 2016

Join the Greens on today's march for health, homes, jobs and education


The Green Party will be supporting today's People's Assembly march for health, homes, jobs and education.They are in Bloc 11 towards the end of the march. Placards will be available shortly before 1pm at the assembly point in Gower Street, NW1 of Euston Road. Nearest Tubes Euston Square and Euston.

There will be a Green Party stall in Trafalgar Square at the end of the march where placards can be given back. It is likely to be on the Canada House side of the square.


12 Apr 2016

Join Exciting GOING BACKWARDS ON CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH down Whitehall on 8 May!



Dear Brent Greens,
I am writing to invite you to an exciting and innovative environmental event in central London onSunday 8 May.   The “Going Backwards” march will feature people proceeding en masse backwards down Whitehall to protest against the current administration’s woeful backtracking in virtually all areas of climate change and environmental policy during its first year in power.  Here is the link to the Facebook event page: 


If you could announce this event to your meetings and inform your members that would be great!  Meanwhile, sign up on Facebook and invite your Facebook friends! Tell everyone! Spread the news on social media! Hundreds are coming already but we want to turn this into thousands.


The event will be very dramatic as (as the march proceeds) a famous host will introduce a rolling series of street theatre performances to pinpoint the craven actions of one guilty government ministry after another.  These will highlight the administration’s attack on the clean renewable technologies of the future that can help save the planet and shame its support for the dirty old fossil fuels that are choking our one and only world.

There will be a demonstration against the Prime Minister’s backsliding on a third runway at Heathrow.
Finally, there will be a poignant protest against air pollution and the tragically large and unnecessary toll of lives it takes each year due to government inaction. 

Having highlighted the fatal and inefficient policies of the present, the event will end on an optimistic note as a range of speakers many of whom are pioneers in their field will show us how good the future can be if we reject backward and self-interested thinking and embrace a positive and dynamic agenda.

Yours,
John Hunter
Campaign against Climate Change

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.  In addition, you can email Claire who is the Secretary of Campaign against Climate Change at any time at claire@campaigncc.org  or phone her at the CCC offices on 020 7833 9311 from Wednesday to Friday during office hours.

10 Apr 2016

Peter Murry is standing in Klburn by-election

Peter Murry will be standing in this Council by-election caused by the death of a Labour councillor.



PETER MURRY has been a Brent resident for over twenty years and during many of these he worked in Kilburn as a lecturer at the College of North West London. He worked for the College in Harlesden, Kilburn and South Kilburn, where he taught on Access and Information Technology courses.

He was an active Trade Unionist in the Universities & Colleges Union (UCU) and is currently the Green Party’s London Trade Union Liaison Officer.

He took early retirement from the College in 2006 for ill health reasons, partly because he suffers from arthritis, which has meant that he has been disabled for almost a decade. This has given him first hand experienced of the problems that disabled people are forced to cope with, especially those faced by people with impaired mobility in using public transport and gaining access to some buildings.

He is also an artist and member of Brent Artists’ Resource.

The key points that he is campaigning on are
  • ·       A cleaner greener Kilburn
  • ·       No more council cuts
  • ·       Defend trade union rights
  • ·       Campaign against climate change

He thinks that the environment and quality of life in London in general, and Brent in particular, need many improvements. More housing at prices that people with average and low incomes can really afford is urgently needed and Brent council should be working to provide this. Its “regeneration” schemes, such as the one on the South Kilburn estate, should produce homes for people not business opportunities for property profiteers. 

It should also take whatever steps it can to drastically reduce the air pollution that causes huge health problems in Kilburn.

As an Eco-socialist, Pete believes that ecological damage and the free market economic policies of British governments are the basic causes of problems such as these. These are not problems caused by local government, or the people of Kilburn, but they have to deal with the consequences.

Attacks on Trade Union rights, such as those currently planned by the government, just make workers into scapegoats for government mistakes.

Climate change needs to be stopped and the quality of life needs to be improved; even local councils can do their bit, instead of just making life worse by cutting services.

Brent Council needs an opposition voice. This is a task that the Green Party can do for the people of Kilburn.

NB: Articles citing the Green Party or its candidates are published by  Peter Murry pp  Martin Francis, Brent and Harrow Green Party Election Agent, on behalf of Jafar Hasan, Shahrar Ali, Brent Green Party and Harrow Green Party all c/o Brent Green Party 23 Saltcroft Close, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 9JJ Also Peter Murry, Green candidate for Kilburn council by-election c/o same address.

30 Mar 2016

The People's Assembly Against Austerity is holding a march for health, homes, jobs and education on Saturday 16 april 2016, why should greens support it?

 

HEALTH
Climate change and the human-driven forces behind it are spreading new diseases. As eco systems all over the world are disrupted and destroyed to extract raw materials and to create the infrastructure for this extraction; and then also, for manufacturing and expanding human settlement, some organisms will move into new environments. This is nothing new, it has been happening for centuries, it is a process accelerated with and by increasing international trade. It causes climate change which alters the geographic ranges of organisms and it impacts human populations and/or their food animals and plants as diseases and pests may encounter species that have historically evolved no resistance to them.

Additionally the exploitation of new environments, coupled with climate change can bring about increased catastrophic events: floods, droughts, landslides wild fires and storms to name a few.

The icing on the cake, or the shit in the sandwich, may be loss of biodiversity, many species will be made extinct. This has moral implications, raising the question of what right homo sapiens has to give its existence, comfort and cultural needs precedence over the existence of some other animals, plants and slime moulds. It has practical implications as well; we may not know of the potential medicinal value of a threatened species until after it has gone; and we may not know the importance of species for others in its ecosystem. An example being the Mauritian tree whose seeds could only germinate if they had been swallowed by a dodo and had their casing softened in the dodo’s crop.

All this means we need our Health Services, and the scientific research on which they are based, more than ever. We will also need our emergency services more. These services need to be available to as many as need them, publicly provided and free at the point of use.

HOUSING
Climate change produces refugees because it will destroy some peoples’ habitats; their housing and/or the lands or waters that they need for food. It also generates resource wars, which often have the effect of making human survival in some areas perilous in the extreme and degrading environments so that they are no longer habitable. Refugees tend to up in very low grade housing, at its most extreme in tents, shacks and shipping containers. One step up from that, in Britain, they’ll likely end up in an underprivileged and vulnerable position in a housing market rigged by the government against poor people in general.

Social housing provision In Britain is being squeezed out of existence and as precedence is given to profit-motivated developers of housing for the rich, a process of ’social cleansing’ is taking place in some areas. The effects of this are to create a housing distribution which is almost exactly opposite to one which makes any kind of environmental sense. Instead of housing people near to their work, it maximises the amount of commuting that they do, and the amount of carbon emissions, whilst minimising the potential for using low carbon forms of transport such as walking and cycling. As this travelling time cuts out large slices of what could be leisure or family time a more sensible policy of providing affordable housing near people’s’ work could be an issue where housing activists could make common cause, since travelling time is effectively often work time being given to employers for free.

Then there is the question of what kind of housing we need as well as who it’s for and where it is. Often when climate change is discussed, the building of new energy providing devices is emphasised, but emission reduction also entails using less energy.  This could mean a shorter commute but it must also entail far better home insulation, possibly incorporating forms of micro generation, roof top solar panels being an obvious example. Other means of energy saving in housing could be possible, such as sharing some facilities between households, but other technical innovations may be possible or could be invented and developed. These possibilities have implications for jobs and education.

JOBS
Creation of a low carbon economy could involve the creation of millions of jobs, maybe more than the 1m initial target in the ccc pamphlet, expansion of the health and housing sectors have already been mentioned, but there are many other areas which could expand: renewables, recycling, alternative transport modes, a renovation of a canal system as transport, the re-extension of rail, wind power for shipping, localised agricultural production  and yet again more scientific research.

EDUCATION
Education could be added to the list of job sectors that should be expanded to create and maintain a low carbon economy. The school sector has a role to play, but so does adult, further and higher education both in educating and training workers for new and expanded industries; and if the transition to these is to be just, workers in those industries that will decline may well need retraining. Since the creation of a low carbon economy, will involve continuing innovations based on scientific and technological research the education it needs is a flexible one where people can move in and out of work to retrain as the economy develops and changes.
Achieving this is not just about expanding that which now exists, it is about redefining, the relation of education to industries, communities, science and to the local and central state. In many ways education needs to be autonomous, the types of teaching and research should not be dictated or restricted by commercial or sectional interests, which are now far too easily able to purchase the types of education and research that suit them. However education needs to have some accountability to the communities where it is located which means elected representation for trades unions and community organisations, (including the parents of school students), precisely to prevent  education institutions only serving one part of a community or one firm.

The public education needed to develop a low carbon economy is now under attack and needs defending.






18 Mar 2016

George Osborne wants to take money away from people living with disabilities.




George Osborne wants to take money away from people living with disabilities. [1]

The support he’s slashing, known as the Personal Independence Payment, is used by disabled people to help them live an independent life - for aids to help with things like washing and dressing. [2] In other words, money needed to live with dignity.

Conservative MPs are panicking. Some are already saying publicly that they don’t support taking this money away. [3] George Osborne is looking isolated, and one thing 38 Degrees members can do right now is show the public are against his cruel plans too.

We need to move fast. If thousands of us get behind a huge petition today, we can force George Osborne to do the right thing and keep this crucial support for disabled people.

Please will you add your name now?
The UK is better than this - better than taking money away from people who need it most.Taking away help to do the most basic things and live an independent life.

38 Degrees members believe in fairness, and when our government is hurting people who most need support we won’t stand by. Last Autumn, George Osborne tried to cut tax credits. This would have made many struggling families worse off. But 38 Degrees members mounted a massive campaign to stop him. And, together, we helped stopped that cut. [4]

People power can stop this cruel cut too.The more of us who rally in defence of people with disabilities, the more toxic we can make this for George Osborne, and the faster we can force him to back down.

So let’s get this petition going straight away. If you agree that George Osborne’s cuts are just plain cruel, add your name to the petition demanding he scraps them now:


Thanks for being involved,

Bex, David, James, Blanche and the 38 Degrees team


PS: This isn’t just a small cut to people's budgets - it means people with disabilities and their families losing around £70 a week. It means losing the lifeline. Conservative MP Andrew Percy says these cuts hit “exactly the wrong people.” [5] He’s right! Add your name to the petition now:

PPS: If you or a loved one are likely to be affected by these cuts, there is support available.
Disability Rights UK have a useful factsheet on PIP: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/personal-independence-payment-pip
Carers UK can provide help and advice: http://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice
The Citizens Advice Bureau can offer information on various benefits and where other financial help may be available: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/


NOTES
[1] Guardian: Disability benefit cuts not acceptable, Conservative rebels tell Osborne:
BBC: Government not backing down on disability cuts despite minister's words:
[2] Gov.uk: Personal Independence Payment overview:
Guardian: Benefit cuts threaten independent living for thousands of disabled people:
[3] The Telegraph: Budget 2016: George Osborne faces mass Tory rebellion over disability cuts:
And more and more Conservative MPs are speaking out over Twitter:
Sarah Wollaston MP:
Michael Fabricant MP:
[4] 38 Degrees Blog: Tax Credits Win!
[5] Evening Standard: Chancellor faces ‘open rebellion’ over benefits cut for the disabled:


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