Not a mini-me

That isn’t a dig at Patrick’s height, although I may have the urge to pop him in my bag and bring take him home on occasion.

You may be aware that Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens (an actual Scottish party, unlike Labour, Tories or LibDems) is standing in Glasgow North for the upcoming General Election against Patrick Grady of the SNP. (I’m not sure who the other candidates are let alone if they will have shaved heads & glasses.)

I’ve seen some consternation from Yes supporters re splitting the vote. As  you are aware I am an SNP member and will obviously be voting for my SNP candidate. (Hi Stewart)  I am however a fan of the Green party and was pleased they increased their number of Councillors this week.

I hope that they will continue to work with the SNP in Holyrood and hopefully Glasgow City Council but appreciate that they will be looking to push their agenda.

The Greens are not a junior SNP and should not be seen as such.

They are their own party with their own polices and if they want to stand in every constituency they have every right to. They will never progress from 4th party place if they are not ambitious.

The SNP will be fighting for every seat in Scotland; no one expects them to stand aside to let the Greens have a punt.

If you support the SNP vote for them. If you support the Greens vote for them.

#VotePatrick 😉

featured image Red Raiph

You can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat and at Mewsing Out Loud

 

 

UK Fracking: Job Estimates “plucked out of thin air”

Thirty-one miles south of London, nestled amongst the southern English countryside and almost entirely surrounded by woodland, rests the little village of Balcombe in West Sussex. Not particularly well known for anything, if you’d have looked up Balcombe on the web before say, 2010, It’s more than likely that your search would have predominantly produced pictures and information on the Balcombe Estate, a collection of relatively well-to-do looking buildings that were built way back in 1856.

Over the past few years, however, this has changed dramatically. Any search of the web for Balcombe now becomes saturated with online articles detailing the fierce protesting of hydraulic fracturing by environmental groups and local people. Opposition to the controversial technique reached its peak in the summer of 2013 when weeks of protests were held over the decision of British fracking pioneer Cuadrilla Resources to drill an exploratory well in the Lower Stumble area.

The protests seemed to work as, in January of 2014, Cuadrilla released the following statement; “The analysis of the samples obtained from the exploration well confirmed that the target rock underneath Lower Stumble is naturally fractured. The presence of these fractures and the nature of the rock means that we do not intend to hydraulically fracture the exploration well”

To date, Balcombe itself has remained “frack-free”, falling just short of roughly fifty-two square kilometre Cuadrilla exploration zone (one in which you would be forgiven for assuming the rocks were not already “naturally fractured”). However, other protests across Britain have not been so successful as much of the country is still up for grabs with estimates going up to as high as 60% of UK land being made available to fracking companies through government licensing rounds.

The UK seems to be one of only a handful of European nations going against the grain and looking to aggressively expand their fracking industry. France and Bulgaria have banned any fracking activity whatsoever and countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Austria, Ireland and Sweden all have various suspensions in place due to significant health and environmental issues.

What could the reasoning behind this be? Some of the most recent data shows that Europe’s energy consumption as a whole is decreasing, even data local to the UK shows that, since 2006, primary energy consumption has been steadily falling. So why do prominent figures in the British establishment continue to insist on fracking?

Prime Minister David Cameron himself has previously stated, “Shale gas is important for our country” and“could bring 74,000 jobs, over £3bn of investment, give us cheaper energy for the future, and increase our energy security”. However, Andy Chyba, former leadership candidate for the Welsh Green Party and a familiar face to the UK anti-fracking movement disagrees. He argues, “Like every number you have ever heard regarding the potential of fracking, these numbers are essentially plucked out of thin air. What we do know, regarding jobs, is that the vast majority will be short-term, relatively low skill, relatively low pay jobs involved in delivery driving and security.”

“Like every number you have ever heard regarding the (employment) potential of fracking, these numbers are essentially plucked out of thin air”

So what makes the UK differ from other European countries? The same arguments being put forward in other places are being put forward here, yet still, the industry is expanding? There are even tax incentives being thrown at any council willing to have their land drilled by offering them 100% of all the business rates received, rather than the usual 50%. Surely the very fact that schemes like this are having to be enacted shows how unwanted fracking is amongst those living in and around proposed sites.

However, the UK stance begins to make a little more sense when you see who has been put in charge and where. Liz Truss MP has been Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since July of 2014 when she replaced Conservative climate change denier, Owen Patterson. Truss is also a former employee of Shell (yes, the oil company) where she worked as a commercial manager.

Barton MossAfter the recent general election, Amber Rudd MP became the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change under the now entirely Conservative government. Rudd’s appointment must have been met with praise from the fracking companies as she has previously come out in support of the drilling stating that the prevention of fracking at certain sites was not “practical” and would “unduly constrain” fracking firms.

Now, herein lies a bigger issue, TTIP. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an EU-US trade deal that is still currently being negotiated. At first, this doesn’t seem too worrying until you discover that the investment chapter of TTIP would look to grant corporations a whole range of new rights and also allow them to set up secret international tribunals in order to enforce those rights. Believe it or not, this investor-state-dispute settlement mechanism or ISDS would enable corporations to sue any government they see as having stood in the way of profits being made, perhaps via the creation of pesky environmentally protective policies.

This is a problem, as it would most likely mean any new policy created after TTIP would primarily be established not for the wellbeing of the people and environment, but for the wealth of corporations and shareholders. And that means a green light for fracking.

If the United Kingdom is to commit to a truly sustainable future, it must kerb its desire for even more unreliable, untested, unwanted technology and begin to move towards a more renewable-focused energy policy. 

You can follow Ryan Morwood  at the News Leak website 

Why I’m Supporting The Scottish Greens And Why You Should Too

Now for those of you who know me, you will know that I am a die hard socialist – and that will never change.

But something is amidst us and I thought it would only be fair to share this materialisation with you.

It seems as though the days of the Tory and “Liebour” crew, demeaning our people are long gone; and from the dust clouds of lies and deceit, we see a renewed and strengthened party emerging.

This is a party who has been designed to prevail. A party who will fight for what is right and will not lie down to the sanctimonious and abhorrent dictators who currently run our country.

This is the Scottish Green Party and they are out to set things right.

Recently it has been shown that the Green party – once looked upon as the weaker campaign, have been coming up stronger than ever.
And I cannot express how happy I am.

The Scottish Greens manifesto and policies are literally the embodiment of everything I and all other socialists in Scotland stand for, plus so much more.

The Scottish Greens who describe themselves as bold and new – have a promise to end the powerful clutch of austerity that Scotland is currently ruled under the thumb of.

They promise that by enforcing better mandates they will close the attainment gap in education and create a more wholesome education for those who choose to go on to further education.

They believe that education should be about creativity and passion and they want educators “to be supported to put learning before grades”.

Now isn’t this what we have been fighting for?

An education system which leans in the support of helping students gain proper knowledge, not just training them to learn from textbook answers. A system which doesn’t focus solely on exams or exerting pressure on students to suceed in all academic grouping.

The Greens also have a strong view in regards to the workers and their earnings.

They believe that Scotland would stand stonger if we cut the taxes that the lower earning citizens are being forced to pay and instead increase the tax of those who earn above the threshold.

Meaning that the busy bodies who earn over £150,000 per year would be taxed at a rate of 60% and those earning above the average national would also be expected to contribute a little more towards the cause.

The Party is also commonly seen to support the trade unions rights for workers, hoping to abolish Thatchers idea of trade unions by devolving the trade union laws already in place.

Isn’t it just a dream come true?

The Green party also propose to take control of tenancy rights, the housing crisis and initiate land reforms to stabilise the economy and give back to the community.

By stopping the “conveyor belt of cash” the party wishes to put a halt to social inequality by terminating the idea that homes are “financial commodities” instead of basic human rights.

Finally, last but not least the Scottish Green party are big advocates of Independance and have recently stated that they would willingly “stand behind Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP” in the fight for our second referendum and the campaign for Scottish Independance.

If that isn’t icing on the cake, then I don’t know what is.

So Scotland, it’s time to remove the apron strings and training wheels, say fare thee well to the likes of Kezia Dugdale and Ruth “The Mooth” Davidson and welcome a new and proseperous Scotland guided by the deserving hand of our Scottish Green Party.

I for one cannot wait. Can you?

To find out more about the Scottish Green Party, their manifesto or to join as a member, please follow the link provided below.

Scottish Green Party

You can follow Dionne Melissa Newman on twitter @DionneMNewman or at her blog page dionnemelissanewman.wordpress.com