Campaigns

Campaigns report July 2016

TURNING CALDERDALE GREEN 2015-2020

Turning Calderdale Green is Calderdale Green Party’s manifesto for 2015 - 2020. It outlines what we want to achieve for Calderdale by 2020, and how we plan to do this.

Our three big campaign goals are to make sure that we all enjoy a Safe Climate and Environment and a Fair Shares Economy, and that we save and restore the NHS and other public services.

To achieve these goals, Calderdale Green Party works with various other groups and organisations.

Here is the Campaigns’ Officers’ report for July 2016.

Over the past couple of months, Calderdale Green Party Campaigns Officers have focussed on these issues:

Safe climate and environment -Natural flood management - protecting the Walshaw Moor Natura 2000 site

Some years ago, Ban the Burn complained to the EU Commission  that Natural England was failing to enforce EU wildlife and habitat protections on Walshaw Moor. More here.

The EU’s action against the UK government lapsed at the 2015 General Election, because this brought in a new government. This year one of the campaigns officers asked Linda McAvan, a Labour Yorkshire & Humberside MEP, to chase this up with the EU Commission. Linda did so and found that the EU had started legal action against the UK government. Link.

But, in the light of the EU Referendum result, Linda McAvan says it is unlikely that the EU Commission will do anything now. Link.

The Campaigns Officers will get back to her after the summer when it may be clearer if the UK will be part of the single market, in which case EU directives will still apply and the EU Commission may go ahead with its legal action against the UK government.

In the meantime, groups like Treesponsibility and the SOURCE are continuing their work to protect the Walshaw Moor and other uplands and to introduce catchment-wide natural flood reduction measures.  

Defending and Restoring the NHS - NHS Reinstatement Bill:

Caroline Lucas has stood down as the main sponsor of this Bill and Labour MP Margaret Greenwood is now the main sponsor. On 30th June the Bill was allocated a debate as 10 Minute Rule Bill.  This will be on 13 July right after Prime Minister’s Questions. Please write and ask your MP to attend the debate and support the Bill. Link Here.

Defending and Restoring the NHS - Hospital cuts

One of the Campaigns Officers has  responded to the consultation on behalf of Calderdale & Kirklees 999 CAll for the NHS   and also had input into Calderdale Trades Council’s response but had not had time to prepare a separate Green Party response.

The Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee has launched a public consultation which she hopes to be able to make a response to on behalf of the Green Party.

EU Referendum - Greener In/ Another Europe is Possible

We did not do a lot/enough. Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack had planned to leaflet in Calderdale on the last weekend before the vote, but campaigning was suspended following the murder of Jo Cox.

Once campaigning resumed, Calderdale Greens had however distributed around 500 leaflets and a number of window posters and Tod Greens did a joint Remain stall with LibDems.

Safe Climate and Environment & Fair Shares Economy  - Halifax Town Centre Regeneration plan

Both Campaigns Officers attended the public “engagement” event to launch the Calderdale Next Chapter website 

This had been advertised as a public consultation event about a new Halifax Transport Plan, but it turned out to be a public “engagement” launch event for a website for the Halifax town centre regeneration plan. This confused us. 

We asked about whether the transport element of the plan was based on the hierarchy of walkability, cyclability, public transport and then private transport - it isn’t.

We asked why the new shop buildings were not going to use green building methods - we were told this was an outlandish idea that investors (mainly pension funds) would not go for.

We asked why the regeneration plan was based on tourism (the upgrade of Piece Hall as an intended national tourist attraction) and shopping, when these jobs are low skilled and low paid and Halifax needs high skill high wage jobs.

We asked how increasing consumption and road traffic was going to conflict with Calderdale Council’s commitment to reducing the area’s carbon emissions under its Calderdale Energy Future scheme.

We didn’t get any satisfactory answers and will be sending in a written response to the engagement on behalf of Calderdale Green Party. In the meantime, we have had this letter published in the Halifax Courier.

Protect rights at work when we leave EU

Please consider signing and sharing this petition

Call for Greens to join trades unions and attend Calderdale Trades Council meetings

Frank Holt, Calderdale Green Party Trades Union Liaison Officer, writes:

As a result of the EU referendum it will soon be impossible for the Trade Union movement to turn to the European Union in order to protect workers rights.  They must accept this responsibility themselves because they are the most powerful organisation that now stands between workers and the onslaught that the Tories would like to unleash upon us.

It is therefore essential that as many members as possible join their own unions if they are not already members and help us to make our voice heard and increase our influence and credibility in Calderdale. Existing union members should consider becoming union delegates to other organisations such as the Trades Council.

The Trade union movement has already given its support to policies pursued by the Green Party. As well as supporting workers rights the Calderdale Trades Council has passed a motion opposing fracking in North Yorkshire. In addition, a number of unions such as UNITE, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the Transport and Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the University and College Union (UCU) have also opposed fracking. Clearly, the Green Party and the Trade Union movement have much in common and by working together we could achieve much more.

Calderdale Trades Council also passed the NHS Reinstatement Bill motion, which it then voted through to the West West Yorkshire County Association of Trades Councils AGM, to be voted on there. From there the NHS Reinstatement Bill was voted through to the national Trades Council Conference and is now part of the Trades Councils' workplan for the year.

Calderdale Trades Council  Secretary Pete Keal writes:

We are in a time of great change and uncertainty. Before the EU referendum, the Tories were attacking Trade Unionists and the working class in general. A Tory Government negotiating exit from the European Union will be no better.

At this crucial time Trade Unionists need to stand together. The Trades Council is a place where we can support one another and promote trades unionism.

Calderdale Trades Council meetings are open to all trades unionists and others who share our objectives, although only delegates from affiliated Branches may participate in any votes that take place.

We have recently supported strike action by the NUT, UCU members in universities and the Junior Doctors’ strikes. We have campaigned against the Government’s Trade Union Bill and together with Calderdale UNISON branch organised leafletting for and a commemoration on Workers’ Memorial Day in Halifax. We are currently starting to make plans for a Calderdale May Day celebration in 2017 and would welcome more people getting involved with this.

For more information, please go to: http://calderdaletuc.org.uk

Please join Calderdale Trades Council’s e-mail list. Requests can either be sent via the Contact page on http://calderdaletuc.org.uk or by e-mailing info@calderdaletuc.org.uk

Please make make sure that if you are a trades union member, your Union Branch affiliates to and sends delegates to Calderdale Trades Council.

In addition, if you are not in a Trade Union, please join one.  Unite Community membership costing 50p per week is an option for people who are not in work.

We need every trade union branch with members living or working in Calderdale to affiliate to Calderdale Trades Council in order to strengthen our movement and our campaigning.

We would also like trades unionists and supporters of the movement to “like” our Facebook page, which is at:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calderdale-Trades-Council/52219215447587

Please would you also follow us on Twitter at @calderdaletuc [link to: https://twitter.com/calderdaletuc

We hope that you will support Calderdale Trades Council and look forward to hearing from you.

Greens Support the Junior Doctors


Green Calderdale Councillor Candidates Katherine Horner (Ovenden) and Jenny Shepherd (Calder Ward) took part in the junior doctors’ strike picket outside Calderdale Royal Hospital on Tuesday 26th April.

Both Katherine and Jenny are longstanding Support the NHS campaigners, actively working to stop and reverse NHS cuts and sell offs and to retain both Halifax and Huddersfield A&Es in the face of proposed hospital cuts, that are currently out to a deeply flawed public consultation.

Katherine Horner said,

“Not one of the Junior Drs on the picket line wanted to be there. Talking to them, all they want is a fair and safe contract for patients’ safety and for their own safety. Tired doctors make mistakes and this contract would mean exhausted junior doctors.  Over the next few days they will also be in town handing out leaflets on why they are having to do this. Ignore government propaganda and go speak to them or join them on the picket.”

Jenny Shepherd said,

“The Junior Doctors say they feel guilty about having to strike but feel they have no alternative in the face of Hunt’s contract, which would make it impossible for them to do their job safely and effectively. They are deeply worried about where Hunt is taking the NHS.

Talking about the proposed cuts to Calderdale and Huddersfield Hospitals, one junior doctor told me that the proposals for a “modern workforce” with fewer doctors and new lower-skilled grades of physician associates risks degrading the value of a British medical degree.

She sees this as having a knock-on effect of downgrading the NHS and destroying its international standing as a place where doctors from all over the world want to come and work. She said, and I completely agree, that the NHS is one of the last things we still have that make Britain great. The junior doctors are at the sharp end of the fight to retain and restore the NHS, and Greens and many others stand in solidarity with them.”

The Green Party nationally stands in solidarity with the Junior Doctors.

Speaking ahead of the 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, the Green Party's Health and Social Care Spokesperson, added:

“The Green Party supports the junior doctors’ strike because the new contract, if imposed, would have disastrous effects on patients and the NHS.

“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.”