Conference recognises that Michael Gove has recently escalated his policy of forcing primary schools to become academies so that now only one poor Ofsted report is required to trigger such a move. This has currently resulted in several strong parent-led campaigns in defence of community schools.
The Green Party believes forced academisation:
• Undermines the role of local authorities and school governing bodies in school improvement
• Undermines local democratic accountability of schools
• Ignores the wishes of major stakeholders including governors and parents
• Hands over local assets to an external provider without recompense
• Opens the school to eventually being run on a profit-making basis
Conference therefore instructs the GPEX campaigns coordinator to facilitate a campaign against this policy at national level over the next 6 months and calls on local parties to take up the issue where appropriate.
Passed Spring 2013
SUPPORT THE COR PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY
The Green Party notes with approval that The Coalition of Resistance (of which it is an affiliate), launched a call for a People’s Assembly Against Austerity on 5 February 2013, to be held on 22 June 2013. The aim of the People’s Assembly is to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice. to develop a strategy for resistance to mobilise millions of people against the Con Dem government.
The Green Party agrees to send a delegation to the People’s Assembly and to encourage local parties, regional federations and other GP bodies (eg GPTU) to also send delegations and to support future local People’s Assemblies.
Passed Spring 2013
PUBLICLY OWNED NHS
Conference notes that this month secondary legislation introduced into the parliament by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will effectively force GPs responsible for commissioning health services to open them all to competition, leaving the way clear for widespread privatisation of the NHS in England. It notes that these regulations contradict assurances given by the Coalition government during the passing of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It notes that international evidence suggests that a market in healthcare leads to worse outcomes for patients, and that the stability and financial base of traditional NHS services will be put at-risk by private providers “cherrypicking” the most lucrative patients and services.
We direct our elected representatives and the Green Party executive to campaign to ensure that the NHS Competition regulations (SI 257) under the Act are subject to full debate and vote in Parliament, and to work for their defeat or withdrawal. And it further calls upon them to highlight the strong Green Party position in favour of a publicly owned and publicly run NHS.
Passed Spring 2013
Conference notes that, this week, EDF energy have announced their plans to sue climate change activists No Dash For Gas for £5million.
These activists shut down West Burton gas-fired power station for a week – stopping the power station emitting over 19000 tonnes of CO2 and highlighting the government's attempts to deliver a new dash for gas.
Conference condemns EDF energy for this attack on the right to protest, which could leave these activists paying off the debt for the rest of their lives.
Conference also notes that the police - who normally should have no role in a civil case - have assisted EDF energy in pursuing the activists, and condemns them for doing so.
Conference regards this action as a direct threat to the right to protest and a clear effort to prevent any stand on environmental, human rights or any other issues in the future.
Conference calls on our elected representatives and the Green Party executive to highlight EDF’s assault on the right to peaceful protest, and to take all possible steps to encourage investigation of the links between police officers and the EDF in collecting intelligence on and policing these and similar protests.
Conference instructs GPEx to contact No Dash For Gas to offer the Green Party's support, and to ask how best we can help.
Passed Spring 2013
THE UK AND SAUDI ARABIA AND BAHRAIN
In the light of the ongoing Foreign Affairs Select Committee hearing into the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, conference calls on our elected representatives and the Green Party executive to highlight the failure of the British government to address longterm and ongoing concerns about the appalling human rights records in Saudi Arabia in particular, and more recent very serious concerns about Bahrain. It calls on them to highlight the fact that at the 2012 BAE AGM the company chair failed to answer a question as to whether there were any circumstances under which BAE would cease taking orders from the Saudi Army or cease collaborating with them. It calls on our representatives to campaign against any future export credit cover for future arms deals to the two states, and to campaign for the publication of the National Audit Office investigation of the Al Yamamah deal, completed in 1992, to be published. (The only NAO report ever not published after being presented to parliament.)
Passed Spring 2013
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
During this conference, Natalie Bennett signed the Time To Change pledge on behalf of the party. The pledge means that the Green Party is joining many other organisations in raising awareness of mental health problems and tackling discrimination.
Time to Change has highlighted that:
• One in four adults suffers from mental health problems in any one year
• One in six British workers is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress
• 10% of children are suffering from a mental health problem.
In November, MIND published the results of three surveys showing that mental health services in the UK are overstretched, that people are not being assessed quickly enough and many people needing treatment are not getting access to services at all.
Conference notes with deep concern that funding for mental health services is being cut further by many local councils and health bodies around the country this month.
Conference notes that Brighton and Hove City Council has protected its funding for mental health services and supports the work of Green Councillors, Caroline Lucas MP and other Green campaigners in opposing cuts to services that support mental health sufferers.
Conference asks the Green Party Executive to promote the party’s support for the Time to Change campaign and our opposition to cuts to mental health services through a press release, e-mail bulletins and other campaigning opportunities.
Passed Spring 2013
Make Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement History
The Green Party notes the statement, below, adopted by the Council of the European Green Party in May 2012 and the near identical statement adopted at the Global Greens Congress in March 2012.
TEXT OF EGP RESOLUTION
Make ACTA history
ACTA is not transparent, non-democratic and exclusive
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated by the EU, the USA and a small group of other states supported by industry lobby groups behind closed doors without the participation of parliaments and civil society. As the attempt to push for stricter enforcement rules of intellectual property rights failed in multilateral fora like the WTO and the WIPO, the states pushing for ACTA, decided to negotiate in an exclusive group without developing countries. We as European Greens strongly oppose this move away from international fora and to start a policy of closed shops and not- transparent processes.
ACTA threatens the freedom of information in the Internet
Although ACTA does not (anymore) oblige the treaty parties to control and inflict ISP infringement, it still lists these provisions as goals to be reached. The signatories shall, for example, work towards a stronger cooperation between Internet Service Providers and ISP right holders. This would lead to more stringent rights’ enforcement by the ISPs for fear of responsibility for alleged Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement by their customers and give matter to the notion of privatised rights’ enforcement outside of regular formal legal procedures.
ACTA endangers the access to medicine
Patients all over the globe, but especially in developing countries depend to a large extent on the affordable generics – often produced in other developing countries like India but shipped through the EU. As ACTA also covers trademarks, customs’ officers will become entitled to seize generics in transit if they as much as resemble patented medicine by their packaging. ACTA will facilitate the destruction of confiscated medicine – now only possible in very limited circumstances. Forced information disclosure in the production chain will be made easier for right holders and thus cause a chilling effect for producers of generic medicine that means out of fear for punishment decrease or stop production. All these measures go beyond TRIPS, curb the developing countries’ TRIPS flexibilities and threaten the trade with legitimate generic medicine.
ACTA paves a wrong way of how to deal with copyright
A more and more rigid way of copyright and IPR infringement became more dominant in the last years. We saw TRIPS that made life difficult for developing countries. Companies can patent new forms of broccoli or Amazonas plants. Pharmaceutical companies patent every tiny change of a medicine. We Greens want a reform of the IPR system so that it is based on a fair balance of right holders and users. We Greens are discussing therefor the best ways to modernize and reform copyright and IPR legislation to each these goals. ACTA however would cement the old, rigid approach for the years to come.
ACTA does not even hold what it promises
The Commission and other ACTA proponents claim that ACTA wants to fight counterfeit products. In reality, ACTA is useless in preventing the production of faked Gucci sun glasses counterfeit products, China, is not even part of ACTA. ACTA cannot prevent the trade with faked, dangerous medicine.
The people do not want ACTA
The big protest movement all over the world, especially Europe showed that European citizens do not want ACTA. The pressure from the streets showed already its impact. The European Commission itself is starting to doubt and decided to refer ACTA to the European Court of Justice. Other political groups in the European Parliament woke up and started critical debates – also after having received thousands of e-mails from concerned citizens. There is a political momentum
for making ACTA history.
Therefore, we, as European Greens:
1. Strictly oppose ACTA;
2. Support the protest movement all over the world;
3. Urge the European Parliament and ACTA signatories’ national parliaments to refuse consent on ACTA;
4. Conduct ex-ante and ex-post human rights impact assessments with every trade agreement.
5. We are aware of the fact, that ACTA is not an isolated attempt to reduce the freedom of Internet or access to medicines. The European Greens call upon the European Parliament and the
EU Commission that they should consistently support and fight for net neutrality and an open and free Internet, and access to medicines and against reducing Internet freedom as in IPRED or other upcoming international negotiations.
TEXT OF EGP RESOLUTION ENDS
The Green Party welcomes and supports this statement and congratulates the Greens in the European Parliament for leading the campaign against ACTA.
The Green Party further notes that ACTA is part of a series of attempts to change national and international regulation around intellectual property and copyright in favour of corporate profit and to the detriment of human rights and consumer protection.
Passed Autumn 2012
International Law of Ecocide
The Green Party of England and Wales gives its wholehearted support for an international law of Ecocide - a crime against nature, humanity and future generations – to be established and recognised as an International Crime Against Peace.
Passed Autumn 2012
To help prevent a repeat of the economic crisis, we need greater economic democracy, through participation in decision-making, transparency, decentralisation of economic power and greater accountability from corporations. There are four ways we could achieve this:
Require medium and large-sized companies to be accountable to their employees and to the general public by including on their management boards employee-elected directors and independent directors to represent the interests of consumers. Employee and consumer directors could act as watchdogs and whistleblowers against corporate irresponsibility. Not being driven by the profit-motive, they could also push for company policies that are more socially inclusive and environmentally protective.
Give employees a meaningful stake in the management and control of their company pension funds, to decentralise and democratise investment decisionmaking and to give it a social and ethical dimension. The £900 billion invested in pension funds is a sizeable counterweight to the economic clout of big business. It could be invested in ways that help make the economy more fair and people-centred.
Grant employees the legal right to buy out their companies and turn them into workers co-operatives, and provide funding to do this from a Green National Investment Bank. The funding would be contingent on the cooperatives following green and ethical policies. These co-ops would weaken the power of big corporations, localise economic decision-making, and give employees incentives for greater productivity.
Passed Autumn 2012
The ILO Convention on Domestic Workers
The Green Party calls on the UK government to sign and ratify the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers. It recognises domestic workers are an important part of the workforce and should be entitled to the same rights as any other worker, including pay, working hours and safety. We call on the government to particularly recognise the vulnerability of migrant domestic workers and act to ensure their protection and provision of safe, appropriate working conditions for them.
Passed Spring 2012
Women, Peace and Security and the UN
The Green Party is deeply concerned about sexual violence and all forms of violence perpetrated against civilians, particularly the high levels of violence against women and children, in situations of armed conflict. We call on the UK government to provide greater financial resources and active support to implement the provisions of UN resolutions and decisions dealing with women, peace and security, including UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), UN Security Council Resolution 1820 (2008), UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (2009), UN Security Council Resolution 1889 (2009) and UN General Assembly Resolution 65/69 (2010).
We call on the government to recognise and support the important role of women as agents of change in local, national and international disarmament and peace-making, and to work with relevant organisations and agencies to ensure there is increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for disarmament, the prevention, management and resolution of conflict, and the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.
The Green Party also strongly supports the new UN Women organisation. The government's current funding for UN Women falls far short of our commitments and UN Women's needs, and the Green Party calls for the UK government to increase funding and meet Britain's full responsibilities to resource the work of UN Women.
Passed Spring 2012
Ending the Long-Term Stigmatisation of Sex Workers and Former Sex Workers
The Green Party calls for the ending of the classification of the offences of "Loitering or Soliciting for the Purpose of Prostitution" and "Brothelkeeping" as sexual offences. We recognise that the permanent retention of sexual offences on an individual's record, through the enhanced criminal records bureau check, can be a significant barrier to women and men who wish to leave sex work but are prevented from entering many jobs as a result of this record, and may also have severe and unwarranted consequences for family life.
Passed Spring 2012
Availability for Work
The Green Party has a commitment to the introduction of a Citizens Income which will mean that the need to test "availability for work" is no longer required. In the meantime we believe that decisions about whether someone is healthy enough to be required to be "available for work" should be made within the NHS rather than by a "capability assessment" carried out by the DWP.
Passed Spring 2012
The Green Party supports the global occupy movement:
Since the financial crisis began there has been a widespread recognition that our economic system is not working.
Whether it be reversing the deregulation of the financial services, wealth inequality, privatisation or tax injustice there is a deep desire to see real change.
The Occupy Movement that began in Wall Street and spread to hundreds of cities across the world represents the clearest expression of that desire for change.
The Green Party applauds the audacity of this movement that has made our failing economic system a daily topic of discussion in the media and in our communities.
The Green Party seeks to learn from this movement with which we have so much in common.
We can only gain by debating, working with and befriending those in this and other new movements whose fresh approach to politics has reignited hope for the future in so many.
We seek to take the inspiration they have given us and use it to inform our work in our communities, on the streets and at the ballot box.
Passed Spring 2012
Apology for Coerced Adoptions
Green Party conference calls on Green Party elected representatives and GPEx to campaign for an official government apology for the historic treatment of birth parents (primarily between the 1940s and 1980s) who were coerced into giving up babies for adoption, usually because of their unmarried status, with in many cases long-lasting detrimental effects on their lives and health. They should work to ensure the government recognises the pain and suffering of birth parents and children separated by inappropriate and unethical past adoption practices, and that it commits to an effective and ongoing dialogue with birth parents and their children affected by past adoption practices. They should also campaign for research to fully understand the impact of these practices, and what services or support those continuing to be affected by them might need.
Passed Autumn Conference Sheffield 2011
The Green Party reaffirms it's commitment to a liberal immigration policy. Everyone is equal no matter what the colour of their passport. The Coalition's policy of introducing an immigration cap restricts people's rights based purely on their nationality, harms the economy and is not conducive to a free and happy society.The Green Party is in favour of a real review of border controls that takes in the full benefits of immigration and stops treating those who are not native to the UK as a problem.
Passed Autumn Conference Sheffield 2011
One Million Jobs
Conference calls on the Green party to support the "One Million Jobs" pamphlet and petition produced by the Campaign Against Climate Change by encouraging sales of the pamphlet and signatures for the petition.
Passed Autumn Conference Sheffield 2011
High Speed Rail
TR11.3 The Green Party believes that long-distance service provision should not concentrate on high speeds where this will affect local service provision or take up an excessive amount of limited resources.
Current proposals for a new north-south high speed rail route are based on assumptions about continuing growth in mobility, energy use and CO2 emissions which are not compatible with green party policy.
The Green Party does not support the current (2011) high speed rail proposals known as HS2 but will review this policy if and when evidence emerges that HSR is embedded within an overall policy context that can deliver reductions in the demand for transport, energy use, land take and CO2 emissions.
Passed Spring Conference Cardiff 2011
Cuts and Local Public Services
1) We recognise that global capitalism has set its sights on the public sector as part of the solution to its crisis. Recognising that simple privatisation of local services is unpopular, successive governments have introduced more subtle forms of 'creeping privatisation' - taking services out of public hands and handing them over to new bodies which are vulnerable to being taken over by the private sector at a later stage; and surrounding public services with private sector consultants and advisers.
2) We oppose all these moves and insist that local public services should be provided overwhelmingly by public service providers and be accountable directly to local people, not to private sector shareholders. Claims that only the quality of local public services matters, and not who provides them, are inaccurate, because private sector providers are ultimately accountable to their shareholders and their financial bottom line. The public sector is different: it is wholly dedicated towards delivering services for those in need, and the dedication, skill, and innovation of public sector workers should be unleashed to improve services. Defending the public service ethos is therefore a top priority for the Green Party.
3) We believe that all local public service providers should therefore be under a duty to promote the environmental, economic and social well-being of the local community; and to optimise efficiency, and avoid waste, in public service provision.
4) The total cost of public service provision in an area, through all providers, should be published and made available for public scrutiny. The remit of local councils should be expanded so that locally-delivered services are commissioned by democratically-elected local authorities. Primary Care Trusts should be supervised by, and accountable to, elected local government, for example. Separate elections for police and health will splinter accountability and threaten partnership working.
5) We need a revolution in participation - freedom of information and transparency is not enough. We support the approach of local people playing a major role in planning, commissioning, managing and assessing local priorities, services and budgets, using appropriate local forums and techniques such as participatory budgeting. Such deliberative discussion is preferable to the blunt instrument of local referenda for complex decisions on services and budgets.
6) In the current economic climate, we also commit ourselves to support national and local campaigns against cuts in public services and to use everything in our power when in opposition or in office to oppose them.
Passed Spring 2011
Declarations of War
We call upon GPEx and our elected representatives to campaign for legislation which gives Parliament alone the right to declare war, and which requires all future military actions to be fully and openly costed, and approved by Parliament, both in advance and annually throughout such conflicts.
And to work with sympathetic legal and political organisations and individuals to find a way to bring such legislation before Parliament.
Passed Spring 2011
1 Conference notes that the Green Party's Citizen's Income policy sets us apart from other political parties. Successive governments' oppressive use of coercion and privatisation of public services which diminish the bargaining power of ordinary citizens makes implementing our Citizen's Income policy more urgent, yet also a potentially great electoral opportunity
2 Conference regards the Government's planned changes to the benefits system as incoherent, poorly thought through and an unjustified attack on the benefit incomes of the poor and not so poor. Whilst welcoming attempts to simplify the benefits system and allow some groups to earn more before losing benefits, conference draws attention to an inherent contradiction. Whilst the proposal to standardise the withdrawal rate at 65% recognizes the fact that the withdrawal of means tested benefits has the same effect as a tax on low incomes, that rate is effectively 76% when National Insurance deductions are taken into account. Set against this, it is unacceptable that the top rate of income tax is only 50%.
3. We find the following elements of the government proposals unacceptable:-
1) their emphasis, like their predecessors, on conditionality and the condemnation of benefit claimants
2) their reliance on profit-making providers in the back-to-work and medical testing industries
3) their proposals for massive cuts in housing benefit and tax credits
4) their cuts in the benefit rights of sick people, disabled people and those looking after children
5) their changes to the rules around pension age and
6) their changes to uprating rules to reduce the real rates of benefit on into the future.
4. We urge local Green Parties to campaign against the Government's proposals. We urge them to lobby their MPs against the cuts and to ally with local groups campaigning against particular aspects of the cuts, including, but not limited to:
· Campaigns against cuts in DLA mobility element for people in care homes
· Campaigns against the private providers of the back to work and medical industries
We also urge local parties to support:
· Campaigns for better rights, job opportunities and in-work support for all those wishing to work
· Campaigns for better benefit rights for carers.
5 We ask our MP and other parliamentary campaigners to bring forward amendments which both highlight the confused and incoherent nature of the current proposals as well as also criticising the most obvious and unpleasant aspects of these cuts.
Passed Spring 2011
Living Within Our Means
LWM1 The Green Party restates its commitment to developing an economic policy that is compatible with ecological sustainability and ‘recognises the limits of . . . the natural systems of the planet’ (EC100).
LWM2 In this context it is important that we recognise the current fiscal deficit as a consequence of a policy based on monetary inflation without respect to ecological limits; for our policy to be consistent we cannot rely on growing our way out of debt, as many conventional economists propose.
LWM3 The unprecedented level of public deficit means that a significant restructuring of our economy is inevitable. The Green Party would use this opportunity to achieve the managed descent from overconsumption that our commitment to sustainability requires, while simultaneously addressing the rapid rise in inequality that has occurred in the past 30 years. We could consider this to be a domestic equivalent of our global policy for Contraction and Convergence.
LWM4 Conference instructs the policy co-ordinator, the economics policy working group, and the Party’s media team to work together to find ways to exploit the opportunity offered by the fiscal crunch to publicise the Green Party’s unique commitment to steady-state economics.
LWM5 The policy co-ordinators are instructed to begin a process that will bring to spring conference proposals that will, in the context of the current public spending position, explore the synergies and conflicts between: The Green New Deal proposals that were passed as a fast-tracked policy motion in Autumn 2008; The proposals for implementing our economic vision included in the 2010 election manifesto; The commitment to building an economy within ecological limits included in the first paragraphs of our economic policy.
Passed Autumn 2010
Equality and Diversity
The human rights struggles of LGBTI movements in oppressive states such as Jamaica , Iran , Uganda , Malawi , Iraq , Nigeria , Zimbabwe , Russia will be supported, and the criminalisation of LGBTI people will be strongly opposed. Visas for ‘murder music’ singers and others who incite homophobic and transphobic violence will be refused.
Passed Autumn 2010
Community Pubs, Pub Goers and Alcohol Policy
The pub and brewing industries are in crisis. Every day seven pubs close and small brewing companies struggle to find business, while the market is dominated by four global companies. Tie licensees can currently only buy a limited range of beer at prices inflated by around 40%. This restricts pub goers’ choice, prevents small local brewers selling to such pubs and hastens pub closures. We believe that an effective approach to reduce alcohol related harm must involve support for good community pubs which provide a safe and responsible place for people to drink.
Therefore, the Green Party of England and Wales supports CAMRA's Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter and will campaign to :
Promote the interests of Britain's 15 million regular pub goers.
Champion the community importance of well-run pubs
Support the rebalancing of alcohol taxation to protect well- run community pubs, small brewers and traditional cider producers.
Reform “beer tie” arrangements to ensure a fair deal for consumers, allow local brewers to sell their beers to local pubs and deliver a sustainable future for Britain's pubs.
Seek to address issues of alcohol-related harm through a more targeted approach that supports pubs which play a positive role in community life and provide a safe and responsible place to enjoy a drink.
In particular the party agrees that;
GPEx should contact CAMRA and the GMB union to inform them of our support for the Charter and for a radical reform of “beer tie” arrangements.
Control over the change of use and demolition of pubs should be brought into the hands of local people by giving Local Authorities greater power over planning.
The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 should be extended to provide a rolling programme allowing local people to continue to submit proposals to the Government to protect their local small brewers, traditional cider producers and community pubs.
Supermarkets should abide to the same high standards as ontrade alcohol suppliers, and end the selling of alcohol as a lossleader.
That the promotion of community pubs should be the cornerstone of a strategy to promote responsible drinking and preventing anti-social behaviour. Pubs which act as hubs of their community should be given 50% mandatory business rate relief as recognition of their value to society.
Supports beer as a low alcohol product, creating a zero duty rate for beers of 2.8% abv and below.
Support for the retention of small breweries' relief.
Change to the legislation on short beer measures (it is not currently illegal to serve customers less than a full pint in a pub) so beer drinkers are not short changed.
Support the changes to the 2003 Licensing Act which provide for greater flexibility in pub opening times and greater choice for pub goers.
Supports the revision of the EU Excise Duty Directive allowing the UK Government to introduce a preferential duty rate for all alcoholic drinks sold in pubs.
Supports radical reform of the “beer tie” to ensure equity in the relationship between large pub companies and licensees, including the provision of a guest beer right. Currently “tied” licensees can only buy a limited range of beer at inflated prices, often up to 40% higher. This limits pub goers’ choice, prevents small breweries selling to tied pubs, and hastens pub closures.
An amendment to current compulsory purchase orders so that when a community pub is being sold the community and current lessee are given an opportunity to buy.
Passed Autumn 2010
The Landfill Communities Fund
The Green Party believes it is unacceptable for companies who have to pay Landfill Tax because of their impact on local communities, to be able promote themselves in a positive light using their role as Landfill Tax fund holders and distributors (through linked trusts) to gain PR.
The Green Party shares the opinion of many communities, who are impacted by these companies, that no polluter should be seen to gain positive PR from administrating these funds.
The Green Party further believes that communities should not have to go effectively cap in hand to these companies for funds - instead the administration of Land Fill Tax funds should be given to one independent funding organisation – absolutely separate from the companies paying Landfill Tax. Landfill Tax is a tax and it should not be seen as a way for a polluter to gain positive publicity. Distribution of Landfill Tax funds should be taken away from polluters directly or indirectly including the control of where the funds are allocated. This decision must be based on an independent assessment of need in the community in respect of bids for funding.
The Green Party further believes that the present constraints placed on projects that Landfill Tax presently fund are too restrictive and believes that any project (Capital and Revenue) that could be seen to benefit the community, should be able to apply to the Landfill Communities Fund (LFC)
This Conference therefore calls (through our elected representatives) upon Government to take action to remove the Landfill Communities Fund administration and allocation (directly or indirectly) from Landfill Operators and allow grants to be seen and used to be operating in the interests of local communities rather than positive PR for a Landfill Operator.
Passed Autumn 2010
National rape crisis hotline
The Green Party calls on the government to fund a national rape and sexual abuse crisis hotline, to be operated by specialist NGO’s, to provide 24-hour, seven day access to immediate support and referral for All (female and male) victims of sexual crimes. This would direct callers to local services, including local phone lines.
Passed Autumn 2009
The war being conducted by the UK and NATO forces in Afghanistan is according to all informed military sources an unwinnable one. Furthermore, it has had the effect of destabilising the entire Afghanistan and Pakistan region, with the consequent danger of the collapse of the Pakistani state itself. It is taking the lives of countless UK troops and diverting resources at a time when the government should be concentrating resources into job creation, health and the educational sector among others. Furthermore, the government supported by NATO and backed by the military forces is widely discredited and corrupt and has lost the trust of the Afghan people. The continuation of the current military intervention increases the risk significantly of a terrorist attack on the UK and a massive increase in refugees fleeing from war and oppression
Since that time the war has escalated and claimed the lives of many more Afghan civilians, UK and other NATO troops, as well as those of civilians working for NGOs. There is now a need to reiterate this call as the war is now being stepped up by the new US administration and there is widely recognised to be a need for a new regional peace agreement, as without the co-operation of the regional powers, any secure peace and administration will be impossible to secure in Afghanistan.
We therefore call upon GPEx and our elected representatives in the European Parliament to campaign for:
(1) An immediate withdrawal of all UK forces from Afghanistan.
(2) The withdrawal of all NATO forces from Afghanistan .
(3) An agreement with the powers bordering to hold a peace conference as soon as possible with the aim of establishing a new Afghan government which will have the support of all the Afghan people.
(4) Continued support from the EU, UN and other international bodies to support the rebuilding of Afghanistan and the provision of international aid.
(5) The protection all women and minorities in Afghanistan and the upholding of human rights to be an essential part of any peace agreement reached with the regional powers, the UN and the people of Afghanistan.
(6) The issue of Afghan refugees in neighbouring states and elsewhere, and their long term settlement and humanitarian support to be a central feature of any peace agreement.
(7) And to amend ROPS (Record of Policy Statements) accordingly.
Passed Autumn 2009
Campaigning for an alternative economic strategy
The authors of the New Green Deal pamphlet are right to say that the current crisis undermines the credibility of the whole neo-liberal project and to point out the need for good old-fashioned direct government spending and job creation, putting new demand into the economy through investing in infrastructure and public services. However, the scale and intensity of the crisis has worsened since the report's publication and it is clear that a programme of infrastructural renewal even more ambitious than that envisaged by the pamphlet's authors is needed. Such a programme will require determined government and popular action to end the domination of the market and to use society's resources to transform fundamentally, rather than simply to try to stabilise and regulate, the current financial and industrial system.
It will require a programme of industrial restructuring of wartime proportions and a determined social programme that puts measures to advance equality at the centre of its proposals. In order to gain the active support of working people it will be necessary to make the defeat of unemployment an explicitly central objective of government economic policy, along with measures aimed at steadily reducing income and wealth differentials and safe-guarding the homes of families threatened with repossession. In addition, workers affected by major changes in industrial strategy must be confident that their futures will be secured and improved, rather than threatened, by those changes.
Therefore, the Green Party will actively campaign, particularly within the trade union movement, for an emergency programme of economic and social reconstruction, based on the proposals of the New Green Deal pamphlet, but broadened and reinforced by the following measures:
1 The creation of a monopoly on the creation of credit, both for corporate and retail banking, operated by the Bank of England under the direction of the Government. The retention of RBS, Lloyds/HBOS, B&B and Northern Rock in permanent and effective public ownership and their conversion into a chain of smaller, more responsive and democratically controlled local banks. The introduction of powers to control the investment policies, dividends and bonus payments of all privately owned financial institutions.
2 The active development and promotion of alternative vehicles for the provision of credit, including publicly owned and accountable banks, local community banks, credit unions, building societies and other mutuals.
3 Government powers to direct the investment policies of the pension funds, including the requirement to invest a certain percentage of their funds into government bonds each year.
4 Implementation of a direct taxation policy aimed at steadily reducing income and wealth differentials.
5 The regeneration and restructuring of our public transport system, including the return to public ownership of the railways and democratic public control of local and regional bus services, including the reintroduction of municipal and other commonly owned services.
6 Funding for a major programme of social housing construction and refurbishment by local authorities, housing co-operatives and housing associations in order to respond to the aspirations of the four million families currently on housing waiting lists.
7 Powers to enable families in mortgage arrears to transfer the tenure of their homes to social tenancies.
8 Taking all energy distribution into public ownership and ensuring that energy production becomes a mixture of public and private enterprises.
9 A programme of large scale direct public investment in the conversion of existing engineering and construction component manufacturing to more socially useful production, the development of their productive capacity and a big expansion in relevant R&D.
10 Full implementation of the Citizens’ Income Scheme as quickly as possible. Retraining for those having to move from declining industries to new industrial sectors brought about by the move to a peaceful, low-carbon economy. Large-scale expansion in training provision for the jobs needed to create a low carbon economy (such as plumbers, electricians, builders and engineers). Extra support for communities heavily reliant on increasingly redundant industries and encouragement for new industries (such a wind turbine manufacture and low emission bus production) to locate in these areas.
11 Countering the loss of jobs by introducing a statutory 35 hour working week and banning the systematic use of overtime working.
Passed Spring 2009
Women in employment and business
The Green Party calls for the forthcoming Equality bill and Act to include the following provisions
* Medium and large-sized companies be required to undertake equal pay audits that compare the earnings of their employees and to take action to redress inequalities.
* Legal changes to make it much easier for women to take equal pay cases to court, and to allow women to take such cases as a group, with the support of the unions.
* Significant funding is put into encouraging girls and women to consider a broader range of careers.
* The law to follow Norway's in requiring that companies listed on the Stock Exchange have 40% of their board members being female within five years of the date of the passing of the legislation.
Passed Spring 2009
Climate motion: geo engineering
The Green Party opposes any attempts at planetary geo-engineering at the cost of biodiversity, ecosystems and human communities. Without biodiversity, ecosystems cannot function. Ecosystems are essential for regulating the global climate, including the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, cloud formation (which affects the earth's albedo), the rainfall cycle and storm tracks, as well as hydroxyl production and thus global methane levels.
Ocean-fertilisation(e.g. with iron to increase algal growth as a means of sequestering carbon) poses an unknown but potentially serious threat to marine biodiversity, which plays an essential role in regulating the global carbon cycle, as well as putting fishing communities at risk. We call on all countries to enforce the moratorium on ocean fertilisation adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Climate geo-engineering by increasing the earth's albedo poses a major and unknown new threat to the climate system, to biodiversity and to people. Sulphur aerosol injections into the atmosphere, for example, could reduce global photosynthesis through 'global dimming', abruptly change rainfall and weather patterns, and increase acid rain.
So-called 'carbon negative' bioenergy and large-scale soil carbon sequestration schemes linked to industrial agriculture and forestry have been proposed as means of drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide. They include biochar and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. Applied on a large scale, both threaten biodiversity and ecosystems as well as very large numbers of human communities and their food security would also be at risk and could dramatically worsen the global freshwater and soil depletion/erosion crises. Any large-scale 'carbon negative' bioenergy programme would require very large-scale land conversion and thus exacerbate the displacement of peoples crisis already caused by industrial agrofuels. So-called forest and agricultural 'residues' are vital for maintaining the soil nutrient and carbon cycle and in maintaining biodiversity, and the consequences of removing ever larger quantities of ‘residue’ are unknown and could be very severe. We therefore oppose any government support, including carbon finance, for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and for soil sequestration linked to industrial agriculture and industrial forestry.
So-called 'carbon negative' bioenergy and large-scale soil carbon sequestration schemes linked to industrial agriculture and forestry have been proposed as means of drawing down atmospheric carbon dioxide. They include biochar and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. Applied on a large scale, both threaten biodiversity and ecosystems as well as very large numbers of human communities and their food security. They could also dramatically worsen the global freshwater and soil depletion/erosion crises. Any large-scale 'carbon negative' bioenergy programme would require very large-scale land conversion and thus exacerbate the displacement of peoples, a crisis already caused by industrial agrofuels. So-called forest and agricultural 'residues' or ‘wastes’ are vital for maintaining the soil nutrient and carbon cycle and in maintaining biodiversity, and the consequences of removing ever larger quantities of ‘residue’ are unknown and could be very severe. We therefore oppose any government support, including carbon finance, for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage and for soil sequestration linked to industrial agriculture and industrial forestry.
Small farmers throughout the world have developed many different and effective ways of conserving and enhancing soil carbon as well as agro-biodiversity, adapted to their local circumstances. Their collective understanding and experience represents a unique knowledge bank which is vital for true climate change mitigation and an agrarian transition. Their ways of life particularly through the validation of land rights must be supported. The Green Party supports the Via Campesina call for food sovereignty.
Earth is already in the midst of an extinction crisis. Many of our life support systems are also rapidly degrading and some are on the brink of collapse. The Green Party considers it dangerously reductionist to support any climate mitigation intervention which further imperils other life support systems.
Passed Spring 2009
Natural gas storage in underground salt caverns
1. The Green Party reaffirms that the most desirable management of energy can only be achieved by maximising the use of renewable energy resources which would, in turn, reduce or eliminate the need to import natural gas.
2. The Green Party maintains that the precautionary principle should be used to safeguard public health and for this reason we call for a ban on natural gas storage in underground salt caverns within 5 miles of a populated area.
Passed Spring 2009
British people work some of the longest hours in Europe, with some 3.6 million people regularly working more than 48 hours a week, yet 7 out of 10 people working over 48 hours per week say they would like to work fewer hours. For many however this is impossible, as they simply cannot afford to do so. Overwork is forcing workers into unhealthy lifestyles as they attempt to reconcile long working hours and family responsibilities, according to a report from the charity Working Families. Half of the parents surveyed with unhappy with their work and family balance. A majority reported that work dominated their lives, and family life suffered as a result. Working long hours also led to increased levels of stress, resulting in irritability, exhaustion and depression. At the same time, the gap between the most prosperous and the poorest in society has not been as great since the nineteen thirties. In 2006, around 4 million adult employees were paid less than £6.50 per hour. Two-thirds were women. 3.8 million children in Britain live in poverty. Since 1980 the poorest quintile of the population has experienced no growth in real earnings. Nearly twice as many people have relatively low incomes as 25 years ago. The average total earnings of FTSE 100 chief executives have doubled over the last five years to a new record of £3.2 million. The top three per cent of the population own three times as much as the whole of the bottom half of the population.
Therefore, the Green Party will campaign:
A. for the immediate ending of the British opt-out of the European Working Time Directive;
B. for the National Minimum Wage level to be increased to come in line with the Council of Europe Decency Threshold, which is set at 60% of net national average earnings (this would currently mean a minimum wage of £8.17 per hour);
C. a new top rate of income tax to be levied on incomes over 10 times the National Minimum Wage
Passed Autumn 2008
State Funding Political Parties
In 2006 the Green Party of England and Wales made a detailed submission to the Phillips Review on political party funding, the review set up in the wake of the cash for honours scandal. In March 2007, the review published its conclusions, noting that in some areas agreement had not been possible. The review then continued with talks between the three “main” parties at Westminster and a further “compromise paper” prepared in August. However, in October 2007 the talks were suspended.
In light of this stalemate, Conference:
Re-affirms its support for public funding of political parties as a way of taking politics out of the hands of big business and the influence of the super-rich;
Welcomes the recognition in the Phillips review of the importance of representation at devolved or European levels; and of the greater diversity of current UK politics;
Deplores the UK Government’s failure to extend the Policy Development Grant regime to smaller parties – as recommended by the Electoral Commission in 2004 – using the excuse that the Phillips Review had overtaken this recommendation;
Laments the fact that the Phillips Review recommendations will not be implemented until at least 2012, if at all, and that this means that establishment political parties will continue to receive millions of pounds of public subsidy while smaller parties are frozen out; and
Instructs the relevant body of the party to make further representation to the UK Government and to the Phillips Review in light of the failures of political vision which have led to this
Passed Autumn 2008
Recognising that Afghanistan supplies more than 90% of the world's opium, generating about €2.1 billion in revenues a year for that country, which amounts to about 50% of Afghanistan's economic activity,
recognising that NATO soldiers are unlikely to win the battle for “hearts and minds” while they are trying to destroy the opium trade, and
recognising that the military effort is immensely costly, recognising that the illegal opium trade sustains the Taleban, and various terrorists and criminals,
recognising that illegal opium, morphine and heroin cause major medical, social and criminal problems in many nations due to addiction to opium products,
recognising that the incidence of cancer in Africa is rising, and that patients are dying in unbearable pain due to the lack of morphine and heroin,
recognising that, viewed holistically, it will be far cheaper for concerned nations to purchase the opium crop from Afghan farmers, to process it into morphine and heroin and to distribute it free or at low cost to medical services in developing countries for use in relief of terminal pain, HIV AIDS and all other medically approved purposes, than to attempt to suppress the opium trade by force,
recognising that the central objection to this proposal from governments, namely that some of the product so obtained might leak back to the street, is so weak as to lack any degree of serious credibility, since, although a small percentage may indeed leak through corrupt officials, at present the rate of leakage is 100%,
recognising that the European Parliament, the Senlis Council, the Italian Red Cross and the Afghan Red Crescent already back this course of action,
this Conference of Green Party in England and Wales resolves to
ask our Leader/Deputy Leader to initiate and continue a correspondence with the UK Government, pressing it to plan for the licensing and purchase of the Afghan opium crop as a matter of urgency.
This should be implemented by a special agency set up by the UN, which will coordinate action with the Afghan Government, and other players, including the World Health Organisation, which would oversee the task of distributing the refined opium products to medical services in developing countries. Given the present unmet needs of terminally ill patients (some six million people die of cancer each year in Africa alone, mostly without the benefit of opiates) it is likely that all the present Afghan crop can be converted to good use.
The problem of leakage to the black market must be addressed by short, tightly controlled supply chains, and high standards of anti-corruption practice. The UN has effective models for inhibiting corruption, and this new process can prove to be the proving ground for these models.
Passed Autumn 2008
Building Regs/Climate Change
Buildings account for a substantial proportion of CO2 emissions. In view of the urgent need to reduce the production of climate changing gases, the contribution of new buildings to the problem must be minimised.
Conference therefore instructs GPEX to write to the Government demanding that:
a) Building Regulations be amended immediately so that, for domestic buildings, they are in line with the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 with immediate effect, progressing to levels 4,5 and 6 on an annual basis so that all new dwellings are zero-carbon by 2012; and similarly all other new buildings should be zerocarbon by 2012
b) any conversion or change of use of a domestic building and any extension to a domestic property will require an Energy Performance Assessment and all appropriate recommendations must be carried out.
c) the Government provide sufficient funding for the training of architects and builders to enable these standards to be achieved
Passed Autumn 2008
Members should at all times, including when proposing and implementing policy, be sensitive to the fact that the Green Party does not and will not endorse or tolerate antisemitism, or discrimination of any form.
Passed Autumn 2008