2009

2009

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

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

Afghanistan

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.

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

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