2013

2013

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

Animal Welfare – Hunting and Shooting

The Green Party is opposed to shooting and hunting and would bring an end to these ‘sports’. Until this happens The Green Party are calling for magazines that promote the shooting and hunting of animals to have blank wrapping and be kept out of the reach of children.

Passed Autumn 2013

On Land Grabs

Background

With rising commodity prices and concerns over climate change, land has become increasingly valuable. Across the globe a new round of enclosure has resulted. Indigenous people and small farmers are often removed from land that they either own privately or via customary communal right have access to. Seized land often benefits corporations, sovereign and pension funds and multinationals, which produce on large-scale agrofuels and other agricultural commodities for export instead of food for the local population.

There is a long history of commons being enclosed and taken from commoners both within Europe and as a result of European colonialism across the world. Millions of native Americans, Asians, and Africans were dispossessed of their lands and resources. Land grabbing has been justified by notions such as the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and ignorance of alternative systems of property rights. The work of the late Professor Elinor Ostrom, who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics, for her research into common pool property, has shown that common pool property can be managed sustainably and fairly.

Green Party of England and Wales notes that there is a long history of environmental degradation and social injustice fuelled by large scale land seizures. Affirms its support for indigenous peoples, peasants and their social movement allies in opposing land seizures.

Emphasizes that customary land rights include collective ownership and access rights which provide environmentally sustainable and equitable forms of ownership. Furthermore we note that trade agreements that do not acknowledge the variety of such property rights can act to dispossess communities from land. We oppose institutional support for land seizures both from the UK, European Union and other bodies.

In case of land-market free market mechanisms should always be overruled by the principles of sustainability and social justice. In addition, we oppose efforts at conservation or commercial land development that exclude the participation of local people.

We propose the following specific measures:

  1. The UK government must adhere to the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, adopted in May adopted in May 2012 by the 128 countries of the UN Committee on World Food Security as a first small step in a good direction. But, together with most NGOs and farmers’ organisations, they underscore the voluntary nature of these guidelines as governments do not guarantee the cancellation of past land concessions and the continuation of such land grabs. The United Nations International convention on economic and social rights calls for protection from forced eviction regardless of person’s land tenure status – whether it is formal or informal. States have to eliminate discrimination related to informal tenure and to prevent, prohibit and eliminate discriminatory practices.
  2. The UK government must oppose the sourcing of imported biofuels from crops. Biofuels often come from land which has been seized from local people as is the case in countries such as Colombia and Indonesia. Biofuels are environmentally destructive and drive up food prices.
  3. The UK should activate the 2004 EU Land Policy Guidelines which at present it largely ignores.
  4. UK trade policy should provide concrete guidelines to avoid activities which lead to the dispossession of developing country communities of their farm or collectively held lands, and upon both of which their livelihoods depend. We oppose the imposition of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) to ACP countries, [which] must be oppossed as they accelerate the dispossession of small family farmers as well as their very fragile small industries.
  5. The UK should temporarily suspend trade preferences on agricultural products in cases where human rights abuses are identified in the framework of land concessions.

Passed Autumn 2013

Keep the East Coast Rail Franchise in the Public Sector

The government proposes to re-privatise this franchise before the next general election. The Green Party opposes this and believes that the East Coast rail franchise should be kept in the public sector.

Passed Autumn 2013

Rail and Public Ownership

The Green Party reiterates its long standing commitment to bringing our rail system, including track and operators, back into public ownership. Our policy also recognises the need to ensure our rail services are more democratically accountable at local and regional levels. As such, we believe an easy and quick win in the process of bringing our rail network back into public ownership is for the Government to transfer local commuter services which predominantly serve London, over to Transport for London when the current franchises end; rather than handing them to another private rail operator. The interests of passengers outside London should be safeguarded by ensuring that there is a mechanism for their representatives to be involved in decision making. The Green Party notes the significant improvements in reliability, frequency, trains and stations for those services that have already been transferred to Transport for London as part of the London Overground network.

Passed Autumn 2013

Forced Academies

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

EDF

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

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