Railway for Hampton

North West Cambridgeshire is a constituency that is made up of both urban and rural areas. Many people living in this constituency have suffered at the hands of fierce budget cuts with regards to transportation. As Parliamentary Candidate for North West Cambridgeshire I am campaigning to make much needed improvements to the local transport system that serves both our villages and urban hubs.

The local link bus services  faced the axe in 2013 and this has caused many residents much distress and concern. During the campaign, one women stood on her doorstep, staring in disbelief at the news of the local link cuts and said ‘I am not sure how I will travel to work if this service is cut.’ Although we campaigned against these cuts, they went on regardless. I am now campaigning with the Green Party to ensure residents have access to a comprehensive plan for fully accessible transport will be implemented, so that public transport will be usable by all members of the public.

Residents are not only telling me that transport is too infrequent, but also, that it is too costly. For many people weekly and day riders are rocketing in price all the time and they are struggling to find money from their own incomes or lack of incomes to keep up with rocketing price of fares. It is a huge barrier to find work or even get to work or places of training on a low income or no income.

Peterborough was named and shamed on as the worst place in Britain to be without a car. It is at the foot of the table in the Campaign for Better Transport’s 2014 Car Dependency Scorecard and researchers concluded “While the historic centre is densely packed and walkable, more-recent development has been spread more sparsely around the edges of the city”.

This new city, designated in 1967, could have been built with public transport at its heart. Instead, it comes last in many of the survey’s rankings. Researchers found that “reliance on cars is the highest of all the cities”.

I understand how difficult it is to live in the area without a car as I did not learn to drive until I was 26 and had to carry my tiny Son around on the back of my bike. In the end though, I gave in and learnt to drive. In 2012 I lost a car for a year due to not being able to afford one. This made access to my work very difficult and although the public transport was okay, it meant I needed to book many taxis to always get to where I needed on time and ready to work with the organisations I needed too.

I understand what it was like as a young child growing up in a place where you had to catch two buses to get to the local ice rink and at times, buses ran late and you missed your connecting bus.  Teenagers should not be left hanging around at bus stations in the dark and cold, we should be providing the best for people who rely on these services. Transport needs to be equitably accessible to all people irrespective of their age, wealth or disability, with local needs given priority over travelling greater distances.

The new township of  Hampton, was originally intended to house a new train station, unfortunately these plans have not developed into fruition. This had led to further reliance on car use that have caused huge issues for residents in the Hampton area. Hampton was originally planned with the intention of having a railway built and the huge Tesco’s is the perfect site for it. We do not need to buy more ‘stuff’, we need more access to new places, new experiences and to those we love in far reached places, to work, to training places.

A new train station in Hampton will develop much need infrastructure for North West Cambridgeshire, for those who need to commute via the A1 and A14 as well as around the parkways, which are at times, hugely overburdened. A railway would created cleaner air and our environment and people healthier. The Green Party are committed to developing better local and regional railway infrastructures. I will be campaigning to ensure that planning requirements for new housing will need to ensure they are close to a range of services and are well served by public transport and reinstate plans to reintroduce a new Train Station in Hampton, as originally planned.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/peterborough-named-the-worst-place-to-be-without-a-car-in-uk-9924600.html

http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/tr.html

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Homelessness and HSBC

Walking through Peterborough Town Centre yesterday, I passed a homeless man squatting outside HSBC, I asked his name and how he came to be homeless. He explained how he could not get access to hostel accommodation via the City Council as he is deemed not to have relatives living nearby. He also explained that there were a shortage of hostel spaces due to the fact that there is a shortage of social housing available. As unregulated rents increase and affordable housing in short supply, people at the bottom end suffer the most

It is interesting that HSBC is offering some warmth through the chinks of its doors. We are well aware that HSBC has been caught in the scandal of helping customers evade taxes. Not nailing these tax cheats seems to have been a consistent approach of the previous governments. The average time it takes the HMRC to prosecute an offshore tax evaders 3.6 year, comparatively it took 3 days to prosecute a youth who stole £3 worth of water during 2011 riots. The Green Party are uncompromising about tax dodging and have set out a clear vision for tackling this criminal activity.

The Green Party wants to build 500,000 social homes by 2020.This is an economic stimulus that will revolve around Green Industry and Technology. It will involve top level University Research as well brick layers and builders.

This is already beginning to happen in North West Cambridgeshire with the Carbon Free Vista Development being built on the Riverside. It would be my vision if elected as North West Cambridgeshire’s Member of Parliament to ensure we work towards providing the same kind of housing on the new Great Haddon Township and that we look to building it carbon free.

I will campaign to implement the type of ideals that inspired the Oberlin Project, a climate positive community. This project aims to stimulate a post manufacturing Town, using its college to teach vocational and research skills in order to create a carbon free town, up-skill its next generation and provide an economic stimulus. The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of our community.

The Oberlin Project’s aim is to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development. The Great Haddon Project would be a great start for this and ensure we are leading the way in our claims on becoming an Environmental Capital. If we are going to spend millions of pounds on a new township project anyway, this time, let’s do it properly.

I would work in partnership with our local councils and leaders and businesses, regardless of party politics to ensure we are working towards these goals and making North West Cambridgeshire a unique and exciting place to live in. A unified approach is what we so desperately need.

Britain is one of the wealthiest nations on this planet, it is not the people who should be bailing out the bankers and we should not be forced to bow down to a super-rich who care little for our welfare. Until politics can tackle the root cause of these issues, there will be no change and it will remain business as usual.

Ends

Contacts: Facebook: Peterborough and Fenland Green Party

Facebook: Nicola Day

Twitter:NicolaDay78

Photo: Nicola Day – campaigning with Activist Alex North Airey for improvements to local community spaces
http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/wr.html

http://www.greathaddon.com/Project

http://www.oberlinproject.org

The Green Party: Against Austerity, For the Common Good

 

The Green Party has enjoyed much attention, media coverage and a huge surge in the polls and membership of late. It is no coincidence that a mass movement of people are ready to stand up and challenge the systems that rule us.

A common misapprehension, still held by a large section of the population, is that Green Politics is about environmentalism. On the contrary, from very early on the Greens recognised that the system under which we live is the root cause of all our problems, and that no amount of reforms could improve anything until that system is changed. For decades, the Green Party has been perceived by most people as a single issue party. Whenever it was approached for comment by the media, it was always with respect to an environmental issue. Few people were aware that the party has a comprehensive set of detailed policies covering every aspect of life, a radical programme advocating a total transformation of the social, economic and political systems that currently prevail.

Syriza, the anti – austerity movement turned political party has shown that when people have austerity forced upon them with devastating effect, people can use their voices and their votes to effect change. Britain is one of the wealthiest nations on this planet, it is not the people who should be bailing out the bankers and we should not be forced to bow down to a super rich who care little for our welfare. Until politics can tackle the root cause of these issues, there will be no change and it will remain business as usual.

Our Party aim to safeguard our environment, to preserve our planet and to protect humanity. We believe these elements are combined. No longer can economics, military spending, inequality, agriculture, biodiversity loss, mental health, crime, poverty, education and so on be treated as separate, independent issues. When Darren Bisby-Boyd, Parish Councillor and our Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough implemented ’20s plenty’ policy around roads in Hampton it was with the ethos of protecting both local people that use the pathways and roads as well as the local environment, landscape and surrounding houses and homes in the vicinity. People’s health will also benefit due to lower carbon emissions, cycling and walking leads to less pressure on the NHS as people become healthier and happier. Walking also encourages dialogue with other local residents and therefore a sense of belonging and being part of a wider community.

The Green Party have introduced a ‘Nature and Well Being Act’  that is based on this idea of belonging and health, Caroline Lucas MP frames the argument clearly “There’s an urgent need to reconnect people – not least our children – with nature and give people a meaningful say over their local environment.” The Act protects threatened species, our seas and encourages young people to find out more about the outdoors. Leading British Environmentalist, Tony Juniper adds: “Nature is essential for health, wealth and security and we need clear policies so that all the values that nature provides remain intact”.

Equitable societies are healthier, happier and more likely to undertake large scale changes needed to ensure sustainability. Other parties hanker after economic growth, but we have seen the devastating effects of growing our economy to far and too fast: we have seen rocketing house prices, bad debt and economic collapse. How long will it take to break this destructive circle? Sustainability is our key concept. Community spaces are needed that encourage us to shop locally and grow our own food across our local communities.

Why would someone on minimum wage, in a dead end job worry about the social and environmental consequences of their mode of transport if there are no decent public services? Whilst being fed that accumulation of sufficient wealth to buy the latest car is the measure of success.

In terms of employment, The Green party offers a minimum wage pledge of £10 per hour to be implemented by 2020.and it is no less than we deserve, by 2020 will this even cover the cost of food and energy bills as we struggle to make ends meet in our households?  The Green Party breaks from views on working too, we define work in the full sense, not the traditional limited definition as employment in the formal economy. Green thinking recognises the latter as one part of the whole – a large part, but not the only one. Work exists in a variety of forms, each related to and often affecting others. Work covers all the activities people undertake to support themselves, their families and communities. The Green Parties’ long term aim is to end the oppressive and exploitative nature of economic relations and develop a society of equality and economic justice.

In contrast to the Green Party’s joined up thinking, the headline policy of the three main parties is more austerity, with a massive £55 billion of more cuts announced in last years Autumn Statement. These measures will deliver an endless stream of negative, counter productive results, including increased levels of inequality, which exacerbate a whole range of problems from social mobility to mental health, drug use and dependency on food banks.

Green Politics is fundamentally different from other political ideologies because it is concerned with the relationships between people and planet, as well as between people and people. It can seem hard in times of forced austerity to absorb these ideas, when we are struggling to top up our gas meters, or pay for basic food items or take our children to places. It can always seem like no one is on your side, when your long working hours do not cover the basics, when your job is threatened, or redundancy looms, when you lose employment or cannot find work; everything seems pitted against you, it can be gut wrenching and very upsetting.

Fortunately we have real, workable solutions. We are here to help; there is a positive way ahead. And its colour is Green. We ask, kindly, for you to vote Green in 2015.

http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2014/09/09/green-party-introduce-a-nature-and-wellbeing-act/

http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/wr.htmlnull

Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Even before the presents were opened on Christmas Morning, my Brother began extolling the virtues of UKIP. I already had to contend with a Daily Mail staring up at me from the coffee table, which I had scanned through in mild amusement and distaste the night before at my parents’ house.

I quickly allayed the UKIP barrage by explaining very mildly the ‘pound shop Enoch Powell’ sentiment cleverly expressed by Russell Brand on BBC Question time and we went quietly and apolitically on to an enjoyable present opening followed by a wonderful and pleasant Christmas lunch.
Dinner was accompanied by some banter about football, holidays, complaining about lack of pay rises and what we hoped to do with the year to come. My Brother’s partner turned up and we turned our attentions to our family’s tradition of games round the kitchen table. Shove ha’penny, Chase the Ace and Newmarket took over the small kitchen table. We played with our own pennies: a penny for a life in Chase the Ace, two pennies per bet in Newmarket. In true socialist spirit we bailed each other out with our own small fortunes of coins we had acquired over the evening after other players had lost their own. We laughed; tension was built and abated and all in good jest and joviality.

It was during the cold turkey, crackers and cheese later in the evening when my Brother began to berate benefit scroungers and particularly his partner’s sister and brother-in-law who had seven children and lived off the state.

My rebuttals came calmly at first as I explained to my Brother, that whilst I could see the concerns of people being dependent on welfare state for their lifetime, in actual fact; the unemployment welfare benefit’s bill pot accounted for a small percentage in comparison to the welfare benefit’s bill pot that supported pensions, with my parents being recently retired my Brother was unable to attack them.

He kept repeating the mantra of ‘why should he pay?’ and that ‘it is not fair’. I did try to explain the excellent ‘Citizens Income Policy’ from the Green Party which assures all are entitled to an income ‘sufficient to cover an individual’s basic needs’ and that this would ‘replace tax-free allowances and most social security benefits.’ I explained that the Citizen’s Income is an ‘unconditional, non-withdrawable income payable to each individual as a right of citizenship. It will not be subject to means testing and there will be no requirement to be either working or actively seeking work’ and that the ‘The Citizens’ Income will eliminate the unemployment and poverty traps, as well as acting as a safety net to enable people to choose their own types and patterns of work. The Citizens’ Income scheme will thus enable the welfare state to develop towards a welfare community, engaging people in personally satisfying and socially useful work’. (The Green Party – Our Policy Website)

Unfortunately he seemed uninterested in any solutions and just seemed to want to point the icy cold finger of blame. As I said to him, almost in despair by this point, is that it is far easier to moan than to hope and that actually, the right-wing press, the establishment and mainstream political parties do want us to point fingers at each other and argue, rather than address the system of inequalities we are currently, so very deeply entrenched in.

What did he want to see? I asked, his in-laws nieces and nephews benefits cut?  The family thrown in a new type of workhouse? His partner’s family having to support the family when their benefits are removed? They’re already exploited as free fodder that supports the career of Jeremy Kyle. And anyway, why are they not entitled, if they wish too, to parent their own children? Would he prefer they would all be in children’s homes, at a far greater cost to the state?

It turned out my Brother despises paying taxes to people who ‘scrounge’ of the state, but he didn’t know what to do when presented with city bankers, large cooperation’s who avoid tax and landlords that inflate rent prices and provide poor housing. He had explained that if there were loopholes for cooperation’s and tax evaders, then that was okay to exploit them. But he did not want to be exploited himself by a family of seven children.

The trouble for me is that my argument is well honed, having canvassed thousands and thousands doorsteps, spoken at full council meetings, hustings and political meetings, something I think my brother does not realise, he was little prepared for the debate and took things more personally than I thought he had, and at the point of losing, unlike during our card games, he said he had to leave and quickly left in a huff.

He texted me later, telling me I was a dictator who was closed-minded. I am upset that my family can be sucked in by the press and propaganda that repel us towards feeling a sense of kindness towards the less fortunate or vulnerable. It is this divide and conquer regime that managed to divide us on Christmas Day, the day of peace and goodwill to all men.

I have never met the people I was defending and I probably never will. I have also never fallen out like this with my Brother before and I hope we resolve the matter. At this raw upended point, I have apologised for being so passionate and upsetting him, but I have not apologised for my ideals, sometimes, they are all you have left.

I wonder how many other discussions went like this over Christmas among British families?
My conclusion and the ideal I am now left with, on the eve of Boxing Day, is that I love my Brother, but I wholeheartedly and passionately despise the right-wing press.
http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html