Friday, 19 June 2009

Thank you!

A message from Jean to everyone who supported her on Election Day follows below. Don't forget, you can follow everything that she is doing in the European Parliament over the next five years at her 1.official site.

"I would like to say a warm thank you to everybody in London who voted Green in the European elections on 5th June and especially to those who helped achieve such a great result. With over 192,000 votes, one third more than last time, I was re-elected to represent Londoners in the European Parliament for the next five-year term and I am thrilled to have received this vote of confidence from London's citizens.

"The Green Party made the biggest gains of any of the established parties in London, as our share of the vote went up to 11 per cent, meaning one in nine voters chose Green. Across Europe more Green MEPs were elected, notably in France where we gained a further 10 members.

"I am proud that given the current political and economic climate, so many people voted for a progressive Party. There is still much work to be done to ensure higher turn-out at future elections and I will continue to call for electoral reform and support campaigns that encourage citizen engagement in politics.

"I am now looking forward to continuing to work on behalf of Londoners - tackling climate change, working to create new jobs and standing up for equality and human rights.

"The Greens will be at the heart of negotiations ahead of the crucial UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December this year and in London I'm going to continue to support the campaign for a Living Wage for all, and to ensure that new air quality standards - vital for protecting health - come into effect. I'll also be championing new equalities legislation, which is even more important now given the rise of far-right parties elsewhere in the UK and across Europe.

"I am very proud to have been chosen to represent the residents of this diverse, creative and visionary city again."

Monday, 8 June 2009

We Did It!

After many months of hard campaigning, millions of leaflets, thousands of doors knocked on, hundreds of public meetings, scores of stalls and much more - Jean Lambert was re-elected to the European Parliament!

Nationally, the Green Party secured 1.3 million votes, and was the Party with the biggest increase in the share of the vote (+2.4% of the national share). In London, we got 190,589 votes, which equates to 10.9% of all London votes cast - and it's down to everyone who campaigned for Jean, in however big or small a way. Thank you to everyone.

Of course, in other regions (apart from the South East, where Caroline Lucas was also re-elected) Greens were just pipped to the post...and we all know that the fascist BNP also returned two MEPs. For that reason, Jean will be working harder than ever to lay out a clearly progressive, radical and bold vision for a tolerant future in the UK. We hope you will follow her progress over the next five years!

FULL RESULTS

Conservative 479,037 27.4% (+0.6)

Labour 372,590 21.3% (-3.5%)

Liberal Democrats 240,156 13.7% (-1.6%)

Green Party 190,589 10.9% (+2.5%)

UK Independence Party 188,440 10.8% (-1.6%)

British National Party 86,420 4.9% (+0.9%)

Christian Party-Christian Peoples Alliance 51,336 2.9% (+2.9%)

Independent - Jan Jananayagam 50,014 2.9% (+2.9%)

English Democrat 24,477 1.4% (+0.6%)

No2EU 17,758 1.0% (+1.0%)

Socialist Labour Party 15,306 0.9% (+0.9%)

Libertas 8,444 0.5% (+0.5%)

Jury Team 7,284 0.4% (+0.4%)

Independent - Steven Cheung 4,918 0.3% (+0.3%)

Socialist Party of Great Britain 4,050 0.2% (+0.2%)

Yes 2 Europe 3,384 0.2% (+0.2%)

Independent - Sohale Rahman 3,248 0.2% (+0.2%)

Independent - Gene Alcantara 1,972 0.1% (+0.1%)

Independent - Haroon Saad 1,603 0.1% (+0.1%)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Video footage of the bus tour

Footage from the recent biodiesel bus tour of London....

Jean endorsed by LGBT activists

Regular readers may remember a previous post about the work that Jean has been doing to highlight and stand up against homophobia in Eastern Europe. It is that work, as part of an extensive record of work on LGBT issues in the European Parliament, that has earned the endorsement of UK Gay News in the last few days.

For more details on Jean's record on LGBT issues, you could click the links above - or read on below....who better than Peter Tatchell to explain?

"I am backing Jean Lambert and the Green list in the European elections. They have the best policies on LGBT issues and Jean has a proven record of effective, inspiring campaigning in the European Parliament" said LGBT human rights campaigner and Green Party human rights spokesperson, Peter Tatchell.

"Green Party MEPs are committed to promoting LGBT equality across Europe and to defeating homophobic and transphobic discrimination within the UK. Jean is a member of the LGBT Intergroup in the European Parliament. She led calls for new Europe-wide anti-discrimination legislation, to protect EU citizens against discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability and faith or belief. Currently the EU laws on gender and race are stronger than those on other grounds. The Greens believe that all types of discrimination should be covered equally."

"Together with her fellow UK Green MEP, Caroline Lucas, Jean has publicly condemned the homophobic attacks on LGBT Pride marches in Latvia, Poland and Russia. She also advocates the recognition of same-sex marriage throughout the EU.

"Jean campaigned to secure the recognition of UK civil partnerships in France. She has been outspoken in defending LGBT refugees fleeing persecution in homophobic countries like Iran, Jamaica, Iraq and Uganda.

"She was also instrumental in persuading the European Commission to add a new clause to the financial agreement for structural funds, which resulted in EU funding being withheld from a journalism school linked to the anti-Semitic and homophobic Radio Maryja in Poland"
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Monday, 1 June 2009

Jean's the best on animal rights

Many of the issues highlighted in this blog have been in the area of social justice, employment rights and so on - precisely because many people do not know that our Green MEPs work so hard on these areas in the European Parliament. Their excellent work on social justice issues, however, does not mean that they neglect more traditionally 'green' areas of concern - as this analysis by Protecting Animals in Democracy shows quite clearly.

As highlighted by the London Green Party, Jean scores joint top in PAD's analysis of a recent series of crucial votes on animal protection, along with the Leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas MEP, and a Plaid Cymru MEP (also a member of the Greens/EFA grouping in the Parliament).

Lots more about Jean's work on animal protection issues here, or just watch her explain in her own words, below:

Sunday, 31 May 2009

A Tearful End To The Bus Tour


From Manor House, we turned on the bus microphone, and began announcements -- "this bus is run on cooking oil" ... "re-elect Jean Lambert as London MEP" ... "if you are disillusioned by the main three parties, there is a clean and green alternative, vote for Jean Lambert on the 4th of June" -- up through Green Lanes, Turnpike Lane, Muswell Hill, and then to Crouch End.

At Crouch End Broadway, we made our final stop, at a stall run by the Haringey Green Party. Expect great things from the Haringey team in the 2010 local elections. Their council, on paper, is pregnant with Green possibility.

Following her Channel 4 interview, Jean rejoined the bus for its final event. We engaged with late afternoon passersby, and posed for photos for the local paper in Haringey.

We then offloaded our leaflets, t-shirts, laptops, tasty homemade cakes, cameras and video equipment, and thanked Joe, our driver, profusely. He set off for the motorway north to Crewe, as the North West campaign has the bus for the next few days.

Over the two day tour, we had eight nationalities helping on the bus (from Irish to Spanish to Canadian to Polish). Our wonderful photographer was Lorenzo Tugnoli. And the bus tour couldn't have come together without Remco van der Stoep, who co-ordinated all the logistics.

We hope the North West enjoys the bus as much as we did.

The Bus Team

Navigating



Photos - Hackney Bike Escort





Hackney Bike Escort

The bus made quite a sight ... slowly passing over Tower Bridge into Aldgate. At Whitechapel, we picked up Chris, a filmmaker who lives in Tower Hamlets, and we dropped Jean off!

Jean needed to go off to Channel 4 News, who wanted to interview her about a new poll in the Times that showed the Greens leading UKIP.

With Ute Michel, our #2 candidate, we proceeded up into Hackney, and met up with twenty cyclists from the Hackney Green Party. With the cyclists leading us as an honour guard, we slowly drove past Hackney Town Hall, through Lower and Upper Clapton, before cutting across to Stoke Newington High Street.

We received lots of friendly waves as we passed patios and pubs on Stoke Newington Church Street. The cyclists then led us down to Newington Green.

Coming northward again, we said our goodbyes to our cycling breathern at Clissold Park, before heading up towards Green Lanes.

Saturday in New Cross


After leaving Brixton, we travelled through the streets of East Dulwich and Peckham, notably passing Peckham Library, to arrive in New Cross.

There, just beside Goldsmiths, Jean was met by volunteers and ward councillors with the Lewisham Green Party. Lewisham is one of our target constituencies for the next general election (along with Norwich South and Brighton Pavilion).

At a street stall, we handed out leaflets to passersby. We were even serenaded with a song by one of them, about pollution!

Ute Michel, #2 on the Green Party's list of candidates for London, joined the bus at this point, as we departed for Tower Bridge and beyond (Whitechapel, Hackney and Haringey).

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Jean In Lambeth

Leafleting in Lambeth - In Front of Ritzy Cinema



Peter Tatchell and Jean At Uptown Oil



Uptown Oil / Brixton


10am -- After gathering at Jubilee Gardens, next to the London Eye, we took the bus to Southwark, for a fascinating meeting at Uptown Oil. Uptown oil was the company supplying the recycled biodiesel, made from used chip oil, that powered the bus.

We were given a quick tour of the processing plant. Uptown Oil supplies many local restaurants with cooking oil, and then collects it from them after use, to be recycled into fuel. This is used by many London taxis.

This is an inspirational business!

Peter Tatchell, one of the most determined human rights campaigners, caught up with us in Southwark, to give his backing to Jean's re-election campaign. Peter had just returned from the Moscow Gay Pride events, where he was supporting LGBT campaigners who were fighting persecution and homophobia.

He spoke to Jean about her work in the European Parliament -- to improve legislation, to enshrine in law equal rights for all, and also to ensure that all EU countries implement those laws in practice.

Peter came with us to Elephant and Castle. After dropping him off, we continued on to Clapham and Brixton.

1130am - We received a lively reception in Brixton from Joseph Healy, the #4 candidate on the European elections list, and several other candidates from Lambeth Green Party.

Despite roadworks in front of the Ritzy Cinema being against us -- congratulations to Joe, our driver, for navigating the busy streets -- we engaged with many residents on the street who told us they would be voting Green.

We then departed to New Cross -- playing our party election broadcast to the people of Lambeth. As it says: if you believe that fairness, integrity and the environment belong at the heart of politics, then you think exactly like us.

Friday, 29 May 2009

One World, One Chance

Cyclists and The Bus

South Bank / Critical Mass at Waterloo Bridge


From Westminster, we passed the over the river several times before making our final stop on the South Bank, next to the BFI.

It's a beautiful Friday afternoon. Cyclists are slowly gathering for the critical mass event, and hundreds of people are lying on the lawns by the river.

We're broadcasting our message to an interested audience -- that there is an alternative to the three main parties: vote Green for a better future, for peace, human riughts and the environment.

There's a carnival atmosphere as we unleash our upbeat, soulful music through the speakers. We become surrounded by the hundreds of bikes setting off for their evening ride around the city to reclaim the streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

It's a great end to an exhilarating day aboard Jean's battle bio-bus.

Next stop: Uptown Oil tomorrow morning at 10am. We're going to stock up on recycled biodiesel, made from used cooking oil. This bus might look red, but it is, without doubt, Green!

Stall In Westminster


We parked up in Westminster for a while and leafletted the crowds. The paper windmills whizzing round on the stall were testament to the ambundant, untapped, clean, renewable energy we have in the UK.

Jean Traveling Through London

Photos From The Conference On Nigeria


Laps of Parliament Square


En route to stopping at Tothill Hill street, just near Westminster Abbey, we passed by the Tamils protest on Parliament Square. Jean gave a message of support (below) to them through our amplified mic, and expressed her disgust at the UN's decision not to investigate alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, given the horrendous human rights violations that have taken place during the conflict.

--

Jean Lambert's message of support to Tamil protesters and Brian Haw:

“This is the Green Party supporting the Tamil people in their struggle for autonomy, condemning the United Nations for not supporting the calls for an inquiry into the violence which has been happening in the north of Sri Lanka. This is the Green Party calling for a full inquiry into what war crimes have been committed, what weapons have been used, and how many of the Tamil people have died in this appalling conflict."

“This is the Green Party supporting those who have lost family, who know nothing of what has happened to their friends or relations in the north of Sri Lanka."

“This is the Green Party in support of Brian Haw and his ongoing support for all those suffering from war and deprivation. Brian should be allowed to stay in Parliament Square as long as he wants to but we want to see our troops home, we want to see an end to the violence.”

"State of Nigerian Nation" Summit, Holloway


The sun is shining, and we've finally arrived in Holloway, having taken a slow route past Heathrow airport and through Chiswick, Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.

We're receiving lots of encouraging smiles and thumbs up as we go! This beautiful original 1968 Routemaster is causing quite a stir.

Past Euston and a very busy Kings Cross station, we've been along some of the most congested routes in London and the worst affected by poor air quality; a real issue in London and one that causes severe problem serious health problems for many Londoners. Jean has been fighting both here and at the EU level for tough action to reduce emissions and traffic.

Jean is now giving a speech to the Nigeria Liberty Forum on democracy and human rights in Nigeria. As a Green, she has long been concerned about the role of oil companies in the Ogoni region. 90% of Nigeria's population live on less than $2 per day. The detrimental impact of some western oil companies, Shell in particular, on the environment and local communities, is devastating the region.

In 2007, elections in Nigeria broke down. Violence, corruption and criminality have become all too common in the society, and have come to characterise Nigeria's politics.

Jean has written to the European Commission to press for EU action to tackle corruption in Nigeria. She will continue to demand that oil companies be forced to operate at the same high environmental standards that would be expected if they were here in the EU.

Before leaving home this morning, Jean spoke to Colourful Radio about the meeting today, which marks 10 years since the return of democracy to the African state - an anniversary whose sentiment is rather hollow given the current failings of the political system.

Some leafletting, a snadwich, then we'll be on our way to Westminster for 3pm!

On The Bus / Jean Meeting Voters



Report From Sipson Stop - Heathrow Expansion



In Sipson, Jean met John Stewart from HACAN ClearSkies (top photo, above left) and a number of local residents from Sipson, Harlington and Harmondsworth. The main residents group was NoTRAG.

Jean spoke with a residents who were particularly concerned about the threat to Harlington and Harmondsworth and were worried about the focus on Sipson. They were keen to point out that other villages are under threat, and many more people will be affected than just the residents of Sipson.

The residents gave Jean and the bus a very warm welcome.

They expressed that the Greens were the only Party that they could trust, because we have such a strong record on opposing Heathrow expansion, on environmental issues and planning. The Greens won't put big business before the concerns and welfare of local communities.

There was a general feeling of anger, particularly against the main parties. They have spoken good words against airport expansion, but haven't stuck to that position when it's come to taking political action.

John Hunt (#7 on our London list for the European elections) introduced John Stewart and Jean, then both speakers delivered speeches. Jean then gave an interview to BBC London TV.

The bus then departed for Harmondsworth, and on to Chiswick!

Route of Bus on Friday and Saturday

After Sipson, the schedule for the bus -- you can smell it coming, the biofuel makes it smell like chips (not teen spirit) -- is as follows:

11am to 1245pm - driving from Sipson to London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road, via Southall, Acton, Ealing, etc.

1245pm - London Metropolitan University, for the "State of the Nigerian Nation" Summit, Holloway Road

3pm - outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, Millbank

530pm - East Side, Waterloo Bridge, Critical Mass cycle event

On Saturday, there will be a refueling of the bus first thing in the morning (at Uptown Oil, King James St, Southwark) at 10am, then Brixton Market (11am), New Cross Gate (1230pm), then Whitechapel High Street, a bike escort through Hackney, a drive up through Green Lanes, finishing at Green Party stalls at Crouch End Broadway, Haringey.

I wish we had a GPS tracking/London Marathon chip thing to track the bus for you, but there you go.

Bus Tour of London - Sipson, 10am


Jean's bus tour of London (two days, in a Routemaster, powered by used cooking oil) is beginning right now!

It starts at 10am, in Sipson, near Heathrow, which is threatened by the proposed new runway at Heathrow.

John Stewart, from HACAN ClearSkies, is going to meet Jean there, to support her opposition to aviation expansion.

If you see her, ring your cycle bell, honk your horn, pull out your phone and twitter that you've seen her (#GreenPartyBus), wave madly, just go wild.


Thursday, 28 May 2009

Jean Supports Nigerian Pro-Democracy Activists

Jean will join campaigners in London tomorrow, including the Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka (the first African to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature), for the State of the Nigerian Nation, a major symposium on democracy and corruption in Nigeria.

Jean will deliver the opening speech at the afternoon session of the symposium, organised by the Nigeria Liberty Forum and taking place at the Holloway Road campus of London Metropolitan University. She will speak on ‘Poverty and corruption in Nigeria: what can the European Union do?’

The summit has been organised to counter ‘Democracy Day’, organised by the Nigerian government to mark 10 years since the return of democracy, but controversial among anti-corruption campaigners who are deeply concerned about the political situation in Nigeria.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the former Executive Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria, who was dismissed from his post on 22 December 2008 by the Nigerian Police Service Commission, will speak after Jean. Many believe his dismissal was politically motivated.

Jean recently submitted a written question to the European Commission, raising her concerns for Nuhu Ribadu and asking what progress the Commission had made in fighting corruption in Nigeria. She hopes to be able to report the reply to the symposium on Friday.

Jean, an active supporter of Nigerian pro-democracy campaigns in London, said:

“I’m honoured to be a guest at this symposium, and to be sharing the platform with both Wole Soyinka, whose distinguished career as a writer is matched by decades of brave political campaigning, and Nuhu Ribadu, whose dedication to fighting corruption is an inspiration to all those seeking a fairer future.

"As Nuhu Ribadu’s experience has shown, it takes courage to stand up and act against corruption, and that is why it is vital that the international community unites to support campaigners for change, and recognises its responsibility to support democracy and challenge injustice.”


Separately, this week also sees the opening of a landmark court case in New York in which Royal Dutch Shell, the oil giant, stands accused of complicity in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian environmental activist, in 1995.

Jean said:

“We must welcome the fact that Shell’s role in the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others is to be reconsidered, and we can only hope that, after nearly 15 years, the truth will, at last, be heard. Since Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death in 1995 his predictions of ecological and humanitarian disaster in the Niger Delta have been proved right. The area, so rich in natural resources, is both a wasteland and a war zone.

“The international community must pay attention to this court case as it could shine a light on the human and environmental costs of western companies working with corrupt governments. We have a political and moral responsibility to the communities whose lives have been destroyed.”


The State of the Nigerian Nation symposium is a day-long event taking place this Friday 29 May at Stapleton House, on the Holloway Road campus of London Metropolitan University. The summit begins at 9am, with the morning session, ‘Citizen Power and Democratic Change’, commencing at 9.30am. Jean will introduce the afternoon session, from 1pm to 1.45pm.

For more information about the event, you can visit http://www.nigerialibertyforum.org.uk/

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Jean - or J P Floru?

The online D'Hondt voting system calculator is a marvellous thing, for electoral geeks. Like the ones who might, for example, spend their evenings writing a blog in support of a political candidate....

One of the things that feeding different percentages into the D'Hondt calculator quickly reveals is that, given current polling data, the most likely competitor with Jean for the last seat in London is the fourth Conservative candidate. Given this, I thought it might be an idea to look him up.

I was expecting a fairly bland Cameronista, without too much to overtly object to. Instead, I found Cllr J P Floru.

Wow. A more vivid and obvious contrast to the politics of social justice, ecological sustainability and community that Jean Lambert represents, you could not hope to find. For example, check out Cllr Floru's rather worrying Conservative Party profile. Apparently, he is the candidate on the Conservative party list most likely to say "The government must do nothing. The free-market will solve this". Quite.

A brief look at his Wikipedia entry reveals more fun facts. For example, 'in 2005 he founded the Freedom Alliance, an organisation promoting libertarianism and free market capitalism through Freedom Week, an annual week-long seminar for students at Cambridge University'. He 'is a committed free marketeer and the author of numerous articles on economics. His stated political heroes are Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and is a follower of the philosophy of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. He is close to the Taxpayers' Alliance, the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute.'

For a more in depth look at the philosophy that inspires Cllr Floru's political outlook, take a look at this article for the Taxpayer's Alliance, which contains such gems as:

"In this time of economic downturn we need tax cuts to make the pie grow again. A substantial cut in corporation tax would do the trick....Whereas in the medium term the Laffer effect would ensure a larger tax take as a result of GDP growth, in the short term the tax cuts could only be afforded by cuts in public spending. The Conservative Party is far too timid on the subject."

It is actually rather heartening that Cllr Floru is so earnest and honest a free-marketeer. After all, democracy is meant to be about choice, and this makes the choice facing Londoners even more stark, and more pressing. You can have Jean Lambert, with her belief in a publicly owned government safety net, in government intervention to create jobs and stimulate green industries, in regulation to shut down the most polluting and unethical parts of the private sector - or you can have Cllr Floru, and the rule of the economic jungle.

Londoners, the choice is yours!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Re-elect Jean for action on human rights

Jean speaks about why she thinks that the European elections are important, and why Londoners should vote for her on June 4th:



And if that wasn't enough, then just look through the archive of this blog to see how hard Jean works for all the diverse communities that she represents in London. Today, her human rights work has led her to the AGM of the Kurdish Federation - and another strong, outspoken statement on human rights for all people. The kind of statement that, with your help, she will continue to make in the European Parliament!

GREEN MEP’S HUMAN RIGHTS CALL AHEAD OF KURDISH FEDERATION AGM

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, will join members of the Kurdish community in London this Sunday [24 May] to address the ninth AGM of Fed-Bir, the Kurdish Federation in the UK.

Jean, a longstanding champion of Kurdish rights in London and Europe, said:

“I am delighted to be joining Fed-Bir again for their AGM.

For years, the Federation has carried out its important work – promoting Kurdish culture and identity in London, supporting Kurds here and around the world. Fed-Bir also understands the struggle of others for justice and peace, as their expression of solidarity with the Tamil community shows.”


Last month, Jean met Leyla Zana, the leading Kurdish politician, former prisoner of conscience and European Parliament Sakharov prize winner to discuss her forthcoming court case to appeal against her recent ten year sentence. Jean signed an open letter to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, in March, expressing concern over Ms Zana’s arrest and sentencing, and calling on the British Government to use its influence in supporting her case.

Jean added:

“I was fortunate enough to meet Leyla Zana again this year. Her courageous commitment to her cause is an inspiration to the Kurdish people, and to all those who seek justice and equality around the world. We shall be monitoring the progress of her upcoming court case as a test of justice and democratic pluralism in Turkey.

I welcome recent reports that suggest that a settlement to the conflict in Turkey, which has claimed over 40,000 lives, might at last be on the agenda. This is a small sign of hope in what has been a devastating era, but it must not be allowed to eclipse the repression which many Kurdish people in the country are still suffering. Let us hope that this might also mark progress for the Kurds in Iran and elsewhere.

“The international community must put pressure on Turkey to ensure it conforms to human rights standards. The EU has a crucial role to play since Turkey’s proposed entry to the European Union must rest on a commitment to democracy, equality and justice for all.”

Thursday, 21 May 2009

London's air quality scandal



It's probably best to read the next paragraph carefully. In fact, I'm going to bold it, so that it doesn't just skipped over.

New research released yesterday revealed that the UK’s poor air quality is causing 24,000 premature deaths a year. The research found that 4,400 deaths are caused each year in London, four times as many as earlier estimates.

24. THOUSAND. DEATHS. A year.

I'm sure if such a big deal hadn't been made of all that, many readers would have assimilated it as just another environmental proclamation. The truth is, it's a massively important issue - and the Green Party is one of the few organisations that seems to take it seriously. How seriously? Well, the photograph above is of the London Green Party Euro election launch, which took place this week next to an air quality monitoring station in Marylebone, precisely to highlight this issue.

And as always, Jean is on the ball in Europe - championing the EU Directive that will hopefully finally force the UK Government (and Boris Johnson) to take this issue seriously.

UK FACES LEGAL ACTION ON AIR QUALITY DURING 2012 OLYMPICS

The UK faces an embarrassing legal wrangle during the 2012 Olympics over its failure to act on air pollution, Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, has warned.

The European Commission has already launched legal action against the UK over breaching standards on particulate matter (PM10), the tiny airborne particles emitted by industry, vehicles and domestic heating, which can cause and irritate conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and lead to premature death.

In addition, hundreds of local authorities in the UK exceed EU limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Traffic fumes on certain stretches of roads breach safety levels in some 95% of zones and agglomerations in the UK, and on two major stretches of road in London NO2 levels are double the limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). NO2 limit values come into place in 2010, and if the UK is still in breach of these it risks further action from the Commission.

Jean said:

“The Government has repeatedly shirked its responsibilities to comply with EU standards, specifically put in place to protect human health. I recently raised its non-compliance with NO2 limits with the European Commission, pointing out that unless pre-emptive action is taken now, the UK could be mired in legal action from the Commission over its non-compliance in the period leading up to the Olympics. All eyes will be on London in 2012 – how’s it going to look if the UK is in the dock for failing to reduce the levels of deadly pollutants in the air?”

Jean’s warning follows a report released on 1 May by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, then chaired by Green Party AM Darren Johnson, into air quality in the capital. The report noted that health problems caused by air pollution cost the NHS £20 billion a year, and called on Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to set out detailed projections of the costings, timings and impacts of policies contained in his forthcoming air quality strategy. It also recommended action to reduce road traffic and encourage walking and cycling, technological solutions to ensure Londoners are better informed about air pollution, and close co-operation between the Mayor, the GLA, individual boroughs and national government.

Jean stands up for LGBT rights



Many readers of this blog would no doubt have seen Green Party member and Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Tatchell, being arrested in Moscow for the "crime" of speaking out about institutionalised and widespread homophobia in Russia. Alas, the attitudes that Peter highlighted in Russia are just the tip of the iceberg across Europe - and, sadly, an indication of prejudiced attitudes that still exist here in the UK as well. Jean has been doing lots of work on equality in the Parliament, as a member of the Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, and is joined in her activism on the issue by Joseph Healy, who is fourth on the London Green Party's European list on June 4th, and a prominent member of the Party's LGBT working group.

Below is the most recent press release from Jean on this issue. By re-electing her to the European Parliament, we will be ensuring a strong voice to speak out against prejudice in the name of Londoners.

SHAME ON HOMOPHOBIC STATES: GREEN MEP BACKS REPORT ON LGBT RIGHTS

- Renewed call for equality for LGBT people after Moscow violence
- Greens host event for London Eastern European LGBT community

Jean Lambert, London's Green Party MEP, has welcomed a report which names and shames countries around the world where state-sponsored homophobic laws exist.

Homosexuality is illegal in 80 countries around the world, and in five countries it is a crime punishable by death, according to State Sponsored Homophobia, the third annual report from ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee and the cross-party Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, said:

"This report serves as a reminder of the terrible choice that LGBT people all over the world face: to risk persecution, imprisonment and even death because of their sexuality, or to deny their sexual or gender identity to escape unbearable discrimination. This fundamental abuse of human rights is suffered by too many people. Greens have been at the forefront of efforts to improve protection against all forms of discrimination across Europe, and we have made important progress. But there is still a long way to go.

"Last December, 66 countries signed the United Nations Statement against the criminalisation of homosexuality. It's a sad truth that these states are significantly outnumbered by those 80 countries where homosexuality is illegal. It's up to us to exert pressure on leaders at all levels to end this persecution which stems from homophobia."


The 2009 report from ILGA follows a report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which found in March that homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people were still widespread across Europe.

Eastern Europe is an area of particular concern, and in March the Green Party's LGBT Group pledged to work alongside Polish Greens to help tackle homophobia in the region. This Wednesday, Joseph Healy, from the Green Party's LGBT group, is hosting a meeting with members of the Eastern European LGBT community in London.

Events took place last weekend to mark IDAHO 2009, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In Moscow, the scene of brutal attacks by far-right extremists in the past, sources reported that police used violent and oppressive tactics to break up the peaceful Slavic Pride march. Between 30 and 40 people were arrested. Peter Tatchell, the longstanding human rights campaigner and Jean's Green Party colleague, was detained but released without charges.

In Riga, the first Baltic Pride march took place in peace, after an earlier attempt by the city authorities to cancel it. Representatives from Pride London, which is twinned with the Riga event, joined the march.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The European Elections - Voting System

Many people are still confused about the D'Hondt system being used in the elections on June 4th. The North West Green Party has produced this excellent video as part of their campaign to Stop Nick Griffin of the BNP from winning a seat, which explains it all admirably!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Expenses, Transparency, and Real Change

A week is a long time in politics. Frankly, when an expenses scandal is breaking, a day can be a long time in politics. As a poll to be released on Monday has revealed, 34% of people would now consider voting Green, and in London that figure will be even higher, due to our historically significant Green vote. The most recent polling indicates that the Green Party is up to 11% nationally - a figure that would not only re-elect Jean and Caroline Lucas, but also elect Peter Cranie in the North-West and Rupert Read in Eastern region. Peter Cranie has an analysis on his own blog.

It is a shame that some voters are thinking of turning to UKIP as they react to the disgraceful revelations over MPs expenses. After all, of the 12 MEPs elected for UKIP last time, two of them were convicted for fraud, and one of them joined the neo-fascist grouping in the European Parliament. In contrast, the UK's two Green MEPs are the only UK grouping to receive a 100% rating from the pressure group Open Europe for the transparency and accountability of their finances, as this press release details.

And, of course, as well as being scrupulously honest, our Green MEPs also happen to have the most progressive politics of anyone standing for election on June 4th. Check out the newly released Green Party European Manifesto to find out exactly what they are saying on the issues that face the European Parliament!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Gaza

Jean's tireless activism continues unabated, with events across London - and tomorrow, she will be one of the speakers at the national Free Palestine demonstration. Her work in the European Parliament, calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel trade agreement, is just another reason to support her re-election on June 4th.

Full details about the march can be found here.

GREEN MEP TO REMEMBER GAZA AT FREE PALESTINE DEMO

Jean Lambert MEP will join the call to remember Gaza at a national demonstration in London tomorrow [Saturday 16 May].

Jean will be among speakers at the demonstration, organised by groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Stop the War Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative and CND.

Campaigners will use the Remember Gaza – Free Palestine! demonstration to call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the arms trade.

Jean addressed thousands of protestors at a rally in Hyde Park during the national demonstration for Gaza on 10 January. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s event, she said:

“All eyes are on the Middle East this week for the Pope’s visit. I’ll be demonstrating on Saturday to ensure that, while Gaza might have slipped down the news agenda since January, the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people is not forgotten. We have seen that there is a tremendous sense of solidarity among Londoners for the people of Gaza, I hope this remains as strong now.”

With Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party, Jean has been pushing for a suspension of the trade agreement between the EU and Israel. Jean continued:

“Determined action to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is long overdue. We must exert pressure on leaders in the UK and Europe to help lift the blockade on the movement of goods across the border, and to end arms trading with Israel.

“The Palestinian people urgently need our support to help work towards creating a safe and peaceful future based on a two state solution.”


The demonstration takes place this Saturday, 16 May. It will assemble at 12 noon in Malet Street, London WC1, nearest tubes Goodge Street and Russell Square, and will be followed by a rally in Trafalgar Square.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Party Election Broadcast Video

The Green Party European Election Broadcast aired last night - and here it is, online.



P.S. Some people are experiencing problems when viewing embedded videos on this blog (the videos aren't aligned properly, and so on). If that's the case for you, never fear...just follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIaqH84Yvzc

Monday, 11 May 2009

Green Party Election Broadcast - Tonight!

Be sure to watch the Green Party's election broadcast tonight - showing on ITV at 18.25, BBC1 at 18.55, and BBC2 at 17.55.

And, once you've been inspired to further efforts to help the campaign, you can easily contribute by:

- Emailing reelectjean@hotmail.co.uk with offers of help
- Donating financially by clicking the button to the right of this post
- Printing out and putting up a poster

Sunday, 10 May 2009

European Green Party

The European Green Party consists of 32 member parties, with 35 MEPs, and in the last European elections garnered almost 7.5% of all votes across the entirety of Europe. It is the dominant partner of the EG-EFA grouping in the European Parliament (which includes the European Free Alliance of centre-left nationalist and regionalist parties) which has a total of 43 MEPs. Here is a little of what the EGP has to say about the 2009 elections:

Thursday, 7 May 2009

EU Parliament Votes to End Seal Trade

Even with four weeks to go until the election, Jean is still hard at work on all of the issues that matter. Yesterday, she helped to vote through landmark legislation banning the commercial trade of seal products - while the failure of most MEPs to support tightened regulation of animal testing showed how far we have to go on issues such as these, and how vital Green MEPs are at Strasbourg.

EU PARLIAMENT VOTES TO END SEAL TRADE, BUT FAILS TO PROTECT ANIMALS USED IN EXPERIMENTS

The European Parliament voted this week on two critical pieces on legislation on animals.

An overwhelming majority of Euro-MPs (550 votes in favour, 49 against, 41
abstentions) voted in favour of a ban on the commercial trade of seal products in the EU London's Green Party MEP, Jean Lambert, who voted in favour said:

"This vote is a victory for the global campaign against animal cruelty. Nearly one million seals are slaughtered annually in commercial seal hunts around the world, and the products of those slaughters - primarily fur - are legally traded in the EU. By closing the door on fur and other seal products, Parliament has taken meaningful action to reduce the scale of commercial seal killing."

However, in another development, a report on animal testing was adopted, which failed to make vital improvements for the 12 million animals that are used in experiments in the EU each year.

The London Green MEP continued:

"This vote will be a major disappointment for animal welfare supporters and presents a missed opportunity to tighten the existing regulation on the use of animals in experiments. The EU should be the world leader on research into and use of non-animal testing, but this vote has done little to make progress on this issue.

"A number of critical amendments tabled by the Greens, that could have secured major improvements for animals, were rejected by a majority of MEPs. It is particularly disappointing that MEPs did not even vote for Green proposals that would have at least ensured the phasing out of the use of primates caught in the wild. It is appalling that the Parliament has allowed this practice to continue."

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Jean on Sri Lanka

As always, Jean has been up to a great deal over the last couple of months. Her latest newsletter is now available on her official MEP website, and it makes inspiring reading.

Among many other things, Jean is still working on the issue of the ongoing human rights abuses in Sri Lanka - something that has been largely ignored by many other politicians in the UK. This blog has covered her previous work on this issue, and this Saturday Jean spoke at a packed public meeting, as the excellent Green Ladywell blog explains. As well as this, she has an article in the latest New Statesman about the ongoing difficulties that journalists are experiencing in covering the story.

It's Register to Vote week as I write. Make sure you're registered, and that you vote Green on June 4th, if you want this kind of hard-working, progressive politics to last another five years in the European Parliament!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Jean supports the Living Wage on May Day

Today is May Day - International Worker's Day. You can guarantee, however, that most of the UK's elected representatives will not have done anything to mark the occasion. They are much more interested in representing the rich, the powerful and the already influential than they are ordinary people.

Luckily, London has a Green MEP - and Jean spent today supporting a march in favour of the London Living Wage campaign. This topic has been blogged about before here, but its such an important issue - and the EU is such an important link in the chain of enabling people to be paid well - that it can't really be written about enough.

Jean spent the morning with students, staff and union activists from the university colleges in Bloomsbury on a march, calling for all employees to be paid a Living Wage, currently £7.45 in London.

The march, organised by the newly-formed Bloomsbury Living Wage Campaign, stopped at each of the educational centres around Russell Square, for speeches, drama and music. Workers at some Bloomsbury universities are still being paid the minimum wage – just £5.73. Many are forced to take on several jobs simply to make ends meet.

Campaigners have won commitments to pay all staff at least the Living Wage at four London universities – Queen Mary, the London School of Economics, SOAS and most recently Birkbeck. They are hoping for similar success at UCL, the Institute of Education, King’s, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and London Met. They also want the institutions who have adopted the Living Wage to commit to all aspects of the London Living Wage package – not just the minimum salary – including union rights and decent sick and holiday pay.

Jean said:

“The Living Wage campaign is one of the most important movements in London, and I’m proud to be joining this march and taking the May Day message of ‘Low pay – no way!’ to the Bloomsbury colleges.

“London’s universities are some of the best education establishments in the world. It’s time they set a similarly high standard for treatment of their staff. The capital is blighted by long hours and low pay, but everyone deserves a decent wage for their time.

“The recession has created difficult times for businesses, but workers should still receive fair treatment. We need justice for all.”

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Normal service resumed

Apologies for the sudden silence over the last couple of weeks. Partly, this is because Green Party activists and supporters are out all over the capital, delivering hundreds of thousands of leaflets about the great work that Jean has been doing over the last decade in the European Parliament.

If you can help with distribution of leaflets - even if you only have an hour or two to spare - please do get in touch with reelectjean@hotmail.co.uk

Meanwhile, Jean continues to work hard across London. More details to come soon - but for now, here are just two examples, one from last weekend, and one from the weekend to come!

GREEN MEP TO DEBATE WOMEN’S POLITICAL FUTURE IN BIRTHPLACE OF FEMINISM

Jean Lambert to join celebrations of 250th anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft’s birth

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of feminism, by taking part in a debate about the position of women in politics today.

The discussion on “Political Power for Women: How Far Have We Come? Why Does It Matter?” will take place at 7pm on Saturday 25 April at the Newington Green Unitarian Church, Hackney.

Jean Lambert MEP will join other prominent female politicians, the London MPs Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry, for the debate, which will be chaired by the journalist Suzanne Moore.

The event forms one of a series to mark the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, the seminal treatise first published in 1792, which argued against the received attitudes of women and femininity, and called for women to develop, and be credited with, their own intellectual faculties.

Wollstonecraft was also an educationalist: central to her argument in the Vindication was a call for girls to be granted the right to a rational education. The passion and foresight of her work made her an icon for the feminist movement.

Jean, a former teacher and a longstanding campaigner for equality, said:

“Women have made great strides in politics, but are still hugely underrepresented, with just one in five MPs and one in four MEPs being female.

“I am proud to be celebrating the achievements of Mary Wollstonecraft, who was a true inspiration to women of her time and indeed to many people now. She was prepared to stand up for women’s rights and challenge the status quo in a way that that no-one had done before.

“Still the glass ceiling exists for many women when it comes to career opportunities and the gender pay gap often starts with first jobs, despite the fact that women’s educational achievements equal or outdo those of men.

“I encourage anyone who is interested in discussing the role of women in modern society to come along to the debate – it should prove to be a lively and empowering evening.”


Profits from the Mary Wollstonecraft celebrations will be donated to Stop the Traffik, the worldwide movement to combat people trafficking.

THINKING LOCALLY WITH KINGSTON GREENS

Jean Lambert, London’s Green Party MEP, will join local Greens for a walkabout in Kingston next weekend [Saturday 2 May].

Jean will be meeting residents and discussing the key issues for the borough. Education is one area of concern. Kingston’s schools are hugely oversubscribed, and in March the council admitted that it faced a multi-million pound bill to tackle the shortfall in primary school places.

Efforts to address this have meant that money has been diverted from improvements to existing school buildings, and many local schools are now dependent on temporary classrooms.

While plans for a major Tesco store next to Tolworth station have this week been cancelled, the process of redeveloping the town centre has proved controversial. There has also been anger over the council’s handling of its new waste collection system.

Jean Lambert MEP said:

“There’s been a lot of anger locally about priorities. People have felt they are not being listened to. These local issues will be familiar to many Londoners, but I’m looking forward to hearing what effect they have had on daily life in Kingston, and how people would like to see things change.

“I’m also looking forward to discussing the Green New Deal with local party members. A report recently found that the recession will hit London harder than the rest of the UK [1], and as fears about the economy continue to grow, now is the time for us to be considering the sort of practical measures that will help us not only to recover from the downturn but to put better, more stable systems in place. Greens think locally – as individuals struggle with the impact of a global recession on their own lives this grassroots approach is more important than ever.”


Chris Walker, the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Kingston & Surbiton said:

”It's great that Jean is taking time to visit Kingston as we are concerned about many of the issues she's campaigning for in the European Parliament, like improved public services, human rights, better housing conditions and new green employment opportunities.”

John Johnson, Employment Spokesperson for Kingston Green Party, welcomed the opportunity to discuss local Green solutions to the recession with Jean. He said:

“Green Party policy would create thousands of local green jobs in saving energy, reducing waste, repairing and reusing products and services for good local value for money.”

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Mark Thomas - Greens are Great!

The Green Party are the only national political force seriously fighting against neoliberalism, the economic doctrine that got us into this mess. Don't believe us? Maybe you'll listen to Mark Thomas, as he endorses the Green Party and its MEPs:

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Jean calls for Sri Lankan ceasefire

Jean spent today at the demonstration for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, speaking out from the platform for human rights and respect for civilians on all sides. You'd expect nothing less, I suppose, from a representative who was named Justice and Human Rights MEP of the Year in 2005.

Unlike some politicians, who only seem to have discovered the situation in Sri Lanka over the last few days after the demonstrations and hunger strikes in the UK, Jean has been working on this issue for years. Regular readers of this blog will already know this, with Jean's involvement spanning both the need for a ceasefire and individual cases of human rights abuses.

As should be clear by now, if we want the EU to stand up for human rights around the world, we need more MEPs like Jean Lambert. As ever, if you don't believe us, how about listening to her opinions direct, in the video below?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Decent Pensions For All!

Among her other responsibilities, Jean is the Green Party's spokesperson on social affairs, and sits on the European Parliament's "Intergroup on Ageing". For that reason, she has been raising concerns for many years about the pitiful level of pension provision in the UK, and the scandal of the many elderly people who still live in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.

For that reason, it is particularly fitting that she should be making the announcement below - exciting not only for its potential to lift every single pensioner in Britain out of poverty, but also because of its role as part of a people's fiscal stimulus that bails out ordinary citizens, not big banks and multinational corporations.....

Today, on National Pensions Action Day (Monday 6 April), the Green Party announces its key election pledge for pensioners - a £165 a week non-means-tested citizens' pension for every pensioner in the UK.

The pledge will form part of the Green New Deal for Older People, which the Green Party will launch in the build-up to this year's elections.

Jean Lambert MEP, the Green Party's spokesperson on social affairs, said today:

"The Green Party today celebrates Pensions Action Day with possibly the best action a political party could take for British pensioners: a policy that would lift all our pensioners out of poverty."

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) have been calling for a pension at or above the official poverty level, which is defined as 60% of median population earnings less housing costs.

For 2007/8 this would have meant a single person’s pension of £151 per week - compared to the actual full state pension of £90.70 and a pensions credits guarantee level of about £120 a week.

The NPC has recently pointed out that:

- Between 1997 and 2006, the number of British people living in severe poverty – defined as living on less than 40% of median population income – increased by 600,000

- Last year the poorest quarter of UK pensioner households saw their incomes rise by less than 1%, well below inflation. The poorest single pensioners saw their real incomes drop by 4%.

- At least 15% of UK pensioners – over 1.5m older people – are living in persistent poverty (below 60% median population income for three out of the last four years).

- Pensioner poverty in the UK has risen in the last year by 300,000 - equivalent to 822 people a day - and now reaches 2.5m (1 in 4 older people). Two thirds of these pensioners are women.

Jean Lambert MEP further commented:

"If the other parties are unwilling to lift pensioners out of poverty, then it's clear pensioners will need to elect Greens to fight their corner. Voting Green is about building a better future - and that includes a secure economic future for older people."

Jean Lambert MEP will lead the Green Party delegation in support of the NPC demonstration in London. She will be joined by Darren Johnson AM, the Green Party's trade & industry spokesperson and its parliamentary candidate for Lewisham Deptford, and Cllr Romayne Phoenix of Lewisham Borough Council.

As an added treat, here's Jean talking about her Green economic vision for the future

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Labour defends worker exploitation

While still ludicrously claiming to be the party of the ordinary worker, the Labour Government have been putting in its own overtime defending the British opt-out from the Working Time Directive. Refusing to give way to the resolution which was led by Jean and passed by the European Parliament in recent months, our government continues to stand up for the 'right' of big business to exploit ordinary working people.

Meanwhile, you can see just how hard Jean has been working in her latest e-newsletter.

Also, further to the recent article on this blog about the Putting People First march, you may be interested to see the Green Party statement on the massive police overreaction in London over the last few days. Again, it is indicative of the Government we have, and how far it is from the Government we need, that they allow this kind of brutality to occur without a word of criticism or censure. Let's start voting in politicians who'll allow the people to speak, and who'll listen to them when they do!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Put People First

As you may have seen - perhaps you were even there - the Put People First coalition organised a demonstration today in central London, to 'welcome' the G20 to the city. The march, calling for action on 'Jobs, Justice and Climate', was attended by around 50,000 people and supported by over 150 different organisations - from NGOs, to trade unions, to grassroots community groups. For its part, the Green Party organised its members to attend, and numerous party placards with the inscriptions "Brown Out - Green Power" and "Workers for the World Unite" could be seen throughout the march.

Of course, demonstrations like this are important for many reasons - to bring together a movement that can often feel disparate - to call for change and make plain opposition to the status quo - and to provide a 'hook' to start building longer lasting alternatives for the future.

As you would expect, Greens on the march were pointing out at every opportunity that it makes no sense just to lobby politicians, when we also have the power to elect ones that we agree with in the first place! As the latest in our series of highlighted issue videos from Jean makes plain below, our current Green MEPs have a fantastic record on workers rights, and on standing up for ordinary people. Lets get them re-elected to Strasbourg in the next few months!

As ever, should you want to make a much appreciated donation to Jean's re-election campaign, you can just click on the button on the right. If you have more time to give than money, then please do get in touch via reelectjean@hotmail.co.uk - there is always something to do!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Spring Conference and migration

Over this weekend, Jean is attending Green Party Spring Conference, which is being held in Blackpool. Among other things, she has been on the main stage leading the call to action for the European elections, taking part in a panel on the relevance of the green agenda to work on poverty, and highlighting our work on migration issues on the European level.

On a policy level, Conference voted on Friday to adopt the most recent European Green Party migration statement as official policy. While it is too long to repeat in its entirety here, a few 'tasters' should give you an impression of the human rights and social justice orientated approach of Green Parties across Europe on this issue:

"All migrants are entitled to fundamental human rights. Family reunification is one of those rights: we fully honour everyone's right to live with his or her family, as stated in the European Convention on Human Rights. There is a tendency of EU Member States to restrain people from exercising this right, making unreasonable demands to migrants who want to reunify their family in the European Union. Barriers such as having to pass a language test in their home country or requiring that they earn much more than the minimum wage are prejudicial. We Greens reject these requirements and guarantee the right to live in family."

"Every person who needs shelter according to the Geneva Conventions must have the possibility to get access to a fair asylum procedure in Europe. The Greens demand that access to a fair asylum procedure is always granted to those who need it, in a language the asylum seeker understands or with the help of translator and with free legal assistance at all stages of the procedure. In each case an individual assessment is needed, based on objective information of the human rights situation in the home country. Agencies should never use lists of “safe third countries” which rarely reflect the harsh living conditions in some countries. The agency responsible for processing the claim should be independent from the government."

"Gender reasons to escape the country of origin like genital mutilation, oppression and religious persecution because of gender, ‘honour crimes’, rape, forced abortion or sterilisation must be accepted as reasons to get asylum in all EU countries, as well as persecution on grounds of sexual orientation."

"There are now migrants, displaced persons and their families, who must leave their land because of environmental disaster that results from both incremental and rapid ecological and climatic change that includes sea level rise, coastal erosion, desertification, collapsing ecosystems, water contamination and weather events that are more frequent and unpredictable. As a result, inhabitants are unable to live safe or sustainable lives in their immediate environment. Some island nations may cease to exist. The word refugee has been used with strong moral connotations of societal protection in most world cultures, and it must now be extended to those who are forced to migrate because of climatic change."

"The European Greens oppose the principle of detaining persons not found guilty of any crime but who just violated an administrative rule (i.e. entering or staying without proper documentation in the European Union). Detention is a juridical paradox."

"The best way to attack the smugglers networks is to deprive them of their profits. There are policies that have indirect effects on the profitability of the trafficking business. Regularization campaigns, amnesties for illegal migrants, job training reduce the expected profits of traffickers as they reduce the enforceability of debt contracts between intermediates and migrants. In the legal sector trafficking agreements are harder to enforce, the migrant defaults and can turn to the police for protection once he or she receives legal status. In order to fight against to human trafficking, the victims of human trafficking who have been forced (or are meant to be forced) to work in the sex industry or in diplomatic or other households, who have been or are meant to be forced into marriage, etc. in the EU against their will should get the right to stay and get a regular working permit."


And if you want to hear Jean speaking directly on this issue - your wish is our command!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Jean's 'end of term report'

If any reader of this blog is still in any doubt about why re-electing Jean is an absolute imperative for a progressive London, perhaps they should check out this end of term report, produced by the Offices of Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas.

As the report makes clear, our Green MEPs have been working hard over the last five years (and, indeed, the five before that!) to embed progressive values into EU legislation, and to oppose initiatives that attempt to push forward socially and environmentally destructive programmes.

If you still aren't convinced, why not hear from Jean herself about her views on public services!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Updated Green Party Euro list

While this blog is dedicated to promoting the re-election of the excellent Jean Lambert, it is important to realise that the European Elections take place on a PR 'list system' - and that Jean is at the top of an entire list of excellent candidates for the European Parliament. If the Green Party equalled its best ever vote in the European elections, not only would Jean be re-elected, but the number 2 candidate (Ute Michel) would also be going to Strasbourg. A Lewisham councillor and originally a German national, Ute would be a superb MEP - and that quality extends all the way down the list, with number 3 being the excellent Shahrar Ali (London Green Party Policy Co-ordinator) and number 4 being Joseph Healy, who is also Green Parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall and a former Green Party International Co-ordinator.

The full list, along with the boroughs that the candidates are from, is below. Jean's campaign team can always be contacted at reelectjean@hotmail.co.uk, and the next four candidates can all be contacted via email at electgreen[insertfirstname]@hotmail.co.uk. I.E. electgreenute@hotmail.co.uk etc.

1. Jean Lambert (Walthamstow)
2. Ute Michel (Lewisham)
3. Shahrar Ali (Brent)
4. Joseph Healy (Southwark)
5. Miranda Dunn (Barnet)
6. Shasha Khan (Croydon)
7. John Hunt (Hounslow)
8. Caroline Allen (Hackney)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jean in the New Statesman

Following on from the previous subject, Jean has an article in the latest edition of the New Statesman, on the subject of International Women's Day and equality at work:

International Women's Day

This Sunday is International Women's Day and as we enter headlong into recession we need to understand and act on the far-reaching impacts of the economic downturn on women.

The impulse to dedicate a day in the spring to campaigning, celebration and reflection for women can be traced back to March 8, 1857, which is thought to have been a day of protest by female textile workers in New York against poor working conditions and meagre wages.

This year marks the centenary of the first National Women's Day, celebrated in the United States on February 28, 1909. International Women's Day was first observed in 1911 and it quickly assumed a tone of commemoration as well as celebration, following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in March of that year.

This disaster, at a New York factory producing garments for the emergent female consumer class, claimed the lives of 146 of its predominantly female, immigrant workforce. Poor safety provision and overcrowding at the factory premises undoubtedly increased the death toll. In subsequent decades the IWD tradition waned, but it re-emerged with feminism in the late Sixties. In 1975, designated International Women's Year, it received the official sanction of the UN.

While it understandably became a point of focus for feminists, it was, from the outset, intended to raise awareness of inequities that affected not just women, but all who were poorly paid, poorly treated and otherwise marginalised. The call of those early organisers of IWD was essentially for fairness.

We know that women are facing a disproportionately high risk of unemployment during this recession. They enter it from a position of relative economic disadvantage: women are more likely to be in part-time, lower-paid or temporary employment, filling the roles that are often the first to go when employers are forced to make cuts. Those returning to work after maternity leave will find familiar difficulties compounded as they compete for the opportunities that do exist.

And attitudes towards women on maternity leave don't help either. This week, a Government survey revealed that a quarter of men and a fifth of women feel that people on maternity leave should be first in line for redundancy. Yet a quarter of all households are now headed by lone parents, 90 per cent of whom are women. It's also been found that added barriers exist for women who seek to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

The TUC has recently made clear the worrying reality of this recession for women. Parity in the British workplace has yet to be achieved, with the gender pay gap still as wide as 36 per cent in part-time employment. But new equality legislation, which includes measures to address inequality, is reportedly at risk of being scrapped to avoid further strain on business at this time.

There are wider problems for women too. Last month Superintendent David Hartshorn, a senior Metropolitan Police officer chief, told The Guardian that the police are expecting a "summer of rage" on the streets as a result of the downturn. However, we must also be alert to the rage and violence being played out behind closed doors, as financial strain on families and relationships mounts.

The Fawcett Society has reported an increase in the number of domestic violence referrals and Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, has also warned that the wider economic climate is likely to create added pressures on women who already feel unable to leave abusive relationships because of limited access to finance or support.

This week, the Government has gone some way to acknowledging the risk of a rise both in employment discrimination, and in violence against women, with the publication of an advice booklet, Real Help Now for Women.

But for women who do find themselves in such a position, the system is often woefully ill-equipped to support them. The second Map of Gaps report, which was published last month, has highlighted the appalling inadequacies in service provision for women who have suffered domestic or sexual abuse.

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has already back-tracked on his promise to provide funding for Rape Crisis Centres. In his manifesto, he pledged to provide the £744,000a year to fund the one existing centre in London plus three new centres. But when questioned by Green Party London Assembly Member, Jenny Jones, he stated that he wouldn't improve on the original £233,000 a year budget. That amounts to providing less than a third of what was originally promised.

Specific service provision for women from black or minority ethnic backgrounds is particularly poor. Refugee or immigrant women are especially vulnerable, as they are more likely to be financially insecure and thus are at greater risk of coercion into personally dangerous or criminal behaviour. As the Government looks to make savings, the prospect of funds being diverted to these areas at this time looks increasingly remote.

In addition, we are not doing enough to recognise economic abuse. Refuge has produced important research on this manifestation of domestic abuse, whereby a partner exercises power through undermining a woman's financial independence, perhaps controlling or claiming wages or benefits, withholding money allocated for family or household needs, or manipulating her into feeling cheap and worthless. It is reasonable to conclude that more difficult economic circumstances will exacerbate this too.

These problems, of course, are not new, and the downturn did not cause them. But it could make them worse. We need to increase support now to organisations working with families and those suffering or at risk of abuse. This would be money well spent.

Our response to this recession is going to shape life in Britain for decades to come and we must ensure that any response adequately provides for those who may be disproportionately affected in ways that are perhaps not immediately obvious.

Friday, 6 March 2009

London Green News

The new edition of London Green News is out, going to hundreds of thousands of homes across the capital in the next few weeks. Jean is on the front page! Check it out, here.

P.S. If you are having trouble downloading the file, please do visit http://london.greenparty.org.uk and download it from the front page.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

International Women's Day



Over the next few days, Jean will be speaking at and attending a series of events to celebrate International Women's Day 2009. In keeping with her Parliamentary focus on employment rights, she has released a press statement on gender equality in the workplace, and tomorrow (Friday 6th March) she will be speaking at a public meeting on international solidarity for those struggling for women's rights across the world.

Meanwhile, Jean's office is supporting the One In Ten campaign against sexual violence, and this afternoon Jean was speaking at a protest for equal rights organised by the Dalit Solidarity Network (see press release below).

All of this on just one issue - and we haven't even blogged about Jean's work in other areas over the last week - a public meeting on climate change in Hackney, speaking at the Convention on Modern Liberties and the '6 Billion Ways' conference on the same day, and all of her work in Strasbourg too!

If you'd like to see Jean continue this work for another five years, don't forget - you can donate by clicking on the button to the right, or volunteer your time by emailing reelectjean@hotmail.co.uk

GREEN MEP BACKS CALL FOR DECENT WORK FOR DALIT WOMEN

- International Women's Day event at Indian High Commission

Jean Lambert, Patron of the Dalit Solidarity Network and Green Party MEP for London, will be speaking at a protest at the Indian High Commission on Thursday 5th March at 4pm to call for dignified work and decent wages for Dalits.

The protest marks International Women's Day, since the majority of the 1.3 million people of 'untouchable' caste status in India are women, and are forced to earn their living by doing dangerous and degrading work in appalling conditions. Many have no choice but to earn a living by collecting human faeces, using only their bare hands and simple tools.

The protest will call on the Indian Government to release a substantial pot of money that has been set-aside for providing these 'manual scavengers' with education, healthcare and decent jobs.

Jean Lambert MEP, who is a member of the European Parliament's South Asia delegation and who frequently highlights the situation of the Dalits, said:

"We must show much more support to the struggle against such discrimination. This requires action at all political levels, both across the EU and in the countries concerned.

"I reject the idea that some human beings are considered "impure" or "polluted" just because they were born into a certain caste. Everyone is entitled to basic human rights. In the 21st century, no human being should be considered "untouchable"."

For more information about the event please contact the Dalit Solidarity Network UK at dalitsnuk[at]yahoo.co.uk or 020 7501 8323.