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!


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.


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!