green party

Cross Simon for Green Party Leader!

green banner

I wouldn’t normally get involved in the internal business of other political parties, but after the kind assistance of so many members of the Green Party in the last Labour leadership election, it would feel rude for me to not offer an opinion.

Fortunately, someone has arisen whose bid I can wholeheartedly and unreservedly support. Someone who can take the Green Party in exactly the direction I want to see it go.

I am proud and delighted to endorse Cross Simon, for Green Party leader.

Read on…

What on earth happened in Leigh?

old leigh

“What on earth happened in Leigh?”

That is the question that, on 8th May, everyone was asking. The Lib Dems, the Tories, and the residents of Leigh woke up to find that for the first time in I-don’t-want-to-look-up-how-long they had elected a Tory councillor. (Woke up isn’t exactly right — it was around lunchtime that the result was announced -Ed)

Indeed, the Lib Dem collapse has been pretty much nationwide, so on one level it can’t be surprising that the only council seat that the party were defending at this round of local elections was at risk. I had heard reliable reports earlier in the campaign that they had pulled everyone out of everywhere else in order to try and hold it — the fact that even that wasn’t enough tells a sad story of yellow fortunes.

Read on…

The importance of copyright to writers, in the words of a writer

green burning copyright

My post(s) about the Green Party copyright proposals are still getting a frankly embarrassing number of views, but a coherent defence from the Greens themselves has yet to emerge.

I don’t mean to dwell, but I saw this simple, three-sentence summary of the situation from Stephen Volk — the writer behind TV series’ Ghostwatch, Afterlife, and the excellent novella Whistable — which (With his permission, of course -Ed) I think deserves to be shared. it sums up the reason that this is such an important issue, and why people are so concerned about the policy, better and more succinctly than I ever could:

People who debate copyright often do not seem to realise that copyright equates with income for some people. It’s not a luxury it’s a necessity. How can we value creativity if it becomes free?

Green Party, take note…

Letter to the Editor: Green Party policy would destroy the arts


The Green Party, it’s candidates persist in telling us, is the only party standing up for the arts. It’s a nice sentiment, but sadly it’s not borne out by their actual policies.

According to the policy section of their national website, the Green Party of England and Wales want to reduce the length of copyright protection from, at present, 70 years after the death of the creator, to “a usual maximum of 14 years” from the point of creation. Under this, JK Rowling would already have lost her rights to the first four books of the Harry Potter series, and anyone producing any creative work would only truly be able to call it theirs until 2029.

This sort of on-the-hoof policy making sounds very fluffy and nice, but in practice it will run the creative industries in the UK into the ground, as those who produce works of art in whatever medium are routinely robbed of any rights to their creations.

It seems, to this writer, a funny way to support the arts, by picking the pockets of artists themselves. Why should anyone trying to earn a living in the creative industries vote for the Greens, when they are pursuing disastrous ideas like this?

Matt Dent

Labour Party candidate for Blenheim Park ward, Southend-on-Sea

Reverse ferret! Unpicking Green excuses for THAT copyright policy

green burning copyright

So my views on the Green Party’s policies on copyright seem to have caused a stir.

Reading the various defences and responses put forwards by Green supporters to justify the confiscation of artists’ rights to their creations limiting of copyright to 14 years, I am struck by the fact that the hostile response to this policy really seems to have taken them aback. There’s a sense of shock that the very people who are outraged (And, in my view, rightfully so -Ed) at the suggestions are the very people who they regarded as “theirs”.

It is, I suspect, political growing pains, similar to the let Natalie in the debates when the initial TV debates plan excluded them, became “don’t let Natalie in the debates after that LBC interview.

So, given that hosts of readers are sure I’m wrong but can’t decide amongst themselves why, I figured I’d give a rundown of the various responses.

Read on…

Here’s why no one in the creative industries should vote Green

burning copyright

Having not read the minor parties’ manifestos cover-to-cover (Take a look at the Lib Dems’, and tell me it seems like a good use of time -Ed), I missed this particular policy until it was pointed out on my Facebook feed last night.

Quoted directly from the section of the Green Party website on intellectual property:

EC1011 On cultural products (literature, music, film, paintings etc), our general policy is to expand the area of cultural activity, that is ways that culture can be consumed, produced, and shared, reduce the role of the market and encourage smaller and more local cultural enterprise (see CMS200 onwards). Specifically we will:

b. introduce generally shorter copyright terms, with a usual maximum of 14 years;

Now this really is radical policy. And not in a good way. By any objective analysis this is completely bonkers, and will likely destroy the creative industries in Britain — and here’s why.

Read on…

Labour and the Greens tied amongst young people? Not even close…

labour young people infographic

I created this infographic in response to a local Green candidate sharing a similar one claiming that the Greens and Labour neck and neck, with data from January. She insisted that the polls were still the same today.

Upon my demonstrating that they are, in fact, very different, she branded it “bullshit” and deleted my post. So I’m sharing it here, for the world to see. Because I’m not going to be censored or bullied into silence by a Green Party who find facts inconvenient.

If anyone wants to check the data, my source is cited in the infographic itself, and the raw data can be found here, on YouGov’s website. Enjoy.

What Green surge? Southend Green candidate aims just to “keep deposit”

green party hiding from reality

The Green Party in Southend, at least, has always seemed to me to have a taste for armchair activism, as opposed to actually knocking on doors. When I see their activists around in Southend, it’s more often me knocking on their doors

I’ve spoken on the doorstep to two local Green Party members on the doorstep this weekend. The more interesting of those conservations was in Rochford & Southend East, where I was told:

Our aim is to hold onto our deposit.

Now, for the uninitiated, a deposit of £500 is required from anyone wishing to stand for a parliamentary election. Said deposit is returned, provided the candidate gains at least 5% of the vote. In the 2010 general election, this amounted to a little over 2,000 votes in Rochford & Southend East.

And that is, apparently, what the Green Party’s Simon Cross is aiming for. I don’t know about a Green surge, that barely qualifies as a gentle wave. What’s clear is in Rochford & Southend East, a vote for the Green Party is a wasted vote.

If voters want to kick out James Duddridge and the Conservatives, the only choice is Labour.

Did Southend Greens exclude UKIP from debate – then lie about it?

green ukip

My little birds (Which, yes, is a Game of Thrones reference -Ed) are clearly gaining a measure of fame, being recently mocked by Southend’s Lib Dem activist. They do, though, give me some very interesting little tidbits from time to time.

Like the fact that the Green Party parliamentary candidates for the two Southend constituencies apparently voted to exclude their UKIP opponents from an election debate.

When Southend Against the Cuts made the decision earlier this month, I couldn’t have been much more forthright in my disagreement. I have little time for the idea of “no platform” — if you are not confident enough in the strength of your own beliefs, then you need to seriously examine them. Not to mention that the only people who this helps is UKIP — who now get to claim martyrdom — and the Tories — who no longer have to face a challenge from the right.

At the time, Simon Cross — Green Party candidate for Rochford & Southend East — tied himself in knots trying to agree with both sides.

Despite Simon Cross’ protestations, my little birds report that both he and Jon Fuller voted that UKIP candidates should not be invited to participate in the hustings. Now, I stress that I wasn’t there, but I have heard this report from more than one source — some of whom also voted to keep UKIP out.

Whether or not you believe that the UKIP candidates should be included — and I think it’s quite clear that, on a point of principle, I do — someone standing for election should have the strength of their convictions. Whatever their beliefs, if the Green candidates are going to present themselves as worthy of representing Southend in parliament, then a little backbone wouldn’t go amiss.

(And the irony, after the outpouring of wrath and fury when the Greens were excluded from the general election party leaders’ debates, has not been lost on me. Fans of intellectual consistency may remember that I also opposed their exclusion, and after yesterday’s sneak preview from Natalie Bennett, I am very much looking forward to the whole circus).

At the time I challenged Simon Cross to clearly state how he and Jon Fuller voted. Despite belligerently playing both sides in the discussion up to that point, he went mysteriously silent after my challenge.

I offer them both the chance, here and now, to declare themselves: Simon Cross and Jon Fuller, did you vote to exclude UKIP from the Southend Against the Cuts hustings or not?

Read the non-denials…

Where idealism meets reality: Brighton Green Party’s folly

brighton green eric pickles

I told myself, after last week, that I was going to leave the Greens alone for a bit. I also have a general policy of trying to avoid commenting on localities where I don’t have an personal interest.

I’m about to break both of those statements of intent, I’m afraid, because down in Brighton things are edging dramatically beyond the usual standards of crazy which govern things down there on the south coast.

The Green Party in Brighton & Hove have decided to forgo any attempt at rationality, and embrace fantasy. Which would be all well and good were they not responsible for the local government managing the lives of 275,000 people.

Read on…