Green candidate present at fox hunting demonstration

Leeds West Green Party candidate Andrew Pointon and his wife Tina  joined other demonstrators at Leeds City Square on 27th May to protest about Theresa May’s plan to hold a free vote on ending the ban of fox hunting if the Conservatives form the next government.

Despite torrential rain for much of the route, a large group of people united by their love of animals and loathing of cruelty to animals, marched through the streets of Leeds city centre to draw attention to the current Prime Minister’s support for a return of fox hunting, and to call on people not to vote Conservative. The heavy rain did not dampen spirits and the noisy but peaceful demonstration seemed to have the backing of the majority of the public passing by.

Andrew said of the event:

“Since my mid-teens I have been passionately opposed to fox hunting and at that time I was a member of the League Against Cruel Sports. I was delighted when the Hunting Act in 2004 banned the barbaric act of hunting foxes and indeed other wild animals, although personally I felt it should have been stronger. Sadly it comes as no surprise that Mrs May said that if re-elected as Prime Minister she will set in motion a chance to repeal that legislation and look to bring back fox hunting.

How anyone can derive pleasure from seeing a beautiful creature torn to shreds meeting such a violent and horrific death is beyond me. Both my wife and I are passionate advocates of animal rights so clearly it was important to us both to be here to help raise awareness that a vote for the Tories is among other terrible things, a vote to bring back fox hunting. We must keep the ban in place and strengthen legislation to protect our wildlife even more.”

The Green Party opposes the return of fox hunting and has comprehensive policies on animal welfare. The Greens For Animal Protection Group is a Green Party initiative which aims to develop policy on animal protection issues and also campaign for animals. The Green Party’s Animal Rights policies in full can be found here.

 

Election Day: One clear choice

Andrew on election dayToday you can go out and cast your vote. I urge you to do so. Your vote can make a difference.

Are you are fed up with “business as usual politics” where politicians say roughly the same thing, squabble with each other, and then fail to deliver their promises? Are you fed up of them turning up just at election time after your vote, only for them to let you down for the rest of the time?

Well you have a real positive alternative. You can vote for the Green Party. This is a party that is still based on principles and creates policy through its members, not dictated to by those at the top. It is a party that doesn’t just change what it says to please the audience it has in front of it. It is a party that has policies that puts people and the planet first. It is a party that looks to make things better for all not just the elite in society. It is a party that will look after the vulnerable members of society. It is a party of hope, not negativity and fear.

Just a few of the things the Green Party want to do:

  • Ensure we have a safe planet to live on with a whole range of measures to tackle Climate Change while helping people reduce their cost of living at the same time.
  • Create hundreds of thousands of new jobs that are actually secure, well paid and something you can build a life on.
  • Build 500,000 new social homes for affordable renting to help tackle our housing crisis.
  • Keep the NHS public, fund it properly, and remove privatisation.
  • Introduce a minimum wage that is a living wage of £10 per hour.
  • Renationalise the railways, and regulate buses enabling us to drop fares. We’d immediately reduce fares by 10%.
  • End university fees, reintroduce grants to replace loans, and write off the student loan debt. We’d reintroduce the EMA to help young people stay on at school.
  • Create an economy that works for all not just the wealthy. We’d tackle tax avoidance, ensure big corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and raise the top rate of tax for the very wealthy.

Find out more here: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/

If you want a real progressive change, vote for it. Vote for what you believe in not the least worst option. Vote Green Party. Please vote for me, Andrew Pointon, in Leeds West. It’s time we had a change for the better.

Thank you

Andrew

 

 

The real cost of Austerity

Austerity - all pain no gain

Since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government was formed in 2010 a period of “Austerity” has been high on their agenda. They have argued that to reduce the country’s debt and deficit, funding to public services has been needed to be cut. Yet this has impacted the most vulnerable in our society and millions of ordinary people like you and me.

But we didn’t create the deficit. It was having to bail out the banks which created the economic mess, but the wrong people are having to pay it back. Not the bankers or big corporations responsible, but the British public. “We’re all in it together”, the Chancellor George Osborne told us, but that’s utter nonsense. The services that are being cut do not affect the millionaires in government, they affect the rest of us. Sadly Labour have also bought into Austerity, and accept they too would cut services if they formed the next government.

For Leeds, between the 2010/11 and 2014/15 budgets, funding from government reduced by £129m and the Council has also faced significant costs particularly within adult and children’s social care as well as reductions in income due to the economic climate. This has meant that savings of around £250m have had to be found over the past 4 years. For Leeds the indicative settlement for 2015/16 was a cash reduction of 14.7% (£46m), compared to the national average reduction of 13.1%. As such the proposals for 2015/16 include significant reductions across a broad range of services totalling £76.1m and includes net reductions in staffing equating to 475 full time employees by the end of 2015/16. Around 2000 employees have already left.

Those are the figures, but what does it mean in real life? Well so far there’s been the closure of 7 residential homes, 12 day centres, 14 libraries, 2 sports centres, 2 community centres, 1 one stop centre and 3 hostels. Council Tax will need to be increased. There will be more cuts to Adult Social Care and to Children’s Services this financial year. Proposals were made to close 3 council residential  homes and centres including Middlecross in Armley, part of the Leeds West constituency. In Children’s Services the key areas of Early Intervention and Prevention,  Narrowing the Gap & Learning Improvement, and Young People & Skills will all suffer significant cuts.

In summary services will be cut, some will start to be charged for, and there will be increases in charges for others. Increasingly services will be privatised and run for profit. We’ve seen this leads to a drop in quality and rising prices. The real cost of Austerity is to people’s daily lives. Even the leaders of Conservative councils in the shires are complaining to their own government that the cuts have gone too far and cuts to frontline services are unavoidable.

The Green Party always said there was an alternative to Austerity. Austerity measures aren’t working, we are seeing social provisions cut just when they are needed most. From 2010 we have been calling for a better way. There is an urgent need to rebalance the economy in the interests of people over big business. Greens say:

  • There is no need for cuts to public services or  privatisations
  • Creating jobs will boost the economy and cut the deficit. Cutting jobs will damage the economy and increase the deficit
  • We should invest in areas such as housing, renewable energy and public transport through a Green New Deal
  • There is a £120 billion tax gap of evaded, avoided and uncollected tax
  • The wealthy should contribute more in taxation
  • We could free up billions by not renewing Trident
  • We should end our involvement in foreign conflicts that have costed billions of pounds

If you want to support an alternative to the Austerity parties, vote Green Party in Leeds West in May 2015.

Andrew Pointon

Notes

1. Ten myths about Austerity 

Save our NHS – Vote Green

Vote Green to save the NHS

I would like to offer my strong support for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015.

The Coalition government has presided over the privatisation of the NHS by stealth. The previous Labour Blair and Brown governments are not without blame either. Labour started the marketisation of the NHS which laid the foundations for the current government’s attack on the NHS.

The Green Party believes that healthcare is not a commodity to be bought or sold. The National Health Service must provide healthcare, free at the point of need, funded through taxation. It must be a public service funded by, run by and accountable to local and national government and devoid of all privatisation, whether privatised administration, healthcare provision, support services or capital ownership. The NHS is concerned with healthcare provision and should not be subject to market forces either internal or external.

As well as being a Green Party candidate I am also a trade union convenor / branch officer with UNISON. One of UNISON’s key campaigns is fighting to oppose NHS cuts and privatisation. On a personal note, during 2009 I lived in the USA for 6 months so have direct experience of the American health care system and the NHS. One of my huge fears is that the UK’s health care ends up like the USA’s based around insurance payments. We have to fight hard to stop that happening. The NHS is a national treasure and should not be run by private companies for profit. My American wife also loves the NHS. Like millions of others, she could not afford health care in the USA and the NHS has helped change her life with treatments she would never have had on the other side of the Atlantic.

If elected I would be delighted to support a Bill to reinstate a NHS that is a publicly funded and publicly accountable, and get rid of the disgraceful marketisation that recent governments have introduced. It is one of the Green Party’s key campaigns for this General Election and one of my priorities.

Andrew Pointon

The Green Party’s full policies about health can be found here