Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Friday, July 31, 2009

More Vestas Workers' Solidarity Events

Whatever Next?
All Weekend
• NEWPORT, IoW – Vestival, Vestas factory gates, Patrick Rolfe: 07 905 352 751 – –
» Vestival Event Posting –

Sat 1 Aug 09
• LONDON – Unity House (RMT HQ), 39 Chalton Street, NW1 1JD, Workers Climate Action Public Meeting, 10:30-12:30, tel: 07 843 945 005, email:
• MANCHESTER – Piccadilly Gardens, Rally, 12:00 noon, organised by Manchester Trades Council and CACC, tel: 07 958 535 231
• NEWPORT, IoW – St Thomas's Square, Rally, 13:00, Patrick Rolfe: 07 905 352 751 – –

Sun 2 Aug 09
• BRIGHTON – Cowley Club, 12 London Road, BN1 4JA, Solidarity Organising Meeting, 14:00, tel: John, 078 45 183 407

Tue 4 Aug 09
• NEWPORT – Newport County Court, 1 Quay Street, PO30 5YT, Isle of Wight, Mass Court Protest, provisionally 10:00, Patrick Rolfe: 07 905 352 751 – –

And finally, a good use at last for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vestas Occupation Solidarity Events

As the Vestas campaign continues to grow in strength, boosted by the knocking back of the company's eviction requests in the courts, solidarity events are being planned around the country. Some in the next few days are listed below.


Campaign against Climate Change

Save Vestas Public Meeting

Friday 31 July, 2009, 6.30pm - 8pm, Bridges Room, Gateshead Civic Centre.


Thursday 30 July, 8pm

Room F, Portsmouth Central Library

Speakers: Vestas worker, Elaine Graham Leigh (Campaign Against Climate Change) plus local Trade Unionists.

Sponsored by Portsmouth City Unison and supported by CaCC


Support the Vestas Occupation

Create Green Jobs, Don’t Destroy Them

Solidarity protest no 2 @ Vestas UK HQ

12 noon, Friday 31 July

Vestas HQ, 302 Bridgewater Place, Warrington WA3 6XG


Solidarity Rally, leafleting and collection,

12 noon, Saturday 1 August, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester

Supported by Manchester Trades Council and Campaign Against Climate Change

The campaign blog here continues to be a good source of info and updates.

Coverage of the 28th July mobilisatioin in London on Indymedia here and here.

Inspiring video by Seize The Day of last Friday's march to the factory here.

Workers For The World Unite!

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Best Ever Green Parliamentary By-Election Result

Congratulations to Green candidate Rupert Read and the Norwich Green Party on achieving the best ever Green result (in percentage terms) in a British Parliamentary by-election:

Green party campaigners were today celebrating their performance in the Norwich North by-election after more than tripling their vote, compared with the 2005 general election.

The result is the best performance ever for the Green Party in a Westminster by-election.

Rupert Read for the Green Party received 9.7% of the vote, up from 1,252 in 2005 to 3,350 today.

In comparison to 2005, the votes of Conservative, Labour and LibDem parties all went down. The Labour and LibDem vote also fell as a proportion of the turnout.

Adrian Ramsay, opposition leader on Norwich council, and the Green Party's deputy leader, said: "This was our best by-election result ever. Our best previous result was 7.4% in the Haltemprice and Howden/David Davis by-election. We started from a low base (2.7% in the 2005 general election), and we trebled our vote. On the ground, we had roughly £12,000 to spend, compared to the £100,000 that the Tories have apparently spent."

"Rupert Read ran a positive campaign, on issues such as the NHS, renewable energy, transport and living wages, and we are very pleased with the level of interest we've generated. With new members and supporters, we can now concentrate on Norwich South for the general election."

On the issue of the coming general election, Ramsay said that: "Norwich South will be different from Norwich North, since two-thirds of Norwich North was outside of Norwich City. The Greens have led local election vote share in Norwich for the last three years running, and we are the official opposition within Norwich City."

Rupert Read, the by-election candidate, added that: "The Norwich North campaign was done on a fraction of the budget of the large parties, some of which deluged residents with countless leaflets. We are pleased to have done so well without that kind of overkill."


Full results, with % change from 2005:

Chloe Smith (C) 13,591 (39.54%, +6.29%)
Chris Ostrowski (Lab) 6,243 (18.16%, -26.70%)
April Pond (LD) 4,803 (13.97%, -2.22%)
Glenn Tingle (UKIP) 4,068 (11.83%, +9.45%)
Rupert Read (Green) 3,350 (9.74%, +7.08%)
Craig Murray (Honest) 953 (2.77%)
Robert West (BNP) 941 (2.74%)

2009 turnout: 45.76%, down -15.33% on 61.09% in 2005

It is particularly heartening that the wheels came off the Lib Dem by-election machine after they started launching smear attacks on the Greens. In contrast to the increase of over 7% in the Green vote since the the last election, the Lib Dems slumped by over 2%. This does not bode well for the Lib Dems who seem to have put all their eggs in the basket of competing for soft Tory votes via the Blairism of Clegg and his Orange Book chums. We see a pattern of more and more voters (and activists) who identified with the radical wing of the Liberals or old Labour finding a new home with the Greens.

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Stunning Green Victory In Hove By-Election

Great news from the South coast:

Hove election win opens way to Westminster victory

Greens in Brighton and Hove are jubilant at winning the strategically important Goldsmid by-election in Hove, taking the seat from the Tories.

The result sees the election of the first Green councillor, Alex Phillips, from Hove to Brighton and Hove City Council and deprives the Tories of their majority on the council.

Caroline Lucas, national Green Party leader, said, "This is a spectacular win.

"It signals an unstoppable surge to elect the first Green MP at Westminster, whenever Gordon decides to go to the country.

"With this result, we're on the threshold of taking Green politics to the heart of Westminster."

Alex Phillips said, "Thank you to all the voters who put their faith in me. It's a ringing endorsement of Green policies and the work of Green councillors locally.

"I will be hardworking and unswerving in my task of representing local people and delivering positive Green change."

"Hopefully this means we can put pressure on the Tories and concentrate on our policies of a 20mph speed limit and introducing a living wage, which is more than the current minimum wage."

Councillor Bill Randall, convenor of the Green councillors on the city council, said, "With my council colleagues, we'll be reviewing the options and consulting our membership to ensure that we get the best, greenest deal for local residents. Between us we will do what is right in these very difficult times."

Alex won 38.5% of the votes -an increase of 17% over the last time the seat was contested with a swing of more than 12% from Labour to Green.

Full result

GRN 1,456 - 38.5% (+17.6%) GRN GAIN FROM CON

CON 1,104 - 29.2% (-0.9%)

LAB 816 - 21.5% (-6.8%)

LD 280 - 7.4% (-7.32%)

UKIP 129 - 3.4% N/A (others 6% last time)

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Save Vestas Meeting Planned for London

See yesterday's post below for details on the Vestas occupation. I have been notified of the following regarding a meeting in London on Friday:

SAVE VESTAS: Support the Factory Occupation - Public meeting

SAVE VESTAS, SAVE THE PLANET: Support the Factory Occupation

Speakers: Vestas Worker, Chris Baugh (PCS Ass. Gen. Sec, pc), Seamus Milne, Jonathan Neale

Friday 24th July, 6pm, ULU Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY

Called by the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vestas Factory Occupation Attacked By Police

Workers at the Vestas Wind Turbine factory on the Isle of Wight have occupied their factory. They are fighting for 600 jobs and the future of the planet. They need help now.

The Green Party Trade Union Group have issued the following statement:

Workers at the Vestas wind turbine blade plant on the Isle of Wight have occupied their factory in Newport in an attempt to prevent its closure, which was scheduled for the end of this month. The Green Party Trade Union Group sends its full support to them.

Job losses in a recession are tragic and counterproductive, serving only to worsen it by throwing people out of work.

This particular closure would be doubly damaging because it would remove one of the few capacities Britain has to build the new, environmentally friendly technologies urgently needed to construct the infrastructure that could help to counteract the effects of climate change.

Importing turbine blades is a false solution because their transport would increase the environmental cost of wind turbines. Furthermore the skills and knowledge of the Vestas workers could be dispersed and lost just when we need them most.

If the government allows this closure, its commitment to dealing with climate change will seem a total sham.

How can it let Vestas close when it can afford;

¤ The Afghan war effort

¤ The bail out of banks including continuing taxpayers’ support for excessive fatcat salaries..

¤ The renewal of the Trident missile system

¤ New nuclear power stations

¤ And a ridiculous scheme of paying MP’s expenses ?

The Green Party Trade Union Group urges everyone who can to support the Vestas occupation and put pressure on government to actually enact a strategy of creating an environmentally friendly infrastructure for Britain and new jobs for its peoples.

P.Murry GPTU secretary

The Vestas campaign blog is here.

It seems that the Police have gone in and taken a hard line. It would not surprise me if this were not on orders (direct or not) from "on high" as the powers that be are clearly rattled by the increasing willingness of workers and communities whose livelihoods or services are under threat to use occupation and other radical tactics.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Big Green Bus In Norwich

The Green Party’s campaign bus takes to the streets of Norwich this week helping by-election candidate Rupert Read to deliver his message to every corner of the constituency. In Green Party livery, the classic Routemaster looks like a familiar London red bus but its actually green, running on recycled cooking oil.

“In the same way,” says Dr Read, “we’re hoping to turn Norwich from red to green this week; out with Labour, in with Green.”

Tuesday July 21st: The Green Team welcomes aboard the London bus Sian Berry, Green Party candidate in the London mayoral election. The London Assembly recently introduced a “Living Wage” of £7.45p an hour – above the government’s official minimum wage. It’s now the minimum for public sector workers in London and businesses are encouraged to follow suit. Thanks to Green Party councillors, the “Living Wage” has been adopted in principle by Norwich City Council. Economists are currently assessing at what level the “Living Wage” should be set in Norwich. At 10.00 the campaign bus will drop Sian Berry outside City Hall where she will meet Green councillors to help them promote the scheme.

Sian Berry said:
“As a councillor in Norwich, Rupert Read has worked hard on local issues, from housing to fair pay, and has made a real difference to people's lives. As a philosopher, he is just as comfortable tackling the big issues, from the best way to deal with climate change to the need for peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.

”Rupert has already represented the people of Norwich at City Hall for five years, and I urge the people of Norwich North to vote for him as a hardworking and principled representative for them in Westminster on July 23rd.”

Later in the day, the bus will be touring the Catton area.

Wednesday July 22nd: Together on the campaign bus, Rupert Read and Adrian Ramsay, deputy leader of the Green Party and leader of the Green official opposition on Norwich City Council, will be making stops in the Hellesdon area to focus on the main issues of the Greens’ campaign in Norwich North:

* Make them listen - about accountability and Green proposals for reform of Parliament.

*Protect public services - no to privatisation and protecting public services locally

*Green jobs now - green job creation in public transport, local agriculture and renewable energy

*Protect the countryside - opposition to large scale development in Norfolk countryside.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Total Politics Blog Vote.

Total Politics magazine is running a "Top Ten Blogs 2009" Poll that closes at the end of the month. More here from Jim.

Here is the Top Ten Blogs vote from Greenman:

1. Left Luggage :
2. Socialist Unity Blog :
3. The Daily (Maybe) :
4. Dave's Part :
5. Anglo-Buddhist Combine :
6. Obsolete :
7. Joseph Healy For Vauxhall MP :
8. The Enemies Of Reason :
9. A Very Public Sociologist :
10. Another Green World :

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Left of Labour electoral prospects and strategies in Britain

It seems that elements around the RMT, Communist and Socialist Parties that put together the last-minute NO2EU alliance for the recent Euro elections are now looking at putting together a coalition for the next general election in Britain.

Aside from concerns about the democratic credentials and principles of some of those involved in this project (in light of the way that NO2EU was put together over the heads of much of the RMT rank-and-file), I would say that a much broader discussion is needed on left electoralism. Going once "more unto the breach" with another coalition after the varied degrees of failure of the Socialist Alliance and Respect and split of the SSP without confronting the reasons for the failure of these projects would seem a self defeating exercise for those involved. The current and likely political situation should also be honestly looked at, along with the lack of time for putting together anything beyond local agreements not to have inter-left contests on the electoral field.

As far as I can see at this time, with the possible exception of the Greens and Scots and Welsh Nats (and whilst there are socialist elements/currents in these parties the leaderships are often more social democratic/left liberal) the Left in Britain are likely, in most cases, to go down and go down hard at the next general election, tactical and electoral agreements or not. (Tactical agreements might soften the blow). This is an inevitable result of the British Left's attachment to the Labour Party as internal or external tendencies through repeated deference to the shibboleth of the "organic" Trade Union link.

Once this likelihood is faced then a realistic appraisal of what can be salvaged in the short term and what the longer term strategic tasks should be can be addressed. I think that effort should be put into getting some electable tribunes elected - Salma, Caroline, some of the left Scots and Welsh Civic Nationalists and the handful of electable Labour Lefts behind McDonnell's "change candidates" idea. Such a grouping of MPS should present themselves as a left opposition in Parliament, separate and distinct from the rump Labour Party (which is likely, after defeat, to fall into civil war between different rightist factions). But beyond that the emphasis should be on the work that the Convention of the Left sensibly concluded was necessary - basic grassroots bread and butter coalition working. (Which will become even more vital in the face of the already telegraphed Tory onslaught on the British working class) Much of the left nodded in agreement to this and then went away and continued with the same old sterile sect politics, student recruitment and foreign policy fetishisation.....there is still time.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Demonstration Against Trust Schools In Waltham Forest

The following is a message from Waltham Forest NUT:

To ALL Teachers in Waltham Forest
ALL Trade Unionists
ALL Parents and local Residents
ALL Those Concerned about Education and Youth


WEDNESDAY 15th JULY 2009 at 4pm

March from Leyton County Ground at 4pm to outside Walthamstow Library, High Street near Selborne Walk and then to Waltham Forest Town Hall at 5.30pm

Norlington NUT members are taking STRIKE ACTION on that day. Please come and express your Support for their stand.

Teachers Oppose the Trust Schools

* The school will be outside of LEA control- less accountable to local people

* Conditions of service for all staff could be subject to change

* The status of Norlington as the last boys-only secondary school in the Borough will be threatened

* It is a terrible idea to educate 1800 Primary and Secondary children on the same small site

Residents oppose the Trust school

They intend to build on nearly half the site

Waltham Forest is an Olympic borough and yet they intend to take away our sports facilities

The Essex County Ground is a green oasis in a desert of bricks and mortar

The Lecturers in the UCU union oppose the Trust School

They believe that The Institute of Education (the main Trustees) should train teachers and not get involved in running schools, which is an area they have no experience in

This March is supported by Waltham Forest NUT, Waltham Forest Trades Council and The Leyton Triangle Group

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Green MSP to Support Candidate in Norwich

Patrick Harvie MSP talks about what just a few Greens can achieve in a Parliament

The Green Party candidate in the Norwich North by-election, Rupert Read, is aiming to become the first ever Green MP at Westminster in the election on July 23rd.

But in fact the Greens already have two MPs – in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

One of them is Patrick Harvie MSP, who has been a Green MSP for Glasgow since 2003. Mr Harvie will be in Norwich on Sunday and Monday (July 12th and 13th) in support of Dr Read’s campaign in Norwich North.

Patrick Harvie says although the Greens may be few in number, they regularly hold the balance of power at Holyrood and have notched up some remarkable achievements, including the first Green Act in Britain – Patrick’s own legislation to tackle hate crime.

The Scottish Green MPs have also delievered:

* a Climate Change Bill with stronger targets than those set for the UK
* a £27.4m Climate Change Fund for innovative communities in Scotland
* a £30m Scottish Investment Fund for socially beneficial enterprises
* legislation to protect the coastline against the risk of oilspills in the Firth of Forth
* a strong campaign to get a buildings insulation programme in place across Scotland
* helped secure the abolition of student tuition fees in Scotland

Patrick Harvie is clear that even a small number of Green MPs at Westminster could begin working towards similar progressive measures. That’s why he’ll be out campaigning with Rupert Read in various locations across Norwich North on Sunday and Monday, and ready to meet the media on request.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

High Profile Greens To Speak in Norwich

High profile Green Campaigners and Parliamentary Candidates Tony Juniper and Peter Tatchell are to speak at public meetings in Norwich in the run up to the Norwich North by-election.


The internationally-renowned environmental campaigner and writer Tony Juniper will visit Norwich North on Wednesday July 8th in support of the Green Party campaign for the Norwich North by-election. Tony Juniper has been campaigning on green issues for 25 years, most recently as Director of ‘Friends of the Earth’. He is an inspirational speaker, and his visit to Norwich during this campaign is a great boost for the campaign.

At 7.30pm on Wednesday July 8th Tony Juniper will address an election rally at The Belvedere Centre, Belvoir Street, Norwich, on the subject “Making them listen: How MPs and Parliament will be transformed by the Greens.”

Leading human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is also due to visit Norwich in the next couple of weeks. Rupert has this endorsement from Peter:

"Fed up with the established parties and corrupt MPs? It is time for change. Register your anger by voting Green - for a new, clean politics. There are already plenty of Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Electing another MP from these big-three establishment parties won't make any difference. But electing Rupert Read as a Green MP for Norwich North will make history. He would be the first ever Green MP. It would put Norwich on the map. Vote for change, vote Green."

On an episode of Newsnight last week political commentator Michael Crick predicted that the Greens were on course to beat New Labour into third place - if the Greens can hold off the Liberal Democrat challenge, (whose campaign has already been damaged by some unfortunate negative campaigning) we will be in the prime position to challenge the Conservatives.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

More Green Contenders On July 23rd

As well as the Norwich North by-election on July 23rd there are set to be a series of other by-elections at local council level around Britain on that day, some contested by Greens.

In Wembley, London, Martin Francis is carrying the Green Banner and campaigning on a range of issues -

I would press for changes in the Council's consultation system so that people are fully involved in how their area develops and feel that they are really being listened to. Often decisions seem to have be made in advance and those who have taken part in consultations feel their views have been ignored and their participation was a waste of time. I have supported residents angry about the potential impact of the Wembley Masterplan on their environment and have steadfastly opposed the Wembley ARK Academy because we have had no say in the Council handing over tax-payer funded education to a financial speculator and because the particular site will mean the loss of playing fields and increase traffic congestion. I support the campaign for a new community secondary school in the south of Brent to serve local people. I would seek to ensure that all major developments, such as the Civic Centre are consulted about at the proposal stage: "Should we have one?", rather than later: "What kind of roof should it have?"

More here

Meanwhile in the Green stronghold of Brighton there is a by-election in the Goldsmid ward being contested by Alex Phillips -

"This long overdue by-election gives Goldsmid residents an opportunity to vote for a positive change," commented Alex.

"The Green Party's forward-looking policies to create jobs, increase affordable housing and improve the city's public transport are what the people of Goldsmid have told me on the doorstep they are looking for.

"The past two years of Tory administration have left residents underwhelmed, and the previous Labour-run council had run out of ideas and direction."

More here

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