21 October 2004
The Green Party begins its autumn conference this year with its highest ever number of elected representatives and having won the support of over a million people at the European Elections held in June.Councillors and Green Party members from across Eastern Region are attending. Issues to be debated include:
* The Green Party's continued opposition to the appalling war on Iraq* The health risks of tetra and mobile phone masts* The dangers of waste incineration* Support for better recycling* The pension crisis * Crime* Immigration and asylum* Corporate responsibility* Social welfare* Banning GM crops* Animal welfare* Supporting co-ops
* There will be a main focus on climate change - what measures the Green Party is proposing and how the other parties have failed to act.
Dr Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, Green Party spokesperson on climate change will say
"All three major party leaders have paid lip service to climate change but they still have the wrong targets, inadequate policies to meet those targets, and some policies that go in the wrong direction altogether.
The motion before Green Party conference will lay down some specific actions that must be taken right now if they are to be taken seriously on climate change."
Eastern England will be hit particularly hard by climate change due to its low summer rainfall and vulnerable low lying areas prone to winter flooding. Yet the Labour Government wants more runways at Stansted Airport, nearly half a million more houses built in the region and major road building - all of which will cause carbon dioxide levels to rise.
Former Eastern Region Lead European Election candidate Margaret Wright will be supporting a proposal to improve the rights of nursing mothers to feed their children.
On Friday 22nd October, campaigner Peter Tatchell will be making a keynote speech on the need for reform of the UK political system. Mr Tatchell joined the Green Party earlier in 2004 after 22 years as a member of the Labour Party. In Eastern Region, many former Labour Party members, Councillors and even constituency officers have recently joined the Green Party and are now actively campaigning for the Greens.
Peter Tatchell will say
"It is time to end the corruption of the first-past-the-post voting system, whereby Labour won a majority of 167 MPs at the last general election, despite securing only 42% of the votes cast and winning the backing of only 24% of eligible electors.
With the support of less than a quarter of the electorate, Labour bagged nearly two-thirds of the seats in the House of Commons. We need a new parliamentary reform movement to end the disgraceful discrepancy between votes cast and seats won, and to ensure democratic representation for the millions of people who support minority parties but are denied parliamentary representation.
The rigging of the electoral system in favour of the three biggest parties disenfranchises millions of people who want to be represented by MPs from smaller parties like the Greens".