Kelvin Clayton spells out why we should share our votes between parties or end up with 3 Conservative councillors:
"An appeal to the good citizens of Bridport
On May 2nd we go the the polls to elect three councillors who will represent Bridport on the new Dorset Council for the next five years - five crucial years in which a lot of vitally important decisions will need to be made. Now, I know that most of you are totally fed up with politics and politicians, but could I please ask you to not dismiss these elections out of hand – they are important!
Our First Past the Post voting system means that if people use all three votes for the same party then, with the opposition vote divided, Conservatives will quite likely win all 3 seats with about 40% of the vote. Bridport members of the Green Party have decided to purposely stand only one candidate in this election. We have done so in the hope that supporters of all the progressive parties - parties that take seriously issues like the fast approaching climate emergency, the need to fight Conservative austerity and their creeping privatisation of public services and the NHS, and the need be proactive in addressing our housing crisis - will decide to co-operate and make a collective response so we can prevent Dorset Council becoming a one-party council.
A Conservative dominated Council will not be good for democracy, it will not be good for the people of Dorset, and it will certainly not be good for our planet. But that is the likely outcome of elections not run on some form of proportional representation. I accept that I represent a minority party – but that does not mean that supporters of this party should not have their views represented on the council that will be responsible for so many of their local services. Even if only 10% of voters agree in principle with Green Party policies they deserve, and have a right, to be heard. In actuality it is difficult to be sure of just how many voters support the Green Party because so many vote ‘tactically’ for parties that they think have a better chance of winning. This is just not democratic!
When we learnt that the Bridport ward for Dorset Council was to be a three-member ward our initial reaction was one of hope. Just do the maths. In both the 2017 Dorset County Council elections, and last year’s by-election, the Conservatives in Bridport received 40% of the vote. Collectively, the Green Party, Lib Dems and Labour received 60%. So, if these three parties agreed to co-operate, agreed to stand just one candidate each, and urged their supporters to use all three of their votes for these three candidates, the chances are that all three would get elected. And each party would have a far greater chance of having a candidate elected than if they stood a full slate.
However, it soon became clear that this would not happen. For too many reasons such rationality is too easily defeated by tribal politics. And even my Green Party is not completely free from guilt.
So, we are where we are. We have gone alone, and taken a chance. We have decided to stand just a single candidate – myself. I know from talking to many people in Bridport, ordinary voters, not members of particular political parties, that their loyalties are split. By asking you to cast just one Green vote I am suggesting that you can also cast your other two votes for other progressive candidates in a concerted attempt to prevent Dorset becoming a one-party ‘state’."
Letter from Graham and Jacki Lambert, Weymouth
It was uplifting to join more than 200 people forming a human chain around Portland Hospital on Saturday February 16th.
The hospital, which lost 16 beds last summer, is being eyed up covetously by the NHS Trust as the site is worth millions if it is sold off.
We heard from speakers pointing out the importance of the Hospital to this island community. One elderly lady had shared her experience of being with her dying husband at the hospital before the beds were lost, something which gave her comfort. She could not have travelled to visit him if beds dictated that he would have to be cared for further afield. That is the position for people now.
It was pointed out that we live in one of the richest countries in the world, yet apparently we cannot afford to keep beds in place in a relatively isolated yet large community. We need to get our priorities right and we need to put political pressure on the Government.
The Green Party is absolutely opposed to the current NHS policy to reduce Community Hospital provision throughout Dorset. This policy is driven by the Government.
Nationally, the Green Party will
Graham and Jacki Lambert
I see that Oliver Letwin has decided to give us the benefit of his infinite wisdom over the Brexit withdrawal deal. Having conceded that it will please nobody he concludes that it is a sensible compromise. Presumably on the basis that when you are in a hole the best thing to do is dig more slowly. I have to doubt his sincerity since he argued in favour of remain and knows that pressing on with Brexit will take many more years of negotiation and extensions to so called transition periods.
Why can’t he just be honest and admit that the whole Brexit fiasco has been a disaster from the outset. The truth is that the voters on both sides had very little knowledge of how the EU operates and how closely the UK is bound into it after more than 45 years membership. What they mostly did appreciate from personal experience is that increasing inequality in the UK, of class and region, has made their lives or the lives of people they know more difficult. This meant that millions of people, who have been failed by the political choices our own politicians made, were vulnerable to the lie that the EU was in fact responsible.
The electorate were sold a pig in a poke by fantasists who knew nothing about the EU except their own baseless prejudices. Now we hear many of them saying they would rather remain in the EU than agree to this withdrawal agreement. It looks highly likely to be rejected by the Commons, and the far more absurd notion of crashing out of the EU with no agreement would be intolerable to even more MPs.
So where does that leave us? Almost certainly the only way out for the government is a referendum, whether or not that is the current one or a Labour led one, following an election. Some people argue that this would be undemocratic – what a bizarre notion that a democratic referendum is undemocratic. This one should be based on reality now that it has become quite apparent that there was no possible arrangement that could have matched the benefits of EU membership. A vote to remain would put an end to this all-consuming saga that has left government completely distracted from all the important issues our country faces.
Bridport Town Councillor, Green Party
Anyone who takes the threat to human flourishing from climate change seriously, and hopefully that is all of us, should be be feeling angry, very angry, at the lack of leadership and strategic direction coming from our present government. They are so caught up with resolving the Brexit fiasco, a problem completely of their own making and totally unnecessary, that they are neglecting the most important issue that any government has ever had to face.
The recent report in the Bridport News (Green plan is scrapped) on the Government’s plan to not only scrap the feed-in tariff for new installers of solar panels, but also for existing participants in their Green Energy Scheme, is a prime example of their almost criminal negligence. This tariff was an essential incentive for people to install solar panels – the only way most people could afford to do so. If we are serious about halving our carbon emissions by 2030 (only 12 years away) then we should be doing all we can to encourage the generation of this form of unlimited green energy, not erecting barriers!
Whatever our political persuasion, surely we can all agree that a role of government is to ensure the long-term safety and security of its population. Failing to take the threat from climate change seriously is a gross neglect of this role. We should be demanding that the Government wakes up and accepts its responsibilities.
Kelvin Clayton, Bridport Green Party Councillor
Breakthrough on Castle Cove beach campaign - read all about it on the Echo news website:
Letter to the press by local Weymouth member, David Smith:
On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act passed into law, extending voting rights to some women and all men over 21 for the first time. Until then, around 70% of the adult population were not allowed to vote.
Today all adults are allowed to vote but - thanks to our First Past the Post voting system - most of us still don't have a vote that counts. In the 2017 general election, 68% of votes had no impact on the result, either going to losing candidates or piling up in safe seats without influencing the makeup up Parliament.
Some of us are hunger striking on Tuesday 6th to draw attention to the injustice of a voting system that denies representation to millions, returns Parliaments that don't reflect the voters, and gives us governments that most of us didn't vote for.
We face momentous change over the next few years over which we have no control. We voted for Brexit but not for the vital detail. Taking just one example, during this parliament we are likely to see the wholesale privatisation of the NHS. American experience suggests this will double the overall cost of the health service for a diminished service. Thus health care free at the point of use will become unaffordable. Most people in Weymouth will simply not be able to afford it. Many families will be bankrupted trying to care for someone who has become sick. My wife knows too many people in the USA who have suffered this way. Did we vote for this?
Regrettably, most MPs oppose changing the voting system for two reasons, holding onto their safe seats with all the perqs involved, and 'tribal' loyalty. They do not have the foresight that this will come back to bite them as things in Britain deteriorate; but it may be too late for most of us.
We are supporting the Dorset Archives Trust crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to digitise local photographer Graham Herbert’s collection.
The collection of over 7,000 packets of photographic negatives, is a unique record of the social history of the area. He captured many aspects of local life, including festivals and performances; shop displays and interiors; street scenes and every-day occurrences; and agricultural and industrial work.
The negatives are on acetate which decays over time. Vinegar syndrome leads to warping, bubbling and channelling which destroys the photo forever. There is no treatment to stop or reverse this condition.
It’s a race against time to digitise the collection to save these photographs for future generations. The collection is housed in climate controlled storage at Dorset History Centre.
Dorset Archives Trust has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to save this collection. The aim is to raise £8,000 to digitise the photos before they decay. Donations can be pledged at crowdfunder.co.uk/save-herberts-weymouth or made by post to the Dorset History Centre labelled Save Herbert’s Weymouth. Cheques should be made payable to Dorset Archives Trust.
We think this is well worth supporting and would encourage people to help with the crowdfunder - after all, we need to know our history if we want to change it!
Green Party County councillor Clare Sutton said the images provided a "fascinating window" into the county's past. "I very much hope they can be preserved for future generations".
For pledges of £8 or more, there are some exciting ‘rewards’ on offer that range from a set of four postcards featuring already digitised images to a VIP tour of the Dorset History Centre with the County Archivist.
There's more info on the project here:
and a here's short youtube film:
Letter from local member, David Smith, to Richard Drax MP for South Dorset.
Click on image above for full pdf version
Green Party's Jon Orrell writes to the Echo to call for protest against NHS cuts.
"There is something in the English nature that takes adversity on the chin stoically.
Maybe it is coping with the weather.
So we shrug and meekly accept messages of austerity and see wages shrink for the many, whilst the elite few double their income and pay no tax.
What will next week’s Clinical Services Review decision date mean for Weymouth and Portland?
We stand to lose all 12 Portland beds at a stroke and later Westhaven beds with only some of the current 36 transferred to the Melcombe Avenue site.
Here we have already lost our dementia beds.
At Linden we are set to lose our 12 mental health beds entirely with no alternatives in the town.
Others may crow that Bournemouth will benefit and won’t that be great for us too?
Never mind the travelling. Look at the beds being lost.
Our town is being sacrificed to balance Dorset’s books and build empires elsewhere.
Yet there is another side to the English nature, one of dissent and assertiveness.
Look back to our history of the Peasant’s revolt, the Lollards, the Levellers and Diggers in the Civil War, the Chartists, Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Suffragettes echoing down the centuries to the great post war reforms that established the caring welfare state and the NHS.
MPs have voted for the national under-funding of social care and health that forced the Dorset CCG to cut beds but let’s not give up our local hospitals without a murmur of protest."
The full letter and comments is here:
Our proposal for a water fountain in Bridport was accepted by the town council committee on the 6th September. We look forward to this improvement to the town!
From the minutes (available on the Bridport Town Council website):
Congratulations the Friends of Castle Cove beach and to everyone who has been working tirelessly to regain public access to Castle Cove.
Our thanks especially to Cllr Clare Sutton who says
“We worked incredibly hard in the build up to this to make as strong a case as we possibly could, and I am absolutely delighted with the decision. There’s still a lot more work to be done, but this was a very significant milestone and takes us that bit closer.”
Read all about it in the Echo:
Dorset Climate Change Action Conference is to be held on Saturday 21st October at St Aldhem’s Church Centre, Spa Road, Weymouth DT3 5EW.
Its objectives are to inform about climate change and promote action, to challenge politicians to take action and to recruit new Transition Town Weymouth and Portland members.
Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party will be coming!
It’s a full day conference with speeches in the morning and workshops in the afternoon.
PROGRAMME. 10 am – 4 pm overall.
10.00 - 10.05. Welcome and introduction – Chair: Dr Jon Orrell, Dorset CC. & Chair of TTW&P.
10.05 – 10.30. Climate Change Science – John Tomblin, Chemist and TTW&P Trustee (20 +5 mins: Qs.)
10.30 – 10.55. What needs to be done – Raja Jarrah (Bridport), ex Oxfam Field Director, Brazil. (20 +5 mins: Qs.)
10.55 – 11.10. REFRESHMENT BREAK: choose workshops and view displays
11.10 – 12.10: Parties’ policies and actions. (15 mins each)
12.10 – 12.40 pm Questions to panel of above politicians (30 mins.)
12.40 – 1.30 pm: LUNCH – provided – choose workshops and view displays (50 mins)
1.30 – 1.55 pm: Renewable Energy (RE) and energy efficiency: Pete West, ex RE Officer Dorset CC (20 +5 mins: Qs.)
1.55 – 3.20 pm: Six workshops on Climate Change: choose two out of six. (40 mins each)
3.20 – 3.55 PLENARY: report back from workshops and Qs to panel of w/shop leaders (35 mins)
3.55 – 4.00 pm Summary and conclusions: Chair.
4.00 pm: TEA and DEPART.
REPLY SLIP TO: John Tomblin, 1 Stanier Road, Preston, Weymouth, DT3 6PD
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01305 832180
I would like to reserve ………………. places at £ 5 each and enclose cash or cheque for £ ……….. payable to:
Transition Town Weymouth & Portland.
NAME: …………………………………………………………………….. ORGANISATION: ………………………………………………………………
TEL. NO: ……………………………………………………………… DATE: ………………………………………………………
Letter from local member, David Smith, to the BBC to complain about appearance of climate change denier Lord Lawson (click on the image below to link to a pdf document)
Please fill in the consultation on pedestrianising the top of South Street in Bridport. You have until the end of September. Find the link and read more about it here.
6th August 2017
We're pleased to support the campaign to reduce plastic waste. We’re making enquiries in Bridport to see if we can get this public water tap working again, so tourists and residents have the option of a refill instead of buying plastic water bottles.
UPDATE: apparently the fountain originally stood elsewhere and was moved as a way to preserve it - so it's never been connected! We will look into possibilities for connecting it
Community Litter-Pick on Tuesday 8th August:
Please be invited to join our next clean up in central Weymouth on Tuesday 8th August....the alternative summer fun :)
Trade deal with the USA? Local member David Smith's letter to Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset.
Click on the image below to link to a more easy to read pdf version