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WALTHAM FOREST AND REDBRIDGE Green Party

News Archive 2010


23rd December 2010

Greens call for Belgique to stop selling foie gras

The production of foie gras is very cruel and causes great suffering to ducks and geese. It is so cruel that the production of foie gras has been banned in the UK. Sadly it can still be imported into the UK and sold in misguided places like Belgique.

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks or geese huge amounts of food so that their livers swell painfully to up to ten times their normal size. This is done by pumping large quantities of corn and fat directly into their stomachs via a funnel, up to four times a day for up to 18 days. The diseased livers of the ducks and geese are then sold as “high class” cuisine - foie-gras.

The tube that is pushed down their throats can cause serious injuries including rupture of the oesophagus and stomach. Unsurprisingly, the mortality rate of birds on a foie gras farm is up to 20 times greater than that of other poultry farms, where the death rate is already extremely high.

“We urge people to never buy foie gras to help stop this cruel practice. Christmas is a time of goodwill but sadly, for Belgique that does not extend to the ducks and geese who suffer for their foie gras” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party.

18th December 2010

Greens say Spare the Turkeys

Christmas is traditionally a time of peace and goodwill to all people. We should widen that to include all living, sentient beings.

Turkeys in particular suffer at Christmas. Around 10 million birds are slaughtered for our tables at this time of year, 90% of which are factory farmed cruelly in windowless sheds with as many as 25,000 other birds. The natural life of turkeys is around 10 years but they are normally slaughtered between 9 and 21 weeks old.

This cruel industry has grown out of control because of our escalating demand for cheap meat, so why not give the turkey a miss this year? You can have an exciting, imaginative (and probably cheaper) Christmas dinner anyway, as there are plenty of mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan alternatives. If you don’t know where to start, go to (www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/vegetarianism/ALL/658) or (www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=9) for vegetarian Christmas recipes. And if you do have turkey, make sure it is organic/free range.

There are other things you can do to make Christmas a time of goodwill for all; we would suggest the following:

These steps would help make it a more compassionate Christmas for all.

11th December 2010

Politicians calling for greyhound racing ignore animal cruelty

London Mayor Boris Johnson, like local politicians, has ignored the suffering of the animals involved by supporting the return of dog racing to Walthamstow. The fact is that greyhound racing is cruel to dogs; puppies are killed that do not make the grade, the actual racing causes injuries to the dogs and there is the problem of rehousing retired dogs. In last weeks Waltham Forest Guardian (Dec 2nd), there was an article about four greyhounds that have yet to be rehoused two years after racing stopped at Walthamstow, the return of racing would add to the number of dogs requiring homes at a time when an increasing number of discarded dogs are needing homes.

It would seem that some supporters of dog racing have been cruel to people as well, after L & Q announced that they had to postpone their consultation on the Walthamstow Stadium site as their staff received individual and collective threats from supporters of dog racing.

It really is time to consign greyhound racing to history along with other cruel activities that have been banned such as dog fighting and fox hunting and move to a more compassionate society. And it is disappointing that local MPs Stella Creasy and Ian Duncan Smith are opposing plans that will bring much needed housing to the borough as well as ignoring cruelty to animals by supporting dog racing.

4th December 2010

Leytonstone author Saci Lloyd in March for a Zero Carbon Britain

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Left to right: Jean Lambert MEP, RoseMary Warrington, Saci Lloyd, Mark Dawes and David Hamilton.

Carbon Diaries author Saci Lloyd joined members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party in a climate change march from Hyde Park Corner to Parliament on Saturday, December 4th. The March on Parliament for a Zero Carbon Britain was part of a Global Day of Action on climate on the Saturday midway through the UN Climate Talks in Cancún, Mexico.

The failure of the 2009 international Talks in Copenhagen means that the need to tackle the threat of catastrophic Climate Change has become even more urgent. Governments must be made to deliver on the emissions reduction and financial promises they made in Copenhagen – including the $30bn of fast-start finance pledged by rich countries for action on adaptation, forests and clean energy.

The Greens are calling for the European Union to commit to at least 40 percent emissions reductions by 2020. The UK has vast amounts of untapped renewable energy like wind, tidal and solar power that could be exploited far more with the right investment and support for development. Green industry could provide a large number of new jobs at all skill levels.

International action is required now, it is very important that a deal is reached at Cancun that will tackle this crisis,” said Mark Dawes, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party member. “As well as international action, individual action is important too and one of the most effective actions people can take is to reduce meat and dairy products in their diet,” he added.

20th November 2010

It’s time to leave Afghanistan

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined thousands of people on the National Stop the War Demonstation to protest at the continuing conflict in Afghanistan. The march was held in central London on Saturday 20th November and marked the beginning of the conflict’s 10th year, making it longer than World War I and World War II combined. Both prime minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband support continuing the war, at least till 2015, while over 70 per cent of the British public want all British troops withdrawn now.

“It is time for us to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, “There has been too much bloodshed; it is time to turn to peaceful solutions. The justifications given by the Government do not make sense, rather than protecting the UK from terrorist strikes, our role in the conflict is making terrorism in the UK more likely,” he added.

The demonstration assembled in Hyde Park and marched to Trafalgar Square for a rally, where speakers included Green GLA member Jenny Jones, Tony Benn, Eric Joyce MP, Guardian journalist Seumas Milne and Lowkey.

13th November 2010

Greens target Harrods in National Anti-Fur March

On Saturday 13th November, Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party joinied the annual National Anti-Fur March in London, marking the beginning of Anti-Fur Week.

The British Government has banned fur farming, but still allows fur to be sold in high street shops. Along the march’s route, some successes have already been clocked up by anti-fur activists: Escada in Sloane Street has recently announced a fur-free policy after a 3-year international campaign. And at the top of Sloane Street, Harvey Nichols, the upmarket department store which was a bastion of the fur industry for many years, now has a fur-free policy thanks to a nationwide campaign.

The march passed through the fashionable areas of Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Chelsea. One of the main targets of the march was Sloane Street, home to many of the companies which are largely responsible for perpetuating the fur industry, including Armani, Gucci, Fendi, Joseph, Prada, Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Dolce and Gabbana, Christian Dior, Roberto Cavalli and Nicole Farhi.

Harrods is the only department store in the UK which does not have a fur-free policy. “We stopped outside the store for a short speech and a minute's silence to remember all the animals who have suffered and died for the fur trade,“ said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, who attended the march. “The fur trade is kept afloat by human vanity alone. It is a particularly barbaric industry, involving extreme cruelty to animals. On fur farms, animals are imprisoned in tiny, wire cages until they are killed by electrocution or gassing, and wild animals are caught in steel traps which cause hours, sometimes days of agony,” he added.

1st November 2010

Greens oppose Government cuts

There seems to be a consensus that there is no alternative to the savage cuts announced recently by the Government but in fact there is. These cuts are not driven by economics but by a political ideology that believes in smaller Government where everyone fends for themselves and the richer get richer and the most vulnerable suffer. This is not the big society but no society. The cuts are economically foolish too. If you cut back when the economy is weak, it will cause a recession as demand for goods and services decrease.

There is also no political mandate for cuts of this magnitude as a lot of these policies were not put to the electorate at the General Election. The Liberal Democrats, for example, campaigned on cuts of this magnitude NOT being carried out now – the exact opposite of what they are doing now.

The greatest threat facing us now is not losing our credit rating but climate change. But this provides a great opportunity too. If we were to invest in Green jobs and a Green economy, it would not only help us combat climate change but provide jobs and boost our economy just at a time when it is needed.

17th October 2010

Stop monkeys being kept as pets

Most people would find the keeping of monkeys as pets as obviously cruel but there are over 5,000 privately owned primates currently living in the UK. These primates are often found to be living alone in poor conditions and many show stereotypical behaviour and are often too disturbed to be fully rehabilitated. They are certainly not the cute, happy pets as irresponsibly portrayed in TV series like Friends. There are also threats to human safety as monkeys have been shown to be permanent carriers of serious illnesses such as tuberculosis, herpes and Ebola and all monkeys bite!

It would be very straightforward for the Government to ban the keeping of monkeys as pets but they are unwilling to do so. Whilst accepting that monkeys do not make good pets in the sense of cats and dogs, they still have the absurd view that monkeys can be kept if certain conditions are met. The Government seems very keen to protect the rights of the abuser over the abused.

The campaign group Wild Futures (www.wildfutures.org) is doing excellent work on this issue and there is a petition you can sign at (www.thepetitionsite.com/1/primates-not-playmates). If you can write a letter to your MP or (DEFRA) demanding the banning of monkeys as pets, it would add pressure on the Government. The Monkey Sanctuary near Looe, Cornwall (www.monkeysanctuary.org) provides sanctuary to monkeys that have been abused and is well worth a visit if you are ever in the South West.

2nd October 2010

Greens join National March for Farmed Animals

Greens from Waltham Forest and Redbridge joined the National March for Farmed Animals in Central London on Saturday October 2nd. October 2nd is World Farm Animals Day, chosen because it is Mahatma Gandhi’s, an outspoken advocate of non-violence towards animals, birthday. It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

The march of about thousand people went from Cavendish Square through Central London past the Houses of Parliament. In the UK alone, around 1000 million animals are killed for meat, dairy and eggs every year. And that number does not include the fish that are trawled out of the water in their tons. A lot of these animals are treated incredibly cruelly. Pigs are kept in crates, cows on concrete, chickens in cages, lambs are rammed into a lorry, baby animals are torn from their mothers, fattened, mutilated and pumped with drugs. Animals are treated as machines, not the living sentient beings they are.

Animal farming is also bad for the environment. Farming animals for food causes more global warming than all of transport combined, erodes the rainforests, obliterates species and fills our rivers with pollution.

“It is time to stop the cruelty of factory farming” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party who also attended the march. “Not only does it cause extreme cruelty to animals but it is also very bad for the environment. According to his quote, Gandhi would have a very low opinion of our nation” he added.

2nd September 2010

Pedestrian Priority

It has been suggested that there is the possibility of new high-tech speed cameras in the borough and Cllr Clyde Loakes has said ‘we have to explore new ideas if we’re to ensure pedestrians and motorists are as safe as possible’.

One idea the council could adopt is creating Pedestrian Priority areas, a policy the Green Party promoted in the recent elections. This was particularly for the Hoe Street ward which is quite compact and consequently very congested but there are a number of other suitable areas around the borough.

This policy would involve marking out pathways across road junctions to allow pedestrians to cross while drivers are required to recognise that they must give way to people using these pavement extensions instead of barging through as they often do currently. Not only do many drivers ignore the 20mph speed limits but quite a few are reluctant to stop at junctions – a highly dangerous practice.

At present many people feel that they are taking their lives into their own hands just walking down the street; we must change this so that the street environment is more user-friendly. Pedestrians (and cyclists) must be given priority over vehicles and drivers must become more alert to their needs.

This will be safer and healthier for us all, particularly children and older people - and better for the planet’s future!

5th August 2010

Further response to local paper support for dog racing

Not one of the people who supported the re-introduction of greyhound racing in Walthamstow in the letters pages of the Waltham Forest Guardian recently, mentioned the welfare of the dogs. The fact is that greyhound racing is cruel, not only does it cause suffering to the dogs involved and is responsible for the death of dogs, it causes long term physiological suffering to dogs that are retired from racing - as a person who keeps retired greyhounds recently explained to me. For that reason they were very much opposed to dog racing.

Whilst there is the need for leisure facilities in the borough, it should not be at expense of animals. I find it rather hypocritical that MPs like Stella Creasy, who in the General Election signed a pledge to Vote Cruelty Free to attract voters concerned about animal welfare, supports the return of dog racing which is cruel to animals. It shows on animal welfare issues, she cannot be trusted.

10th July 2010

Greens demand end to ‘nuke trains’ through Olympic site

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Left to right: Jean Lambert MEP and Mark Dawes.

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, including London MEP Jean Lambert, demanded the end of nuclear waste trains travelling through the Olympic site at a demonstration in East London on Saturday July 10th.

Campaigners marched from Victoria Park in Hackney to Stratford, around the perimeter of the Olympic Park, to draw attention to the danger posed to Londoners by the regular movement of radioactive waste from power stations in southern and eastern England to Sellafield. The ‘nuke trains’ travel along the Northern London Line which passes through the Olympic Park, just a few dozen metres from the Aquatics Centre.

MEP Jean Lambert said: “The transportation of such highly dangerous radioactive waste puts the lives of Londoners at unnecessary risk of potential accidents and terrorism. These trains carry all the vital ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb’ and the very real threat of a terrorist attack will be amplified in the run up to the Games. For this reason the Olympic organisers must put a stop to these trains before the Games begin. The lives of Londoners must be the top priority.

“Of course, the real crux of the problem is the use of nuclear power in the first place. It is not the green solution to climate change however its proponents try to wrap it up. Uranium is still a finite fuel and no safe solution has been devised to store the toxic radioactive waste, it is damaging to the environment and people’s health.

“The only real green solution to climate change is renewable energy. Renewable energy is affordable, safe and clean and the UK has some of the best resources in Europe. Wind power at sea alone could meet our electricity needs three times over and bring thousands of jobs to the UK. And yet the government is still considering investing more money in nuclear energy.

“Just as climate change is an ecological debt for the future, so too is nuclear power. It is dirty, dangerous and expensive, and only compounds the problem is supposedly seeks to solve.”

4th July 2010

Greens response to local paper support for dog racing

I was disappointed with the support given to the return of dog racing to Walthamstow in the Waltham Forest Guardian comment (June 17th) as it gave a very one sided view of dog racing. The other side is the suffering dog racing causes to the dogs, both in the injuries sustained and the premature death of dogs including puppies.

There may be nostalgia for the colourful characters, culture etc of dog racing but the same could be said about fox hunting, another “sport” involving cruelty to animals. Fortunately, in that case, politicians put the animals first and, rightly, banned fox hunting.

It is disappointing that in this case, all the other three major parties, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour, have supported the return of dog racing, ignoring the suffering to the dogs it will cause.

1st June 2010

Greens comment on Great British Circus cruelty allegations

I was saddened to read of the allegations of mistreatment by the Great British Circus towards their animals (Ilford Recorder 27th May) but not surprised. Just by having animals in a circus is mistreating them as the animals are coerced into performing for the public and are kept and carted around the country in conditions completely unsuitable for them.

It really is about time animal circuses were consigned to history like other cruel activities such as dog fighting and fox hunting. A recent consultation by DEFRA found the overwhelming support of 94% of the UK public to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. This resulted in the then Minister of State for Food, Farming and Environment, Jim Fitzpatrick saying that he was minded to pursue a ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses in England. I hope the current Government follows through on this and that we never see wild animals in circuses in Redbridge again.

24th May 2010

National Vegetarian Week

This week is National Vegetarian Week and it is being celebrated in some restaurants in Waltham Forest. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle. Whilst a lot of people become vegetarian to reduce cruelty to animals or for a healthier diet, there are very good environmental reasons too.

Lord Stern, an authority on climate change, suggested that a vegetarian diet is very good for combating climate change as it generates significantly less greenhouse gases, the cause of climate change. In fact, according to a UN report, 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that are the cause of climate change come from the meat and dairy industry; that compares with a total of 16% from all forms of transport including aviation. So cutting down on eating meat is not only good for animals and your health but is also good for the planet too.

15th May 2010

Greens call to make Votes Fair

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens at a rally outside parliament last Saturday, May 15th, calling to make votes fair. The rally called for a change to the voting system to Proportional Representation (PR) so everyone’s votes are meaningful rather than just those in marginal constituencies.

The demonstration, which attracted hundreds of supporters and was one of a number of demonstrations around the country, sent a clear message to the Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition government that plans for a referendum on Alternative Vote do not go far enough, and only a system of real PR will satisfy the need to empower voters.

The rally was organised by a coalition of non-politically aligned groups including Take Back Parliament, Power 2010, the Electoral Reform Society, New Economics Foundation and Charter 88 and speakers at the rally included comedian Mark Thomas, environmentalist George Monbiot and Green MEP and local resident, Jean Lambert.

Jean Lambert, in her speech, said: “Once again, this election demonstrated the fundamental flaws of the disproportionate first-past-the-post system. It was an election fought at the marginal seats, where the majority of voters were disempowered, and as a result we got a government that did not reflect how the electorate voted.

“This must not happen again. The next General Election must be under a fair voting system. People must be free to vote positively – for what they really want. That would be real political change.

“Yes a referendum on electoral reform is a step in the right direction but we need to go further, we need a system in which every vote has equal power and equal value and we can only achieve that through true proportional representation.”

24th April 2010

Greens march on World Day for Animals in Laboratories

Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined other Greens to march with over 2000 people on World Day for Animals in Laboratories, April 24th. The march went through the centre of London, past some of the busiest places in the world such as Oxford Circus, Regent St, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square before going onto Whitehall, and past Downing St to the Houses of Parliament. The demonstration called for an end to all animal experiments once and for all.

The latest Home Office statistics, revealed for 2008, showed an appalling rise in animal experimentation in 2008 with 3.7 million experiments on animals taking place in British Laboratories. The only experiments counted are those that have the potential “to cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm”. This was the seventh yearly increase in succession and was a rise of 14 per cent on the previous year.

Vivisection causes great suffering to animals and the animals being experimented include primates, dogs, cats, cows, horses, sheep, pigs, turkeys, hamsters, bottle nose dolphins, seals, bats and ‘wild garden birds’. But Vivisection is not necessary as the results from vivisection are not accurate because of the vast differences of non-human-animals and humans anatomically, physiologically and pathologically. There are now more accurate ways of performing medical research that does not involve animals including using human cells and tissues and computer modeling.

Animals are not only subject to cruel experimentation for dubious medical reasons but are also used to test the effects of illegal, recreational drugs such as cannabis and by the Ministry of Defence to test the effects of modern weaponry. And animals are also still used to test the cosmetics. This cruelty has been banned in the UK but some unethical companies have outsourced the testing of new ingredients to countries where this cruel practice is still legal.

Humans suffer too as according to research, side effects from medical drugs are responsible for 18,000 deaths each year, drugs which were deemed safe because they passed animal tests.

“Vivisection causes great suffering to millions of animals” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party “And it has been shown to be unreliable and unnecessary as medical research can now be carried out that does not involve torturing animals. For this reason, the Green Party opposes vivisection but unfortunately, the other three major parties still support animal testing” he added.

11th April 2010

London leaders in Green New Deal

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Left to right: Ashley Gunstock, Jean Lambert MEP, Daniel Perrett and Wilson Chowdhry at Solar Empower.

The Greens are committed to the green jobs revolution, and are delighted that Waltham Forest is home to a forward-looking company, which not only employs local people, but manufactures all the necessary components of its solar units on site, saving transport-based carbon emissions in the process.

Daniel Perrett, parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow constituency, said: "Walthamstow voters at this election don’t have to choose between the ‘economy’ and the ‘environment’, instead they can choose a Green New Deal - a plan that will create 1 million jobs through investment in renewable energy, housing, public transport and social care. Much of this can be funded through a massive clampdown on tax avoidance to generate £10 billion in revenue.”

There are Government incentives for home owners fitting solar panels onto their homes, including grants and payments for energy produced (Feed-In Tariffs). A typical 2.5kW well sited solar pv installation could offer a homeowner a reward of up to £900 and save them £140 a year on their electricity bill.

Jean Lambert MEP added: “Now is the time for us to be considering the sort of practical measures that will help us not only to recover from the downturn but to put better, more stable systems in place. Greens think locally - as individuals struggle with the impact of a global recession on their own lives this grassroots approach is more important than ever. The sustainable solution is staring us in the face."

Local green employer Solar Empower designs and builds solar panels for residential homes and offices - and has just received European accreditation for its designs. Open since November 2009, it is the first solar manufacturing company to open in the London area. The company’s main objective has been to drive down costs and produce a practical and cost effective solar energy solution.

Notes:

22nd March 2010

Labour remarks show their confused thinking

Labour Hoe Street candidate Mark Rusling recently implied that the Green’s opposition to the reopening of Walthamstow Dog Track will potentially cost 500 jobs from being created. In fact, the Greens are calling for leisure facilities for Walthamstow Stadium but just not dog racing because greyhound racing is a cruel business that causes suffering to the dogs. The Green policy would bring the jobs but without the cruelty.

This shows Labour’s confused thinking on animal issues. To their credit, Labour banned fox hunting but under their watch the number of animals involved in vivisection has dramatically increased. Labour candidate Stella Creasy may have pledged support to Vote Cruelty Free but she and her local party are advocating the resumption of greyhound racing which is cruel to animals.

The Greens are consistent with compassionate policies to animals including banning factory farming, opposing blood sports, against vivisection and being opposed to dog racing.

4th March 2010

Greens Oppose the Military in Schools

Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party oppose the visit of the military in schools following the RAF going into Frederick Bremer School to encourage pupils to consider a career in the armed forces. Whilst the Green Party has respect for those people who have a career in the forces, they believe the armed forces should be considered as a career only when people are adults. The Greens would have a minimum recruitment age of 18.

All too often the military is glamourised in films and television and it encourages a culture where violence is seen as the solution. The Greens believe children should be taught non-violent means of resolving conflicts and that violence does not work, it leads to more violence. The visit of the military sends the message that violence is the acceptable way of solving conflicts even if that is not the deliberate intention of those visiting the schools.

“Whilst I respect the military, I do not believe they should visit schools to encourage children in a career in the armed forces” said Steve Lambert, Green Party candidate for the Hoe Street Ward, “It is important that children are taught and encouraged in non-violent solutions to conflicts. All too often in our culture, violence is seen as the answer, both internationally and on a personal level, the Greens believe that the lasting solution to any conflict is a peaceful one” he added.

6th February 2010

Greens Stand Up for the Right To Protest

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From left to right Steve Lambert, Chris Olende and Mark Dawes in Walthamstow Town Square

The Green Party held in a stall in Walthamstow Town Square last Saturday (February 6th) in defiance of the council’s attempt to silence free speech as reported last week. The Greens have been holding stalls in Walthamstow Town Square for 20 years without permission from the council as it is a public space. Other organisations also held stalls in opposition to the council’s threats.

Steve Lambert, one of Green candidates for the Hoe Street Ward, said - "The Town Centre is traditionally the heart of the community where people can meet and exchange ideas; it is a public space. By attempting to stop campaigning stalls and dissenting voices, the council is taking away our civil liberties and freedom of speech and, as this action comes in the run up to council elections, they are attacking our democracy as well.

The 1906 bylaw the council is using to stop campaigning stalls was for market traders and it is clearly an abuse of the law to use it to stop campaigning stalls that oppose the current council.

As the Guardian said last week, this is an unnecessary move; I think most residents would say the council should devote their resources to more important matters."

16th January 2010

Greens call for free insulation

As winter starts to take a toll on our temperatures many of us in Waltham Forest will be faced with higher fuel bills, particularly as the cost of energy is rising, which will especially hit hardest those on low-incomes. However by embarking on a programme of free insulation, which can be funded by contributions from energy companies as well as the council, we are able to not only reduce our CO2 emissions but also lower our fuel bills. Green councillors have done it in Kirklees, Yorkshire and we would make it one of our top priorities’s if elected!

It’s disappointing that this administration hasn’t started using its initiative and come up with local schemes, such as a free insulation programme, that will both reduce our environmental impact and create a strong local economy. With unemployment currently running at around 8.8% in Waltham Forest, (above the London average of around 8%) investing in free insulation would not only give us warmer homes but hundreds of secure local jobs. Surely those on all sides of the political spectrum can see that such a policy would benefit all and sundry!

2nd January 2010

Ashley Gunstock responds to Tories dishonesty

The Green Party ‘Boycott Tesco’ campaign that I am involved in is genuinely intended to help protect local businesses and preserve the village atmosphere in the Wanstead area, for the benefit of all.

Nevertheless I have been branded a hypocrite by Edwin Northover – the Leyton and Wanstead Conservative Parliamentary Candidate because I was ‘caught’ shopping in the Leytonstone Tesco store – Anti-Tesco campaigner admits using one of the firm’s other stores (Guardian December 21). It appears that the cause of Mr Northover’s outburst is the pressure that he and his Tory Councillor colleagues must be feeling, due to the looming General and Council elections. I am therefore flattered that I am deemed a threat to their forthcoming political aspirations.

In any event I have never denied that I shop in supermarkets. In fact throughout our campaign I have always made it absolutely clear that I believe that the supermarket and, incidentally, the car (that I also make use of) which have been in existence since the 19th century are part of the fabric of and have a place in our society. The fundamental issue here – which should not be submerged by personal attacks – is that there is no need for yet another supermarket in a thriving high street, such as the one that we are fortunate to have in Wanstead.

In light of all this I am sure that the supermarket giant will appreciate that I must decline its kind invitation to shop in its Wanstead store -Tesco statement rubs salt in wound for campaigner (Guardian December 24) - and that our ‘Boycott Tesco’ campaign in Wanstead will continue.

Published and promoted by Mark Dawes on behalf of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, both at 53 Scarborough Road, London E11 4AL