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Sunday, 31 May 2009

I back the 'Every Vote Counts' campaign


PRESS RELEASE


Green Party of England & Wales backs 'Every Vote Counts!' campaign


The Green Party's Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley has signed up to support the 'Every Vote Counts!' campaign promoted by charity United Response.


[1] The campaign aims to help people with learning disabilities read political information and making informed choices. And the Green Party has a lot to offer disabled people! "The Green Party believes in adapting society to help improve the lives of all disabled citizens."


[2]United Response service-user Lizzie Emeh says, "Even people without disabilities find it hard to understand politics."


[3] An example of that is when charities talk of "all three political parties" as if the Green Party does not exist and has done nothing worth while!


[4] Meanwhile, the Government favours the wealthy over people with learning disabilities — who are less likely to vote in general elections.


[5] So called 'efficiency savings' by the UK Parliament leave fewer jobs for disabled people to do, and services that are worse for them. The London Mayor's office is cutting its Equalities staff, and the Equalities & Human Rights Commission does not have the money to help fight injustices.


Joseph Healy, European Parliamentary Candidate for London stated: "It is vital that disabled people are fully involved in the democratic process and are in a position to exercise their democratic rights. I fully support this campaign both as a candidate, and a disabled person myself, and will do all I can to ensure that all barriers to democratic participation and citizenship are removed from disabled people."



Two Green Party UK MEPs and over a hundred Green Party councillors have already made advances in the rights of everyone in society. And more Green Party MEPs and councillors after polling day on June 4th 2009 can do so much more! ENDSNOTES[1] http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2009/05/25/111646/united-response-helps-people-with-learning-disabilities-to-be-involved-in-politics.html[2] http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfssdy.html




[4] Charity 'Every Disabled Child Matters' recently stated in an e-newsletter to supporters, "We want to make sure disabled children’s issues are a key priority for all three political parties in the run up to the next general election." Following an objection from Green Party member Karen Varga who has a disabled daughter, EDCM's Campaign's Officer apologised and amended the sentence so as to ".... for all major political parties." http://www.edcm.org.uk/Page.asp?txt//originx_6617di_26169567984452a13b_20095185120i


[5] Only 16% of people with learning disabilities voted in the last general election compared with 61% of the population at large. http://www.everyvotecounts.org.uk/survey/survey-findings.htm

The cultural and spiritual wastleland which is racism





A short film set in a record shop run by a racist highlights how racism has no place in today’s Britain. The piece was written by advertising creatives Andy Drugan, Ed Morris and Monty Verdi and directed by David Lodge through RSA Films.

It is a brilliant and powerful film which is launched today ahead of the European and local elections on Thursday 4 June. Many people have given their time, energy and commitment to this project because they believe that racism and fascism have no place in our society.
The film has been produced in partnership with many dedicated individuals as well as the film company RSA Films, Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) and PCS.

The film uses the important and positive links between music and our diverse culture to illustrate an anti-racism message. The film features Dizzee Rascal’s number one hit ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and the artists mentioned in the “Racist Records” shop such as The White Stripes and the James Brown Estate have given their permission and support to the project.
The music fan turns his back on the shop’s proprietor and leaves empty handed – as the shop has nothing to offer him, because racists have no music. The film illustrates the vibrant culture we all enjoy because of our multicultural society which we want to celebrate and defend.
All the collaborators on the project are united against bigotry and the film will be used to harness communication channels to encourage people to vote and to highlight the threat posed by far right political parties.

The film will be shown at music venues across the UK and


It is crucial that people make their votes count on Thursday 4 June to stop the far right making any more electoral gains.
Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “It is fantastic to be part of a project that sends out such a powerful message against racism and fascism. It is crucial that people make their votes count on Thursday 4 June to stop the far right making any more electoral gains.
“I’d urge as many people as possible to watch the video and to forward it to their friends and family to ensure that the hate filled message of the BNP and the far right is not the winner on 4 June.”

The writers hope that the film highlights the danger of parties such as the BNP. There is a possibility that people will want to make protest votes against the big parties because of the expenses scandal. But by reminding people that parties like the BNP are racist we hope to put people off voting for them.

Lee Bellingham of Love Music Hate Racism, added: “LMHR is delighted with the results of the project.
“It is great we have come together with a united anti-fascist message. Its also excellent we’ve been able to work with some of the UK’s top film production companies and advertising agencies. The film shows the broad appeal of our message, and that creative people are part of the campaign and are only too aware of the need to oppose the threat in our society posed by racism and modern-day nazis like the BNP.”

Campaigning at full throttle


Have been incredibly busy over the last few days so unable to blog until now. Thursday night saw me appearing at a hustings organised by the UN Association in Enfield, which was preceded by a radio interview on the Euro elections with a local Irish radio station, Radio Verulaneum, based in St Albans, on the phone ten minutes before the hustings. There was a good turnout and highlight of the evening was the UKIP MEP, Gerard Batten, admitting that he did not believe in climate change - something to do with the earth tilting apparently! I also read out the Open Europe Report indicating that the Green MEPs were ahead in the expenses stakes, this did not please Mr Batten either, who also had to answer a question about Nigel Farage's massive expenses claims.


Friday I was on the European election campaign bus with Jean Lambert MEP, fueled by used cooking oil. We met locals at Sipson village, threatened by Heathrow expansion, and then on into Islington, where Jean spoke at a huge meeting for the Nigerian community and was cheered to the rafters for her speech. After that the bus travelled into Westminster, giving a message of support to the Tamils and Brian Haw in Parliament Square. We also set up a stall in front of Westminster Abbey and handed out leaflets to passers by. The final leg took us through the ward I am fighting in the Lambeth by election, where I called on voters to vote Green in the Euros and the by election on June 4th. I left the bus at Waterloo to take part in the London CND hustings at Friends Meeting House, Euston.


The hustings were chaired by Kate Hudson, Chair of National CND, and there were 8 candidates, which included The Christian Party, the English Democrats, Libertas, The Jury System, Lib Dems, Labour, the Socialists Party of Greate Britain, and the Greens. The replies to questions took ages. Pat Arrowsmith, the veteran peace campaigner, made mincemeat of the Labour candidate and some of the others who supported the nuclear deterrent. After a speech by the Labour candidate where she spoke about refugees, I made the riposte that most refugees waiting at Calais to enter the UK were from Iraq and Afghanistan and were a direct result of this government's wars. Interestingly the Lib Dem Candidate, Chris Le Breton, who is 4th on the list, admittted that he and the No 2 candidate, Jonather Fryer, both now supported a one state solution in Palestine, and were opposed to the position of their No 1 candidate, Baroness Ludford. There was a row at the end of the hustings when the CND organisers admitted that they had not invited the BNP. This resulted in the Socialist Party of GB claiming that this was a disgrace as they should have been challenged in open debate. When I responded that I would not share a platform with them, all hell broke out and the Chair had some difficulty in calming proceedings.


Yesterday I was back in Lambeth, greeting the European campaign bus with Jean Lambert in Brixton and giving out leaflets there with Lambeth Greens. I also managed to give my support to a local demonstration against the privatisation of Council housing and job cuts in Lambeth which gathered outside the Town Hall.



Today I was back in Princes Ward, distributing the last of my by election leaflets and the European campaign leaflets. I had some good responses from voters. I also noticed a dirty tricks leaflet from the Labour Party claiming that the Lib Dem candidate does not live in the ward but in Whitstable. I am afraid that this sort of campaiging by Labour has a history in the ward.


The polls are good for the Greens and disastrous for Labour at present. Alan Johnson is predicting a wipeout, the scale of which has not been seen since the 20s. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/31/labour-elections-2009-alan-johnson


So now it is on to the final lap - only three days left now. I will be leafleting travel hubs over the next few days. But I have one last husting in Stratford Town Hall, East London, tomorrow night at 6.30pm organised by the PCS trade union and which will concentrate on the EU's labour and trade policies and workers' rights. Council Chamber, Stratford Town Hall, BroadwayNearest tube: Stratford. I am expeciting to encounter No2EU there again, who appeared on the platform with me at the Battersea and Wansdworth TUC hustings in Goldsmiths College a week or two ago.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Re-elect Jean Lambert MEP on June 4th

We are now rapidly approaching the date of the European Election (June 4th) and some people have already used their postal vote. It is vital to continue to get the message across that people need to vote and that they need to vote for the Greens. Our excellent MEP in London, Jean Lambert, has done so much on vast range of issues to improve the lives of Londoners that it would be a political tragedy if such a first class representative in the European Parliament was not re-elected.

Some more information on the voting system and the campaign in London here http://re-electjean.blogspot.com/2009/05/jean-or-j-p-floru.html

Greens Launch Eight Pledges for LGBT Equality Ahead of Euro-poll


NEWS FROM THE GREEN PARTY of England and Wales LGBT GROUP

http://www.lgbtgreens.org.uk/

Four Green Party Candidates will be Out and Proud during the European Elections on June 4th
Re-elect Greens for strong voice against prejudice
Greens launch eight pledges for LGBT equality ahead of Euro-poll

For Immediate Release
26.5.9

The Green Party is today launching eight pledges for equality for LGBT people. Joseph Healy and John Hunt from London, Lesley Hedges from Yorkshire and Humber and Chris Williams from West Midlands are standing as openly gay and lesbian Green Party candidates in the European election.

Joseph Healy introduced the manifesto:
“We are proud of the record of our Green MEPs on LGBT issues, proud to have so many LGBT candidates standing and because we think that the opinions of the LGBT communities are incredibly important in this election we are also proud to launch our own specific LGBT election manifesto.”


The LGBT Greens European Election Manifesto

The Greens will continue to campaign for:
--full LGBT equality, including full partnership, insurance, pensions, employment, and housing rights. This includes campaigning to rid ALL EU member states of homophobic and transphobic discrimination in access to goods and services, such as insurance and mortgages.

--all EU member states to comply with the EU directive outlawing discrimination against lesbians gay men and bisexuals in the workplace.
--equivalent and specific protection in society and in the workplace for trans citizens.

Greens will press for policing which reflects the diversity of the LGBT communities in the EU particularly in the new Eastern states, ensuring that homophobic behaviour by police officers is considered an explicit offence which can be remedied with disciplinary action. Also working with the police in deepening their relationship with the LGBT community, including LGBT organisations: improving the rapport between police forces and the LGBT community; addressing the continued under-reporting of hate crimes, and working with authorities to bring hate crime culprits to justice.

Greens will work to legalise same-sex marriages and registered partnerships across the EU, particularly in asylum legislation

Greens will campaign to
--extend the EU definition of "family" to include LGBT partnerships
--campaign for lgbt equal access to parenting and fertility treatment.

Greens will continue to lobby Police on non-prosecution of consenting, victimless gay offences, such as cruising. Police resources should be concentrated on violent, corporate and hate crimes and active, sustainable measures to create safer communities.

Greens will support a pan European HIV Action Plan:
--to improve safer sex education.
Greens will also campaign to
--cut transmission rates by remedying the financial hole in HIV services and large inadequacies in the provision and scope of HIV services
--upgrade the standard of treatment and after-care for people who have transmitted HIV. This will include pressing the UK government to resolve the under-funding and under-staffing of sexually-transmitted infection (STI) clinics.

Greens through their MEPs will lobby the European Commission to-
require all companies doing business with the European Union, or governments and local authorities within it, to be required to have equal opportunities policies that prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and HIV-positive people; thereby enabling local authorities to take a proactive role in encouraging businesses to end homo, bi and transphobic discrimination.

8. Greens propose to celebrate queer culture and history, for example by proposing the establishment of more Lesbian & Gay Museums.

Joseph Healy continued: “It is vital that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have MEPs representing our rights in Europe. Jean Lambert, our London MEP, and Caroline Lucas our South Eastern MEP have worked hard in Europe for LGBT rights to be understood as human rights.

“The European Elections are important, because so much of UK human rights policy tends to follow European directives on issues like the age of consent and anti-discrimination laws in employment.

“It is also important that the more progressive nature of Western European attitudes to LGBT people spreads into Eastern Europe. Gay Prides in Europe have been prevented or attacked in the past but this is slowly beginning to change.

“The far right is challenging the progress that has been made and we need strong voices to protect us across the whole of the European Region.

“The EU is in a strong position to give us a strong voice to oppose homophobic persecution and judicial murder across the world.

“Green Party actions are not just paper policies. Darren Johnson led the way for civil partnerships by being instrumental in introducing the London register which predated the Civil Partnership Bill and showed that there was a demand and that it could be done.

Joseph concluded:
“Jean Lambert Green MEP for the London region is a member of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights and works to ensure that LGBT people are treated fairly across Europe. She has spoken out against the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers, to their almost certain death, which shamed the Labour government into allowing them to stay in the UK. She continues to oppose homophobic oppression in Europe and throughout the world.”

Lesley, meanwhile is the National Female Spokesperson for LGBTGreens. She is active in her local LGBTIQ community and works to improve public services, including health, for LGBTIQ people. “We deserve fair and equal treatment but surveys show that LGBTIQ people have less satisfaction with health and other services. We can be more open about our sexuality than ever before, yet some still face vilification in their access to health often when they are at their most vulnerable.

Lesley concluded: “We need strong laws across the European Union that make sure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities are treated fairly. That is all we are asking for yet it seems to be a step too far for some services to tackle staff who display homophobic attitudes. Our young people are subjected to bullying in schools resulting in low confidence, poor mental health and even self-harm and suicide. This has got to end.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors:
Because the elections are run on a proportional representation system – called the d’Hondt system (there is more than one system of proportional representation) the smaller parties have a strong chance of gaining seats. This also means that the far right parties are more likely to gain a seat but they can be prevented by voting for the fourth party, the Green Party, because votes are shared out across a number of seats in each region.

The Green Party also has LGBT candidates ready to fight a general election including Joseph Healy, Darren Johnson and Peter Tatchell.

Contact Lesley Hedges for interview and photo opportunities lesleyhedges54@hotmail.com 0793 947 32679 0r 01484 652932
Or Phelim Mac Cafferty on policy questions on 07765 474 621

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lambeth By election Update


Out on Saturday and yesterday leafleting with Cllr Becca Thackray and helpers from Greenwich and Brent, also managed to set up a stall on Saturday. We spotted Val Shawcross, Labour Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark out on stump and also Mark Harrison, the Labour candidate, also a few Lib Dem councillors.


Yesterday we came across masses of Freepost BNP and UKIP leaflets thrown on the floor outside houses - shows what the postal workers think of them! We also encountered a Labour Party canvassing team who said that they were very depressed and that they were encountering hostility everywhere on the doorsteps. They thought it would be a good election for the Greens. Several voters told me that they would vote Green on June 4th. We were also distributing the London European election campaign leaflet.


There is a local hustings being organised for tonight but unfortunately I cannot go and have sent apologies. Doing the Lambeth Disability Forum hustings on Thursday afternoon and have to ask someone to stand in for me on Thursday at the LGBT hustings as I am booked to do a Euro hustings in Enfield with the UN Association. But I have sent a statement that I am the only candidate who has addressed LGBT issues on their leaflet or referred to it in any shape or form. The Labour Party is quite happy to hand over control of the former Lilian Baylis school to a faith organisation which is intensely homophobic. I have said that this is not acceptable. As usual, Labour tries to have it both ways - playing up to the LGBT community when it wants the pink vote and then kowtowing to homophobic faith groups when it wants theirs. Well that just will not wash with voters who are looking for some sort of integrity and conviction in their politicians.


Interesting to note by the way that the two gay government ministers who have been caught out in the expenses row are now trying to avoid the issue by stating it is all due to homophobia. Pull the other one! Apparently the readers of the LGBT website, Pink News are not impressed.



Now the Labour candidate is claiming that he has singlehandedly managed to get Margaret Beckett, the Housing Minister, to give millions of pounds to Lambeth to reduce council rents, which recently saw the largest increase in the country. A Labour minister giving millions of pounds to a Labour Council. Shurely shome mishtake?

BNP Leaflet Deconstructed




Out leafleting this weekend in Lambeth I spotted several of the BNP's hateful leaflets. This is a useful deconstruction of it.


Open Europe puts Greens at the top of the class in the EU.


This is what I have been saying at hustings in London during this campaign and have the voting record to prove it. Now Open Europe, which campaigns for transparency and democracy in the EU, has stated it also. The Greens have a record second to none in the EU when it comes to this issue. But as I have also said at hustings, it is important to view the record of the other parties, and particularly of the pan European blocks which they are members of, such as the European People's Party, in the case of the Tories. All of the parties (well most of them) can talk a good talk. The point is can they walk the walk?


Green leader comes top in Open Europe's "premier league" MEP poll
Caroline Lucas MEP, leader of the Green Party, has been rated best British MEP on transparency, accountability, democracy and waste by campaign group Open Europe.And Britain's Green Party MEPs were ranked above the groups of all other British parties.Today Open Europe published a ranking of all 785 Members of the European Parliament, scoring their record on promoting transparency and reform in the European Union over the last five-year term.
Open Europe's ranking was based on a range of activities, including voting records, attendance, written declarations, and whether the MEPs themselves have taken part in wasteful activities, such as the controversial second pension fund.
Open Europe awarded points based on a "Premier League" model, where 3 points was the highest score, followed by 1 point and 0 points. On attendance, a scale from 1 to 6 was used. MEPs who had been the subject of substantive press reports of wrongdoing were shown Open Europe's "red card" and had 10 points deducted from their score.
UKIP leader shares bottom place with a Conservative, a Labour MEP and a LibDem

The bottom thirteen places for British MEPs in Open Europe's ranking included 5 Conservatives and 6 UKIP MEPs. The very bottom place, however, was jointly shared between an MEP each from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Labour and UKIP.The UKIP MEP with the poorest score was party leader Nigel Farage.

Green Party leader Dr Caroline Lucas MEP, commenting on the result, said:"I'm delighted that the Green Party has topped the poll on promoting transparency and reform in the EU. It shows more clearly than ever that if people want to see greater democracy, transparency and accountability in parliament, the best way of achieving that is to vote Green on 4 June."


Open Europe's Research Director Mats Persson said commented:"No matter where their political sympathies may lie, MEPs should all be working for a more open, democratic EU, while trying to reduce the waste of taxpayers' money. These issues should be at the top of their agenda - especially now when the public's trust in politicians is at an all-time low."They might talk a good game at home, but too many British MEPs have voted against transparency and EU reform on a number of occasions. What we need now is a new generation of politicians, committed to acting in the public interest and pushing for a much better deal for taxpayers at all levels of government - including EU level."
Open Europe's categories were as follows:
A) Transparency, openness and democracy

MEPs are ranked according to whether they:1. Voted for easier public access to EU documents
2. Voted against keeping MEPs' expenses and accounts secret
3. Voted to increase transparency, including better public access to MEPs' voting records
4. Responded to Open Europe's Transparency Initiative on expenses and allowances
5. Voted in favour of imposing sanctions for MEPs guilty of financial irregularities
6. Voted in favour of providing mandatory receipts for travel expenses
7. Voted to respect the outcome of the pending legally-binding Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty
8. Voted in favour of opening Europe up to trade with developing countries
9. Achieved good attendance at the Parliament's voting sessions

B) Fighting waste and misuse of EU funds

MEPs are ranked according to whether they:

1. Opted out of the Parliament's controversial second pension fund
2. Voted in favour of cleaning up the second pension fund
3. Supported moves to abolish the Parliament's second seat in Strasbourg
4. Voted against 'hypocritical' EU subsidies to tobacco farmers
5. Voted to reform the CAP and discontinue subsidies to tobacco farmers
6. Voted not to clear the European Parliament's accounts for 2006 due to 75% unaccounted expenditure on MEPs' assistants' allowances
7. Voted not to approve the Parliament's accounts for 2007
8. Voted not to approve the Commission's accounts for 2007
9. Voted to postpone clearing the European Council's accounts for 2007
10. Voted against clearing the accounts of the European Police College for 2007 while it was under investigation for fraud

To see the league table, please click here:www.openeurope.org.uk/research/mepranking.xls (See sheet two for UK MEPs only)For a guide to the criteria used in the ranking, please click here:www.openeurope.org.uk/research/rankingguide.pdf

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Launch of new Green Left Pamphlet at Housmans Bookshop, London on Wednesday at 7pm


Green Left, the anti-capitalist current in the Green Party, has just published a new pamphlet, which is to be launched at Housmans Bookshop in London at on Wednesday 27 May. Entitled Countering the Crisis, the pamphlet gives an ecosocialist response to the global recession and the threat of climate change.

The pamphlet has two main sections; the first provides an analysis of the current crisis and shows how it is the inherent instability of the financial system that is the prime mover of the credit crunch rather than just the sleight of hand of a relatively tiny number of spivs and hucksters. It points to the phenomena of the financialisation of capitalism - the shift in gravity from production to finance – and suggests that this has been the key factor in the development of asset bubbles and the growth of the increasingly more arcane and risky financial schemes which have triggered the collapse of markets throughout the world.

The second part sets out some proposals for dealing with the twin crises – financial and environmental – that confront us. Central to these is the demand for a massive redistribution of wealth and power. One of the key factors in advancing the financialisation of the economy has been the dramatic redistribution of wealth away from wages as a percentage of the GDP. Therefore, there is an urgent need to redistribute wealth away from corporate profits and towards wages and income; not only because justice demands it but also because it makes sound economic sense.

The pamphlet points out that many of the points it makes have been made elsewhere on the left and that and a number of manifestos round which to organise have been issued, most importantly The People’s Charter. It is vital that we start to draw together these strands of opposition to the current system in order to enable the development of a genuinely grass roots movement. Realignment of the left (and that includes the Green Party as well) now becomes an urgent necessity for its existence and an essential precondition for the development of a new mass party of and for working people.

The pamphlet will be launched with a talk by its author, Sean Thompson, at Housmans Bookshop, Caledonian Road (near Kings Cross Station) at 7pm on Wednesday, 27 May.

Event for Eastern European LGBT Community



How the European Union can
improve LGBT rights in Eastern Europe?

A discussion with dr Joseph Healy*,
a Green candidate to the European Parliament
host: Payam Torabi, London Young Greens, Queen Mary’s University




Homophobia is still a problem in Eastern Europe and rights of gays and lesbians are not fully recognized there**. Recent violent occurrences in Moscow during a LGBT Pride (IDAHO, 17 May) again remind us about it.


-> What can the EU do to improve the situation of LGBT people in Eastern Europe? Are European Parliament resolutions on homophobia enough?
-> How to encourage the New Member States to obey the EU anti-discriminatory common law?
-> How to fight homophobia in Eastern Europe?


We would like to discuss these issues with Dr Joseph Healy, a Green candidate to the European Parliament, a specialist in Eastern European politics and a gay and lesbian rights campaigner. Activists representing different Eastern European LGBT rights movements will take part in the discussion as well.


What:
How can the EU improve the LGBT rights in Eastern Europe?

When:
27th of May, Wednesday, 8pm

Where:
Lucas Arms
245a, Gray's Inn Rd, WC1X 8QZ London (next to King’s Cross St. Pancreas)
map: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=WC1X+8QZ&spn=0.005,0.02&hl=en

Event’s website on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/HealyMeeting


Contact:
Joseph Healy, the Green Party, electgreenjoseph@hotmail.co.uk, tel. + 44 7944 720 296
Aleksandra Kretkowska, the Green Party, aleksandra.kretkowska@greenparty.org.uk, tel. +44 7984 563 136












Jak Unia Europejska może poprawić sytuację
gejów i lesbijek w Europie Wschodniej?

Dyskusja z dr Josephem Healym*,
kandydatem do Parlamentu Europejskiego z ramienia partii Zielonych
prowadzenie: Payam Torabi, Młodzi Zieloni, Queen Mary’s University



Homofobia jest wciąż żywa w Europie Wschodniej, a prawa gejów i lesbijek nie są tam w pełni respektowane**. Ostatnie brutalne wypadki podczas Parady Równości w Moskwie (IDAHO, 17 maja) po raz kolejny o tym przypominają.


Co może zrobić Unia Europejska, żeby poprawić sytuację gejów i lesbijek w Europie Wschodniej? Czy rezolucje Parlamentu Europejskiego dotyczące homofobii wystarczą?
Jak zdopinbgować nowe państwa członkowskie do przestrzegania wspólnego unijnego prawa anytdyskryminacyjnego?
Jak walczyć z homofobią w Europie Wschodniej?


Na te tematy dyskutować będziemy z dr Josephem Healym, kandydatem do Parlamentu Europejskiego z ramienia partii Zielonych, specjalistą od polityki wschodnioeuropejskiej i działaczem na rzecz praw gejów i lesbijek. W dyskusji wezmą też udział działacze LGBT z różnych krajów Europy Wschodniej.


Co:
Jak UE może poprawić sytuację LGBT w Europie Wschodniej?

Kiedy:
27 maja, środa, godz. 20

Gdzie:
Lucas Arms
245a Gray's Inn Rd, WC1X 8QZ Londyn (niedaleko King’s Cross St. Pancrass)
mapa: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=WC1X+8QZ&spn=0.005,0.02&hl=en

FB :


Strona wydarzenia na Facebooku: http://tinyurl.com/HealyMeeting


Kontakt:
Joseph Healy, partia Zielonych, electgreenjoseph@hotmail.co.uk, tel. + 44 7944 720 296 Aleksandra Kretkowska, partia Zielonych, aleksandra.kretkowska@greenparty.org.uk, tel. +44 7984 563 136, http://tinyurl.com/poles4greens

UKIP Snout is the biggest of all


Shocking revelations in the Observer today that UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, has probably taken £2 million in expenses. He told this to a meeting of foreign journalists.



This is the party which has been more associated with fraud and allegations of fraud than any other. The Greens in the European Parliament, on the other hand, have led the attempts to reform the expenses system and it is down to Green pressure that the new parliament in July will have much more open and transparent systems. Yet UKIP is the party which many voting against the large parties seem to be considering voting for. Hopefully, they will now reconsider their decision.
Farage has long been an ego on parade and needs to be brought down to earth with a bang. And this is the man who has called for a clean up in EU expenses!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Irish World Article on the European Elections




I have had an article published this week in The Irish World one of the main newspapers for the Irish community living in Britain. I have outlined why I think voting on June 4th is important for the Irish community but also highlighted the pernicious attempt by the BNP to co-opt Irish votes. It was not that long ago that the Irish were 'scum' to these people and I well remember the very deep based anti-Irish discrimination which existed in this country up until River Dance and the Celtic Tiger made Ireland fashionable. The Irish have been emigrants and immigrants for centuries and it is important to remember that.

Lambeth By election


I am standing for election in the Princes Ward by election in Lambeth on June 4th. I will be out in the ward tomorrow leafleting. We meet at the Dog House pub in Kennington Road @ 10.30am for leafleting the ward. Map details here http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/pubsandbars/dog-house-maps-11208.html
The picture is the old town hall in Kennington Road circa 1925.


Expenses Video



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fK6P-JW_YU4 is a short piece of film noir about the expenses row, from Scott Redding Associates, written by and starring Darren Johnson. It gives the Green Party's view on the expenses issue and on democratic reform.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Homophobic States - Green MEP Backs Report on LGBT Rights


NEWS RELEASE
From the Office of Jean Lambert MEP
London's Green Party Member of the European Parliament

Date: 20 May 2009

SHAME ON HOMOPHOBIC STATES: GREEN MEP BACKS REPORT ON LGBT RIGHTS

- Renewed call for equality for LGBT people after Moscow violence
- Greens host event for London Eastern European LGBT community

Jean Lambert, London's Green Party MEP, has welcomed a report which names and shames countries around the world where state-sponsored homophobic laws exist.

Homosexuality is illegal in 80 countries around the world, and in five countries it is a crime punishable by death, according to State Sponsored Homophobia, the third annual report from ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. [1]

Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee and the cross-party Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights, said:

"This report serves as a reminder of the terrible choice that LGBT people all over the world face: to risk persecution, imprisonment and even death because of their sexuality, or to deny their sexual or gender identity to escape unbearable discrimination. This fundamental abuse of human rights is suffered by too many people. Greens have been at the forefront of efforts to improve protection against all forms of discrimination across Europe, and we have made important progress. [2] But there is still a long way to go.

"Last December, 66 countries signed the United Nations Statement against the criminalisation of homosexuality. It's a sad truth that these states are significantly outnumbered by those 80 countries where homosexuality is illegal. It's up to us to exert pressure on leaders at all levels to end this persecution which stems from homophobia."

The 2009 report from ILGA follows a report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which found in March that homophobia and discrimination against LGBT people were still widespread across Europe. [3]

Eastern Europe is an area of particular concern, and in March the Green Party's LGBT Group pledged to work alongside Polish Greens to help tackle homophobia in the region. [3] Next Wednesday, Joseph Healy, from the Green Party's LGBT group, is hosting a meeting with members of the Eastern European LGBT community in London.

Events took place last weekend to mark IDAHO 2009, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. In Moscow, the scene of brutal attacks by far-right extremists in the past, sources reported that police used violent and oppressive tactics to break up the peaceful Slavic Pride march.
Between 30 and 40 people were arrested. Peter Tatchell, the longstanding human rights campaigner and Jean's Green Party colleague, was detained but released without charges.

In Riga, the first Baltic Pride march took place in peace, after an earlier attempt by the city authorities to cancel it. Representatives from Pride London, which is twinned with the Riga event, joined the march.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Full report available online at http://www.ilga.org/

[2] The European Parliament voted to extend legal protection from discrimination beyond the labour market in April. See
http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=447

[3] See http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/news_detail.php?id=444


For more information please contact:
Georgina Bloomfield, Media and Public Relations Officer

Office of Jean Lambert MEP
Suite 58, The Hop Exchange
24 Southwark Street
London
SE1 1TY

Tel: +44 (0)20 7407 6280
Fax: +44 (0)20 7234 0183

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Statement on Slavic Pride and Peter Tatchell


Yesterday Peter Tatchell was writing in Comment is Free in the Guardian about what happened last Saturday in Moscow and the reaction of the Russian LGBT community. I replied there with a press release which I issued yesterday as a European Parliamentary Candidate for London. Peter has sent a message of thanks. The Greens across Europe are also responding to this situation.


The statement is as follows:


Responding to the attack on Peter Tatchell and the attempt to stage a Slavic Pride March in Moscow, Green European Parliamentary Candidate for London, Joseph Healy said: “ As a gay man and a supporter of the right of all citizens to freedom of expression, I am shocked and horrified at the behaviour of the Russian authorities in suppressing a Gay Pride March in Moscow, while allowing an anti-gay protest to go ahead.


I call upon the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to contact his opposite number in Moscow, Mayor Luzhkov, to protest about this oppression of LGBT people in Russia. I salute the courage of Peter Tatchell and totally support his efforts in Moscow. Green MEPs in London and across Europe will continue campaigning for LGBT rights in Russia and across Eastern Europe and will not let up until Russia’s LGBT citizens have full freedom of expression under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory.”

London European Election Launch for Green Party


Yesterday was the launch of the Green Party's European election campaign in the London region and I was there with Jean Lambert MEP and six of the other candidates. We appeared last night for probably a little over a minutes on the BBC London television news, which is in stark contrast to the publicity given to the BNP etc.


We were positioned beside an air quality monitoring station on Marylebone Road to make the point that it is EU Directives on air quality which are pushing the UK and London authorities to clear up their act in what is Europe's most polluted city. Mayor Johnson has done little so far to address the issue and the UK could be receiving a massive fine soon from the EU for not doing something about it. Latest figures show that several thousand people die every year in London as a direct result of this air pollution. I am the one holding X marks the spot.


Several of our candidates were also interviewed for Radio 4's 'PM' programme and we were told that it would be broadcast on Friday week, but why so late in the campaign seems a mystery to me. Perhaps it will be broadcast this Friday instead. AP News were also there.


It's off to hustings in Lambeth for me tonight and tomorrow night I will be appearing at a hustings in the Students Union Bar at Goldsmith's College, New Cross at 6.30pm, at the invitation of the Battersea & Wandsworth Trade Union Council, South London Anti-Fascist Group and the PSC Union, where issues around employment, trade union rights, etc will be discussed as well as how best to combat racism and Fascism.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Frying Tonight


I went as a European election candidate last night to a fascinating presentation at South Bank University's 'Green Drink' where a number of cutting edge companies involved in sustainable issues told some of the academics there, along with those involved in the construction industry about what they are up to. I also had an ulterior motive in going as I wanted to make contact with Uptown Oil as the Green Party's campaign bus, which will be going through London on Friday and Saturday of next week (May 29th and 30th) is going to be powered by some of their products, and I wanted to make contact with the company. Not being of a scientific bent, this is not usually the sort of event I would attend, but I found it fascinating and it is green, sustainable and furthermore makes economic sense.
The company is a small one and their base is in Southwark near the Elephant & Castle. What they are working on is the fact that recycled biodiesel offers a very low carbon alternative to fossil diesel. Uptown Oil recycle London's used cooking oil into high grade biodiesel for use in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications. Recycled biodiesel is cheaper and better in urban use and is helping to achieve cleaner city air for London. And it certainly needs it with air pollution currently way above EU limits, resulting in the death of thousands each year.
The company has already persuaded many London taxis to switch to biodiesel and is currently looking at persuading major constuction sites to do so also. As they pointed out, many of these sites have thousands of workers and have catering facilities using large amounts of cooking oil. Currently most of this oil is sent to landfill sites, resulting in large amounts of methane being released into the atmosphere, which is even more harmful than CO2 as far as being a greenhouse gas is concerned.
The statistics are staggering. Wembley Stadium, for instance, uses 1 tonne of waste per day. The oil the company uses is biodegradable and non-toxic. Cooking oil is also 13 times less polluting than gasoline and could result in a massive decrease in the use of fossil fuels in the capital. Less than 0.1% of London's cooking oil is currently being used for fuel. Some of it is sold on by shady dealers and some goes to India for the cosmetics industry. But most just ends up in landfill sites. Uptown make the very good point that Diesel originally invented his engine to be run on peanut oil but the petrochemical industry managed to subvert that.
There is no connection here by the way with biofuels, to which the company is opposed, as are the Greens. So, as they pointed out, there is no large scale use of land in developing countries and consequent shipping with all the carbon footprint which that implies. This is a good example of a small green company who are doing their bit for the environment. They are also convinced that all of London's traffic could be run on biodiesel. Their website is here and I hope to meet them again when the campaign bus fuels up next week.
At the end of the session I met someone from another green company called Courier Systems, who run a carbon neutral outfit,who revealed to me that he was a member of the Green Party. The South Bank University is opening a major new alternative energy centre next year and I hope to keep in touch with developments there. So an educational and inspiring presentation and I rushed off to a meeting of the London Green Party to spread the good news, and to discuss the opinion polls which demonstrate that things may be moving our way for the European elections. But as Neil Kinnock once found out - it aint over till the fat lady sings!

Monday, 18 May 2009

IDAHO and Eurovision in Moscow


Yesterday I went with my partner to celebrate IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) at the XXL Club in Southwark and to launch a fantastic new project called 'A Day in Hand', which included photos of many same sex couples and indeed of same sex friends holding hands in various places around the world. The website is here http://www.adayinhand.com/ It is being called a 'Silent Revolution' as it makes the point that LGBTIQ people are visible everywhere and that the most obvious way that we have of expressing our love in the open is to hold hands. The point was made by several speakers that there are many countries where such actions are not only illegal but in 8 countries could lead to death.


The excellent Sue Sanders of Schools Out and LGBT History Month spoke along with David Watkins, who is the main inspiration for the project, which ties in very well with IDAHO. A young black gay poet spoke about his experience of a homophobic attack because he was holding his partner's hand on the riverbank near the Tate and he recited a poem of his which has appeared on Channel 4 and on various radio stations. The infamous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence joined us and told us about the 30th anniversary of the world celebration of the foundation of the order in San Francisco a few months ago. I did not speak at the event but I introduced myself as a European Parliamentary Candidate for the Greens in London and distributed many of our campaign leaflets - people were in general supportive and many said that they would vote Green on June 4th either in London or in the South East.


One of the photos on display was that of Peter Tatchell holding David's hand outside the South Bank Centre in London just before he left for Moscow. Of course, the events there were mentioned and the fact that IDAHO has never seemed more relevant. There is a report on events there and how they impacted (or not as the case may be) on the Eurovision Song Contest there on Saturday. Peter was praised as someone who is always prepared to put himself on the line for the LGBTIQ community worldwide. I made it clear to many of the people there that there are two openly gay candidates on the London European Parliamentary list for the Greens and of the importance of getting the LGBTIQ community to vote on June 4th against the BNP. The photos were amazing and as Sue said it is incredible that such a collection has been put together in only three months. But it is an ongoing project and one well worth supporting. One of the highlights of the launch was a radio recording from BBC Radio Solent, where two straight radio presenters decided to hold hands together and walk down the main street in Southampton. The reception they received was very positive but as they both said later, it gave them an idea of what same sex couples have to experience on a regular basis.


The final photoshoot was of all of us holding hands, including two lesbian wheelchair users and their dog - a truly inclusive vision. Don't see the photo on the website yet but my partner and I are in the second row on the far right.



Police Violence Clouds 'Best Ever' Eurovision 18 May 2009 / Anna Malpas / The Moscow Times


Russia won high praise from organizers and participants alike for its hosting of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest final on Saturday, complete with hovering swimming pools, Dima Bilan "flying" over the audience and a live speech from an astronaut in the international space station.But international reaction was clouded by the violent suppression of a gay rights protest earlier in the day that threatened to tarnish a national image that Russia had spend millions of dollars trying to buff.The winner, Norway's "Fairy Tale," performed by Belarussian-born Alexander Rybak, 23, won a record 387 votes, against 218 for second-place Iceland.The event was reported around the world alongside stories about the gay rights protest in Moscow. The New York Times gave scant coverage to the contest in a story about riot police breaking up the gay rally. Britain's Sunday Herald newspaper headlined its story, "Inside: Eurovision, The Campest Show on Earth. Outside: Riot Police Round Up Moscow's Gays."For Russia, hosting the contest was a costly prestige project. The exact price tag remains unknown, but Channel One director Konstantin Ernst, who organized the event, said it totaled more than 24 million euros ($32.3 million).


A government official told Vedomosti this month that the show cost more than $42 million, a figure in line with promises made when Russia won the right to host the contest last year. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov announced at the time that the Russian government would give 1 billion rubles (then worth about $40 million), while the Moscow city government, which oversaw the crackdown on the gay rally after banning it, said it would allocate 200 million rubles ($8 million).President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have described Russia's victory last year that gave it the right to host the event as important for the country. Putin even sent Dima Bilan, last year's winner, a telegram saying his achievement was "another triumph for all of Russia," coming after Zenit St. Petersburg winning the UEFA Cup football final and Russia winning the World Ice Hockey Championship.With such high expectations, Eurovision 2009 was under unprecedented media scrutiny, with a record 2,238 accredited journalists.


Gay rights activists said Russia ruined its reputation internationally with the police clampdown on the rally."In the minds of most European people, this year's Eurovision Song Contest will be linked to the violent suppression of a wholly peaceful protest," British activist Peter Tatchell said Sunday. He was detained at the march but released without charges."The universal reaction from journalists, politicians and members of the public [in Britain] is utter revulsion at the scenes of police brutality and suppression that they saw on the television news," Tatchell said.He said he was "disappointed" that no contestants spoke out against police brutality. "They were under huge pressure from their own managers and from the Russian organizers not to bring any politics to the event," he said.Gordon Heuckeroth, an openly gay singer in The Netherlands' entry, De Toppers, had said he planned to go to the rally but did not show.


The organizer of the protest, Nikolai Alexeyev, said he believed that he was detained overnight to keep him from disrupting the final. "I think the main idea was to keep me and other people in the police station to prevent us doing anything during Eurovision," he said.The strategy misfired, Alexeyev said: "I can tell you the image of Russia after all that is totally spoiled. Obviously, this is not a democratic country that respects human rights."European Broadcasting Union, which owns Eurovision, has declined to enter the controversy. "As guests in Moscow, we feel obliged to organize the event within the limits of local law. If organizers of other events decide differently, that is up to their judgment," the association's spokesman Sietse Bakker said last week.


At a news conference after the final, Bakker called the event "the best Eurovision Song Contest we have ever had."However, one of the first questions from reporters was about the police action against the gay rally."I think it's a little bit sad that they chose to have the protest today. They spent all their energy on that parade, while the biggest gay parade in the world was tonight," Rybak, this year's winner, said in an answer that skirted around the police violence.


Talking on the sidelines of the contest, former State Duma Deputy Alexei Mitrofanov criticized the treatment of the protesters. "I think it was completely unnecessary. They shouldn't have done it. In what way could 30 young men be a public danger? It's not even as if they blocked any roads," he said.The Eurovision final ran smoothly -- most of the time, anyway -- and was warmly received by the audience.Hours before the 11 p.m. start, the Olimpiisky Sports Complex was surrounded by flag-waving fans. Sporting Union Jack flag face paint and a beaded Russian headdress, Helena Davidson from London praised Russia for its handling of the semifinals. "It's putting on an amazing show. I can't wait for tonight," she said.Moscow police said there were no incidents at the event. Officers were courteous as crowds maneuvered through multiple barriers and metal detectors.


The show began with last year's winner, Bilan, suspended from a wire in the roof and swooping onto the stage, where he launched into his Eurovision song, "Believe."The hosts were popular comedian Ivan Urgant and pop singer Alsou. Making his English-language debut, Urgant seemed relaxed in his interaction with the audience. "Are you enjoying my flawless British accent?" he asked the crowd to screams of approval.There were a few hitches: Bilan couldn't free himself from his flying harness and had to be helped by a backing dancer. The screen flickered as Azerbaijan announced its votes and a bizarre interval act involving performers splashing in suspended swimming pools drew a muted reaction. The linkup with the international space station had unclear sound at times.Because of the time difference with Western Europe, about a third of the audience drifted away before all the votes were announced, leaving conspicuously empty spaces. Nevertheless, Norway's victory with "Fairy Tale" was greeted with deafening cheers.In his acceptance speech, Rybak switched between English and unaccented Russian, repeating, "Thank you so much, spasibo bolshoye, Rossiya."

Hustings in Lambeth and Cats out of bags


I have not been able to get around Princes Ward too much in the last few days due to the Euro election campaign and various commitments such as the CND/PSC/STWC demo on Saturday and the International Day Against Homophobia yesterday (more on that later). However, I will be taking part in two hustings in Lambeth, one for the newly formed Lambeth Disability Forum at 1pm in 336 Brixton Road on Wednesday 28th May, together with councillors and an ex-councillor from the Labour, Lib Dem and Tory parties, which will be on both the by election and the European election. The other will be this Wednesday in Stockwell on the European election -details below.


While on the subject of hustings. I went to the London LGBT hustings for the European election on Friday night, where Jean Lambert MEP represented the Greens. One of the questions was on the political groups in the European Parliament and how the respective UK parties got on with them. This put the Tory candidate in rather a spot, as the Tories are about to leave the European People's Party and go looking for new partners. Seeing that the audience consisted of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, the Tory candidate (Warren Lightfoot) justified this on the grounds that the Tory party was not a "confessional party" whereas the Christian Democrat parties in the EPP were, there was also the case that they were fully in favour of a federal Europea and the Lisbon Treaty whereas the Tories were not. But the Labour MEP's answere was even more revealing (Mary Honeyball) and drew howls of knowing laughter from the audience. She had no problem in stating that the Labour Party was by far the most right wing party in the European Socialist Party! As if we could not have guessed.



Durand Primary School invites you to attend:


A European Elections Debate

featuring MEP Candidates from the main political parties.

Anne Fairweather- Labour Candidate
Jonathan Fryer- Liberal Democrat Candidate
Graham Postles- Conservative Candidate
Joseph Healy- Green Candidate

The Debate will be chaired by Robin Oakley OBE, European Political Editor at CNN International and former Political Editor of the BBC

20th May
19:30pm

Main Hall
Durand Primary School
Hackford Road
Stockwell
London
SW9 0RD

Click here to view a map, the school is 5 minutes walk from Stockwell Tube:
http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?x=530965&y=176782&z=0&sv=SW9+0RD&st=2&pc=SW9+0RD&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf



(Refreshments available)

Gaza Demo







Busy weekend again. On Saturday, together with other London Greens, I went on the march for Palestine and Gaza organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and others. At our stall we had a lot of people asking about our policy on Israel and Palestine. Many people - not all from London - said that they would be voting Green on June 4th in the Euro elections. Jean Lambert gave a very good speech but because of the blustery conditions and the bad acoustics, I was not able to hear too many of the other speeches, as I was mainly on the stall. I took a few photos there, including a large Palestinian flag being unfurled in front of the National Gallery and a picture of myself holding a somewhat smaller flag. I saw Bruce Kent and George Galloway on the stage but was unable to hear the speeches. Jean referred in her speech to the Israel-EU Trade Agreement and the need to block it until such time as issues such as Gaza are properly addressed.


The blustery winds were throwing sheets of water on to the stalls and there were lots of jokes about climate change from those receiving a soaking. A request to the authorities in the square to turn off the fountains met with the response that since the stalls had been set up unofficially, then they were not in a position to turn off the fountains. We were placed beside a socialist bookshop's stall. On the other side was a stall selling clothing from Palestine and I bought a small bracelet made in Hebron.


The siege of Gaza continues and it is important to keep it in the news. It should become apparent soon what the Obama administration's position on the peace process is going to be and he is due to make a major speech to the Muslim world on June 4th. I also met George Galloway's son in law there who gave me a copy of the 'Viva Palestina' CD but I have not yet had a chance to listen to it, although I have become a big fan of Lowkey's rap number 'Long Live Palestine'. I saw him also on stage but was unable to hear him perform. Many people took Green Party posters to display in their windows, including one or two who admitted that they were Labour Party members! The opinion polls over the weekend have certainly indicated that we may be in for an upswing but as someone once said: "A week is a long time in politics."

Friday, 15 May 2009

Baltic Pride decision overturned by Latvian courts


Great news from Latvia where the courts have overturned Riga City Council's decision on the ban.


In the interim, the European Green Party has issued the following statement re Moscow.
15.05.2009



EUROPEAN GREENS SUPPORT GAY PRIDE EVENT IN MOSCOW

POLICE MUST GIVE PARTICIPANTS PROTECTION THEY ARE ENTITLED TO

The Spokespersons of the European Green Party have expressed their support for all those people who will attempt to hold a Gay Pride march in Moscow on Saturday 16th May.

Ulrike Lunacek, EGP Co-Spokesperson and Austrian Greens’ lead candidate in the European Elections, said: “ On behalf of all European Greens, I would like to express our wholehearted support for the organisers of and participants in the Gay Pride March, also known as Slavic Pride, which is due to take place in Moscow on Saturday 16th May. Previous attempts by LGBT activists to hold Gay Pride events in the city have been met with terrible violence and intimidation by rightwing extremists while the police stood by and watched. The organisers of this year’s event have been threatened with similar violence and we demand that the city authorities and police give those Russian citizens and foreign visitors taking part in the event the protection that they are entitled to. “

EGP Co-spokesperson Philippe Lamberts, number 2 in the European list for Ecolo, the French-speaking Belgian Green party, continued: “We applaud the courage of the Russians who are determined to take up their right to freedom of expression in support of equal rights for all citizens, including LGBT people, and also those human rights activists from other parts of Europe who will be in Moscow this weekend. Many Greens, including Peter Tatchell of the Green Party of England and Wales, will be in Moscow for the event, despite the fact that Mr Tatchell was beaten almost unconscious at Moscow Pride 2007 and then arrested by police. This coming Sunday, 17th May, is IDAHO ( International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia) and it is of great concern to us that there continue to be many parts of Europe where LGBT people face prejudice, violence and intimidation . In Riga, Latvia, the city authorities have banned a Gay Pride event planned for Saturday 16th May and we agree with Green MEP Jean Lambert that the European Commission must do much more to ensure that Latvia respects the human rights of its citizens equally.”


www.europeangreens.eu

Repression in Moscow during Eurovision Song Contest


Another test for Russia's commitment to human rights and freedom of association. The following news was received yesterday. In the meantime with the eyes of Europe on Moscow for tomorrow's Eurovision Song Contest the Foreign Office is already issuing warnings to LGBT visitors to Moscow to expect violence. Peter Tatchell is quite right to give the example of many of Russia's greatest figures having been LGBT. Tchaikovski was just one of them and his music truly expresses the soul of Russia.




Moscow mayor – Gay activists seek meeting

Dialogue urged to resolve dispute over gay parade

Tatchell allowed into Russia. Arrived this morning

He urges respect for Russia’s great gay icons, such as Peter Tchaikovsky, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Gogol

Moscow – 14 May 2009

“Í appeal to Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to meet with me and the Slavic Gay Pride organizers to discuss his anxieties about the gay parade. We are keen to reassure him. Dialogue can create understanding and facilitate the amicable solution we seek. We are ready to meet the Mayor anywhere at anytime. I hope he will agree. Meeting us would be a generous, conciliatory gesture,” said British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who arrived in Moscow today to support Saturday’s planned gay parade in the city centre.

The Moscow authorities have banned the gay parade and threatened “tough measures” against the marchers – even though the right to protest in guaranteed under the Russian constitution.

"Many great Russians have been gay or bisexual, including Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Eisentein, Modest Mussorgsky, Nijinski, Sergei Diaghilev, Nikolai Gogol, and Rudolf Nureyev. The Russian people should celebrate their gay history with pride. These gay Russian artists and intellectuals have made an immense contribution to human civilisation," said Mr Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell is the human rights spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales. He is also the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East at the next UK general election, and hopes to be elected MP of the university city.

Nikolai Alekseev, the organizer of the gay parade said:

“All we seek is the right to hold a gay parade like they have in other European cities. This is not unreasonable. Sadly, the Moscow authorities have so far refused to meet and dialogue with us. We are sure that a solution can be found if the mayor and his officials meet us. We are offering him an olive branch. I hope he will reciprocate,”
said Mr Alekseev.

At the Moscow Pride parade in 2007, Mr Tatchell was badly beaten and arrested. He has been left with permanent minor eye and brain damage, which has adversely affected his vision, concentration, memory, balance and coordination.

“I am undeterred by my violent experiences last time. It is important to support brave Russians who are defending the right to protest. The right to hold a gay parade is an issue of fundamental civil liberties.
We are defending the freedom of expression of all Russians, gay and straight,”
added Mr Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell was granted a Russian visa and had no trouble when he arrived at Moscow airport this morning. “Immigration officials were welcoming, friendly and courteous,” he said.

More information: Nikolai Alekseev +7 916 255 8240

Greens Speak out about the banning of Baltic Pride and London's major LGBT Hustings Tonight


Unbelievable that in a country within the European Union a Gay Pride march is banned. Jean Lambert and the Green Party LGBT Group respond. Jean Lambert MEP will be speaking tonight at the major hustings in London for the LGBTIQ community organised by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square WC1 near Holborn Underground Station. This will be an important event as LGBT rights come under attack within the EU itself and in other parts of Europe. I will be there as a European Parliamentary candidate with other members of the Green Party LGBTIQ Group.





NEWS FROM THE GREEN PARTY of England and Wales LGBT GROUP

http://www.lgbtgreens.org.uk/

GREEN MEP CONDEMNS MOVE TO BAN GAY PRIDE EVENT IN LATVIA
Jean Lambert to raise decision with European Commission
Message in support of IDAHO 2009

For Immediate Release
13.5.9

Jean Lambert, London ’s Green Party MEP, has today condemned the decision by the Riga authorities in Latvia to cancel the Baltic Pride event this weekend.

The annual gay pride march was scheduled to take place in the Latvian capital on Saturday, to coincide with a weekend of events marking IDAHO , the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Sunday 17 May.

However, yesterday [Tuesday 12 May] 34 out of 60 members of Riga City Council voted to ban the march on the grounds of public morality. Organisers of the event are liaising with the police and Andris Grînbergs, Riga City Council (RCC) Commission on meetings, marches and demonstrations, who understand that cancelling the march would be unlawful. They are hoping it may still be possible to march on Saturday, but they may have to wait until next week for the event to be rearranged.

Jean Lambert, a longstanding campaigner for equality who has worked extensively on LGBT issues, condemned the move by the RCC.

"I condemn the attempt by the Riga authorities to cancel Baltic Pride 2009. This is an attack on peaceful freedom of expression and a fresh reminder of the challenges we face in achieving true equality for LGBT people across Europe . I will be raising the issue with the Latvian embassy, and also writing to the President of the European Commission – it’s time they tackled homophobia and discrimination in Latvia .”

Jean will be supporting IDAHO 2009 this weekend. She said:
"The news from Riga makes this year's IDAHO all the more important. I'm proud to be supporting this day and joining its call to fight homophobia, transphobia and discrimination in all its forms.

"In April, the European Parliament took a major step forward when it voted to extend anti-discrimination legislation on grounds of sexual orientation beyond the workplace, but there is still a long way to go. Just days before that vote a major report by the Fundamental Rights Agency found that homophobia across Europe remains rife. LGBT people encounter prejudice and abuse at all levels of society, from schools to retirement homes. Many are too afraid to come out and instead adopt 'invisibility' as a survival strategy. IDAHO is about liberating people from that fear: a day to combat discrimination, and a day of celebration and pride.”

She also expressed solidarity with Peter Tachell, the human rights campaigner and her Green Party colleague, who will be in Moscow this weekend for the Slavic Gay Pride parade. Mr Tatchell was brutally beaten by right-wing extremists during the 2007 Moscow Pride event, and subsequently arrested by the Russian police. His attackers, though easily identifiable, were never arrested. Jean said:

"I would like to wish Peter Tatchell all the best for his return to Moscow this Saturday. His tremendous courage and dedication to this cause are an inspiration."

ENDS


Jean Lambert is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. In October 2005 Jean was named MEP of the year for her work on Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004.

For more information please contact:
Georgina Bloomfield , Media and Public Relations Officer on 07988 790 889
Or Phelim Mac Cafferty Media spokesperson for the LGBT Group on 07765 474 621

Green Party Manifesto and European Election Launch


No blogging for the last two days as I was too busy out on the campaign trail and helping to address letters to non-British and non-Irish EU citizens who are voting in the European elections in London - this city being the most international in the EU. I have also written an article for The Irish World newspaper - the main newspaper for the Irish community in the UK - about the European elections and why the Irish should get out and vote Green on June 4th, for reasons other than it being our national colour.


Yesterday was the national launch of the Green Party's European election campaign and I just managed to pick up the little there was about it from the BBC on their website.

But details of the party's European manifesto are here. http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2009-05-14-launch.html



One of my colleagues at work who is actually a card carrying member of the Labour Party was saying that she was considering voting Green this time, so I brought her in a copy of our mini manifesto. Let's hope that many people like her are thinking the same way and judging by the reception which MPs from both the Lib Dems and Labour received on last night's Question Time on BBC they might be.


The problem is that parties such as the BNP may be the main recipients of this feeling of "a plague on all your houses". Peter Hitchens, whose views on politics are a million miles from mine, was talking last night on This Week about the country experiencing "a Weimar moment." I certainly don't think that we are there yet but there can be no doubt that the antics and venality of our elected representatives has led to a real feeling that politicians cannot be trusted and this is extremely dangerous for democracy. So I will be going along today to join the Daily Mirror's Campaign Bus at South Bank University in Southwark to give out leaflets for Hope not Hate, the campaign against racism and the BNP with trade unionists and political activists from a number of other parties ranging from Respect to Labour.


Details of events in other arease are here http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Jean Lambert calls for trade justice


NEWS RELEASE
From the Office of Jean Lambert MEP
London’s Green Party Member of the European Parliament

HERNE HILL AND DULWICH DEMAND FAIR TRADE FOR POOR COMMUNITIES

As part of the annual Dulwich Festival, the local Trade Justice Campaign hosted a discussion on Saturday 9 May entitled 'Righting Trade Injustices:
What we've done and what's still to do' [1].

The meeting attracted over 60 participants and Jean Lambert, London's Green Party MEP, joined other prominent politicians, and representatives from Traidcraft and the World Development Movement for an inspiring and lively panel debate. The discussion was chaired by Tessa Jowell MP.

Speaking after Saturday's event, Jean Lambert MEP, said:

"Trade justice is vital for ensuring fair wages and fair prices for the producers of the goods we buy everyday.

"We are facing difficult economic times, but we should not forget the many thousands of the people around the world who supply our economy and who live in extremely tough and precarious situations.

"Every worker deserves to earn a reasonable livelihood and as politicians we must do our best to end the exploitation of the poorest communities.
Creating fair market conditions for producers is crucial for enabling people to prosper."

The Herne Hill and Dulwich Trade Justice Campaign is a member of the Trade Justice Movement, a fast-growing coalition of more than 80 organisations including trade unions, aid agencies and environmental and human rights campaign groups.

The Righting Trade Injustices discussion and debate took place on Saturday 9 May at 10.30am at St Barnabas Parish Hall, Dulwich Village.

Photos available on request.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Herne Hill and Dulwich Trade Justice Campaign is a coalition of local churches, formed in 2005 to campaign for fairer trade in some of the world's poorest countries.

Jean Lambert is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. In October 2005 Jean was named MEP of the year for her work on Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004.

Remember Gaza - National Demonstraton on Saturday

I will be marching on this demonstraton on Saturday for the rights of the Palestinian people and also helping out on the Green Party's stall there. Jean Lambert, the Green Party MEP for London, will be speaking on the platform.
National Demonstration Saturday 16 MayAssemble 12noon Malet St London WC1E 7HY

March to Trafalgar Square
Free Palestine • End the Occupation • End the Arms Trade • Commemorate the 1948 Palestinian Nakba
Called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Palestinian Forum in Britain and CND


And supported by:


Action Palestine, Amos Trust, Arab Media Watch, Arab Women’s Association, Association of Palestinian Communities UK, Britain-Palestine Twinning Network, The Council for Arab-British Understanding, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Christian Peacemaker Teams UK, Fire Brigades Union, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Birzeit University, Friends of Sabeel UK, The Green Party, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK, Jewish Socialists’ Group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Labour Friends of Palestine, Liberation, Midlands Palestinian Community Association, Muslim Association of Britain, Muslim Council for Britain, NUS Black Students Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Respect, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union, Rail Maritime and Transport Union, UNISON, UNITE, Viva Palestina, War on Want, Zaytoun Ltd

Peter goes forth!


The following is from my Green Party colleague Peter Tatchell who is setting off for Moscow tomorrow to protest for LGBT rights in Russia and Belarus. He is someone never afraid to put himself on the line and politician and human rights activist of great conviction and valour. Two years ago Peter suffered a serious head injury when he went to protest in Moscow. Those of us who march in the Pride Parade in London etc should bear in mind the real struggle in countries such as Russia to even hold a demonstration. Nikolai Alekseev is also a brave man and I met him when he came to speak to the Lesbian and Gay Humanist Association several years ago in London.


Tatchell at Moscow Gay Pride

Undeterred by threat of arrests and bashings

London - 11 May 2009

Despite threats to bash and arrest the marchers, British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will attend this Saturday’s Moscow Gay Pride parade – this year renamed Slavic Gay Pride to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality struggles in all Slavic countries, Russian and non-Russian.

The parade is scheduled to take place at lunchtime on Saturday 16 May, and coincides with the final of the Eurovision song contest which is being held later that night, also in Moscow.

The Moscow authorities have said the parade is banned and have threatened “tough measures” against anyone who tries to march. In addition, there is the likelihood of mob violence against the marchers by neo-Nazis, skinheads, ultra-nationalists and Christian fundamentalists – as happened in 2006 and 2007.

“I am joining the parade to show my support for the courageous Russian gay campaigners. All year round they risk arrest, imprisonment and queer-bashing attacks. These men and women are absolute heroes. I salute them,” said Mr. Tatchell, who is the human rights spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales and the Green Party parliamentary candidate for the university constituency of Oxford East in south-east England.

“International solidarity is hugely important. My presence is one way to show that gay people around the world support the right of gay people in Russia to live their lives without homophobic prejudice, ostracism, discrimination and violence.

“This parade is in defence of human rights. We are defending the often violated human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. They want legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes. I support their cause.

“Not all Russians are homophobic, but many are. Gay Russians suffer queer-bashing attacks, blackmail, verbal abuse and discrimination in education, housing and employment,. This shames the great Russian nation.

“Saturday’s Slavic Gay Pride is about more than gay human rights. It is about the right of all Russian people to freely express their opinions and to protest peacefully. The ban on gay parades is just one example of the systematic suppression of civil liberties in Russia.

“I appeal to President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and Mayor
Luzhkov: gay people are no threat to Russian society. Be magnanimous.
Uphold democratic rights and freedoms. Allow the Slavic Gay Pride parade.

“Although I am determined to support our Russian and Belarusian comrades, like them I am anxious about what may happen to us. But we have to take some risks; otherwise the homophobes and authoritarians will win.

“I don’t have much confidence that the Moscow police will accept our right to protest or that they will protect us against neo-Nazi violence.

“At Moscow Pride in 2007 I was beaten almost unconscious by right-wing extremists, while the police stood by and watched. They then arrested me. I spent several hours in police detention before being released without charge. My attackers have never been arrested, even though they were clearly identified in photos and film footage,”
said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell – 020 7403 1790 (until 10am Wednesday 13 May, and after 11pm 18 May)

Nikolai Alekseev (organiser Slavic Gay Pride) - + 7 916 255 8240