Green MEP warns of rise of extremism on UN Anti-Racism Day

BordersAction55ffc1eGreen MEP Jean Lambert addressed an anti-racism rally in Trafalgar Square to mark UN Anti-Racism Day.

Ms Lambert, who was speaking as Vice President of the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism Intergroup, will say racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise across Europe – and urged voters to back progressive candidates in May’s European election to combat right-wing extremism.

Ms Lambert spoke at the rally alongside other politicians, as well as musicians and comedians – allspeaking out for diversity and against the politics of hate.

“Racism is on the rise across Europe – and we need to embrace an international approach to solving economic, social and environmental problems and stop scapegoating immigrants if we are to reverse this trend.

“But there is a real risk that we will see exactly the opposite, with a rise in the number of xenophobic and racist politicians elected to the next European Parliament in May,” she said.

“To make sure this doesn’t happen we need everyone – and their families and friends – to go out and vote for progressive candidates to reduce the political space for those that don’t believe in equality. Your vote counts.”

Ms Lambert added:

“We need all governments, and EU institutions, to make clear their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion if we are to see much-needed progress on reducing hate-based behaviour, whether directed at people because of their faith, race – or just hatred of ‘the other’.

“But here in the UK we are seeing exactly the opposite to what is needed: barely a day goes by without this government saying it will deny health-care, or welfare benefits, or even the right to free movement or a private family life, to citizens of some nationality or another.

“The Government has to stop dealing in numbers and start seeing people.”

Green Party call for action on Barton Moss Police brutality

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Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jones of Mouslecoomb and North West Green Party’s Peter Cranie have written to Greater Manchester Police Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, to request a meeting to discuss the ‘appalling’ police tactics used at Barton Moss.

After last week’s brutal arrest and detention of mother, Vanda Gillett, at Barton Moss and Saturday’s protest at Swinton Police station, key Green Party figures have written to raise party members’ concerns over policing at the site. Many Green Party members have been very active in the daily protests and have become increasingly concerned over the behaviour of Greater Manchester Police’s Tactical Aid Unit.

Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb and prospective North West MEP, Peter Cranie, also raise concerns that the Independent Protest Panel, set up to investigate policing at the site, was not given the full picture when it visited the site last week (20th March 2014). The panel members stayed behind police lines and the Tactical Aid Unit was either not deployed during their visit or was not exercising as much force as usual. The Salford Star reports that as soon as the Panel had left policing in the afternoon reverted back to a more typical pattern (1).

The letter calls on Commissioner Tony Lloyd to acknowledge the concerns over policing at Barton Moss in public and urges him to address them.

Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, said: “While we have different political positions on fracking, this is a civil liberty issue and about policing in a democratic country. The actions that are taking place are simply unacceptable and as Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Llloyd is accountable.”

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb said: “The Police do a difficult job under severe pressure, but what has been witnessed at Barton Moss looks far more like corporate protection, without limits, than the policing that local communities want in the streets to protect them from crime. Policing must be fair and proportionate, and the Police must protect the democratic right to protest, not suppress it.”

Peter Cranie, North West Green Party’s European election candidate, said: “These are non-violent protestors. No one is attacking the police. The anti-fracking movement is non-violent, yet the treatment handed out to these protestors is appalling. Tony Lloyd must act. It is his job to do so and his responsibility. By failing to get involved he is accepting responsibility for the actions of the officers who are badly letting down Greater Manchester Police.”

Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb is also writing to the Metropolitan Police to ask if any of their officers are being deployed at Barton Moss.

Peter Cranie challenges Lib Dems’ Chris Davies to public debate on Europe

62399036_peter_cranie_high1After this week’s Farrage vs Clegg TV debate on Europe, Green Party European election candidate, Peter Cranie, has invited the North West’s Lib Dem MEP to hold a public, live-streamed debate on Europe. (1)

Peter Cranie said: “This week’s televised debate between UKIP and the Lib Dems painted a very simple picture of Europe – Farage said pulling out of Europe would solve all of our problems and Clegg said our European Union membership is a panacea that will solve all of our economic woes. Neither is right. Greens believe that we’re better off in Europe. But we also know that the EU needs radical reform to make it more democratic and to ensure it works in the interests of ordinary people, not big business. Fundamentally we believe that the British people should have a say on Europe, which is why we support a referendum.”

He continued: “Here in the North West our Lib Dem MEP, Chris Davies, challenged the region’s UKIP MEP, Paul Nuttall, to a public debate about Europe. UKIP declined so I’m asking Chris if he’ll debate with the Greens instead. Many Lib Dem voters feel let down on issues such as student tuition fees, the renewal of Trident, fracking,the gagging bill, support for nuclear power, the selling off of care data and the EU’s secretive trade deal with the USA. I’d like to hear Chris Davies defend his support for those policies. I’d use the opportunity to explain Green policies on these issues and share some of the work done by the 58 Green MEPs in the European Parliament.”

The Green Party is the fourth largest group in the European Parliament with 58 MEPs, working on issues as diverse as workers’ rights, energy, transport, fishing, international development, environmental protection and employment. Peter Cranie lost out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 0.3% of the vote in 2009 and is hoping to break through this May.