Thursday, 17 December 2015

Green Candidate at last election calls on MP to resign

In this blog, I am not mincing my words. I call on the sitting Richmond MP, Rushi Sunak, to resign for misleading the voters in the Richmond Constituency over fracking under National Parks.

As the Green Party candidate for Richmond (Yorks) at the last general election, I was in an excellent position to hear the promises made by Mr Sunak.

At several public meetings during the election campaign, as well as in his manifesto, Mr Sunak assured people that a Tory Government would not be fracking under our National Parks. However, Mr Sunak has just voted in the House of Commons to do just that.

The vote on the Government’s Draft Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing (Protected Areas) Regulations 2015 will see fracking allowed beneath National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Groundwater Protection Zones, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and World Heritage sites. This could expose many of the UK’s most fragile and treasured landscapes to noise, air and light pollution, resulting from fracking rigs being situated around the edges of protected areas, in order to drill down and then horizontally across to access the shale gas reserves beneath.

The Government had previously committed to an ‘outright ban’ on fracking in National Parks, AONBs and SSSIs. However, the latest regulations attempt to sidestep this by allowing underground drilling in the fissures deep below protected areas. This could lead to thousands of lorry movements to transport equipment and fluids, noise from compressors, and 24 hour floodlighting around the perimeters of these areas – causing pollution to spill over into Britain’s most precious countryside.

SSSIs are conservation areas for wildlife and rare plants. There are around 4,000 in the UK, protecting 8% of land. There are 15 National Parks in England, Scotland and Wales, covering 22,658 square kilometres: more than a tenth of the area of Great Britain.

Greenpeace estimates that 300 square kilometres of the North York Moors could become open to fracking after government consultation, as well as areas near Stokesley in the Richmond constituency.

Mr Sunak and the Conservatives deliberately misled the electorate about their intentions over fracking. Also, the vote this week goes directly counter to the Paris Agreement last week on climate change. To meet those agreed targets it is essential that no fracking takes place, as the Government have also abandoned their proposals for carbon capture.

Any jobs created by fracking will be in the tens, not the thousands boasted by Mr Sunak and will be more than outweighed by those lost to the tourist trade.

Mr Sunak and the Conservatives are cynically putting our environment at risk in pursuit of corporate profit and Mr Sunak should resign for misleading voters in the Richmond constituency.


Monday, 2 November 2015

More Local Privatisation of the NHS

The recent revelation that a proposed private mini-hospital in Catterick Garrison could syphon away at least £1 million a year from Friarage Hospital, is yet another example of the privatisation of the NHS by stealth under the Tories. This undemocratic Conservative administration, elected by just 26% of UK voters, has long had a policy of allowing private NHS providers to "cherry pick" easy to provide services, which undermines the feasibility of public hospitals like the Friarage.

Apparently, the plans for a £4 million extension to the Harewood Medical Practice (Northern Echo 2/11/15) was drawn up without other medical practitioners being aware of it. The Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (HRWCCG) is a privatised Tory invention to facilitate this widespread privatisation of the NHS. The expensive process of fragmenting the NHS into privatised bits has directly contributed to the funding crisis in the NHS, along with successive Governments' reluctance to train sufficient UK doctors and nurses to work in the NHS, preferring instead to recruit medical staff overseas and through expensive private agencies.

I urge supporters of the NHS to book themselves onto the next HRWCCG patients forum (held in a Tory supporter's offices in Leyburn) on 25th November by ringing 01609 767600 and telling these running dogs of capitalism what they can do with their privatisation of the NHS.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Come the Revolution?

It is a while since I wrote on this blog. After the disappointing election result, where just 24% of the electorate, (or less than one in five of the population if you take account of those not allowed to vote), managed to vote in yet another Government of the minority under our patently undemocratic winner takes all voting system. Even in the Richmond constituency, where a parachuted in public school Tory was elected with a large majority of those who voted; the Tory still only has the support of just a third of the population.
But the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning, Tuesday 6th October 2015, really, really got my goat.
Reporting from the Tory party conference in Manchester, the BBC once again demonstrated its biased reporting. Time after time, the claims by the Tories to have created a strong economy went unchallenged. Not once, despite having the opportunity many times, notably whilst interviewing the nutty Minority Minister, David Cameroon, did any BBC reporter point out that since coming to power in 2010, the Tories have doubled the public sector debt (from c.£750 billion to £1.5 trillion and still rising): an increase greater than every Labour Government combined.
The balance of payments deficit (the difference between what the UK imports and what we export) was close to £100bn in 2014. That deficit was funded by the ever rising non-government debt: in other words we are all getting deeper in debt. That means that more and more of the UK's capital assets are having to be sold off to pay for that debt. Almost every major non-financial business in the UK is in foreign ownership. Many of these companies are dodging tax, because the Tories have still failed to implement meaningful anti-tax avoidance measurements.
The Tory chancellor, George Osborne was in China recently, kow-towing to the Communist dictatorship that runs that country, in order to get a few scraps from its table. Offering shameless bribes, such as offering more money to China for grass roots football, than the Tory Government spends on sport in North East England.
China produces more than 800 million tonnes of steel a year, over 50% of the world's production, on the back of massive Chinese Government support and low wages. In the UK, in one of the few remaining UK (but foreign owned) steel plants on Teesside; steel workers are being made redundant and receiving little support from the Tory Government.
The message is very clear, but completely over looked by the BBC. The Tories are rubbish at managing our economy and austerity just does not work. Pre-austerity post war Britain had higher levels of economic growth, which were more evenly distributed than today. Since Thatcher broke the post war consensus the UK has had lower growth than previously, as well as the three great post war economic crises: in the early 1980s, the early 1990s (Cameron was culpable in causing Black Monday) and the banking crisis after 2008.
What sense is there in reducing the top tax rate for millionaires down to 45% when you have massive public debt, when even under Thatcher it was 60%? Why hasn't this Government implemented sweeping changes to tax avoidance legislation to stop companies exporting their profits to tax havens? Why are the poor being penalised by reducing benefits and tax credits, whilst the rich get lower taxes? Why is this Government forcing Housing Associations to sell the dwindling stock of social housing, whilst paying massive subsidies to private landlords in the form of housing benefit?
These are the questions the BBC are not asking. The BBC and all the media should be challenging the Public school boys in charge, but instead they are run by them. Which is why the BBC virtually ignored the massive peaceful demonstrations against austerity outside the steel walls erected by the establishment around the ivory tower that is the Tory conference.
The BBC is part of the grand alliance of unaccountable power that rules this country and time is running out if we are to avoid a revolution being the only way to end this injustice.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

BBC Continues Bias

BBC Look North from Newcastle continue to have debates from different constituencies that exclude Green Party candidates. In response to a complaint from me the BBC wrote:

We are filming "hot seats" for Look North in four of the region’s marginal constituencies and took the decision - based upon the BBC guidelines - to include UKIP candidates but not to include the Greens. This was based upon current levels of polling and past performance in recent elections. For example, UKIP won a North East seat in last year's European elections as well as coming second to Labour in both the Middlesbrough and South Shields by-elections."

On this basis, why do they include the Liberal Democrats? The Green Party got more votes and more seats than the Liberal Democrats in last year's European Elections, upon which they partially base their decision? The Green Party has more members than either the Liberal Democrats or UKIP and are standing in 90% of the seats in England & Wales.

In addition, their polling, for which no evidence was given and upon which they partially base their decision, will be affected by THEIR OWN DECISION NOT TO BROADCAST DETAILS OF GREEN CANDIDATES AND TO EXCLUDE GREEN CANDIDATES FROM BBC DEBATES!

What right do the BBC, a body paid for by you and me, have to decide who should be represented on their debates and who should be excluded? What price democracy, if the BBC can decide who is to be heard and who is not? In my constituency (Richmond (Yorks), there are two independents with strong followings, but under the BBC criteria they will never be heard. What right has a publicly owned broadcaster have to decide that?

The BBC should and will be challenged for their bias. This political bias is undermining democracy in this country and runs contrary to the BBC charter. Write to the BBC and complain!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Virgin on the Ridiculous!

I recently attended a patients' forum put on by the Richmondshire, Hambleton and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (RHWCCG), the very name of which indicates just how cumbersome this Tory monster has become.

The main aim of the forum appeared to be to get patients to volunteer to do the jobs previously done by paid NHS staff.

One of the CCGs other admissions was that the NHS budget was going to have to stretch to cover social care as well, something not publicised by the Con Dems when they foisted this unlooked for change in the NHS upon us. A NHS re-organisation was expressly excluded from the manifestos of both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems, so watch out for further nasty volte-faces if, (God forbid) we get another right wing coalition after the election. For me, this betrayal of Lib Dem promises on the NHS was probably worse than their notorious lie about abolishing tuition fees.

RHWCCG also announced that they had awarded Virgin Care a multi-million pound contract to supply Whitby Out of Hours and Community Care. This was after an 18 month procurement process that did not include any NHS run bid, but did cost hundreds of thousands of pounds (including costly legal advice). As part of their justification, the RHWCCG spokesperson said that Virgin had told the CCG that they would not make a profit in the first two years. Not surprising as Virgin Care appear to be avoiding tax by taking their profits offshore!

You may have read about this in the recent story in the Guardian newspaper (, which detailed the tax arrangements of Virgin Care.

According to this article and a recent report from Unite the Union, Virgin care has a complicated structure of 13 intermediate holding companies between Virgin Care Limited and its ultimate parent company, Virgin Group Holdings Limited.

The company’s main offshore links are with the British Virgin Islands where its ultimate parent company is based. The way in which Virgin is structured, with multiple holding companies in locations that provide a high level of secrecy, means that it is very hard to get a clear view of the group’s finances.

These structures are wholly inappropriate for a company in receipt of hundreds of millions of pounds worth of public sector contracts in the National Health Service. Virgin Care Limited should urgently reform its corporate structures and tax arrangements or negotiate the speedy return of its NHS contract back to the RHWCCG.

RHWCCG should itself revisit any contracts with private companies indulging in tax avoidance measures. It should also look more closely at Virgin Care's chequered history.

In 2012 a NHS watchdog accused a Virgin Care urgent care centre of putting patients' health at risk by using receptionists with minimal medical training to assess how unwell arrivals were. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report criticised the operation of the urgent care centre at Croydon hospital in south London, which was run by Virgin Care.

If you agree that NHS contracts should not go to tax dodgers, then please sign a petition to tell Virgin Care to pay their taxes and protest against the continuing privatisation of the NHS!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tax on School Children

Leslie Rowe, the Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Richmond, attended the Richmondshire Area Committee today (Wednesday 18 March 2015), to protest at the proposal to increase a tax on kids. "This tax takes the form of charges for travel to school or college, which had been proposed to increase from £480 to £550 a year. Also proposed is a charge of £380 for primary-school children aged 8 to 11. Compare this with the situation in Tory grandee Boris Johnson's London, where children can travel free on public transport." A North Yorkshire County Council report to the meeting pointed out that the September 2014 increase to £480 had led to a "much-reduced" take-up of post-16 transport. Green candidate Leslie Rowe pointed out the environmental impact of the thousands more car journeys now being taken by parents unwilling to pay those exorbitant charges. "This has increased the County's carbon footprint at a time when we are obliged by international agreements to reduce it." "Teaching problems at various schools, including Richmond, have also led to an increase in after-school revision and extra-curricular activities, so pupils miss the scheduled bus home," commented Mr Rowe. "If forced to pay, pupils should have the option of paying only for the journeys they actually take, especially where buses are running with empty spaces, because of the already reduced take up." During his statement to the committee Leslie Rowe acknowledged the leadership of Councillor John Blackie on this issue. "Although John Blackie and I are opponents in the parliamentary election I acknowledge that he has led the fight against school-bus charges in the County Council in recent months and we are as one in our opposition to this discrimination against local children. The council should fulfil its statutory duty to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment as soon as possible." "Although the proposal to increase the post-16 charge to £550 has been shelved until after the general election you can be sure it will be reintroduced once the election is over. This tax on children's education has been forced on North Yorkshire by the Tory and Lib Dem coalition austerity measures. As the Conservatives regard the Richmond constituency as a safe Tory seat they think they can impose this tax on kids with impunity. They would not dare to introduce such charges in more marginal urban areas such as London. This is discrimination against rural communities and they should not be allowed to get away with it." Promoted by Leslie Rowe on behalf of Richmond Constituency Green Party, c/o 73 Richmond Road, Brompton on Swale, Richmond, DL10 7HF

Monday, 16 February 2015

Towards a Citizen’s Income

A Citizen’s Income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income paid to every individual as a right of citizenship. The Green Party have called for the statutory minimum wage to be immediately lifted to Living Wage levels and for a £10 per hour minimum wage for all by 2020. But longer term our target is a Citizen’s Income. As a party committed to social justice, measures such as the Citizen’s Income that redistribute wealth are central to our economic policy. Our creaking welfare system gets ever more complex, yet it often fails to provide security to those who need it most. In the longer run, a fundamental reform is needed where most of the complicated benefits, means tests and qualifying contributions are swept away, and all citizens receive, as of right, a universal basic income, or ‘Citizen’s Income’. A commitment to introducing a Citizen’s Income in the long term will be part of the Green Party’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election. Citizen’s Income represents a major structural change to the welfare system and requires wide and thorough consultation and input from stakeholders. Our manifesto working group is currently working on figures as a basis for that consultation, which will be available by the time of the manifesto release in late March 2015.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Green Candidates Back NHS Reinstatement Bill

Leslie Rowe, the Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond (Yorks) and one hundred other Green Party candidates for the May General Election have given their clear support for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015 [1] and there is no sign of that support slowing down. This impressive wave of support reflects the Party’s core commitment to public services which are not privatised, but are true to their founding principles and can safely continue to be publicly owned for the future. Leslie Rowe commented: "The NHS is facing its biggest threat in sixty years, with the Tories and Lib Dem coalition championing the privatisation of the NHS through their Health and Social Care Act 2012. Another ConDem government will turn the NHS into nothing more than a logo for a privatised health service. The NHS Reinstatement Bill will reverse the privatisation process and protect the concept of a publicly funded, publicly provided health service." More candidates are adding their support all the time [you can see what the candidates in your area say here]. The NHS Reinstatement Bill frames a clear mechanism to protect the NHS against the damage of privatisation, in overturning key aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and earlier legislation that set the NHS in England on the road to fragmentation – often without public consultation, and nearly always without their full awareness. As such, it reflects Green Party policy towards the NHS and other public institutions which have been threatened by privatisation and now stand on the brink of collapse as successive governments sought to sell them off for ideological reasons, and despite growing evidence that there is no strong financial argument supporting the privatisation agenda [2]. Far from being yet another ‘top-down, centralised, re-structuring’, crucially the NHS Reinstatement Bill hands responsibility for provision of service back to the Secretary of State for Health, something the HSCA severed [3] – thereby effectively uncoupling ultimate responsibility for the NHS from Parliament. It also spells out how, if the NHS is to be saved, it must: • Reinstate the government’s duty to provide the NHS in England. • Re-establish NHS England as a special health authority. • Re-establish District Health Authorities, with Family Health Services Committees to administer arrangements with GPs, dentists and others. • Abolish marketised bodies such as NHS foundation trusts, as well as Monitor, the regulator of NHS foundation trusts and commercial companies [4]. • Allow commercial companies to provide services only if the NHS could not do so and otherwise patients would suffer [5]. • Abolish competition [2]. • Re-establish Community Health Councils to represent the interest of the public. • Stop licence conditions imposed by Monitor on NHS foundation trusts. These will reduce the number of services that they currently have to provide from April 2016: the end of the universal service. • Bring the terms and conditions of NHS staff back under the NHS Staff Council [6]. • Prohibit ratification of treaties like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) without the approval of Parliament if they would cover the NHS [7]. Jillian Creasy is Health spokesperson for the Green Party, and prospective parliamentary candidate, Sheffield Central: “I fully support the NHS Reinstatement Bill. I qualified as a doctor in 1982. I have worked through the marketisation and privatisation of the Tory and Labour years and now the Coalition. Bringing in private providers does not only fragment services and leach money out of the public economy, it threatened the whole ethos of public service. Staff across the board have been forced to concentrate on prices and targets, instead of thinking about how to maximize the quality of care. Nothing short of complete reversal of privatisation will restore the NHS we know and love.” Professor Allyson Pollock worked with Peter Roderick, a lawyer, on the NHS Reinstatement Bill: “We’re delighted so many Green Party candidates have voiced their support. It’s encouraging to see candidates for a party which stands for responsible public ownership and an eye to the legacy we leave our descendants say they are behind us. Members of the public, parliamentary candidates, health professionals: all are coming forward to say enough is enough – and this Bill is the way back to a future health service we can be proud to think of protecting. Please, if you do nothing else before this election, ask your parliamentary candidates to say what they think of the NHS Reinstatement Bill and let us know.” Editors’ Notes [1] The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill is a non-partisan campaign and has a wide range of support across the political spectrum ( ). It encourages the public to contact prospective parliamentary candidates in their constituency, determine their views on the Reinstatement Bill, and gain their support for it wherever possible: @nhsbill2015 The Campaign’s press officer is Alan Taman: 07870 757 309 [2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models. [Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon. [3] The HSCA has removed the Secretary of State for Health’s responsibility to provide as well as promote a universal, comprehensive health service in England. In effect, this has compromised parliament’s ultimate responsibility for the NHS. [Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 178-181.]The NHS Reinstatement Bill [] would restore this founding principle of the NHS, which has been undermined largely for ideological reasons and despite the evidence that inequalities in health are growing in the UK as a direct result of wider inequalities fostered by the same ideology [Dorling, D. (2013) Unequal Health: The scandal of our times. The Policy Press: London, Chapter 1]. [4] The Bill would ensure that any handover of employment for NHS staff from NHS FTs, CCGs and NHS trusts to the new NHS bodies was conducted with the full participation of Trade Unions and would require the Secretary of State for Health to make regulations setting out the terms and conditions of transfer. Overturning the current situation where long-established agreements with the workforce are being systematically overturned, to the detriment of many NHS staff. [5] The NHS has always used private firms, partnerships and individual traders to provide services it could not easily or as cost-effectively provide for itself, eg some legal services and construction of or repair to NHS buildings. What the NHS Reinstatement Bill does is end the current obligation on NHS services to use tendering to determine which organisation delivers front-line healthcare: this is pro-privatisation engineering and is an ongoing threat to the comprehensiveness of NHS care. [6] The Bill would ensure that any handover of employment for NHS staff from NHS FTs, CCGs and NHS trusts to the new NHS bodies was conducted with the full participation of Trade Unions and would require the Secretary of State for Health to make regulations setting out the terms and conditions of transfer. [7] The TTIP, if enacted as it stands currently, would make it very difficult for future governments to reverse the provision of healthcare by private organisations if they could show this would prove commercially damaging to them [ ].

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Leslie Rowe visit to Wensleydale School

As the Green Party’s general-election candidate for the Richmond constituency, I was impressed when I met pupils at Wensleydale School in Leyburn on Thursday 29th January 2015. A group of pupils from Years 7 to 11 questioned me on the Green party’s policies as part of the school’s ‘Lights, Camera, Parliament’ project. There were some excellent questions on dairy farming, electoral reform, the preponderence of public schoolboys in Parliament, nuclear power and my own personal campaigns. Notably, students were asking all candidates what they personally would do for the Richmond constituency, a question which I think William Hague, after twenty five years in the job, would find difficult to answer. After meeting the pupils, I commented: “They asked well-researched questions, followed up with supplementary questions and challenged my answers – just as voters should. The future of our democracy looks healthy in Wensleydale. I congratulate the school’s Headteacher, Graham Parker, and Charlie Barnett, the teacher who leads the project, on this innovative approach.” My visit to the school was just one event in my fact-finding tour of the constituency, which is chronicled on the Facebook page

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Liberal Democrat NHS Betrayal

The Conservatives promised before the 2010 general election not to impose a top-down reorganisation of the NHS. What followed was one of the most fundamental NHS reorganisations yet envisaged, which generated especially widespread "opprobrium" (quote from Wikipedia). This Path to Privatisation was achieved with the active help and support of the Liberal Democrats and by building on the privatisation started under New Labour. (Remember the great PFI scandals?) Now more than a third of doctors on the new clinical commissioning groups have links with private health-care companies. The Liberal Democrats in government have become notorious for reneging on their manifesto promises. Whilst their disgraceful volte-face on both tuition fees and electoral reform are well known, it is their betrayal of the NHS that is most unforgiveable in my opinion. The Liberal Democrats pledged to "cut NHS centralised targets and bureaucracy" and improve waiting times (Lib Dem Manifesto 2010). We now know the exact opposite has happened, with Accident and Emergency departments across the country crumbling after the coalition government, including the Liberal Democrats, reduced their funding to just one third of what they need. NHS England (created as part of this mammoth reorganisation) reports that it missed its four-hour waiting-limit target by 2.4% for the last quarter of 2014. The money wasted on this reorganisation, along with direct cuts in the Accident and Emergency budget, has led to 133,000 people waiting more than four hours and NHS performance dropping to its worst level for a decade. Now here is a pledge that will not be broken. The Green Party will take the NHS back into public ownership and ensure it is adequately funded. This means an extra £8bn by 2020, funded in part by cancelling Trident. Here are some of the Green Party health policies: The Party will continue to support the principle that the NHS is a national service, free at the point of entry and fully funded by taxation. Opposition to third-way health reform, so we actively oppose and seek to reverse any public-service health-policy reforms that lead to: • a two- or multi-tier health service with uneven standards and service provision, • further disconnection of the service from public accountability – via local, regional or national government, • the undermining of a fully integrated NHS, publicly funded and committed to high-quality universal provision with free services at the point of use, or • creeping privatisation. What can you do to campaign to keep the NHS public? Join the national events in February 2015, which can be found easily on the Keep Our NHS Public website I also recommend you read NHS SOS, available from the publishers, One World. Proceeds from NHS SOS will go to Keep Our NHS Public. The May 2015 election will be vital in deciding the future of the NHS. NHS SOS shows that the Conservatives (supported by the Lib Dems) clearly wish to privatise the NHS, have already started the process and will continue to do so. They appear to be lining up their friends in private companies for lucrative contracts. The book also highlights Labour’s involvement in privatisation and the Private Finance Initiative. The Green Party is the clear choice if you want to keep the NHS public. “A free health service is a triumphant example of the superiority of the principles of collective action and public initiative against the commercial principle of profit and greed.” Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

A Quiet Revolution!

A happy New Year to all our readers! I hope that 2015 will be a good year for you all, a year of positive change! To help achieve this I am proud to have been selected by the Richmond Constituency Green Party as our Parliamentary candidate for 2015. I stood in 2005 and 2010, but this year sees a major change in the fortunes of the Richmond Green Party. Support for the Green Party has never been higher and in 2014 we doubled our membership. I believe that this takes us ahead of the Liberal Democrats. So what change is needed in 2015? I believe that what is needed for good and lasting change is nothing short of a revolution! A peaceful revolution, but a revolution all the same. If elected, Green MPs will call for a Constitutional conference as soon as possible after the election, to look at all aspects of democracy and public administration. For too long have we been governed by an elected dictatorship of public schoolboys, selected via a corrupt system ruled by money and privilege, where the wishes of local people are over-ruled by the vested interests that control all the old political parties. The Labour Party produced Tony Blair who took us into illegal wars and got rich from the aftermath of war. The Tory Party are ruled by a public school elite who ignore local talent and put up one millionaire after another as their candidate, none of whom can claim to have done one solid thing for the Richmond constituency. For instance, they claim to support the Friarage Hospital, but it is Tory legislation that is cutting NHS services and privatising the remainder. The Liberal Democrats just break their promises, like their written pledge to abolish tuition fees. The Green Party will campaign for a Constitutional Commission which will be required to draft a written constitution, oversee and arbitrate the process of decentralisation and take over the functions of the Boundary Commissions and the Electoral Commission. The Constitutional Commission would also be responsible for overseeing the appointment of an independent judiciary. The Commission must be accountable, representative, diverse, aware of practical requirements and grassroots concerns and be independent of Westminster. The Green Party will recommend to the Constitutional Commission that a gradual but complete decentralisation of powers be written into the Constitution; that the Constitution be based on agreed moral principles and that it fully guarantee political rights as well as wider human rights. North Yorkshire County Council is in the process of reducing services to a bare minimum, public transport and the library service being the latest victims of their cuts. In order for councils to be sufficiently legitimate and trustworthy to take on increased responsibility, large-scale electoral reform will be required, along with immediate legislation for citizens' rights. That electoral reform would guarantee that all citizens are represented in local and national government, not just the largest (or richest) minority. Parliament needs to be prepared to surrender many of its traditional powers, and actively assist in the process of decentralisation. To this end, Parliament has a number of key roles to play: first, to devolve functions to more local bodies; second, to lift its hold over councils and enable them to manage their own affairs and third, to work with the Constitutional Commission to meet demands from local Government to take on responsibility for resources and functions that are currently dealt with at too high a level by central Government and increasingly, the private sector. The Constitutional Commission will be responsible for keeping the boundaries and structures of local and regional government under review, taking account of the views of local authorities and residents. The aim should be to move towards structures that better reflect the ecology of the land and the character of local communities and that guarantee better democratic decision-making and the effective provision of public services. Any significant proposed changes to such structures would be subject to a referendum of all residents affected. The result of these policies will be to strip power from the political élite and give it back to local people. This is the revolution I want to see in 2015. If you are sick and tired of the corruption at the heart of Government, then please join the Green Party in calling for real change in 2015. Together we CAN BRING ABOUT A REAL REVOLUTION!