Welcome to our second new style newsletter!
I am pleased to tell you that at our AGM meeting at the end of September we agreed a new DGP Officer structure. This was put forward by a small committee and led by Neil Payne.
Thanks to all who helped.
The structure has been developed with a view to responding to a number of challenges:
a) our long serving Secretary Carol Byrom has resigned; she had taken on a huge number of extra responsibilities over her time in post, to the degree that her tasks would be daunting for lesser mortals - many thanks Carol for all your hard work
b) the need to respond to changes in our database management which is controlled by the central Green Party
c) the need to improve our communications - both internally and externally
d) the need to respond to our increased geographical area
e) the desire to involve more members in the running of DGP by offering more officer posts.
Most of the posts were filled, but a number remain. If you are interested in making your contribution, please get involved!
Enjoy the Newsletter!
Graham Lambert, Chair, Dorset Green Party
Would you like to get involved in local politics? Want to help paint the agenda green?
Well now is your chance!
We’ve just restructured the Dorset Green Party and there are some exciting new roles that need filling.
Why not see if one takes your fancy?
EVENTS ORGANISER - can you help put on events for us? We need someone to manage events, whether virtual or in person, that help in achieving our goals as a local party. This would include responsibilities such as bookings, promotions, managing speakers and working closely with our Communications Team.
MEDIA EDITOR - if you’re a wordsmith, then this role is for you! We need someone to take charge of writing and styling our communications. This would involve writing press releases, blogs, candidate bios, events adverts and anything else the Party needs.
NEWSLETTER EDITOR - do you think you could improve our Newsletter? Yes this one! Well, why not become the Editor? This would involve planning content, gathering contributions, editing and producing our periodical.
SOCIAL MEDIA EDITORS - if you’re into your social media, then we would love to have you get involved in ours too! Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Insta or anything else, if you have time to put into helping to run our accounts, then come and get involved. We need a few, so even if it’s a few hours a week, come and support us.
CAMPAIGNS ADMIN - this role needs someone to support the Campaigns Manager with project management and admin, as well as liaising with other Party officials responsible for local campaigns. A great chance to get involved in something practical at a local level!
All of the roles involve working closely with the wider team, so if you fancy getting involved rest assured you will have a lot of support around you.
If you would like to take on a role, or if you have any questions, email us at email@example.com and we can tell you more.
Monday 9th November 7.30pm to 9pm
Join an online workshop in the Standing for… series from the Parliament Project, a non-partisan project to inspire, empower and encourage women to run for political office in the UK.
They say "This week ...we will be joined by the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Greens. We want to demystify the process of standing for the party in all spheres of elected office. Learn more about the two parties, language used in the parties internally ....we want to support you to define your own next steps in standing for elected office..... with panellists Scottish Greens Co-leader Lorna Slater and Councillor Kim Long, and from the Green Party of England and Wales Senior Field Organiser Peggy Wiseman and Councillor Natalie McVey."
This is a women-only event.
All are welcome - a great chance to connect with other Greens in Dorset!
Join us on Monday 16th November at 7:30pm for our first Zoom Discussion Evening.
Graham Lambert will be giving a short presentation on Climate Change and Equity followed by a discussion on the issue and how it might inform our future campaigning.
Please email Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate your interest and the Zoom link will be sent to you prior to the evening.
We hope to see you there!
Not Green Party events but many of you will be interested in these two DorsetCAN meetings:
Help create a new Network for action on Climate and Environment in Dorset’s rural county - the Dorset Climate Action Network (DorsetCAN).
Join Zoom Meeting here:
The Purpose of the Open Meeting is to bring together everyone in Dorset who acknowledges we are in a Climate & Ecological Emergency and wants to do something about it
Please RSVP to email@example.com if you intend to take part in either or both of these DorsetCAN meetings and to read introductory documents.
to address specifically Dorset Council's Climate & Ecological Strategy
Join the Zoom Meeting here:
Take a look at what our neighbours have achieved with their county-wide network groups:
Wiltshire Climate Alliance: https://www.wiltshireclimatealliance.org.uk/
Devon Climate Emergency: https://www.devonclimateemergency.org.uk/
As part of our series of articles looking at the work of our local councillors, in this newsletter we interviewed Brian Heatley (Rodwell and Wyke) and asked him how he is finding the role.
Brian, can you give us some idea as to why you became a Green Councillor?
While being a minority Councillor is very frustrating, becoming one increases the profile of green issues both within the Council and generally locally. And in the much longer run electing enough Councillors increases the chances of electing Green MPs and supports the overall cause.
But from a personal point of view I stood because the creation of the unitary Dorset Council created a seat that I thought we could win on the back of Clare Sutton’s earlier election to and hard work on the County Council, and I didn’t think we should waste the opportunity.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
Curiously perhaps some of the Council Committee meetings and the opportunity to put our way of thinking creatively to an audience of other councillors often coming from a completely different point of view.
One thing I didn’t really think about before I was elected is that before the election you spend most of your time in the company of like minded green thinking people; after it you spend most of it with your political opponents. Many of them are not quite the caricatures we tend to make of them.
How can Green Councillors make a difference locally?
By intervening in a practical way in the things that affect your local ward. Often it’s quite small things, just now I’m trying to get the 30mph speed limit properly enforced on the A354 main road from Dorchester to Portland on Buxton Road, which nevertheless affects a lot of people.
And more widely I kept nagging the Council about buying green electricity as a Council, and they are now on greenish tariff.
What are the biggest challenges of being a Councillor?
Making a difference to the big things. Dorset have adopted a Corporate Plan and are adopting a Climate and Ecological Strategy. We (and especially Kelvin Clayton who leads on climate issues) press our points (not just climate, also social justice) hard at every opportunity.
It’s frustratingly difficult to see what difference we are making – I think the Corporate Plan was, and the Climate Strategy will be, better (though still insufficiently ambitious) because we are there, but it’s hard to prove it.
Would YOU like to become a Councillor?
We can give you lots of help, support and guidance on how to join Brian and our other Green councillors in Dorset!
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
As outlined in our previous newsletter, the Dorset Green Party supports re-visiting the Navitus Bay offshore wind farm.
By Pete West
The Conservative Party has recently published a target for a 4-fold increase in offshore wind turbines by 2030 - mainly in the North Sea but the policy opens the door to re-visit the Navitus Bay project.
The Dorset Green Party believes, in light of these current targets and the obvious need to start generating power locally, the situation has changed so dramatically since the original planning application was turned down by the Secretary of State in 2015, that we need to grasp this opportunity.
The cost of offshore wind energy has halved and is now comparable to the cost of generation from new gas fired power stations. In addition, the need to take urgent action within a very short time to tackle the threat of runaway climate change has become absolutely clear.
Therefore the Dorset Green Party has included support for re-visiting the Navitus Bay Offshore wind farm in our 2020-24 strategy.
We look forward to collaborating with other political parties, local authorities and concerned citizens to support a wind farm similar to the original Navitus Bay proposal 10 miles off the Dorset coast, which together with existing solar farms would supply the equivalent of the entire annual electricity consumption of Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset.
Would you like to get involved with our Campaign Team on the Navitus Bay project? We’d love to hear from you, so please send us an email to email@example.com
The Dorset Green Party are currently helping in the campaign against the building of an industrial scale incinerator by Powerfuel Portland Ltd.
The site earmarked in Portland is by the sea on Balaclava Bay and would burn up to 202,000 tonnes of ‘Refuse Derived Fuel’ (RDF) a year.
At present, those in favour of the waste incinerator argue it will create jobs and generate electric power from waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
However, we believe these points are significantly outweighed by other considerations.
If you want to make your voice heard, please visit https://stopportlandwasteincinerator.co.uk for guidance on how to submit an objection.
In this edition, Belinda Bawden updates on various initiatives in Lyme Regis including a transport project by the Royal College of Art (yes you did read that right).
Clare Sutton (Leader of the Green Group on Dorset Council) describes her journey to becoming a councillor and encourages you to do the same.
and here's Bridport Town Councillor Julian Jones on the value of being proactive.
The effects of Covid, or more accurately societies' response to the threat of Covid infection, has diminished local political activity. That said, Bridport Town Council has adapted well to the need for digital meetings and has been quite brave about resuming the street market and allowing or organising open air events like BLM rallies, music events and concerts.
As a councillor I feel this period accentuates the common hazard of becoming more reactive than proactive. For instance, we had to respond recently to a Planning Green Paper which contains many harmful and worrying proposals such as gutting much of the affordable housing requirement on developers. That tends to result in defending what is in fact a very inadequate system merely to fend off something worse. The crisis also impacts severely on public transport and could cause even higher levels of car use despite some efforts to increase cycling and walking.
I am hoping to be more proactive by starting discussion of a fairly radical medium-term plan to reclaim the central streets of Bridport for its citizens and visitors by pushing out much of the motorised traffic to the bypass or other more circuitous routes. I would also like to persuade fellow councillors that devoting large areas of inner Bridport to use as open-air car parks is a real waste of that land’s potential. Cars don’t need sunshine, they are equally happy parked underground or in shade. We need to treat these sites as brownfield land ripe for development of council housing above the parking (the sites are of course owned by Dorset Council). This would undercut the case for development on greenfield sites such as Vearse Farm, and concentrate new housing in areas which minimise need for car use.
Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley were re-elected as co-leaders of the Green Party with 49% of the vote ahead of Rosi Sexton in second place on 27% and Shahrar Ali in third on 24%.
Rosi Sexton's energetic campaign generated a lot of support and interest on social media as she emphasised a more pragmatic less ideological approach to winning elections. A former mathematician and elite-level mixed martial arts fighter, she now works as an osteopath. She was elected to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in May 2019, where the group of 14 forms the official opposition to the Conservatives.
Turnout for the leadership election was a very disappointing 16% but it was conducted entirely online so that may account for it.
The party’s deputy leader, Amelia Womack, was re-elected for a fourth term on 40 per cent of the vote coming in ahead of Cleo Lake on 29%.
Molly Scott Cato was elected to become the Green Party's next choice for the House of Lords when we are next offered a position.
Full results here:
The Belgian Green Party has gone into a coalition government. The Greens will hold the climate, environment, sustainable development, energy, mobility and gender equality portfolios. The most recent election in May 2019 resulted in ten parties with over 5% of the vote but no party with over 20%. The period since has seen caretaker and minority governments but finally a deal has been done that unites the Francophone and Flemish Liberal, Green, and Socialist parties, and the Flemish Christian Democrats.
In Ireland the Green Party are now in coalition government but there have been some high-profile activists leaving the party saying they have compromised too much with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. The Green Party is now down to 4% in the polls (from 7% at the general election) and the leader Eamon Ryan's approval rating has dropped from 40 to 27%.
Please tell your friends about this newsletter. Use this link where they can read the newsletter and sign up.