Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Greens win extra bus journey for Downend | News

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Greens win extra bus journey for Downend News

Great work by Green Party Councillor Alan Richardson on Downend and Bromely Heath Parish Council.

Food and clothes prices: much more than narrow economics

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For me there has never been any such thing as cheap food and clothes because someone or something, somewhere is paying the costs or suffering the consequences of 'low' prices such as in our supermarkets...joined up, systems, thinking shows this. However, even those who have formerly had other perspectives are increasingly saying that the era of 'cheap' food and clothes is over (see the link to the Daily Express article and Primark comments below).

Fascinating interview on Radio 4 today about this (see link below). World demand for meat is up and so is demand for wheat and other grains to feed the animals, land that could or did grow food is being taken for energy crops or other purposes, human population is rising, climate change is cutting yields in key locations - factors like these are increasing demand whilst also lowering supply and that means the dominant overall trend in food prices over time is definitely upwards. Adopting greener lifestyles would over time moderate the upward prices trend.

BBC News - Today - 'Upward long-term food cost trend'

The rising cotton and food prices are driving fears that our weekly shopping could soon become more expensive.

Natalie Berg from the research group Planet Retail examines whether consumers would have to bear the brunt or whether companies would be able to absorb any price rise.

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NEW logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.

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For me this is £73,000 wasted - and the work didn't even go to a local company, supporting the local economy! Its a crazy system that requires a council to go out to tender for this kind of work much of which is perfectly do-able to the same standard in-house with half decent computers and software. Just think of how many care workers could be employed for a year for £73,000...This kind of council waste - and there may well be worse examples - must be cut out now.

NEW logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.

New logos for Bristol's museums service that cost more than £73,000 have been revealed.
Bristol City Council paid Manchester design company True North £73,200 to come up with new identities for all of its museums...

Greens agree to join the yes campaign for the alternative vote referendum

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Green Party Greens to campaign for AV

This is a good sense, pragmatic decision. The alternative vote (AV) system has many flaws - not least that its not a proportional system - but nothing like as many as the current first past the post system. AV is a step in the right direction and has the advantage of demonstrating that electoral system change is wanted, if voted through. AV undermines tactical voting because every vote - not just votes for the eventual winner - will count given that voters can express first, second, third - and further - choices as appropriate. The referendum outcome may have an influence on the choice of electoral system for the second chamber/House of Lords when it is reformed also.

This is how the Electoral Reform Society make the case for AV:

The case for AV

*All MPs would have the support of a majority of their constituents. Following the 2010 election 2/3 of MPs lacked majority support, the highest figure in British political history.

*It retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link.

*It more accurately reflects public opinion of extremist parties, who are unlikely to gain many second-preference votes.

*Coalition governments are no more likely to arise under AV than under First-Past-the-Post.

*It eliminates the need for tactical voting. Electors can vote for their first-choice candidate without fear of wasting their vote.

*It encourages candidates to chase second- and third-preferences, which lessens the need for negative campaigning (one doesn't want to alienate the supporters of another candidate whose second preferences one wants) and rewards broad-church policies.

AV in Practice

*Leadership elections for Labour and Liberal Democrats
*Elections for UK parliamentary officials including Select Committee Chairs.
*Elections for the Academy Award for Best Picture
*Australian House of Representatives.
*Most UK Student Union elections.
*Australian Legislative Assemblies ("lower houses") of all states and territories (bar Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which both use STV).
*Australian Legislative Council in Tasmania.
*Irish Presidential election.
*By-elections to the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish Parliament).
*By-elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
*Papua New Guinea National Parliament (1964-1975 and from 2007).
*Fijian House of Representatives.
*Numerous American Mayoral and district elections.