Free time should be measure of UK’s well-being, say Greens

From BBC News: People’s free time should be recorded as a way to measure the UK’s “well-being”, the Green Party says.

The party is calling for a “Free Time Index” and says that time spent outside work and commuting is a better measure of how well the UK is doing than GDP.

Co-leader Sian Berry told the BBC work-life balance was “in crisis” and more people were working while commuting.

The party also said it wanted paid training leave for all workers to boost skills and reduce staff turnover.

Calling for new free time indicators to be included in the next Budget, Ms Berry told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Work-life balance is an incredibly important indicator of people’s well-being and it is in crisis at the moment.

“People are constantly ‘on’, even when they are commuting. There’s an enormous amount of unpaid caring going on which doesn’t get measured, which doesn’t leave people with very much free time either. We have got a mental health crisis and we think we should be measuring this.”

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Adam Price replaces Leanne Wood as Plaid Cymru leader

From BBC News: Adam Price has won the Plaid Cymru leadership contest, taking nearly 50 per cent of the vote.

The assembly member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr defeated Rhun ap Iorwerth and former leader Leanne Wood in a ballot of party members.

Despite leading the party for six years, Ms Wood came last.

In his victory address at the Novotel in Cardiff, Mr Price said: “This election shows we are ready to lead again. Our time has come.”

He told party members: “Our message must be simple. Yes, Wales can.”

The AM is the first openly gay assembly party leader in the history of the institution and leads the third largest group in the Senedd, behind Labour and the Tories.

Mr Price, who has vowed to put independence at the core of his party’s message, said: “There will be no second class travellers on our journey to a prosperous, self-confident and independent Wales.”

“We must become the hope of those without hope.”

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Corbyn: I’ll create 400,000 green jobs

From BBC News: Jeremy Corbyn will promise to “kickstart a green jobs revolution” if Labour wins power, in his closing speech to his party’s conference.

He will point to Labour’s commitment to reduce the UK’s net carbon emissions by 60% by 2030 – and to zero by 2050.

To achieve that, 400,000 skilled jobs will need to be created, he will tell delegates in Liverpool.

The move will be part of a “radical plan we need to rebuild and transform Britain”, the Labour leader will say.

Much of the money to pay for the policy will come from the public purse – such as the £12.8bn Labour says it will set aside for subsidies to insulate homes in Labour’s first term.

The party says this policy alone will create 160,000 new jobs. There will also be subsidies for offshore and onshore wind and solar energy.

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Britain is on the brink of ‘social collapse,’ Labour council leaders warn

From Morning Star: Britain is on the brink of “social collapse” after “eight years of uninterrupted austerity” caused by brutal Tory spending cuts, Labour council leaders warned today.

Twenty-six leaders of Labour-controlled councils have signed an open letter calling on the government to “recognise the catastrophic impact” that #austerity has had on local authorities across Britain.

The statement, released under the banner of Councils Against Austerity, says budgets have been squeezed by direct government cuts and other pressures.

Pointing out that the shortage of funding has had a “disastrous knock-on effect” on services, the council leaders said that nearly half of all local authorities nationwide have experienced serious setbacks in their daily operations and increasing numbers are cutting all services to a bare minimum.

The leaders warn that many councils will soon be unable to perform the basic level of service expected of them, with street cleaners, park maintenance workers, library staff and other municipal workers facing an uncertain future.

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Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry elected Green Party co-leaders

From BBC News: Sian Berry and Jonathan Bartley have been elected joint leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales.

Mr Bartley had shared the leadership role with MP Caroline Lucas, but she decided not to stand again.

London Assembly member Ms Berry will now serve a two-year term as co-leader of the party alongside Mr Bartley.

Ms Berry and Mr Bartley won 6,239 of a total 8,379 votes cast.

The co-leaders said they wanted the party to be “the opposite of vapid, old school centrist politics” by responding to the “big challenges of our time – from Brexit to climate breakdown and the housing crisis, to automation and the broken world of work”.

They also promised “fiercer Green resistance” against fracking and the HS2 rail project.

Ms Lucas, the party’s only MP and its figurehead for many years, was arrested during a fracking demonstration in 2013.

The new co-leaders said they wanted to see Green representation on every council in England as part of their ambition of becoming the “third political party” in Britain.

[Read full article on BBC News…]

We were wrong to go along with Tories on immigration – senior Lib Dem

From The Guardian: The Liberal Democrats were wrong to agree harsh immigration measures such as minimum income thresholds for families, one of the party’s former cabinet ministers has admitted, as the party sets out reforms to “detoxify” the debate.

Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman who was energy secretary during part of the 2010-2015 coalition, said imposing a minimum income level for British citizens to bring spouses or family from non-EU countries had been devastating for many people and had split up families.

Davey said it had been one of the “trade-offs” of coalition which the party would now campaign to reverse.

“It was one of the worst coalition decisions, one of the toughest for me personally and for many Liberal Democrats,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to give in on some issues, like green energy, the pupil premium, income tax thresholds, and they didn’t want to give in on immigration.

“There were things we did have to go along with which I thought were wrong. This was an uncomfortable compromise, absolutely, and it’s one of the reasons why I would love to get rid of this as quickly as possible – it is nasty and unfair.”

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Why austerity doesn’t work – video from the Labour Party

Why austerity doesn’t work, neatly explained in this easy-watch social video from the Labour Party.

Cycle of Austerity

Austerity doesn’t work.

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Friday, August 17, 2018

Vince Cable says ‘centre of gravity’ shifting to second Brexit vote

From The Guardian: The “centre of gravity” on Brexit is shifting towards a second referendum on the final deal, the Liberal Democrat leader has said. Vince Cable was speaking as thousands of opponents of Brexit in the south-west of England took part in the first of a series of regional days of action planned by the People’s Vote campaign across the country.

Joining Conservative and Labour MPs and a Green MEP in addressing more than 700 supporters of a second referendum at Colston Hall in Bristol, Cable rejected claims that it would be undemocratic to put the question of EU membership back to another public vote, after the 52%–48% victory for leave in 2016.

Promises of a smooth and amicable withdrawal deal and a cash boost for the NHS had proved unfounded, Donald Trump’s protectionist policies had cast doubt on Brexiters’ vision of new trade deals, and voters were now more aware of the complexities of issues such as the Irish border, he said.

“The world has changed,” Cable told Sky News. “It is perfectly reasonable to go back to the public and ask, ‘Is this what you really want, or do you want to stay in the EU and reform it from within?’ It is a perfectly legitimate democratic expression.

“It is perfectly normal in countries that have a tradition of referendums – which we haven’t in the UK – to have confirmatory votes at the end to see whether people are happy with what the government has negotiated.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Responsibility for Windrush deportations rests “squarely on Theresa May’s shoulders” – Caroline Lucas

From Morning Star: Responsibility for the Windrush scandal falls “squarely on the shoulders” of Theresa May for ignoring a report warning her what would happen, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas charged yesterday.

The Brighton Pavilion MP had tabled a written question asking if Ms May, as home secretary, had acted on the Legal Action Group’s prescient October 2014 report Chasing Status.

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes responded: ”No specific action was taken as a result of this report.”

The report recommended a number of measures which could have prevented the Windrush scandal, including to set up a special unit to fast-track cases of people living in Britain on January 1 1973.

It also called for the restoration of legal aid for these cases, allowing Commonwealth-born citizens to work, access the the NHS and claim benefits and for Home Office proof of residence standards to be revised.

Another of the report’s recommendations was for “greater openness” from the Home Office about its archiving and destruction policies, and for it to accept that some immigration records could be rendered inaccurate or incomplete over time.

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

Video: Mhairi Black on the absurd anti-democratic behaviour of Tory MPs in Commons

From ScotRef: SNP MP Mhairi Black on the appalling anti-democratic tactics used by Tory MPs in the House of Commons to filibuster out Private Members Bills they don’t like.

(Mhairi was talking on a pro-Scottish independence platform, but whatever your views on that topic this is a good watch!)

Everyone needs to watch this at least once. And I mean *everyone* 👍⚔️🗡️⚔️🗡️⚔️#ScotRef

Posted by ScotRef on Saturday, April 7, 2018

‘Shocking’ rise in coroner warnings over NHS patient deaths, says Labour

From The Guardian: The number of legal warnings issued by coroners over patient deaths in England attributed to NHS resourcing issues has risen by 40% in three years.

There were 42 prevention of future death reports (PFDs) relating to issues such as lack of beds, staff shortages and insufficiently trained agency staff in 2016 compared with 30 in 2013.

Coroners have a statutory duty to make reports to a person, organisation, local authority or government department or agency where the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

Labour, which compiled the figures, blamed the increase on the government’s austerity policies.

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Labour MP David Lammy: My constituent arrived from Jamaica in 1964 aged 6. Now he’s received notice of deportation

Labour MP David Lammy writes on Facebook: “I am disgusted and appalled by the case I have just received. My constituent arrived from Jamaica in 1964 aged 6. He has shown me his letter from the Home Office telling him that he will be deported despite having a National Insurance card from 1974 & NHS documentation from 1964.

“The Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister you must sort this today. Why is my constituent being treated like an illegal immigrant despite providing documentation from 1964? This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. Grant him his citizenship and passport.

“I have had 6 Windrush cases come in this morning already at it is only half past 11. Each case is heartbreaking and an utterly shameful indictment of this government. I am so angry at the way my constituents have been treated. The scale of this crisis is absolutely unfathomable.”

I am disgusted and appalled by the case I have just received. My constituent arrived from Jamaica in 1964 aged 6. He has…

Posted by David Lammy on Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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