Kent Green Party - One World. Once Chance.

News from Kent Greens

Recent news from Kent Greens. For older items visit our news blog. For a selection of our recent letters to the press, visit our letters page here.

Hunger strike to make votes matter
Mon, 05 Feb 2018

A leading member of the Green Party in Kent will be on hunger strike outside Parliament tomorrow as part of a national campaign for Proportional Representation to make votes count. The protest is 100 years to the day that some women were allowed to vote for the first time and has been organised by the Make Votes Matter campaign.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "Until 1918 70% of adults including all women were not entitled to vote. The campaigns by the suffragists and suffragettes changed that. While almost all adults can now vote, our current voting system means that 68% of us still do not have a vote that counts.

"The First Past The Post system gives us a huge democratic deficit where the will of the people is not reflected in the makeup of Parliament. Most western countries have ditched this system and it is time that the UK did so too.

"I will be joining hunger strikers in Parliament Square to send a clear message to Parliament that we will not allow this to continue. We cannot accept a system that sees governments elected by a small number of voters and that excludes people from being represented by a party of their choosing."

On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act passed into law, extending voting rights to some women and all men over 21 for the first time. Until then, around 70% of the adult population were not allowed to vote.

Today all adults are allowed to vote but - thanks to our First Past the Post voting system - most of us still don't have a vote that counts. In the 2017 general election, 68% of votes had no impact on the result, either going to losing candidates or piling up in safe seats without influencing the makeup up Parliament.

We're hunger striking to draw attention to the injustice of a voting system that denies representation to millions, returns Parliaments that don't reflect the voters, and gives us governments that most of us didn't vote for.

We're calling for Proportional Representation, so that seats match votes and everyone has a vote that matters equally. And we're calling on everyone who wants fair votes to join the movement and take action to win real democracy in the UK.

The passing of the 1918 Act was the result of decades of campaigning by suffragists and suffragettes. We recognise the severity of what these campaigners went through to win the vote, that for some British people hunger is a daily reality, and that sexism remains prevalent in the 21st Century.

Respecting this, we invite donations from participants (contribute the money you'd have spent on food for the day, ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you) and other supporters and shall split funds between a food bank, a women's charity and Make Votes Matter.

Green-wash, Brexit and reshuffles: Our KCC member on Paul on Politics
Sun, 14 Jan 2018
Our Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, was on this Friday's Paul on Politics show on KMTV. In an entertaining and wide-ranging discussion, alongside fellow KCC councillor, Labour's Karen Constantine, he discussed Tory green-wash, in light of Theresa May's speech on Thursday (too vague, too little on how the aspirations would be achieved and still a long way to go from a government that pursues schemes such as the Lower Thames Crossing and a new runway at Heathrow, blatantly ignores issues such as air quality, and still pursues fossil fuels through fracking).

Also on the agenda was a second Brexit referendum and what a hard Brexit could mean for Kent (including why the lorry park proposal was "a dumb idea that I hope is now dead in the water") plus central government and KCC reshuffles, including why the KCC cabinet member for transport is like the England football manager's job - it never ends well.

To view the show, click here:

KMTV is Kent's first dedicated television channel. It is also available on Freeview channel 7 and Virgin Media channel 159.

Kent Police in Lancashire: Greens demand answers
Wed, 30 Aug 2017
A Kent Police riot van was filmed on the Preston New Road (PNR) site where the anti-fracking demonstrations have been held for many months now. PNR is currently the front line of the anti-fracking campaign after Lancashire County Council turned down an application to frack there only to have it overturned by the Secretary of State.

A couple of years ago Kent Police went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "Kent Police have an unhealthy interest in fracking. Three years ago they went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too. Now we find them working in Lancashire as part of the ridiculously huge security detail that is guarding the Caudrilla site against peaceful protesters.

"I want to know what they are doing there and who is paying for them. I want to know why they have an interest in the anti-fracking movement when there are crimes being committed on the streets of Kent. I want to know who decided it was OK for them to travel 300 miles to Lancashire rather than policing the towns in Kent.

"I will be writing to the Chief Constable to ask for an explanation."

See this video from PNR starting at 13:50

Victory in the KCC elections
Tue, 09 May 2017
Martin Whybrow will once more take a voice for the environment and local communities to Kent County Council, having been elected to the Hythe West division. It was the only division of the six in Shepway that did not end up with the Tories and, indeed, across the district, the Green Party moved into second place, above all other opposition parties, in terms of the percentage of the vote.

Martin says: "In some ways, this was an even bigger achievement than when I was elected as the first ever Green Party member of KCC four years ago. This time around, we did not have the element of surprise and we also had to contend with boundary changes, which cut our traditional supporter base in Hythe in half. Added to this, we had a major swing across the county and across the whole country to the Tories, with many UKIP voters heading this way."

There were also strong performances from the Green Party's other candidates, despite a major focus of resources on Hythe West. It was a huge team effort, with may people putting in a great deal of time and effort. As well as local members and supporters, the party had support from people from other Kent Green Party branches and also visits from co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, and deputy leader, Amelia Womack. The Hythe West division includes Dymchurch and Lympne, where a great deal of canvassing and other work was done to communicate our key messages around protecting open spaces and front-line services.

Hythe West was a clear two-horse race between Martin and Tory town and district councillor, David Owen. Martin secured 41 per cent of the vote, 2234 votes, on a healthy turn out of 42 per cent, a majority of almost 200. UKIP was a distant third with 9 per cent, followed by Labour and the LibDems (6 and 5 per cent, respectively). Again, across the district, the Green Party's total number of votes increased from 2216 in 2013 to 4246.

Attention now turns to the general election, where Martin has been selected as the Green Party candidate for Folkestone & Hythe. Once more, our campaign will be hugely reliant on volunteers, so we'd be delighted to hear from anyone who is able to help in any way, including displaying boards and posters or leafleting.