Monday, 20 April 2015

Anti-Semitism, the BDS and the Green Party

The Green Party has been attracting a lot of attention recently and not all of it good. According to The Times today:

Support for the Green Party has plummeted amongst students since the start of the election campaign amid a growing dislike of it's leader, an opinion poll has found.

Meanwhile her partner/boyfriend has attracted the attention of the Daily Mirror who write:

Radical blogger Jim Jepps, who is dating the Green leader, has posted controversial comments about sex, paedophilia and rape.

An example given was this:

In a post titled “Even monsters have feelings” about Austrian schoolgirl Natascha Kampusch, who was snatched aged 10, held in a cellar for more than eight years and repeatedly raped, Mr Jepps wrote: “These are two people who had a long term and human relationship.”

I'd say "controversial" was an understatement.

Of more worry is the attitude of substantial numbers of activists to anti-Semitism. 

The Forward Blog writes in an article entitled Englands Green Party has an anti-Semitism problem:

Internal party communications reveal that articles by the fascist British National Party and white supremacist David Duke have been circulated on party discussion forums. Other posts on these forums have referred to the Board of Deputies of British Jews as the “Zionist lobby,” adding “we must smash the Zionists.” Zionism in these discussions has been characterised as a form of racial discrimination, “incompatible with Green views,” and “an ancient theological fantasy.” During Operation Protective Edge, Israel was accused of visiting a second Holocaust upon the Palestinians.

Not all Green anti-Semitism is private. One local councillor tweeted an article by the notorious Jew-hater Gilad Atzmon, calling for Britain to “de-Zionize” itself. The current leader of the Welsh Greens, Pippa Bartolotti, has objected to “having a Jewish Zionist ambassador in Israel,” calling his independence and loyalty into question. “From the university of life I have learned that Jews often have a conflict of interest in matters relating to Palestine,” Bartolotti said.

When such actions have been challenged by Green Party members, members with Jewish surnames have been labelled Nazi infiltrators and agents of Israel. Toby Green, who led an internal working group investigating anti-Semitism, resigned his Green membership in 2011,writing “it has become clear that the Green Party is institutionally anti-Semitic. Its institutions have not dealt with clear evidence of anti-Semitism.”

Meanwhile we'll see if Ms Bennett responds to this open letter:

From Boycott The BDS

Letter to the Green Party's Leader, Natalie Bennett.

Dear Natalie,

Please can you explain why your party is running a "hate campaign" against the State of Israel?

As someone who has always been interested in the Green agenda and feels some synergies with ecological views you promote, I am extremely offended that you should single out Israel for your party's ire. Especially:

1. Your promotion of a boycott. Something which you have publicly stated.

2. Your candidate for Twickenham calling Israel racist and apartheid.

3. Your candidate in Brighton who persistently singles out Israel for extreme criticism and bitterness.

May I remind you that Israel is one of the most "green" countries on the planet with world leading advanced eco-friendly policies and practices that your party could only dream of. So on the face of it, the hypocrisy at the core of your hate campaign is remarkable!

To boycott Israel would be at a massive economic and personal cost not just to Jews in Israel, but Muslims, Christians, Bahia, atheists and the multitude of other faiths who are entirely free to practice their beliefs without threat or compromise (where else in the Middle East can you name where that is even vaguely possible) Where young, old, black, brown, white, gay, straight, able and disabled and every race live side by side and have equal rights. Not to mention the disastrous effect it would have on the neighbouring economies and citizens of The West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, the disastrous affect it would have on the regional economies in countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi where excellent trade agreements are in operation.

Then, of course, there is the damage the global advancements. Israel leads on so many fronts. Indeed, I would not be writing this email to you if it were not for Israeli technology (Intel, Microsoft, Internet security amongst many). And the life saving medicines and biotechnology that Israel develops have kept many of your voters from an early grave (heart, diabetes, brain, etc).

So please tell me why you don't rail against:

1. Qatar (where immigrant workers are dying on a daily basis and as a Jew I can't visit because of their racial policy) or

2. Saudi Arabia (where women's rights are almost non existent, for example women are not allowed to drive) or 

3. Iran (where women are given public floggings for being the victims of rape) or

4. Gaza (which has the world's highest incidents of Honour Killings) or 

5. Turkey (which has more journalists in jail than any other country in a mass supressing of freedom of speech) or 

6. Syria (where the slaughter of Christians is a free for all) or

7. Russia (who has invaded Ukraine and slaughtered thousands in an illegal war and where gay rights do not exist) or

8. Or Morocco (which has illegally occupied Western Sahara for decades against very specific UN resolutions).

Need I continue?

Did you protest about the slaughter of Palestinians in Yarmouk? I did after writing to leading Palestinian campaigns who had nothing, not even mentioning it on their social media and websites (such as the PSC and BDS). More Palestinian civilians killed in a couple of weeks in brutal Islamic extremist violence than in a legitimate conflict last summer yet no one even bothered? Can you explain why? What did you do?

NO? YOU CHOSE TO DEMONSTRATE AGAINST THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST. YOU DEMONISE A JEWISH STATE. A STATE WHICH HAS ENSHRINED EQUAL RIGHTS IN ITS OWN CHARTER AND IS STILL THE ONLY COUNTRY OF SAFE HAVEN FOR MANY SUFFERING IN THE REGION IN NEED OF ASYLUM.

I worked with Amnesty International, an organisation which I am sure you hold in high esteem. We have worked on improving the security and welfare of asylum seekers in Israel (as it should be improved despite it being much much better than its neighbours). In their latest report, which you should read as it was widely circulated, it was clear, regarding last summer's conflict:

1. Hamas committed the worst atrocities with its own rockets falling on its civilians. This was a series of war crimes that included blaming Israel for the death of 31 civilians in a hospital. Unequivocal proof was found by Amnesty to show this was actually caused by Hamas.

2. Every rocket fired by Hamas was a war crime by International Law as they were fired indiscriminately at civilians.

3. Israel was fighting a legitimate battle against a globally recognised terrorist organisation. And had the legitimate right to defend its civilians against attack.

4. Israel did indeed take precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

5. Hamas hid weaponry in UN protected civilian sites which was a war crime.

And of course whilst we all want a resolution to the Israeli - Palestinian problems, how easy this will be whilst Hamas still have Article 7 in their Charter. If you are not familiar with Article 7, it calls for the death of all Jews. It is not vague. It is very specific. It demands that all Jews be exterminated.

I will happily talk to you about this Natalie. Not as an Israeli, not as a Jew, but as a fair minded individual who is tired of seeing your party running a completely unjustified and twisted hate campaign and corrupting the positive messages your party should be delivering.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

On religion and the left once again

One of the earliest decisions I made as a youth was that I did not believe in "God" and became an atheist. It was probably instrumental in seeing me take a "turn" to the left politically from a very "Liberal" family and background. .

This being the 1970's the world was a very different place to the one we live in today. The worst you would come across was a stern lecture from some religious aunt or local Vicar about how one would end up in "Purgatory" or even worse Hell (!), neither of which caused any sleepless nights since I didn't believe they existed any more than "God" and Heaven did.

On a national scale the enemy was limited to a few oddballs, most notably Mary bloody Whitehouse and her Festival of Light or whatever they called themselves. More concerned in protecting our morals from sex, profanity and the violence of Tom & Jerry on the telly it was all rather quaint compared to the situation that has developed since the "Rushdie Affair".

Still on the far left I supported and contributed to a statement going in the press to defend the writer from persecution and the "fatwa" issued by some barmy cleric in Iran. This was never published since the so-called "comrades" who organised said statement bottled it and returned all monies saying they were not going ahead in case people thought it was racist.

Absurd. 

Even putting aside the background of the parties involved, Islam is not a race!

Islam is a set of man-made ideas dreamt up in the Middle Ages by a desert warlord who along with his followers went on to conquer a large swathe of the world.

"Islam" was imposed on the ancient Christian, Pagan, Jewish and other minorities that already lived in these lands.

Islam was an instrument of ideology used in a clearly imperialist form to create an Empire.

Of course Christian Kings and Emperors did the same utilising the name of their "God" to conquer and expand. As did other religious faiths across the world throughout history before them.

Fast forward to today and religious conflict still remains a major threat to civilisation and basic human rights, even at a level where it would seem unexpected. The Times (no link £) reported a disturbing event yesterday:

The rubber dinghy carrying about 100 African migrants across the Mediterranean had started to deflate when one young Nigerian Christian started praying for his life. The Muslims on board insisted that "here we only pray to Allah" according to one witness ordered him to stop.

His refusal and the desperate fight that ensued left 12 Christians drowned after they were thrown overboard by their fellow Muslim refugees.

Mass murder caused by religious intolerance, an all too familiar event taking place across the Middle East and parts of Africa by Islamic inspired groups such as ISIS, Boko Harem and others in a struggle for religious dominance.

The basis for these murderous outbursts are taken from religious texts, the Koran and the Hadiths, purported to be sayings of the prophet even if many were only suddenly "discovered" centuries after his death.

Of course Christianity had its problems, mostly, but not entirely gone away. I say mostly because the growth of rabid and quite violent homophobia has been recorded across much of Africa's "Christian" nations.

Such backwards ideas and theology needs challenging wherever and by whoever uses "God" or "Allah" to justify their violent oppression and murder.

But the left is not up to the task and hasn't been since the Rushdie affair. Huge swathes of the left, especially Marxists have simply accommodated Islamism to their ideological outlook. The most obvious culprits are Respect, the Socialist Workers Party and the oddball Socialist Unity website amongst others.

It's all in the name of "anti-imperialism". Islam in particular cannot be criticised. It's "racist" apparently.

Utter rot.

Islam is no more a race than Catholicism is. 

Religion, Islam included should be and must be subject to firm criticism. Basic human rights are under threat. Even that of voting.  The Times also reports the appearance of Islamist inspired posters telling people not to vote only "Allah" can legislate. By which they mean themselves who claim to speak for their imaginary friend and say voting violates the rights of "Allah".

There have been reports of intimidation by small groups of "young Muslims. Sounds very much like the "Muslim Patrols that tried enforcing Shariah in East London.

 Britain is despite the nonsense spouted by some of the comrades a quite tolerant country, but like everywhere else there are those who are not. Just witness the violence against foreigners in South Africa this week.

Multiculturalism has failed as has the so-called left that marches around the streets utilising whatever struggle takes place elsewhere to mask their own inherent political impotence.

The time for a new secularist based "left" to replace the charlatans of the anti-imperialists has never been more urgent.

Time to move forward and ditch the tired ideas of religion and Marxism.

Human Rights and Free Speech must be the foundation of future thinking.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Election 2015: Where the parties stand on secularist issues

Cross-post from the National Secular Society

Find out where the parties stand on collective worship, faith schools, multiculturalism, sex and relationships education, religion in society and a range of other secular issues.

While the National Secular Society is not party political, that doesn't stop us from looking at what individual policies are on offer in the General Election. Here we present relevant policies on secularism and religion- whether good or bad- from each party.

NSS members and supporters represent a broad spectrum of political opinion, and we've rated the parties impartially so that our members and supporters can decide which political party is best on the secular issues that they think are important.

Conservatives

The Conservatives will "protect methods of religious slaughter, such as shechita and halal" and state that while they "want people to integrate fully into British society" that "does not mean they should have to give up the things they hold dear in their religion."

The Conservative Party will scrap the Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights "which will restore common sense to the application of human rights in the UK."

The party will "stand up for British values", and for "the freedom of people of all religions – and non-religious people – to practise their beliefs in peace and safety, for example by supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East."

Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that the UK was "still a Christian country", despite 62% of Britons saying they weren't religious. In his recent Easter message the Prime Minister praised Christians for living out their beliefs in faith schools, pointed out that the Coalition had invested tens of millions for church repairs, and praised the recently passed legislation which allows local authorities to hold prayers during council meetings.

"We will tackle global terrorism and the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism while taking a patient, long-term approach to preventing conflict and state failure."

The manifesto states: "We have always believed that churches, faith groups and other voluntary groups play an important and longstanding role in this country's social fabric, running foodbanks, helping the homeless, and tackling debt and addictions, such as alcoholism and gambling."

On LGBT rights, the party notes their "historic introduction of gay marriage" which has "helped drive forward equality and strengthened the institution of marriage." They also promise to introduce a new law pardoning people convicted under historic "gross indecency" laws.

The full manifesto can be read here

Greens

The Greens have pledged to "phase out public funding of schools run by religious organisations". They say "schools may teach about religions, but should not encourage adherence to any particular religious beliefs."

The Greens also pledge to integrate academies and free schools into the local authority system and make PSHE, including sex and relationships education, compulsory.

The manifesto is also committed to "ensuring that all schools that serve particular vulnerable communities, for example the Jewish, Muslim or Sikh communities, are adequately protected from sectarian attacks."

The party would "uphold the principles of freedom of speech and peaceful protest, including support for vulnerable communities of all religious faiths and none."

In their manifesto the party also sets plans to "make equality and diversity lessons mandatory in all schools, from the first year of primary education onwards, to combat all forms of prejudice and bullying, to promote understanding and acceptance of difference and to ensure community cohesion."

They would also "implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle violence against women, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and trafficking."

The full manifesto can be read here

Labour

The Labour Party will take "a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia."

Labour applauds "those faith communities who have pioneered an inter-faith dialogue for the common good" and will "overhaul the programme to involve communities in countering extremist propaganda."

The manifesto argues that "to defeat the threats of Islamist terrorism" the Government "must also engage with the personal, cultural and wider factors that turn young people to extremism."

On radicalisation, Labour argues that the Prevent programme set up under the last Labour Government to stop young people becoming radicalised has had its funding cut and has "narrowed its focus." They also state that "much of the work to engage Muslim communities has been lost."

The party will also implement "a much more rigorous strategy for dealing with people returning from the Syrian conflict." They state that "alongside appropriate police action and prosecution, it will be mandatory for anyone returning to engage in a de-radicalisation programme designed to confront them with the consequences of their actions."

On education, Labour pledges to "introduce compulsory age-appropriate sex and relationships education. We will encourage all schools to embed character education across the curriculum, working with schools to stop the blight of homophobic bullying."

They will also end "the wasteful and poorly performing Free Schools programme."

"We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide."

The full manifesto can be read here

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to "allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools."

However, the party promised to "ensure all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction."

The LibDems are also proposing a "minimum curriculum entitlement" which will include PSHE and "age-appropriate sex and relationship education."

"To ensure all children learn about a wide range of religious and nonreligious world views, religious education will be included in the core curriculum; however we will give schools the freedom to set policy on whether to hold acts of collective worship, while ensuring any such acts are strictly optional."

Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently said that he opposed "vociferous secularism", in an interview in which he appeared to conflate secularism with atheism.

The party is concerned about "religious discrimination" and seeks to "support faith and belief communities." The LibDems will "work closely with faith and community organisations, such as the Community Security Trust (which works to protect the Jewish community against antisemitic attacks) and the Muslim Council of Britain, to prevent hate crime, including at places of worship like synagogues and mosques. We are determined to combat antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in the UK and internationally."

The LibDems call for a "proportionate response" to extremism and pledge to "work with religious and community leaders, civil society groups and social media sites to counter the narratives put forward by extremists, and create the space for the expression of contrary viewpoints and religious interpretations."

The party will "ensure efforts to tackle terrorism do not stigmatise or alienate Muslims or any other ethnic or faith group, and that government supports communities to help prevent those at risk of radicalisation from being drawn into illegal activity."

It will also "review the process of assessing threats against different ethnic and religious communities to ensure all groups in the UK are properly protected."

The full manifesto can be read here

Plaid Cymru

"Plaid Cymru will work across our communities, whatever their backgrounds, to promote a Welsh civic identity. Our Welsh civic identity is inclusive, offered to anybody who chooses to make Wales their home. This will be promoted through schools, by faith and community organisations, encouraging everybody in Wales to participate in our wider Welsh society, in contrast to the UK Government's divisive and stigmatising proposals that blame particular groups."

On education, Plaid Cymru pledge that "all children and young people should receive a comprehensive programme of healthy relationships education. Values of equality, tolerance and respect should be embedded in everything schools do to tackle sexist, racist, homophobic and other discriminatory bullying."

The party also states that it is "committed unswervingly to human rights."

The full manifesto can be read here

Scottish National Party

This article will be updated when the SNP manifesto is launched next week.

UKIP

UKIP rejects multiculturalism, and seeks to "promote a unifying British culture, open to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background."

The party describes this as "genuine inclusiveness" and warns that multiculturalism "has led to an alarming fragmentation of British society." The manifesto argues that different ethnic and religious groups have been "encouraged to maintain all aspects of their cultures" and this has meant they have not integrated into British society. It also warns that some of these groups have "values and customs" which "conflict with British ones."

Farage said that the UK has to be "more robust in defending our Judeo-Christian culture" in the face of Islam.

UKIP pledge to "uphold freedom of speech within the law as a fundamental British value." They "believe all ideas and beliefs should be open to discussion and scrutiny and we will challenge the 'culture of offence' as it risks shutting down free speech."

UKIP "recognise that British values include tolerance of religion. UKIP is committed to protecting religious freedoms for all believers in the UK, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe, however, that those faiths and beliefs must exist firmly within a British framework. We will not condone any faith position which is itself intolerant and refuses to recognise the human rights of others."

The UKIP manifesto states that the party will not "condone parallel or conflicting systems that deny equality under the law", and insists that "those attending faith-based tribunals must be informed that they cannot be forced to attend and that the rulings from such hearings may not be legally binding under British law."

The party also promise support for a "mandatory reporting requirement for suspected cases of Female Genital Mutilation." They also argue that "a misplaced sensitivity to issues of race and religion, combined with fear, has been shown to have stopped many investigations into the abuse of children."

On education, UKIP "will continue to monitor British values, but with a view towards combatting extremism and radicalisation, rather than criticising widely-held Judeo-Christian beliefs."

The full manifesto can be read here.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Illegal to be unemployed in Belarus

File:Flag-map of Belarus (1995-2012).svg

Social security issues have always been at the centre of political controversy no matter which Government of no matter what persuasion introduces any measures that affect the unemployed. However you would be hard pressed to find a more controversial policy than that introduced by by Europe's last "Stalinist" dictatorship in Belarus.

According to an article in today's Times newspaper (no link £):

Housewives with fewer than three children are among thousands of people in Belarus facing criminal proceedings under a new law against "social parasitism" that makes it illegal to be unemployed....

The ruling aims to "stimulate able-bodied citizens to engage in labour activity" to help to finance state expenditures. Adults who have not paid income tax on at least 183 days a year will be fined 3.6 million Belorussian roubles (£170). Failure to pay will result in heavier fines, detention and community service.

You'll be pleased to that amongst others children are exempt as are pensioners., so that's all right then.

Such a policy is not new. The workers paradise known as the Soviet Union did the same back in the early sixties. Boris Bruk of the Institute of Modern Russia writes:

On May 4, 1961, in response to “multiple requests of the workers,” the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR issued a decree entitled "On Strengthening the Struggle with Persons Avoiding Socially Useful Work and Leading an Anti-Social, Parasitic Way of Life." According to the decree, which noted the Soviet people’s disapproval and resentment of “parasitic elements,” such citizens were to be sent into exile for a term of two to five years.

At that time, it appeared to most “conscientious” Soviet citizens that there was a significant number of "malicious parasites" in the country against whom a decisive and ruthless battle should be waged. In 1961 alone, according to some estimates, some 200,000 individuals were exiled to “specially designated places.” The decree was enforced against the homeless, beggars, speculators (persons buying and selling goods outside the state controlled system), as well as other “irresponsible persons” who did not participate in socially useful work. These parasites, while holding the status “Having No Specific Occupation” (“BORZ” to use the Soviet acronym), lost the right to freely enjoy the Soviet Union’s “wide open spaces.” As KGB Chairman Alexander Shelepin pointed out, “Soviet laws are the most humane in the world. Their humane nature, however, is exclusively for honest workers. As for parasitic elements, to all those who only use what is produced by others, the law should be strict since the individuals in this category are our internal enemies”.1

The Soviet authorities not only used the decree to deal with the above mentioned categories of citizens, but also made it a weapon in their fight against dissenters. In the 1960s, when compared to Stalin’s times, there was a change in nature of the regime’s view of what constituted an “internal threat.” If in previous years the major focus was on “unmasking the hidden enemy,” in Khrushchev’s time, the emphasis was placed on those whose dissonance could contaminate “the ideal image of the Soviet society.

Dissenters? Ah people that disagree with the regime! Human Rights Watch tell us

Belorussian authorities made no meaningful improvements in the country’s poor human rights record in 2014. President Aliaxander Lukashenka’s government continues to severely restrict freedom of expression and association, including by harassing journalists and imposing restrictive legislation on nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). Legislative amendments during the year simplified the reporting requirements for NGOs, but introduced new pretexts for liquidating them.

Read their full report here.

Stalinism is alive and well in Belarus it would seem.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fringe 2015: The Animal Welfare Party

Animal Welfare Party

One of the worthier "fringe parties" is the Animal Welfare Party which has just announced it is standing four candidates in the general election in Kensington, Putney, Holborn & St Pancras and Hackney North & Stoke Newington.

Their aims and principles begin with the following statement of intent:

A world in which animals are not exploited and are seen and treated as sentient beings.

To establish a voice for the animals through a dedicated political party that focuses on respect and compassion for all living beings.

As the UK political party most strongly advocating for the protection of animals, the party’s principles are:
  • To raise human perceptions of the moral status of animals by recognising animals as sentient beings
  • To raise the legal status of animals to reflect their status as sentient beings, including protection in national and international law
  • By promoting animals’ rights, to further respect for both humans and non-human animals
  • To facilitate increased respect for all sentient life by promoting animal protection education, at all educational levels
  • To protect the environment by ensuring that farming and development activities are sustainable
  • To promote healthy living
Animals farmed for food
  • To phase out farming systems with poor welfare consequences for animals
  • To improve animal welfare by raising farming standards and by ensuring trade regulations and other measures encourage high welfare standards
  • To support farming methods that enhance animal welfare or reduce use of or dependency on animals
  • To phase out livestock farming subsidies in sectors where consumer demand is falling, and redirect such subsidies towards plant-based agriculture and the promotion of biodiversity, and to the general areas of environment, education and public health
  • To end the long distance transportation of live animals to or from destinations within the UK of over 200 miles, and to continental European destinations and further afield
Animals used in research, testing and education
  • To immediately ban the harmful use of all non-human primates in experiments
  • To ban all harmful use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
  • To establish an independent transparent scientific inquiry to thoroughly review the ethical, scientific and economic implications of the use of animals in scientific research, toxicity testing and education
  • To facilitate increased funding for the development, validation and implementation of non-animal alternatives
Animals living in the wild
  • To ban all trapping and snaring, and hunting and shooting for recreational purposes
  • To promote wildlife preservation, habitat conservation and biodiversity
Animals kept as companions
  • To establish a basic national animal health care system similar in some ways to the NHS, including state funding of animal rescue organisations such as the RSPCA and PDSA
  • To establish a list of animal species and breeds that can suitably be kept as companion animals based on their needs. All non-listed animals would be unsuited as pets and should not be kept
  • To ban breeding of companion animals to meet breed standards or for other purposes that result in hereditary anatomical, physiological or other impairments potentially contrary to good welfare
  • To improve legislation and regulations against animal neglect and abuse, by strengthening and extending police powers, increasing penalties for offenders, and increasing public educational programmes concerning responsible companion animal care and related topics
Animals used for entertainment, fashion and art
  • To ban the harmful use of animals for blood sports, racing events, any other form of entertainment or cultural event
  • To ban the harmful exploitation of animals for advertising, fashion and art.
Unlike some of the fringe parties they don't seem to have delusions of grandeur and though unlikely to get any MP's the election is an ideal opportunity to raise these kinds of issues.

Find more about them at the Animal Welfare Party website

Monday, 13 April 2015

Fringe 2015: The Green Party

The largest "Fringe" challenge in this years general election comes from the Green Party. Over at Phil BC's All that is Solid blog there is a list of no less than 556 candidates from the combined Green Parties of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They are currently on around 4% in the polls and did get one MP at the last election in the form of Caroline Lucas (Brighton & Hove).  Not all has been well in Brighton though as the Greens control the local authority and have not only been in conflict with local government trade unions but have had a lot of very public in-fighting.

Trying to "ban" the bacon sarnie in council canteens on a Friday (as part of a "meat-free programme) did not go down well.....

Of more concern perhaps is Natalie Bennett's view that it should not be illegal to belong to a terrorist organisation and her desire to disband the armed forces.

Here is the Greens leader in her own words courtesy of the Daily Telegraph. Make of it what you will.