ALBUM ANNOUNCEMENT

During the general election, I was contacted by an eye-opening number of people about the stigma surrounding mental health. I was absolutely shocked about the abuse and vitriol people received from attempting to discuss their issues with their mental health. In response to this, I put this at the forefront of my campaign. However, I felt there was more I could do. Following this, I decided to write an album based on the music I wrote during the worst year of my life, in an effort to encourage other people to talk about their mental health and fight the stigma.

This album is a guitar-centric story about my year last year, one of highs and lows, laughter and sorrow. It completely changed who I am as a person and put me through at least two periods of mental health problems, where I’d previously had none at all in my life.

This is for all of you who’ve been told to “get over it”, that “it’s just a phase” or been cut off from friends of family. It is a reminder of the fact that you are not alone.

I’d like to personally thank, from the bottom of my heart, all of those who have stuck by me over the last year. Friends, family, everyone. Thank you.

I’ll be recording and mixing this album over the next few months and I aim to have this out on SoundCloud on January 11th 2018. It will be called “Caught in a Storm”. Any revenue I make from this will be donated to the mental health charity Mind.

Caught in a Storm (1)

 

My EP “Keeping My Sanity” was released early on in May 2017 – you can listen to it HERE.

You’re gonna get fracked hard by the Conservatives.

Fracking, it seems to have fallen out of the public eye – for whatever reason. But the fact remains that this is not the answer to our energy needs. I mean, I’m not keen on being able to set fire to my tap water. That’s just the bare minimum of what is wrong with the process. Near Blackpool, fracking was deemed to be the cause of earthquakes that occurred. MEDACT even released a report on it stating that the chemicals involved in the fracking process have the potential to cause cancer, lung diseases and birth defects on newborn children.

Here’s what a senior Conservative politician had to say:

 

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Yes, the leader of Fareham Borough Council really said that. Here’s a link to his tweet.

Suella Fernandes (The Conservative’s candidate for Fareham) had this to say about fracking on her website:

“I therefore believe that these regulations will provide suitable protection against any health risks, so I support them.”

Across the world we’ve put our faith into the regulations set onto the fossil fuel industry, yet they don’t always work… I’ll just leave this here.

Caroline Lucas said that the Conservative’s manifesto was “a car crash for the environment” – I’d personally go one step further and say this is a multiple pile-up on a dual carriageway for the environment.

When it comes to our environment and who best to protect it, when it comes to protecting our green spaces, when it comes to protecting animals from the pollution as a result of fracking – it is always the Green Party that has done so.

The Green Party will make sure that our air is breathable and our water is drinkable. Fracking is too big a risk to take for yours and your family’s health.

The Green Party today also released our Green Guarantee which you can view here.

The Struggle of Young Voter Registration

I’d thought I’d take some time to comment about my experiences of trying to raise awareness amongst older-residents in the areas of our area. It occurred to me that I’m talking to a completely different world view with an obvious generational divide between us. Here I am, 22 years old, standing in front of groups of people who have possibly been retired for some time. When I start talking about ensuring the rights to democracy and encouraging the youth in the community to register to vote, I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall.

  1. If you know of young people who can vote – send them here (register to vote – deadline is Monday – May 22nd)
  2. If you are part of a community organisation or group – let people know you are voting and explain why. Regardless of your political views or your age. It’s a privilege you’ve had, let’s pass it on to the next generation.
  3. Take action now, if you’re a parent and you want a better future for your children. If you are a lecturer at a college or university, if you run a youth group or organisation – send an email, a text, slide into their DMs, just take action.

Fareham can’t afford to have our future without a voice on June 8th.

After all we have to live with it longer.

My pledge on Mental Health

According to Mind, nine out of ten people who have a mental health problem are stigmatised, discriminated against or isolated from the people around them. As someone who has suffered two mental health crises last year, I have experienced being told to “get over it” and found myself feeling incredibly alone during my struggle. I have also seen many loved ones around me struggle with their mental health throughout every stage of my life and have seen very little done to support them.

At the last general election, I pledged to make mental health a priority – and this hasn’t changed for this general election. That is why I have decided to make a stand and to make Mental Health a priority of our campaign.  I will campaign to make sure mental health is treated the same as physical health. We wouldn’t tell someone with a broken bone to “get over it” – so it shouldn’t be said to someone with a mental health problem.

When I was selected by the Fareham and Gosport Green Party, there are many issues that we as residents of Fareham have to address. Mental health is an issue that affects all of us – whether you’re rich or poor, young or old. Every one of us will have gone through a crisis at some point in our lives, and I encourage everyone to speak confidently about their mental health – you aren’t alone.

After the general election, I will be working on a project with music that I wrote during my crises to encourage others to speak about their mental health.

Thank you for reading,

Miles

 

 

Statement regarding the upcoming General Election

When I stood back in 2015, I was grateful that over two thousand of you voted for the Green Party in Fareham and I thank you once again for that tremendous honour.  When this election was announced, I was incredibly humbled to receive many messages of support and offers to help campaign should I stand again. I am pleased to say the Fareham and Gosport Green Party have selected me as their candidate for Fareham in the general election.

Fareham is an area with great character, a fascinating history and some truly inspiring people that I have come to know my time growing up here. I have met residents who are battling the Conservatives to preserve the great character of their areas from over development, residents who are tirelessly campaigning for better bus routes in the Western Wards. It is these great people who continue to inspire me every day. Fareham needs someone in Parliament that will put forward legislation that will put our communities in the heart of decision making. We need someone in Parliament representing them and this is just not happening, we deserve better than this.   The Green Party is the party to make this happen.

I’ll be updating my website over the next few days as the campaign unfolds.

I’m looking forward to the campaign over the next few weeks.

Let’s #MakeFarehamFair!

Thank you for reading,

Miles

 

Fareham – Democracy or Dictatorship?

The Borough of Fareham is in a complete state of oligarchy.

Robert Michels describes oligarchy as “rule by a small dominant group to which the rank and file membership do not have the means to hold the group accountable”. In Fareham’s case this is the members of the executive on the council, more importantly it’s the upper echelons of the Conservative group. The other councillors within the group have little to no say as I see it, at the same time they are merely there to maintain the status quo set out by the group – are any attempts to step out of the line are met with threats of deselection and other anti-democratic means of coercion? Who knows? The silence against the elite of the group is deafening.

There are three stages within our political system that allows for local government to be run in a state of oligarchy, the first is described as “transaction costs” whereby initially there was real democracy present however as the system became larger as did the electorate, it became increasingly difficult to manage without significant change to the system as a whole which – with the power Local Government has currently – is impossible at this stage. The second stage is membership lethargy and the result of this is the third stage of elite control. Fareham is currently somewhere between the latter two stages.

Although it is not often present in our media, as outlets such as the Portsmouth News and Daily Echo (outside of election periods) may focus more on either the nicety nice feel good or rampant scary paper selling stories rather than telling the facts, we are all aware of the division in the Fareham Conservative branch. There is such disparity in the ruling party, it is primarily the MP, Conservative Group & Exec on FBC vs Conservative Members and supporters. In most other places across the UK this would be a gold mine for other parties to strike them at, what would be, an open goal. The answer to success is much more complex than this.

Because of the apathy of the electorate across the borough and political history of the area, the masses of Fareham will turn out in low numbers at each council election where there is consensus among the electorate that no significant change or issue raised will give them a reason to vote. Therefore it can be argued that they (the electorate) are prepared to allow the active few in the political arena (Conservatives) to settle the questions and issues of our Borough. The leaders (exec of FBC) will often promote the interests of the Conservatives over that of the public interest, despite what reputation it will give them among more critical members of the electorate outside of the political paradigm of the borough. Which leads to a guarantee of these leaders’ continual re-election, when was the last time Cllr Seán Woodward was seriously challenged in his seat?

This all places our borough in a state of elite control. Which creates some sort of “groupthink” mob mentality in a political sense against anyone who isn’t a Conservative. For instance, look at the way Shaun Cunningham, myself, Katrina Trott, Paul Whittle etc have been attacked not just in the press, but within the literature the Conservatives put out. Former anti-Welborne activist Tom Davies and Cllr Chris Wood who were both part of UKIP in the space of a year or so have since become part of this autocratic ideological fan club. When challenged, the elite will do deals with newcomers or at least the ones that threaten their power. What deals were done here then?

In short, Fareham is definitively not a dictatorship nor is it a proper democracy – it is an oligarchy.

The Green Party’s record number of candidates

I’m very pleased to announce, in this year’s local elections in Fareham, The Green Party has its highest ever amount of candidates standing. We have five candidates and they are as follows:

Fareham North – David Harrison
Locks Heath  – John Burdfield
Park Gate – Anthony Stainer
Titchfield Common – Fiona Harvey
Warsash – Miles Grindey (me)

Some of those people who are standing are doing so for the very first time. I am very proud that we were able to get the signatures very easily, I am impressed about how many people in our area were keen to support the Green Party. After a grueling couple of days walking (and lots of steps, I think I worked off all the chocolate from Easter!) There more than enough signatures and then it was a matter or registering our candidates at Fareham Borough Council. I was very happy to help out with the organisation of this and want to thank them all for being part of the democracy in the area.

We are making history in Fareham, especially since we are fielding more candidates than UKIP.

This is going to be a very interesting election.

Thanks for reading,

Miles Grindey

Why REAL and proactive consultation is important

If you aim to represent people at any level, wherever you are, it should be apparent to you that consultation is key. But what does that actually mean? It means you actually need to make sure that you do anything and everything in your power to ensure that the people you are representing are properly consulted about any decision, feedback, or whatever you are going to do on their behalf. Sounds pretty straightforward right? It may be ‘in principle’ but in actual practice it is something, particularly safe seats for particular parties, that is quite often overlooked.

At Brighton University, I am the course rep for my Level 4 Ba (Hons) Politics course. I need to make sure I am the most effective gap between the faculty and the students. This means that I need to make sure that at every meeting I go to, where I am meant to feedback on the opinions that students have, that the staff know exactly what they are thinking and then what staff have to feedback to students on a general basis. If students want one to one feedback with their lecturers and staff, then I advise them to go and organise a meeting with them.

The first “Course Board Meeting” is Wednesday I am unable to go as I have to go back to Warsash to attend the Warsash Residents’ Association’s AGM where I have to go and see who is going to take my place since I left the position back in September. How could I possibly go to this meeting when I had commitments back home? Well… I decided to do a proper consultation. If I want to be a representative at some point in my life, I figured I’d better hit the ground running and do what I’d eventually need to do.

First thing was first, I had to email the Chair of the meeting to let them know that I wasn’t able to make it. However, I went a bit further. I told them that I had started a consultation via SurveyMonkey that I had sent off to all students on the Politics course and that it was open for five days, after which I would produce a report that I would send to the people included in the original email notifying them of the meeting and then also all the students on the course. So from the 10th of November to the 15th I had this Survey up and we had 7 responses from about 38 students. After this I completed my report with my findings and at the back of it I also included some of the comments I had received (that were relevant) prior to the consultation. The students felt well represented and were happy about the fact that I had done this.

Now where did I get this inspiration to do this from? Well, weirdly enough, it was from how Fareham Borough Council (FBC) does consultations. Before you jump and go “Hang on Miles, you’ve always criticised FBC’s conduct in consultation” and you would be right. The real inspiration was the fact that I thought, and I knew, I could do it in a much pro-active way than they currently do. In my honest opinion, particularly from what I’ve seen (including the consultations on Welborne), Tory councillors are quite lackluster when it comes to proper consultation.

What do I mean by this? When I canvassed last year and the year prior, I found it was a very tiny minority of people who had seen (and an even tinier minority who had responded to) FBC consultations. Many people didn’t even know there was an election on and nearly nobody knew who their councillor was. The fact is that it’s easier to stick a bit of laminated orange paper on a lamp post than it is to actually go door to door and at least notify people that there is a consultation underway. If you want to represent people in this day and age you need to use a hybrid of getting off your backside and getting on social media. Things like Voice 4 Locks Heath and other community groups and hugely important for people to spread the word, and if you’re an elected representative why don’t you too? Facebook is free… unless you count the bill for the electricity you’re using.

Though I guess if you’re in a safe seat, it’s far easier to speak to the very few people “in the know” and get a “representative sample” than it is to consult a broader demographic. I guess I’ll do it differently then.

See you on the electoral frontline!

Thanks for reading,

Miles

The Conservative Party is a threat to Fareham.

For too long now we have remained complacent. We have had the wool pulled over our eyes by the smiles, the handshakes, the pleasantries and where has that left us? Losing our land and heritage to development. The argument is that this is for future generations, when? When will any of my generation, the next one and future ones ever be able to afford these so called “affordable housing”? At an average of £240k a pop, even with prospects after getting a degree, they remain un-affordable to us. This is an indictment of our society, and this is the price we are paying for it.

You can see the beginnings of the end of valued spaces in our communities. For instance, as recorded in the minutes from the last Warsash Residents’ Association meeting, it was announced that there may be a shelter built at the bottom of Strawberry Fields in Warsash. At the same meeting it was announced that the Warsash Sailing Club would be seeking to lease part of Strawberry Fields for “dinghy parking”. However it will be subject to reaction/discussion with local residents – but how will this be done? Will it be through a proper, well-advertised consultation or will it just lay dormant on the FBC website with only a few “in the know” (presumably Sailing Club members) responding? My point is this, we must be aware of  a subtle series of political manoeuvres by the Tories to divide up precious green spaces, it may be the case that they turn around and say “Well it’s been divided up so much, we might as well develop on this now!”

It was announced on Monday that Fareham must build another 2000 homes. This is, of course, on top of the (approx) 6.5 thousand homes to be built as “Welborne” (see plan here, page 5) and the perpetual building in every part of our borough. It’s not as if our roads are packed enough as it is already? When I was running to become Fareham’s MP I received countless emails about the traffic situation. I spoke to many parents who said it was frustrating to get their kids to school alone without having to get on the effective car park that is the M27. Do the Tories seem to care? All we ever hear from them are kind gestures as if to say “Oh I know it’s bad, but what else can we do?”. How utterly patronising and complacent.

Last year, I stood with residents to fight against congestion by having more bus routes. What hope we have with careless developments cropping up everywhere?
Last year, I stood with residents to fight against congestion by having more bus routes. What hope do we have with careless developments cropping up everywhere?

Yesterday I saw that the Leader of the Lib Dems on Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Paul Whittle, made the call for the “Executive” Leader, Cllr Séan Woodward, to resign following the announcement of the additional two thousand homes. I say good on Paul for making the call. We don’t often see eye to eye. There are times when political allegiances should be placed to one side for the common good of all residents in Fareham, this is now. I too am joining Cllr Whittle in calling for the resignation of Cllr Woodward.

As I see more and more of these insults to the communities across our Borough, I am finding myself with one question on my mind. Are they in it to boost their pension pots and to elevate their status within their social groups? The answer I am coming to is “Yes”. It is an utter disgrace what they have done to our home. It is a betrayal of trust to those in our Borough who were conned into believing they would look after our green spaces.

The time is now to fight for our future, to stand together for Fareham, to get the change we desperately need.

Thank you for reading,

Go Green

Miles

Brighton Life

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog and there’s a good reason for that! I’ve since moved to Brighton and have been settling in very well within my course and have been keeping links with groups and residents in Fareham. In order to accommodate this move, I’ve had to resign my position as Chair of the Warsash Residents’ Association and have had to reduce my involvement from a physical basis to a virtual one, although if Fareham needs me – I will be there.

My move does not mean that I have stopped caring about the important issues that effect my home. I will still be able to campaign via social media as I have done since 2013 and I will make appearances should residents request it. I will be returning on the 18th to attend the Warsash Residents’ Association’s AGM to see who is my successor.

I will be returning to Fareham and I will stand again, however my campaign will be much more limited till at least I finish my course – so to the Tories I say, don’t get too comfortable! The experience I will gain from the Brighton and Hove Green Party will be beneficial to the people of Fareham. If we pull together, we can see better public transport links, proactive consultation on planning applications. We don’t want another Welborne, what we do want is better democracy in Fareham.

So this won’t be a long post, but just to let you know that I am still around (in a way) and still have the energy to campaign on the issues that affect our lives.

Thanks for reading,

Miles