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

15 times when Jeremy Corbyn was on the right side of history

Jeremy Corbyn is a good guy, however my heart is Green…

The World Turned Upside Down

jezza aparted1. Apartheid: Jeremy was a staunch opponent of the Apartheid regime and a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the ANC. He was even arrested for protesting outside the South African embassy in 1984.
2. Chile: Jeremy was an opponent of the brutal dictator Pinochet (an ally of the British government under Thatcher) and was a leading campaigner in the quest to bring him to justice. In 1998 Pinochet was arrested in London.
3. LGBT rights: As noted in Pink News, Jeremy was an early champion of LGBT rights. At a time when the Tories decried supporting LGBT rights as ‘loony left’, Jeremy voted against section 28 which sought to demonise same-sex relationships.
4. The Miners’ Strike: Jeremy went against the Labour leadership and fully supported the miners in their effort to prevent the total destruction of their industry and communities. Cabinet papers released last year prove that the NUM…

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The Itchen Chapter has finished, let the next one begin…

On the 18th of June I finished my final exam at Itchen College, I can’t believe it’s been two years already! When I first started at Itchen, I had no idea what to expect. For me, the choice to go to Itchen was just to go to the nearest college in order to finally finish my A level exams to go off to University. I did not expect the intense and life-changing experience that I had received.

I always joined my teachers on the front lines... often bringing them a little something for their hard work!

I always joined my teachers on the front lines… often bringing them a little something for their hard work! (L-R, Me, Allison Burns, Sadie Garner)

There were many struggles that were overcome. The most prominent one was that of the students union. On my induction day in 2013, I was approached to join it. I thought it would be that, the likes of which are common at university. I was wrong. It was nothing more than a lunchtime club (run by teachers) to sort out charity events, is there anything wrong with that? No. But there were other functions the student union had to do in order to actually be a proper “students union”. After many battles, I finally became Vice-Chair for 2014/15 with Gregory Smith as the Chair. Greg is probably one of the best people to work with in situations like these, so I’d like to thank him for his hard work and his good humour when times were tough. Last year, to ensure the students union was just that – we created the 2014/15 Strategy, multiple committees (and “job” descriptions for potential officers), a whole structure for the election for the next chair (we worked with Fareham Borough Council for ballot boxes, creating a notice of poll, nomination papers, finance sheets for spending) and even a constitution.  After the Itchen Student Union (ISU) election, the winning candidate Reet Chen became Chair and the runner-up, George Presdee became Vice-Chair. I wish them both every success for next year’s student union. I’d also like to thank every member of the ISU for their hard work in everything we’ve accomplished. We were the most successful students’ union in recent times and you all deserve congratulations for that.

For a short time I was on the Itchen Governing Body as a Student Governor, a role in which I had enjoyed but had to resign after I soon realised that I couldn’t do everything. In order to be able to do your A Levels, run a general election campaign and be the chair of your local residents’ association there are some sacrifices you must make, and for me it was a hard decision but I had to call it a day. I’d like to thank Trevor Little, the clerk of the Itchen Governing Body, for his help and support while I was on there.

But overall I’d like to thank my teachers David Bown, Sadie Garner, Allison Burns, Mel Lockheart, Caroline Counsell, Lucy Scovell, Bridget Jones, Marcus Whitney, Chris Bluemel, Dawn Hitchcock, Adrian Blakey, Tim Dennis and whoever else I’ve (sorry) forgotten to add! You’ve all been tremendously inspirational to me and thank you all for giving me hope. I certainly enjoyed being on the front line with you every time there was a strike… it seems the battle is far from over there!

To finish, I’d like to finally thank the principal, Barry Hicks. We’ve disagreed pretty vocally about many things, often matters with the ISU, however I can’t say goodbye without saying thank you for keeping the college afloat in these times of austerity to allow me and many people to get an education at Itchen.

Now what next? Well we won’t know for certain until the 13th of August which is results day. Should I get into University, I will resign my post as Chair of the Warsash Residents Association and I am determined to continue on the committee to help promote them on social media. If I don’t get in, then I shall continue on and look for work. Regardless of the outcome I will stand again for Warsash in next year’s local election, I am determined to represent the people who have given me so much growing up in Warsash.

But until then, I’m still taking a bit of a break…

Thanks for reading.

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Miles

Fareham’s Green Surge

I’d like to start by thanking every one of you who voted for me and The Green Party. I’d like to also thank the support I have received over this campaign from family, friends, supporters and people within our community. The Greens are a growing force in Fareham. The Green Party has been building on successive local elections to effectively tripling our votes in the general election. Let me give you some perspective:

In 2010 – we received 790 votes. In the early hours of Friday, 8th May 2015 – we received 2129. This is a clear sign that people, now more than ever, are going Green. This has laid out a huge foundation for our future campaigns and we are determined to build on this.

As I said at the count, Suella – I wish you well, I hope we will hear from you over your next term. However, this election isn’t the end of our efforts. This isn’t the last you have heard from me or The Green Party, we are here to stay. This is a new era of Fareham’s history.

I urge you reading this, if you have considered joining Green in the past. Do it now. If you have ever considered donating to your local Green Party to help with the production of newsletters, leaflets, badges, banners. Do it now. Because the Green Party will be fighting in next year’s local elections and we will be fighting hard. You have the chance to be part of the team that stands up for Fareham and provides our town with a future we can all be proud of.

Keep voting Green, Fareham deserves better, and so do you.

Thanks for reading.

Miles

The Greens take the campaign to Sarisbury

Today was a first for me, I leafleted Sarisbury Green with a supporter. I’ve never delivered leaflets outside of Warsash/Locks Heath before. It felt good. It felt like we were giving people the chance to look at an alternative to the sheer complacency and arrogance of elected representatives to simply ignore people and just put out a leaflet claiming that they “don’t just stick newsletters out during election time” but in actual fact that’s the only communication between representatives and the people they are meant to represent.

I’ve lived in Sarisbury for 8 years and you are the first candidate for any election to come to my door

(Resident in Sarisbury who spoke to me today)

The fact is that quote above defines what is wrong with Fareham and the way things work here. Our representatives are getting too cosy with their positions that they put each other in. No one has held them to account, until now. It wasn’t until The Green Party campaigned in Fareham that we put the issue of public transport on the table. A resident in Sarisbury was, quite rightfully, appalled that Fareham was named THE MOST CAR DEPENDENT TOWN IN THE UK.

The Green Party and I have had our ears to the ground, listening to what you have to say. We’re not waiting around to get elected to take action for you. We’re already fighting the issues that plague our community. Last year, after many residents in my home village of Warsash raised the issue of yellow lines, I went alongside residents to get rid of them down my street – and WE WON.

As I’ve said many times in this campaign, a vote for the Green Party is a vote for proactive representation.

We can do much better than this.

Thanks for reading,

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Miles

Green vs Labour Part 2: Progressives need a Party for Social Movements

Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory

This is the second of a four-part debate on the subject of whether left-wing activists should participate in the Labour Party or the Green Party. This first part argued for the Labour Party and was written by James McAsh, a member of the London Young Labour Executive Committee. This response makes the case for the Green Party. It is written by Peter McColl, Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Edinburgh East.

Green politics is the greatest threat to capitalism in the 21st Century. The attack on Green politics reflects this status. Capitalist elites, having captured social democratic parties over the past 25 years, need to find ways to capture or neutralise Green politics and the parties that it represents. The arguments about how capitalism has destroyed people’s lives and the environment that are required to sustain them have little to refute them. So instead, we see corporate funded climate conspiracies, attempts to…

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