Statement on Warsash Planning Decision

The decision made yesterday to allow hundreds of homes to be built in Warsash can only be condemned in the strongest possible terms. While I am unsure of the background forces that encouraged senior Conservative councillors to vote in favour, one thing we can be certain of – it stinks. One thing we can take from this as a positive, is the inspiration from those who fought so hard against this shambolic decision – we must show them our thanks.

So where do we go from here?

Well first of all we must look within ourselves. We must realise that politics was the reason why this monstrosity and others (such as Welborne) went ahead. Democracy is only as strong as the means to facilitate it – if we shy away from discussion, decisions like this are made on our behalf by people who do not represent us. Politics caused this problem, but politics can also fix it – everything is political whether we like it or not. Secondly, groups that have fought this decision must unite with other groups across the borough. The will and determination of groups across the borough can only be effective if we all work together and unite to defend our communities, our quality of life and our environment.

If nothing else, the decision made last night is a wake up call to residents across Fareham – Get informed, get organised and vote against career politics.

 

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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.

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

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

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