Tag Archives: labour

What now?

Unless you’ve been hiding away since 10pm last night (I wish I had) you’ll know that the party that took the majority in the 2015 election are the Conservatives. They needed 326 seats and they just managed to scratch that with 331, hardly an “impressive election victory” but they got the majority they needed and a hundred more seats then Labour.

Last night I was happily getting on with my revision when I decided to have a quick look at what was going on so turned the news on. It read that the Exit polls were predicting Conservative to be the biggest party. I was very very surprised and thought no chance, Labour will get it! Therefore got back to my revision. Just before I decided to stop with my revision, about 11.30, I had another look at what was going on and watched the news for a while. To be honest, I was very puzzled. Over the last few weeks and months I have really taken an interest to the election and done my part in hoping the Tories don’t win as if they do they will continue with the badger cull, repeal the hunting act and god knows what else! The recent polls had shown neck and neck between Tory and Labour and they had done for weeks.

However when watching the General Election coverage this was a different story. I eventually went to bed when there had been a few seats announced. This morning I woke up at about 5.30 eager to find out but unfortunately it wasn’t a very nice surprise. I felt like going back to bed, the exit poll was obviously right after all! One thing I was most amazed with was the amount of seats SNP had, clearly indicating Labour had no chance at all. I watched patiently and kept checking my phone, the Tory seats were gradually rising. I felt sick to the stomach. All I could think about was the poor wildlife, never mind the British people!

I was so hopeful in thinking Labour could pull it off but obviously not. I was amazed with the amount of votes the Tories had, I thought there could be a chance of them getting a few more votes but not that many! I then had a look at some of my local seats, all Tory. I wasn’t surprised at all when it said Tory for Lichfield though as it’s been Conservative since 1997. The other parties had campaigned hard but unfortunately Fabricant had won with a 55% vote.

Even though I would of liked to have seen it unfold more it was good to get out of the house and go to school, perhaps forget about it a bit for a few hours. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case though, even though I was expecting fellow students to be talking about it, I did hear some distressing comments. Obviously everybody has their own opinion and I respect that, I believe the voting age should of been lowered to 16 for the election but unfortunately it wasn’t. But after hearing some of these comments, not necessary about party policy but to do with the election, it’s obvious that if they ever do lower the voting age it’s vital that they educate the 16-18 year olds about the General Election and so they know where each party stands. With this they could have an even better view on how they think the country should be run and why they actually think that. Rather then some repeating what their parents may have said to them or things they read at a glimpse on the TV or on the front of papers.

Anyway enough about the actual election, what exciting surprises have the Tories got in-store for us over the next five years? Well I wouldn’t get too excited as for wildlife, and most other things, it’s doom and gloom. Britain is supposed to be a country of animal lovers. A country which values its animals and takes good care and pride in them. Whoever voted Tory obviously doesn’t though! Unless they believe tearing a vulnerable, helpless, beautiful creature to pieces by its limbs is that.

Over the next 5 years the Tories have said that they will protect hunting, shooting and fishing. That’s even more bad news after this weeks awful news about another THREE Hen Harriers going missing.  They’ve also said they’ll give Parliament the option to repeal the hunting act. This basically means they will try to scrap the ban on hunting with hounds so majestic animals like the much loved fox which will torn apart in the most gruesome way you can possibly imagine by men on their horses who see this as ‘fun’ or ‘entertainment’. Along with this they still believe that HS2 is a fantastic idea and will go ahead with it. This will cut through our countryside like a ‘white elephant’ and affect many habitats and species. Once again no thought or consideration for animal welfare or wildlife. As well as all of this they will be going ahead with the barbaric, inhumane and inefficient badger cull which has and will again result in thousands of badgers lives lost. Not just due to the cull but for those who see the cull as a green light to persecute them in the most horrific way they possibly can.

I worry so much for the next five years (and after), what will it bring and how bad will it be? But I must remember that even though they’ve won the election that doesn’t mean they’ve won. We must carry on as we were but with a lot more strength. We will win and our wildlife will be safe but we have to push and fight harder then ever, and before they get their murdering hands all over it! I care deeply and passionately about all wildlife and therefore I will never stop fighting for it. It has no voice so if we stop then they win but we can’t let that happen.

So get up and get involved. If you care, show it. Go on a street march or protest, bombard your local MP with letters, write to your local paper, spread the word, get involved with social media, and most of all show you care and don’t give up.

GE2015 7 Day Blogs: Speaking for Wildlife

A week today most of you will have a good idea on what party you want to vote for and why you want to vote for them as the polls have opened and you have until 10pm that night to vote. Maybe some of you have no idea at all! For me, I have a great idea of who I’d vote for but unfortunately I can’t as I’m 16.

When we decide who we’re going to vote for we consider many different things. Whether we agree with the parties policies (most definitely) , you support the local MP or perhaps you’re vote is tactical. When I think about what party I’d vote for the first thing that comes into my head is what are they planning to do for our natural world. Do they have an action plan? – As this is necessary. Would their plan be effective? Or do they realise how important our natural world is, is this obvious with what they have said and stand for?

Everyone has different reasons for voting for different parties, most likely it’s because you agree with something they stand for which affects you. As I said, for me that’s nature. But I think more people need to think about nature when they vote. Not just for those who enjoy it and get great pleasure from it but for themselves. Nature helps everyone in all sorts of ways, for most they don’t even know. From the bees which pollinate the food they eat to the trees which reduce flooding and give us the oxygen we breath. It also helps us in a way that we enjoy being outdoors, whether it be due to illnesses like depression or just for pure enjoyment and escaping. At the end of the day, if you look at the bigger picture, nature affects us all in so many different ways which we all need to understand and consider. If we don’t act now though then our nature is going to carry on declining and they’ll be no going back. Due to this it worries me hugely for future generations.

When looking at the manifestos there is a big difference from one to another. Some are very supportive and obviously care greatly about the environment yet others seem to have forgotten that it exists!

Here are some key things I took when looking through all the party manifestos which link to the environment and nature:

Labour

  • The first point I took from their manifesto, to do with the environment, was that a Labour Government would play a leading global role in tackling climate change. It says that this will not be enough to get rid of the threat of climate change but we must adapt to its damaging effects, which are impacting us today
  • They also plan to produce a ambitious adaptation programme and prioritise investments in flood prevention.
  • Deal with the problem of air pollution by giving local authorities the powers they need
  • Keeping forests in public ownership and promote access to green spaces in local planning
  • Support the work of the National Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them part of our thriving tourism industry
  • End to the badger cull
  •  Improve the protection of cats and dogs
  • Ban wild animals in circuses
  • Defend the hunting ban
  • Deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting

UKIP

  • Not allow the countryside to be over developed with housing. They believe that our countryside must be preserved so it can be enjoyed by future generations
  • Match fund grants made by local authorities towards rural capital projects, such as creating a lake, wetland, repairing traditional stone walls etc. Which will enhance the local environment, encourage rural education, or help recovery from environmental disasters
  • Triple the maximum jail sentence for animal cruelty
  • Keep the ban on animal testing for cosmetics

Conservative

  • Protect hunting, shooting and fishing
  • Give Parliament the opportunity to repel the Hunting Act
  • Put in a ‘Blue Belt’ to help protect precious marine habitats
  • Keep forests in the trust of the nation and plant another 11 million trees
  • Tackle the illegal wildlife trade
  • Spend £3 million, which will enable them, to clean up rivers and lakes, protect stonewalls and hedges, and help our bees to thrive
  • Allow councils to give a fixed penalty on fly tipping,
  • Charge 5p for a plastic bag
  • Go ahead with HS2
  • Tackle international wildlife trade
  • Continue badger culling to control bTB

Scottish National Party (SNP)

  • Continue to support a moratorium on fracking
  • Commitments for carbon reduction

Plaid Cymru

  • Animal welfare law to end animal cruelty
  • Work across Britain and Europe to prevent the spread of invasive alien species, both flora and fauna

Greens (here goes)

  • Protect, expand, properly fund and improve non-car access to our national parks
  • Protect forests
  • Dramatically reduce the pesticides and priorities non-chemical farming methods through improved agri-environment schemes, legislation, education and the promotion of good practise in farming, as well as increased support for organic farming
  • Improve the management of woodland through new planting and the local use of sustainable woodland products
  • Aim to insure through planting that everyone is within 5 minutes walk of a green space
  • Help bees by reducing pesticides, ‘greening’ farming, improving planning guidance to preserve/create bee habitats, and making bees a priority species in biodiversity strategies
  • Promote landscape-scale conservation
  • Repeal the Nationals Planning Policy Framework
  • Work with local communities, scientists, and conservation groups to expand the UK’s network of Marine Conservation Zones
  • Play our part in creating a Southern Atlantic Reserve and champion internationally the protection of the Artic
  • Produce a strategy for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases
  • Creating a healthy water environment
  • Prohibit developers from being allowed to destroy unique habitats by way of biodiversity offsetting elsewhere.
  • Support the conservation of the environment of the Oversea Territories
  • A complete ban on rabbit and hen cages
  • Tougher regulations on animals transportation
  • Action to stop the use of antibiotics in intensive animal farming
  • End of the badger cull
  • End of the use of snares
  • End the practise of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting

This is just a short list of the policies that the Green party have included in their manifesto about the environment and nature, if you’d like to have a better look, click here.

Liberal Democrats

  • Creating 200,000 new green jobs
  • Planting 1 million trees
  • Introducing a 5p charge on plastic carrier bags

From tomorrow until next Wednesday, the day before the general election, I will do a blog everyday looking at a variety of a few key topics which affects British wildlife and, in some cases, on a world wide scale. Then next Thursday, I will be summarising all that I have wrote about over the 6 day period.

In the posts I will go through why it’s important to deal with this issue, who it affects, what will happen if we don’t address the problem, see if there’s been a mention on any party manifesto and much more. With this I hope to help people see some problems we face within the natural world, what parties have said they’ll do to solve this (if anything at all) and be an eye opener. I then plan to share my blog with party leaders and MPs (etc) in the hope they’ll see the problems with these issues and why they need to be dealt with.

Another reason why I’ve decided to do this is because nature and the environment has been barely mentioned during general election campaigns. This is quite upsetting, it’s obvious we don’t understand that nature is extremely important. Therefore its important to express the issue in any way we can.

Obviously there are many issues which face our wildlife in the UK and world wide but unfortunately I only have six days and because I’m currently extremely busy revising and taking my GCSE exams so I’ve had to focus on them a lot too.

The topics include:

Friday – Saving our Oceans. In this blog I’ll be including the massive impact oceans have on all of us, why they need our help and how we can help.

Saturday – Snares. In this blog I’ll be including how evil snares are and why they should have been made illegal years ago!

Sunday – The badger cull. Where I’ll be including all from the badger march in David Cameron’s constituency, Witney, from the day before.

Monday – Helping our bees. In this blog I’ll be including problems facing bees, why we need to help them and how we can help them

Tuesday – Wild persecution/Wildlife Crime. In this blog I’ll be including a range of subjects, from birds of prey to foxes. Also how we need to stop the persecution through things like the police and the general public (which we bring me nicely onto Wednesdays topic).

Wednesday – Inspiring the next generation. Where I’ll be including the replies from my local MPs regarding my Vision for Nature

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We Will Not Be Silenced

As you most likely know the general election is approaching fast, in fact just 10 days away. It is becoming very tense as the current polls are close. However it’s not just tense for us Humans, it’s also very tense for our wildlife and animals. Although they can’t vote we need to vote for them, give them the voice they need.

Unfortunately, as I’m 16, I can’t vote but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been interested in the parties manifestos, their campaigning but also the other campaigning that’s been going on. In fact, when I’ve been able to, I’ve been getting involved with the campaigns. From getting involved on social media and supporting thunderclaps to doing blog posts, writing letters to local party candidates and getting involved with protests.

One protest which caught my eye this week was the suffragette-themed march on Parliament to launch the “Votes for Animals” campaign where a variety of organisations, charities and individuals got together. They proceeded the streets of London with their striking masks, costumes and signs with their main aim of giving animals a voice and encourage the public to vote for animals on May 7th. You can read more about the Vote for Animal protest in London by clicking here.

Yesterday though was another day where I went out and helped do my part to give nature a voice. I was up nice and early as I had two trains to catch and was very excited for the day ahead. I was off to join the badger army and wildlife defenders for their march in the streets of Worcester. Once we arrived in Worcester we went for a quick coffee then headed down to St. Andrews Park where the march began. This was my second march, the last one I went on was back in February and took place on the streets of Birmingham. The one in Birmingham was more of a festival as there were more speakers and stalls, you can read more about it by clicking here. It was also brilliant to go yesterday after the Badger Trust Seminar in Bristol last weekend as it great to see some familiar faces. By 1pm there was a good crowd of a few hundred people and everyone was ready to go. There was people dressed up, plenty of signs and flags, megaphones, hats and much more. It was pretty obvious that it was going to be a successful protest.

But before we could begin addressing the streets of Worcester there was three speeches. First was the main organiser, Chris Swan, who spoke about the fact that there is still the worry of badgers being culled, the threat badgers face and also read out a poem about badger persecution which had been wrote a hundred years ago but in many ways applies to today’s world. The second to speak was Lynn Sawyer who has done inspirational work over the past 12 months which resulted in 100’s of badgers life’s saved. She spoke about the fantastic work of hunt and cull saboteurs, the importance of looking out for local setts and read a book extract about the fact that Btb travels on the feet of those horses, humans and hounds. Then before the march began Nigel Tolley spoke. He is a very active member of badger army and a great wildlife activist. He spoke about the fact that even if the cull does stop, depending on who gets into power on May 7th, there is still the major problem of badger persecution. He stated that over 2000 badgers are killed every month throughout the UK which is well over the amount killed in the culls. He also spoke about how we need to encourage people to go out, recognise and report wildlife crime.

After these two talks the march was raring to go. There was a set route through Worcester, which we followed. Everyone was shouting either ‘Save our Badgers, Stop the Cull’ or ‘Save our Badgers, Tories out’. It was such a brilliant atmosphere, everyone was so passionate and determined to get the message across. Signs and flags were high in the air, leaflets were being handed out and stuck everywhere, and the shouting echoed down the high street. There was no doubt that we were making our mark and spreading the message. We then stopped outside of the Guild Hall where three more people spoke. The first was the Labour candidate for the area, then the Green candidate. They both spoke about the policies of their party. One of the common policies was putting a stop to the barbaric unscientific badger cull.

Before getting started again Dominic Dyer, wildlife campaigner, gave a speech. Over the past few months I’ve heard him talk a number of times and what he says is always very inspirational. He stood up on a park bench with a megaphone and spoke about a number of issues. From the badger cull to wildlife crime. He also stated that we will not be silenced.

As I heard a few times yesterday, to be able to protest in Worcester yesterday it took a lot of hard work from the organisers. This is partly due to the election approaching and in different ways it’s jeopardising the chance for parties to win seats because the badger cull, and wildlife crime, is among a key issue for many politicians.

We were then back to the protest through the high street in Worcester, feeling more passionate and enthused after more inspirational speeches. On our way back to St. Andrews Park we passed the Lush store in Worcester which had a few signs outside and their window display was about the ‘Votes for Animals’ campaign. This was another great feature to the protest.

Once back at St.Andrews Park all those on the protest stood together for a photo. It made a fantastic photo as it showed everyone’s passion and willingness to be there. Then with the outfits, masks, hats and signs it showed what we all stood for.

Here are a few photos from the day.

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My #VisionforNature

As you’ve probably guessed in just under a month the general election will be held, 7th May. The campaign has already began and parties are rolling out their policies.

Unfortunately, as I’m 16, I can’t vote but that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on the political parties and what I would like to see in their Manifestos. As you can probably guess the thing I am most interested in what they say about is wildlife and the environment.

A few weeks back I became aware of the #VisionforNature campaign that A Focus on Nature have set up which consists of a series of blog posts running up to the general election. Over the month AFON members will share their own Vision for Nature. This includes what they want the natural world to look like by 2050 and how they want to get there. You can get involved by using the hash tag they have created, #VisionforNature and by filling in this survey.

Yesterday, for the 3rd day of their series, I did a blog about my Vision for Nature. It was very difficult to decide what to write about but in the end I decided to write about getting the next generation involved and everyone realising how important nature is. Not just to them who are interested but for every single one of us, all ages.

You can read the blog post I did here – http://www.afocusonnature.org/a-vision-for-nature/inspiring-the-next-generation-by-georgia-locock/#more-6049

I have also sent the blog to all of my local party candidates to help spread the message that young people care about nature’s future. Since that is the aim of the campaign.