The new year has brought a new energy into the campaign for a Final Say referendum. There is some encouraging evidence that the tide is turning rapidly with many more people now questioning whether Brexit is turning out to be what they were promised. There are lots of analogies around, such as buying a car without looking under the bonnet or a house which when the survey arrives turns out to have subsidence. My favourite though is from Lord Lisvane. He asked his fellow peers about his nervous aunts who made a democratic decision to go to the cinema only to find out that the films on show were Reservoir Dogs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Should they stick by their democratic decision or change their minds?
There has also been an increase in pressure on Labour to clarify their position and to spell out how it is possible to achieve a jobs-first Brexit while leaving the single market and customs union on which so many jobs depend. My Labour colleagues in the European Parliament are working hard with the TUC to move Labour's position on this. And if Jeremy Corbyn is really in favour of listening to his party's members then he should be supporting the Final Say referendum as well.
Bad Boys of Brexit
Last week I launched a website to expose the unholy alliance of men behind the campaign to leave the EU. The Bad Boys of Brexit website contains details of the coalition of far-right ideologues, climate change deniers, tax-dodging foreign billionaires and specialists in voter manipulation who successfully persuaded a majority of the public to vote to leave the EU. When brought together in this way it makes for frightening reading. But I also want this knowledge to be empowering and hope the information will strengthen our resolve to demand a Final Say on the deal with the EU, with an option to reverse Brexit and remain a member of the EU.
Further details here
See also my article here published by the i paper explaining why I have launched this website.
Those impact assessments…
For months I have been trying to get the government to release their studies into the economic impacts of Brexit. I believe we all need to know what the potential impacts of different courses of action are likely to be on the UK economy. I wrote letters and made Freedom of Information requests, all to no avail. Then, together with Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project I sought to force the government’s hand through the courts. While our request for judicial review has so far been refused we have now been listed for an oral hearing on March 6th which will allow us to make our case in court for a judicial review.
Meanwhile, the studies we think we were after were leaked to Buzzfeed last week, destined for sharing in one-to-one meetings between officials and government ministers. These showed that under every scenario, Brexit would hurt the economy, and that the regions who voted most strongly for Brexit are those that will take the biggest economic hit from the UK leaving the EU.
But rather than take any responsibility for the damaging shambles they are creating, the Brexiteers turned their fire on the Civil Service. Brexit minister Steve Baker rubbished the work of his own civil servants in the House of Commons and then, in an even more sinister move, Jacob Rees-Mogg questioned the independence of the Civil Service.
Because of the total lack of clarity over what studies have been carried out I am proceeding with legal action so that we can find out exactly what documents exist and, crucially, which it would be in the public interest to disclose.
Read my article in Left Foot Forward here about the secrecy and lies shrouding Brexit and how this is seriously undermining our democracy.
The Customs Union
The government has announced that it will seek to leave the customs union after Brexit. This will be hugely damaging to UK manufacturing industry and both the TUC and CBI are united in their belief that the UK must remain in the customs union. Labour seem as divided on this as the Tories. But 56% of potential Labour voters want the party to remain in both the customs union and the single market, with only 13% opposed.
See my Guardian article here in which I urge Labour to change tack.
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Molly Scott Cato
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s cuts budget
At today’s budget Full Council meeting in Bristol City Hall, the city’s Green Councillors have refused to vote for the Labour Mayor’s austerity budget that proposed cuts of £34 million across Bristol, including library and public toilet closures and a large funding cut to Adult Social Care.
Raft of Green amendments passes at Budget Full Council
Bristol’s Green Councillors are celebrating today as all but one of their budget amendments at today’s Budget Full Council were passed.
Plot to ditch EU food standards threatens South West producers
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned of a plot by leading rightwing Brexiteers to ditch EU food and safety standards that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals currently banned in Britain.
New report on ‘Britain’s broken housing market’ & lessons from other EU Countries
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has launched a report she commissioned on the UK’s housing crisis.
“Build children’s homes instead of sending children across the country”
Green Councillor Eleanor Combley has submitted an amendment to the Council’s budget, calling for two specialist children’s homes to be acquired for children with complex needs. Councillor Combley said: “Bristol’s current children’s homes are too large and unspecialised for children with complex social, emotional or mental health needs, so these children are often sent to homes far from the Bristol area. We know that for most children in care it is better to be closer to home, near their family and communities and where they can be supported by local social workers. In Bristol 1 in 10 children in care are placed more than 20 miles from their home.”
Green councillor welcomes additional landlord licensing proposal
Below is a response from Clifton Down councillor Carla Denyer to the consultation on landlord licensing launched by Bristol City Council today (16 Feb. 18).
Greens offer budget alternatives after lack of "practical or moral leadership” from Mayor
In response to a lack of practical or moral leadership coming from the Labour Mayor’s Office, Bristol Green Party Councillors have today set out a series of suggested positive and progressive alternatives to the council’s annual budgetary hand-wringing process.
20mph proven to be safer in Bristol
An authoritative report produced by the University of the West of England and commissioned by Bristol City Council has demonstrated the safety of the city-wide 20mph zone. Greens are demanding that this should put to bed the debate about the impact of such limits.
Green amendment calls for property developers to fund homelessness prevention
At next week’s budget meeting at Bristol City Council, Green Councillor Carla Denyer will call on the Labour administration to increase emergency funding for some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol, and pay for it by raising charges on private property developments which block roads.
Brexit update from Bristol's Green MEP
A summary of the latest Brexit news from Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato
“Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past”– Bundred report one year on
12 months ago the damning ‘Bundred Report’ revealed financial chaos, collective failure of leadership and poor management at the Council. A year on, Green Councillors have written an open letter to the Mayor saying more still needs to be done if the Council is not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Councillors should give up parking perks to keep our parks ad-free
Green councillor, Eleanor Combley, is calling on colleagues from all parties to give up their free parking spaces at next week's budget meeting, saying the money saved could be used to protect our parks instead.
Bristol's MEP exposes the unholy alliance of ‘Bad Boys’ behind Brexit
Bristol's Green MEP Molly is today launching a website to expose the ‘unholy alliance’ of men behind the campaign to leave the EU. The ‘Bad Boys of Brexit’ website contains details of the coalition of ‘far-right ideologues, climate change deniers, tax-dodging foreign billionaires and specialists in voter manipulation’ who successfully persuaded a majority of the public to vote to leave the EU.
How many times will the police get away with misusing tasers?
Green Party Councillors have responded with shock and dismay to the news that a man with autism was tasered by police in Bristol. The man was charged with assault, before the case collapsed after his mother submitted CCTV evidence which called into question the police officers’ account of the incident.
Green Group leader responds to increase in rough sleeping figures
This year government estimates of rough sleeper numbers rose for the seventh consecutive year. Councillor Eleanor Combley responded to the situation in Bristol.
Job: Junior Constituency Assistant for Molly Scott Cato MEP in Bristol
Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's MEP, is looking for a Junior Constituency Assistant in her Bristol Office
Green Councillors horrified by out of the blue fines to dog walkers
Redland Green Councillors Fi Hance and Martin Fodor have been contacted by a number of residents left upset and distressed after having been issued fines of up to £100 for letting their dogs off the lead on Redland Green. These appear to have been issued by Kingdom, the council’s so-called litter police.
Greens say we all need to challenge airport expansion
A consultation currently underway on plans for the expansion of Bristol airport is due to end Friday 26th January.
Green response to the parks and green spaces consultation
Green response to the parks and green spaces consultation
"The Tories plans are a tiny drop in a plastic filled ocean" says Bristol's Green MEP
Responding to Theresa May’s speech on the environment, and the government's 25 year plan, Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato said: “The Tories plans are a tiny drop in a plastic filled ocean. Of course action to reduce plastic waste is welcome, but this provides a useful diversion from the many government policies that are trashing the environment. In particular the £5bn in subsidies to fossil fuels since 2010 and kick-starting a whole new fossil industry in fracking.
Green councillor objects to Broadmead Car Park plans
Bristol Green Councillor Jerome Thomas has put in a statement to one of the council’s planning committees objecting to the continued presence of a large multi-storey car park in city centre development plans.
Standing up to racism in our city – Green Group leader Eleanor Combley responds to claims the National Front will return to Bristol
In response to claims that the 'National Front is back in Bristol', the city's Green Councillor Group leader has responded.
Bristol Green councillors welcome progress on clean energy from Pension Funds – but it’s still not divestment
Following a long-running campaign by Greens and other activists, Martin Fodor (Green Councillor for Redland) met with representatives of the Brunel Pension Partnership to hear about the fund’s new investments in sustainable and renewable energy.
Bristol let down by MPs’ failure to back Final Say referendum on Brexit
Green Party MEP and Brexit spokesperson, Molly Scott Cato, claimed the people of Bristol have been let down by their Labour MPs who failed to back a significant amendment last night that would have given the people a final say over the EU/UK Brexit deal.
Green Councillors: Let's Build Bristol's Arena at Temple Meads
Green Councillors Jerome Thomas and Stephen Clarke submitted a statement to Full Council of 12 December 2017, calling for the Mayor to support original plans for an arena in Bristol city centre.
Bristol Labour rejects Green amendments calling for stronger action on austerity
At Full Council today Bristol’s Green Councillors called for Labour Mayor Marvin Rees to back up his words on austerity with actions. However, the Labour group rejected an amendment to their ‘anti-austerity’ motion which called for ‘loud and active resistance’ to austerity.
Greens help deliver Council motion on single use drinking cups
Bristol Green councillors say they are delighted after a Full Council motion they worked on to address the environmental impact of ‘single use’ drinking cups has passed with cross party support.
Councillors propose planning policy to protect music venues
In response to a spate of local music venues raising the alarm about being faced with closure, Green Party Councillors in Bristol have called on the city’s elected Labour Mayor to adopt a planning policy known as the ‘agent of change’ principle. This principle, recently adopted by London Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan,(1) puts the onus for soundproofing on new residential developments, which must shoulder responsibility for compliance when situated near an existing music venue. Similarly, if a music venue opens in a residential area, it too would be responsible for complying with residential requirements. According to the London Mayor, “developers building flats near existing venues will need to ensure that residents are not unduly affected by sound from the venue, and that may include paying for soundproofing.”
Brexit ‘breakthrough’: Comment from Bristol's MEP
Commenting on news of an apparent breakthrough in negotiations between the UK and EU and that Brexit discussions will now move on to the next phase, Molly Scott Cato MEP, Green Party speaker on Brexit, said: “Brexit should not be about winners and losers but about ensuring that all citizens currently in the EU, including the British ones, are safe and secure after March 2019.
Bristol MEP and QC launch legal proceedings against government over Brexit sectoral studies
Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP and Jolyon Maugham QC of the Good Law Society, have today applied for judicial review in the High Court over the government’s refusal to release sectoral studies carried out by DExEU into the impacts of Brexit, and a Treasury study into the effects of leaving the customs union.