Welcome to the latest news from Molly Scott Cato MEP. Molly spends most of her time in Brussels – or Strasbourg – but this edition has lots of news about Molly’s visits to places in the large South West constituency and about how she is supporting her constituents efforts to improve their quality of life.
Syriza election victory
A statement put out by Molly and her South East counterpart Keith Talyor MEP following the victory of Syriza in the Greek elections gained much coverage:
“The result of the Greek elections has shown that the people of Greece have taken a strong stand against the politics of austerity. Greens share the view of the new government that austerity is a failed model which has piled misery on the poorest while making the wealthiest even richer. This result shows that challenging business as usual politics can win the support of the people. In the UK we are witnessing a Green Surge, in no small part due to our anti-austerity agenda, and we hope the Greek election result marks the beginnings of ordinary people standing up to a discredited economic model and failing Governments across Europe.”
The coverage painted the Greens as being strongly anti-austerity. The Telegraph reported that the ‘Green Party praises Syriza’s victory in Greece and calls for similar popular uprising in Britain’. The Mail went with: ‘Green Party hopes for anti-austerity surge in Britain’. According to The Guardian, ‘Green MEPs hailed the result as a victory for the forces opposed to austerity.’ Finally, the New Statesman contrasted the strong statement from Green MEPs with the weak, ‘it’s a matter for them’ response from Ed Milliband.
Boost for Financial Transaction Tax
Eleven EU governments, with the notable exception of the UK, are set to proceed with the introduction of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), a small tax on transactions on shares, bonds and derivative products by the financial sector. Molly says:
“This breakthrough should not be underestimated. Seven years on from the financial crisis and having been pronounced dead on numerous occasions, it seems we will have a European FTT. A proper functioning FTT would be a major step forward for economic stability and social justice in Europe, helping to curb risky speculation and providing badly needed revenue.”
Standing up for the regions small fishing enterprises
Molly has thrown her support behind legal action by Greenpeace against the Coalition Government’s management of UK fishing quotas. Just one enormous Dutch fishing boat will be granted a colossal 23% of the English fishing quota while just 4% of the quota will go to the 4249 small English fishing boats under 10m in size. Molly says:
“This week George Osborne visited the South West offering extra money to coastal towns. Meanwhile the Fisheries Minister has given the green light to this huge injustice. It’s a classic case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. The Government is blatantly ignoring the needs of the many small fishing enterprises in our region and paying no regard to the need to have sustainable fisheries into the future.”
Beavers find sanctuary in the Otter
When the Government threatened to put Devon’s beavers into captivity, thousands of people sent messages to the government, and Friends of the Earth began legal proceedings to stop them. Thanks to huge national and local support, the Government has backed down and just announced that Devon’s beavers will be re-released into the wild. Molly says:
“I’m really delighted to hear that the beavers will be staying in the River Otter. This is a victory for our newest native species!”
Fighting to protect the valuable Staverton Wildlife area
Molly has written a letter urging Staverton Parish Council to honour a commitment to sell Staverton Wildlife area in the South Hams, Devon, to the Staverton Wildlife and Conservation Area Society. The parish council had previously planned to sell the area to the owner of an adjoining Industrial site without consulting local people about the action. In the letter, Molly says:
“The preservation of this area represents an important contribution to the welfare of current and future local residents. Preserving biodiversity is of the utmost importance to human societies, as the world faces an increasing environmental crisis caused by human activities. European Green Party MEPs right across the Union are playing a leading role in enhancing protections for the natural environment.”
Around the region
Last Friday Molly joined the official launch of Bristol as the European Green Capital for 2015. This is the first UK city to win the award. She attended several events in the city to mark the launch and appeared on BBC Sunday Politics, which was filmed in Bristol the same day. During the programme she was asked for her views about Bristol as Green Capital. She said:
“There’s a lot of excitement in the city. Lets all get behind this and make this work.”
This Thursday Molly was in Gloucestershire and met with representatives from two campaigning organisations in the area: Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development, a non-political, non-violent campaigning group opposed to the building of new nuclear power stations on the Severn Estuary and elsewhere, and HOOF (Hands of our Forest), who campaign to keep the Forest of Dean as it is, namely publicly owned and publicly run by the Forestry Commission.