e-news 23rd January 2016

As you will see a lot has happened in 2016 already… 

People before profit conference

Two economic heavyweights of the progressive left shared a platform this week! Molly was a keynote speaker at a conference in Manchester organised by the Coop and was joined by shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The conference explored how to build an economy to serve people not profit and co-operative and radical alternatives to austerity. Molly said:

“Greens have always advocated co-operative alternatives to austerity and rampant free market capitalism. I’m delighted that Labour now seem genuinely to be engaged in a debate on how we can build an economy that will be more jointly and justly owned. We need to see all progressives unite behind policies such as fair taxation, regulation of banking and Green Quantitative Easing. We must also ensure that this new economy operates within environmental limits. This means phasing out fossil fuels, opposing expensive and dangerous nuclear and actively supporting the rise of community owned renewables.”

New TTIP warning

Molly has pointed to a new study as further evidence that the planned TTIP trade deal between the EU and US could devastate agriculture in the South West. TTIP aims at harmonising agricultural and food standards between the two trading blocs. The new research indicates this would result in the ‘downfall of parts of the agricultural sector’ in Europe.  TTIP will place the US in a competitive advantage due to economies of scale and the nation’s lower consumer and production standards, concludes the study. The report also points to examples such as GMOs and growth hormones in which harmonisation would leave European farmers at a disadvantage.  Molly says:

This is scientific evidence that TTIP is a corporate charter primarily aimed at benefitting large US agri-business and threatens rural livelihoods and communities. It also poses a threat to our precious countryside which depends on a successful farming sector.” Full story

Lobbying challenge

Molly Scott Cato, has launched a New Year challenge to her fellow South West MEPs, calling on them to be open and transparent about their lobbying contacts. Molly is one of 50 Green MEPs who have signed up to use a new open-source tool, which takes information from MEPs’ calendars, and publishes the information on their websites the day after the lobby meeting takes place. Molly says:

“My primary responsibility is to represent my constituents in the South West and their needs for a safer, healthier and more prosperous society. I hope that my contacts with various stakeholders reflects this. But the important point is, anyone can now find out who I have met with and why and make their own judgement. I challenge my fellow MEPs to be as open and transparent about who they meet with and the purpose of their meetings.More details

South West round-up

Visit to Bristol

In a packed two-day visit to Bristol, Molly visited a centre offering support to the city’s refugees and asylum seekers; visited a popular city farm; talked to campaigners trying to stop plastic pollution ending up in the sea; and witnessed the City’s dangerous levels of air pollution. Full details 

Eight new Marine Conservation Zones in SW

Molly has welcomed the designation of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones, eight of which are in the South West and include Land’s End, Hartland Point to Tintagel and Bideford to Foreland Point. Molly said:

“I am very proud to represent a region where so much of the coastline is recognised as having particular environmental value. We should celebrate such great wealth and this status offers an opportunity to protect and restore the precious wildlife of our coasts and sea.

However, she was disappointed that Studland Bay in Dorset had not been included in the new MCZs:

“While Studland Bay is a busy recreational area, there is no reason why the area could not continue to be a multi-use site which allows for low impact water-based activities to continue alongside thriving

Swords to Ploughshares

As the debate on whether to commission a new generation of nuclear-armed Trident submarines, at an estimated cost of £100bn, hots up, Molly has called for Plymouth jobs linked to Trident submarines to be replaced by better, more socially useful employment. She is urging local authorities and unions to back a process of ‘industrial conversion’. She said:

“This is a classic case of turning swords into ploughshares. The prize for that conversion is not only a safer and healthier local and global environment but also new clean, green, high quality jobs.” Full story

Strasbourg highlights

Every four weeks MEPs meet in Strasbourg to vote on reports and legislation.

EU baby food rules blocked

The Parliament voted to reject draft EU rules on baby food, which would have allowed them to contain far higher levels of sugar than those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Green MEP for the South East, Keith Taylor, was behind the motion to reject the rules. Full story

Presumption of innocence

The Parliament has adopted a final legislative agreement, which establishes the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings in EU law. The new rules will set out EU-wide minimum standards on the presumption of innocence, a fundamental principle of the rule of law and a democratic justice system, which ensures that suspects or those accused of breaking the law are innocent until proven guilty. Some EU governments wanted to have this basic right waved in certain circumstances but MEPs rejected this. Full story