Sunday, 25 April 2010

Pledges; Amnesty, Stop The War, Arms Trade, Cycling & Ramblers

Respect for human rights should be at the centre of all government policies, so if elected or not, I pledge to support Amnesty in their campaigns:
- Women’s human rights are respected in the UK and overseas, including freedom from violence and active participation in decisions affecting their lives.
- Human rights are not undermined by a security agenda that denies opportunity for a fair trial or seeks to deport foreign nationals to countries where they face a serious risk of torture.
- The human rights framework in the UK is protected
- Leadership is shown in addressing the preventable deaths of women and children and to give your support to the ‘Manifesto for Motherhood’.
- The debate on asylum and immigration is a principled one that does not pander to the prejudices of those with extreme views on this issue.

Stop the War
I support the Stop the War Coalition and believe questions of war, peace and foreign policy are crucial to this election.

It is regrettable that so far they have received only limited coverage within the campaign. Here are my responses to their questions.
1.  Do you support the immediate withdrawal of British and NATO troops from Afghanistan?
YES we are making things worse by being there.
2.  Did you support the war in Iraq?   NO
3.  Will you oppose any military attack on Iran by the United States or Israel?
YES and any attack anywhere by anyone.
4.  Do you support the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison? YES
5.  Are you opposed to the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons?                
YES and any other nuclear weapons
6.  Do you oppose the attacks on Muslims and the growing Islamophobia in British society? YES
7.  Do you agree that the use of anti-terrorist laws to restrict the right of protest is an attack on civil liberties? YES

Arms Trade
I support the closure of UKTI DSO and an end to its functions. Last year I read and wrote about a book by Mark Thomas, As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela. Where I learned that Britain is the worlds 2nd largest arms exporter. BAE systems seems to be much valued by the government, who protect its interest ahead of any others. The Government subsidises the arms trade £13,000 a job! How much better for some of that money to go to renewable energy or public transport. Mark Thomas supports the Green Party.

I am a member of the Reading Cycle Campaign and Sustrans, I helped Sustrans build some cycle paths. In Reading I have plans for many new cycle routes, at the moment the existing ones don't join up.

I support the Ramblers General Election Manifesto for Walking. The Ramblers campaign in breaking down the barriers to walking, which include:
•Physical barriers - we want to see the next Government protect and improve Britain's unique path network and deliver the coastal route
•Financial Barriers: we want to see the next Government link agricultural subsidies to recreation and access provision and invest in walking schemes to benefit health, wellbeing, environment, the rural economy and climate change
•Cultural barriers: we want to see the next Government position the walker at the top of the transport hierarchy and take tough action against those who put walkers’ lives at risk through reckless driving
•Legal barriers: we want to see the next Government amend legislation to require an independent review when there is an objection to orders to gate alleyways which are used by people on foot; protect and promote public access and space, and make green space accessible, safe, and well-maintained, through use of the planning process in both town and country.

I am a keen rambler myself, having done many long walks including the Ridgeway, Thames Path, Hadrians Wall, South West Coast Path, Canal walks along the Kennet & Avon as well as the Grand Union.

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