Cllr John Coyne Announces Intention to Stand Aside in 2015

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John Coyne 2012Liverpool Green Party has today announced that Cllr John Coyne, the current leader of the opposition on the council, will not be seeking re-election when his term as a councillor ends next year.
Speaking today to the Echo, Cllr Coyne explained his reasons:
“I was first elected to represent people in the old Dingle ward back in 2002 and re-elected in 2003. I’ve then been elected in 2004, 2007 and 2011 as a councillor for St Michaels and it is a real honour to continue to serve as a councillor in the area of the city I live in.”
“Between now and May next year I’ve still got a lot to do as the opposition leader in Liverpool. I’m looking forward to holding the Labour administration to account and challenging it when needs be. I’m also looking forward to having some time away from politics after May, but I think I might have one more electoral campaign in me as a Green candidate, so it’s not goodbye to local politics just yet.”
Coyne’s departure from the council chamber will leave Green Deputy Leader, Cllr Sarah Jennings as the senior Green figure in the city council, and she has praised her ward colleague’s contribution to politics in the city.
“John has never been a career politician. His decision in 2006 to leave the Liberal Democrats over their unquestioning support for the Pathfinder schemes, that decimated communities on Edge Lane and around the city, was a brave one. He joined the Green Party at a time when we were already getting serious about winning seats in the city, but his subsequent re-election as a Green councillor undoubtedly changed our upward trajectory.”
“I’ve now served alongside John as a ward councillor for six years in St Michaels and I know that the vast majority of the community respect his contribution and service. It is a privilege for us to be ward councillors. Tom Crone and I will maintain the high standards he has set for the party. We’ve opened nominations for our 2015 candidates in the city and we’ll be selecting a strong successor to stand in John’s place next May and to continue to build on his excellent record.”
If you are interested in standing as a candidate in 2015 and would like to find out more, please contact Lewis Coyne.
Profile Piece2002 Elected as Dingle ward councillor for the Liberal Democrats in a close race with Labour in a double ward vacancy

2003 Re-elected as a Liberal Democrat with an increased majority
2004 Elected alongside two other Liberal Democrats in the newly created ward of St Michaels
2006 Resigns from Liberal Democrats on a point of principle over their implementation of the Pathfinder scheme in the city
2006 Joins the Green Party before the local elections and the Greens finish in 2nd place in St Michaels
2007 Re-elected as a Green councillor for the first time
2008 Cllr Sarah Jennings elected, enabling the Greens to form a group on the council
2011 Re-elected again with 50% support in the ward
2012 Runs against Joe Anderson for the Mayoral contest finishing 4th and retaining the deposit.
2014 Becomes Leader of the Opposition as the Greens double their councillor tally to 4 and the Liberal Democrats collapse to just 3 councillors in the city.
2015 Will step down as a councillor

Greens react to decommissioning of Syrian Chemical Weapons in Ellesmere Port

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The news that Syrian chemical weapons are going to be decommissioned by Veolia at Ellesmere Port will concern many local people. These weapons do have to be decommissioned and this has to be done safely, but there is a much bigger lesson for us to learn.

The departing Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has admitted that between 1983 and 1986 Britain exported chemicals to Syria that were likely to have then been turned into Sarin gas, a potent chemical weapon. [1] As recently as 2012, the coalition government of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, approved export licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to the Syrian government, both of which can be used to manufacture chemical weapons, despite the country already having descended into civil war. [2]

The last Labour government had promised an ethical foreign policy, but a report by Saferworld in 2007 showed that arms exports continued to 19 out of 20 states who were a “cause for concern”, including China, Colombia, Israel and Saudi Arabia. [3] Only the Green Party has consistently made the case that with 50,000 jobs dependent on arms exports in the UK, far more jobs could be created elsewhere in more ethical areas of the economy with the same investment.

So we need to tackle the bigger issues of arms and chemical exports so that we don’t in future have to deal with this situation. Right now on Merseyside, people need reassurance from the company about how the decommissioning will take place. We have written to Veolia to ask them to make those public assurances, share as much information as they can about the process in the interests of transparency, and build confidence that local people should expect no health issues to arise from this process.

To tackle these concerns, Leader of the Opposition on Liverpool City Council John Coyne contacted Veolia, and received the following correspondence from Martin Curtois, the Group Communications Manager within 24 hours:

“I can confirm that Veolia will be destroying 194t of Syrian chemicals, consisting of both ‘B’ precursors and hydrochloric acid at Ellesmere Port under our existing Ministry of Defence contract for treating waste arising from its operations.

“All the materials which will be handled are similar to materials routinely treated at the plant and will be destroyed in line with our strict environmental permit.”

For more information, view the attached press release and letter from Veolia below.

Press Release

Letter of reply to Cllr Coyne

Liverpool to miss 2015 air quality targets

Updated projections by DEFRA show that the Liverpool urban area will fail to comply with air quality targets until at least 2020.

The European Union sets a pollution limit on the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the local environment. It can have a particularly bad effect on existing health conditions such as asthma. Air pollution in the UK causes an estimated 29,000 deaths every year, according to an article in the Guardian.

Liverpool Greens Protest Against Air Pollution in April. Photo by Colin Lane

Liverpool Greens Protest Against Air Pollution in April. Photo by Colin Lane

Cllr Sarah Jennings, Deputy Leader of the opposition Green Party in Liverpool, commented:

“Air quality is fundamental to our quality of life. Liverpool isn’t the only urban area that is going to fail to meet these targets. It’s our city and we have the ability to do better in reducing this form of pollution.”

“The Mayoral experiment on the city’s bus lanes will not have helped. We need to reduce the number of cars on Liverpool’s roads and ensure priority for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. Nearly half of all Liverpool households don’t have access to a car.”

“For male motorists, this particular pollution is especially bad news, as studies have shown that it is not just breathing difficulties that are affected. Male fertility can be affected by increased exposure to NO2.

The Greens have repeatedly criticised the Mayor’s trial removal of the bus lanes and have shown that previous evidence of their success had been ignored. The Mayor now wants to extend the bus lane suspension for another three months. That position will be questioned in public at a meeting of a special Bus Lane Scrutiny Panel next week.

The City Council’s Bus lane Scrutiny Panel is chaired by Green Party leader Cllr John Coyne and will meets at 5pm on Monday 14th July in the Victoria Room of Municipal Buildings, Dale Street.  The meeting is open to the public.  The decision on the bus lane extension will be taken by Cabinet on Friday 18th July.

Liverpool Greens Condemn Labour Leader’s Support of the S*n

Labour show no respect for Liverpool as Ed Milliband displays support for the free copies of The S*n Newspaper, posted to every house in the UK without a Liverpool postcode today. 

In a picture posted on Twitter, Milliband is seen holding a copy of the promotional paper, proclaiming his support for the paper with the caption ‘This Is Our England’.

Cllr John Coyne, Leader of the Opposition on Liverpool City Council said “This shows Labour has forgotten about how Liverpool people feel about this paper and why.”

“It shows no respect for the families of the victims lost in the Hillsborough tragedy 25 years ago”

This image was later followed up by a picture of David Cameron and Nick Clegg holding the paper.

If you would like to donate to the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, please click here

Liverpool Greens Experience Membership Surge

After the great results in the Liverpool City Council elections, many are flocking to join our ranks, with membership up 45% in the past six months.

This is great news for us, as we prepare to fight the general election campaign next year with Martin Dobson standing in the Liverpool Riverside Constituency.

We would like to welcome all our new members to the party and inform all that if you are interested in joining them please click here.

Liverpool Greens Win Big to Become Official Opposition

(L-R) Cllrs John Coyne, Lawrence Brown, Tom Crone and Sarah Jennings

(L-R) Cllrs John Coyne, Lawrence Brown, Tom Crone and Sarah Jennings

Liverpool Green Party has doubled our City Council seats after the elections on May 22nd 2014.

Liverpool Green Party Chair Tom Crone gained the third seat in St Michaels Ward, joining current Green Councillors Cllr John Coyne and Cllr Sarah Jennings. This is great news for Tom, who previously lost out in 2010 by just over 200 votes.

Along with this, Lawrence Brown gained our first seat in Greenbank Ward, with an impressive 193.6% increase on votes from his previous attempt at the Ward in 2012.

As a result of this, and the Liberal Democrats catastrophic loss of all of the seats they were defending (including our gained seat in Greenbank ward), Liverpool Greens are now the second largest party on Liverpool City Council, making us the official opposition.

New councillor Tom Crone speaking to the Liverpool Echo said, “We want to work constructively with opposing parties and get results for Liverpool.”

New Cllrs Lawrence Brown and Tom Crone


New Cllrs Lawrence Brown and Tom Crone

The elections also marked an increase in the Green vote throughout the city, coming second in both Princes Park and Central Wards with increased majorities, as well as gaining the first seat over on the Wirral. Along with two gains in Lancaster, the North West Green Party therefore achieved all of our target seats in this election.

If you are interested in getting involved in Liverpool Green Party, please contact us by emailing Chair Tom Crone at tommartincrone@gmail.com

Liverpool Greens Petition Mayor to Save Libraries

St Michaels Greens have launched a petition to save Sefton Park Library, asking Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to reconsider the budget alternatives proposed by Liverpool Councillors.

As the petition explains, Liverpool Greens believe that libraries are an important part of our community. The Greens proposed redirecting £1.634m from two separate funds which are used for optional discretionary projects and using it to prevent any library closures in Liverpool.

In a video produced by Liverpool Green Party, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas said “Libraries are an absolute lifeline.

“Particularly for people who don’t have access to getting into the city centre”

Liverpool Green Party chair and St Michaels candidate Tom Crone said “Unfortunately our proposals were dismissed and for that we are critical of Liverpool Labour”

For more information on our budget proposals, view our article here and please click here to sign the petition.

You can also view our two videos about the subject here.

 

Green Party stands in 29 seats in Liverpool

Tom Crone on Sefton Park Meadows, Liverpool

Tome Crone, Candidate for St. Michaels


Liverpool Green Party will be standing in 29 out of 30 seats in the the city. 17 of the 29 Green candidates will be women, reflecting the strong national leadership shown by Caroline Lucas MP and Natalie Bennett.

Lawrence Brown

Lawrence Brown, Candidate for Greenbank

The Greens will be looking to make St Michaels an all Green ward by electing Tom Crone to the final seat. They are also looking to elect Lawrence Brown in Greenbank and Helen Randall in Mossley Hill. The local campaign will also make a major contribution to the European Election campaign after Liverpool based candidate Peter Cranie missed out by just 0.3% last time.

In Kensington and Fairfield, the Green Party has endorsed a prominent local candidate Steve Faragher who is grounded in the local community and who shares the common goal of kicking Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, out of the European Parliament. Steve will be asking his supporters to vote Green in the European Elections.

Cllr John Coyne, leader of the Greens in Liverpool, said:
“Labour will continue to control the council, even if they failed to win a single seat in this election, so this election is about accountability, not power. The city needs a new opposition party who can hold the administration to account and challenge some of the foolish decisions that have been made by the Mayor and his administration.”

“The Liberal Democrats, who have imposed a savage level of cuts on our city as part of the coalition government, no longer command the trust of local voters. Our candidates can create and effective opposition, working positively with others across the city, to hold Labour to account in the interests of the people of Liverpool.”

For more information
Martin Dobson: martinsydneydobson@gmail.com

GREENS TO BLOCK RUSH TO SCRAP BUS LANES

Greens To Block Rush To Scrap Liverpool Bus Lanes

Save The Bus Lanes

Liverpool’s Green Councillors today joined cyclists, bus and taxi operators to react to the shock announcement that Liverpool’s Mayor wants to scrap bus lanes.

The Mayor is said to want a 9 month switch-off of enforcement cameras starting next month. But the Green Party is ready to use the “call-in” procedure so that the idea would have to go to the transport scrutiny meeting first. That meeting takes place on November 13th.

We hope that would not be just a delay to this very strange idea, but an opportunity to take a proper look at it and see if there is any better way of solving the problem the Mayor thinks he has found.

The rationale for bus lane enforcement is on the council’s own web site. It’s “part of a programme of measures to reduce congestion and pollution, and to improve the reliability and punctuality of public transport.”
We agree with that.

Cllr John Coyne
Leader, Liverpool Green Party
0151 727 7779

Link to story on Liverpool Echo website: Mayor Joe Anderson in city bus lane row

Liverpool Echo is running an online poll which may be of interest.

St Michaels Ward Blog: stmichaelsgreens.wordpress.com

John Coyne Councillor Profile: councillors.liverpool.gov.uk

If you will be affected by losing your bus lanes you can find your councillors here: Your Councillors

From this page you can find your MP: MPs

Cllr Coyne On Liverpool City Region Consultation

RESPONSE BY LIVERPOOL GREEN PARTY TO THE CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED ARRANGEMENTS FOR A LIVERPOOL CITY REGION COMBINED AUTHORITY

John Coyne 2012We recognise the case for some kind of Combined Authority (CA) for Liverpool City Region, but we have disagreements with the current prospectus for such an authority.

We recognise that the effects of the government’s austerity programme have hit our subregion particularly hard, combining with pre-existing problems of deprivation and relatively high levels of unemployment. Therefore if it is true that the existence of a CA will unlock new streams of government funding then, in the current crisis, it would be understandable to accept the creation even of a flawed body, with the hope of redeeming and reforming it in the future.

We have a fundamental disagreement with the stated overriding aim of the City Region to promote perpetual economic growth. We think that placing the adjective “sustainable” in front of the term “growth” cannot remove the paradox of aiming for perpetual growth within a finite planet with finite resources. Sooner or later there needs to be a transition to the aim of a steady state economy.

However, given the current desperate state of the local economy, we recognise that a period of catch-up growth is needed now. We disagree with any built-in growth-dependency – having a subregional plan for the future that only works when the economy grows.

The prospectus focusses, too, on externally generated economic activity and says little about fostering economic resilience. Ambitions to shorten supply chains and to produce and provide locally are omitted. There is no mention of the prospect of a local currency for the subregion, even though this would be a highly practical extension on the platform of Merseytravel’s “Walrus” card.

Further, the prospectus is weak on any non-economic issues such as health and the local environment. In particular, poor air quality, high rates of pedestrian and cycle casualties and low levels of cycle use could be seen as opportunities for subregional transport interventions, but are not.

Turning now to the issues of democracy, we see some serious weaknesses in what is proposed. We accept the principle that whatever emerges as a governance structure for the subregion should cost no more than the existing arrangements. Citizens will not accept any expansion in bureaucracy, especially at a time of austerity.

However, the proposals for cabinet and scrutiny are weak. Each constituent district would nominate two cabinet members and two members of a scrutiny committee. In practice, the domination of one political party within each district is likely to lead to most or all of those appointments being made from one political party, with the odd opposition politician included.

Yet the responsibility to scrutinise and to make creative pre-decision policy proposals across a subregion is a huge commitment. It would be a severe test of a part-time opposition party ward councillor with many other competing demands.

If we are taking subregional governance seriously, there is a strong case for a directly elected assembly which would call the cabinet to account. The Greater London Assembly provides a model. Proportional representation, as exists for the GLA, would ensure that the composition of a strong scrutiny body contained a diversity of political perspectives, rather than a sycophantic echo chamber.

If necessary, and it probably would be necessary, there should be reduction in the number of councillors in each of the district authorities to pay for the introduction of the subregional assembly.

Finally, it should be recorded that the timing of this consultation, coinciding with the school holiday period and lasting a short time, has not created the best opportunity for analysis and discussion of the issues of this important constitutional step. That is regretted. And this response to the consultation should therefore be seen as provisional, provided within the deadline for the purposes of this consultation, but not a definitive statement of the position of Liverpool Green Party.

Cllr John Coyne

Leader, Liverpool Green Party
Councillor for St Michaels ward, Liverpool
0151 727 7779

St Michaels Ward Blog: stmichaelsgreens.wordpress.com

John Coyne Councillor Profile: councillors.liverpool.gov.uk