The BNP membership scandal has shone a torch at all parties here with people previously associated with Tories, UKIP, Labour, Lib Dems and unfortunately the Green Party being found amongst the list. It has always been quite easy, perhaps too easy to join the Greens (sure its similar for other parties). Nothing yet on the Green Party website (hurry up!) but Jean Lambert our London MEP puts its clearly:
"Let there be no doubt that the Green Party stands firmly against both racism and anti-Semitism. The Green Party has long fought for equality for all, supported the rights of migrant workers and spoken out against fascism and racism. People with those views are not welcome in the Green Party."
My partner Katie went along to an Easton Planning meeting, mostly to discuss the continuing controversy surrounding the Chocolate Factory development. The first item on the agenda was on the problems of landlords buying up properties and letting them out without maintaining the properties well, which explains our very transitory population in this part of Bristol. There is a shortage of affordable homes for families and it seems that the market is failing very badly in meeting that need. It appears that all new housing going up here and in the centre of the city is "luxury one and two bedroom apartments" Many of these I'm sure are bound to be bought up by landlords (who else can get a mortgage) and rented out t the highest bidder. Naturally single people need accommodation, but I was always happier in a shared house as living in a small flat on my own would have been very isolating and depressing. What I think is needed is more community and council control of where new housing is built, because of environmental and social impact; but also, what type of housing is built, in terms of low impact eco- houses and also who we are trying to house. For the increasing number of people who can't get on the property ladder, they are forced into often quite substandard rented accommodation or a housing association if they are lucky. The answer is quite clear in my mind we need a new investment in council housing stock, improving conditions for those already in council houses and new better quality, more energy efficient stock, built in urban, rather than on green belt land. Bristol still has acres of brownfield land and its a tragedy that the priority is for shopping centres, yuppie flats and car parks rather than decent homes for people on low or modest incomes.