23
Feb 21

At the Mendip District Council meeting on Monday, 22nd February, councillors passed a motion overwhelmingly to support a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip.

The motion was proposed by Cllr. Shane Collins, leader of the Green Party Group, and seconded by Cllr. Ros Wyke, LibDem leader of Mendip – and passed with cross party support.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Collins said:

Tonight the council voted overwhelmingly to support our motion for a UBI trial in Mendip. Many thanks to the 29 Green and LibDem councillors who voted in favour. Our next step is to write to the government asking for a trial – so don’t hold your breath – but Mendip is now one of many councils who have asked for a trial. This is progressive pressure to make sure UBI is debated at (and before) the next election.

In a time of COVID, Brexit, Artificial Intelligence, the ‘gig economy’, and Climate Emergency, the amount of paid jobs are shrinking and with 5.8 million people on Universal Credit and often falling through the net, now is the time for a UBI trial in Mendip.”

UBI would simplify and replace benefits such as Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits and work alongside housing benefit and carers allowance, with additional UBI payments for groups of people who experience barriers to working, including disabled people, single parents and people of pension age – offering basic financial security for all people at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

The motion in full:

A Universal Basic Income Trial in Mendip

Motion to be moved by: Shane Collins, Keyford Ward Green Party Councillor, seconded by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of MDC.

Date submitted: 9th February 2021.

Passed: 22nd February 2021.

This council notes:

1. The drastic impacts of the Covid pandemic on employment and household incomes in Mendip, in particular the self employed, those on zero hours contracts and people working in the arts, festival and cultural industries.

2. The threat to income and employment from Brexit, climate breakdown, automation and artificial intelligence, which could affect a great many more jobs in future;

3. The development of universal basic income (UBI) trials in other countries, which offer a non-means-tested sum paid by the state to cover the basic cost of living, which is paid to all citizens individually, regardless of employment status, wealth, or marital status, which has been widely debated in recent months;

4. The resolutions of other local authorities including Sheffield, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham, Lewes, and Brighton and Hove (with cross party support) calling for trials of UBI;

5. A network of Universal Basic Income Labs has been set up and works with local authorities across the UK developing UBI proposals to address problems such as poverty, inequality, discrimination and environmental damage, long-term and immediately, in relation to coronavirus.

6. UBI has been Green Party Policy since the 1970s and now taken up by the Liberal Democrats and more recently the Labour manifesto calling for a UBI trial.

7. The time has come for Universal Basic Income.

This council believes:

1. That the current benefit system is failing citizens, with Universal Credit causing hardship to many communities;

2. A UBI is the fairest, most effective way to mitigate the effects of coronavirus on people’s incomes as it does not discriminate between employment status, caring responsibilities, age, or disability when providing basic support;

3. There is a danger of increasing numbers of people facing poverty as a result of the coronavirus crisis;

4. Testing a UBI is needed, as a UBI has the potential to help address key challenges such as inequality, poverty, precarious employment, loss of community, and breach of planetary boundaries through:

i. Giving employers a more flexible workforce whilst giving employees greater freedom to change their jobs;

ii. Valuing unpaid work, such as caring for family members and voluntary work;

iii. Removing the negative impacts of benefit sanctions and conditionality; and

iv. Giving people more equal resources within the family, workplace and society;

v. Breaking the link between work and consumption, thus helping reduce strain on the environment.

vi. Enabling greater opportunities for people to work in community and cultural activities or to train or reskill in areas that will be needed to transition to a lower-carbon economy.

5. The success of a UBI pilot should not be measured only by impact upon take-up of paid work, but also the impact upon communities and what the people within them do, how they feel, and how they relate to others and the environment around them; and

6. Given its history of social innovation, wealth of expertise, and active networks across community, business and public services, Mendip is ideally placed to pilot a UBI.

Full Council calls on the Chief Executive / Leader to:

1. Send a joint letter with the other party leaders to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the leader of the party in Government, their counterparts in all opposition political parties in parliament, and all local MPs, and media asking for a trial of Universal Basic Income in Mendip citing the above reasons.

14
Sep 20

Join The Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign!

At the end of August, all five councils in Somerset were targeted by Extinction Rebellion over investments in fossil fuels by the councils’ pension fund.

Somerset is on the front line of climate change. Climate Change has caused, and is predicted to cause, a much greater risk of flooding and extreme weather. After the devastating floods of the Somerset Levels in 2013, Somerset County Council saw the terrible impact of climate change first hand. The Council recognises the potential impacts of climate change yet its pension fund invests over £120,000,000 in the very fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change!

Since 2015, Greens in Mendip have been leading the call for Somerset County Council to divest from fossil fuel.

Green Party district councillor for Frome Keyford, Shane Collins, who is leading the campaign for the SCC pension fund to divest, said: “Somerset County Council recognises that it must do whatever it can to tackle climate change and it has a responsibility to divest from an industry that jeopardises the future of our planet.”

“Instead of fossil fuel investment, SCC Pension Fund Committee should invest in solutions to climate change; investments that protect pensions and planet, joining The British Medical Association, Bristol City Council, and Oxford City Council – who have all recently agreed to make the commitment to no direct investment in the fossil fuel industry.”

Please sign our petition, and share widely.

Over one thousand people so far have signed the petition urging the council to heed the advice of financial experts and remove its investments from overvalued fossil fuel companies, but so far the council seems unwilling to acknowledge how it contributes to climate change with these unwise investments.

Useful links:

Our petition - please sign!

Fossil Free UK

12
Aug 20

Tree planting in the neighbourhood

There is a very promising development in the tree planting front here in Glastonbury as I discovered when I met up with Green Town Councillor Ian Mutch recently.

A number of flourishing Crack Willows (Salix fragilis) are to be found on the Sydenhams Timber yard side of the Mill Stream rivulet running alongside Beckery Road.

Cllr. Mutch planted the small seedlings over the past two years and they are growing magnificently in their new homes.

This is what is hoped to be the first of a large number of seedlings which will be planted in the Glastonbury and Street area over the next few years.

Cllr. Brian Outten

9
Aug 20

When we say ‘Never Again’, we mean it

“We must never forget – and pledge never again to inflict such mass destruction. That should start with the UK scrapping plans to replace and upgrade Trident, and instead sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”
Caroline Lucas MP.


On Sunday 9th August, Glastonbury’s Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Sue Barnet, observed The Silent Minute at 11:02 a.m. to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

A member of the international movement Mayors For Peace, Cllr. Cousins read a message from Mayor Taue of Nagasaki:

“Exactly 75 years have passed since the day our city was assaulted by a nuclear bomb. Despite the passing of three quarters of a century, we are still living in world where nuclear weapons exist.
I appeal to the leaders of countries around the world.  Please aim to break down the growing climate of distrust and instead build trust through dialogue... At this very time, please choose solidarity over division. At the NPT Review Conference, which is scheduled for next year, I ask that you show a workable way towards nuclear disarmament.”

“ ‘Only 100 seconds remain.’ In order to symbolize this state of crisis, the ‘Doomsday Clock’, an indicator of the time left until the earth’s extinction, was set at its shortest time ever this year.”

The observation took place at Glastonbury’s Peace Pole which was planted on 26th January 2013 by the Pilgrim Reception Centre supported by Uma Uchima, from the World Peace Prayer Society and Tatomir Ion-Marius, a Romanian Peace Ambassador and international peace worker.

Glastonbury’s Peace Pole has “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on it in eight languages and also a Braille plate. Located on the grass verge at the front of St Dunstan’s car park in the centre of the town, it ensures visitors and residents all have the opportunity to see and feel the message.

1
Jul 20

Green World Obituary: Denise Michell 1952-2020

Denise – as Mayor of Glastonbury – with Michael Eavis and Charles Hazlewood during the Last Bank Standing ‘Jerusalem’ Flash Mob in 2016.

Councillor Jon Cousins, Green Mayor of Glastonbury, pays tribute to Denise Michell, Archdruidess, Elder Ovate and Bard, ‘Fairy Queen’, and twice Green Mayor of Glastonbury.

First published in ‘Green World’ magazine – Wednesday, 24th June 2020.


Denise Michell 11th August 1952 – 22nd June 2020

Denise Michell (née Price) was born on 11th August 1952, and spent her early years in Barkingside, Redbridge.

She came to live in Glastonbury in 1997 and was an Archdruidess of the Glastonbury Order of Druids from 1998 to 2007 – subsequently becoming a founding member, Elder Ovate and Bard of the Gorsedh Ynys Witrin, Glastonbury’s Bardic College.

In April 2007, Denise married the celebrated author John Michell (1933–2009) at a ceremony held in Glastonbury’s St Benedict’s Church. It was a long courtship – they had first met 34 years earlier, when she was 21 and he was 40.

Partly in response to the government’s proposal that Hinkley Point C in Somerset would be one of the eight newly commissioned Nuclear Power Stations, Denise joined Glastonbury’s Green Party branch in 2010, and became an active campaigner encouraging local people to register to vote.

As Archdruidess, her profile helped to build support, and the local branch experienced a ‘Green Surge’ in 2010/11, which resulted in four Greens being elected to Glastonbury Town Council in May 2011 – Denise being one of the ‘Green Four’.

During their first term, Glastonbury’s Green Councillors implemented a Glastonbury ‘Green’ Charter for the Environment, installed solar panels onto the roof of the Town Hall, declared Glastonbury a Frack Free Council, and resolved to oppose the building of Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station.

Denise as Mayor Glastonbury (2nd left) with, L-R: Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, Molly Scott Cato, Cllrs Jon Cousins and Emma George (second and third Green Mayors of Glastonbury respectively).

As Glastonbury’s Green surge continued, reflected by the national surge in membership from late 2014 onwards (turning Greens into the third largest party in England and Wales), Denise was re-elected in 2015 to become the 316th (and first ‘Green’) Worshipful Mayor of Glastonbury. Her first Mayoral resolution was to join the international anti-nuclear movement ‘Mayors For Peace’, a membership that all succeeding Mayors of Glastonbury have maintained.

As a councillor, Denise was a champion of Glastonbury’s ‘Beltane’ May Day festivities and the town’s annual Frost Fayre. Indeed, when she was first elected, she discovered that the 2011 Frost Fayre was in danger of being cancelled – and decided to take on the coordination of the event, helping to turn the Frost Fayre into a huge success, which has gone from strength to strength – so well attended and popular in 2019 that hundreds of would-be visitors were not even able to enter the town.

In their second term, Glastonbury Greens expanded to seven elected councillors, and took minority control of the town council. During this time, they banned the use of glyphosate on all public land – moving to a non-toxic weed control system, became the first council in Somerset to be ‘single-use plastic free’, and the first to declare a Climate Emergency – pledging to make council operations carbon-neutral by 2030.

In 2019, being returned as a town councillor for a third term (as part of nine Green town councillors – a majority!), Denise joined the small company of people who have been twice elected Mayor of Glastonbury.

During her second Mayoralty, she oversaw Glastonbury becoming the second ‘Earth Protector Town’ in the World – calling for an Amendment to The Rome Statute to include a Law against Ecocide.

When asked recently what it was like to be a councillor, Denise replied: “Working within the community I listen closely to what people would like to see happen in our town now and in the future, and – as a councillor – I can help bring change for the benefit of everyone in our community.”

Glastonbury’s ‘Green Four’ with Caroline Lucas at Hinkley Point in 2012 L-R: Jon Cousins, Caroline Lucas, Alyson Black, Denise, and Ian Forster.

Denise passed away in the early hours of Monday 22nd June 2020. News of her death was announced by her children Zig, Zoe, Rowan and Leah on social media: “It is with broken hearts that we must share with you that our mum has completed her journey here on Earth and is now on her way to join the ancestors in the stars. Thank you to each and every one of you who has been a part of our mum’s life adventures. We ask that you light a candle, say a prayer and send her on her way with love. Love and light. May there be peace in the sacred grove.”

Personally, I am devastated by the passing of my dear friend. Denny was an incredible person, who loved Glastonbury to the core of her being and did so much for our community. She will be greatly missed. On behalf of Glastonbury Council and the local Green Party, I send my deepest condolences to her family.


Click here to view the obituary in ‘Green World’.

22
Mar 20

Coronavirus Covid-19 Information & Advice

This Glastonbury Town Council page hopes to provide the most up to date information & advice from a number of sources. Please check regularly for updates.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.

Stay at Home Guidance
People who are in the community with a fever or cough do not usually need testing. Individuals with a high temperature or new, continuous cough should stay at home for 14 days. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. People do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999. For more information click here

Social Distancing
Everyone should stop non-essential contact with others. That means people should work from home where possible and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres. The advice on people avoiding non-essential contact is particularly important for people who are over-70, for people who are pregnant and for people with underlying health conditions. The vulnerable group includes those who are normally advised to have the flu vaccine. For more information click here

GOV.UK
The official Government page with up to date information & guidance. For all the latest official updates click here

Glastonbury Coronavirus Support Network
Facebook Group connecting volunteers with those in need of assistance. If you can volunteer, or if you need assistance, please email glastonburycommunity@gmail.com or contact Kama on 07821 258383 or Tanya on 07912 074879

Glastonbury Coronavirus Support
Are you over the age of 70 or self-isolating for health reasons? Please don’t feel that you are alone. If you have access to the internet please email glastonburycommunity@gmail.com Also, if you feel lonely from being stuck indoors, there are volunteers happy to give you a call to check if you are OK. If you need support with food or medical supplies please call Kama on 07821 258383 or Tanya on 07912 074879

28
May 19

Molly is re-elected!

The Green Party is celebrating a spectacular election result that has seen the number of MEPs in England double, rising from three to seven!

The first Brussels Green Party representatives were elected in the Eastern, North West, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber regions.  Greens seats were retained in London, the South East, and here in the South West, where Molly Scott Cato was re-elected.

Nationally, our votes topped 2 million and we finished fourth in the total vote above the Conservative Party, the first time the Greens have beaten the Tories in a national election...

Green co-leader, Sian Berry, said: “Following on from our spectacular local election results where we more than doubled our representation, tonight’s result is proof of the size and power of the Green Wave that is sweeping across the country.  Our message of ‘yes to Europe, no to climate change’ clearly resonated strongly with voters, many of whom will have been casting their vote for our party for the first time.  We topped the poll in Bristol, Norwich, and Brighton and Hove, and scored brilliant seconds in Sheffield, Cambridge, and Oxford.”

In Mendip, we came third – beating both Conservatives and Labour – taking a staggering 22.8% (302,364) of the vote!


6
May 19

European Parliamentary Elections, Thursday 23rd May 2019

Help re-elect Molly Scott Cato as Green MEP for the South West

Molly has been clear on Brexit and has campaigned across the region for a People’s Vote and to stop the Brexit chaos.

Molly has been strong on climate, campaigning for rapid investment in renewables, working on sustainable finance law, and helping shaping a Green New Deal.

Molly is an economist who has challenged rising inequality and fought tax avoidance by large companies and the ultra-wealthy.

As well as Molly, we have five other outstanding candidates on the Green list: Cleo Lake, Carla Denyer, Tom Scott, Martin Dimery, and Karen La Borde.

Why is this election so crucial?
This European Parliament election on 23rd May is the most important in our history.  As we teeter on the brink of a catastrophic Brexit it offers us a vital opportunity to show that the will of the people has changed.  Molly is the most clearly Remain MEP in the South West.  A strong vote for Molly and the Green Party will help increase pressure for a People’s Vote; and we can use the European Elections as a proxy referendum.

Just as importantly, you can help make sure that EU policies develop in a way that’s good for the environment, good for the climate, and good for people’s quality of life.

3
May 19

Local Elections Triumph!

In our most successful local elections ever, the following Green Party Candidates have been elected in the Mendip District of the Wells Constituency:

Mendip District Council:
Glastonbury St. John’s Ward – Jon Cousins
Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward – Lindsay MacDougall

Wells City Council:
Wells Central – Pam Crummay
Wells St. Thomas – Jennifer Rust
Wells St. Cuthberts – Sarah Briton and Jennifer Linsdell

Glastonbury Town Council:
Glastonbury St. Benedict’s Ward – Denise Michell, Ian Mutch, and Brian Outten
Glastonbury St. Edmund’s Ward – Jon Cousins and Serena Roney-Dougal
Glastonbury St. John’s Ward – Sue Barnett and Christine Prior
Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward – Lindsay MacDougall and Mike Smyth

With nine out of the 16 seats, we now have overall control of Glastonbury Town Council!

Many thanks to all, including those who stood but did not get elected, those who leafletted, and those who voted.