Sunday, 11 December 2016

A Mug's Game – Andy Burnham and Immigration

Controls on Immigration
A Greater Manchester perspective? 
So out of the blue, as part of the campaign to be elected Mayor of Greater Manchester, comes a report that ‘The free movement of people within the European Union has made British streets unsafe’.
And that “The status quo – full free movement – was defeated at the ballot box and therefore not an option. We need to make the argument for an immigration system that allows for greater control, reduce the numbers coming here, but does so in a fair way.”
The UKIP policy on immigration bases itself on fairness [1] . But these quotes are not from UKIP, they are from the Labour Party candidate Andy Burnham [2].
My first reaction was a less polite version of ‘Goodness me’, but a quick google search shows Burnham has been back and forth on the issue over time [3].
From his leadership campaign against Jeremy Corbyn last year he said "What I would say as shadow home secretary is that from here we need to review how freedom of movement works in practice and look at some of those issues that Jeremy Corbyn has raised in this campaign. Issues like, pressures on public services, because often its the more deprived communities that have to absorb that pressure without extra funding. That can't be right," he said. "It also can't be right that people can be brought in from other countries when their employment is still in their country of origin and then employed here to undercut wages - there needs to be a review." [4]
Typical right wing positioning is to put deprivation and immigration next to each other in an argument and let the public make the association. So to make the argument on ‘pressures on public services’, its ‘freedom of movement’ that’s the issue more than cuts and austerity. Not that those services have been cut to the bone but that they need ‘extra funding’ because of the ‘freedom of movement’.
So let me place Andy Burnham, UKIP, Tories, xenophobia, and racism next to each other but not make any association.
Its painful that I can’t write a positive response to this position from the Labour candidate.
My family are immigrants, my friends are. My neighbours, colleagues, my children’s friends, the people I buy from, the people I read.
And it’s a choice. What starting point do you take on what the people of Greater Manchester think?
Burnham says “The 700,000 people in Greater Manchester who voted to leave – many of them lifelong Labour voters – voted for change on immigration. I am quite clear about that and that has to be our starting point in this debate.” [5]
Well mine is “600,000 people in Greater Manchester are living in extreme poverty, they voted to change this so how do we get them out of it” [6]
This immigration language is an insult and we don’t need or want it in Greater Manchester.
As far as I’m concerned, Andy can pack his bags and his ‘Controls on Immigration mug’ and go back to Westminster where he belongs.


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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Green Mayoral candidate calls for immediate action on Homelessness

Shelter Request
Shelter Request
Green candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester Deyika Nzeribe [1] called on local councils to act on homelessness immediately.

Last week saw the deaths of two homeless men when an abandoned building was destroyed in a fire [2] as well as a group of young people placed under an eviction notice in order to remove them from the empty public-owned building they were occupying [3].

Speaking specifically about the situation in Manchester, Deyika said “This is both is both a tragic and outrageous situation the Council has created. Whilst it’s understood that government policy over the past few years has dramatically increased the levels of extreme poverty [4], local decision-making has not made things better.

Practical things that the Council can do immediately are

1.    Stop chasing organised groups of homeless people out of the city centre using its legal injunction [5]. It just means that they are more dispersed, it doesn’t make them disappear.
2.    Stop the eviction of the young homeless people supported by the Manchester Activist Network [6]. The building is empty and due to be demolished in over a year. The Council should be working with the group to improve the space, until they can move the young people in there into homes.
3.    Re-open the homeless shelters in Hulme and Harpurhey [7]. There is no reason for them not to be available again AND they are easier to get to than other provision.
4.    Create a committee to address housing and homelessness. All Councils should do this where, like Manchester, there is a crisis in these areas.

At the moment, while offering plenty of words of sorrow and condolence, Manchester’s leaders’ actions on homelessness and housing seems desperately lacking.”


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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Fracking no part of Energy Future

United Against Fracking 12/11/16
Green bloc at United against Fracking rally
Speech at United Against Fracking rally Saturday 12th November 2016

Hello people and welcome to Manchester. 

My name is Deyika Nzeribe, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Thanks - to everyone who has come to speak loud and clear against fracking. Thanks to the amazing organisers who have pulled together this event, they're brilliant.

Thanks also to the media who are going to report the enormity of what’s at stake here. And thanks in advance that they are going to give the fracking industry the robust scrutiny it deserves.

There are many great speakers here today, I’m just going to concentrate on a few points.

To be topical, there has been a lot happening in America. 

United Against Fracking rally
We need to make sure that no matter who is President of the United States, whoever is in Number 10 for that matter - the shale gas industry is not allowed to hoodwink the public into believing that fracking is any kind of part of an energy strategy for the future.

We also need ensure that the democratic voice of the people in Lancashire is respected.

We also need to remember that YOU are part of the long line of activists from all around the world, protecting Earth, air and the water against degradation. Barton Moss, Balcombe, Roseacre Wood, the South Africa Wild Coast, the XL pipeline, North Dakota.

Same line.

These Green issues are everyone’s issues.

You might not be aware of it but you are in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, historical birthplace of the industrial revolution.

The Green Party vision, my vision, for a northern powerhouse - is one powered by clean, green, renewable energy,  produced here in the north and which creates more jobs per pound invested than shale gas ever can; clean energy powered by its people, its wind, waves and sun. Well daylight if not sun!  

And to close, we absolutely we need to remember WHY we are for these things and against fracking.

The environment. Our environment.


You can’t be against fracking AND for building on Green Belt.
You can’t be against fracking AND for expanding the airport.
You can’t be for and against the planet. 

We know whats coming, the facts are there and the science doesn’t negotiate.

So we respect the facts.
We fight the fossil fuel industry.
And we build a green future.

Because our lives depend on it.


A report of the event is printed in the Salford Star.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

In the Running

"Devolution"[1] for Greater Manchester has many things wrong with it. There is
  • a lack of transparency
  • no democratic mandate from the people
  • an almost sole focus on 'growth'
  • a lack of practical focus on social issues
  • a lack of focus on the climate change and environmental issues

GMG Greens
Green Candidates
So why run to be the Green candidate for Mayor?

Because its an opportunity to put all of these issues on the agenda for Greater Manchester.

The role of the Mayor should be a campaigning one for the people.

In addition, 35% of constituencies in Greater Manchester are amongst the most deprived in the North West. [2] (Deprived areas have strong indicators of poverty, poor health, unemployment, poor or a lack of housing. [3] [4])

Manchester itself is stark in its levels of inequality. Whilst there is great wealth [5], its high levels of homelessness [6] is plain to see and it has some of the worst health in the country [7].

Although the Labour candidate for mayor [8] has a respectable record as an MP, in Manchester he is the 'status quo' candidate. That is not good enough.

We should be doing something different. 

BRT Rally
BRT Rally
On housing

Instead of accepting £300 million to build private accommodation [9] is the end of the story, why don't we ask government for an additional £300 million to stimulate social housing construction all over Greater Manchester?

It would
  • provide jobs and training
  • provide lower cost housing for those in need
  • support social landlords
  • enable young people to get on the property ladder
  • give a boost to ALL areas of region not just Manchester and Salford.

On health

The situation is bordering on disastrous. To deal with some of the worst health in the country
  • we should renegotiate the deal with government to get back the estimated £2 billion budget shortfall [10] 
  • fight to be given a free hand to organise its health systems instead of implementing government plans [11] . It should be devolution not delegation.
  • support the growth of the voluntary sector to provide additional support for health and social services
  • 'hand back' health devolution if the additional help requested is not forthcoming

Whilst health doesn't come directly under the Mayors remit, it such a huge issue, it MUST be on the Mayor's agenda.

On the economy

Instead of just competing for 'cherry on the top' events like Expo2025 [12], the region should also be fighting to bring in Green industry, providing long-term work as part of a new Green Deal [13].

Greater Manchester is home of the industrial revolution, and as such is also a parent to the beginnings of climate change [14]. As a region we have a responsibility to effectively fight climate change, to fight for a Greater Greener Manchester.

That is what I think.

So as a Greater Manchester Green Party member, I'm asking for your vote.

If you don’t already have a link to vote contact the Elections Officer. [15].



  15. Email: 

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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Corbyn, Trump and the Prince from Across the Sea

Your Choice
Your Choice
Currently the country is in political, financial and social turmoil. With the lack of a clear leadership voice for the country, its difficult to see a way forward. The upper class leaders of the Leave Europe campaign have fled and the two largest parties are embroiled in internal power struggles.

For us, the massive surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn has been a concern, so far left unanswered by the Greens. 

Can it be argued that joining Labour in support of Corbyn is potentially a dangerous thing?

Here is a scenario that starts with suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump find themselves in exactly the same position.

Putting the difference in politics aside, both are outsiders elected to leadership by their memberships over the wishes of their party representatives, with both sets of representatives having tried to remove their new leaders.

In England, the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) is currently trying VERY hard to remove its leader. But it is being checked by its grassroots activists (and in particular the Momentum movement) buoyed by a massive surge in membership.


Momentum in particular seems powerful. As most of the new joiners are specifically joining in support of Jeremy Corbyn, and engaging with Momentum to do so, it is clearly the strongest organising force in the party. 

But if Corbyn stays, with their support, the PLP though in retreat, is not going anywhere. 

So what now?  With weak alternative PLP candidates and a strong Momentum, is it stalemate until the next attempted coup? Maybe. 

Part of the strength of Momentum's position is that there is no viable, strong enough candidate within the PLP that can challenge them, challenge Corbyn. And that is true.

The Prince from across the Sea

On the assumption that there is no snap election called, one possibility could be that the 'Prince from across the Sea' would break the deadlock. 

This Prince could regain a seat in a by-election and position himself as, not just coming back to lead the Labour Party but to save the country. He would have the support of the PLP, be of wide enough appeal to the country that the grassroots activists would grudgingly accept him. And so he would defeat Corbyn in a leadership election, at the same time breaking Momentum across his knee.

A defeated Corbyn would be a massive blow to the progressive movement in the country.

Only the progressive alliance talked of with the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru could possibly defeat both the government and keep the Prince at bay.

Building that alliance cannot be focussed on joining Labour, its too unstable a situation. While the party is likely to keep hitting itself in the face for the foreseeable future, in England, a larger Green Party has to be a better bet.

In the meantime, the Prince, David Miliband continues to comment in the US media.

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Saturday, 2 July 2016

Brexit, Racism and Accountability

Brexit - Voting to Leave
Brexit surprises - the ‘Out’ result itself, who voted out and the ensuing political turmoil.

Generally, the media has characterised those who voted out as the disenfranchised white working class, and given the spread of the ‘Out’ vote, this applies to most of the country.

The rise in attacks and abuse against Asians, Blacks and Europeans has been swift. Many column inches have been devoted to ‘Shock’, pointing to the effects of austerity and the words of grey, white people in small towns.

But England and its people hasn't substantially changed over the years and certainly not since the EU referendum vote. For some, it would seem, are now more comfortable being openly racist because, through the vote, they believe most people think like them.

And the fault for this lies squarely with the leaders of this country.

Recently, too many politicians have taken Race and used it to demonise as a cover for the negative consequences of their policies or the deficit in their thinking.

They have 'weaponised' it.

Race played a major part in last year’s General Election with the main parties all promising to be tough on immigrants and doing nothing to dampen down the resulting xenophobia. 

The Labour Party even produced its infamous 'Controls on Immigration' mugs.

The recent London Mayoral campaign was openly Islamophobic.

The use of high levels of fear by BOTH the Remain and Brexit campaigns was new, with Brexit basing their fear platform on immigration and Europeans.

That immigrants and Europe have been the main cause of England's problems – lack of services, housing, jobs - was not only a central plank of Brexit but also often used by the government over the years.

By voting 'Out', the majority of the public accepted these argument.

What have politicians been doing to allay these fears? 


Leadership battles have turned politicians inward instead of outwards to the country. No-one is trying to close the wounds this campaign has opened.

A pox on all their houses. Blame for this situation should be pointed in the right direction.

So what does this mean for the Greens?

  • The national leadership to be much more vocal about their anti-racist policies and practices.
  • Hold any racist, xenophobic actions and policies of the other parties to account.
  • Local parties to be much faster to condemn racist incidents wherever they happen in the country.
  • Show more diversity in its leadership platform.Its done that relatively successfully over the last couple of years with Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack presenting a different complexion to its membership, Natalie Bennett covering almost every inch of the country in support of local members and Caroline Lucas retaining her popularity with the press.

If though, as a party, we are going back to having a white, middle aged, middle class leadership, that is a statement in itself.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Comment: Europe - A Mistimed Referendum

This post is my personal view.

Galloway Farage
Galloway and Farage
“…unless I have blood as the Law says all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire and water.” So demanded the White Queen at a pivotal point in her conflict with Aslan in the children’s book ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.

It does not seem so different from how both the Bremain and Brexit campaigns have presented their doom-ladened cases. In the last days of the campaign, things have become calmer. Its taken blood to make it so.

Both sides of this campaign have been, lets say, ‘misleading’.  

Brexit quite simply have often lied and have been quite open about not being sure what leaving the EU will mean for the country (given that they will be antagonising their main trading partner) but are hopeful British ‘pluck’ will pull them through. It won’t. For all the talk of ‘freedom’ the campaign has talked about, its been poorly outlined and arguments, often irrational.

Bremain point to the social and environmental safeguards that Europe has and does provide that maybe lost if we leave the EU, the travel freedoms and shared work opportunities all gone forever. No. Some of these things are under threat anyway but Europe has and does so far, provide a safety net from some of the wilder schemes of this somewhat extremist government.

On both sides political enemies line up alongside AND against each other arguing together that the other side is wrong. The most striking image of this (for me) was George Galloway sharing a platform with Nigel Farage for the ‘Leave’ campaign. Anti-racist and racist campaigners arguing for ‘freedom’..? No wonder people are confused and campaigners on the ground much less certain than their publicity materials.

And why is this happening anyway? Has anything substantial changed in the EU recently? 


But the EU IS changing. Its becoming much more right wing and ‘neo-liberal’. Its promotion of austerity, its treatment of poor EU nations particularly Greece has been sickening, and the treatment of refugees coming to and within its borders has been shameful.

But as important is the current and coming TTIP issue, the trade agreement  currently being negotiated between the US and Europe. Most of the current focus in the UK has been on keeping the NHS out of its reach but TTIP will be so much more than that.

The Bremain argument on TTIP is weak at best and Brexit does not have one.

This referendum and more importantly, its timing, is from a ill-thought through campaign promise from David Cameron. As it is, its pointless.

The time to have the vote on whether or not to stay in Europe will be at the presentation of the TTIP trade agreement. At that point the country will have a much clearer idea of Europe’s direction of travel and be able to decide if that’s the direction it wants to go in.

For me the question is when TTIP comes, will the UK have a referendum?

Until then it’s a weak Yes to Remain.
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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Hulme pub 'The Junction' at Crossroads

The Junction - present day
After years of rumours about Hulme's 'The Junction' pub [1], news has arrived that it has been sold by owners, Hydes brewery [2].

Pub advocacy group CAMRA [3] reports that it has been sold to a local property developer, separately identified as PortfolioUK [4].

Built in the Victorian era, The Junction is an iconic Hulme landmark [5] and one of the last traditional community pubs in the area. Its said that there was once an underground tunnel between the The Junction and the nearby Hippodrome [6] so that performers staying at (there was once accommodation on the long ago removed third floor) could get direct access to the theatre. [7]
The Junction - 1924

Local activists are looking into how the venue can be retained as a community asset pointing out that the new Plunkett Foundation programme [8] aims to support up to 80 local pubs with a fund of £3.6 million over 2 years.

Hulme Green, Deyika Nzeribe commented 'Its a shame that Hydes did not appear value the importance of The Junction as part of the Hulme community, I'm sure they would have given a chance to local people to put in an offer.

'Over recent years we've lost The Grants [9], The Seahawk [10] and now The Junction seems to be heading the same way.

'The Universities [11, 12] and Housing associations [13] in Hulme have spent millions on their private property projects, well here is a chance for them to support a real piece of Hulme history. If they really do support the local community, they can put their money where their mouth is'.



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Monday, 25 April 2016

Comment: Race to the Top? Not In Manchester

R and R
April sees Bury City Council elect its new council leader Rishi Shori. He is the first Black Minority Ethnic (BME) leader [1] in the history of Greater Manchester.

With this in mind, it’s worth looking at the current composition of Manchester City Council.

Manchester City Council has 96 councillors [2]. All 96 are currently members of the Labour Party [3]. Labour has historically enjoyed solid support from the ethnic minority population of the city.

Lets look at more numbers.
  • The population of Manchester is approximately 500000 [4]
  • The ethnic minority population is roughly 30 percent of this [5]
  • Of the councils 96 representatives, 16 are from non-European ethnic minorities. Its about 17% of council body. [6]
  • Of these 15 are of ‘Asian descent’ and there is a token African Caribbean member
The Manchester City Council decision making body is the Executive Committee.

It has 9 members and of these, all are English (White) European [7]. (Interestingly enough the half of the Executive Committee 'assistants' are councillors of Asian decent.)

Whilst this is not necessary an issue, its notable that there is little discussion of how the large changes that are occurring through devolution will affect the ethnic minority population.

Take the £300 million housing fund [8]. At the moment its almost exclusively being used to support commercial property development.  Given that BME population in the city are likely to be in lower socioeconomic brackets it means they are less likely to benefit from the fund.

Health devolution [9] was discussed at a public networking meeting recently, a health strategy officer presented. When pressed, the officer admitted that if the devolution plans didn’t work, that BME communities are more likely to bear to bear the brunt of any negative effects as they are already at a disadvantage in the health system. It is projected that the devolution health budget may have as much as £2 billion pounds deficit [10].

As for Greater Manchester Police and policing, ethnic minorities are more than twice as likely to be stopped and searched than the majority population [11]. Whilst there are actions that can be done to address this locally, very little effective action seems to be forthcoming the police or its Crime Commissioner.

These serious issues barely raise a ripple because

1)   There is a lack of diversity on the Council. There are more people called Murphy on Manchester City Council's select Executive Committee than there are African Caribbeans on the whole council. 

2)   What representation there is  - is whipped into obeying the local Labour party line.

Its worth noting that no councillors voted against the budget cuts this year and you will be hard pressed to find one councillor to have votes against any cuts within the past five years. [12]

Representation and diversity. 

Find a Green local council candidate. 

Vote for them.



Vote Green

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Green Candidate calls for Reversal of Cuts to Mental Health Services

 Green Candidate for Manchester - Hulme, Deyika Nzeribe called for the reinstatement of mental health services cut by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MHSCT).

The cuts to services [1], which are mainly aimed at keeping its users healthy and out of hospital [2], were announced last autumn in a bid to save £1.5 million [3].

The Trust agreed to go ahead with the proposals at a heated meeting last month[4].

Green candidate, Deyika Nzeribe points out though, that in Greater Manchester the health landscape has completely changed.

"As of the beginning of April, under devolution, Greater Manchester has complete control of its health budget and management of those funds [5]. The new Devolution health board can easily make the decision to maintain those frontline services which are a lifeline to many of its users.

“Its clear from reports, the Trust consultation was a sham so the Devolution Health Board should take the opportunity to develop some good will and save those services.

"Health devolution in Manchester comes with a £2 billion shortfall [6]. If the new regional health management can't retain £1.5 million of mental health services, the scale of cuts to come is going to be scary. Devolution in this city, especially health, should be rethought [7]".


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