Friday, 30 November 2007

War and Peace

Letter to Wanstead & Woodford Guardian – November 2007

I write in response to the suggestion by Harry Cohen MP that I, as someone who does not wish to get involved in wars, "should be more careful" - Guardian, November 2.

By voting in favour of military action in Afghanistan Mr Cohen supported the onset of events that have seen that region and Iraq blasted into the Stone Age and made the world a much more dangerous place to live in than it was before these disastrous campaigns.

It is true that no one in their right mind would suggest that Osama bin Laden should escape punishment for the atrocities that he has committed, any more than should Saddam Hussein. However Tony Blair riding side saddle with The Toxic Texan - George Bush, on their unilateral adventure into a 'wild east' sunset, was not so much to do with bringing these criminals to account as it is about getting their hands on the vast seams of oil rich reserves that lie beneath - and a strong military foothold in - those regions.

Furthermore the Taliban regime may well have been - as was Saddam Hussein's Baathist Party - "murderous and backward", where "women were harshly restricted and punished and not allowed education." However, that never seemed to bother our governments when they supported these 'allies' with whom they freely traded before 9/11.

In any event it is not seemly for our elected representatives to support of a couple of 'cowboy crusaders' who, in our name, have ridden roughshod over and 'cherry picked' United Nations resolutions and continue to use the grotesque strategy of bombing innocent people, in order to liberate them from oppressive regimes, especially when they themselves are not in the firing line.

As our Member of Parliament, I suggest that Mr Cohen should be more careful when casting his vote in the House on behalf of his constituents in future.

Yours sincerely
Ashley Gunstock

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Havering and Redbridge Green candidate announced

Picture: Siân Berry (centre) and Ashley Gunstock (right) at the Green Party Bazaar

Local campaigner Ashley Gunstock, has been chosen as the Green Party's candidate to contest the Havering and Redbridge constituency in next year's GLA elections. Ashley recently launched his campaign while hosting Green candidate for Mayor of London, Siân Berry, at a Green Party Bazaar in St Mary with Christ Church on the Green in Wanstead.

Commenting on his selection, Ashley said: "I'm honoured to be selected to fight Havering and Redbridge for the Green Party. As we see more and more corporate takeover and environmental damage, a local Green voice has never been more urgent.

"If I'm elected next May, I'll be working to make Havering and Redbridge a Greener, more affordable place to live and work. I'd like to see Wanstead, Snaresbrook Redbridge tube stations re-designated into Zone 3 to make travel cheaper; I'll be campaigning on behalf of local business, like the cafes in Wanstead under threat from yet another coffee chain proposal; and putting more pressure on developers to provide the high-quality affordable housing that the area, like all of London, desperately needs."

Siân Berry, Green candidate for Mayor, added: "Ashley would be a brilliant Assembly Member. Long before he even thought of running, he's been doing a great job campaigning locally for a better deal for Havering and Redbridge. If I'm elected Mayor, I'll be helping him out with his campaigns by making all new large business developments set aside half of their floor space at affordable rents for local business, and increasing the requirement on developers to build affordable homes to 60 per cent of properties in new developments."

The Green Party Bazaar has helped raise money for Ashley's campaign for a Greener Havering and Redbridge.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Greens protest against Nuclear Weapons

Greens from Waltham Forest and Redbridge joined up to 100,000 people marching through Central London to Trafalgar Square to show their opposition to replacing our Trident nuclear deterrent. The rally in Trafalgar Square included a number of speakers from a wide range of backgrounds including Green MEP Caroline Lucas.

The government is about to spend as much as £75bn on replacing our so-called nuclear deterrent. The latest Trident costs, based on information extracted in parliamentary answers, suggest an overall figure of £76bn to buy missiles, replace nuclear submarines, and maintain the system for 30 years. The Greens believe this money could be much better spent on public services like health and education or to tackle climate change, the most pressing problem in the world today.

The UK will be in breach of the non-proliferation treaty if the Government renews our nuclear deterrent. At a time when the UK Government has condemned North Korea and Iran for attempting to gain nuclear weapons, it is hypocritical in the extreme for it to be acquiring new nuclear weapons.