Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Leadership Statement

GP Leader Candidate statement - Ashley Gunstock

If you are looking for a Leader – who will unite the Green Party in preparation for government – then I am the ideal candidate for the post.

Now in my twentieth year as a GP activist, I have continually promoted the fundamental values of the Party and worked hard to help these to evolve with the continual changes that affect our society. This has enabled me to more easily express to all, regardless of their original political persuasion, the need to embrace our Green vision for the future. Such long-term thinking has ensured that my vote has risen by 50% at each recent Council, GLA and Parliamentary election.

As GP Leading Spokesperson in Redbridge I am regularly consulted by the borough’s residents, campaigning groups, opposition Councillors and the media, as I was when a member in Barnet.

I am a committee member of: Fairtrade Redbridge, about to receive its accreditation; LA21 and FoE groups, with whom I influenced borough recycling and planning improvements and peace, anti-war & anti-fascist movements, seeking my Green Party endorsement.

Lately I was instrumental in ensuring that the Council, TfL and The Corporation of London implemented much needed road traffic safety measures (especially for the elderly and school children) and am at present involved in the ‘Tube re-zoning’ campaign that I established to start making travel on the London Underground more affordable.

In Barnet I was active on the Homeless Action committee – which oversaw the building of a day centre for the homeless – and remain Chair of Barnet Green Co-op, having been largely responsible for setting up The Green Room Environmental Centre.

All this has been achieved mainly due to excellent communication skills, acquired during my 30 years experience as a professional Producer, Director & actor and teaching & FA coaching in a variety of schools, attuning me to what is happening with today’s youth. This invaluable ability coupled with my assured knowledge of our Green agenda enables me, authoritatively and confidently, to maintain successful dealings with the televisual media and also appeal to the readerships of both broadsheet & tabloid press.

Therefore if you are looking for true leadership – based on compassion, knowledge and an understanding of the make-up of the electorate, our membership and our agenda, which must be delivered with resolute confidence – I urge you to elect me as Green Party Leader.Contact details – Telephone: 020 8530 3900 or 07989 255061 or e-mail

July 2008

Education and Discipline

Letter to Wanstead & Woodford Guardian – 29th July 2008

The Green Party believes that neither corporal nor capital punishment, or indeed wars, are the solutions to societal problems either here at home or abroad.

I therefore write with reference to your ‘Angry parents ban pupils from school’ front page article and the letter form Harry Valentine, entitled ‘Bring back physical retribution to schools’ (Guardian, July 24). The former reporting what was effectively an anti-army recruitment drive/anti-war demonstration at Wanstead High School and the latter prescribing a physical approach to the misbehaviour of boys and young men (due to the misbehaviour of some of the school's pupils) have struck the perfect discord to illustrate exactly why violence is not the answer.

Unruly school children are often the products of unfortunate circumstances, perhaps even brought about by their parents’ own doing. They may come from deprived backgrounds and have low self esteem, or even comfortable homes and been spoilt to blue blazes. In any event if a mischievous child’s life at home is far from ideal, what good can come of giving it a beating at school?

Aggression breeds yet more aggression. It is not a means to an end, it becomes the end. Children that are beaten into submission and then ruled by fear will learn to believe that that is the way in which they should conduct themselves, when they get into a position of physical advantage. From our homes, to our classrooms, to our streets and onto such far flung places as Afghanistan & Iraq the term for this type of behaviour is, quite simply, bullying.

Education, education, education was the mantra of our government during its early stages of power. And, yes, a good education is vital. However that should not mean stuffing our children’s heads with facts and figures and then instructing them in how to just pass assessments, for the benefit of school league table performance indicators. That approach, instead of making what is important measurable, has made what is measurable important and left almost a whole generation of people disenfranchised from the education system.

What is required is an holistic approach to the subject, with investment to make schools community centres of life-long learning, where would-be parents and mothers & fathers having parent hood difficulties could be given courses in child development and, especially in their early years, children would be allowed to discover themselves, how to socially interact with their peers and adults and understand the true meaning of the concept of respect.

Furthermore governments would do well to learn not to meddle with teaching, which should be left in the hands of professional educators, in order that much more caring, compassionate and comprehensive syllabuses may be delivered. Whatever the situation it will certainly not be helpful to go back to the dark days when sparing the rod was seen to spoil the child; nor is conducive to attack the problem by sending in the army.

Yours sincerely
Ashley Gunstock

Monday, 28 July 2008

Green Candidates support the Compassionate Charter

Both Ashley Gunstock, the Green Party’s candidate for Havering and Redbridge, and Aled Fisher, the Green Party’s candidate for North East London, have given support for the Compassionate Charter produced by the animal rights group Animal Aid.

The Charter promotes eight practical and achievable goals, which will benefit animals, people and the planet. They are: purchasing only cruelty-free cleaning products and toiletries; banning circuses with animals from council land; banning pets as prizes; promoting and subsidising spaying and neutering programmes; stopping the sale of foie gras and veal; speaking out against fur; adopting only the humane, non-lethal management of pigeons and other animals and birds; and making their towns a plastic bag-free zone.

It is a fundamental belief of the Green Party that animals have the right to live free from suffering and harm caused by human exploitation and believe that this right must be properly protected in law. The Green Party opposes all forms of factory farming and the fur trade, campaigns for an immediate ban on all sports that involve cruelty to animals and advocate the ending of animal experimentation.

“The Green Party strongly supports animal rights” said Aled Fisher, “I believe these principles should not only be adopted by councils but also by the GLA” added Ashley Gunstock.