16 April 2018
On 3rd May East Greenwich residents have a choice to make at the ballot box – between Labour words on the toxic cruise port and the Green action plan to stop it altogether.
The three sitting Labour Cllrs for Peninsula, after years of comparative quiet on the cruise terminal the Labour group they belong to passed in both 2012 and 2015, are now finally talking about the issue. This in large part thanks to the fantastic efforts of the East Greenwich Residents Association and the recently launched No Toxic Cruise Port campaign.
The three incumbents, Stephen Brain, Chris Lloyd and Denise Scott McDonald are now telling residents that they will put internal pressure on Labour colleagues to make cruise ships that use the port plug into on-shore energy. On shore energy, argued for by Greenwich Greens back in 2015, will reduce the pollution the ships will churn out across East Greenwich.
The problem is – ‘internal Labour pressure’ doesn’t work. It didn’t stop the cruise port in 2015, and it won’t now.
In 2014 Brain, Lloyd and Scott McDonald were elected to Peninsula ward, on a Labour manifesto that made no mention of the port. In 2015 when revised plans for the port came to the Greenwich Council Planning Board, there is some evidence they attempted to put internal pressure on Labour colleagues. However the Labour leadership don’t appear to have let such pressure get to them….Lloyd and Brain did speak at the Board meeting (we don’t know why Scott McDonald didn’t), against the new plans. Their Labour colleagues on the Board promptly ignored them, with 6 Labour Cllrs voting together for the proposals, enough to push them through. In doing so they followed the lead of Labour Group and Council Leader Cllr Hyland and her Labour Deputy, and head of Council regeneration, Danny Thorpe – Greenwich is the only Council in London where the Leader and Planning Head serve on the Committee. Local news site 853 reported what Cllr Thorpe and Cllr Hyland told the Board on the night, as they sucessfully urged Labour members to vote for the proposals:
In 2018, history appears to be repeating itself on the Peninsula. Whilst Lloyd was able to get his photo taken at a recent cross-party rally against the plans (and to try and ban other parties from publicising the event, Peninsula Cllrs have form in trying to ban material they dont like...) – he, Brain and Scott McDonald have failed entirely to get their Labour colleagues to mention the port, and the need for clean on shore power, in the 2018 Labour Greenwich manifesto (search it for yourself here). This is despite a lot of time spent knocking on doorsteps with the two most powerful people on Greenwich Council, the champions of the port – Cllr Hyland and Cllr Thorpe:
It is odd to see stated opponents of the Port campaigning not with opposed residents - but instead standing alongside the powerful councillors who did more than anyone else to push the port through, proudly sporting the same rosettes and standing on the same do-nothing manifesto.
If Lloyd, Brain and Scott-McDonald, after four years in office, cant get a single commitment on the toxic port in the Labour manifesto, are they really going to be able to change their Labour colleague's minds after the election?
A Labour Party deal seems to be in place here – with Brain, Lloyd and Scott McDonald allowed to speak against the port at election time. Once the election is over, and Peninsula safely returns three Labour Cllrs to add to the huge Labour majority at the Council, the Labour leadership then blithely ignores that opposition, having an electoral mandate to do nothing to stop the Port they consented happen. After all, Labour seem to reason, if Peninsula residents vote for candidates standing on a manifesto that doesn’t mention the port and clean power at all, it can’t be that much of an issue….
On 3 May, East Greenwich residents can vote to stop this Labour say lots-do nothing merry go round.
Dan Garrun, Jenny Murphy and Matt Browne are continuing nearly a decade of relentless Green Party campaigning on this issue. They are standing on a platform of outright opposition to the port, pressing for clean power as a minimum and aiming at outright revocation of the planning permission. Dan, Jenny and Matt are also committed to reducing the number of polluting cruise ships that pass by East Greenwich, and the Labour support polluting Silverton Tunnel (more info here). If elected they will fight all out against the toxic cruise port, and to build a cleaner, greener East Greenwich.
As long as Peninsula ward keeps returning Labour councillors, the Labour leadership will feel that they have a mandate for their manifesto - which proposes doing nothing to stop the toxic cruise port they pushed through. The election of Dan, Jenny and Matt on 3 May will show the Council they have no mandate to let the port through, and and will put councillors in place committed to fight tooth and nail to stop the port, to fight for better air quailty and to protect our enviroment.
Dan, Jenny, Matt and Green supporters at the No Toxic Cruise Port rally in March 2018.
Four years of 'internal pressure' have failed to change Labour policy on the toxic cruise port - this means a vote for Labour on the Peninsula is a vote for the Council leadership that supports the polluting plans.
Every vote for Dan, Jenny and Matt is a vote to fight the port, all the way!