Craig Simmons posted about candidates wanted on Facebook 2017-03-13 23:05:14 +0000I signed up to volunteer for Oxfordshire Green Party. Join me!
Could you follow in the footsteps of our 6 Green Party councillors in Oxford, and stand for election? You could improve the quality of our councils.
In May 2017 there will be elections for Oxfordshire County council. Then in 2018 there will be elections for the city and district councils. There may even be a snap general election.
We need candidates to start work right now, preparing for the elections in May 2017 and 2018. Voters like to vote for people they have heard from over time, rather than those who just turn up in the last few weeks.Our 2 county councillors have been leading the fight to protect the vulnerable from the savage cuts to services. With more Green Party county councillors we can make your voice heard over the complacency of both county Labour and Tories.
What you need to do to stand as a candidate
Do you want to win, or just to stand? If you just want to give people in your area a chance to vote Green, rather than being forced to vote for a worse party, you just need to get your name on the ballot paper: what we call a paper candidate. On the other hand, if you want to help people as an elected councillor, you need to run a serious campaign as a candidate in a target seat.
All you need to do as a paper candidate is:
- Get nominated. You need to get 10 voters in your ward to sign a form saying they think you should be allowed to stand. They don't need to vote for you, or be Green supporters. They can be friends, family, or just neighbours.
- Supply a photograph suitable for the web site and the Oxford Times.
- Write a short election statement for the web site. A bit about yourself, and a bit about what you would do if elected.
In 2013, one quarter of our party members did just that for the County Council elections. If you are interested, fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
There are a number of seats where we have won, or came close to winning in the past. If you don't know what a councillor does, take at look at this councillor role description.
Obviously, such a campaign needs more work than just getting nominated. Candidates are expected to take an active role in their election campaign, including:
- building a campaign team, including a campaign manager, and senior roles to manage volunteers, publicity, data and fundraising,
- producing a campaign plan,
- talking to hundreds of voters on the doorstep and at other events,
- taking part in campaign team decisions, including campaign messages,
- responding to voters questions and concerns.
We are committed to supporting people stand for election. If you have support needs to allow you to stand for election—from childcare to disability support needs—please discuss these with us soon so we can arrange support. Being in the Green Party means we are committed to work as a team, no one has to do anything alone, we will find a way to help in any aspect of campaigning and when people become Councillors.
If you are at all interested in standing as a candidate, please complete the form below, and I will get back to you with more details. Target candidates will be required to complete a questionnaire on their suitability as a candidate, and their plans for their campaign.
If you want any more information on what is involved in standing as candidate, please contact the Elections Co-ordinator, David Newman.Become a volunteer
Craig Simmons posted about Save Oxford from Tory rule on Facebook 2017-02-04 23:12:46 +0000Sign the petition: Save Oxford from Tory rule
Tory-run Oxfordshire County Council have published proposals which would see Oxford City Council abolished, along with the four neighbouring district councils, and replaced with a new Countywide Council. The 'One Oxfordshire' (see www.oneoxfordshire.org) proposals, labelled as 'crazy' by Green County Councillor David Williams, are also backed by Labour and LibDem County Councillors who seem to have fallen in line with the Tories.
No one can say for certain what changes a Tory-run Council would make to the City. However, historically the County Conservatives have not supported a number of policies which have been backed by the people of Oxford and its councillors, for example, policies on affordable housing, homelessness, the Oxford Living Wage and climate change.
They have also taken a very different approach to how the council provide services. Whereas Oxford has continued to operate its own services and held on to its assets, the County Conservatives have chosen to privatise services and sell-off assets. This means that as Government funding has reduced Oxford has not suffered any serious service cuts or redundancies in recent years.
Of course, Oxford City Council is not perfect but it is far more accountable and far more reflective of the electorate it serves than the Conservative majority that pervades the rest of the County.
Luckily there is still time to oppose One Oxfordshire as the proposals are out for consultation* (until end February 2017). Sign our petition and let the Tories, Labour and LibDem Councillors on Oxfordshire County Council know that you do not want to see Oxford City Council abolished and Oxford ruled by Tories.
*You can also respond directly to the online consultation here - www.oneoxfordshire.org/get-involved68 signaturesWe are opposed to the One Oxfordshire proposal that will replace local councils with a large distant bureaucracy covering the whole of Oxfordshire, which will not reflect the diversity of the county.
Craig Simmons published Green success as City decide to scrap plans for Waterways PSPO in News 2017-02-03 14:40:48 +0000
Council officers are recommending that the City Council's planned Waterways Public Space Protection Order (or PSPO) does NOT proceed.
The PSPO, which sought to criminalise the activities of boaters, and others using Oxford's Waterways, was opposed at the outset by the Greens who worked with representative groups and Council officers to try and ensure the draft Order never made it into law.
[Picture: Green Councillor David Williams, Caroline Lucas MP and Hazel Dawe at the Waterways]Read more
Craig Simmons published Plans to 'slash', 'trash' and 'privatise' NHS opposed in News 2016-12-05 23:56:52 +0000
City Council today (5th Dec) passes Green motion opposing NHS cuts and 'secret' Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Oxfordshire.Read more
A Green Party motion passed by Oxford City Council supports the right of citizens to choose to remain part of the EU and for regions to continue to abide by EU social and environment standards where they exceed those of the UK Government.Read more
Craig Simmons published Council should release funds for rough sleepers, say Greens in News 2016-11-29 22:40:21 +0000
Oxford Green City Councillors have called on Oxford City Council's Labour-run administration to release emergency funds from the Council's Homelessness Reserve to provide accommodation for the City's rising number of rough sleepers during the current cold snap.
Craig Simmons posted about Larry Sanders for Witney on Facebook 2016-10-14 23:56:26 +0100I'm endorsing #LarryforWitney Please join me!
Will you vote for Larry? About Larry Sanders Larry's news Larry's events Volunteer Donate Leaflets Contact Larry
Larry Sanders was the Green Party candidate for the Witney constituency by-election on 20 October 2016. He came fourth, beating UKIP into fifth place.
We live in the most unequal society in Europe. After by more than 40 years of government by the by the Establishment parties, the rich are richer while times remain tough for the rest of us. The gap between the rich and the rest has widened in health, education, housing, pensions and even years of life.
Larry has lived in Oxfordshire since 1969. He is the Green Party Spokesperson on health and social care and was leader of the Oxfordshire County Council Green Group. He has been working for people with disabilities and their carers for the past 20 years. He fought to save Witney Community Hospital in the 1990s, and is fighting to save it again, along with the community hospital in Chipping Norton.
Born in New York in 1935, Larry studied economics at CUNY, social work at Oxford and holds a law doctorate from Harvard. Larry has been active in the presidential campaign of his brother, Bernie Sanders, and stands on a similar platform. See Bernie's endorsement below, then endorse Larry yourself.
Larry Sanders is the best candidate for Witney.Endorse
Craig Simmons published City Council backs Green motion to stay in EU in Europe News 2016-04-23 11:06:59 +0100
At a meeting of the full City Council on 18th April, the Council unanimously backed a Green motion, proposed by Green Group Leader Cllr Craig Simmons and seconded by Cllr Elise Benjamin to stay in the EU. The full text of the motion can be found here. The Greens accepted a 'friendly' Labour amendment to secure cross-party support on this important issue. Read the full text of Craig's powerful speech here...Read more
We all want where we live to feel like home, to feel safe and secure. That’s why the Greens are making better, affordable housing a top priority.
Oxford has the least affordable housing in the UK. Costs in other parts of the County are also rising inexorably.
The housing crisis is affecting everyone; tenants are being ripped off by dodgy landlords, homelessness is on the increase and prospective owners are being priced out of the area. At the same time, funding for those in housing need is being cut.
Meanwhile, the super rich are speculating on housing and profiteering at our expense.
Many also suffer in cold and mouldy properties facing rising energy bills and soaring rents.
- Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax
- Building 500,000 new Council homes
- Cap rents and introduce longer tenancies to provide greater protection for renters
- An end to £7bn of tax breaks for landlords
- Better insulated, energy efficient homes
Do you support Green policies to provide more affordable housing?
Craig Simmons commented on Al Wilson 2015-09-09 23:18:46 +0100Al, thank you for putting yourself forward as a candidate.
In which ward do you feel you have the best connections?
I grew up in North Oxford and went to two schools in St. Margaret’s ward, so I know the area well and understand the issues facing the community. I’m a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, used to arguing on my feet and thinking critically; I want to use my skills and energy to improve council decision-making and reduce inequality across the city.
What will you do if you are elected?
If elected, I’ll press for implementation of new ideas to address the housing crisis, including next-generation rent controls and use of space above car parks for sustainable and affordable housing. I’ll also lobby the council to do more to address air pollution, a significant risk to health locally.Send question
Craig Simmons posted about Petition on Facebook 2015-08-01 15:48:53 +0100Sign the petition: Save Our Community Facilities
The Labour-run City Council is planning to seize direct control of East Oxford Community Centre (on the Cowley Road) and rush through a redevelopment funded by selling off the East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford sites.
The Centre is currently run by the East Oxford Community Association. EOCA has a chequered history but the current management committee have proven themselves to be effective managers of the Centre. The Centre is home to many local groups (including Fusion Arts & Oxford Action Resource Centre) and most nights all available rooms are
booked out. Both the Games Hall and Film Oxford are also well used, the latter includes a well-loved community garden.
Says local Green Councillor Elise Benjamin:
“There is already mistrust in the community because of Temple Cowley Pools and the old Cowley Community Centre and now East Oxford residents are being hit again by a Labour council that seems more interested in selling the community to the highest bidder. These plans make a mockery of council claims they will consult the community about the future use of the East Oxford Community Centre. Users of East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford weren't even aware of the plans to close them.”129 signatures
Green Councillors are calling on the Labour-run City Council to ‘think again’ about its decision to seize direct control of East Oxford Community Centre from the Community Association and rush through a redevelopment funded by selling off the East Oxford Games Hall and Film Oxford sites.
We are calling for:
- A Centre run for the community by the community
- Improvements to the East Oxford Community Centre not to be made dependent on the closure of the Games Hall and Film Oxford.
- Proper public consultation on the future of community provision in East Oxford
Craig Simmons published Cherwell District Council Green Party Manifesto 2016 in Elections 2015-04-17 00:05:20 +0100
North Oxfordshire Green Party
Cherwell District Council Manifesto 2016
The Green Party is a modern political party with nearly 140 councillors in principal authorities in the UK establishing how to get the best out of the environment through better ways of thinking about the economy, how society can work fairly and how to live in tune with the world around us.
Our local membership is growing fast and nationally exceeds that of UKIP and the LibDems.
We know that continuous economic growth is not possible in a world of finite resources. We all have to adapt to this new awareness.
Our policies for a sustainable society have been developed and costed over many years. We know they work, but more than that, we know they are needed.
We stand for greater equality, sustainability and the right of all of us to a full and healthy life which includes decentralising government as much as possible and empowering people far more in making decisions at the local level.
The District Council elections give all of us the opportunity to start to make real changes in Cherwell for progress at the local level.
Please look at our specific policies for Cherwell.
Housing and Planning
Housing is at crisis point in Cherwell, with thousands living in temporary or poor-quality housing.
Cherwell’s outdated Housing Needs Survey (2008) indicates 74% of our homeless cannot afford to buy properties in Cherwell.
There is a shortfall of affordable housing of 500 homes per annum – even before dealing with the backlog that includes families living in unsuitable accommodation.
Banburians have the lowest average wages in the county.
The number of households on the Cherwell District’s housing list has doubled from 2000 in 1997 to 4000 in 2012.
To tackle these problems, the Green Party would:
Work with building societies, credit unions, pension funds, etc. to enable local councils to borrow money to invest in housing.
Increase the proportion of affordable housing in new developments to enable us to build the type of housing for which there is the greatest need.
We seek to increase the proportion of affordable to 40% and to develop a realistic definition of affordable.
Work with housing associations and developers to increase the proportion of one- and two-bedroom flats and houses being built.
Encourage schemes for part ownership and self-build.
Reduce the number of empty houses through empty property use orders.
Focus on identifying brown field sites in town centres for affordable and social housing, where facilities are within walking distance for those without cars.
We would release some land currently reserved for business use for the development of affordable green homes.
To keep the environmental impact of housing to a minimum, the Green Party would also:
Accelerate programmes for insulating our older housing stock, and enhance the insulation requirement for all new housing. The resulting energy efficiency would greatly benefit occupants.
Create a link in the planning process between new housing and local employment in Banbury and Bicester to create a sustainable economy.
Use the planning process to rigorously analyse the traffic impact of new housing schemes, and to promote schemes to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport.
Encourage village communities to produce their own neighbourhood plans in order to safeguard important community spaces from development.
Offer council help to communities setting up community land trusts.
Not allow the use of school playing fields for housing.
Introduce the licensing of all private landlords’ properties to ensure suitable housing is provided for their tenants.
The Green Party welcomes the holistic environmental planning (for allotments, workshops, amenity land, etc.) behind Bicester Eco Town, and would hope to extend a similarly imaginative use of land to further developments.
Protecting Public Services
Locally and nationally, public services have been under attack like never before. In Oxfordshire and Cherwell we have seen massive cuts and are facing even more by the Conservative-controlled County and District Councils plus deep cuts in the local Health Service and many other public bodies, such as the Police and Fire Services. Without the support of the opposition parties, Green Councillors have been putting forward alternative budgets including a 72p per week council tax rise to protect Adult and Children’s Services, libraries and youth centres and to protect the elderly and vulnerable from savage social services cuts.
Most public services are the responsibility of the County Council and central government but Cherwell District Council has a role to play in dealing with community safety, health and safety, leisure centres, sports and arts activities and supporting the voluntary sector and most importantly the provision of social housing.
Green priorities include:
Continuing to oppose the drift towards the privatisation of both Oxfordshire’s health and education services.
The government’s policy of encouraging the creation of Academy schools must be stopped.
Stopping further council house sell-offs and building more green, affordable homes.
Resisting the “bedroom tax”.
Improving support for the most vulnerable individuals and families in the district.
Supporting the development of the new Community Hospital in Bicester and protecting the Horton General Hospital’s services.
Improving sports facilities using the Olympic Legacy fund.
Continuing with recycling to achieve the district, county, national and European targets.
Energy and Sustainability
Climate change through the use of fossil fuels and dwindling finite resources are global problems we all face.
There is an urgent need to be smarter consumers.
The uses of renewable and sustainable resources are ways to achieve this.
It is the Green Party policy to eliminate fuel poverty and ensure a continuity of supply by investing in energy efficiency and a diversity of renewable energy industries.
This will provide the basis for a sustainable economy. We will:
Provide funding and a co-ordinated programme for a comprehensive energy survey of all local properties to identify measures to help improve energy efficiency across the region.
Promote small-scale renewable energy generation and supply through micro generation such as solar panels or thermal pumps.
To oppose all plans for fracking in the local area as it is destructive both to the environment and local communities for a small short-term gain.
Extend recycling targets for household waste to 80% and develop policies to reduce domestic and commercial waste to eliminate the need for landfill sites.
Promote local markets and community bulk buying in food and energy to help create a more sustainable and self-reliant local community that reduces the current inefficiencies in marketing, storage and distribution whilst supporting local business, farmers and community enterprises.
Commit the District Council to establish best practice and adopt policies whereby all direct and contracted services maximise their use of renewable, sustainable and local resources.
All Council approved suppliers should pay the living wage.
We believe in improving public transport by creating new jobs, cutting pollution and improving health and helping people to rely far less on using cars.
Our priorities for the Cherwell District are to:
Expand bus services – including evening buses that currently finish at teatime, especially between Banbury and Oxford.
Make easier transfers between bus, train, bike and car, including extending bus routes to the railway stations to make bus–train connections practical.
Encourage the adoption of hybrid and more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Create cycle lanes separate from powered vehicles.
Create in Banbury a bridge exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists over the railway, canal and river.
We fully support Cherwell District Council’s opposition to the government’s planned High Speed Rail 2.
The most obvious way in which we want to make our streets safer is by regulating traffic to give better protection for all road users including pedestrians and cyclists. However, there are also other ways such as crime reduction.
To make road use safer, we would aim to:
Build more cycle paths and footpaths.
Introduce more 50 mph speed limits.
Introduce more 20 mph speed limits in built-up areas, including villages.
Use chicanes and other measures at the edges of villages to slow traffic down.
Make sure wherever possible that busy village streets have pavements.
Make safe routes for children to get to school by walking or cycling.
Make sure that pavements are easily manageable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, e.g. by having enough access points where the kerb is dropped (especially outside doctors’ surgeries, etc.).
Make residential streets wherever possible into ‘home zones’, i.e. use chicanes, speed humps, red brick surfacing, etc., to slow traffic down so that children on foot or on bikes in the street are safe.
Implement Oxfordshire County Council’s policy of 'People before Cars' in the design of new residential developments, where the order of priority for 'people movement' in residential areas should be: 1) walking, 2) cycling, 3) public transport, 4) private car usage.
We would also work to reduce street crime. We would:
Work with local communities on ways of reducing crime in specific areas.
Work on initiatives to involve young people in positive projects and activity.
Work with the police on neighbourhood policing.
Although these issues can be seen separately, they are all related to each other through the planning process:
With major developments, we would want plans to result in mixed use where shops, housing and businesses are closely located and connected by pavements and cycleways.
The Green Party will ensure that a local response to the international challenge of climate change is a priority in local decision making, by:
Ensuring that air quality and other environmental factors are reliably and regularly measured and that the findings inform policy.
Setting ambitious local targets to reduce the emissions which cause climate change.
Setting targets for the whole region, not just the activities of the District Council, and robust strategies to meet them.
Working to ensure that new and refurbished buildings are built or maintained to high environmental standards.
Working with both households and businesses to find ways to reduce climate change emissions.
Developing realistic and affordable alternatives to car use, including working to ensure good public transport and cycling and walking links for new developments in the area.
Working with social organisations, schools and individuals to inspire people to take community and personal action to reduce their own climate-changing emissions.
Making the Council Work for You
Greens believe that decisions affecting citizens should be taken at the lowest level of government.
Also politicians need to be made more frequently accountable and not just at election times.
The low election turnout in some wards suggests an unhealthy future for democracy.
A Green Council will:
Arrange listening events in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington where Councillors and senior officers can hear residents' and business concerns. These meetings should take place in July at the start of the budget making process in the lighter evenings. They should be broadcast live over the Internet. These would be in addition to the statutory consultation arrangements later in the financial year.
Along with their County colleagues, review the possibility of devolving part of their budget to Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington Town Councils and the larger Parish Councils.
This will make it easier to fine tune services to local needs whilst retaining the expertise, economies of scale and maintenance of standards assured by directly employed district staff. For example, Town and Parish Councils should decide the location and facilities to be offered in public conveniences.
The District Council should encourage more Parish and Town Council local polls where difficult decisions have to be made.
Establish a Cherwell Youth Parliament, chaired in rotation by the leaders of the political parties on the Council. Spokespersons from other organisations, e.g. the County, the NHS, state funded educational institutions outside County Council control, Housing Associations and privatised utilities, could be invited to answer, dependent upon the matters under discussion. The intention would be to give young people a real voice.
Establish at Cabinet level a Councillor responsible for Rural Affairs to ensure that the voices of people living and working in the countryside and enjoying its amenities are clearly heard and the Council does everything to enhance their lives.
Make available online the full content of planning and licensing applications. This is to avoid costly and inconvenient journeys to Bodicote House. Applicants for planning and licensing decisions could pay for this. Comments from those affected by these applications should be facilitated on the same page as the application.
Ensure that the new process of individual registration of voters in 2015 will not result in citizens losing their vote. Furthermore the Council should ensure that EU citizens living in the district have every opportunity to vote in relevant elections.
Re-jig the system of allowances and expenses to Councillors to ensure that those on low or average incomes and those with caring responsibilities are not prevented from standing for election because of cost. The allowances should never be a supplementary form of income to some relatively wealthy pensioners or those with substantial private means.
Find an academic partner and seek sponsorship to conduct a survey to find out what prevents greater citizen engagement with the District Council and what changes need to be made to make local politics more relevant to people's lives.
The Green Party would not apply a political whip to its elected members.
North Oxfordshire Greens say that it would be wrong to be too prescriptive by listing more than what we say above. We trust our citizens and we believe our approach will result in many good things being put forward, which are beyond the imagination of any party manifesto.
Craig Simmons published Greens propose an extra £2m to tackle homelessness and inequality in the City in News 2015-02-18 01:43:44 +0000
This evening (18th February), Oxford City Council will be setting its annual budget against a backdrop of rising inequality in the City and a housing crisis fuelled by ever increasing rents and rising house prices. Oxford officially has the least affordable housing in the country.
As the Government continues to cut the support given to local Councils, the Greens have sought to resist austerity with a bold budget which directs an additional £2m into frontline services targeted at the most vulnerable City residents.Read more
Craig Simmons published Labour Council refuses to take hard line on NHS privatisation in News 2015-02-15 15:24:02 +0000
Craig Simmons wants to volunteer 2015-02-15 11:52:51 +0000
When you have volunteered to help the Oxfordshire Green Party, please tell us something about your skills.
For some tasks, we need specialist skills, hence this long list.
But most tasks anyone can do, given the training we provide.Become a volunteer
@EastOxGreens tweeted link to Volunteer. 2015-03-02 12:40:22 +0000I signed up to volunteer for Oxfordshire Green Party. Join me! http://www.greenoxfordshire.com/volunteer?recruiter_id=34719
We need you
Please sign up below to volunteer in any way you can.
Our elections are run entirely by volunteers, and the more of us get involved, the better we'll do. And so it's over to you. Whether you only have a few hours a month or spare days every week, whether you're a hardened activist or a political first timer, we need you.Become a volunteer
Oxford is now the most unaffordable place to live in the UK. Houses cost more than 11 times average wages. The country and Oxford's council have a housing crisis on their hands.
Too often, people paying rent get poor service from rogue agencies and landlords. Greens want to take action to drive up standards in rented housing and to tackle the burden of rent.
We believe that access to housing is a human right—the council must do more to meet the housing needs of people in Oxford. Greens support increasing the number of council and social homes available to those who need them.
No council houses have been completed in the last year in Oxford. So when suitable houses become available on the local market, Oxford City Council should purchase them to increase the council housing stock.31 signatures
We demand that Oxford City Council use some of the £10m it has set aside to buy properties for use as Council housing to purchase the Crown House Club on the corner of Crown Street and St Mary’s Road in East Oxford. The Council could then provide 4 flats for immediate rent and a potential additional 5 flats for rent once the non-residential parts of the building are converted for residential use.
We believe the £1m price tag for the Crown House Club, and the potential to create up to 9 Council housing units in an area of housing need, presents excellent value for money for the City Council. With a constant decline in social housing available in the city, it would be a travesty to pass on such a good opportunity to increase the Council's housing stock.
Craig Simmons published Greens call for suspension of Oxfordshire UKIP Councillor in News 2014-01-20 00:42:02 +0000
Henley South Cllr David Silvester should be suspended from Henley Town Council pending a Standards Committee investigation after he blamed recent flooding on the decision to legalise gay marriage.Read more
Craig Simmons, councillor for St. Mary's
Craig Simmons works for an internationally recognised and respected sustainability consultancy in Oxford. He is a City Councillor in Oxford, a former Deputy Lord Mayor, and was, for 13 years, an Oxfordshire County Councillor.
Craig is well known for his social and environmental campaigning. Amongst many other things, he founded the East Oxford Farmer’s Market, Low Carbon East Oxford, Magdalen Road Traders & Residents Association and helped start the Cowley Road Carnival.
Craig also oversaw the implementation of the Cowley Road safety scheme which led to a sharp drop in local accidents and injuries. Craig is a keen cyclist and sailor. In 2010 he cycled from Oxford to Cambridge raising money for the British Heart Foundation. In 2013, he sailed across the Atlantic raising money for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.