Friday, January 16, 2009

Re-Elect Jean Lambert MEP

Along with lots of my fellow Green bloggers, I want to give a plug today to the work of Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert.

Jean was elected as London's first Green Party MEP in 1999- and in 2004, she was re-elected with an increased share of the vote. On June 4th 2009, she faces re-election again - but due to EU enlargement, there are less European Parliament seats to go around in the UK, and more votes are needed every time to achieve re-election.

Second on the Green Party's London Region list for the European Parliament is our very own Ladywell ward councillor, Ute Michel. Getting two Green MEPs in London is a tall order, but I know Ute would do a brilliant job given the chance, as has Jean.

Pictured above: Ladywell ward councillor Ute Michel, with Shahrar Ali and Jean Lambert, the top 3 London Region Green candidates for the Euro Elections.

The work of the European Parliament can sometimes feel remote from people's everyday experience - but much of the UK's environmental, social and human rights legislation is now decided at an EU level, and the often unheralded work of our MEPs makes an enormous difference to the shape and impact of those laws. Jean has been tireless in working for social justice, environmental sustainability and peace - as recognised by the fact that she was named Justice and Human Rights MEP of the year in 2005.

Among other issues, Jean has focused on trade union rights, fairer treatment for asylum seekers, and the abolition of the UK opt-out to the Working Time Directive. She has been a prominent voice in proving that Green issues are not confined to the environment, but are concerned with building a more fair and just society.

It was Jean's 'Hothouses' report on climate change and greening London's housing stock, that first got me thinking seriously about ways of insulating my flat. The report highlights the importance of insulating London's existing housing (97% of London's housing was built before 1995), including the challenge of dealing with the 1.7m solid wall homes in London (over half of London's housing stock, including much of the Victorian housing in and around Brockley and Ladywell).

Her more recent 'Green Work' report looks in more detail at the need to create thousands of jobs in green industries such as insulation, and train up thousands of people to meet the 'green skills gap' in insulating homes, the renewables and recycling industry, plumbers, builders etc.

The BBC who have done a week-long blog and feature on the role of MEPs this week, in an attempt to demystify their work slightly, which includes an interview with Jean.

To continue her excellent work in Europe, Jean needs to get the message out to millions of Londoners, but she isn't funded by corporations, lobbyists or millionaires, so instead, her re-election campaign is relying on the efforts of ordinary Londoners. If you'd like to donate to her campaign, you can do so here via Paypal. If you'd like to volunteer in anyway, contact the campaign (or e-mail me for details of local events), and keep in touch with developments through Facebook.

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