Joanna Mills1's blog
People’s Parliament in Brighton
It's a special edition of The Big Issue this week, coinciding with the tabling of the Future Generations Bill by me and Big Issue founder, John Bird. He will introduce in the House of Lords, while I aim to do so in the Commons.
It was really inspiring to see so many people turn out for the climate strike on September 20th. The crowds were fantastic, with more than 10,000 people demonstrating in Brighton. It was one of the biggest protests among the many across Britain and sent a really clear message to the Government: we need radical action on the climate emergency, not weasel words and targets that will do nothing to stop climate breakdown.
The community response to the horrific fire in Pankhurst Avenue on Friday night has been amazing. With many people having lost their homes and belongings, the way in which neighbours have stepped in to support those affected has been brilliant. Thankfully all residents have been accounted for. Huge thanks to the Fire Service for all their professionalism and to Council staff for all they’re doing to support the community.
It was way back in 2007, when the storm clouds of the financial crisis were gathering, that I began discussing a Green New Deal with a group of economists and environmentalists. Twelve years on, it felt like a real achievement to have finally introduced a bill to legislate for a Green New Deal, alongside the Labour MP Clive Lewis.
The legal action was lodged in June, asking the Metropolitan Police why no action had been taken against the Leave campaigns over the breaking of electoral law. Both Vote Leave and Leave.EU broke rules on campaign funding, rules which are there to "ensure airness, confidence and legitimacy". Both campaigns have been fined by the Electoral Commission which then handed over 2,000 documents to the Met detailing why it believed serious offences had been committed.
The UK is not in a position to hold a free and fair election because of the distortions to public debate which take place through social media. So say Caroline Lucas MP and the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato who have written to Mark Zuckerberg demanding action be taken to ensure a general election is not disrupted by ‘malign or anonymous political actors operating with impunity’ on the social media platform.
This is my first newsletter since the summer break and what has turned out to be a tumultuous period in politics. I’ve spent the summer juggling parliamentary and constituency work and trying to stop Boris Johnson manipulating Parliament so that we crash out of the European Union.
First day back in Parliament after the summer recess and I was pleased to support a national campaign to increase education funding for 16-18 year olds. Sixth form and FE colleges have been especially bad hit by austerity-driven cuts in recent years.
The Raise the Rate campaign wants the government to increase the core funding rate from £4,000 a year to at least £4,760. The rate's been frozen since 2013 and that's forced more than half of schools and colleges across England to cut courses in languages and 78% to reduce student support services or extra-curricular activities.