WDM R&K held a stall jointly with the local Fair Trade group at the annual Surbiton Festival on 24th September. This was an excellent opportunity to introduce WDM and its campaigns to local people.
In October 2010, four Richmond and Kingston WDM members met with Ed Davey MP (Liberal Democrat, Kingston and Surbiton).
We raised the issues of Trade and Food Speculation. We pointed out that WDMs believe that the present volatility is much worse than usual because of the activities of speculators, and gave him WDM’s report on this which he agreed to read. You can find the report at: http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation
We hope to arrange more meetings with local MP’s in 2011. These meetings usually take place in the evenings and are a good way for groups of members to meet their MP and raise issues on behalf of WDM. Other MPs covering the Kingston and Richmond WDM area are Zac Goldsmith MP (Conservative, Richmond Park & North Kingston) and Vince Cable MP (Liberal Democrat, Twickenham).
10 March: ‘Fashion laid bare: making sense of ethical fashion’
6pm at Kingston University (Penrhyn Road, KT1 2EE)
Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Communications at the Fairtrade Foundation www.fairtrade.org.uk
Holly Berry, ex-student from the fashion dept www.hollyberryprojects.com
Abi Petit, Co-founder & Director of Gossypium www.gossypium.co.uk
For full details: www.kingstonfairtrade.org.uk/events
An inquisitive audience of members of the public were invited to ask questions of Kingston and Surbiton constituency parliamentary candidates, just before the recent general election. WDM Richmond and Kingston took part in the event, jointly organised by a network of local activist groups.
The audience asked questions about international development and the UN Millienium Development Goals, meat and dairy production and its influence on global warming, Trident, vulture funds, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay – and, whether any of the candidates had considered promoting a society in which we all worked less, earned less and consumed less….
The Kingston and Surbiton candidates were: Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat), Max Freedman (Labour), Chris Walker (Green), Helen Whately(Conservative).
Vince Cable MP joined two other eminent speakers, Canon Peter Challen and Tarek El Diwany, on Wednesday 7 October to consider ideas for a more just and sustainable financial system. Around 100 people attended the meeting at the YMCA Surbiton organised by the Richmond and Kingston World Development Group.
Dr Cable thought the fact that power was passing from the G8 – a group of the richest countries – to the G20, with China, India and Brazil as members, should be welcomed. Speaking of the credit crunch, he said how wrong it was that we had had a situation where profits were privatised and losses borne by taxpayers. He reaffirmed the need for banking reforms and changes to global financial institutions.
“Life is a gift”, said Canon Challen. He believed it was our flawed interest-based monetary system that needed to be changed if we wanted a more sustainable world. Tarek El Diwany agreed. Mr El Diwany had started life as a derivatives trader. However as he looked more carefully at the financial system and he travelled and saw the devastating effect of debt service on poor countries, he began to think differently. He felt the whole way that banks in effect ‘created’ money in the form of debt and then charged interest was deeply flawed and led inevitably to huge inequality between rich and poor.
Mr El Diwany stressed that without changing the current financial system via monetary reform we will all remain stuck. This is because the whole system does not create enough money to pay both the amount borrowed and the interest charged by banks. Thus without people taking out more and more loans, getting into greater debt the whole system collapses. When we cannot take on any more debt we are then faced with economic recession and perhaps even slump and people lose their jobs, default on their loans, and lose their homes. Rev Canon Peter Challen added, that at the same time the need for perpetual economic growth to pay off previous debt has led us to use more and more resources; destroying our environment and leading to adverse climate change that affects both poor and rich alike.
Members of the local Richmond and Kingston Group were delighted that the World Development Movement’s national director Deborah Doane also attended the meeting. She encouraged everyone to become active citizens and to put pressure on politicians to work for a more just and sustainable world.