Dear Andi - time for me to reply, in blue, below to your most welcome last e-mail of the 23 June, when you wrote:
"Thank you for the respectful and less aggressive tone in this email. I do appreciate it. Certainly not aggressive, I hope since I am forever going on about trying non-violence and making friends as a more helpful and positive UK foreign policy! Sometimes I have to be forthright and straight. And, you are in a prominent leadership position, Andi so I do expect more from you. You are my leader, too after all.
"However in my last email to you I also made it clear I won't respond if you copy lots of others in. Let me restate that it's not polite to spam all sorts of people with no declared interest in the subject. Jonathan Bartley is not involved in this conversation. Jonathan is even more important than you are, Andi. I met him in person in a public place when I tried to tackle him about my concerns. He explained that he could not speak to me, then but, gave me his card for me to contact him. A week or two later I wrote to him. There has never even been the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply. This is no way good enough, Andi. Neither are our Solihull or Birmingham councillors, or any of the others you have included. Do you understand that by copying all and sundry it is perceived that your intent is to publicly embarrass the primary recipient of your email? Conversations like this must be private and confidential, or there can be no trust between us. Andi, others have got to be aware of what is going so very, very wrong. It is not just you but all your GP members who must be won over in order to change your very mistaken transport policy.
I have been campaigning and working for a greener and more sustainable, sensible and ecological society since I moved here, to this house, in Jan 1976. I have been attending FoE meetings since the 70s and GP meetings since the 80s. I have been, largely, a successful failure. However, in those matters where I have got my way, it has been through maximum publicity, making waves, well and truly stirring things up and making a nuisance of myself! Only by pleasantly but constantly pointing out that something is wrong and that there is a far better, more constructive and helpful way forward, have I won. Well, actually, mostly lost! I have used mock battles (x2), interviews, press releases, petitions, letters/e-mails, phone calls, personal visits, gate crashing politicians surgeries, observing umpteen boring meetings at council HQs and transport HQ and catching the politicians before they skipped off to evade me. I even went to the Strasbourg Parliament to see one MEP who never held surgeries or wrote to me but did see me, there (but a complete waste of time)!
"But as you have listened to at least one of my requests I will reply on this occasion.
"It is true that WMGP has not debated or voted on rail policy. This is not good enough, Andi. And my very own political party has never given me a fair hearing. I attended one Dudley GP meeting, this decade where I was allowed to tell the meeting about the idiocy of turning our local mainline railway into a short, shuttle tram line on part of it. But, only while you were all voting on some important matter or other. None of you were interested or at all bothered! However, I think you misunderstand how the Green Party works. It should work by hearing my side of the case and not just the Establishment's. Please don't be one sided in formulating transport policy. Hear the other point of view.
"Members democratically decide national policy, with proposals subject to energetic debate and taking evidence into account. This sets out our broad policy agenda. What about deciding on LOCAL policy, a wasted mainline railway almost a stone's throw from where we were sitting in that Netherton GP meeting? Never a debate/discussion, no evidence and no hearing of my side of the case on a vital local and regional and even a national issue
"We don't set regional or local policy in this way. There are many reasons for this. One is that we simply don't have the time or resources to do so at regional level, given our current electoral position. Manifestos are drawn up by small working groups given authority by the regional executive. They will do so in line with national policy and adapt it to local circumstances. There is no members vote on developing regional policy - if we tried to do this we would never do anything else! And we certainly wouldn't have an MEP and around 100 councillors, as we do now. Deciding to no longer run roads, buildings or extremely extravagant Metro trams on railway lines should NOT be a highly complicated issue for GP members to grapple with and to come down on the side of ONLY trains going back on train lines.
Is your first priority, Andi getting members elected or postponing extinction?
"On public transport nationally the Green Party sees roles for tube-like metro systems, for both heavy and light rail lines including trams as well as investment in bus services. Like you, we want to massively expand the provision of public transport and make it as cheap and accessible as possible - free public transport is something we'd love to see happen. Excellent. So please shout about it using the evidence I have provided you with.
"But as a political party we must keep all options on the table that aren't diametrically opposed to our objectives. NOT options that are stupid and scandalous and unsustainable, Andi just because they are public transport. What is politically possible isn't always our ideal scenario but that's just politics - it's messy and imperfect. Most of the time we have to compromise or we get nothing at all. Of course - we could crusade for utopia and be proud of our glorious failure. But we're more interested in making change happen. So don't be preoccupied with getting councillors elected who still don't do much when they are. So our much vaunted and hoped for Cllr Will, only lasted one term before shooting off on his grand tour of Europe with Vicky. The Solihull Opposition GP have not lifted a finger to help me because, like you, they want trams as their top priority instead of using the £2 BILLION to get the trains back and reversing the gradual decline in bus use.
At the last count, in Stourbridge in May, did you say something to me about not standing yourself because you were co-ordinating all the other GP candidates who were standing? Should you not have been leading from the front, Andi and doing the two jobs? At least, I stood simply to have the opportunity to courageously mutter something, anything green and sensible from the platform. I would have loved to have heard other GP candidates spout off for one or two minutes, as I tried to do rather lamely last May. The most important sentence was my last: "You are about to authorise something as silly, for half a billion pounds, as putting London Underground trains for 6.7 Kms on the London to Paris, Eurostar, HS1 line."
The 'brief', parabolic history of humanity must now be on the slide and the prophetic Green Party is silent. A guilty silence. Truly disappointing.
"As I've said many times, we support bringing back trains on the Black Country line, but we can't rule out trams or Sprint buses in all circumstances everywhere. But you should as a true green and Green! It would be unethical to mislead the public about what is possible given the political and financial constraints that exist. But you are misleading the public. The financial constraints demand that you understand that fareless, electric, priority at traffic lights, bus lane, buses PLUS, the trains and stations back where the lines still exist is the politically sensible, prudent and the financially responsible thing to do. NOT FINANCIALLY BRUTAL, FISCAL STINGING, METRO-LIKE TRAMS, ANYWHERE. My advice gives the least greenhouse gases. And that is all that matters.
"You are completely free to disagree and campaign for your own vision, if that's what you want to do.
I first stood for the Greens in the 1992 General Election. In my own constituency of Halesowen and Stourbridge as it was called then. My agent was the wonderful Quaker and Green activist Joyce Millington of Stourbridge. For years, she had been rightly calling for fossil fuels to be rationed, as we nearly had in 1973 during the three day working week to save oil. I completely agreed with her. It is even more urgent, now that all good Greens and greens should be calling for fossil fuel rationing; that we should be getting out of all fossil fuels as quickly as possible - out of enlightened self interest. That is what I will be doing if there are any public platforms that I can get on, if I get nominated as an Independent candidate for Metro Mayor next year.
I want the Green Party to be fearless and outspoken. To be different from the other parties. To stand out from them with integrity and honour. To be as different from the grey parties as the awesome Greta Thunberg in sailing instead of flying and, in using buses and trains instead of cars. PLEASE Andi!
All the very best to you, my friend