Caroline Flint

Standing up for Don Valley.


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Conisbrough’s future community leaders met today’s when pupils quizzed Caroline Flint MP and Cllr Sandra Holland on what Castle_Acad_-_Olivia_and_Arizona.jpgthey do and how they became local representatives.

Caroline Flint and Sandra were given a tour of the school and popped into lessons before facing twenty questions from keen pupils.

The MP and councillor’s visit has taken place just before the Academy joins the

Said Caroline: “It was great to meet Deputy Head Jeni Ward and Libby Nicholas Chief Executive of the Reach4Trust.  This is an important time for the school.  The staff are keen, and the pupils have great resources to use, including ipads in every classroom.  The pupils seem excited to learn and many of them picked up awards today. I hope with the support of the Trust, Castle Academy can bring out the best for local children. 

castle_academy_year_6.JPGSaid Sandra: “It was so nice to see what changes have been made at Castle Academy just in the last couple of years.  They wanted to improve school meals, so with the Council’s help, they invested in new kitchens on site.  And the new building for the reception class is a wonderful space to learn.  I’ve told the school that we will do everything we can to promote learning in the school and I look forward to our next visit.”

PHOTO l to r Olivia and Arizona show Sandra and Caroline their work in the reception class.

READY TO MOVE ON – Caroline and Sandra with the year six pupils who move to secondary school in September.

Caroline Flint and Sandra Holland get a warm welcome at Castle Academy

Conisbrough’s future community leaders met today’s when pupils quizzed Caroline Flint MP and Cllr Sandra Holland on what they do and how they became local representatives.

IMG_6359.JPGLocal farmers in Hatfield Woodhouse have featured in a new book on the future of energy, thanks to local MP, Caroline Flint.

The Don Valley MP, who is Chair of Labour’s Parliamentary Energy & Climate Change Committee has provided a chapter for the new Green Gas book, launched in Parliament this week.

IMG_6357.JPGSaid Caroline: “For the past six years, I have been talking about what energy we need to keep the lights on and our homes warm. Eight in ten of our homes is dependent on gas for our heating and a third of our electricity still comes from gas. The purpose of the chapter was to show that instead of importing some of our gas from Russia or Qatar, we should be following the example of Lynda and Willie MacIntosh and their partnership with Future Biogas. Supported by local farmers, they turn crops into gas - enough for 3,000 homes in the coldest months.

“I was so impressed by the way local farmers have got together to produce green gas, that I wanted to promote it. I organised a visit for Jeremy Corbyn, Ed Miliband and Rosie Winterton to Vulcan Renewables, so they could understand the importance of this home grown, green energy. But I also wanted to contribute a chapter to this book.

"Thanks to colleagues like Alan Whitehead MP and Lisa Nandy MP, and with the backing of green entrepreneurs like Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, more policy makers, politicians and investors are going to find out about the importance of green gas for the UK’s future.

“But for me, the stars of this story are Willie and Lynda from Hatfield Woodhouse. We talk about green energy, but they are making it happen, right here in Doncaster.”

The green gas plant in Hatfield Woodhouse is known as Vulcan Renewables. It’s distinctive domes can be seen from A614 near Lindholme.

Read the Green Gas book HERE.

PHOTOS SHOW: Jeremy Corbyn meets Willie and Lynda MacIntosh

Caroline and Jeremy Corbyn at Vulcan Renewables.


Caroline promotes local farmers' green success

Local farmers in Hatfield Woodhouse have featured in a new book on the future of energy, thanks to local MP, Caroline Flint. The Don Valley MP, who is Chair of...

Why we lack a Julia Gillard in Britain
Australia is heading for a photo-finish general election. On 21 August, Julia Gillard could be the country's first ever elected female prime minister, one of only 16 around the world.

Gillard's ascent, after a very Australian coup in which Kevin Rudd stood down, certainly offers food for thought. Was the Australian Labor Party right to ditch an unpopular leader before going to the polls? Gillard did what the Conservatives did 20 years ago to Margaret Thatcher, striking down their leader in the hope of saving their government, and it worked. (Perhaps the Labour Party should have done the same to Gordon Brown. And he himself, having taken over from Tony Blair in 2007, certainly should have thought harder about that snap election; playing for time was a gamble Brown lost.)

Three decades after the election of Margaret Thatcher, a British-born woman appears to have more chance of becoming the prime minister of Australia than becoming prime minister in the UK. Despite Australia's perceived macho image, it has long-standing democratic credentials. The country gave women the vote before we did, and was the first in the British empire to allow women to stand for parliament. Back in the UK, and to Labour's credit even after one of our worst defeats ever, we still have more women in parliament than all of the other parties combined. But it isn't enough.

Power politics

So, what is the lesson to be learned from the Julia Gillard experience? It is that, for women to emerge as leaders, you need women at the top table. In fact, the proportion of women in the Australian parliament isn't much larger than at Westminster - but, crucially, Rudd, Gillard's predecessor, had women in senior government positions.

Gillard was deputy prime minister, given a wide-ranging brief including Education and Employment. Penny Wong led Australia's fight against climate change. Nicola Roxon was health minister. Now, look at where the majority of candidates in Labour's leadership contest are coming from: big-spending departments such as Education and Health, or such high-profile jobs as Foreign and Climate Change Secretary.

As a new MP entering parliament in 1997, I learned pretty quickly the informal rules of Labour power politics. The parliamentary party was dominated by a handful of senior figures, each with a coterie of followers. How many of each group became ministers varied according to the power of their mentor. Among these in turn, some were earmarked as high-flyers, even future leaders, from day one. These were described as the "thinkers". Others were seen as the "doers", the type who would be active backbenchers or workaday ministers, getting the job done, but receiving little of the credit. (I spent six years on the back benches, so that tells you that I was not in anyone's inner circle.)

Some MPs become ministers when they have hardly made a Commons speech, let alone served in committee. In cabinet, similar rules apply. When I attended, an inner circle had daily contact with the then prime minister. I had virtually none. It was not so much a case of men are from Mars, women are from Venus; more men are from Mars, women are from Pluto. It wasn't always strictly on gender lines - well-connected women, though a minority, gained from the same process.

Looking back, I realise that it was less important which ministers delivered policies and which made decisions. What mattered more was whose "side" you were thought to be on, or how powerful you were perceived to be. I am sure the same power elites operate in the new coalition, but it goes some way to explain why there isn't a mainstream woman in Labour's leadership contest. In contrast to her male opponents, Diane Abbott is the maverick candidate, the outsider, proud she has never served on the front bench and has opposed numerous Labour policies. She will win some support, but few regard her as a real contender.

Female MPs and ministers have so much to offer. Take the contribution of Labour women from 1997: Sure Start centres, family-friendly rights and specialist domestic violence courts are just a few examples of policy changes. Even the national minimum wage owes much to pressure from Labour women.

Now look what happens when women are excluded. As David Cameron's coalition government has found to its cost, a proposal such as the one to grant anonymity to rape suspects emerges. It has now, thankfully, been abandoned. (Strangely, the dropping of this policy was barely reported, even though it was the first defeat for the coalition agreement.)

Factions and cabals

It is galling to see that female politicians who have overcome many barriers to get selected and elected are not, like Julia Gillard, making it to the top table or into the inner circles. It is neither for lack of talent nor because of inability, at least not in comparison to their male colleagues. But, as in other walks of life, male networks are still pervasive and very powerful. Perhaps one lesson for Labour's women is to work harder for each other, network better and be prepared to demand more.

If the Labour leadership candidates believe in new politics, they must start by ending the factions and cabals that dominated and sometimes paralysed Labour in the past decade. And we must be willing to talk openly about how counterproductive this type of power politics is. Only then will we make use of all the talents, rather than a chosen few.

Right now, Gillard is taking on a conservative, Liberal-National coalition - defending Labor's economic stimulus package, addressing tough immigration issues and, above all, making a real fight to stay in power. Go, Julia!

Click HERE to read my article on the New Statesman website from 2010

Read my Article on Women in Politics

Why we lack a Julia Gillard in Britain Australia is heading for a photo-finish general election. On 21 August, Julia Gillard could be the country's first ever elected female prime...

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