News & Views

Views: Local MPs on UK intervention in Syria

On Wednesday the 2nd of December Parliament voted in favour of the Government’s motion to launch air strikes on Syria with the purpose of fighting the terrorist organisation ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

We asked local MPs for their views 


By Kelly Reichel

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove (Labour), has voted for the air strikes. He sent us a statement, which also went out on Facebook soon after the result of the vote.In this statement he justifies backing the Government’s motion with the argument of the urgency of regaining power over the areas controlled by Daesh, to help “reclaim [the Syrians’] land for them and then support them in rebuilding their country”. Military action, in his opinion, was the quickest way to achieve this outcome:

“Many of the people who oppose use of air strikes point to arms sales to the area, funding for Daesh particularly from Saudi Arabia, and bringing Russia and Turkey to the negotiating table rather than acting independently. All of these are so important to the long term stability of the country and region. I came to the conclusion though that even if we could have these things it would not achieve the transformation we need swiftly enough to not only halt Daesh but liberate the Syrian people who suffer their rule.” 

Besides his strong belief that air strikes in Syria would liberate the Syrian people (instead of possibly causing them even more suffering) he also apologised to his supporters about his decision and explained why he acted against the wish of the majority of his voters:

“Because the majority sentiment here on Facebook was opposed I know that many of you feel that I didn’t listen or should have acted on that. All I can say is that I’m sorry if this damages the trust many of you have placed in me.” 

“The only way I could have truly let you down is if my heart told me one thing and I voted differently because I was too scared to take a different view to many of the people here I’ve grown to like so much. The issue being voted on is bigger than that and you deserve better than to have an MP that would put politics before when he believes to be right.”

Interesting standpoint, considering that Kyle’s place in a representative democracy is supposed to be exactly what he thinks it is not: to be a representative of his voters.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and the Green Party, voted against the air strikes. She told us that in her opinion “dropping bombs makes matters worse in the long term”, pointing to lessons we should have learnt from the past and how Western bombing of Syria confirms ISIS’/ISIL’s/Daesh’s narrative, by creating precisely the war of the West against Islam that the terrorist organisation wants. Lucas explains that instead of dropping bombs there need to be alternative measures to create long-term stability and peace in the region. She suggests diplomatic measures, stopping the sale of arms to repressive regimes and a consistent foreign policy. Her rejection of the governmental decision is clear:

I have yet to hear anyone make a convincing case for dropping bombs on Syria or for adding to the misery of the civilian population. Caroline Lucas

Lastly, Simon Kirby, Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, did not feel like getting back to us at all. As a Government whip Kirby voted in line with the Prime Minister’s proposal for air strikes in Syria. On his homepage we can read a short statement in which he explains that attacking the headquarters of ISIS is the best measure to ensure security for British civilians and avoid more terror attacks in the Western world. While he does not mention how the aims of air strikes in the region could be of help to the Syrian people and create peace in the area, at least he lets us know that British military capabilities “minimise civilian casualties”. Well, then there’s nothing to worry about, or is there?


Reclaim The Beats - 23rd Oct 2015

The Brighton Social Forum and Reclaim the Beats; An eclectic evening of Eco-politics, Spoken Word, Live Music and D.J’s.

The Brighton Social Forum returns to the Synergy Centre on Friday October 23rd from 7.30 – 9pm with debate and discussion around environmental politics. The energy demands of modern society are increasingly outstripping the availability of ‘conventional’ oil and gas. The time seems ripe for ditching dirty fuel in favour of investment in renewable energy but is this the direction we are going in? Governments the world over seem hell bent on exploiting ‘unconventional’ oil and gas resources via Fracking and other highly contentious methods but the movement against this and in favour of ‘green’ energy is rapidly growing. In this month’s Social Forum our ‘pro-fracking’ compere will try to convince our panel that oil and gas is the fuel of the future but our panel may have something to say about that. Guests include Beki Adam (Frack Free Sussex) Duncan Blinkhorn (COP21 Bike Train), Will Cottrell (Brighton Energy Co-op), Lorraine Inglis (Campaigner and Activist), Jamie Kelsey – Fry (New Internationalist) and BP or not BP?
But that’s just the start of the evening; Reclaim the Beats is a party with a purpose; following from the Social Forum we have a diverse evening of entertainment with Spoken Word performance and comedy from those naughty ‘actor-vists’ BP or not BP? and Geoff Winde (Money is as Innocent as the Gun), live music from Ratbag and Ilodica & King Bracket ….and freaking funky beats from Radio 4A. As the old saying goes, “It ain’t my revolution if I can’t dance’. The evening will also host a photographic exhibition featuring the work of Denise Felkin and Jeff Pitcher, 2 photographers spreading the anti-fracking message via their cameras. Food / snacks will also be available.
Tickets are £5 in advance / concs or £7 on the door. Available at or visit Twisted Rainbow Designs at The Open Market, London Rd. All proceeds to Brighton Action Against Fracking and Radio 4A indymedia. For more information and full schedule please go to and FB ‘Reclaim the Beats’.

Join the Garage Sale Trial

Alice Doyle08.2015

A firm fixture we have in our C-Side challenge events diary, is the UK’s first Garage Sale Trail, taking place on Saturday 26th September in Brighton & Hove, as well as Todmorden in Yorkshire and Hackney, London.

The Garage Sale Trail will create a huge one day market to enable everyone in the city an opportunity to have a de-clutter, grab some bargains and raise a bit of cash for themselves or a cause.  The city wide Garage Sale aims to inspire reuse, giving, enterprise and boost the community spirit.

It’s also easy and free to take part – you just have to register your intent to run a Garage Sale in advance of September 26th, list your items or categories of goods you’ll have on offer – you can upload some pics for extra oomph – and it’s possible to pledge donations from your Garage Sale takings to a favourite charity, cause or project. A great way to support your community and clear some clutter too!

Schools, residents, community venues, independent businesses, charities, buildings, community projects, artists and makers can all register to hold a Garage Sale.  All the Garage Sales are mapped and listed on the Garage Trail website and will be shared via social media and to local press  – driving customers to your very own private ‘boot market’ on September 26th!

Brighton Freegle is curating local artists, teachers, designers, business owners, innovators and more to be a major part of the Garage Sale Trail. Others already signed up include the innovative MakerClub who teach children to build robots amongst other exciting things; local award-winning designer and Sussex University lecturer Claire Potter; the Brighton Peace and Environment Centre; Richard Grills, owner of The Marwood café and Presuming Ed’s Coffee House; and the team behind the fantastic community extravaganza’s Cook The Rabbit Events.
For locals you will see that the Garage Sale Trail is a similar model to other city wide events like Artist Open Houses, Garden Gad About or Eco Open Houses – it’s a fun way to meet the neighbours, have some fun and explore the city…..and prevent waste!

To find out more and to register your own Garage Sale see HERE.

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A conversation with Yellow Bear Wears

Alice Doyle08.2015The C-side Challenge

As part of our theme for the C-Side Challenge we spoke to innovative up-cycler Yellow Bear Wears.

What inspired you to create Yellow Bear Wears?

Growing up the slogan: ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’ was followed with much enthusiasm, in fact I remember always having random things used for different purposes once reaching their ‘end-life’. For instance when my shoes no longer fit they became plant pots in the garden, my mums laddered tights became supports for plants to grow up, any copper pipes my dad came across became frames for his beloved tomatoes to thrive in, complete with unusable taps attached! This ethos of re-using and upcycling inspired me from a young age, whilst at school my design projects included: a sofa-bed frame made of discarded wooden pallets, a clock made from old CD’s and a candle holder made of bent forks!

Having come from this sort of background it is embedded in me to upcycle and re-use, my jewellery follows that trend and I am inspired by finding new materials that I can try to find a use for, my newest experiments involve recycling bicycle inner tubes.

How do you source your materials?
I love hunting for knitting needles, I find them at boot sales, charity shops and occasionally through ebay. I am also given needles that are no longer being used, people can’t find a use for them as plastic knitting needles are not very practical for knitting with!

Why knitting needles?
I love the fact that knitting needles are probably one of the last materials you would expect to be used for jewellery, the surreal juxtapositions created by re-using and upcycling excite me and I’m still not bored of finding new things I can make with my needles!

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Is a sustainable future worth a conversation?

 Alice Doyle09.2015 The C-side Challenge

Want support to reduce your environmental impact?
Want to take practical steps against climate change?
Want to make more informed travel and purchasing decisions?

Then you are invited to take part in a free course starting the end of September – running on evening or weekends.

What is it?
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre are running a series of workshops to help local communities be the change they wish to see, with the award-winning intervention called ‘Carbon Conversations’.

Join a small group of 6-8 people to explore responses to climate change and sustainability from a different approach.

Our two courses are being run at The Bevy or The Hop and Vine.

What are Carbon Conversations?
The meet ups will create a non-judgemental atmosphere where individuals are encouraged to make serious lifestyle changes. The groups offer:
·    A friendly, safe and supportive space to discuss your thoughts and emotions about the impact of climate change.
·    Practical support to develop your own plans as to how you want to go about making changes to your lifestyle, in a way that fits with your values and that you feel comfortable with.
·    A friendly group atmosphere, where participants support each other to make changes and feel enabled.
·    Support from local trained facilitators to help you develop leadership and practical skills to inspire others do the same.

What is the aim?
Through guided discussion, participants will improve confidence in their abilities to develop a sustainable lifestyle that align with their personal values.

Why participate?
Participants of the Carbon Conversations will learn about climate change basics, ideas for a low-carbon future and chat on four key areas of your footprint – home energy, travel, food and consumption. Each person will also receive a handbook, entitled, ‘In Time for Tomorrow‘ which has received rave reviews from some impressive climate champions:

 “This lovely handbook covers it all…reckons honestly with the psychological impacts of a crisis that is far too easy for many of us to deny in our everyday lives…”
Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine.

“…truly remarkable…provides a framework for people to share the real reasons why they act the way they do…explores the landscape of hope…”          
George Marshall, author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

So why not be part of this innovative city-wide behaviour change initiative, funded by Brighton and Hove City Council and delivered by Brighton Peace and Environment Centre and Brighton and Hove 10:10.

There is a choice of weekend OR evening events and you would need to attend all sessions where possible. Please email your name, address and contact details to // email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07979 321 998 to find out more, or register your interest.

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Past participant quotes: ‘Practical’…’Inspiring’…’Empowering’…’Enabling’…’ You can take things at your own pace’

Course dates
Evening events being held at The Hop and Vine, Fiveways
Tuesday 29th, September, 7.00-9.00
Wednesday 14th, October, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 27th, October, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 10th November, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 24th November, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 8th December, 7.00-9.00

Weekend events being held at The Bevy, Bevendean

Saturday, 3rd October, 11.00-3.30
Saturday, 24th October, 11.00-3.30
Saturday, 7th November, 11.00-3.30

Carbon Conversations: one of the Guardian’s ‘Top 20 solutions to climate change’

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Outside of these hours please leave a message on 01273-766610 or email and we will contact you as soon as possible. 

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