Southampton sent four people to this year's Green Party Autumn Conference at Harrogate which was in part an exercise of rejuvenating the party following the snap election.
It is critically important that the green agenda is picked up more and the Conference passed new policies strengthening measures to combat climate change, applying 'Precautionary Principle' to new technologies and stating our intention to campaign for the suspension of the Government's EU repeal bill. There was one short and simple motion intending to recognise the contribution of migrants and people of colour to the UK by making the 22nd June, Windrush Day, a public holiday.
The name, Windrush, is from the ship MV Empire Windrush, originally the MV Monte Rosa. She was a German liner, built to take immigrants to South America. Through lack of business, Hamburg Süd her owners, deployed her to kick start a cheaper cruise line industry. During the war she had an unusual task of being the accommodation and recreational facility for the battleship Turpitz. After 1945, when she was captured by British forces and taken as a prize of war she was used as a troop ship and in 1946 sailed out of Southampton as far as the port of Hong Kong. It was in 1948 that she transported former service men and immigrants to the Port of Tilbury, London (where she was registered), from the Port of Kingston, Jamaica. Monday, 30 March 1954 the ship sank off the coast of N.Africa, en route to the uk, due to a fierce fire.
The call for a further public holiday by political parties is not uncommon as we fall behind the rest of Europe and have the least number allocated to us within the G20 group of leading economies. It would be excellent if the UK do adopt this day and especially for the folk of Southampton connected to the people who came here and with the ship that brought them.