Wednesday, 31 March 2010
We do not need a new generation of Trident nuclear weapons. This relic of the cold war is not fit for the twentyfirst century. It does not increase our national security. No sane human being could ever agree to use such monstrous weapons of mass destruction. The Trident replacement is a complete waste of money.
We have a General Election a few weeks ahead. I believe this vital issue should be decided then, by voters. Not kicked into the long grass, and taken out of voters hands, by merely calling for a defence review after the General Election. This is the policy of the Liberal Democrats. They anticipate a hung parliament, when they can wheel and deal. Their track record shows they will then move to the right, and suffer collective amnesia about their erstwhile opposition to Trident.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats continue to support the pointless war in Afghanistan, propping up a corrupt puppet regime, risking the lives of more of our troops.
Many years ago, when I was student, we had a talk one evening by a man from the Flat Earth Society.
His audience was about 200 science students and academics. We listened in polite silence to his explanations about ships disappearing over the horizon, and what happened at the edges of the earth. But when he invited questions, his careful arguments were torn to shreds and ridiculed mercilessly by the students. I felt really sorry for him.
The flat earthers today are the climate change deniers, but I don't feel the least bit sorry for them.
Of course, they agree the global climate is changing, but they insist it's due to natural variability, with minimal input from human activity.
The scientific consensus is that global warming is taking place, and cannot be explained without including the artificially enhanced greenhouse effect, due to the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and CFCs.
A handful of critics outside the consensus can usually be traced back to oil companies like Exxon Mobil, and many are free market fundamentalists.
The fact is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 37% since the industrial revolution, to the highest levels for at least 600,000 years. Temperatures on Earth now are higher than they have been for at least 8,000 years.
Politicians now have to make a choice.
Suppose we reduce our carbon economy, and it turns out that the scientific consensus is wrong?
We will have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in insulation and renewable energy manufacturing. Thousands will have been taken out of fuel poverty, peak oil will be less of a shock, the oceans will be less acidic and energy security will have been tackled.
Now suppose the Flat Earthers are wrong. We will end up with acid oceans, acid rain, fuel poverty, civil unrest, unemployment, catastrophic climate disruption, droughts, floods, crop failures, disease, massive environmental migrations of refugees and war.
Any sensible politician would put our money on decarbonising the global economy.
This is called the Precautionary Principle.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Tony Blair was back today in his old constituency Sedgefield, addressing the local party faithful. His aim was to support the New Labour general election campaign, and in particular declare his support for Prime Minister Brown.
I found his appearance and manner quite a shock.
He was tanned, looked rather haggard, and seemed to be speaking with a sort of partial American accent.
Since leaving office he appears to have devoted himself to grabbing as much money as he can. Lecture tours at ridiculous fees, 'advising' various middle east countries on matters relating to oil. They say he has set up about a dozen private companies to generate his wealth, called 'Wind Rush' or something, in all kinds of countries - Romania, Lithuania ....
This man was a Labour Prime minister - Labour.
More accurately of course, New Labour.
His activities since stepping down tell you all you need to know about this man, about his guiding star, and about New Labour.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
New Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling has promised post-election public spending cuts 'tougher and deeper' than those of the Thatcher days in the 1980's. The Conservatives will cut even more than Labour. If the Lib Dems hold the balance of power in a hung parliament, I suppose we can expect cuts somewhere between New Labour and Conservatives.
What have we done to deserve this?
Well, nothing actually.
It's the pay-off for the financial crisis caused by the banks, and the rescue by, er.... you and me.
We won't have to wait very long after the election before the full horror of the cuts is revealed: just 50 days if the Conservatives win; in the autumn if it's New Labour, so they tell us.
It's starting to look a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
A Conservative government after 6 May (or whenever) will open at least one new nuclear power station every year and a half. There will be 'no limit' on the growth of nuclear power in Britain under a Tory government, says Greg Clark, the shadow energy spokesperson.
Clark ignores the fact that the timescale for a nuclear programme is far too long to solve the looming energy crisis. The desperate promotion of nuclear power is driven opportunistically by the nuclear industry lobby. The cost implications are horrendous.
Clark ignores the genetic and health risks of even low radiation doses associated with nuclear power.
He ignores the unsolved problem of all the nuclear waste.
What is certain is that the mess will have to be cleared up, if at all, at public expense - long after the private nuclear companies have taken their profits and vanished.
Nuclear power is not carbon neutral. Renewable energy sources are the only answer.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
'Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of dignity, justice, freedom and hope, of power over their own lives. Poverty is political, a scandal created and perpetuated by our own systems and structures. At its core lies the misuse of power, within and among countries, groups and individuals. But a problem created by people can be solved by people and, in the wake of the economic crisis, there has never been a better time to challenge its existence.'
These words are not mine, or those of the Green Party. They are the preamble to the Christian Aid Election Manifesto 2010.
The document then identifies five areas for action:
- make development work for poor people
- deliver climate justice
- link transparency and taxation to support development
- invest in good government and crack down on corruption
- support the transformation of conflict into sustainable politics
I strongly support the Christian Aid manifesto and the determined action it requires. It is in close alignment with the policies that the Green Party urges voters to support in the general election in just a few weeks.
Social justice is a fundamental concern to Greens. It is the poor that are suffering most due to climate change.
I believe we should reassess the nature of debt, by recognising the historical ecological debt owed by rich to poor countries. The ecological debt has been built up by: the extraction of natural resources without proper payment, the use of local and indigenous knowledge for the development of products - eg medicines - without proper recompense, the use of local land for mono-crop export rather than for feeding the local population, and the appropriation of the atmosphere for the disproportionate emission of climate change gases.
Simultaneously, the Green Party wants to see the cancellation of all unjust and unsustainable traditional debt 'owed' by the developing world to richer countries. At the moment there are lots of strings attached to debt cancellation, often unjust and undemocratic in themselves. We want to see these strings removed.
We have plenty of local problems in Mid Bedfordshire, and those issues are rightly of great concern in this general election. But voters also have an opportunity to send a clear call for action against global injustice and poverty.
Monday, 22 March 2010
The revelations about Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoffrey Hoon are shocking. To hear Byers calmly talking about £5,000 a day for his lobbying services, comparing himself to a 'cab for hire', was disgusting. These people were at the heart of the New Labour Project, and close to Blair. New Labour is rotten and corrupt to the core.
The constituency most likely to return the first UK Green Party MP on 6 May (or whenever) is Brighton Pavilion, where Caroline Lucas is the Green Party candidate. Last Saturday I travelled by rail (and bus across central London) down to Brighton with Ben Foley to help in the Brighton campaign. Brighton Pavilion is a wedge-shaped constituency in central Brighton, with the thick end of the wedge to the north. When we arrived at the Eco Centre we were immediately given bags of leaflets and maps of the areas to be delivered, and driven to the first location.
The leaflet message ran:
FEELING THE SQUEEZE? LIKE YOU, GREENS BELIEVE OUR MONEY SHOULDN'T BE SPENT ON BANKS & FOREIGN WARS: Green MPs would fight for:
- a fully functioning NHS
- your freedom and security
- a fair deal for older people
- good quality jobs
After about two hours pushing leaflets through letter boxes, we found our way to lunch in a member's house.
Then more delivering after lunch, working with two other campaigners from Brighton.
The Brighton campaign is very well organised, and local members are immensely enthusiastic. But there's a long way to go before polling day.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
I support scrapping replacement plans for Trident nuclear weapons.
Green Party MEPs persuaded other MEPs to call for a ban on depleted uranium weapons and cluster munitions. We must control and reduce the sale of UK weapons around the world, and those on our street.
The Green Party would not use a 'war on terror' to destroy our rights to a private life. We would stop the ID card scheme.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Friday, 19 March 2010
I believe that smaller businesses and local enterprises make our communities stronger. Increasing numbers of supermarkets and shopping centres have meant fewer local shops and businesses. The planning system can be used to favour small local enterprises, as achieved for example by Green Party councillors in Oxford. I support the creation of community banks to help smaller traders survive the recession.
As well as using planning laws to create and save allotments, the rules should be changed so schools and hospitals can buy more local food.
Monday, 15 March 2010
The Green Party will cancel the road building programme and instead invest in safer roads and in helping many more people to walk and cycle.
After fierce lobbying London Green Assembly members ensured that all new London buses will run on hybrid engines by 2012, creating a third less pollution.
We will repeat this success in all UK cities. We would create travel plans for workers and invest more money to promote car sharing.
The Green Party would bring the railways back under public control. We would create more jobs by expanding rail networks.
The New Labour Government has failed to combat increasing air travel. Unlike the other political parties we would say 'no' to Heathrow and prevent the expansion of Britain's other airports.