Wednesday, 31 March 2010
I have found it fascinating that, no matter how carefully a letter is drafted to try to conclude a debate with the clinching argument, there is always a come-back. Like a forest fire, the flames of debate flare up from unexpected places. In the latest case it was “the carnivore’s revenge”.
To be clear: Greens do NOT say ‘that we all should be vegetarians’. However, humans are eating increasing amounts of meat and dairy products and this is having serious consequences, not only on our health but also on forest cover – particularly in the Amazon. It’s not that the cows need the grazing, but that the land is commandeered for the soya they’re fed with. Oh, and there are local people to be cleared away before the soya is planted, with injustice and human rights implications. Friends of the Earth is running a campaign on this issue called ‘Fix the Food Chain’.
So, our increasing appetite for animal products leads to accelerating climate effects from the methane and reduced tree cover, human rights violations for many poor people, with consequent civil unrest, and extraordinary profit for the few.
Green policy in a nutshell – “You can’t get owt for nowt“
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
"Green Policy #9: Scrap Trident and British nuclear weapons.
40 years ago Britain undertook to halt, reduce and eliminate our nuclear capability when we signed the NPT or Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Labour-proposed renewal of Trident, after Blair’s vote in 2007, is hardly that. Labour apologists say renewing Trident is completely within the terms of the NPT and doesn’t count as an escalation. They argue that the actual number of warheads is decreased – and this may even be true! However, the NPT commission doesn’t see it that way and regards the proposed renewal as an escalation of capability and therefore may be in breach of the Treaty.
Scrapping Trident is part of our 8 point plan on Peace and Security as per latest draft manifesto.
No replacement of Trident . We cannot conceive of any circumstances in which we could or would use these expensive and immoral weapons, and would de-commission the existing system and not renew it.
There are various figures given for costs. The most frequent is a £76 bn lifetime cost. But the the total cost could be as high as £130 bn (Guardian). And we have plenty of plans for that level of expenditure!
The reasons the LibDems give (Nick Clegg, last June) are that it’s too expensive and not fit for our security needs. They still believe in and want a nuclear deterrent just not that one.
In 2007 when Blair put Trident renewal to a vote, some 72% of people polled against it and nearly 100 Lab MPs revolted over it.
In the Green Party we do not want these weapons. We do not want a replacement. Nor do we do not want a nuclear deterrent. A significant majority of the British people agree with us (58% to 35% in last September’s poll) . Nuclear deterrence is a highly dangerous outcome of the Cold War.
It is necessary and vital to think differently in the 21st century – especially on how we use dwindling resources, and how we foster international cooperation and development.We cannot conceive of any use these weapons have: they cannot be used, that would be the ultimate failure. Nor is Trident actually an independent but relies on American missiles, know-how and say-so – they don’t help our security, they keep us tied to US policy"
Monday, 29 March 2010
Hello Peter, I enjoyed your interview with my colleague,
Greens see the link between the oil and gas addiction of our society and embarking on futile war. This shows lack of concern for the needs of our children and grandchildren. Best wishes
Friday, 26 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Again, a cracking range of issues, which gave no-one an easy time.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
The Market Weighton Chamber of Trade sent a member to share their experience of Post Tesco Shock Syndrome, followed by a business link adviser. He gave a presentation on strategies helpful for keeping your business on its toes.
Useful chat with a parich councillor, and with some of the shopkeepers, all pretty anxious about what might happen to their business.
Tesco economics is plain barmy.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
It's Wednesday - it must be Wilberforce. We are beginning to get into a rhythm. Yesterday's event was at one of Hull's sixth form colleges whose students come in large numbers from the Beverley and Holderness patch. So I was pleased to be able to share a platform with (L to R), Christine (Con), Stephan (the Principal), Jonathan (entrepreneur), Mike (Lib Dem), Ian (Lab).
Six scorching questions: Why bother to vote? Should we be in Afghanistan? Is global warming an issue? HE fees - should they continue? Are the BNP now 'mainstream'? and, finally, how do you eat a cream egg?
Half of the audience of 120 or so is old enough to vote. Asked at the beginning, how many intend to vote, only a minority responded. I hope we persuaded some to change their mind. One student afterwards gave Greens the victory in debate - maybe he was a voter!
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
The ASA has today ruled that two of the press ads, which used nursery rhymes to push the message of climate change, were in breach of the advertising code. In its ruling the ASA said that the language used to indicate how storms, flooding and heatwaves will increase "should have been phrased more tentatively". However, the ASA added that the images of the UK flooding and of a drought "were not in themselves ... exaggerated or misleading".
The above little piece in today's Guardian (the old Manchester Guardian, not the Beverley Guardian!) links with my experience last night at the Roos wind farm enquiry.
A company called RES has had its planning application turned down by the East Riding Planning Committee, and their appeal against the decision has gone to a public inquiry. The inquiry has been spread over eight days, but one of the hearings was not in County Hall, which is in Beverley, 30 odd miles from the site, but in Roos itself. I elected to give my views at this meeting. The parish hall was packed – 60-odd people at least. Objectors were heard first, and the leader of the objectors gave a careful and comprehensive case lasting about one hour and forty minutes. She was followed by seven or eight others. After two and a half hours, the three people prepared to speak in support were called. The first, Mike Jackson, a fellow Green, described the experience a Lisset, a village near to his home which has had a wind farm in place for nearly a year. I made my case as follows
* Government has failed to make clear to the nation as a whole the true extent of the energy security crisis, hence it is entirely understandable if communities bridle at the thought of a wind farm invasion whose case they don’t accept. The ad campaign shown above illustrates the hamfistedness of the current efforts by DECC
* Local authorities have been given no incentive to use their community connections to discuss a strategic approach to sustainable energy provision in their area, so the case for putting the installation has had to be made by the developer
* Local communities have had no incentives to become partners with the developers in a scheme. The only beneficiaries appear to be the landowner and the developer.
* This dogs dinner means that if the appeal is upheld, the community will be resentful, add their voice to the network of others under ‘threat’ and make subsequent applications more difficult. If the appeal is tuned down, government will come up with more draconian planning arrangements which make applications easier to succeed and breed more local unrest.
My support was therefore highly qualified – but support nevertheless. Which made me no friends at all!
Our dear government is making Greens a scapegoat for their incompetence
Sunday, 14 March 2010
I have sent this letter (below) to my MP, Graham Stuart, following a story in the Guardian (web version) on Saturday 13 March. There seems to be no sign of it in the Sunday version. If you have a local Tory MP, please consider sending your own version to him/her.
People have being buying third world debt (which was scheduled to be written off anyway) and successfully suing for their recovery in UK courts. This bill was supposed to extinguish the practice in our jurisdiction.
Dear Graham, As you will be aware, on last Friday evening members of your party killed a private members’ bill that would have put an end to the disgraceful practice of corporations buying up old debts of some of the world’s poorest countries the suing them for large sums.
The bill had enjoyed widespread support within parliament and from leading charities.
One would expect all Members of Parliament to have supported Mr Gwynne’s bill but Conservative MPs objected to it, knowing that this would mean it would run out of time and have no chance of becoming law.
It appears that your party, having pledged support for the bill, then objected to it and refused to admit who was responsible.
One can only conclude that this was a decision taken by your front bench in a direct breach of commitments given by David Cameron. Can you please
Make your view of this action clear in a reply to this letter, and
Pass on my concerns and seek a clarification from David Cameron
Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Beverley and Holderness