Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What political candidates should be offering the electorate in GE 2017

Yesterday I pointed out the deep divisions within our nation.

The best, maybe the only, thing to overcome our divisions as a nation is to understand our place in the world as a species that, like all other species, depends on ecological systems for our physical survival and mental happiness.

By addressing the urgent task of healing human society and the planetary systems, we will find ourselves in a co-operative relationship with others rather than a competitive or even a conflicting relationship.

This is all fine and good. What does it mean in practice?

There are two components: local and global. By local in the present context of the General Election on June 8th, I mean the situation in Britain.

Greens need a positive, tangible change to offer the electorate. It is no use warning of impending doom. It is no use just bemoaning the dire situation that the Tories have driven us into. It is no good just reciting a list of good things we want to do. We need a put forward a specific offer.

For me, that offer is of full employment in the green sector of the economy - the part of the economy that heals environment and society.

For an economy in 2017 to have 4-5% unemployment is irrational, given that there is so much vital work that needs to be done.

Here are a few examples:

Energy conservation, renewables, food production, public transport, repair, recycling, house building and renovation, water work, environmental conservation, hedge-laying, arboriculture, work with wood, education, social work, community work, care of the vulnerable the elderly and the sick. 

There is more than enough work to be done. Good positive, creative work. It is insane to pay people on condition that they do nothing except for applying for jobs that do not exist, when there is so mych work that needs to be done.

In providing full employment we can transform society and transform our lives. How can it be paid for? By transforming the benefits system so that JSA behaves like Basic Income - i.e. you still recieve it even when you are in work. Simple. Far more simple than the welfare system that has evolved in this country.

It is called Green Wage Subsidy.

So we can transform the economy and dissolve all unemployment (and underemployment come to that) in a new, tangible and efficient way of looking at work. Seeing work as essentially of benefit for everyone, rather than just a way of making money. In creating full employment, we reduce inequality in society, and this helps to heal all manner of social ills.

Of course, GWS is not the only thing we need to do. There are dozens of other measures needed, but in that it greens the economy and works against inequality, GWS is pretty much in pole position as far as I am concerned.

There are other measures too, that address problems at a global level. That is for the next blog post.

At the moment in this election, I am going to ask my local candidates if they will look at GWS as a way forward, and will consider voting for the one who is most open to it - if he or she is in a position to evict the Tory incumbent.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Politics needs good understanding and good practice

Theresa May speaks about national unity.

It is true that we are a divided nation.

We are divided not just by Brexit (which comes from a deep, historic division in the Tory party over Europe), but also by inequality of wealth and income.

We are also divided from each other by our beliefs. We are ruled by a clique of blinkered ideologues many of whom deny that continued use of fossil fuel will cause great harm both now and in the future.

It will take more than sweet words from The May to re-unite the country.

It will take a re-balancing of the media, re-balancing the economy, and re-balancing of society.

It means full employment as we all commit to the vital work that needs to be done to achieve a better relationship between humanity and our home planet, and between people and each other.

Unity comes from seeing and understanding that our need for water, food, energy, shelter and harmonious order are common to all humanity, that those needs are not being met, and that by focusing on meeting them, both in the UK and globally, we will all be able to live happier lives.

That is what we need -  a global vision.

It's not hard at all. Just take a second to remember that we have the great good fortune to be living on a beautiful planet that can meet all our human needs for billions of years if we do one thing: understand how planetary systems work.

We do now understand enough to know what to do: we have to work at living within the physical, biological and social boundaries that reality sets us.

To do that means making many changes in the way we do things.

Good changes, that mean less unemployment, less violence, less crime, less inequality, less resentment, less hatred.

We do not have to be a wretched, miserable world filled with resentment and hatred. 

We humans are intelligent, resourceful beings. 

We can do better. 

Doing better involves doing a lot of good work.

I'm going to develop this theme in later blog posts, to show how this vision can be realised in everyday practice.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why are we having a General Election?

Parliament rolled over far too easily for Theresa May's new found enthusiasm for a snap election, having stated several times that she would go on until 2012. The sight and deafening gobbling sound of Labour turkeys voting inexplicably for an election the country does not need was a wonder to behold.

The country may not need the June 8th election, but Mrs May and the her party certainly do, because the Crown Prosecution Service is about to prosecute up to 24 sitting Tory MPs for submitting false election expenses claims in 2015.  This could easily wipe out her majority, and also call into question the legitimacy of Cameron's Government and its decisions.

The eerie silence on this issue from the Labour front bench suggests that Labour does not feel completely comfortable about its own election expenses.

And so the pitiful charade of UK democracy is rolled out, with its solemn pretence that the First Past the Post system is anything more than a travesty of democracy.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bashar al-Assad? Nice guy or not a nice guy?

Trump has attacked a Syrian airport, and destroyed several live, buildings and aircraft, but not the runway.

There is a school of geo-political thought on the Left and in Green circles that takes its cue from the USA. If the USA is against something, that something is OK. Trump is now against Bashar al-Assad, therefore Assad is and OK guy.  All the stuff said about him on the Biased Broadcasting Company is wrong.

So here are some questions for those who say Assad is a nice guy.

Do they have good evidence for the following statements about Assad?

That  his elections are free and fair?
That he did not order the crackdown on Arab Spring protesters?
That the is military definitely not integrated into his Government?
That Assad does not use barrel bombs?
That he has never used nerve gas?  
That the indictments brought against him to the ICC in June 2014 are all made up?
That  his secret police do not imprison, torture and kill political opponents, including children?

Personally, I tend to think there is a germ of truth in the idea that Syria is a rather unpleasant dictatorship. I also think that dictatorships are generically anti-human, and that they should be non-violently discouraged by means of the Green Party's Index of Human Rights.