Green Party votes YES!!!!!

You heard it here first…:

The result of the referendum ballot inside the Green Party – to decide whether or not the party should have a recognisable Leadership team – has resulted in success for the ‘Yes’ message, with well over a 2/3rds majority.

The final result is 73% to 27%, with almost exactly half of the membership turning out to vote.

The members have spoken, in overwhelming numbers.

South-East Euro-MP Caroline Lucas, one of the party’s two Principal Speakers, said:

“I’m delighted about this result. The party can now move forward together and onto the job in hand: we have an urgent green message to communicate, and many votes to win.”

Green London Assembly member Darren Johnson and outgoing ‘Yes’ Campaign Manager commented from Brussels, “This is a fantastic day for the Green Party and will help ensure we have a party that is understandable, recognisable and effective. But we now need to demonstrate to all our members, regardless of which way they voted, that this is not about weakening our principles, it’s about strengthening our effectiveness — and that is what we’ll do over the years ahead.”

Some Conservatives are with and some are without brains — official

City Council meeting this week was pretty lively. During the debate over congestion charging, I gently heckled Cllr. Antony Little of the Conservatives, who is vehemently opposed to congestion charging, pointing out to him that it was his own Party [at the County level] that was actually pushing congestion charging for Norwich. His response was most intriguing and amusing: “It may be my Party – but I’ve got a brain.”

Was he perhaps meaning: As opposed to his County colleagues (one of whom was sitting immediately on his left as he spoke), who by implication do not?…!

Advance statement on the referendum, ahead of tmrw’s result

Only a day to go now, thank goodness, before we know the result of the Leadership referendum in the Green Party. Darren Johnson, on behalf of the Green Yes campaign, in advance of the referendum result, said the following:

Advance statement to the Party

“Turnout has been very high by Green Party standards, perhaps well over 40%, which shows the
interest our members have had in the future direction of the Party.

“Win or lose, we will respect the verdict of the members.

“We thank the supporters of the No Campaign for their help in
organising and attending meetings and for providing a stimulating
debate.”

Dear Shahrar…

The RED PEPPER debate is going strong…
Here is my second (and probably final) letter, replying to Shahrar’s article, replying to my original article (see link at left, or go down below at http://rupertsread.blogspot.com/2007/11/red-pepper-debate-on-green-leadership.html):

Dear Shahrar;

Thanks for your thoughtful letter. Obviously, there is much that we have in common. But I think we are still going to disagree about this one…

You doubt my claim that having a Leader and Deputy or Co-Leaders would enhance accountability. Perhaps then you would like to address the case of the Scots Green Party? See e.g. my letter in the _Guardian_ on this topic: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/green/comment/0,,2210036,00.html . Or see Mark Ballard’s and Patrick Harvie MSP’s comments, at http://www.greenyes.org/quotes.html . If the Scottish experience has been very clearly that formally-recognised Leadership enhances accountability, why should we doubt that it will in England and Wales too?

You say that “conventional politics has shown itself to be unfit for purpose”. A well-wrought phrase. But I haven’t noticed the electorate queueing up to endorse a Party presenting itself deliberately as unconventionally as it can, ‘led’ according to a quasi-anarchist model, just yet… The electorate, our potential voters, want us to get into make power and make changes. They don’t want us to have middle-class-sounding titles nor to seem to shy away from power as if from something dirty… They want us to relocalise our economy and polity, to renationalise the railways, to defend the NHS and to transform it into a National Wellness Service, to bring about an enormous investment in renewables, to stand firm against wars of aggression even while those wars are being launched and fought… they want us above all to lead the struggle against dangerous climate change (on this, see my blog, ‘Rupert’s read’: http://rupertread.org/rupertread.org/wordpress/?p=1576 ). When we say that we will not trust ourselves and our leading figures enough to elect a Leader from among our own, we unavoidably give the impression that we are uncomfortable in taking the risk of assuming that Leadership role.

Isn’t it striking that the Green Party has flourished in those places where an individual has stepped up to the plate and led it, organisationally and in the media and as a figurehead (e.g. Darren Johnson in Lewisham, Adrian Ramsay in Norwich, now both Leaders of large Green Party Council Groups)? Isn’t it striking that the clear majority of the most electorally-serious Green activists (e.g. over 75% of our Party’s Principal Authority Councillors, all three of our target Parliamentary candidates, both our MEPs) are voting Yes?

Shahrar, the choice facing us honestly is: to whistle for longer in the wilderness — or to give ourselves a shot at bringing the green-left to power … before civilisation goes belly up…

Yours ever, Rupert.

New Books

I have two new books out this year, “Philosophy for Life” and “Applying Wittgenstein”. For anyone who has read them already, please feel free to post comments. If you haven’t taken a look yet but are interested, both books are available on Amazon.co.uk (just follow the above links from each book). Check out Continuum for a more thorough description of “Applying Wittgenstein”.

For more details, or for an overview of other books I’ve published, visit my UEA website here.

The underlying cause of much bad driving and bad cycling

The fundamental problem, the underlying reason why we see more bad driving and bad cycling than we used to, is individualism (neo-liberalism, consumerism, materialism). People increasingly act selfishly unless they are forced to do otherwise, because our individualistic culture teaches them that it is acceptable to do so. This is the single biggest reason why many people cycle without lights, and on pavements, and why many drivers increasingly run red lights, block intersections, treat cyclists as scum, etc. Until we change the whole political and economic system, we will make limited progress in this matter.
This is yet another reason why a new Greener Britain is so desperately needed.

A thought about bad cycling

Cycling on the pavement ain’t right. But even so, do ask yourself when was the last time that you heard of a cyclist causing serious injury or death to someone? Whereas speeding and irresponsible and drunk etc drivers cause serious injuries or death roughly twice a week, in Norwich, for example.
Cyclists should ride legally. But they should not be demonised when they do not do so — because often they do not do so because of terrible road design, of feeling / being unsafe from cars, etc.; and because even when they do not do so they still pose very little risk of causing serious injury or death, compared to cars.
Once again: I don’t in the least condone anti-social cycling. But whenever I hear someone demonising cyclists, I have the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, they are thereby making themselves feel better about doing something more dangerous, themselves: namely, driving a car…