Wittgenstein and delusion: Letter of mine published in latest issue of LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS

Simon Blackburn remarks that some commentators on Wittgenstein’s Tractatus ‘have taken [its] framing remarks very seriously’. That sounds like a good thing. Isn’t it wise to try to take seriously what an author says about the purpose and nature of their writings? Blackburn suggests that doing so amounts to treating ‘the bulk of the Tractatus [as] some kind of Aunt Sally, written merely as something to be jeered at’. That is a grotesque distortion of the efforts of those of us who have been reading the Tractatus for years, frame, body, warts and all. When one takes the frame seriously, one can see the point in the progressive elucidations in the body of the work: namely, to inhabit the physiognomy of philosophical delusion, which inhabits us so deeply that it would be irresponsible to pretend that one can get outside it and jeer at it.

Rupert Read
University of East Anglia

Supporting ‘green’ businesses in Brightlingsea

My visit to Brightlingsea on Thursday 19th February.

I visited Brightlingsea on Thursday [yesterday] as part of my ongoing ‘listening tour’ of East Anglia.  I spoke to a number of the shopkeepers and small businesses in the town asking about their experience of the economic downturn. The owner of Cornflower wholefood shop told me that while people were buying less processed meals and luxury foods they were buying more ingredients to cook their own meals at home. Small local businesses are exactly what is needed to weather the downturn and to build a sense of community and improve our quality of life. I was glad to hear from a number of Brightlingsea businesses that they are coping with the recession so far.

I also visited the offices of the contractors building the large offshore wind farm at Gunfleet Sands.  The Green Party is committed to all kinds of renewable energy production and the Eastern Region has some of the best renewable resources in the country.  Exploiting more of East Anglia’s wind and wave power would create more jobs in the area and help us fight the threat of climate chaos by lowering our use of fossil fuels. 

I went on from Brightlingsea to join the protest at Downing Street opposing the proposed third runway at Heathrow. The Green Party supports investment in public transport; the expansion of air travel is profoundly damaging to our shared environment, and would do nothing to benefit our economy here in Eastern Anglia…

Prospective Green MEP attending rally at High Court in support of campaigners against airport expansion [Media release]

HIGH COURT CHALLENGE TO STANSTED AIRPORT DECISION
 
An Appeal will be heard in the High Court over three days – 24, 25 and 26 February, following a legal challenge against the Government’s decision to give permission to the BAA to expand Stansted Airport to 35 million passengers per year. A decision is expected in early March. The legal challenge has been brought by Stop Stansted Expansion.
 
Dr. Rupert Read, Prospective Green MEP for Eastern Region, will attend the pre-hearing rally to support the campaigners. The Green Party in Eastern Region has consistently supported the campaigns against expansion at Stansted – and Heathrow, Luton, Southend, Norwich and other airports.
Essex Green Party has been active in the campaign to stop Stansted Airport expanding into the countryside for several decades.
 
There will be a 9.30 am photocall for 10.00 am start on Tuesday 24th February outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand.
Dr. Rupert Read said:
 
“We strongly support the long-standing efforts of Stop Stansted Expansion to thwart the might of the BAA and the Government.
 
“We live in strange times. On the one hand, the UK Government states, in the strongest terms, that it fully accepts the scientific case that manmade climate change is a major threat and that it intends to substantially cut the UK’s CO2 emissions. On the other hand, the same Government is pushing ahead with plans to expand Heathrow and Stansted and also supports a raft of other airport expansions, in the full knowledge that this will increase UK CO2 emissions by millions of tonnes per year.
 
“And whilst on the one hand ministers will tell us how important it is to protect the environment and people’s quality of life, their Heathrow and Stansted airport expansion plans will result in the destruction of the homes and businesses of thousands of people, the loss of huge tracts of countryside, loss or damage to ancient woodlands and the degradation of quality of life for communities near the airports and under flight paths. In the case of Stansted, this is all to allow even more cheap flights.
 
“No wonder voters have become deeply cynical about traditional politicians. We need a fresh start, and Greens are ready to step up to be part of that process – where our elected politicians say what they mean and mean what they say. If elected as a Green MEP on June 4th, I pledge to consistently oppose further airport expansion and will not deviate from that pledge.”
 
ENDS
 
Notes:
 
SSE’s legal action will concentrate on three aspects of the Government’s decision to approve the extra 10 million passengers a year and the related flights:
 
1. That the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, however substantial, can be disregarded;
 
2. That the economic impact on the UK trade deficit, however adverse, can be disregarded;
 
3. That the adverse noise impacts upon local residents and people living further afield cannot amount to a reason for refusal because to do so would frustrate Government policy.
 

Green candidate to visit Brentwood

(from http://www.brentwoodweeklynews.co.uk/news/localnews/4130094.Green_candidate_to_visit_Brentwood/)

A GREEN politician will visit Brentwood next weekend to support the town’s bid for Fairtrade status.

Dr Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Green Party for the forthcoming European elections, will be coming to the town on Saturday February 28.

After giving an interview on Phoenix FM he will go to the High Street at 11.30am to meet potential constituents as part of Fairtrade fortnight.

Dr Read, who is a councillor on Norwich City Council, said: “I’m looking forward to listening to what people have got to say to me about their experiences of the recession and about their hopes for the future.

“One of those hopes is surely Fairtrade – that we can make a better world, and an economy that will actually last, by building relationships up with those who supply us with our food and drink, and making sure that every stage of that process is fair.”

If it is Thursday it must be Brightlingsea!

On my way to London tomorrow (to attend the anti-Heathrow-expansion rally at Downing Street, and to speak at the ‘Forum for European Philosophy’ tomorrow evening, on Gramsci and Tolkien), I am heading to Brightlingsea for some hours as part of my ongoing ‘listening tour’ of East Anglia / Eastern Region.  I am hosted by Bev Maltby the Green Party’s local representative.  I will be in Brightlingsea from 11.30 to 3.30 on Thursday 19th and would be happy for anyone to engage me in conversation on political issues.

Greens: Getting Gordon to think again on airport expansion [Press notice]

PRESS NOTICE
from
Eastern Region Green Party

Tuesday 17th February 2009

Getting Gordon to think again on airport expansion

On Thursday afternoon [tomorrow], Rupert Read, the Green Party’s lead MEP-candidate for the Eastern Region, is in Westminster to add his voice to the campaign to persuade the Government to think again about Heathrow’s third runway.
At a demonstration opposite Downing Street at 5.30pm on Thursday 19th February, people will have a chance to show that they do take the threat of climate change seriously – as loudly and energetically as they can. Speakers at the demonstration are due to include John Mcdonnell MP, Susan Kramer MP and Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London.

Commenting on the call for a demonstration, which he will be attending to add the voice of those many people in Eastern Region who don’t want a bigger Heathrow, Cllr. Read said:

“The latest warning from a senior climate scientist makes it clear that the threat of catastrophic climate change is far graver and closer than we had ever thought. We now have less than ten years in which to stop and reverse the global growth in greenhouse gas emissions. The expansion of Heathrow brings no additional benefit to a region such as the East of England, but does add to the emissions that are forecast to bring us into the front line of areas at risk from summer droughts and rising seas.”

There is expected to be a counter-demonstration, of a group of people calling “for guilt-free travel, for ever-cheaper flights” in nearby Parliament Square.

Rupert Read strongly rebutted this. He said

“If we do nothing about the expansion of air travel right now, there will be ever bigger oceans in which the pro-expansionists can wash their guilty hands. In the long run, ‘cheap’ flights will just cheapen life.”

ENDS

Note:

The Green Party has consistently opposed all major airport expansion, including at Heathrow, Stansted and Luton airports. The party believes that the expansion plans, backed by Gordon Brown and his government, are totally incompatible with the Government’s stated policy of combating climate change through substantially reducing UK CO2 emissions.

Councillor Rupert Read will be available live at the demonstration for comment. Contact: 07946 459066

For further information, please contact the Eastern Region Green Party Press Office

01376 584576

07951 923073

www.eastern.greenparty.org.uk

My upcoming visit to South Norfolk farmers’ markets [Media release]

Councillor Rupert Read, the Lead Green Party Candidate in the East of England for the 4th June 2009 Euro-elections, will visit Farmers Markets around south Norfolk (and, time permitting, north Suffolk) on Saturday 21 February, including the Wymondham, Burston, Harleston and (time permitting) Halesworth and Beccles markets.
 
Last month, Cllr. Read participated in a 10 day tour of East Anglia where he listened to the views and experiences of constituents, and on 7 February 2009 he spent the day hearing the views of North and East Norfolk’s farming community and small businesses, so that he can understand the issues that matter to them.  Read will now extend his “listening” tour to the south Norfolk area where there is a high concentration of the local farming community.
 
Rupert Read said

 

“I believe it is important that politicians listen to people, and so that is what I am doing. I found it very useful to hear the experiences of small farmers and smallholders who play a vital role in our local economy in the North and East Norfolk areas, and now it is important I follow this up in the south Norfolk area to show my solidarity with them too.  And finding out their views and concerns will enable me to help them more effectively if I’m elected as their MEP in June this year.”

Cllr. Read continued

“I passionately believe in supporting our local economy in Norfolk, and we in the Green Party will always champion local food producers who take pride in what they do and often work long hours to put the best local produce on our tablesThis couldn’t be more important than it is today, as the region faces up to a gathering economic crisis. Farmers’ markets offer a fine example of a green way of living and of making a living.”

It might be a bit exhuasting to get around 5 farmers’ markets on one day: but I bet that it will be worth it, in every sense of the word!”

ENDS.

Rupert Read will be available for interview live at these destinations. Approximate timings: Wymondham 9.30-10; Burston 10.45-11.30; Harleston 11.45-12.30.

Councillors Rupert Read and Alan Waters, from Labour and Green Parties, call on the BBC to show compassion, and air the appeal for Gaza

At the most recent Norwich City Council meeting, I asked a question of Labour Executive member Cllr. Alan Waters about the BBC’s decision last month not to air a humanitarian appeal for Gaza. In an unusual cross-party move, we two have now written jointly to the BBC in Norfolk asking for their support in the quest to get a humanitarian appeal for Gaza aired on the BBC. [ http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/27/sky.bbc.gaza.advert/ ]  The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains absolutely critical.
Here is the text of the letter as sent last week:
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

To BBC Norfolk / BBC East;

We write to you  as local politicians who are dismayed that the BBC nationally is refusing to transmit a charity appeal which is aimed at bringing much-needed humanitarian aid to thousands of ordinary people in Gaza.  The BBC’s refusal to show the programme unfortunately suggests it is basing its decision on a political judgement when this is very obviously a desperate humanitarian crisis.

We should be doing everything humanly possible to provide the relief and aid the people of Gaza, and their children, so desperately need.  They are living in devastated, inhumane conditions following Israel‘s prolonged attacks, which killed over 1,300 people, most of whom were civilians, and over 400 of whom were children. There is strong evidence that the Geneva Conventions were gravely breached.

The appeal, which was broadcast on other channels, raised £millions of donations. Support from the BBC could help raise £millions more – and in doing so save lives.


The BBC’s having previously aired in recent months and years similar appeals for Burma, Darfur, the Congo makes its decision over Gaza all the more difficult to understand. It opens the Corporation to accusations of pro-Israeli bias. We make the latter point with great regret, since we are strong advocates of public service broadcasting, and we believe that the BBC has a proud history, and hope it will have a strong future.

 

ITV and Channels 4 and 5 have agreed to broadcast the charity appeal, leaving the BBC isolated. We urge you to put pressure on your colleagues at the BBC nationally to change its position; and to ask the BBC nationally for permission to air these appeals on BBC East and BBC Radio Norfolk, in lieu for now of them being broadcast nationally.

Please help end this sad state of affairs, which with each passing day is costing innocent Palestinian lives.

 

We thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Yours Faithfully,

Councillors  Rupert Read (Green), Alan Waters (Labour), on Norwich City Council.