Progressives reactions to the attacks on Clegg etc.

…Can we have a bit less bleating about the poor little LibDems, please? If they weren’t by and large such filthy campaigners, they would deserve the sympathy they are currently getting. But they are. So they don’t.
(Unless and until they change their ways, and stop the misrepresentations that disfigure every single leaflet they put out.)
I hope we get a hung Parliament. But it would be more likely, if there weren’t more and more people fed up to the gills with the distorted graphs, ‘2 horse race’ distortions and untruths, unpleasant personal attacks etc., that are most LibDem electioneers’ stock in trade
See for instance When challenged by Michael Crick, Nick Clegg defended the vicious attacks on me by the LibDems in Norwich North, last year. When he expresses contrition, then maybe I’ll think about jumping on the Cleggmaniac bandwagon.
Not before.

#Leadersdebate summary – my tweets

My @GreenRupertRead tweets:

  • RT @johannhari101: Even I didn’t think Cameron would be this bad. about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @richardpbacon: Sky’s exterior lights / collapsing wall is the clear winner tonight. about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @thecraigwood: “”immigration was not a political issue in the past” – words of wisdom from the party of enoch powell” about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @Andrew_J_Taylor: Caroline Lucas’ reaction to the #leadersdebate on ITV news at 10pm. about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @Flammenfisch: #leadersdebate And the results are in (for me anyway)! Clegg beats Brown on points, both hammer Cameron into atoms. about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @calbish: Quote of the night: “You can’t deport 900,000 people – you don’t know where they live.” #LeadersDebate about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @GreenAmyK: God the #leadersdebate was tedious. Ironic to see 3 dull white men talking about ‘change’. Wish my leader had been on too about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @garydunion: Clegg win. But wouldn’t it have been better with @carolinelucas putting the case against racist and paranoid border policies about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @thedharmablues: @Jim_Jepps I know you’ve read the manifesto! #VoteGreen about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @heraclitus: This immigration ‘debate’ makes me so angry. Meanwhile an innocent man is being shipped back to be tortured next friday. about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @TheGreenParty: ITV reaction after debate from @CarolineLucas .. BBC reax from @AdrianRamsay .. Sky reax tomorrow from @DarrenJohnson about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • RT @catherine_mayer: RT @JNSMALL And we’re done. Closing arguments. Nada on Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Africa, South America, Asia.. some foreign policy debate…  about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • Clegg kicking the racist-pandering ass of Cameron (& Brown). 🙂 #leadersdebate #ge2010 about 1 hour ago via mobile web
  • Is Cameron’s tie a tacit appeal to UKIP nutters? (Sorry, that should have been ‘voters’.) #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @thedharmablues: Doh! I thought Sky News was hosting the foreign affairs debate. I’m such a fool! It’s the News of the World debate # about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • We need PROPERLY NATIONALISED and REMUTUALISED banks. Only the #GreenParty has the radical answers needed to tame the financial fatcats. about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @pickledpolitics: RT @wdjstraw: Will Cameron retract this blood drenched machete poster? about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @CathElliott: Yep RT @mattytat: Agreeing to the #leadersdebate is probably the decision David Cameron will regret most in his political career  about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @caspertk: George Osborn as Chancellor. *shudders visible from many in the room* about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • CAMERON IS SO BAD AT THIS! Brown and Clegg much more real-sounding, Prime-Ministerial. #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • Yes please: a national government of ALL Parties’ MPs. Let’s have @adrianramsay and @carolinelucas as Ministers! (#leadersdebate) about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @garydunion: RT @charltonbrooker If it’s disgraceful to frighten people in an election campaign, why all the hung parliament scaremonering about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @campbellclaret: Well done Cameron for taking Clegg down a peg from his sanctimonious high horse on expenses. Is his major donor still on the run…  about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @thedharmablues: @KemptownBen If only there was a party that had that policy… #VoteGreen #NoDebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @KemptownBen: My #Green view on #leadersdebate – No: all pensioners should get min £170 pw (single), £300 (couple) AND free public t about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • Hope Miriam Clegg isn’t watching; Nick C. wants to shag Mary. (Or is it just that he wants to make it look like he is engagin w. audience) about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • Duckhouses. Lembit Opik’s expenses claim for a parking ticket. The old parties are shameful: Time to vote @TheGreenParty about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @catherine_mayer: Little England in action: the Pope’s visit gets counted as foreign affairs and foreign affairs debate is woefully bad about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @Jim_Jepps: Brown – “your vote matters” – but it doesn’t *count* unless you live in a marginal #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • Is Mary going to be given sole power to decide who gets sacked? #leadersdebate #ge2010 #greenparty about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @mjhsinclair: Another non-policy question, again they’ll have to stumble onto the actual governance of the country #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @Jim_Jepps: I went jogging with a cardinal the other day… #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @catherine_mayer: #runthatbymeagain? Cameron suggests Brown & Clegg’s tributes to Lech Kacynski = praise for Kacynski’s party, one of about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • @charliewhelan @PatJHennessy Very revealing to see how seriously you take #climatechange : given yr backing of a 3rd runway at Heathrow… about 2 hours ago via mobile web in reply to charliewhelan
  • Well done Cleg for drawing attention to the Tories’ lack of seriousness on #climatechange, demonstrated by their climate-denying Euro-allies about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @patrickharvie: Cameron doesn’t want the extra runway at Heathrow, but like the rest does want more aviation capacity elsewhere. #lea about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @KemptownBen: #Greens would build no nuclear or coal power stations: massive investment in renewables instead. Would create jobs too. about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @KemptownBen: #Green Party guarantee: if I’m elected I will not support war against #Iran. #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • Anyone noticed how sh*te all the QUESTIONS are in this #leadersdebate? Shows how sh*te SKY are… about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • LibDems are ON THE FENCE about nuclear weapons. Only the #GreenParty is committed to nuclear disarmament about 2 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @AnnaAdamsBBC: Dave agrees with Gordon! #leadersdebate about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @KemptownBen: #Green Party (as you haven’t got @carolinelucas on Sky) would bring troops home from Afghanistan about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • Cameron’s speech in brief: ‘Helicopters, helicopters, helicopters…’ #leadersdebate #ge2010 about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @Jim_Jepps: “You two are just squabbling” worked for Clegg last week so hey, it might work for Gordon this time round. #leadersdebate about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @Jim_Jepps: Troops out of Afghanistan #leadersdebate about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • RT @iaindale: Nick Clegg anti American? Brown loses it. about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • @charliewhelan Very sad and very revealing to see a famous Labour spinner belittling the importance of #climatechange. (#leadersdebate) about 3 hours ago via mobile web in reply to charliewhelan
  • RT @KemptownBen: #leadersdebate: #Green Party – we must be in EU, but fighting for reform and all decisions to be taken at the most local level  about 3 hours ago via mobile web
  • Plus: My @RupertRead tweets:
  • Cameron must’ve agreed to #leadersdebate against Clegg thinking that Tories could then hoover up LibDem seats. BAD CALL! 🙂 about 1 hour ago via txt
  • Overall: Brown and Clegg did OK, Cameron drivelled; #GreenParty Leader @Carolinelucas would have wiped the floor with them all. (#leader about 1 hour ago via txt
  • Brown sabre-rattling on Iran: disgraceful. #leadersdebate about 1 hour ago via txt
  • Nice one, Sky. Get a black woman to get the ‘leaders’ to pander to the tacitly-racist anti-immigration lobby. #skyareshite about 2 hours ago via txt
  • Brown quite right on the nonsensicality of a Tory ‘DIY’ health service. But Labour too are privatising NHS. #imvotinggreen #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via txt
  • Nick fancies Mary. #leadersdebate. By the way, Nick, its TOO LATE to register to vote in #ge2010; didn’t you know? about 2 hours ago via txt
  • Pass the sickbag: Cameron invokes dead Polish Pres purely so as to sound ‘concerned’; completely irrelevant to the question. #leadersdebate about 2 hours ago via txt
  • #leadersdebate: re. #climatechange: The political point isn’t what _individuals_ are doing, its what _government_ should do. #imvotin about 2 hours ago via txt
  • Pathetic to hear Cameron defending the Afghan government. Karzai is a corrupt unelected puppet. VOTE GREEN! about 2 hours ago via txt
  • A perfect parallel: Ashcloud/climate

    Isn’t it extraordinary that, while the Precautionary Principle was rightly invoked to stop flights for a week because of the ashcloud… apparently it can’t be invoked even to reduce flights (for a long long time) to save the atmosphere, the climate?
    [I owe this thought to my brilliant student and fellow Green Councillor, Ruth Makoff.]


    The Green Party Manifesto was launched late last week. The document was largely authored by my friend, leading political scientist Dr. Andy Dobson.
    Here, on a day of blogging about global poverty, are some key excerpts from the Manifeto that concern relevant matters, on which this my Party is very strong and distinctive:

    The Green Manifesto promotes the concept of ‘ecological debt’, recognising that rich countries have already imposed billions of pounds worth of damage on poorer countries through their greenhouse gas emissions.

    The Greens propose that at least 1% of UK Gross National Product is spent on aid by 2011. This would be targeted for the poorest, not involve economic policy conditions, respect gender equality and not be diverted to equipping security forces.

    The Green Party would ensure that UK companies operating abroad adhere to environmental and human rights standards and would encourage countries with which the UK works to implement core International Labour Organization standards.

    In order to address the reasons funds flow out of developing countries, the Greens pledge to deliver 100% debt cancellation, to crack down on tax havens (including country by country reporting) and to implement and enforce international conventions against corruption.

    The Green Party manifesto takes a clear position against ‘free trade’ which has caused greater poverty through increased instability, lower wages and little environmental protection. As an alternative, the Green Party would ensure that trade deals, whether global or with the European Union, allow developing countries to retain control over their economies and do not force through deregulation and liberalisation. We need localisation, not ‘globalisation’.

    Also on the international level, the Greens would turn the World Trade Organisation into a General Agreement on Sustainable Trade, which, together with a reformed International Monetary Fund (IMF), would better reflect the interests of smaller countries. The Greens would both work for an international arms trade treaty and reduce arms sales worldwide by ending government support for arms exports.

    The Greens stand for a global treaty on climate change based on a ‘Contraction and Convergence’ framework in which poorer countries reduce emissions more slowly than rich countries (and in some cases increase them slightly). This would require a UK carbon dioxide emissions reduction target of 10% a year, with the aim of reducing emissions by 90 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 65 per cent by 2020.

    In order to fund the US$150 billion a year of finance that is required for poor countries to adapt to climate change, the Green Party favours the idea of a Robin Hood tax (also known as a financial transactions tax or Tobin tax) on the value of every financial transaction between financial institutions worldwide.


    Newest polls show decrease in Tory and Labour support

    This election is wide open now. Voters are more ‘partisan-dealigned’ than EVER before.
    It’s a huge opportunity for ALL Parties that aren’t the ‘main two’. Clegg’s stylish (if fairly substanceless) performance on Thursday night has made people reassess whether they have to vote Labservative. The LibDems will profit in many seats – and the SNP, Plaid, Greens, Respect, independents etc will profit in others.

    The political class on Day1 of the election campaign

    I spent yesterday serving as p.a. to Green Party Deputy Leader (and my fellow Norwich Councillor) Adrian Ramsay, in a series of interviews on College Green just outside the Houses of Parliament. Adrian spent the afternoon speaking live to Sky and the BBC, and doing pre-records with numerous other media outlets (from across the world), as the great and the good of politics-as-usual came and went, doing much the same: Peter Mandelson, Alan Duncan, Michael Howard, Ming Campbell, Ben Bradshaw, Ed Balls, David Miliband, Frank Dobson, etc etc. etc. . We spoke with Peter Kellner about our prospects of victory in Norwich South; we spent some time chewing the fat with Martin Bell (who I got along to Green Party Conference a couple of years ago); we had an off-the-record briefing with Iain Dale. The weather was nice, everyone was pleasant, the day went well.

    And the thing that strikes me as so peculiar about the whole thing is this: The beginning of the election campaign takes place in an atmosphere of some excitement among the political class, with the very real prospect of a hung Parliament, and indeed all the one-off chances of influence from the smaller Parties and from independents that that may bring; but there is a terrible disconnect between this political class and the vast crises that our country and our world confront:

    • There is a political crisis, a really deep crisis of confidence and trust in our political institutions and our politicians: and yet the people who I was rubbing shoulders with yesterday are fully expecting still to be basically in charge, after May 6th. Labour may hold on; or the Conservatives may win; or (even if there is a hung Parliament) we might even get a change in the voting system. But what we will not get is a Green government, or a government of independents, or a truly radical participatory democracy emerging. Our system needs more than a mini-shake-up; it needs a revolution, it needs a reboot. But it is apparently simply not going to get one. What I saw yesterday was our political class, nervous about the discontent that they know their subjects feel, but at the end of the day supremely confident that there will be no true game-changer. They will still be there, after May 6th, in their suits, addressing the cameras, in charge.
    • There is an ongoing financial and economic crisis; we have experienced a true system-failure to rival that of 1929 onward: and yet the people holding court on College Green yesterday are only tinkering. There is no Keynesian revolution; there is no programme to rival the New Deal (the Green New Deal plans put forward by Caroline Lucas et al have not been adopted in any serious way, except in a few far-sighted countries such as South Korea); there is no political will to take the banks into lasting public ownership, as we ought to ( ); the great moment of opportunity that a once-in-a-lifetime crisis represents has basically been squandered. I wondered around yesterday almost in a state of disbelief: can it really be that we as a people may be about to put in power a Party (the Conservatives) who are beholden to capital and who believe (most especially, Osborne believes) in deregulation, a small state, and the essential wisdom of ‘the market’? How is it possible that this crisis which has demonstrated an epic ‘market-failure’ has not led us to reconsider (to abandon) the model of neo-liberalism? Once again, this is a symptom of deep political failure: our political system has not risen to the challenge of times requiring massive changes ( ), rather than tinkering. Basically, our system has been ‘captured’ by monied interests in a more profound way than was the case even before the Great Depression. It is in-credible that we are thinking of perpetuating this situation, by returning the Tories to power, at the very time when it is clear that the Tory/New-Labour consensus is just what is to be blame for the situation in the first place.
    • There is an unprecedented ecological crisis gripping our planet, our civilisation: and yet there was simply hardly any talk, in the constant media chatter and interviews yesterday, of this. Our democracy seems incapable of facing up to this, the greatest crisis of all. Our chronic short-termism (see my ) is of course significantly to blame. We as a people cannot bear to question consumerism and to bracket ‘growth’ – and so our ecosystem is inevitably degraded. We are thus the brilliant allies of our own gravediggers.

    These three inter-linked crises haunt me today, as I reflect on what was missing from yesterday’s opening of the election campaign. We must do what we can to change this state of affairs, this state of decay, this state, in these next four weeks. It is inadequate – it is intolerable – to have an election campaign that so desperately fails to measure up to where the citizens are at … and to where the world is at.