All posts by Rupert Paul-Roome

My Twitter assessment of the #ProgressiveAlliance

  • I was a strong advocate of ‘progressivealliance’ – til I saw what it did to us, in 2017. Greens,if we don’t learn from mistakes,we’re doomed
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  • Ironic to hear opponents of so-called #ProgressiveAlliance called ‘naive’. There’s nothing more naive than the #ProgressiveAlliance delusion
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  • Impt to be able to distinguish fantasy from reality. The politics of ‘progressive alliance’ is a fantasy and nothing more than that.
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  • It takes 2 to alliance. Labour made very very clear in 2017 that they have NO interest in allying with us. They want to destroy or absorb us
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  • So what exactly makes Labour ‘progressive’?: #HS2 #AirportExpansion #UrbanSprawl #RoadBuilding #FasterGrowth (ie Faster eco-destruction) ..?
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  • Saying Greens are a ‘Left’ Party says to small ‘c’ conservatives “Don’t vote for us”, & to Greens “You might as well vote Labour”. #gpconf
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  • We helped Labour to recover & get close to winning without ANY concession on their part on PR. We may therefore have made PR >less< likely!
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  • Labour showed ZERO interest in ‘progressive alliance’ in 2017. Now that we’ve helped strengthen them,why on EARTH would they support it now?
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  • There’s been no ‘progressive alliance’,& there won’t be next time either. The Green Party needs to stop dreaming & start being proud & GREEN
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  • There’s no real alliance unless Greens too get closer to winning a seat.But we’ve now no 2nd places.So what wld be our negotiating ‘pitch’??
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  • It’s pure fantasy to think Lab wil have any interest in ‘progressive alliance’,ever. They scent the keys to Downing Street on their own, now
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  • Labour aren’t ‘progressive’. And every time you say they are,you are covertly saying that it’s OK to vote Labour and not Green. And it’s NOT
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  • Folk tell me some Lab candidates are good on PR,or whatever. OK. Now show me the Lab candidate who’s good on green economics. #ThereAreNone

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

– by Green House Think Tank

Introduction: the big picture

Green politics starts from the realities we now find ourselves in. Human beings are changing the planet in fundamental ways – altering the atmosphere and climate, reducing biodiversity and trashing ecosystems. This is the Anthropocene, and human impacts are going beyond the boundaries that have maintained the planet in a relatively stable state.

At the centre of human pressures on the planet are two forms of growth – economic growth and population growth. Both are powerful and complex forces.

Economic growth has lifted billions of people out of poverty and poor health conditions, but at the same time it is having devastating effects on the natural world, of which we are a part and on which ultimately we all depend. There is an urgent need to find a new way of running economies which does not destroy its own foundations.

Population growth is driving worldwide changes in land use, converting wild land to agriculture and urbanisation. The greatest impacts come where population increase is combined with high levels of material consumption per person.

These are the central issues we need to address. Green politics is in practice about much more than politics – we need changes in economics, technology, attitudes, and cultures. That is why it is the most radical form of politics there is.

Proposals for Change

On Climate Change: an emergency package of reforms and action that must be enacted immediately. This should include ecological restoration and protection legislation, massive change in building and planning methodology and materials,  carbon rationing measures (such as aviation and shipping fuel tax and flight rationing) to reduce scale of longer-distance and high impact travel and trade, along with emergency planning to accommodate increased climate-driven international migration and increase resilience for that which may already be unavoidable. Unilateral action where coordinated international action is not possible.

On a Steady State Economy: The right macro-economic policy goal should be adopted as a priority – that is, a steady state economy that features sustainable scale, fair distribution of wealth, and efficient allocation of resources.

On the Labour Market: Bogus self-employment and zero-hours contracts should be abolished, and part time workers should have contracts guaranteeing reasonable maximum and minimum hours to be worked.

On Social Security: A Citizen’s Income scheme should be introduced immediately, leaving the current means tested welfare system in place, and paying everyone an initial £20 per week.

On Media Reform: A system of public commissioning of independent investigative journalism funded from tax revenues, industry levies on corporate media companies and a reformed PSB licence fee.

On Constitutional Change: Reform the political system to make it more representative to bring in proportional representation for all elections, an elected house of Lords and devolution to English regions and local councils, as well as to Scotland, Wales and

Northern Ireland as well as more generally representing the interests of future generations.

On Land and Farming: Farm subsidies should be maintained but transferred to smaller farmers and used to reward environmentally friendly farming systems.

On Housing: Control the amount of money going into housing through controls on lending; provide attractive, alternative investment opportunities which support the

transition to a zero-carbon economy to reduce the amount of investment money

going into property; reform council tax so that it is a tax on housing wealth, and empower local authorities so they can address the housing issues in their local area.

On A Transition Plan for the UK: Introduce national and sub-regional planning that is links spatial planning to resource and energy constraints and to job creation across the UK. This must reduce our per capita energy use, resource use and pollution – quickly and equitably.

On Foreign Policy: The fundamental raison d’etre and ideology of the Green movement is the preservation of the planetary eco-systems that enable peaceful and productive human survival. This should therefore be the overarching principle behind green foreign policy. Over time, this means the replacement of ‘foreign’ by regional and global policy, through a reformed EU and UN.

Brexit and Trade: Moving from Globalisation to Self-Reliance

This report explores options for trade post-Brexit. The authors, Victor Anderson and Rupert Read from the Green House Think Tank, conclude that a radical shift in economic policy, which reduces dependency on exports and makes the UK more self-sufficient, is the only chance there is of making Brexit successful. All other models of trade – such as falling back on WTO rules or new trade deals outside the single market – would lead to a worsening economy and threaten environmental standards and workers’ rights, says the report.

Summary leaflet

Full report

Commenting on the report which she commissioned, Molly Scott Cato said:

“I believe above all else the vote to leave the EU was an expression of a loss of control over our lives and a rejection of politicians who have failed to challenge corporate power or the negative consequences of globalisation. 

“This report is about reinterpreting Brexit in the light of our longstanding Green critique of globalisation. Greens have always argued for greater self-reliance and stronger local economies. It now looks like such a path will be the best future on offer for the UK outside the EU. 

“The recommendations offer some exciting ideas on how we can begin to think our way out of the destructive globalisation of recent years. They offer the prospect of building stronger communities, creating new jobs through re-skilling or learning new skills and reducing our environmental impact. It is a vision of hope in a world dominated by corporate globalisation.”

A PRINCIPLE worth standing up for

The precautionary principle remains the greatest safeguard against reckless decision making that ignores risks to humanity, but we will need to fight for it in a post-Brexit world.

By Rupert Read and Samuel Webb, previously published in the ENDS report

These are hard times for those wanting to believe in Aristotle’s definition of humankind as the “rational animal”. The western world appears to be lurching backward into unveiled greed and denial in regards to the reality of our global ecology.

A more-than-symbolic example is US president Donald Trump’s brash move to redact climate research from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. This is an audacious attempt to censor and alter the facts of climate change to suit his administration, which is chock-full of fossil fuel interests.

Unfortunately Trump’s perspective on environmental policies risks resonating in the UK. With climate deniers also present at the highest levels of government, and that government’s dismal record on all matters green, Britain’s position on combatting climate change is tenuous at best. Uncertainties over which policies are to be culled with the coming ‘Great Repeal Bill’ should raise cause for concern.

Times like these need entrenched defences for ecosystems. A key such defence is the ‘precautionary principle’. This offers a decisive, sceptic-proof argument in favour of climate and genetic protection.

The principle is reasonably well entrenched in the EU. But, so far as Britain is concerned, for how much longer will we be subject to the defence? Caroline Lucas recently asked a parliamentary question on what effect Brexit will have on the principle. The answer was that it will be absorbed into UK law as part of the Great Repeal Bill process. But this does little to reassure because it could be struck out by a simple parliamentary majority at any time afterwards.

The principle is currently subject to systematic propagandistic assault at the hands of a reckless, growth-at-any-cost ‘innovation principle’. Apologists for short-termist commercial interests do not want any significant regulation interfering with the money they want to make from biotech and the like. The case of GMOs demonstrates why adopting the innovation principle would be utterly reckless.

The alleged evidence that GM crops are safe is statistically insignificant when considered against the backdrop of the kind of timescale against which evidence should properly be judged: an ecological and evolutionary timescale – thousands of years.

Across such a long period, our exposure to as yet unseen, disastrous events becomes a very serious consideration. Where severe tail risks accompany new technologies, precaution thus enjoins us not to take those risks; risks of ruin should be considered far weightier than benefits, because the potential benefits of a technology simply cannot outweigh the potential for a truly disastrous outcome, even if the chances of that outcome are relatively small.

Unlike the innovation principle, which misses the point that growth-for-its-own- sake is surely an irrational aim in a ‘developed’ society such as ours, the precautionary principle remains the greatest safeguard against reckless decision making.

But there is a real danger that unless people stand up for the principle, we will lose it if we leave the EU; pro-GM interests are already actively gunning for it. And our view is that ending precaution and ushering in recklessness with regard to commercial ‘innovation’ could lead to a much bigger exit – humanity exiting the gene pool.

Without the principle to proactively protect us against climate catastrophe or bio- and eco-disasters, that final exit becomes a real prospect. To echo Churchill, who addressed a parallel question in the wilderness years: this is not “alarmism” it is rather a much-needed raising of the alarm.

Rupert Read (pictured) is reader in philosophy at the University of East Anglia and chair of thinktank Green House. Samuel Webb is an undergraduate student and research assistant on UEA’s precautionary principle project

positive response to new piece “Climate change is a white swan”

New restrictions on targeting kids with junk food ads need to go much further, campaign group says:

‘Leave Our Kids Alone’ welcomes the news that children will no longer be targeted by junk food ads on certain internet media. This ban is one small step in the right direction. But it is only a small step. Why should young children continue to be targeted by junk-food pushers in other media ? And, more important, why should commercial interests be allowed constantly to manipulate children of primary school age and younger through advertising toys, clothes, and child-orientated brands of all sorts to them?

The advertising industry is one of the largest employers of psychology graduates in the country. It hones its techniques of ‘persuasion’ on adults and then turns them on children, children who in every other respect we protect from manipulative adults whose primary aims are not to promote the best interests of our kids. Our children should not be seen as little consumers in the making.
If retailers and manufacturers want to promote things for our children then advertise them to us, their parents. It’s our role to make informed decisions on their behalf.

Leave Our Kids Alone will not rest until advertisers are forced to leave our kids alone. Full stop.