All posts by Rupert

What do the Greens stand for, vis-à-vis Europe?

People quite often ask me this question. Here is my outline answer (for answers from our existing MEPs, see Caroline Lucas’s website , or the Green Party’s online Manifesto ; see also ):

The Green Party is deeply-critical of the current state of the E.U. . The Green Party OPPOSES British entry into the Euro currency. There is no good reason whatsoever to abolish the Pound – if shops wish to accept the Euro, they can do so. But by giving up the Pound, we would be giving up any control over our own financial borders – which would be a terrible mistake.

Similarly, the Green Party OPPOSES the so-called ‘European Constitution’, which would be a disaster for public services such as the NHS (which the Constitution threatens with forced privatisation). The new Merkel version of this document still contains most of its most dangerous provisions – don’t be fooled by the merely-presentational dropping of the term, ‘Constitution’.

So, should Britain leave the E.U. entirely? No; for that would be throwing out the baby with the bath-water. Does acid rain stop at the frontiers between countries? Of course it doesn’t. A generation ago, the E.U. took highly-effective action against the menace of acid rain. Now, the E.U. has begun to take action against the [much-graver] menace of manmade climate change, through mechanisms such as the European Emissions Trading Scheme. The Green Party has many criticisms of this scheme — see — but there is no way that individual countries can effectively prevent dangerous climate change, acting alone.

So: It is essential that there are bodies that can take effective action on truly international issues such as these. The E.U., for all its faults, is one such body.

The E.U is not the root cause of the problems facing Britain today: the raw and rampant power of international big-business is. Only international co-operation through organisations such as the E.U. can tame the power of corporate fat-cats the world over. Localisation, not globalisation, is what our economy and our society desperately needs. But localisation will not be possible, without governments and international organisations making it possible.

So: What is needed is root-and-branch reform of the E.U. . It needs to become an Ecological Union. It needs to decentralise massively, and to abandon absurd and unnecessary ambitions such as having a centralist ‘Constitution’. It needs to rein in the international mega-corporations that hold individual countries to ransom, and that offshore business like nobody’s business… It needs to face up squarely to the political challenges of the 21st century.

Greens elected to European institutions will make these things happen. For instance, Greens would implement a ‘site here to sell here’ policy, which would stop firms from relocating abroad.

This of course raises a fundamental question. Where does power lie, in contemporary Britain/Europe/Earth, in order to make the necessary changes?

Gordon Brown’s New Labour government is taking shape in Britain. But
meanwhile, most of the real power remains ‘offshore’ — in the hands of
unaccountable multinationals.
Global trade rules are at present heavily stacked in the favour of
international mega-corporations – and against localities and countries having control of their own destinies.
This is what the Green Party wishes to change. It bears repeating: Our agenda is one of localisation not globalisation. We alone have an alternative approach to offer to the neo-liberal economic policies which are wrecking our societies, our communities, our ecosystems.
On some issues, such as climate-change-prevention and the taming of
international big business, it is essential to work at a Europe-wide or worldwide level. The local – local shops and post offices, local public hospitals, even our coastline itself – cannot be fully protected without international regulation. If Britain tries to go it alone, as UKIP wants to, it will be swamped by the power of global big business. The power of money, which moves from one country to another with alarming rapidity now, buoying up some economies and bankrupting others.
In order to achieve a relocalisation of our political and economic system, we need to act locally, nationally, and internationally.
That is a central reason why Greens are working hard for election as
Councillors, MPs, and MEPs. In local Council Chambers across the Region (and across the land), Greens are getting elected, and in some cases, most notably Norwich, are now acquiring a position of real influence. Similarly, we need Green MPs in Westminster. Norwich, again, is the first place in Eastern Region where this vital event (of a Green MP getting elected) is likely to take place. It could take place within the next month!

And finally, it is critically important to have a strong Green voice from here in Brussels. I hope to be that voice, for the first time.

We don’t have much time to sort things out, before ecological limits make a mockery of our efforts to organise things in a civilised manner, in Parliaments and so on. It is very urgent now to put Greens into a position of power and influence.

Put us Greens in a position of power in Europe, and we will make the needful changes.

No-one else will…

The next European elections, less than two years away

Our Parliamentary electoral system in this country is kind-of mad… It is quite ridiculous that the Prime Minister can call a (first past the post) election whenever he wants. The European Parliament, for all its many faults, works on a more sensible system: fixed five year terms. …The Green Party has recently launched its candidates-list in Eastern Region for the Euro-elections, which are now just under two years away.

As the person who was privileged to be selected to be lead candidate on that list, I am especially excited by the prospect that we may at last get what we urgently need in Eastern Region – a Green MEP. Someone to represent everyone in Eastern Region properly at Brussels. A Parliamentarian for all Green-minded people in the East of England, whether you are from a strong Green area or not.

A generation ago, the E.U. took highly-effective action against the menace of acid rain, and it is currently beginning to take action against the much graver menace of man-made climate change. We desperately need more Greens to get elected to Brussels at the first opportunity, to push the E.U. much further and faster in this direction. If I were elected to Brussels, I would prioritise action to stop dangerous climate change. In particular, I would focus on transport policy, one of my areas of expertise. The E.U. could help to drastically reduce the carbon emissions from transport – the area where emissions are at present growing moving precisely in the wrong direction, fastest…

I would also focus on policies to aid localisation, and on improving the E.U.’s record on the Middle East.

If you want to help get a Green MEP from this Region, then please get in touch. This blog is being launched now in part to make a connection with anyone in the Region who would like to see the first Green MEP from Eastern Region elected to the Brussels Parliament, where so much of our legislation now originates. Anything you do for the Green Party over the next two years helps brings the vision of an Eastern Green MEP one step closer to being reality.

Thank you.