Starting To Think About How A Progressive Alliance Could Actually Work

It is clear that Labour alone are not going to win an absolute majority in Westminster in 2020.

That is probably the deepest reason why there is more and more talk about the possibility of some kind of ‘progressive alliance’, to deliver real democracy and to pose an alternative to endless, un-green right-wing rule in the UK.

So, how do we get there? Plenty of us believe that progressive parties need to start to discuss – to at least consider the possibility of – some kind of electoral pact. A ‘popular front’ to avoid fragmenting the vote among ourselves in winnable seats looking towards electing a Parliament in 2020 that would have a progressive majority for democratic change. For mending our broken democracy…

…continued at www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

​Towards a Localised Future: A New Economy Convergence

9am-5 pm on Saturday 17th September 2016 at Friends House, London View Map

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The full programme is now available for this one-day workshop with Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rupert Read, James Skinner and Molly Scott Cato. 

We will look at the social, economic and environmental problems associated with globalisation such as international trade treaties and monoculture thinking.

We will discuss post-growth and how to support localisation in local communities as an alternative to neoliberal globalisation. 
 
There will be a specific focus on role of local food production and consumption with examples in London. 
 
We will finish with a panel discussion about policy and grassroots change for a new UK economy in the context of Brexit. 

Take back real control! A Green response to Brexit

The winning Brexit slogan was ‘Take Back Control’. But leaving the EU will only increase the power of corrupt elites unless the UK reforms its own democratic governance, combats the excessive power of corporations, upholds the rights of all its citizens, decentralises its economy, and forges progressive alliances with its European partners.

The loss of the referendum is likely to be a big setback for Green and Left political voices in England and Wales – unless creative ways of responding to it are found. In this short piece in the ecologist, Victor Anderson & Rupert Read explore ten such ways.

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2987827/take_back_real_control_the_green_response_to_brexit.html

Designing Sustainable Economies: Translating ideas and research into policy and practice

I’ll be a guest speaker at this workshop at the University of Sheffield, 28-29 July 2016

This workshop brings together scholars, activists, policy practitioners, civil society, and representatives of intergovernmental institutions to discuss the challenge of aligning economic development and environmental sustainability in the 21st century. Debates feature a wide range of concepts: sustainable development, green economy, green growth, harmony with nature, degrowth, steady state economy, circular economy, and many others. There is evidently no single vision for a sustainable economy, and this workshop aims to promote fruitful dialogue by bringing together people with different perspectives. The event provides a setting to share our experiences of promoting ideas and agendas for more sustainable economic development, and to reflect on the value of collaboration across academia, civil society, and government institutions.

This event is generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK)

Venue: Leopold Hotel | Leopold Street, Sheffield, S1 2GZ

 

Designing Sustainable Economies – Programme

Should nature have a price or is it priceless?

Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East Anglia have won a joint funding bid from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to examine and debate the “natural capital” of the East of England.

The World Forum on National Capital define natural capital as including “the food we eat, the water we drink and the plant materials we use for fuel, building materials and medicines”.

The concept of putting a “value” on different aspects of the natural world has become influential in policy making and is expected to be at the centre of the UK Government’s new “25 Year Plan for Nature”, due out next month.

The funding will enable UEA’s Dr Rupert Read and Dr Aled Jones and Prof. Victor Anderson, from Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, to set up a network where academics from a range of disciplines, together with the business community and policy makers, can discuss the implications of looking at the East’s natural world through the prism of natural capital.

Dr Rupert Read of UEA, Principal Investigator on the project, and Dr Aled Jones, Director of Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute, said in a joint statement: “Essentially the question we’ll be trying to answer is this: If we say that nature is priceless, do we end up in effect treating it as valueless? Or is being unwilling to price nature the best protection we have against it being packaged up, owned, bought, sold or used up? By 2018, as a result of this network’s creation, we will hopefully be closer to being able to decide whether nature ought to be evaluated primarily in terms of the price that can be put on it, or in terms of its ‘pricelessness’ “.

The 18-month project will formally begin with a workshop at UEA, in early 2017.

I’ve changed to backing REMAIN: Here’s why

I’ve changed my mind.

Not on the grave shortcomings of the EU. Still less on the utter foolishness (not to mention the constitutional impropriety) of calling a referendum in this way, on this topic, when the real issue that precipitated calling it was merely a split within the Conservative Party.

No: what has changed my mind is quite simply the exponentially increasing awfulness of the Leave campaign, and the results that this is now leading to.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been deeply unimpressed with most of the Remain campaign; but the lies, vitriol, xenophobia and even racism of leading lights in the Leave campaign represent a new low for British politics. Its hateful rhetoric has consequences, which have been horrifically visible in the last week. I can no longer sit by and let this take place. So I join so many others in standing in solidarity against it.

Some, especially on the Leave side, might attack my change of heart. They might use words like “flip-flop”. If they do, I don’t mind. My conscience is clear. My mind has been changed by the way that they, the Leave-rs, have driven us into the appalling situation where xenophobia is rendered publicly ‘acceptable’, and serious – and even deadly – street-violence is among the consequences.

Such rhetoric as theirs should never be rewarded. Imagine how grim it would be to have the leading Leave-rs crowing over victory, given that this would be how they have achieved it.

I hope and believe that Britons can and will choose better than this. That we in the UK ARE better than this.

So there is, I believe, only one path left to us, and it is a clear one.

Vote Remain.

How should g(G)reens vote in the EU referendum? An open debate

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What is the green case for Brexit? What is the green case to remain in the EU?

Green House is bringing together leading green politicians and thinkers to debate the consequences of staying in or leaving the EU.

In what promises to be a lively debate Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP and Dick Pels (Dutch Green Party and author of A Heart for Europe) will argue we should remain in the EU. Green Party Baroness Jenny Jones and Patricia McKenna (former Green MEP for Dublin) will advocate leaving.

Date: 2nd June 2016
Time: 6.15-8pm
Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ (information on how to get there)

This event is free. Register early to reserve your place.

We look forward to seeing you there,

Rupert Read, Chair.

Why I will not be standing in the upcoming Green Party leadership elections

I’ve received a number of messages over the past couple of days asking me whether I intend to run for the Green Party leadership this August, and a number of offers of help.

I’ve given it a lot of thought, but have decided that I will NOT be running for either of the leadership positions this time around. Instead, I will continue my work on eco-philosophy at UEA, and my work chairing Green House think tank.

I want to urge all Green Party members to use this time until August to have an open and honest debate about the direction we want our party to take from 2016 onwards. Natalie Bennett has done a strong job in helping us quintuple our membership (a kind of growth I fully support!). And she has also helped people to understand that we are of course not a ‘single-issue party’. However, I hope that whoever the new leader is will be brave enough to reassess parts of our current Party messaging.

The campaign messages that worked reasonably well for us in 2015 have largely run up against a brick wall in the 2016 elections. And it is clear that unless we react to the changing political climate that Jeremy Corbyn is a symptom of, then we risk having our party fall into stasis or even irrelevance. From both a principled and a tactical point of view the next leader must craft a message that is able to hold onto our strong social justice policies, but that also allows for us to trumpet once more a more radical ‘ecologistic’ philosophy. We are the only Party that is in touch with the most basic reality of all: that everything we have and are — our country, our fellow species, our ecosystems, our planet — is finite and fragile. That USP, we must hang onto, develop and make much more of. The human race will destroy itself, unless it returns to being in touch with that simple common-sense. So what we are saying is simply enlightened self-interest both for Britain and for humankind at large. The Green Party understands that there are non-negotiable limits to growth; everyone else has their heads in the sand. The profoundly-worrying spike in global temperatures that we are seeing right now is merely the latest symptom of this pressing reality.

I hope and believe that our next leader will recognise that it is these ecological principles that make us unique in the current political landscape, and are the key both to resecuring our core demographic voter base and to reaching out to the many many voters who care about quality of life, about threats to health such as air pollution, about how ‘development’ and ‘growth’ in reality mean the trashing of green belts and the enriching of the already-rich. Voters who understand that anyone who believes in infinite growth on a finite planet has all the common-sense of the average ‘mainstream’ economist (i.e.: none). Voters who really truly deeply mean it when they say that they care profoundly about their own children and about the kind of world that those children will inherit.

At this time, such a change in messaging is absolutely essential for the Green Party and our wider planet; because if we don’t put eco-logical, eco-sensible policies on the table, then you can bet your bottom dollar no one else will.

Thanks for all the kind messages;

Rupert Read.