Debate with Anthony Barnett over Greens vs. Davis

  The excellent Anthony Barnett, founder of OUR KINGDOM, has replied [ ], in a slightly ungracious manner in my view, to my most recent post on Our Kingdom about the Davis byelection [ ].
My earlier post on Our Kingdom about this [see below] accentuated the positive [about what Davis had done]. This more recent post of mine to which Barnett has now replied [very negatively] accentuates the negative. Is that so wrong? Is it so unfair or unhelpful, to point out how bloody right-wing and unfriendly to freedom this man Davis is, in so many ways?
Let me respond here more positively however to the helpful way in which Barnett brings his reply to me to a close. Barnett suggests the line that the Greens ‘OUGHT’ in his view to have taken, on this byelection [my reply to these points of Barnett’s is in CAPS, for ease of telling us apart]:
 *  We welcome David Davis standing on a platform of civil liberties and insisting that these difficult matters in a age of terrorist attacks can be debated with voters, who are not just populist fodder.
    * We especially welcome his widening the argument of civil liberties to the whole issue of the database state.
    * We are running a candidate in order to support this move and encourage everyone to go to the polls on this great matter.
    * We feel there will be voters who want to go further than Davis or feel that his Tory policies prevent them from supporting him.
    * We therefore offer our record on freedom and civil liberties as an alternative and more thorough platform.
Together our votes will add up to a great rebuke to the Labour government and its erosion of civil liberties.

Early coverage of Shan’s by-election campaign

_Green party runs against Davis_
Thursday, 26 Jun 2008 11:38

_The Greens are standing on a civil liberties platform_

The Green party have begun their by-election campaign against David Davis in
Haltemprice and Howden.

Paradoxically, the party are standing against him on a civil liberties
platform, with claims Mr Davis is too authoritarian.

Shan Oakes, the Green candidate, will be joined on the campaign trail by
veteran gay and human rights activist Peter Tatchell.

Green Party principal speaker Derek Wall said: "This by-election was
supposed to be about civil liberties. But it's been called by a man – David
Davis – who thinks it's okay for the government to lock you up for four
weeks without even telling you what you're supposed to have done.

"David Davis also believes that you should have no right to criticise the
government within a mile of parliament."

"So the Green Party had to stand. Someone had to stand up for civil

The emergence of a Green candidate makes an already unique by-election even
more strange. Despite being unable to find someone to stand against him on
an authoritarian or anti-terror platform, Mr Davis seems to have found
someone attacking him from the other direction.$1229110.htm

No ice at the North Pole?

_Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change_

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Friday, 27 June 2008

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on
course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the
Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one
of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global
warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well
have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the
globe, but symbolically it is hugely important.
There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark
Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to
exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed
which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea
ice above.

Seasoned polar scientists believe the chances of a totally ice-free North
Pole this summer are greater than 50:50 because the normally
thick ice formed over many years at the Pole has been blown away and
replaced by huge swathes of thinner ice formed over a single year.

This one-year ice is highly vulnerable to melting during the summer months
and satellite data coming in over recent weeks shows that the
rate of melting is faster than last year, when there was an all-time record
loss of summer sea ice at the Arctic.

"The issue is that, for the first time that I am aware of, the North Pole is
covered with extensive first-year ice – ice that formed last autumn and
winter. I'd say it's even-odds whether the North Pole melts out," said Dr

Each summer the sea ice melts before reforming again during the long Arctic
winter but the loss of sea ice last year was so extensive
that much of the Arctic Ocean became open water, with the water-ice boundary
coming just 700 miles away from the North Pole.

This meant that about 70 per cent of the sea ice present this spring was
single-year ice formed over last winter. Scientists predict that at least 70
per cent of this single-year ice – and perhaps all of it – will melt
completely this summer, Dr Serreze said.

"Indeed, for the Arctic as a whole, the melt season started with even more
thin ice than in 2007, hence concerns that we may even beat
last year's sea-ice minimum. We'll see what happens, a great deal depends
on the weather patterns in July and August," he said.

Ron Lindsay, a polar scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle,
agreed that much now depends on what happens to the
Arctic weather in terms of wind patterns and hours of sunshine. "There's a
good chance that it will all melt away at the North Pole,
it's certainly feasible, but it's not guaranteed," Dr Lindsay said.

The polar regions are experiencing the most dramatic increase in average
temperatures due to global warming and scientists
fear that as more sea ice is lost, the darker, open ocean will absorb more
heat and raise local temperatures even further. Professor

Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, who was one of the first civilian
scientists to sail underneath the Arctic sea ice in a
Royal Navy submarine, said that the conditions are ripe for an
unprecedented melting of the ice at the North Pole.
"Last year we saw huge areas of the ocean open up, which has never been
experienced before. People are expecting this to continue
this year and it is likely to extend over the North Pole. It is quite likely
that the North Pole will be exposed this summer –
it's not happened before," Professor Wadhams said.

There are other indications that the Arctic sea ice is showing signs of
breaking up. Scientists at the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Centre
said that the North Water 'polynya' – an expanse of open water surrounded on
all sides by ice – that normally forms near Alaska and

Banks Island off the Canadian coast, is much larger than normal. Polynyas
absorb heat from the sun and eat away at the edge of the sea ice.

Inuit natives living near Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland are also
reporting that the sea ice there is starting to break up much
earlier than normal and that they have seen wide cracks appearing in the ice
where it normally remains stable. Satellite measurements collected over
nearly 30 years show a significant decline in the extent of the Arctic sea
ice, which has become more rapid in recent years.

Letter published: ‘How to go green’

[This letter of mine has just been published in LOCAL TRANSPORT TODAY:]


I found it strange that your otherwise-excellent leader column, “The limits to going green” (12 June), dwelt only on the Conservative Party as a possible alternative to this failing Labour government. The next big electoral test for the government will be the European elections, which will take place in exactly one year from now. Those elections, because they are conducted under a proportional-representation electoral system, offer a level playing field for all Parties.

The Green Party will be challenging Labour and Tories alike over the next 12 months, in the run-up to the Euro-election: challenging those Parties’ fake green credentials, and offering instead an actual way out of the crisis now facing this country and this planet. As economic hardship starts to bite, you correctly note the Tories sidling away from the green agenda, and instead starting to promote a traditional Tory tax cutting agenda. What they fail to see is that the crisis that we are now in is a result of strip-mining our environment: high food prices are caused by high oil prices and by incipient climate chaos; the financial crisis is caused by debt-fuelled borrowing to fund out-of-control consumerism; at the roots of all of this lies the burning of fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, and the consequent running out of oil.

Out of this perfect storm, there is no exit by means of yet more borrowing and yet more spending. The Green Party has consistently warned of oil dependency and the need to develop renewables and invest in sustainable transport systems. There is no evidence that the other parties have recognised the size of the crisis we face nor the need to move away from oil quickly. You remark towards the end of your leader column that “the rising cost of oil gives very good reason to try and reduce dependency on fossil fuel based transport.” Exactly so: which is why it is essential that the Green Party prospers: for we are the only Party committed to introducing carbon rationing (‘carbon entitlements’), a silver-bullet for ending such dependency, and one less vulnerable than ‘green taxes’ to public discontent, because a carbon entitlements system is progressive not regressive, and is not a tax.

I hope next June to join our existing MEPs, Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert, in being elected to the Brussels Parliament. Yes, government should be greener: the best way to ensure that we go green is, unsurprisngly,…to vote Green.

Cllr. Rupert Read, prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region
17 Merton Road
  01603 219294

Shan Oakes – The real civil liberties candidate

I am delighted to see that there is one serious Party that is going to contest David Davis at this unusual byelection that he has brought about: my own Party, the Green Party. Shan Oakes gave the following statement:

“I’ve been selected as the official Green Party candidate

After a democratic debate inside the Green Party about whether we should stand in this by-election, I’m thrilled to announce that today the national party gave the go-ahead to us standing in Haltemprice and Howden, after I was selected last night by the local party to contest the seat against the Conservatives’ David Davis on July 10th.

That’s 16 days time!Our constituency-wide leaflet is due to go to the printers tomorrow, and we’re starting campaigning in earnest.

Any offers of campaigning help can be directed to Martin Dean at sokuto12 ‘at’

I’m looking forward to highlighting the Tories’ hypocrisy on civil liberties. “

Eastern Region Green Party slates Planning Bill

Planning Bill set to bypass community concerns on major infrastructure applications in East Anglia

The Planning Bill is before Parliament again today with the Government trying to gain the support of rebel MPs through a series of changes to the BIll. A coalition of environmental and conservation charities, representing more than five million members, say democracy will be squeezed out of the planning process.
The Green Party in Eastern Region agrees and is warning that there are no changes on offer which would make the Bill acceptable, other than scrapping it, and that if it becomes law, local communities will be bypassed when it comes to decisions on major infrastructure applications. The Bill proposes setting up an appointed Infrastructure Planning Commission.
East Anglia is in the front line for many major proposals over coming years including a second runway at Stansted airport, major new roads, a fleet of waste incinerators, new nuclear powers stations probably at Bradwell and Sizewell and further ports expansion.
Eastern Region Greens have pledged to support communities fighting unsustainable major projects, particularly more nuclear power stations. The Greens are pointing to the danger of "speeding up" decision-making on nuclear facilities which need critical and very thorough safety analysis.
Cllr. Rupert Read, Lead Candidate to become a Green MEP in Eastern Region said
"The Government is pretending that the new arrangements set out in the Planning Bill will make decision making better and more accountable. We dont believe them. Centralising decision making into the hands of an unelected quango is obviously just a mechanism to make sure the Government gets the decisions it wants.
Local communities will be bypassed in the decision-making process with no real ability to change the outcomes. There may well be a need to reform the way public inquiries work, but they should remain as a vital forum for full debate and discussion about the planning merits or otherwise of all major proposals."
For further information:
Eastern Region Green Party Press Office Cllr. James Abbott 01376 584576 mobile 07951 923073
Euro 09 Lead Candidate Cllr. Rupert Read 01603 219294 mobile 07946 459066
For a photograph of Rupert Read that you can use, go to
For more Green News including Green Party videos please visit
--    Rupert Read Green Party Councillor, Norwich, and Lead Candidate for Eastern Region for the Greens in the 2009 Euro-elections. Why not try my new BLOG, 'Rupert's Read':  See also [for my regular op-ed journalism] I TWITTER. DO YOU? Check out my new frequently-updated, mobile-phone-based MICRO-BLOG, at