Barclays, and bank nationalisation

Barclays bosses are paying 16% interest to Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds to hang onto their bonuses – disgraceful high-risk behaviour (high-risk, because it may commit them to unrepayable debt) strengthening the case for nationalising the banks, as this blog has consistently argued for some time now. Why should Barclays customers — and the banking system that we all depend on, and that could hardly take another bank tottering — have to put up with this kind of high-risk profiteering?

Caroline Lucas on growth, capitalism & manmade climate change

Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader, appeared on BBC World Service's One
Planet programme yesterday
alongside psychologist Oliver James and US economist Peter Morici. The
debate centred on capitalism and dangerous climate change, and looked in
detail at
steady state economics.
You can listen again to the programme online at BBC iPlayer at

Strongly recommended!

Road deaths scandal: Greens back Parliamentary Report that calls for an end to the “Scandal of Complacency” on road deaths [Media Release]

Eastern Region Green Party is backing a report issued this week by the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee entitled “Ending the Scandal of Complacency: Road Safety beyond 2010”.

The Report calls for a much bolder strategy to address road safety calling it the “major public health problem of our age.”
As well as the human tragedies involved, the Committee found that the total cost of road crashes in the UK was a staggering £18 billion a year.
Green Party Councillors in Eastern Region and across the country have been active in calling for much better road safety to cut the annual toll of death and injury on the roads and to make roads and pavements much safer for walking and cycling. Greens believe that a safer road environment will encourage and enable people to walk and cycle more who are currently intimidated by traffic volumes and speeds.
Green Councillors in Norwich successfully won backing for a city wide 20mph zone that is to be trialled in three zones of the city from early 2009. In Essex, Green Party Councillors have helped to secure reductions in speed limits on rural roads below the default 60mph limit and are calling for a county wide reduction on all rural roads as part of a review that is currently underway.
Department for Transport figures for 2007 show that 3178 people in Eastern Region were involved in “KSI” road crashes – Killed or Seriously Injured. Of these, 335 people died – an average of almost a death every day on the roads of Eastern Region.
The Transport Committee recommended that local authorities be given more powers to introduce 20mph speed limits, increased enforcement to tackle drink-driving and the creation of a road safety commission.
Cllr. Rupert Read, Prospective Green Party MEP for Eastern Region said:
“We very much agree with the Transport Committee findings. Whilst the number of people killed or seriously injured is reducing, it is totally unacceptable that thousands of people are killed every year, and many more seriously injured.
The MPs are absolutely right to refer to this ongoing car-nage as a scandal.  The number of deaths and injuries on our roads far outweighs those in all other transport modes or in other work-related accidents put together. It is not just a failure of transport policy that this continues, but the major public health problem of our age.
“Road crashes affect the poor and the young most and are the largest single cause of death for people between the ages of 5 and 35 in Britain. Not only do we need much higher standards of road safety, we need the Green Party policy of integrated public transport to encourage people to make more use of safer means of transport, including trains and buses.”

A Democratic landslide?

People are asking me whether I am still backing McKinney (the Green Party candidate) rather than Obama, for the U.S. Presidency. Here is the answer: I am still much keener on McKinney. But, due to the media etc., her campaign hasn’t taken wing as one would hope. And Obama has been rather better over the past couple of months — the betrayals [detailed in earlier posts ] that occured a little earlier this year seem to have stopped. So:
I wish Obama luck. In a choice between him and McCain (e.g. in ‘swing states’), I would now strongly be tempted to vote for him — and, between the two, I very much hope he wins.
I am going to a ‘Election Night’ Party next Tuesday night with a bunch of Obamamaniacs: should be fun!
My latest prediction for the U.S Presidency: it will not be close. This will be a Democratic landslide. The biggest Democrat victory since 1964.
The really interesting and important question now is what happens in the Senate. The Democrats could well now squeeze complete control — i.e. a 60-40 state of play, or better. This would be good news, as it would mean that the Republicans would be thrown into real opposition, unable to sabotage Obama’s legislative programme by themselves. An Obama with a relatively free hand and with a mass movement behind him driving him to do the right thing MIGHT just avoid being the enormous disappointment that I have warned previously he is on balance likely to be. . . Perhaps then we might dare to hope, after all…
p.s. The fact that I still like McKinney doesn’t of course mean that I am keen on her dalliance with the September 11th conspiracy-theory people. The ‘9-11 truth movement’ has always struck me as a strange and profoundly disappointing phenomenon: its (in my experience generally aggressive and impossible-to-talk-with) advocates think of themselves as radicals and subversives: but what is radical about believing that no group of Arab non-state terrorists could possibly bring off a stunt as extraordinary as the destruction of the World Trade Centre? Sorry to have to say it, but there seems to be not just an embarrassing paranoid belief in the absolute power and competence of states, but also more than a whiff of covert anti-Arab racism about the denial that September 11th was anything other than what it appeared to be: an audacious and terrible coup de theatre pulled off by al-Qaida.

Climate Skeptics at large in Parliament

This blog has previously pointed out some of the unbelievably ostrich-like Tories in Parliament, who still don’t believe in manmade climate change, even as we get New Orleans re-devastated, and the risk of human civilisational collapse from runaway climate change grows with the melting of the Arctic and the beginnings, terrifyingly, of large-scale methane release.
 Check this out: here is a gentleman from the DUP, one Sammy Wilson, making the same garbage arguments, holding up progress on this most vital of all issues:

  In a future post, I will set out some of the appalling UKIP nonsense against manmade climate change. Watch this space…
All these right-wing Parties are alike: you just cannot trust them, to have any climate-sanity…




Green Party councillors in the Eastern region have challenged the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), as it extended its key planning strategy review to 2031.  The Green Party are challenging the assumptions and objectives put forward by the EERA that astonishingly ignore the critical advent of diminishing oil reserves, the dramatic loss of current economic confidence, and the onset of dangerous climate change, when forming their forecasts for the region.

“Regional planning has for too long conformed with wholly unrealistic assumptions handed down by central Government and its agencies. The dramatic economic changes and heightened awareness of the imminence of dangerous climate change afford an opportunity for a radically different perspective on the possible futures for our region”, said Suffolk Green Party Councillor John Matthissen, a member of EERA’s Housing and Sustainable Communities Panel.

Cllr. Matthissen continued: “The oil does not exist to fuel everlasting growth in road traffic, which the Highways Agency still assumes, nor to power vessels bringing ever more containers into the Haven Ports.  Who now believes that house-building projections for this region will be fulfilled, rather than regenerating the communities where houses are decaying as people move to London and the S.E.?”

Cllr. Dr Rupert Read, the Eastern Region Green Party Lead Candidate for the 2009 European elections added:

“The Green Party fully supports the ambitious renewable energy assumptions of the 2021 Plan, and urges that higher percentages of renewable energy are projected for 2031.  Recent climate change forecasts imply the loss of farmland and settlements in the region as the sea rises, and a review will need to take this contingency into account, while striving to cut our own emissions and contribution to the problem so as to minimise these losses.  The Green New Deal proposed by Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader, that puts forward a radical but achievable manifesto on how to tackle both the economic and ecological crisis together, can play an essential part in this.”

New Green Councillor in Mid Beds District Council

The Green Party is celebrating gaining another councillor on Mid Beds District Council.

On Saturday, (25th October) Councillor Ken Lynch (Sandy Pinnacle ward) went public with his decision to join the Green Party. He was joined by both local Greens and those from right across the eastern region. They spent the day helping Cllr Lynch let the people of Sandy be the first to hear that their local councillor had become a Green further increasing Green Party representation on Mid Beds District Council.

In the local Green Party’s biggest day of campaigning for months thousands of leaflets were delivered to local residents explaining Kens change of party and hundreds of voters were given the chance to talk to Ken about it.

Dr Rupert Read, Lead Green Party Candidate for the Eastern Region European Elections said:

“Greens from across Eastern Region came to Sandy on Saturday, to welcome Ken to the Green Party and help him communicate his reasons for supporting the existing Green Councillor already on Mid-Beds District Council (Gareth Ellis, who became Bedfordshire’s first Green Councillor in 2007), and build on the support for the Green Party in Bedfordshire. Greens will be visiting many other parts of the region as the Green Party builds up to the Euro Elections in June 2009, now only a little over 7 months away.

“Spreading the Green message is vital at a time when the society and the planet we live on faces so many threats; not only environmentally but also politically and economically. A bigger Green voice in Europe will be another step towards securing the radical Social and Environmental policies needed to help us navigate our way through the crisis in this century and beyond.

New Green councillor Ken Lynch said:

“Seeing the excellent work of councillor Gareth Ellis, I realise that for the Greens, politics isn’t about petty point scoring, it’s seeing what’s needed and working the political system to get it done.”

“Despite the change it will business as usual delivering a personal service to the people of Sandy.”

Ken is the voluntary community project worker for both the Biggleswade Monday Youth Club and the Sandy Tuesday Youth Club, he’s work on the Skate School has made it a reality. He is chair of the Biggleswade and District Pensioners Association.

Green Cllr Gareth Ellis commented:

“Ken is a very welcome addition to our team, he’s not afraid to loudly speak up for those that need it, a persistent fighter who won’t ever give up until he’s won.”

Pictured above:  Rupert Read, Ken Lynch, Marc Sheimann (local Euro Election list candidate)