Free trade? – and open borders?

Free movement of capital ought to imply free movement of labour. The only people with a right to be able to support having any immigration controls at all are people like me, people such as Greens who do NOT support free movement of capital. It is a cruel joke for free-trade and free-capital-movement fanatics, including the majority of Labour, LibDem, Conservative and UKIP politicians, to call for stricter immigration controls into this country.

If you do not believe in complete abolition of immigration controls, then you ought not to believe in free trade and the abolition of capital and exchange controls.


--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on] 

Thoughts on ‘immigration’

UKIP’s dog-whistle politics include centrally an ongoing attack on immigration into this country, and pressure on immigrants to assimilate. What I find hilarious about UKIP, however, is that quite a lot of their voters in fact have holiday homes in – or even live permanently in – France or Spain, and do not integrate or assimilate AT ALL, there. It is such a farce to hear such people calling for English to be the required national language of the UK, when these people themselves live for months of the year or even permanently abroad, and can barely even say ‘Merci’…
Now, it is of course absolutely clear that there are absolute ecological limits to growth (of the economy, of population) on our finite planet, and (by extension) on each country within that planet, and each locality. It is tragic and deeply revealing to see how many people assume that economic growth can be permanent, while shouting loudly that population growth cannot be. (Do such people secretly love consumer-goods more than they love their fellow people? One suspects so…)  One can’t have it both ways. The truth that population growth must come to an end is not compatible with fantasies of endless economic growth (unless economic growth can be entirely ‘angelized’, which it cannot be – see e.g. the work of Herman Daly, and also of Georgescu-Roegen and of Aubrey Mayer). …So, yes: over-population is a real issue. Though (1) It is a less important issue in terms of ecological impact than ecological footprint is (i.e. one child in the UK absorbs as much resources as about 70 kids in Burkina Faso), and (2) It would be of course quite wrong to use it as an excuse for xenophobia, etc etc. In fact, it ought to lead us to recognise how we are all in the same boat.
We need for instance to give VASTLY more aid to the ‘3rd world’, to compensate for and to adapt to manmade climate change. The only way to stop our fellow human beings wanting to have lots of children and to flee here is to tackle the reasons why they flee here – often terrible economic insecurity, ongoing environmental collapse, oil-fuelled-wars, etc. Tackle the ‘supplyside’ factors behind immigration, asylum, etc., and only then will you actually be addressing the cause, rather than the symptoms.
--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on] 
Where’s Your Argument?

Informal Logic, Critical Thinking and Argumentation

A Two-Day Conference at Manchester Metropolitan University, Cheshire UK

Monday and Tuesday April 12th & 13th 2010
Frans van Eemeren
on the Pragma-Dialectical Approach to Argument
Lars Hertzberg
on the Grammar of Inference
Don S. Levi
on the Informality of Logic
Michael Loughlin
on the “Evidence Based Medicine” Debate
Steven Poole
on Unspeak
John Powell
on Criteria for Good Argument
Rupert Read
on “Reframing” and “Unspeak”? or Politics Without Propaganda?
Jamie Whyte
on Bad Thoughts and Worse Policies

The conference is free to attend, but you must book a place before April 1st 2010. We can arrange discounted accommodation, for a booking fee of £10 per person

For More Information email:

The conference is supported by donations from the Aristotelian Society, the British Society for the Philosophy of Science, the Mind Association and the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, MMU Cheshire

Organisers: Ben Cassidy and Phil Hutchinson

Unreported crime

Last Friday, as a local ward Councillor, I went to one of Charles Clarke’s community meetings. Much talk from
the platform about crime levels in Norwich going down. …But these are
of course reported crime levels. Those in the audience at a meeting like this
are presumably more community-spirited than most residents – that’s why they turned up.
But again and again, when asked, they said that they had NOT reported to the
police (or to anyone) the crimes and ASB incidents they then related to
us. . .
I suspect that crime levels are NOT going down, but may indeed be
going up – only REPORTED CRIME is going down.
It’s true that people tend significantly to overestimate their risk of being victims of crime (this has a lot to
do with bad journalism). And it’s true that, compared to many other parts of the world, Norwich is a very
safe place. But maybe if we were more realistic about how much crime is not reported these days, we would
not be so complacent about just how safe (or not) our streets and citizens are. There is a lot of crime and anti-social-behaviour
going on which is just not being reported.

Gaza: Beneath the Bombs – meet the author

Palestinian girls on wagonload of bombed olive trees, Jabalia, January 2009 (S.Lock)

‘An honest, forthright account full of compassion and insight. It plunges the reader into Gaza.’ Jeremy Hardy
The Israeli offensive in Gaza was described by Amnesty international as ‘22 days of death and destruction’. Defying an international press ban, Sharyn Lock’s eye witness blogs became crucial reading for anyone following the conflict. Sharyn’s candid and dramatic accounts, now published as a book, provide an important glimpse behind the media black-out, of Palestinians who face their oppression with courage – and humour
Reading & signing of “Gaza: beneath the bombs” by Sharyn Lock
Featuring readings by the author and by Ian Gibson
Saturday January 23rd 2010, 4.30pm
At The Book Hive, 53 London Street, Norwich
Refreshments available and donations will be collected for Defend the Rescuers, helping medics in Gaza.
For further information, call Helen on 01508 531636 or visit

Post-Copenhagen factbite

Current climate policies place society on course for 3.5C global warming and almost 800 ppm CO2 equivalent by 2100. So the latest output by the Climate Action Tracker run by the Potsdam Institute suggests. CO2 concentrations would be over 650 ppm. Existing pledges will not halt emissions growth until 2040, 35 years after the 2015 target called for by the IPCC. By 2020 emissions from all sources would be some 55 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, up from around 46 today, and just 3 billion less than business as usual
Time to change course…