23 September 2010
I read with interest yesterday about Chris Huhne’s fight to save his Government Department that deals with Climate Change.
Climate change secretary Chris Huhne is fighting to defend his department’s funding and independence, fending off a suggestion that his civil servants should be moved to the Treasury to cut costs.
Huhne is having to resist the Treasury on numerous policy fronts. He has rejected the relocation idea, fearing his department’s civil servants would “go native” if they moved into offices in the Treasury.
Critics assert that this is the Tories true position on Climate Change – the ‘greenest Government ever’ that never ever was… consumptionist, trampling over the environment, uncaring.
It reminded me of something I recently heard about one of the earliest pioneers in the field. A scientist and politician who fought to get Climate Change issues recognised on the world stage who said:
- But the need for more research should not be an excuse for delaying much needed action now. There is already a clear case for precautionary action at an international level.
- We have become more and more aware of the growing imbalance between our species and other species, between population and resources, between humankind and the natural order of which we are part.
- it’s sensible to improve energy efficiency and to develop alternative and sustainable sources of supply; it’s sensible to replant the forests which we consume; it’s sensible to re-examine industrial processes; it’s sensible to tackle the problem of waste
That politician? Margaret Thatcher.
8 June 2009
…always get me down, The Carpenters used to sing. I am not sure that’s what Channel 4 were thinking about when they commissioned their latest sculpture I saw outside their offices on Horseferry Road today, Monday.
The impressive sculpture, replicating the Channel’s idents, featuring a “you couldn’t tell from a different angle it’s a digit” gigantic Number 4’s, is made up entirely of umbrellas.
I did see that today’s Sun (or possibly Mirror) headline could have better referred today to Rainy Days and Mondays, being “countbrown” (referring to Gordon Brown’s expected relatively limited time left as Prime Minister. However I was disappointed that, especially after the European elections caused a further crisis for the PM they didn’t go the whole hog and recall Europe’s “The FINAL Countbrown”!
I cannot write much about politics these days, but couldn’t pass by the fact that not only did the Centre Right increase their control over the European Parliament, but also that the British National Part got two seats from the UK. The blogospehere’s now alive with shock, but perhaps we are the more politically enlightened who express our opinions online. And much has been blamed, particularly the Proportional Representation system which gives more ability for smaller parties to get into parliaments than the traditional British “First Past the Post” system. But the BNP seats say a lot about the attitude of the British public, increasing dissatisfaction of the white working class and, in some ways, are a successful result of a democratic system, albeit one where people have been so dissatisfied with Politics that they are apathetic to voting.
Proportional Representation also gave the Greens an increase in their UK vote, and gave two seats to the BNP. (An interesting aside: some countries (mostly smaller European countries) split their vote nationally, rather than by region. If the UK vote was split nationally it would look like this). But, whatever you think of them, it shows how the system can work for the smaller parties. The next task is re-enfranchising people with politics so they vote.
4 June 2009
This morning I left home and went to work via my local polling station
in order to vote in the European elections. There are no local elections
this year. I hadn’t had a single European focused leaflet through the
door from any of the main parties. The Lib Dems sent something but it
was only focused on them cutting council tax: perhaps they forgot that
it’s European and not local elections here.
I did get leaflets from the greens, christians, socialists, christians
and an independent. The first leaflet I got, however, was from the BNP.
Now I cannot go into the detail of who I voted for, or why, but I did
change the habit of my voting life.
Of course people have rather varied feelings about the European
parliament, but one thing is clear: there are things we need to work
together on. We live in a globalised world with global problems and
often tense relationships, we cannot always stand alone. Tomorrow, it
seems to have been forgotten in the UK, is World Environment Day:
there’s a great example of where we need to work together and, if we are
to get anywhere in tackling climate change, it perhaps cannot always be
by voluntary global discourse. And, we shouldn’t forget, it is only 60
years ago that the second world war started in Europe. As my old German
friend’s father used to say, if we’re talking at least we’re not
Importantly, I did vote, and urge everyone who can to do so, regardless
of who for. Apathy is, although arguably more understandable than normal
right now, one of the biggest risks to democracy. Even if you cannot
stand to vote for anyone it’s better to go to the polling station and
spoil your paper to register disapproval over apathy.
13 May 2009
The last week hasn’t been a good one for British politicians. The expense scandal, whether claiming for bath plugs and feather dusters, second homes, moat clearing, swimming pools or porn, the Daily Telegraph has been ‘exposing’ the lies and bullsh*t of politicians claiming expenses within, or beyond, creating plenty of public anger.
Not a good week for politicians, especially when the European and local elections are coming up in June. Norman Tebbit even advised the public to protest by not voting for the big parties in the European elections.
Which is why I was interested to see the juxtaposition of a poster saying “make sure nothing stops you voting” with two posters for a mobile phone company in Camden Town station pronouncing simply BULL and LIES.
Of course, one of the biggest risks of the expenses story is disillusionment with politicians in general, politicians of all parties, and voter apathy caused by lies and bull. But voting is an essential way of exercising you democratic right – so maybe we shouldn’t let lies, bull, or anything else, stop us doing so on Thursday 4 June.