Democracy

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

Ideas for a Radical Green Manifesto

Introduction: the big picture

Green politics starts from the realities we now find ourselves in. Human beings are changing the planet in fundamental ways – altering the atmosphere and climate, reducing biodiversity and trashing ecosystems. This is the Anthropocene, and human impacts are going beyond the boundaries that have maintained the planet in a relatively stable state.

At the centre of human pressures on the planet are two forms of growth – economic growth and population growth. Both are powerful and complex forces.

General Election 2017: a Green realignment of British politics?

Theresa May has called an election allegedly to secure her ‘mandate' for a hard Brexit - although in practice it is difficult not to see this as cynical party political maneuver to elect more Conservative MPs in the face of a weak opposition.

Despite the slew of positive opinion polls for the Conservatives that have become a distressing feature of this year's politics, the reality is that their ideology, Neoliberalism, is in deep crisis...

After Brexit and Trump: don't demonise; localise!

The election of Donald Trump was a rude awakening from which many people in the US have still not recovered.

Their shock is similar to that felt by UK progressives, Greens, and those on the Left following the Brexit referendum.

In both cases, the visceral reaction was heightened by the barely-disguised racist and xenophobic messaging underpinning these campaigns.

'Progressive Alliance' is now the only alternative to the Tories

If we've learned anything from politics over the past year, it's that the era of two party politics seems to have crashed into a long-overdue end.

We are now faced with a crossroads: either we allow the UK to succumb to single party hegemony, or we pry open the door to pluralistic politics and allow a truly democratic multi-party politics to thrive.

Failure to achieve proportional representation could leave us facing unending Conservative governments for the foreseeable future - something we desperately cannot afford at this time of poverty and climate crisis.

We must localise the EU and curb corporate power - but does that mean in or out?

Most voices in favour of Brexit seem to offer little more than narrow nationalism, xenophobia and racism.

Such associations make it feel impossible for most Greens and progressive thinkers on the left to vote Leave in the upcoming UK referendum.

And that settles it in the minds of some: one 'has' to vote Remain. Anything else feels 'unprogressive', reactionary, even downright dangerous.

Economist-kings?

Spring 2007: the high-water mark of self-confidence for economic neo-liberalism. In March, both Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke publicly stated that they saw no danger of recession, and that the subprime fiasco had been ‘contained’. As late as mid-May, with the sub-prime crisis in full throe, still Bernanke felt able to say this: Importantly, we see no serious broader spillover to banks or thrift institutions from the problems in the subprime market. In July, Paulson claimed: This is far and away the strongest global economy I’ve seen in my business lifetime; and on August 1st, I see the underlying economy as being very healthy. Neo-liberalism remained a movement triumphal around the world. No bunch of poverty-stricken mortgage-defaulters – who could conveniently be blamed for the little local difficulty – were going to derail this ideology.

Guardians of Britain's future generations?

Last week in Parliament the new ‘Green House’ thinktank launched with a report I’ve authored on how to restructure our democratic institutions to take account of those who are not here yet: future people. The 30 page report prepared with the assistance of the new ‘Alliance for future generations’ umbrella-group of NGOs is called Guardians of the Future.

The starting point of my thinking on all this is this question: ‘Democracy’ means ‘government by the people’, but who are ‘the people’?