With less than six months to go before the most wide-open General Election of our time, a true insurgent party is on the rise, and – despite what the media tell you – it’s not the one you are thinking of.
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.
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’?
The most crucial argument in favour of a no-fly-zone is that it is what the free Libyans, at least as manifested in the Transitional National Council in Benghazi (the fledgling caretaker-government-in-waiting), have themselves called for. Just as we supported sanctions against South Africa because it was what the black South Africans themselves called for, so we should do what the free Libyans are calling for.
Example… I was recently asked this question: "Will there be an option, in AV, to just vote for one party when not wanting any of the others in at all?"
The Green Party in England could be on the verge of another breakthrough, after the election of their first MP to Westminster this May.
Now is not the time for soundbites, but I feel the hand of history on my shoulder, so I can’t help it. A century ago, the Labour Party won its first seats in Westminster. Just a generation later, it formed its first government. And another generation later, it formed perhaps the greatest government that this country has ever had, the 1945 Labour government. Now the torch has been passed. The first Green Party MP.
Now, we’ll be similarly unstoppable, I believe. (And the time-scale needs to be shorter. The planet can’t wait 50 years.)
I spent yesterday ‘on point’ for Green Party Deputy Leader (and my fellow Norwich Councillor) Adrian Ramsay, in a series of interviews on College Green just outside the Houses of Parliament. Adrian spent the afternoon speaking live to Sky and the BBC, and doing pre-records with numerous other media outlets (from across the world), as the great and the good of politics-as-usual came and went, doing much the same: Peter Mandelson, Alan Duncan, Michael Howard, Ming Campbell, Ben Bradshaw, Ed Balls, David Miliband, Frank Dobson, etc etc.
It is day six of the 'scandal' over the hacked emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Sciences, in which a thousand or so private email messages between climate scientists were hacked into and made public. According to the ostriches hoping that Copenhagen will fail, these emails demonstrate that climate-science is in serious trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth.