[ For the digested version, go to: http://www.totalpolitics.com/blogs/index.php/2010/05/04/blogger-profile-rupert-read Here's the full version of TP's interview with me: ]
Why did you start blogging?
I don't think there was ever a question of whether or not I would start blogging...I was just waiting for the blogosphere to be invented!
I've been passionate about politics my whole life and I see blogging as another vital way to reach people and to spread and (in the process) improve my Green philosophy. The blogosphere (at its best) encourages and nurtures intelligent debate, the exchange of views that is necessary if we are to acknowledge (never mind address) the enormous ecological and social challenges we face. I like blogging best when it results in a wiki-like process of EVERYONE, including the original author, learning from it.
How would you describe your blog?
Green minded-news, comment, insight and discussion on the political scene and the media in Norwich, Norfolk, Eastern England, Westminster, Brussels and beyond...and when commentors are being civil it is often a hot-bed of lively debate!
What do you like best about your own blog?
Well, I blog in a lot of different places, including:
Plus I write sometimes for the Morning Star: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/search?SearchText=%22rupert+read%22&x=0&y=0 and I have a column each month in the Eastern Daily Press: http://oneworldcolumn.blogspot.com/search/label/*%20Author%3A%20Rupert%20Read
So, what I like best about my own blog (and about www.twitter.com/RupertRead and www.twitter.com/GreenRupertRead ) is very simple: It's that there I can say just whatever I want
Greens are a little voice in a big blogosphere. What motivates you to carry on and how do you see the Green blogosphere developing?
Although there are fewer of us out there (at the moment!) than there are Tory or Labour bloggers, I think we are making a big enough noise to worry the traditional political groups!
I'd like to think that the Green blogosphere will develop globally but function locally, with a huge network of people sharing ideas and working together on projects that promote sustainable living conditions on the ground while always being ready to fight the self-serving interests of big oil and big finance.
The Greens are the only truly progressive Party out there and hopefully, with a couple of victories on 6th May, a hung parliament and the ensuing electoral reform, we can take advantage of the huge level of support there has always been for the Greens amongst the country's youth and become one of the major political forces in the UK within the next ten years. That's what keeps me motivated...and I imagine it's something that scares the cr*p out of the LibDems, because a lot of our support will come from their base! That's very much what we've found in Norwich.
So I think, with the likely end of the Labour government, this could be a very fruitful time for genuinely oppositional voices, such as (crucially) ours.
What are the key Green issues that you wish Lab/Con/LibDem would damn well take notice of?
In a country with almost zero manufacturing industry, a burgeoning carbon footprint and fast-dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, I would have thought that wholesale investment in low/zero-carbon technologies would be a no-brainer for any political party. The Green New Deal is essential and the beauty of it in economic terms is that it pays for itself, over time. Because wasting energy (and emitting excess carbon) means wasting money too. And such waste would be finally put into reverse, if a Green New Deal were brought in.
The other key Green issue for me right now is equality. Everyone needs to read Wilkinson and Pickett's THE SPIRIT LEVEL. Green policies are strongly oriented toward creating a more equal society, and such a society benefits everyone, including the rich.
There is sometimes the perception that Greens are a bit anti-technology; how does digital media fit with the Green philosophy?
We believe in the Precautionary Principle (so we are sceptical for instance about GM food, which, if it went wrong, could go so very horribly wrong); but we also passionately believe in the ability of technology to improve lives. Especially appropriate technology! (We are big fans of E.F. Schumacher.)
Greens love digital media for many reasons, including that it allows bottom-up mobilisation, and that it can reduce quite drastically the need to travel (Remember that transport emissions are the fastest-growing climate-dangerous emissions.). More attention however needs to be paid to the massive problem of computer-waste (a problem particularly severe because of the tinyness of many components of computers, making them hard to re-use or recycle) and to the growing energy consumption of 'server-banks'.
If you could change one thing about politics (generally) what would it be?
We need democracy rule by the demos, the people. We don't have it at the moment. The place to start therefore is with electoral reform...STV or AMS. PR, and an elected second chamber (or one picked by lottery) and legislation to ensure that any politician caught lining their pockets (e.g. like a number of the greasy bastards were last year) ends up doing six months staring at the top bunk waiting for 30 minutes exercise time. In the long run, true deep democracy will require localisation, which we stand for (as opposed to globalisation, which all the other Parties support).
Best news story of the last year and why?
Copenhagen was pretty disastrous; but some really great news that came from it was the emergence of the small island nations and of the left-leaning Latin-American nations as brave bastions of climate-action, setting out clearly and starkly what needs to be done to save the future. My belief is that the green movement now needs to unite behind these countries, and to press our own governments to do what they are saying. So, one specific good news story soon after Copenhagen was Evo Morales's re-election.
Favourite politician and why?
In the UK it would have to be Caroline Lucas. She has been instrumental in professionalising the Green Party (a task in which I have assisted), has done great things in locally Brighton Pavilion and nationally across the media and many many public meetings etc., and her Parliamentary work in Brussels has been exemplary.
Least favourite politician and why?
It's Nick Griffin. Do I really need to explain why?
Least favourite blogger and why?
'Harry's Place' is mostly a nasty, unreliable and nefarious waste of space
Favourite blogger and why?
I don't know if he is my favourite blogger, and of course I disagree with him periodically, especially over the day-to-day practical realities of politics on the ground (the danger for some bloggers is that they don't fully understand how electoral battles are actually won and lost on the ground, through money, leaflets, staffers, etc.), but I think that Sunny Hundal is an important blogger (and twitterer) who I always find stimulating to read.
[For the digested version, go to: http://www.totalpolitics.com/blogs/index.php/2010/05/04/blogger-profile-rupert-read ]