Monday, 31 December 2007

A New Year message to Eastern Green supporters

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all my readers who are supporters of the Green Party for your continued support and to reflect on all the successes the region has had this year.

Having launched our European Elections campaign at the beginning of the year, the momentum has been building. Our members responded generously to our fundraising appeal, raising thousands of pounds. This increases significantly our ability to fight a strong and effective campaign.

The local elections in May saw us increase the number of councillors in the region for the eighth year running, and the Green Party now sits on more district authorities in the East than in any other region in Britain. Many Green candidates were only a few votes away from being elected, and we look set to make further gains next May.

So far our future looks promising, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Our continued success comes amidst fresh reports that the effects of manmade climate change could be even worse than had been feared, as little as a year ago. With the other parties still so far away from taking real action on ecological and social justice concerns, it is more urgent than ever that the Greens are able to gain more power – and gain it fast. Only with the active support of everyone who believes in what we are trying to do will we be able to achieve our goals for 2008, and all the years ahead. I hope you will consider giving the Party all you can afford of yourself and of your time, at this vital time.

One exciting development in recent months has been the passage with an overwhelming majority of the Leadership referendum within the Party nationally. Now that Party members have signalled so strongly their desire for a formal Leadership structure within the Party for the first time ever, I am looking forward with hope to the Party really uniting around this decision. This time next year, we will have a Leader in place, and let us hope that we will soon start getting the national press coverage that we, as a Party whose time has come, truly deserve.

Today, I have been putting my own New Year’s resolutions together; they include finding new ways of working with other Euro-list candidates and with local Parties to ensure that Eastern Region Green Party gets more press coverage than ever before, in 2008. (I have also resolved to keep my house tidier than ever before… Now THAT will be a challenge!)

I look forward to meeting many more of you in 2008. Thank you once again for your support in this remarkable year that we have had, in 2007, and very best wishes for the New Year. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, if you wish to do so, about any matter of mutual hope or mutual concern.


[Cllr. Rupert Read; Eastern Region Lead Candidate for 2009 European Elections]

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Norwich's congestion madness

On the second day of the ‘January’ sales, my girlfriend and I took the bus into the city. I was shocked and disgusted that it now costs £2 to get a single on First from where I live (just inside the Outer ring road) to the city centre. No wonder the bus was mostly empty.
Cycling into town next morning, on the third day of the ‘January’ sales, I was struck by the even more dire traffic levels than there had been the day before. The entire central area of Norwich was gridlocked.
It is desperately urgent that, with the coming of the long climate crisis, we sort out our transport system. We simply must find ways of encouraging people out of their cars, and onto buses and bikes.
But this will obviously never happen while the bus system in cities like Norwich is run by profit-grabbing private companies.
The appalling congestion that I have witnessed and that many many others have been caught up in, sometimes for hours, over the past few days, must be the last of its kind. This is why, in 2008, with unitary status at last in sight, I will be pressing very hard for serious money to be put into Norwich’s buses. We must have a Quality Bus Contract, and we must build the Norwich Cycle Network. Anything less is really an insult to those of us who want to use our cars less, and of course to those of us who don’t have cars. We need to provide genuine choice: as my girlfriend remarked to me, it is sheer madness to have buses which, if 2 or 3 of you are travelling on them together, do not deliver any saving, compared to simply phoning for a taxi instead!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

'Generation Less' in today's _Eastern Daily Press_

Here is my latest EASTERN DAILY PRESS column, which you can get in print in today's paper. This column was previewed in an earlier incarnation a couple of months ago on this blog.

Quite timely, at the Christmas / New Yesar period, I think:

Monday, 24 December 2007

Audio review of Martin Bell's new book

Goto to listen to the podcast of my Book Review of Martin Bell's 'The truth that sticks' on Norwich's community radio station, 'Future radio'. [It is a little under half way through the programme on Dec. 23 2007]

Friday, 21 December 2007

A bad time for Clegg's liberalism

Further to my posts below on Clegg, check out the letters in yesterday's _Indy_, at , on the same topic. The first such letter, 'A bad time for Clegg's liberalism', by myself, takes up the same vein as my posts here and at 'Our Kingdom' (Open Democracy). A little further up in the letters, there is a lovely contrast between the radicalism of Caroline Lucas, Green MEP, and a degree of low horizons from Chris Davies, LibDem, on the question of whether we should move to coal, or alternatively press for lower energy demand, decentralisation of energy sourcing, and big growth in renewables.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Against Bruce Anderson, growth-fetishist

Bruce Anderson (See his ‘The environmental debate…’, Mon. 17 Dec.) pretends to be a friend of cool dispassion, and spends a fair bit of his article repeatedly and distastefully making fun of the Dutch man at the heart of the UN climate change negotiations who cared so much about what he was trying to do that he broke down in tears while on the podium. He accuses us greens moreover of being devotees of a “fanatical cult”. But Mr. Anderson himself is a devotee of what truly is a fanatical unreasoning cult: the cult of economic growth. He never stops to ask the question why economic growth is presupposed by so many, including himself, to be ‘a good thing’. The answer to the question of whether economic growth actually is a good thing is: It is when it improves quality of life, and it is not when it does not. And the evidence is getting stronger all the time that since about 1970, economic growth in the West has NOT improved quality of life – it has made it worse.

This is hardly surprising, when you consider that among the things included in GDP are expenditures on arms manufacture, funerals, and toxic waste clean-up.

Mr. Anderson should in future examine his own beliefs a little more carefully, before accusing anyone else of being a fanatic.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

RR on OPEN DEMOCRACY on the LibDem leadership result

A letter to the _Telegraph_ that I always somehow doubted they would publish...

Your story (p.4, 17 Dec.) concerning Cameron's call for a 'progressive alliance' between Tories, LibDems and the Green Party reads strangely for a Green residing in East Anglia. Here in Norfolk, for example, the Tory County Council wants to build an incinerator, backs the expansion of Norwich airport, wants to throw hundreds of millions of pounds into building a new road on the north side of Norwich, backs nuclear power, and opposes wind energy planning applications at every opportunity.
Such a Party has no Green credentials at all.
David Cameron would have to utterly transform his utterly-anti-progressive Party, before his 'alliance' call had any credibility whatsoever. I can't see that ever happening. For, so far as I can see, the Tory Party, in reality, here in Norfolk is much like the Tory Party everywhere else in Britain -- the very opposite of progressive. As -- to be slightly cheeky -- the Letters pages of the _Telegraph_ itself quite often make manifest...
Faithfully; Cllr. Rupert Read, Green Party lead candidate for Eastern Region in 2009 Euro-elections
17 Merton Road
01603 219294

Clegg wins! Read responds:

Nick Clegg has beaten Chris Huhne, by just 511 votes, in the LibDem Leadership contest.

I knew and worked with Chris Huhne long ago, back as a student in Oxford in the 1980s, when we were both in the SDP there. He always impressed me, and he would have been a serious Leader for the LibDems.

But as I detail at , I left the LibDems 8 years ago, terminally dismayed at their (lack of) direction. The critically important thing, from my perspective as a Green, was that the LibDems, like New Labour and like Cameron’s ‘New Tories’, became thoroughgoingly committed to neo-liberalism and to globalisation. That is why it didn’t really much matter to us whether Clegg or Huhne triumphed today. The differences between them in terms of underlying political economy are negligible. Clegg is marginally more right-wing, marginally less green, and marginally more vacuous – but the key word here is “marginally”.

Similarly, that is why Cameron’s call at the weekend for a ‘progressive alliance’ between Tories, LibDems and Greens sounds so strange – so … laughable, really, to us. It is not just because of the Tories’ rampant non-progressiveness (On which, see,,2229111,00.html )! It is also because the three grey Parties now have so much in common, that it matters very little which of them governs. They might as well all ally together. The only real opposition is provided by the likes of us – only we question whether further economic growth will actually improve quality of life, or diminish it; only we stand for localisation as opposed to globalisation; and only we in the Green Party propose to protect the local, globally, rather than allow neo-liberalism to run riot and continue trashing our planetary life-support system – our atmosphere, our climate.

Now that Nick Clegg has won, albeit so narrowly, there will undoubtedly be a rash of newspaper articles suggesting that now we may see a LibDem resurgence. Now that New Labour has allegedly abandoned the ‘liberal tradition’ in British politics, the word ‘liberal’ is being spouted over and over by Clegg, and may have some mileage.

But the liberal tradition consists principally of two components. One, political and juridical liberty, has indeed been massively eroded by Labour. But a second, economic liberalism, they have massively embraced.

Both components are favoured by the LibDems. But an era in which the overriding political issue is the human race’s bursting through the ecological limits of the planet that sustains us is hardly an era well-suited to a liberal approach to economics and consumer choice. The LibDems’ staunch liberalism will stand directly in the way of their alleged commitment to taking green issues seriously.

The new LibDem Leader may energise their Party for a while. But there will be a leadership contest for the first time ever in Britain’s 4th political Party, the Green Party, next year, now that the Greens’ members have decided to adopt a formal Leadership structure (see my previous post on this, at ), so as to challenge the other Parties on more equal terms. The Green Party, not the LibDems, is best-suited to be the growing force in a decade which will see the climate crisis rightly trump many reactionary calls for individual liberty, such as Clegg majors on. In a nutshell, on a totemic issue: There is no ‘right’ to use high-energy lightbulbs; they and their ilk should simply be banned.

So long as Clegg’s LibDems go on about ‘liberty’ and being ‘liberal’, they will simply be missing the point.

Should Parties be state-funded? Listen to today's YOU AND YOURS

Of COURSE Parties should be state-funded. If we want a proper democracy that gives fair play to smaller Parties such as the Greens, then we should be willing to pay a little bit in our taxes towards it. The alternative is to have politics dominated by the interests of wealthy individuals who want peerages...

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Bizarre Tory call for alliance with the Green Party and LibDems
David Cameron has just given the Green Party a lovely piece of free publicity.

Are Transition Towns going to save us? - a precis of a forthcoming article

Summary: More and more people are talking about how 'Transition Towns' ( might change the world and save us from oil depletion and climate catastrophe. But there is I am afraid one critically important respect in which this bold hope could not possibly come true. It is this:
The Transition Towns movement alone cannot save us, because, within the existing economic system, some communities reducing their use of fossil fuels is received by everyone else as a price signal that it is OK to use even more fossil fuels. I.e. For every litre of petrol that (say) Totnes does not use, everyone else in Britain is very slightly incentivised to use more petrol, by the price not going up as much as it otherwise would.
Transition Towns alone can only function as demonstration projects. They show what is possible. But in order for them to be part of a movement of movements that actually reduces overall use of fossil fuels, legislation is needed. Legislation that enforces lower overall use of fossil fuels (e.g. through carbon rationing), and/or that forces everyone to try to become a transition town.
That is why I believe that both local action and political commitment are required. Unless we force political change, then Rob Hopkins's 'Transition Towns' vision of how why might make a transition to a saner future will remain a fantasy or a myth, rather than the reality we absolutely desperately need it to become.
p.s. Feb. 12th: Please see my full-length article on this, here:

MEPs salaries are too high

One thing I plan to do if elected MEP for Eastern Region -- is give a substantial portion of my salary 'back', to the Green Party (the local, Regional and national party).
THAT will really make a difference, to future generations etc.
I don't need all that money -- I would like to help the Green Party's causes with much of my potential-salary, instead.

Not all good news from Bali

Further to my post below, about the Bali 'roadmap' toward serious action on dangerous climate change: Looking more closely at the small print, some serious problems emerge. The adaptation-to-dangerous-climate-change fund is generally good, and the call for "deep cuts" in emissions is genuinely groundbreaking -- though the numbers to be put back in, to turn the call for "deep cuts" into concrete and sufficient targets. But the measures to deal with deforestation, an urgent and pressing problem, turn out to be deeply inadequate.
Here is what leading Environmental Consultant Deepak Rughani has to say about these:
"Ten years after the Kyoto Protocol was agreed, the Bali roadmap ensures that...carbon trading schemes will be expanded which will further harm the climate, accelerate rainforest destruction, and undermine the human rights and land rights of indigenous peoples and other communities in the global South. ...[S]ome of the agreements reached will push us further towards runaway global warming by speeding up the destruction of tropical forests, on which all of us depend for a stable climate and thus for our survival. Under the 'Clean Development Mechanism' funding for industrial tree plantations will be massively expanded. Tree plantations are routinely established at the expense of natural forests and other biodiverse ecosystems, and at the expense of indigenous peoples and other communities who, in many cases, have been evicted from their land. They are also linked to the use of toxic agro-chemicals and to groundwater depletion. This summer, much of the plantation area in South Africa and Swaziland went up in smoke, proving how disastrous it is to class monocultures as ‘carbon sinks’. Forest campaigners and indigenous peoples representatives have warned that under the Bali plans for reducing deforestation, control and rights over forest land will be taken from indigenous and other communities that have actively protected forests and handed over to governments and carbon traders, whilst logging and plantation companies are expecting compensation for any part of the forest they do not destroy. This will speed up the destruction of the world’s remaining old growth forests and thus make climate collapse ever more likely. It is time for a radical re-thinking of the UNFCCC process and for real solutions – which reduce greenhouse gas emissions rather than simply making profits for carbon traders and other companies.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Suprise breakthrough at planet-saving Bali talks

I feel delight this morning at the news from Bali of agreement at the climate talks (here). Delegates have the for the first time ever agreed a 'roadmap' to a new treaty to replace the Kyoto protocol, a roadmap committing the U.S. and other developed countries to making "deep cuts" in their carbon emissions.

This morning, there is real hope, for the first time in years, that humankind may pull back from the precipice of climate catastrophe. I am hugely relieved that the U.S. delegation at Bali has seen sense, and that at last all the world's nations are committed to the amount of greenhouse gases going into our atmosphere being deeply cut.

This agreement needs to be greatly strengthened and fleshed out over the next 12-24 months, with real numbers attached to it. Our children desperately need us to get a climate agreement together that actually does force deep and fast cuts in emissions. What has happened last night is only a start. But it is, thank goodness, a pretty good start.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Sustrans Connect 2 scheme wins!

My earlier post on this was obviously worthwhile...

Hundreds of thousands of people, including many from East Anglia and from Norwich in particular -- including me --, have voted £50m of lottery cash to walking and cycling schemes across the country ... including £1m to help build a path from Norwich railway station to Whitlingham Country Park. I was really pleased today when I heard the news that the Sustrans Connect 2 scheme, which I have been pushing hard across East Anglia and especially in Norwich, was the victor in the vote.

The public have certainly chosen well: this scheme is a brilliant way to get people fitter healthier and happier, and to cut carbon emissions. I am just delighted that everyone’s efforts to get this scheme voted through have been successful! This news makes it all the more vital that the rest of the money needed is now as firmly secured -- in order to build this path and bridge to Whitlingham. I look forward to the day when everyone can walk or cycle this route! I am also delighted that, as part of this successful Sustrans Connect 2 bid, money will go to similarly excellent projects in Cambridge, Huntingdonshire and Broxbourne, among other places in our Region

Britain's CO2 emissions in reality ARE a significan portion of the world's total,,2225780,00.html
My earlier posts (especially ) on the true scale of the UK's carbon emissions see some vindication here, in the lead letter. We are polluting the atmosphere heavily with CO2 -- it is just that we have cleverly exported that pollution to China and India, so that it is harder to see that we are doing it.
Further down, see also my friend and fellow Green Councillor Andrew Boswell's excellent letter on the big 'biofools' scam.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The email system of the future is here...

Why do people love email so much? My theory is: that it enables them not to have to talk to people. It enables easy avoidance of the 'inconvenience' of actual human contact...
Of course, this means that email is often used highly-inappropriately, where talking to someone directly woudl be much quicker / more efficient...
"There's this amazing new form of email! It allows you to message the person you want to message _immediately_, and for them to message you back in real time too!! What's more, you can even hear their voice while you do it!"
Yes ... The email of the future is here... It's called: the telephone...

Greens: beyond left and right?

Is the Green Party beyond the old ideologies of ‘left’ and ‘right’?

The answer I think is complicated. A yes and no story:

The most obvious example of an excellent Green idea in the traditional Right
is the idea of conserving things. That is what I typically say to
self-admitted Conservatives on the doorstep: If you believe in conserving
things, then you should vote Green, because unfortunately the Conservative
Party has given up on conserving things, and now believes mostly in tearing
them up and converting them into trinkets etc. . Whereas the Green Party actually cares about conserving our countryside, our wildlife, our traditional ways of life, in the face of corporate profiteering. [For an intriguing account of some other respects in which the Right can foster genuinely Green thinking, see the always-intriguing John Gray’s book, ‘Beyond the New Right’.]

But, speaking of corporate profiteering: To think that the Green Party is ‘beyond’ all left ideas, and that we can accommodate to capitalism in the way that (for instance) Jonathon Porritt nowadays suggests seems to me very over-optimistic about capitalism. For a powerful argument to undercut such optimism, I strongly recommend all Greens to read the new edition of Joel Kovel's fascinating book, 'The enemy of nature: The end of capitalism
or the end of the world'.

[For the long-term philosophical-political consequences of this kind of point, see e.g. my ]

The Green Party draws ideas from both left and right. But there is one important sense in which it is closer to left ideas than to right ideas: because it is about equality. It takes the socialist ideal of equality between individuals, and extends this into the future. People not yet alive deserve to be treated fairly too – and they only will, if we act so as to create a truly – permanently -- sustainable society.

The best account of this new Green ‘ideology’, part Right, definitely part Left, and part simply new and beyond, is Andrew Dobson’s ‘Green Political Thought’. He calls the new ideology ‘Ecologism’. That seems to me the right name. Because what we are about is above all emphasising that we live in an ecosystem, that we are part of. The world is not simply a basket of 'resources' for us to plunder: and our goal is not, as that of environmentalists typically is, simply to reduce the scale of the plunder.

Monday, 10 December 2007

What is ‘the liberal tradition’?

Martin Kettle (,,2224278,00.html ) thinks the next decade might belong to the LibDems. He admits his evidence is fairly thin: It consists mainly of the fact that Labour has allegedly abandoned the ‘liberal tradition’ in British politics, thus opening up room for the LibDems.
But, as several commenters here have pointed out, he does not define ‘the liberal tradition’. It seems to me that the liberal tradition consists of three components. One, political and juridical liberty, has indeed been massively eroded by Labour. A second, economic liberalism, has been massively embraced by New Labour. A third, the maintenance of other liberties of the person, has been eroded in some instances – e.g. via the ban on smoking in enclosed public places –, but it is only a dogmatic liberalism that would insist that economic liberalism and general liberties of the person must be maintained, no matter what the public good that they undercut. If the ban on smoking in enclosed public places is anti-liberal, then so much the worse for ‘the liberal tradition’.
If the LibDem Party has anything at all that makes it ideologically distinctive, it is ‘the liberal tradition’. Most notably, the LibDem Party has (like Labour) embraced economic neo-liberalism, over the last decade, while (unlike Labour) generally defending political liberty too. It is indeed closer to ‘dogmatic liberalism’ – to sticking fairly closely to all three components of the liberal tradition – than either of the other two main Parties. (Though it would of course be inaccurate to say that the LibDems ARE dogmatic liberals – for instance, they supported the smoking ban.)
But an era in which the overriding political issue is the human race’s bursting through the ecological limits of the planet that sustains us is hardly an era well-suited to a liberal approach to anything -- except the maintenance of political liberty in the face of state or corporate repression. The conclusion is unavoidable: The LibDems’ staunch liberalism will stand directly in the way of their alleged commitment to taking green issues seriously. Liberalism, in the form of unbridled consumer choice, has already become a key cause of the climate crisis.
The other piece of evidence cited by Kettle – in favour of his proposition that the next decade might belong to the LibDems -- is that the LibDem Leadership contest is coming to an end, and that their new Leader may energise them. But, as reported in the _Guardian_ a week ago, there will be a leadership contest for the first time ever in Britain’s 4th political Party, the Green Party, next year, now that the Party’s membership have decided by a huge margin to adopt a formal Leadership structure for the first time, so as to be able to compete on a more even keel with the ‘main three’ British political Parties. The Green Party stands strongly for political liberty, but strongly against economic neo-liberalism. It is well-suited to be the growing Party in a decade which will see the growing climate crisis rightly trump many reactionary calls for individual liberty.
In short: Kettle would have been on safer ground, if he had predicted that the next decade just might belong to the Green Party. Because, in one totemic nutshell, as already intimated in my post below: There is no right to buy or use incandescent lightbulbs. They should simply be banned.
[p.s. For the story of how I came to leave the LibDems, see the relevant link in 'Other Links', below.]

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The talking-about-low-energy-light-bulbs trick

Am I the only one to be fed up with the endless talismanic intonation that we should all be using low-energy lightbulbs? If the government were serious about leading on environmental issues, it would make low-energy lightbulbs compulsory and BAN high-energy lightbulbs ... rather than trying to foist the responsibility and the blame onto the rest of us.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Rail, not road

It is Green Party policy to re-nationalise the railways and to build new freight lines. An example would be from the new Outer Harbour at Yarmouth running inland. Where inadequate rail infrastructure exists, adequate infrastructure should be created. If we want to stop monster 60 tonne trucks coming to this country, we are going to have to invest in alternatives. Rail is the most crucial of these.
Ruth Kelly recently announced plans for spending £10billion on enhancing rail capacity in July's rail white paper. However, only £200 million was for freight. Whilst capacity enhancement for passengers is absolutely essential, freight must be given a higher priority than it is currently getting. In total, rail investment should be much greater, at least £20-30billion for the next 5 years. This investment could be made by halting the government's climate-dangerous road-building programme.
It is worth adding that the monster trucks that they want to bring here [see my post on this below] COULD include longer vehicles as well as heavier ones - by the use of trailers. Let's create jobs in expanding rail -- not in getting huger trucks than ever before trundling by our windows.

Some reflections on power and leadership

A political Party looks for power.
If the Green Party had more power, then ordinary people would have more power. Power over their own lives. Power which turbo-charged neo-liberal capitalism deprives them of
Political Parties and governments don't have a huge amount of power, in these globalised days. They -- we -- should strive to attain all and use of it that we can. And thus GENUINELY empower people. Such empowerment surely means people being empowered. Not just sitting around talking and giving themselves a fantasy of control over their own destinies. ACTUALLY having more such control and power.
This recent Green Party referendum has created a Leader post. A Leader with more influence and more power -- e.g. votes on GPex, and hopefully more research and secretarial support than our Party can afford at present, as we fundraise on the back of this change that the Party has voted for -- than our Principal Speakers have been allowed. Our Leader being empowered by us to act and seek media opportunities and so forth will result in more power for us, as we come to have influence more than just at the margins, and eventually as people in our society actually start to be more empowered, through a more real democracy, less extreme corporate power, and so forth.
A sustainable society will be achieved reasonably fast or not at all. We do not have time for a glacial timetable -- the glaciers would then all be gone, by the time we got any real power... [See my on this.] If we take an overly long march to power, then all that will be waiting for us at the end of the march will be deserts and war-lords...

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Lead candidate's report, Dec. 07

Working as lead European candidate for the Greens here in Eastern Region Green Party is exhilarating, and it’s getting more so all the time. There are so many new local parties setting up all over the East of England and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting such a wide variety of people. All these people are driven by thought of bringing a real positive difference to their local area by having Green Party members elected to their parishes, councils and (crucially) even to Parliament(s). I’ve witnessed the number of Green councillors in the East of England grow ever year since 1999. That’s why I know we’re on the brink of something very special here, and I am proud to be a part of it.

The excitement comes from knowing how quickly success can come when there are dedicated Green Party members, campaigning hard for the values they believe in. In Norwich, where I am a city councillor, the first two Green councillors were elected in 2002. Now, just five years later, we have 10 city councillors; just five less than the ruling labour administration. Norwich has already seen the benefit, with vastly improved recycling facilities (though still far short of our utimate goals), support for local shops and new carbon reduction targets. We are now only a few seats away from running the council – and all this in just a few years.

I can now see what started in Norwich happening all over the region. In Colchester for instance the Greens are on the verge of breaking through onto the city council, with Peter Lynn polling 32% of the vote in Castle ward in the last local elections. I have visited Colchester twice in the last four months, to speak to a local Party meeting and to help at a ‘Green Action Saturday’. The canvassing I did on the latter occasion convinced me that the electoral success of the Green Party elsewhere in the region is now about to be repeated in Colchester.

The Green Party now sits on more Councils in the Eastern Region than in any other region in the country. That is why we are now naturally thrilled about an additional prospect – electing a Green MEP to represent the East of England in Brussels. Much of our work involves changing things at the local level, but many of our policies urgently need be taken to an international level, such as serious measures against climate change and fairer trade rules (fair trade, not free trade, should be compulsory).

I was selected earlier this year as the Eastern Region’s lead candidate for the next European elections in June 2009 and I have already started campaigning hard. Caroline Lucas from the South East and Jean Lambert from London have already made great achievements as Green MEPs, including vastly increasing our media profile nationally from anything we had before. The elections are held using proportional representation, and with an ever growing number of Green voters in the east, we have every chance reaching the estimated 11% of the vote that we need. If we do better than this, there is even an outside chance that the second candidate on the list, Colchester’s Peter Lynn, could join me in Brussels.

All the time I am hearing from new activists from yet another city who are beginning their campaigns to get Green Party candidates elected onto their local authorities. By sharing advice and knowledge and supporting each other all these local parties are bound for success. The political landscape is changing and it’s an incredible feeling to be at the forefront. This is a feeling shared I believe by virtually all our activists who are investing their time in the Green Party because they can see now what we can achieve and the benefits it will bring. Whether it’s another elected councillor or someone delivering leaflets whenever they can, we are all realising the same dream.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Monster trucks alert!

60 tonne "Monster Trucks" may be coming to the roads of East Anglia...

The European Parliament has considered a report on freight logistics which failed to rule out the use of 60 tonne trucks across EU borders and left open the possibility that this could happen without Member States giving consent for their borders to be crossed.

As well as the obvious dangers to communities in East Anglia on recognised routes, the use of Sat. Nav. equipment and drivers not familiar with local roads will inevitably cause serious disruption when these huge and ultra-heavy trucks take a wrong turn and get stuck.

Green MEP Caroline Lucas has warned that the failure of the EU Parliament to rule out the use of 60 tonne trucks could lead to them being used across the EU.

In my view too, there can be no role for monster trucks thundering up and down our roads, guzzling fuel, damaging infrastructure as they do so. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: Do we really want these mega-juggernauts on the roads of East Anglia, clogging them up, posing unprecedented dangers to pedestrians, cyclists and ordinary motorists, and damaging our road-surfaces without paying any compensation for doing so?

A rhetorical question.


What we do instead, to reduce the alleged need for these monster trucks?
Here are four key ideas for our Region, to start with:
* Eliminate the silly but climate-dangerous aspects of current
global trade - e.g. the great food swap between UK and other EU countries.

*The UK should only import what it cannot produce itself - good for UK jobs,
good for the global environment.

* Campaign for much better rail-freight facilities including a freight
line from Norwich out to the new Yarmouth outer harbour (Eastport) and
better freight connections from Felixstowe.

* Better rail-freight centres for distribution onwards by rail from
East coast ports at Peterborough (taking Eastport and Felixstowe goods
northwards) and Cambridge (taking good westwards -- once the East-West link to
Milton Keynes and Oxford is built).

Vote for Sustrains Connect 2!

Readers of 'Rupert's read' have for the next few days a great opportunity to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists at no direct cost to themselves. All they -- all you -- have to
do is to vote for the Sustrans Connect2 project in the Big Lottery Fund's
£5 Million giveaway.

The public is being asked to choose between four projects. All four are
good, but one is somewhat influenced by the fact that only the Sustrans project will bring any direct benefit to Norfolk: specifically, through the construction of a path for cycling and walking to Whitlingham County Park, from Norwich train station.
However, the Sustrans project is a national project, whereas the other three are each in one
specific location. Furthermore, the Sustrans project is clearly the most green and sustainable of the four, and is particularly good in that it will support a large number of small projects around the country, rather than just being one mega-project.

The Sustrans project will improve routes for walking and cycling. This will enable more people to take more journeys on foot or
by bike, which will help reduce carbon emissions and bring health
benefits. It will also help car drivers, by reducing traffic and taking
some cyclists off the roads. This project will benefit everyone and
deserves everyone's vote.
It makes perfect sense that this project is being voted on this weekend, the weekend of worldwide demonstrations for action to combat dangerous climate change. Here is one action that we can all take, that will help reduce climate-dangerous carbon-emissions.

I've already voted. You can vote too, at or . It only takes about a minute. Or vote by texting Connect2 to 80010.

RR on OPEN DEMOCRACY reflecting on the Green Leadership referendum result
My latest, post- the referendum.

Norwich rally for action to stop dangerous climate change!

Norwich rally for action to stop dangerous climate change!

Come and join us at Pottergate on the pathway and the green outside St.Gregory’s Church, at Noon precisely, on Saturday 8th December.

Norwich Green Party is organising a rally in solidarity with people who are gathering on this day in London and in every major city around the world to call for governments to take serious action NOW to rein in dangerous manmade climate change. For those who would like to be in London on the big march there, but who for whatever reason cannot be, this is the perfect opportunity to make clear your thoughts and feelings on this issue.

Bring banners or just bring yourselves to this short rally. There will be brief speeches from Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, and from Cllr. Rupert Read, lead Green MEP-candidate for East Anglia; and then an open mike. [Note: Norwich Green Party's annual Christmas Fair will this year be held at St Gregory's church, Pottergate, on Saturday 8th December, from 10am - 5pm. Do come to that too!]



Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Matt Sellwood on the way forward now for the Green Party
Check out Matt Sellwood's return to blogland one last time, calling for the Party to move on from the leadership issue, now that it has been settled.
1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: December 2007 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.