Tuesday, 31 March 2009

G20:Time for talking is over- world must act on Green New Deal [Press release]

 As world leaders gather for the G20 Summit in London on April 2nd, the Green Party is renewing calls for action, not more fine words, to deliver the Green New Deal.
Governments are increasingly accepting the benefits of a major investment plan to help bring the world out of recession and tackle the looming threat of dangerous climate change. The Green Party believes that Eastern England could be in the front line of a green energy revolution if the political will is there to make it a reality. 

The Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband recently said (BBC News) that it was important for the G20 to make commitments on helping the environment as well as the economy. He said


"There are some people who will say you can either tackle the economic crisis or the climate crisis.


"But the truth is that both come together with this idea of a Green New Deal, of investing in the jobs of the future, which are going to be in the green industries of the future."


Councillor Rupert Read, lead Green Party candidate for the European Elections on June 4th, will be going to the G20 on Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday to take the Green message to the summit.

Cllr. Read said:
"The time for talking is over - the world must act on the Green New Deal, right now.
"Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MEP helped formulate the Green New Deal, a concept being widely supported by Governments, yet not acted upon. It is simply unacceptable if world leaders are going to emerge from G20 with more pointless group photos and warm words, but no real action.
"A failure to implement a Green New Deal soon, in this country, across Europe, and across the planet, will both increase the likelihood of the recession worsening and fail to tackle the looming threat of dangerous climate change. Time is running out.
"The G20 must act boldly - we need a repeat of what Roosevelt did in the 30s, but on a worldwide scale, and with a deep-green-hue. The beauty of a 'Green New Deal' is how it makes such great economic sense: green jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and public transport systems - an investment for the future in making our economy greener, cleaner and more efficient.
"Globalisation has failed catastrophically and utterly. I will be going to London on April 2nd, when the G20 meets in session, to add to demands for co-ordinated action now for global justice, for a Green New Deal, for a massive re-regulation of the financial markets.
"With the exception of Barack Obama, the G20 leaders are the very people who got us into this catastrophic economic and environmental mess that we are in, by handing power over to big business and big monied interests. It is time for the people to take that power back!"
The G20 marches in London this weekend were peaceful and raised the profile of the need for action on jobs and the green economy. The Green Party supports peaceful action in this way - the messages that need to be addressed to world leaders are too important to be clouded by non-peaceful actions.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Every town an eco-town

Every existing town should make the transition to being an eco-town, not just a handful of new towns - which may be far less green than they at first appear.
One of the Government's planned 'eco-towns' is on the outskirts of Norwich. The plans are generally quite good, mostly on a brownfield site - but the scheme as it stands is dependent upon building a massive new dual-carriageway road around the north side of Norwich, if it is to work.
This is completely ridiculous - you cannot have a genuinely eco-town that is highly dependent upon a major road-building scheme. By definition, a true eco-town should be designed to maximise the use of public transport, cycling etc, as are the existing eco-towns in other countries that provided the original inspiration for Britain's 'eco-town' plans.

'Tis folly to be Wise...

Still no prosecution of Tom Wise, one of the two UKIP members of the Euro-Parl elected in 2004, whose seat [the 2nd UKIP seat] I aim to take at these elections:


At the start of April the Green Party campaign to win a seat in the European Parliament is going up a gear. Lead candidate Rupert Read is embarking on a whistle-stop tour of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, in order to listen to his prospective constituents and to offer the Green Party's distinctive solution to the credit crunch: the Green New Deal.
Rupert Read said
"Europe needs change and if enough people in Eastern England get behind the Green Party, we can help make that change happen. The Green New Deal aims to create 5 million jobs across the continent, including a million here in Britain, and at least 100,000 in Eastern England.
"The Green New Deal is a way to combat dangerous climate change and help end the recession at the same time. It would set the European economy on a sustainable path and place Europe at the forefront of the Green industrial revolution. For a greener economy and a cleaner politics, there is only one sensible option: Vote Green!"

Cllr. Read's tour of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, between April 1st and April 8th, takes in the following:


1st April Welwyn Garden City [Green Party Meeting in the evening]

2nd April London [for the G20 meeting]

3rd April Bedford [Meeting in the Market Square near Lord Roberts pub, 9 am, then campaigning around the town]

3rd April Bushey, south Hertfordshire [starting at 86 Park Ave. at 5pm: meeting the public]

4th April Hemel Hempstead [Meeting at Bank Court, 10.30 am: stall and meeting the public]

4th April Berkhamstead [Meeting at The Crown pub, 1.30pm to go out canvassing]

6th April Luton [Meeting outside the Town Hall, 1pm: meeting the public]

6th April St. Alban's [Canvassing in the afternoon, and then a public meeting at 8pm that night]

7th April Hitchin [10 am visit to Church Farm, Hitchin, to look at sustainable agriculture in action]

7th April Leighton Buzzard [Meeting at the Market Cross at 2pm, and then campaigning around the town]

7th April Watford [Green Party meeting at Danny's Pub near Watford Junction, 8pm]

Cllr. Read is available for interview or photo-opportunities throughout the tour, please see contact details below.



The Green New Deal includes the aims of

  • creating 'green collar' jobs for five million Europeans within 5 years, including jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable small-scale agriculture, and public transport 
  • mobilising a cohesive strategy for private and public investment in the green economy that amounts to 500 billion Euros over the next five years (0.75% of the GDP of the EU) 
  • keeping energy affordable
  • helping to fight dangerous climate change and green the European economy.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

The clock is ticking.

According to scientific experts, we have less than 94 months left in which to begin to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions, if we are not to go down in history as the age of stupid... Here in East Anglia, we only have 2 months left to take the first major step, and elect another Green Party MEP, this Region's first. Time is precious. We need to act NOW!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Why everyone in Britain who cares about Copenhagen or climate chaos should vote Green this June...

1. Everyone in the UK can vote Green in June.
2. A Green vote in June is the only way to send a clear message from the
ballot box to our National leaders to behave in Copenhagen - all other
parties greenwash but are compromised by (e.g.) wanting to bring back
economic growth.
3. Whether nationally you are Yellow, Red, or Blue or indifferent the only
way to be green in June is to vote Green - which won't hurt your favoured
party's national chances but will make a big difference for Copenhagen -
imagine the effect if Greens polled 20% in June!
4. The EU will play a major role in December in Copenhagen (even if it
'plays its role' by remaining silent).
5. Greens can win seats in the Euro Election in the UK (it is
proportional) - and a Green MEP or two from your region will help make
Copenhagen work...
[Thanks to Roger Creagh-Osborne for inspiring this post]

On the impossibility of Time Travel!

I promised the occasional philosophical reflection on this blog. Here's one:
If I 'travel' 'back' into the past, then I am there in the past.
BUT, in my past, an older version of me wasn't present, anywhere. Therefore,
one cannot travel back into the past: for, if one travels back into the
past, IT IS NO LONGER ONE'S PAST that one is travelling back into...

Senior Labour figure slags off Norfolk

It will be interesting to see how Labour try to live this one down... What disgraceful remarks... Unbelievable really that this guy was our Deputy Prime Minister, a heartbeat away from no.10...


Green Party Councillors are asking Norwich City Council to oppose the Government's plans to merge the fire control services of Norfolk and other counties in East Anglia into a regional control centre which would receive emergency calls and manage the fire service response.  The councillors say the plan, known as FireControl, lacks the confidence of firefighting professionals who are worried that regional centres would lack sufficent call handling capacity and local knowledge. 
Norwich Green Party councillor, Adrian Holmes is submitting a motion to the City Council's next meeting, on Tuesday 31st March, urging the council to voice opposition and press the government to rethink its plan.
Councillor Holmes said
"Norfolk has one of the best fire services in the country and this plan will do nothing to improve it and may even damage its capacity to deal with incidents. Responses to incidents in Norfolk are best managed from a Norfolk control centre with local knowledge."
Councillor Rupert Read, the Green Party's Lead Candidate for the June 4th European elections said
"'I am worried that in East Anglia the fire services' capacity to cope during a major disaster, like the one which happened at Buncefield oil storage depot in Hertfordshire, may be diminished if the proposed new regional fire control system is pushed through, as there are grave doubts about the proposed system's call handling capacity.
Regional fire control centres only make sense in the context of a regional fire service and regional government - ideas which the government has abandoned.
It's also clear that the funds could be better spent. Management consultants have swallowed up over £40 million, underused regional control centres are costing many millions of pounds in rent and a report by the Institute of Public Finance (IPP) reveals that the overall project costs are exceeding £1.4 billion. This at a time when the region's fire services still need money to be able to tackle major flooding incidents or outdoor fires. The people who risk their lives, the firefighters, are saying the funds would be better spent on frontline."

The Motion: Protecting Norfolk's Fire Control Service (Councillor Holmes to move): This Council Notes:

1. That the Government has acknowledged the excellent work of Norfolk's Fire Control Service by placing it in the top rank of services throughout the country.
2. That the Government is planning to amalgamate county fire services into regional centres.  
3. The stated reason for the Government embarking on this reorganisation is to bring other fire services, ranked at a lower level, up to the standard of Norfolk.  
This Council believes:

1. That the proposed amalgamation would reduce the effectiveness of Norfolk's Fire Control Service by taking away local knowledge and introducing inferior equipment. 
2. That the Government is misguided in trying to raise the standards of other fire services by reducing the effectiveness of Norfolk's fire service.  

This Council resolves:

1. To write to the Government and ask that the reorganisation be suspended pending further investigation into the costs of the reorganisation and the likely deterioration in service. 
2. To write to Norfolk County Council and asking it to make similar representations to the Government. 
3. To write to the trade unions of Norfolk's firefighters to express support for their stand against the proposed amalgamation.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Radio Norfolk Discussion...


Go 2 hrs 10 mins in to listen to hear me debating for 45 minutes live on Radio Norfolk, on issues from the Commonwealth and dangerous climate change to relationships education and Jade Goody...

Biofuels - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

(please click on the image below to enlarge it)

I'm looking forward to attending my good friend Deepak Rughani's presentation on Biofuels next week.  Deepak is a powerful and knowledgeable speaker and his events are not to be missed.  Hopefully I'll see plenty of familiar faces there! 

Become A Councillor!

Ever thought of becoming a local councillor? Perhaps you’re already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step? Or perhaps you just like the idea of doing something worthwhile and rewarding to help your community.

Most people stand for election as councillors under the banner of the three largest political parties: Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat. However, there is also a strong tradition of local councillors working as Independents, or as representatives of political parties and groups other than the three largest political parties, such as the Green Party. If you want to be a councillor, but not representing the Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour parties, this guide is for you...


Wednesday, 25 March 2009


...Closures "must cease immediately"
Eastern Region Green Party has conducted a survey over recent months of local post offices in the region.
Sub Postmasters and Postmistresses were contacted about the service they currently provide, what they could provide in the future and how important they considered Post Offices are to the local community (1).

98% felt it was important that their particular Post Office remained open, citing 11 different reasons as to why they felt this way. Many replied that they could provide a public and social service and that they were the eyes and ears of the community. They helped to combat fraud and would know if someone was having health or domestic difficulties and therefore could alert neighbours.
81% agreed strongly that the local sub Post Office provide a hub for the local community and 91% disagreed that the Main Post Offices are more convenient. 71% disagreed that Main Post Offices were more efficient at providing services than a sub Post Office. 69% disagreed that most people can get to a main Post Office these days.
Many added that the Post Office helped to support the vunerable in their community, e.g., the elderly, as there were no other amenities available to them compounded by poor local transport.
Many replies pointed out that Post Offices are a good source of networking which can encourage use of local trades and supply customers with locally produced provisions. 63% felt it was vital to their local community to encourage people to shop locally with 85% agreeing that local sub Post Offices were important because they avoided the need for people to use their cars.

55% of sub Post Offices surveyed said that services such as bill payments were very important and wanted to offer services which have been taken away, for example, 67% wanted to be able to offer TV licence renewals (previously a service they offered which has been taken away from them). Whilst is was recognised that accessing services via the internet and telephone was available, 92% agreed strongly that for those without access to computers, face-to-face help that the Post Office can provide should be available.
62% disagreed that the internet was better at providing most of the services you can get from the local sub Post Office.
Worryingly, the results revealed that 48% of the sub Post Offices surveyed are already between 3 - 10 miles away from each other.
Cllr. Rupert Read, Lead Green Party MEP candidate for Eastern England, said:
"Our survey results reinforce the strong feeling in local communities that Post Offices are a vital part of the social fabric of our society. Despite this, numbers are reducing year on year thanks in part to the deliberate actions of Government taking away services from them.
There clearly needs to be a stable economic environment for Post Offices to operate in, but the Government is failing to take full account of the hidden financial and social benefits of a thriving Post Office network in terms of a host of gains including social cohesion, health, combating fraud and crime and building sustainable communities.
The Green Party is fully committed to protecting our Post Office network and will continue to oppose further cuts. Closures must cease immediately.
Furthermore, we believe that Post Offices should be able to provide more services than they do at present. Our survey indicates that Sub-Postmasters and Sub-Postmistresses would like to be able to offer TV licensing and banking facilities - to help them become once again a true hub of the community. The Green Party backs this aspiration - we would invest in the Post Office network, not run it down." 

If agrochar is the answer, then ask a better question


  First they sold us agrofuels: palm oil from felled and drained tropical peat forest continues to be mixed into UK diesel, leaving an 800-year carbon debt behind.    Now industrial biomass and agrochar [its advocates call it 'biochar', because that sounds nicer than what it really is] are coming of age.  Widely touted as the most promising geo-engineering 'solution', agrochar - industrialised agricultural turning of forests into charcoal which is then 'planted' in the soil - actually threatens to commit us to worsening dangerous climate change, bringing chaos to planetary life support systems including the rainfall cycle upon which global crop production depends.  

However, this is an extraordinary week for those concerned that 'false solutions' are exacerbating manmade climate change.  On Tuesday, George Monbiot wrote lucidly in GUARDIAN about the hype and misinformation surrounding agrochar, and just a day earlier I spoke at Green Party Spring Conference in Blackpool and helped to bring about an almost unanimous vote against climate geo-engineering 'solutions' which further imperil ecosystems, biodiversity and human communities. The motion that was passed particularly emphasised the risks of agrochar. The Green Party has led the way on so many other things, which were at first seen as 'radical' but that are not common-sense: so we hope it will be on this issue, too.

Last November, my friend and fellow Party-member Dee Rughani gave presentations on agrochar at NGO conferences in Berlin and Brussels.  Many of the big environmental NGOs were represented yet it was hard to find a single person who was familiar with agrochar.  The agrochar lobby had been working silently behind the scenes, managing to keep the issue outside of NGO discussions.  So successful has this approach been that less than a month later at the UN climate conference in Poznan, the 'International Biochar Initiative', uncontested, succeeded in lobbying the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to get agrochar included in the draft agenda for discussions at the Copenhagen climate conference this year.  Since Poznan, other regulating bodies are giving consideration to a proposal by carbon trading company, Carbon Gold, for agrochar to receive double carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism.

Expect some fairytale spin on this one.  Industry lobbyists have found the most profitable 'climate solution' yet! But their dirty secret is out; let's mobilise now to nip this in the bud, and not repeat the same mistake that the world made in allowing agrofuels to take off.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Greens say 'keep talking' to save Norfolk newspaper jobs

I welcome reports that management at Archant has reduced the number of jobs it is intending to cut in Norfolk from 54 to 34. But I hope that Archant executives will try to further reduce this, to protect the quality of local newspapers.
'It is good news that Archant executives have revised their plans for redundancies in Norfolk, but 34 job losses would still be a massive cutback of editorial staff. It would raise serious doubts about the capacity of local papers to provide a quality news service.
The recession is no doubt affecting advertising revenues but the company has recently anounced £22m profits. I urge Archant to continue talking with unions and to look for every opportunity to save further jobs.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Me on Radio 2: link

http://tinyurl.com/d5x9cj  Me on investing in transport for a better life, on Radio 2 yesterday. Go to 1.09


...Green Party Councillors back CPRE report
Green Party Councillors in Eastern Region are backing a CPRE report (1) released earlier today which shows that the majority of regional transport funding is going on roads, and will be for years to come, and that road traffic levels have risen sharply over the last 2 decades.
Although it is not possible to separate out entirely the different types of transport funded in each region, CPRE have estimated the Eastern Region proportion spent on roads at 60%.
In the period 1993 to 2007, traffic (measured as million vehicle kilometers) rose by 29% over the six counties of Eastern Region, the equal second highest rise in England and with only the East Midlands being higher.
Figures from the Government (DEFRA) reveal that increasing greenhouse gas emissions from transport are cancelling out reductions in other sectors. Ministers claim that the UK can meet ambitious targets for reducing emissions yet since Labour came to power in 1997, UK carbon dioxide emissions have barely changed.
Cllr. Rupert Read, Norwich City Councillor and Lead candidate for the European Elections said
"The CPRE are absolutely right to highlight the fact that regional transport funding amounts to "road building as usual". Policy has not changed and Labour is throwing loads of money at outdated road-building schemes that are not giving people transport choices but are damaging the planet. That's why we in the Green Party have consistently called for a 'Green New Deal', investing to improve public transport - and cutting destructive road schemes."
Cllr. John Matthissen, Mid-Suffolk Councillor said
"It is incomprehensible that Eastern Regional Assembly members are endorsing plans to carry on spending on road schemes when they have been advised by the Stern Report that we must invest in cutting CO2 emissions, and by leading scientists that preparations should be under way to adapt our economy to diminishing petrol supplies as the oil runs out."
Cllr. James Abbott, Braintree District Councillor said
"Behind the green rhetoric of the authorities lies the truth - that it is business as usual - bigger airports and more roads, both of which are sucking taxpayers money away from sustainable development and at the same time leading to increased greenhouse gas emissions. In Essex, the latest price tag for a stretch of the A120 between Braintree and the A12 is approaching half a £ billion. Instead of looking at ways to make the existing road safer and relieve local villages, as the Greens have proposed, the regional planners, with the support of the other parties, want another gold plated section of Trans European Highway through open countryside. Meanwhile, long standing and widely supported proposals for improving the railways in mid-Essex sit on the shelf through lack of funding."

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


A nice review that I've just found of my PHILOSOPHY FOR LIFE...

Porritt returns to the Green Party fold

Here's the first explicit media endorsement of the Greens for a long time from one Jonathon Porritt; watch the BBC news report here:

Monday, 16 March 2009

AGE OF STUPID Director calls for Green government!

Franny Armstrong, writer/director of the Age of Stupid, is calling for a Green government, according to Alistair Campbell's blog this morning...
This, with the climate crisis underlying other more apparent crises (such as the ongoing economic meltdown), is indeed an epochal moment in human history; it calls precisely for a sudden mass political switch to the Green Party, much as in earlier generations the Labour Party (before it became corrupted by New Labour etc.) sprang onto the Parliamentary scene from almost nowhere, and ended up giving us good things like the NHS.

It's worth bearing in mind that the next big elections are the Euro-elections, in June: and these are by proportional representation. A great opportunity for the Green Party to get voted in...

My visit to Manningtree on this Thursday morning [Media release]

Green Party Euro Election lead candidate Rupert Read is coming to Manningtree this Thursday as part of his ongoing 'listening tour' of East Anglia.  Rupert is hoping to meet members of the local Transition Town group who are developing responses to the need for a low carbon economy to combat dangerous climate change. Rupert said "This part of Essex has many green sympathisers; I am excited to have the chance to talk to some of them and answer any questions on Green Pary policy.  Issues that are close to my heart are; creating 'green' jobs which help the local community as well as the environment, and boosting the stock of affordable housing for first time buyers and the less well off."

Rupert said: "I am looking forward a great deal to hearing about the experiences of Manningtree people at this time of economic downturn and wider uncertainty."

Rupert will be in Manningtree from 9.20 to 12.00 on Thursday 19th and would be happy for anyone to engage him in conversation on political issues.  Rupert's time in Manningtree starts at 9.20 at the Railway station where he and a group of supporters are happy to have photos and questions.

Listening to local green businesses in Attleborough

I visited two "green" businesses in Attleborough last Wednesday 11 March.


I visited 'Graham Hughes Organics' at the Rookery Farm Industrial Estate (in Besthorpe) in the morning. This is a local family business run by organic pioneer Graham Hughes who has been growing and selling organic produce for over 20 years.  It was great to meet Graham Hughes. Graham and his family have been leading the way with organic produce for more than two decades.


Later, I met the management of Liftshare at their national Headquarters in Attleborough. Liftshare is a 'web-based' company that specialises in finding car sharing arrangements for commuters all around the UK.  It is an oft-cited misconception that we in the Green Party are 'anti-car'.  In fact, the real message that we promote is asking ourselves if our trip by car is necessary.  'Must I drive a quarter of a mile to the local shop and back or could I walk or cycle it?  Could I get a bus into the city or town, or could I take the train, rather than having to take the car?  Are others also going to the same destination I am: could I car-share or 'liftshare' with someone and split the costs, financially and environmentally?'


Liftshare has been running now for over 10 years and is an effective means of finding others who are going to the same destination as you, for example, to work in the morning.  Liftshare makes travelling a more social experience, helps to make a real environmental difference, and helps people split travel costs, which makes great sense during these testing economical times. Probably for that reason, Liftshare are flourishing.

Green Party condemns harsh sentence for Iraqi shoe-thrower [Media release]


The Green Party is extremely concerned at the 3-year jail sentence that has just been handed down to Muntadar Al-Zaidi, for throwing his shoes at Former-U.S.-President George Bush.


Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner and Oxford East Parliamentary candidate for the Green Party, explained why the Party is backing the shoe-thrower:


"Mr al-Zaidi's protest was a courageous, symbolic gesture to challenge the US President's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the mass civilian casualties caused by the war, the use of torture by US military forces and the US attempt to rip off Iraq's oil wealth.


"His heroic action was in the fine traditions of the young men who burned their draft cards to protest against the US war in Vietnam and of the Black Power salutes by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico Olympics in protest at the racist discrimination suffered by African-Americans.


"Mr al-Zaidi's action did not physically harm anyone or cause any damage – only embarrassment to President Bush and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Causing embarrassment should not be a crime. To send him to jail for three years over this protest is wholly disproportionate, and unbefitting of Iraq's new democracy," said Mr Tatchell.


Norwich Green councillor Rupert Read, the Green Party's lead candidate for the Eastern Region in the June 2009 European Parliament elections, who has posted a pair of his old shoes to Gordon Brown and George Bush [http://tinyurl.com/82tq8n ], added, "Is this why 'the allies' invaded Iraq? So that a journalist could be thrown into prison for three years for a brief and harmless bit of free speech?"


Jonathon Porritt endorses Green Party for the Euro-elections!

Sir Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the UK's Sustainable Development
Commission - the most influential and best-known green in Britain - told
journalists today that British politicians were "in a state of cognitive
dissonance" over the ecological crisis.

Cognitive dissonance is the psychologists' term for an inability to make
rational decisions despite being able to clearly see the evidence.

The Green Party, on the other hand, has been right all along, Sir Jonathan

Speaking in Bristol at the launch of the South West Green Party campaign for
the European Parliament elections, Sir Jonathan said that he fully supported
the Green Party and had been a member continuously since its founding.

Sir Jonathan, who was director of Friends of the Earth before taking the top
UK sustainable development job, told his audience about a recent analysis he
had carried out on the 1979 election manifesto of the Ecology Party, the
former name of the Green Party. It showed that 65% of the policies which
were included have now been adopted by the three "mainstream" parties. "We
were right all along," he said. But he warned that the big three parties
still haven't got it right:

"Every single one of the issues that the Green Party has been campaigning on
for the last 35 years is getting worse and worse, which means that people
should no longer put off the day when they accept that the future is either
Green or not at all."

Jonathan Porritt drew attention to the recent negotiations in Copenhagen and
his amazement at the level of shock on the part of normally sober scientists
when confronted with increasing evidence of runaway climate change.

He said he has been unable to make clear his political allegiances while
working as a government adviser but this time around he is prepared to pin
his Green colours to the mast. Joking that he only had four months left at
the Sustainable Development Commission so he was unlikely to be sacked, he
gave a ringing endorsement to the Green Euro-candidates.

A party spokesperson commented: "Now we need all those scientists who are
fed up of governments dragging their heels over climate change to point out
which party has the right policies. Alternatively, scientists can stand on
the a-political sidelines and watch the holocaust that they've predicted
actually happen."


e-Newsletter March Issue

Click on the link to read the latest issue of my monthly e-Newsletter:


Previous issues can be accessed via the links on the left hand side of the blog!

EAC criticises Brown New Deal

'Green New Deal' Fails to Get Funding in Britain, Lawmakers Say

By Alex Morales

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Britain's spending on public transportation and home insulation falls short of a "Green New Deal" needed to forge environmentally friendly growth, a committee of lawmakers said.

A 535-million-pound ($750 million) "green stimulus" announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in November includes only 100 million pounds of new funds, the Environmental Audit Committee said in a report today critical of the plan. Most of the funds are merely accelerated spending on railways and energy efficiency already pledged in future budgets.

"Taking money out of a budget two years down the road and bringing it forward to this year doesn't really count as a 'green new deal' at all," said committee Chairman Tim Yeo, in an interview. "That's very disappointing."

In the U.S., President Barack Obama has pledged to spend $150 billion over 10 years to combat climate change and create "green" jobs. Alluding to the New Deal spending program to bring that nation out of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Yeo said Britain risks lagging behind in developing clean technologies and promoting growth that cuts reliance on emitting greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

"What Obama is doing is right, and it's what other countries will be doing as well," said Yeo, a member of the opposition Conservative Party. "That's right not just for short- term economic reasons, it's right for medium-term environmental reasons too, and Britain is going to look like it's lagging."

The committee recommended the government adopt a target for the proportion of the U.K.'s economic output that should be spent on a "green" stimulus, suggesting 0.8 percent -- or about 11 billion pounds a year -- as a starting point. That stimulus would include other investments, such as subsidies for wind energy.

Energy Efficiency

The 16-person panel, which includes nine members of the ruling Labour Party, said the government's priority for a green stimulus should be to increase the scale and speed of programs to make existing buildings more energy-efficient.

The Treasury responded by saying that the money included in November's report was "only a very small part" of the government's spending on environmental measures.

"It would be wrong to mix up the 535 million pounds of green stimulus that was in the pre-budget report with the 50 billion pounds that we think is a conservative estimate of future investment we are putting into greening our economy," the Treasury said in its reply, which is included in the committee's report.

The committee also criticized Darling's decision to retract a commitment to tax airlines on each flight rather than on each passenger and his withdrawal of another measure that would have increased taxes on higher-emitting vehicles that have already been purchased.

"The use of tax to encourage greener choices has not been fully grasped, and that goes back the last three or four years," Yeo said. "It was even more important to do it this year, and they haven't done it."

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: March 15, 2009 20:00 EDT

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Britain's bank rescues - in photo form

This montage seems to work as an apt
metaphor for the banking crisis. Seems particularly apt when
considering the "rescue" of HBOS by Lloyds. To see the full sequence
you need to click on this:


Southend Airport expansion plans: I'll be speaking at Southend Library against... [Media release]


Press Notice
Eastern Region Green Party
Monday 16th March 2009

Leading Green Party MEP candidate to speak at Southend Central Library against Southend Airport expansion plans - Thursday 26th March
Leading Green Party candidate for the European Elections, Cllr. Rupert Read, will be speaking at Southend Library on Thursday 26th March 2009 against plans to expand Southend airport.
The Green Party is opposing expansion at Southend and other airports across the region because of the adverse impacts on the health and well-being of local communities, the impacts on the local environment and the additional climate-changing emissions from ever more aircraft in our skies.
Cllr. Read will offer alternatives for a sustainable transport policy that will enable people to travel in a way that does not endanger the well-being of others or of the environment.
Cllr. Read said,
"The Green Party would use money intended for airport expansion and channel this into modes of transportation that have a future, and that are truly sustainable over the long-term. Improving the railway infrastructure is the key Green transport policy and we would also invest more in the buses, walking and cycling schemes.
I know from personal experience just how bad the impacts on people can be of living next to a major airport. My mother lives under the Heathrow flight-paths. It is hard to get any proper sleep there at all some nights. And there is no escape from it. Do we really want the same thing in the East of England? Do we want Southend Airport to become a major airport, in addition to all the others that the Government wants to expand in this region, including Stansted ?
If I am elected as a Euro-MP for Eastern Region this June, I pledge to take all necessary steps to ensure that more planes do not blight our skies and our ear-drums through endless aviation expansion. In the meantime, I pledge to support the many people who live in this area who do NOT want a bigger, noisier Southend Airport."
Cllr. Read will be joined by fellow speaker Kiti Theobald of Stop Airport Extension Now (1), and the event will commence at Southend Central Library on Victoria Avenue at 7.30 pm on Thursday 26 March. Everyone is welcome, whatever their views, and attendees will have the opportunity to ask the speakers questions. 



Support the Green New Deal for Europe

Europe needs change and we need your voice to make that change happen. Lets create 5 million jobs – Europe needs a Green New Deal!
There is a way to combat climate change, and there is an answer to the economic crisis. Introducing a Green New Deal we can fight both at the same time. We need policies which will:

  • create green collar jobs for five million Europeans within 5 years
  • mobilise a cohesive strategy for private and public investment in the green economy  that amounts to 500 billion Euros  over the next five years (0,75% of the GDP of the EU) 
  • keep energy affordable
  • help to fight climate change and green the European economy

The Green New Deal will set the European economy on a sustainable path and place Europe at the forefront of the Green industrial revolution.



Saturday, 14 March 2009

Green World Profile

Click on the link below to see my profile in the latest edition of Green World:


Friday, 13 March 2009

Sea level rise: the single biggest issue to come out of the Copenhagen talks

A guest post by James Abbott, GP national climate change spokesman. [Sorry, can't get the links to work... ;-( ]:

Melting ice sheets could raise sea levels high enough to flood coastal areas around the globe by the end of the century, according to scientists gathering in Denmark for a three-day climate-change conference. The phenomenon could affect regions including Florida, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and the Maldives, the British Guardian newspaper reports.

meeting, which brings 2,000 scientists to Copenhagen, is a run-up to December's international climate talks, where officials are set to draft a successor to the Kyoto treaty to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Experts will also update the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which released its findings on global warming two years ago. Some of that new information centers on the effects of glacier melts in Greenland and Antarctica.
Not only are ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica breaking up faster than scientists expected, but more of their melt water is flowing into oceans, which will raise sea levels by 3.3 feet (1 meter) by 2100. The IPCC previously estimated that sea levels would rise by 7.9 to 23.6 inches (20 to 60 centimeters) by then.
A 1m sea level rise would result in large areas of low lying farmland in the UK - particularly in East Anglia, having to be lost to the sea. It would result in decisions having to be made about which communities to defend and which to evacuate. And it would put major towns and cities, including London, at increased risk of storm surge flooding.
The total failure of Governments to act fast enough or radically enough is tragically illustrated today where a High Court decision has downplayed the need to look at climate change in respect of the Government decision to expand one of Londons Airports. The Government has granted consent to Stansted airport to expand by another 10 million passengers per year to 35mppa and also wants a second runway to expand it to as big as Heathrow is today - AND the Government wants a third runway at Heathrow and expansion at many other airports, all of which will increase UK CO2 emissions, totally at odds with the ever louder warnings from scientists.
UK CO2 has barely changed since Labour came to power in 1997 and globally is rising fast.

News Management

In the immediate aftermath of September 11 2001, a scandal broke in this country after Jo Moore, a new Labour special adviser to then secretary of state for transport Stephen Byers, sent an email to colleagues suggesting this was "a very good day to get out anything we want to bury."  Her logic was that, when a mammoth news story breaks, the government has a window of opportunity through which to shunt into a black hole any news that would otherwise make the government more unpopular.  This was classic new Labour news management - completely immoral, but effective. And we've seen similar behaviour over more recent scandals.

The Treasury recently announced that it would insure £325 billion of toxic assets from Royal Bank of Scotland while pumping an extra £13 billion into the loss-making bank.  After bailing out the banks in October with £500 billion of taxpayers' money, these developments must have worried the government.  Would the public be prepared to keep funding the banks, while the banks were still acting as private businesses, were not lending in such a manner as to stabilise the economy, and, in some cases, were still charging high rates of interest?

The government responded by concentrating the media's attention on the pension of Sir Fred Goodwin (above), the 50-year-old recently retired chairman of RBS who will receive about £700,000 per annum for the remainder of his lifetime.  This story hogged the news limelight for the best part of a week, distracting everyone from the real news; the government had further burdened the British taxpayer - now to the extent of a year's GDP.

It is time for the government to come clean and stop trying to hide the truth that, while it has authorised a taxpayer bailout of the banks, the way it has done it means that neither the taxpayer nor the government will be able to keep them in check.  It is a very clever trick to hide this terrible truth behind fulminations from government ministers against the greed of the bankers, as though there were nothing wrong with the system.  But it is now time for them to stop banging on about Goodwin and start the real task of reorganising our entire banking system in the public interest.


Stansted High Court Decision

I'm calling today for a further legal review of the Stansted airport decision announced today at the High Court, following a four day hearing held at the end of February, the first day of which I attended the court. The hearing considered a challenge by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) to the Government's decision to allow expansion to 35 million passengers per year.
In handing down his judgement, Justice Sir Thane Forbes dismissed the three grounds for Appeal by SSE but also appeared to agree with them that their arguments were justified; ie that issues they appealed on were legitimate areas for consideration in planning terms, including noise impacts.
SSE are now seeking a further Appeal as this judgement appears confusing.
The judge appears to be saying that noise is a legitimate area for consideration but then goes on to throw out the Appeal which was based on just such concerns. If this expansion goes ahead, or worse still a new runway, noise blight over large areas of Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will dramatically worsen, which as far as I am concerned as the prospective Green Party MEP for this Region, is a totally unacceptable impact on people's health and wellbeing.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


A Norfolk cinema will be one of a few exclusive locations hosting the satelite linked launch of the climate crisis film 'Age of Stupid, at 6pm on Sunday 15 March.  The film is being launched at a solar powered cinema tent in Leicester Square, London and beamed to 80 UK wide locations including the Eden Project in Cornwall, and Cinema City in Norwich.
Norwich Green Party City Councillor, Rupert Read helped arrange the Norwich showing. Many local community leaders and politicians have been invited to the premier.
The film stars Oscar nominated Pete Postlethwaite as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from  2008 and asking 'why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?'. All profits from the venture will go the 'Not stupid' campaign which aims to turn 250 million viewers into activists focussed on the Copenahagen international climate negotiations in December 2009.
The film is winning acclamation and is considered by many to be more effective than 'An Inconvenient Truth' which was brought to fame by former US vice president, Al Gore. One paper called it  'the first successful climate change film to reach the big screen.'
Green Party Councillor, Rupert Read, said: 
''Norfolk has scooped a lead over many prestigious locations to host The Age of Stupid.  I urge everyone to see this film when it is available more generally, and join the millions demanding that politicians must act to prevent climate disaster.
''The recession is a serious crisis but runaway climate change would threaten human existance itself, if governments don't act significantly and immediately to create a low-carbon world economy. The Copenhagen climate conference in December may determine whether, a few decades from now, our children and grandchildren refer to these times as the 'age of stupid' and mourn our mistakes - or whether they think of now as the moment when we started to turn the tide in favour of our preserving ourselves and our children.''

The NOT STUPID campaign

Not Stupid aims to turn 250 million viewers of "The Age of Stupid" into climate activists, all focussed on the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, when the successor to the Kyoto Treaty will be finalised. Supported internationally by all the key climate NGOs, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF and Stop Climate Chaos, the campaign will utilise a range of cheeky  postmodern tactics – including the already infamous "Stupid certificates" and the "Matchmaker" dating service which will introduce viewers to their best-fit activist group – to persuade people off their sofas and into action.   

Save Quality Local Journalism in Norfolk

As you may know Archant Norfolk is looking to shed 54 journalist jobs from its newsrooms - around a 1/3 of staff. I believe that this will seriously impact the coverage which the EDP and Evening News and the weekly papers such as the Lowestoft Journal will be able to provide.

To show your support, please sign the Downing Street petition below:


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Southend meeting against airport expansion!

Worried about what the extension at Southend Airport could mean for South East Essex?

Want to hear about the alternatives for a sustainable transport policy that will enable people to travel in a way that does not endanger the well-being of others or the environment?

Come to Southend Library on Thursday 26th March 2009 at 7:30 p.m!

Key speakers:

Cllr. Rupert Read - Green Party’s lead candidate for the Eastern Region in the European Elections
Kiti Theobald - Chair, Stop Airport Expansion Now

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A Goodwin way to bury bad news

EADT: 'Greens eye Euro seat'

Monday, 9 March 2009

Going to another great Green Fair!

I will be going to Hadleigh Green Fair this coming Saturday afternoon. Join me there!! Here is a write-up of it in advance from Ipswich Green Party:

Green Party Members See Green Shoots of Recovery

No, not the economy… Spring is coming! Bulbs are sprouting and bushes are beginning to bud. The snowdrops are fading and daffodils are taking their place. Walking in the parks and fields, with the sun shining and birds singing, its difficult not to feel a sense of optimism, and the Hadleigh Green Fair next Saturday (14th) should be a  great way to get outside and enjoy the new season.


With the new surge of energy in the natural world I feel a new sense of urgency about the pressing problems we face. According to the new economics foundation we have used 7 of our 100 months to save the planet from catastrophic warming. . .

So let's think global and do something local:


 Hadleigh Green Fair 14th March

The Hadleigh Green Fair promises to be one of the best Green Events of the season. Foot-tapping live music will be performed throughout the day, in the heavenly timbered medieval Guildhall, by the popular local band Sleeper Cell. Mediterranean gypsy folk music by Corner House Trio will float into the enchanting Mad Hatters Tea Garden where homemade cakes and Gemma's Spring broth are provided by Café Green. Blue Sky Pink are also there, giving you ambient jamming music with a kick.


There will be an exciting range of craftwork stalls offering Fair-trade gifts, organic healthcare and skin products, hand-printed greeting cards, children's wear, decorative glassware, ceramics, and gifts and accessories hand-made from recycled and organic fabrics - and our very own Hadleigh Thrift Shop.


Hillside Organic Farm Shop will be there, as will the Hadleigh Local Food Initiative, Elmsett Greenlife Grove Scheme and Orchard Barn Environmental Centre. Somewhere in the beautiful enclosed garden, you will find Richard King basket making and Richard Bates working his pole-lathe demonstrating green woodturning.

At every turn, you will encounter exhibitors explaining how you can save energy, save money and save the planet. Ian Bowers of Aran Services with a solar water heating display; The Green Edge exhibition of micro-generation and solar water heating; the sustainable building materials store Earth and Reed; John Taylor with C Red (Carbon Reduction) and the Energy Saving Trust; other experts explain Master Composting and Recycling; and Ray Wand of Sustrans promotes cycling in and around Hadleigh.


Come along and join the fun. Free admission – donations welcome.


Hadleigh Green Fair  Saturday 14 March  10am-4pm  The Guildhall  Hadleigh.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

' Worst economic collapse ever'

This is fascinating and seems prescient.
But he is wrong to talk about buying gold, I suspect. The crisis that we are
now in is moving more toward survival than toward pointless luxury bits of
Buy renewables, maybe?

RR's 1 minute Green manifesto for the East of England - on TV!

Goto http://tinyurl.com/c3vs8w ; 47 minutes in is my '1 minute manifesto' for Euro-09!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

A 'SUCCESS'-story of the free market: manmade climate change...

 Nicholas Stern has famous remarked that 'climate change is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen'. But this increasingly-popular dictum is quite mistaken.
 Dangerous climate change is a result of markets working well: because, when markets work well, what they do is ruthlessly exclude 'externalities'. The brutality, 'efficiency' and amorality of the market mechanism is precisely that: sell what can be sold, and grab for free whatever is 'common' to all...
 Manmade climate change is the greatest 'success' of the untrammelled free market the world has ever seen. So much the worse, obviously, for the free market...
 We need a new paradigm, if we are to save our common future. A judicious mix of strong government intervention and regulation, rationing (e.g. of carbon), and localisation, is the way forward - not the neoliberal nonsense peddled still by Stern and so many others.
 Without such a new green economics, the climate conundrum will certainly become a climate catastrophe.

'Quantitative easing' - an important thought:

Here is my excellent green economist colleague Molly Scott Cato, on 'quantitative easing':
'In Japan the government sent money created in this way to citizens, who are likely to spend it and stimulate the economy directly. Here the government buys the worthless assets of bankrupt financial institutions. Since UK plc is not in its entirety worth even a fraction of the debts that were incurred during the decade of asset bingeing this is a policy of despair that cannot work and will do nothing to help us avoid the looming Depression.
'The Green Party has had a policy of Citizens' Income for about 30 years. This would be an ideal way to put more money into the economy, especially since the poorest would benefit most and are the most likely to spend rather than saving. Money created by the public should be invested for the public good. Other alternatives would be spend the money on building hospitals, school and our rail network.
'Let's not be distracted by the bleating about controlling the outrages of overpaid bankers. What we are witnessing in our economy this week is a massive transfer of wealth to those who least deserve it.'

Rupert and Peter in Shropshire Star!

Wish Shropshire was in Eastern Region! ...  ;-)

Boris at PQT - rattled on airports

A message from my anti-airport expansion colleague, Anne-Marie Griffin:

"The Thames Estuary Airport proposal was mentioned in the
environmental questions the other night - but Boris ducked out of addressing
particular issue: this would be a good one to push him on in the future.
Particularly if they think they can expand Southend/Stansted at the same
time. Where do they propose to put the flights?

"Boris got very rattled when asked about his double standards in regard to
airports and London City: it was the only question he did get very rattled
about and I think that was a good sign for us to continue to pursue and push
him to re-think his mad plans for aviation in the east."

Anne-Marie Griffin
Chair, Fight The Flights

1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: March 2009 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.