Saturday, 27 November 2010

AVATAR PROGRAM Exclusive | First-Look Excerpt from the Extended Cut

Labour's new policy reviews: announcement imminent - including in areas such as 'Loneliness'

Major Policy Reviews will be announced today by Labour (see ) including in unconventional "areas" such as 'Time-poorness' and 'Loneliness'. This is a dramatic development; it partly explains why Miliband's team came out in favour of Cameron's stuff about 'quality of life' the other day.
Labour's tentative sidling away from its standard pro-growth agenda (see already here ) is an opportunity for the Green Party: For it speaks to 'our' issues; it puts us in a good position once again to show that we are the Party that has been ahead of the curve here (in terms of work-life balance, the well-being agenda, relocalising and so building community, etc), and that we are the Party to trust on this issue. It is good to see Labour starting finally to catch up with us a little bit on this...
 p.s. Did you see a few days ago, Rupert's Readers, this poll that has Greens on 10% for next May, in our 'target constituency' in Wales?: More than enough to elect our first Assembly Member!: . If we break through into Wales, then we will at least be represented in every nation of these islands - a distinction unmatched by any other political Party.

Friday, 26 November 2010

A 'reprieve' from dangerous climatechange?

I debated Mike Hulme last night, as part of the UEA Public Lectures on 'Philosophy and the Environment'. It went well. But my fear is that some people like Mike's work so much, because it appears to offer them a reprieve. Mike's work suggests that it is somehow OK for us to disagree about manmade climate change. But the parameters within which it is OK are limited. If we go on disagreeing much longer, we'll be arguing underwater...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Clegg: a true liberal

Clegg is the true face of liberalism, as Willetts was before him. It is high time that egalitarians admitted this, and ditched Rawls as their patron philosopher. Goodbye to the political philosophy of liberalism, which has acted as an apologia for the disaster triumphant of climate-chaos, financial metdown, rampant inequality, etc. . It is a new socialism (eco-socialism) that we need, not Rawls/Clegg.
Check out the interesting ongoing discussion here, about this:  .
Rupert Read
Green Party Councillor, Norwich.
[If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on rupertread+mob AT]

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Myself and Mr. Clarke in discussion

Culture of Countryside logos-2



The Countryside and Cultural Change


Conference, review and discussions

Sainsbury Centre,

Garden Restaurant

Friday 3rd December 2010


                                                Review of Culture of the Countryside, summary of its methods and findings:


5.30 – 6.30                           Keynote Lecture and discussion


The countryside and cultural change – from localism to  globalisation?

                                                Dr Sanna Inthorn, School of Political Social and International Studies

Discussion led by:

 Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke (Visiting Professor, School of Political Social and International Studies & former MP for Norwich South) &

 Dr Rupert Read, School of Philosophy & Green Norwich City Councillor.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Does environmental science need philosophy?

There will be a UEA Public Lecture on Philosophy and the Environment this Thursday, 25th November, at 7 pm in LT2. This is a debate between Mike Hulme and Rupert Read on environmental science and philosophy.

All welcome.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

"Not killing people pays" says UN... Woohoo!

Nice to see the UN 'leading' on this one... Sheesh

"Preventing deaths and destruction from disasters pays, if done right," according to the 250-page report by 70 experts entitled "Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters."


"Losses will triple primarily because you have economic growth and ... more people and property located in richer areas. As people get richer they have more to lose," lead author Apurva Sanghi told a telephone news conference.


[Doesn't this rather support my general thinking -- see e.g. my recent post about 'ecosystem services' -- about the problem with putting everything into financial terms?]

Saturday, 13 November 2010

What are the Labour Left for?

"The Labour left's role is to establish connections, in periods of Labour opposition, with other 'progressives' - they always do it, and it invariably ends in recrimination and disappointment when the disciplines of Labourism are reasserted on return to power!" -
An important, provocative remark from Andy Pearmain, Norwich-based Gramscian historian, formely a Labour Councillor, now with us (the Greens)...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Environmental thinking: a digest of my recent pieces, in case you've missed 'em:

The change we need: To escape permanent crisis

If we are to avoid being in a permanent ecological crisis, breaching the limits to growth, there are two over-arching requirements that our political, economic, legal etc. systems must observe:

1) 11 1) They need to involve genuinely long-term thinking, long-term planning. (We need and feel to think the needs of the 7th generation, and beyond.)

2) 22 2) They need also to be able to be rapidly-responsive to swiftly-changing environmental conditions, when those arise; e.g. to potential ‘climate surprises’, and in general to the need to change systems fast which are fuelling ecological threats that we have very limited time-spans to avert.

As soon as one reflects honestly upon the nature of the systems that we do in fact have, one realises just how dire a situation we are in, and how dramatically we need to shift our energy in order to give ourselves a chance of bringing about the change that we need in order to escape the crises currently staring us in the face, and in order not to jump into the frying-pan of endlessly succeeding crises (e.g. those which would be caused by our having no solution to the huge nuclear waste problem, by our hoovering up the tar sands and oil shales, by the ever-lengthening supply-lines and ever-diminishing sense of community implicit in the project of globalisation, etc.).

For this is the nature of the actual systems that we have:

1) They are incredibly short-termist. We think largely in terms of ‘business-cycles’, electoral-cycles, etc., at best. These are far shorter than the time-scales with which nature works, and upon which our descendants are hanging, as by a thread.

2) And yet they are also remarkably slow to respond to swiftly-changing environmental conditions, when those arise: A huge inertia is built into our energy-infrastructure, into our business and ‘market’ systems, into our politics. Think for instance of how difficult it has been to get the hydrogen economy or electric cars take seriously. Let alone shifts (e.g. to a steady-state economy, or to permacultural methods of agriculture) which require more fundamental alterations to the status quo. Or think of how poor many of our ‘democratic’ / electoral systems (case in point: First past the post) are at making feasible rapid change in the fundamental political forces in a country (FPTP makes it almost impossible for any new Party to grow at anything other than a snail’s pace).

Think of how conservative so much of our mind-set tends to be: We look to make the minimum possible reforms, as slowly as possible, to keep our system(s) staggering along, thinking only of the short-term as we do so.

If we are as a civilisation going to survive this century, and to put ourselves on a long-term path toward survivability and a culture that will last as permanently as is humanly possible, then we need to change this.

This is going to be very hard: for the very reasons indicated here! Fundamental features of our political economy, perhaps of our very psychology, militate against it.

That just makes it all the more important that we set our minds firmly to it. For the alternative – failure to change (1) and (2) – is clear. And disastrous.

We need in effect a revolution, or a linked set of revolutions. The kinds of change that occurred when Copernicus displaced Ptolemy, when the British or the French overthrew their monarchies, when slavery was abolished. Perhaps the revolutions that we need are even greater in profundity than those. No matter: we must make them nevertheless, for on our doing so our futures and those of our children depend. We can have a world in permanent ecological crisis, or in a state of collapse: or we can have a world in which we flourish, through changing radically the systems within which we operate. Those are now the only realistic options.

Business as usual with a few light green bells and whistles to decorate it is no longer an option.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Candidate Training Day, Suffolk

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

How to support our troops in Afghanistan - Bring them home

It's right that we should honour our war dead. But it is terribly important that such remembrance doesn't get confused with the cause for which they fought. Because sometimes (e.g. WW2) that cause is more honourable than others (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan).
The British soldiers who are now dying in Afghanistan are not in reality dying to preserve our peace and freedom. They are dying to save the government's (and the Americans') face, and to prop up a corrupt unelected puppet regime in Kabul. This is a terrible betrayal. Our government is lying to them about the cause for which they are fighting.
It's important that we don't betray them by pretending that the cause for which they are fighting is democracy, peace and freedom.. It's important that we remember them and their fallen comrades, especially at this time of year. And it's equally important that we support our troops in the best possible way we can: by undercutting lies about what the occupation of Afghanistan is really about, and by bringing them home.
p.s. For more info on what the 'war' in Afghanistan has really become, information which sadly you won't hear on the BBC, read the scintillating piece nested here:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Cath Elliott to speak to Greens, tomorrow night!

Come and see Cath Elliott, renowned Guardian blogger, speak to Norwich Greens, Tuesday night (tomorrow), 7pm, upstairs in the Marlborough Arms (Sewell, Norwich North), about feminism and blogging. Free!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

You couldn't make it up

This article will do the FibDems' reputation the world of good. This beats even the most extreme lying bargraph handsdown for chutzpah!
This MP is going to seriously regret writing this. He is already being savaged in the comments, and on Twitter.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

20 questions to a blogger (me)

Check out my new '20 questions' profile piece, part of Paul Burgin's long-running series over at Mars Hill:
[Do make comments over there rather than here.]

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The fees disgrace - blame LABOUR

Let's be very clear. It was LABOUR who opened the floodgates to the university tuition fees debacle that is now being imposed on our country. The LibDems have allowed it to happen; the Tories made it happen; but it was Labour who commissioned the Browne report, and it was Labour who set the whole thing up in the first place, by imposing top-up fees. As soon as the argument had been made by Charles Clarke that it was right for students to pay a substantial amount toward their higher education, and that higher education free at the point of delivery was going to be a thing of the past, then full-scale marketization became inevitable. It was only a matter of time. I made this argument at the time, as did Ian Gibson. We have, sadly, been proven right by today's news that the ConDems are going to bring in variable fees of up to £9k.
It is LABOUR who need to take the blame for having created the conditions for this dreadful outcome. (And it is only the Green Party (and the Nats, etc.) who come out of this with clean hands: see!/TheGreenParty)
So: come the next election, let's all be clear about that. If you want to punish the LibDems over this, then there is no point in voting Labour.

New blog rankings: Left rises, Right falls.

Community litterpick organised by Green Councillors in Wensum ward (my ward)

The litterpick is to take place on Sunday 7th November from 2.30pm, in the heart of the North Earlham / Larkman estate:

Green Party Councillors are organising a community litterpick in the Cadge Road area on Sunday 7th November at 2:30pm, meeting initially outside the Grove Pub.
Lots of people have been concerned about the amount of litter in the area and the litterpick is a great way show how much people in the community care about the issue. We will be inviting local businesses and community organisations to come along and take part and we will provide all the equipment to ensure that residents who help out are safe and clean! If _you_ would like to come then email me (or comment here) so we have an idea of numbers - but do feel free in any case just to turn up on the day.
We're doing this just to make a difference, but we're also doing it to put pressure on the owners of the Grove Pub site to tidy up the litter on site. They have been asked to do this by Green Councillors and by the neighbourhood manager. The site is frankly in a pretty terrible state, and that makes it harder to keep the area as a whole in a tidy condition. If we take a lead on cleaning up the street around this eyesore, then hopefully the site owners will feel more of an obligation to play their part, too.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

OneWorldColumn online relaunch!

 The one world column is dead? NO! Long live the OneWorldColumn! We are going on, by ourselves, post-EDP...

Unpredictability and resistance

If you, dear Rupert's Reader, want to check out what I argue to be the in-principle limited predictability of human behaviour, based on 'reflexive' considerations, then you could do worse than to look at my 'There is no such thing as a social science'. But more directly relevant, in that it specifically discusses the environmental case (which my book does not) is the series of brilliant papers in this area by Larry Lohmann: for instance, ,

Monday, 1 November 2010

How to protect the future, now that the Sustainable Development Commission has been abolished?

My evidence to Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee on my idea for Guardians for future generations, with strong powers:

1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: November 2010 4. 12. 15. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Rupert's Read

22. 23. 31. 32.