The Green Party

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Post Office letter published

Published in the Sutton Guardian.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Airport expansion insanity

Given the state of where we are with climate change alone, I would have thought that any plans to build another runway at any major UK airport is little short of insanity. Let alone at Heathrow with all the additional issues of noise, pollution, traffic congestion and general disruption, plus the little matter of bulldozing an ancient community. The major parties, who as proponents of Globalisation all support aviation growth in one form or another, are doing their best to appear as champions of the antis. Boris is opposed here but wants another airport East of London, God help us. Ruth Kelly trots out the usual New Labour/Tory mantra that the economy will collapse without more airport capacity, while as usual the LibDems ‘bottom fishing’ tactics to trawl up all the available votes is apparent, supporting regional airport expansion, welcoming the growth of Glasgow Airport, (the latter being a classic of LibDem doublespeak), but opposing Heathrow expansion because that’s what plays well locally. John Gummer’s recent views about airport expansion might give one a glimmer of hope that the Conservatives may have seen the writing on the wall but you’ve only got to look at the reaction amongst rank and file Tory Rottweilers to see what the mood in the party really is, which is rather depressing.
The Green vision here is simple: more and more mobility is unsustainable. This doesn’t mean doom and gloom about declining quality of life: it’s an opportunity to reject Globalisation, which is NOT inevitable, and embrace more localised economies. If we are serious about tackling Climate change (and I see little evidence that we are at the moment) we are going to have to do a good deal more than taking a few trips to the bottle bank or lobbing a few quid at dubious Carbon offset groups. Airport expansion is an obvious test of that commitment.

Lib Dem Lucky Dip

LibDem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick is a real chip off the old block when it comes to his party’s ‘Goody bag’ policy lucky dip tradition- his broadside against the higher C-Charge for Chelsea tractors fits uneasily against the London Lib Dems’ stated support for charging. Or does it? Well it all depends on who you read, of course; Party economics spokesman Chris Huhne:
Some say green taxes would shrink with changes in behaviour, thereby undermining tax revenues. But that is to misunderstand the economics: London's congestion charge has to be high if it is to continue to change behaviour. Taxes on fuel, cars and planes are no different. The object is to steer emissions to sustainable levels through tax incentives
So that’s clear then isn’t it? Ah but Lynne Featherstone, that noted intellectual has also spoken out against the charge, and so have Edinburgh Lib Dems who have taken to the streets against it in defiance of the party’s written policy. Just goes to show that whatever your views on Congestion charging (or the Euro, Airport expansion, incinerators, just as with by-passes, the Trans-European Road network, M74 upgrading etc etc, there’s a LibDem for you. Isn’t that comforting?

*The references are here

* for edinburgh reference