No one ever moves to the left when they’re elected!

Hull Friends of the Earth hustings at Bricknell were really good yesterday with a few memorable occasions.

Over the two hours, I brought up a number of issues:

  • ADM closing in Hull on July 1st and how British jobs aren’t being defended by Labour. Vestas. Cadbury’s.
  • How the banks bankrupted the world and could do it again…
  • Record inequality under Labour for a generation
  • How PR is good enough for Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq… but not for us…!

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Other points I made  included:

  • “Economy” – as the “rules of the house” must be redefined
  • Banks DON’T “balance” their books – the system of leverage means some banks were lending (literally creating money) at the rate of 80 times their assets!!!
  • Oil decline, topsoil degradation, overfishing, decline of species should all be acted on too rather than getting hung up on aspects of the climate change  debate.  Don’t miss the wood for the odd tree!
  • Government missing its own targets on climate change

The Tory Victoria Aitken made hay claiming she wasn’t a professional politician, however that didn’t stop David Davis from using her as his very able campaign manager in the infamous Haltemprice byelection.

Our voting system makes life very difficult for most voters. Greens want PR using a STV system (single transferable vote).  Many wonder how to use their vote? Should they bother? In most seats half the votes don’t count, and – like our vote – if Greens had 10% of Parliament, we’d have 67 MPs. Instead of none!

Denis Healy (LD) did list a number of things which are Green Party policy: target of 20 children in a classroom, elected House of Lords, breaking up the biggest banks. I shall have to bring a flashcard saying “Green Policy” to hold up next time, especially when he says “We’re the only party who…”

I said: Use your vote – but it’s only a cross in a box! It won’t work miracles. We ourselves have to MAKE the society we want… THEY won’t.

A question on UK food security allowed me to stress our actual abundance of food but also our completely oil dependent agriculture. What happens when oil declines??  We need to get ahead of the game and incentivise going organic.  In the UK neither do we have energy security.  We rely on coal from around the world – and it’s not fairtrade either!

Diana Johnson MP (Lab) is very proud of her almost PERFECT Labour voting record. She defended this by saying the people of Hull North elected a Labour MP. This is fine – as long as all the people of Hull North are content with all of New Labour policy… Which they aren’t.  In fact we are all victims of so many aspects of it!

I’ve commented to Denis that Greens have probably more in common with LD policy than ever before this time round. I must get someone tro do a chicken and egg analysis and see who’s nicking who’s.  If we get a hung Parliament we’ll see how much we can trust this from a still devoted capitalist party.

The big difference for me is commitment.  Denis did once say he was even prepared to “bat for scrapping Trident” as he put it (previously). This is great to hear.

On the other hand, as a Green, I’ve been arrested over it twice.

Roll on next hustings:

Hull University: TBC

Hull Baptist Church, top of Chanterlands Ave: 7.30pm Sunday 25th April.


7 thoughts on “No one ever moves to the left when they’re elected!

  1. Hi Martin

    Sounds like a great hustings – great points made. What is the Green Policy for SME’s – how can they be supported over the next two years? eg. tax (NI/VAT) – Corporate tax breaks for micro-companies?


    • Hi Delia, (updated)

      Greens are fans of SMEs; they’re small, local and part of the community. Better still if they are imaginative, creative and inventive, use resources well, including water and energy, and pollute least. Greens wherever will seek to support and incentivise these in a variety of ways. Our plans for VAT won’t really affect SMEs as a whole. We do seek to end zero rate VAT on new houses so that conversions and renovations are as competitive. On NI we would scrap the upper limit on contributions (to raise money) and help lower earners by raising the NI threshold to the personal allowance rate (£124.52 a week). The biggest change is probably with Corporation Tax. For big firms we raise it from 28% to 30%. But the small firm rate we reduce to 20%.

      But rather than focus on VAT or NI our major policy now is a Green New Deal. We’ve costed £4 billion a year to put into people’s homes – to insulate, for free, everywhere, lofts and cavity walls, to bring all properties up to best green standards with low energy use and waste, and savings on energy bills.

      The investment above leads to an estimated million jobs in the end, including building new, affordable, warm housing to these standards. As one of the biggest industries, and involving engineers, plumbers, joiners, decorators, insulators this would have a positive knock-on effect on a good deal of trade.

      It ticks many of our boxes but it’s particularly designed for this recession and is our major short-to-medium term policy. Long-term we seek to make recessions history and create truly sustainable jobs, industries and societies.

      Hope this helps!
      Green New Deal

  2. Dear Delia
    Obviously you and Martin know what “SMEs” are, but I don’t and I can’t be bothered to spend time finding out. How many seconds would it have taken you to spell it out in full? We all have to be sure that everyone who reads what we write knows what our abbreviations mean before using them.

  3. Philip. so others are responsible for correcting your *wilful* ignorance? A polite request for clarification I at least might treat with some sympathy, but actually admitting that you “can’t be bothered” to look something up (and perhaps even get a more nuanced understanding of a concept than could be offered by a simple acronym expansion) begs the question of what else you “can’t be bothered” to understand.

    • Now gentlemen! Of course as a teacher it’s my job! 🙂 OTOH, I think one of the alienating things about politics, putting aside the corruption, the wars and the worship of the elite… is that it’s very complex, with any number of initiatives, policies – and acronyms. Now I really must answer Delia’s query!! Yours, Martin

  4. Dear Philip, ah yes, the wonderful world of TLAs…. SME stands fro small and medium sized enterprises. These are favoured by Greens in opposition to the overweaning power of the huge transnational corporations (TNCs), 5 of which control 80% of food trade, for example.

    (TLA is 3-letter acronym. :))

  5. I just think that things flow much better if we can write and talk in ordinary language. Apparently SMEs mean “small and medium-sized enterprises”. Well, why not say that, or, better still, “smaller firms”. Otherwise, people will just be put off and, whether we like it or not, will not be bothered to find out what we are talking about.

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