Sunday, 29 June 2014

My thoughts on the European Union's future direction

There has been much coverage recently of British Prime Minister David Cameron's rejection of new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a Euro-federalist from the centre-right European People's Party who was Prime Minister of Luxembourg for almost 19 years. Notably, only Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban-in some ways worse even than Mr. Cameron-rejected Jean Claude-Juncker as well, with all the other leaders of European Union member states (these leaders are mainly EPP-affiliated as well) supporting Mr. Juncker here.

I have also learned, worryingly but not unexpectedly, that within the European Parliament, that the EPP, S&D, and ALDE groups have formed a grand coalition within the European Parliament, giving themselves a total of 479 seats out of 751-enough to push through at least the major provisions of TTIP and any other pro-neoliberal legislation.

So,it is true. The terrible neoliberal triad, whose components are respectively led (de facto) by Juncker, Schulz and Verhofstadt has united after all, which ultimately will be woeful for the people of the European Union, ourselves included, in the long-term.


Do not worry, though. If we the people fight together, throughout Europe, we can achieve real change for the future, especially with many national elections in European countries coming up next year (Sweden's next general election comes up later this year). This not only includes Britain, but also in all likelihood includes Denmark,Finland, Portugal and Spain, whose next legislative elections must take place before the end of 2015. There and then, we can all demonstrate a need for real change, and an end to the current direction of pro-corporate Euro-federalism that Jean-Claude Juncker, much like his predecessor Jose Barosso, clearly wishes to follow. I believe Europe needs to move in a greener direction, and become less of a union and more of a confederation where European states can meet to discuss continent-wide and worldwide issues, but where European states have the autonomy they need and thus are not subject to coercive influence from pro-business lobbies like the ones that have helped shift the EU in the direction it has been following ever since the passing of the Maastricht Treaty.

Alan.














 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Local by-election results from June and other thoughts of the day

Ladies and gentlemen, the results of the only two local by-elections from this month to feature Green candidates were as follows:

South Lanarkshire, Clydesdale South (1st preferences): Labour 1492 (40.8%), SNP 1170 (32.0%), Conservative 659 (18.0%), UKIP 233 (6.4%), Green 104 (2.8%).

Barnet , Colindale (actually a deferred election): Lab 2098 (average of 3; 67.9%), Conservative 462 (15.0%), UKIP 308 (10.0%), Green 117 (3.8%), Lib Dem 103 (3.3%).

Notably, the Colindale ward election was deferred because it was one of our candidates who had died-Jessica Yorke. Unfortunately, despite the fact I have spoken with many members of Barnet Green Party so far, I never got to meet Jessica before she died. I would like to say that Jess, we did our best for you (by coming ahead of the Liberal Democrats on aggregate) and we will remember you. 

As a graduate who is still seeking work, I feel that it is important to note that the fact 18,000 graduates are still unemployed six months after graduation, and that most of these have arts or humanities degrees, shows not only our nation's failure to treat education properly but also its excessive bias towards sciences and other more academic subjects. Both art and science of all types need to be valued in order for our society, and any human society for that matter, to function properly, and in particular the science of psychology needs to be more utilised for society to become more understanding and more coherent, and also more equal. I believe that a Green society can value both arts and science, and help ensure people can study to enjoy knowledge, not just to get a job-education should not be exclusively geared towards work.

Alan.





 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Deregulation Equals Danger

Earlier this week, George Monbiot in the Guardian warned about the dangers in the Infrastructure Bill, which as usual has been given scant if any coverage by the media. However, in combination with the Deregulation Bill, which has also received almost no media coverage, it is one the biggest dangers to the rights of the people of Britain that has ever been created by any British government.

Both the Deregulation Bill and the Infrastructure Bill seek to ruin our environment and democratic rights just to suit the arch-neoliberal agenda of the Con-Dems.

The Infrastructure Bill, and Deregulation Bill, if passed, will together, in Britain:

- Repeal important planning laws that protect Britain's natural spots and SSSIs
- Allow fracking under people's homes without their consent
- Require even bodies such as the Forestry Commission to promote economic growth above all else, even when it is clearly detrimental to their real priorities
- Repeal important environmental duties
- Remove our rights to open and democratic consultation over developments such as new roads
- Remove the requirement to take climate change into consideration in any new major planning developments e.g. new roads
- Delegate road planning powers to unaccountable 'strategic highways authorities', which will only be appointed by the Transport Secretary-not by the people or even Parliament.
- Allow the sale of any public land, including land needed to be kept public for environmental reasons (e.g. forests and beaches) to virtually anyone,including developers
- Effectively trample over public rights of way that have been enjoyed in many parts of Britain for so many years.

All these reasons stated above are why both these laws need to be opposed all the way, and stopped. Deregulation equals danger here; our land must be safeguarded and protected for the public good.

If you find any petitions that are against the dangerous provisions of the Deregulation Bill and/or the Infrastructure Bill, please sign them and share them.

Alan.

 


Monday, 23 June 2014

Green Songs and Poetry: BBC, oh BBC

Hello, I have written a poem in light of the right-wing, pro-establishment bias the BBC has notably shown so far this year (and also before, of course), and their failure to give fair coverage to objectively important pieces of news such as the People's Assembly Against Austerity march.

BBC, oh BBC:

 BBC, oh BBC,
Your biased cameras never shine on me,
Despite your claim of impartiality.
Notably in elections of twenty-fourteen,
Your camera never zoomed in on the Greens.
Even though they had a good alternative,
You decided just to be lame and derivative.
BBC, oh BBC,
You instead adored and fawned to U K I P
Even though they have not one MP.
So much airtime did you give to Farage,
Voters stayed home due to the purple barrage.
Despite UKIP's misogyny and racism,
You gave them praise not real criticism.
BBC oh BBC,
You also give praise to dirty fracking,
Even when it will make the earth start cracking.
So BBC, yes BBC,
Do not be such an establishment nerd,
Show some respect and let everyone's voice be heard!
 
I hope you like this anti-BBC poem of mine-please share it!
 
Regards, Alan. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

On the People's Assembly march of 21 June

Yesterday, on 21 June 2014, aka the summer solstice of 2014, the People's Assembly Against Austerity staged their national demonstration outside Broadcasting House, London, which is notable as the headquarters of the BBC- aka the biased broadcasting corporation. Over 50,000 people turned out that day, myself included, and we had a good march to Parliament Square near the House of Commons. We had also come from all manner of left-wing groups and unions, including the Green Party, Left Unity, the Socialist Party, Counterfire, the National Health Action Party, Unite, and the Fire Brigades Union, and not just from London but from sometimes as far away as Bath and Yeovil.

Many great speakers spoke there in addition to Romayne Phoenix, who de facto leads the People's Assembly, including Caroline Lucas, Russell Brand, Christine Blower, Francesca Martinez, and many others. Although I attended the march I sadly did not stay for the entire event, as I had come there from a summer gathering run by a group called People and Planet which had lasted for a week, and I wanted to get home and rest, particularly after having learned that day that England have already been eliminated from this year's FIFA World Cup.
 Nevertheless, I enjoyed the march, particularly in the company of Young Greens who had attended (Siobhan, Charlene, Thom, Amelia, Adam, Rosie, Jasmine and Benali) and I am pleased the People's Assembly can at least help to bring people together to unite against the establishment-not just the three main political parties but also the mainstream media, the large corporations and the major banks.

Despite the popularity of the march, and the fact it started outside BBC headquarters, the BBC refused to give us even a minute of coverage- BBC bias strikes again. ITV, Sky News, and disappointingly Channel Four were also complicit in the media blackout. I am pleased for RT (Russia Today) covering our march, and I believe alternative news stations need to spring up more across Britain so that there is a fair spectrum of news stories-the BBC appears to be cherry picking stories and not even trying to uphold its claim of 'official impartiality' these days.

Alan.

 

 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

All about TISA

Ladies and gentlemen, if you have been keeping track of news from left-wing sources, you will already know about the dangerous Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which are part of a global corporate power grab to effectively give multinational corporations the ability to override any democratically elected government anywhere these agreements cover. Nations participating in these agreements have done their best to keep these negotiations secret from the general public who will be affected by them.

I have now learned about an even more secret proposed agreement- TISA, the Trade In Services Agreement. Wikileaks has revealed that a clause within TISA means that it cannot be revealed for five years after it has passed. 

It is the third prong of this global corporate power grab that is planned to manifest in full by the end of this year- which I will refer to as the golden trident of greed, an allusion to the golden calf of Biblical legend. TISA will expand the General Agreement in Tariffs and Services (GATS), a key pillar of the infamous World Trade Organisation (WTO), even further in the nations involved in the agreement. TISA will, if passed:

1. Prevent any necessary reforms of finance in signatory nations, even though most of these signatories were severely affected by the Great Recession.
2. Severely hamper privacy of our personal data by allowing it to be shared freely by online companies.
3. Lock-in privatisation of almost all public services-TISA, like TTIP and TPP, will almost certainly include an Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
4. Stop any further regulation of markets and finance, in general.

It is clear that like TTIP and TPP, the TISA must be stopped, by any means, as soon as possible. And as with TTIP and TPP, transatlantic cooperation will be needed- transatlantic problems like these 'free trade agreements' require transatlantic solutions to stop them.

You can find more about what has been leaked about TISA if you search carefully.

Alan.

 

 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Good ways in which to make British politics actually democratic

There has been much debate in the House of Commons recently at granting voters a supposed 'right of recall' to recall their MPs. However, it appears at present that the proposed Recall Bill will be a farce, especially given the fact that under the proposed terms of the Recall Bill, consent of MPs will be required for the recall to be valid, which runs counter to its democratic purpose. 

This is a highlight of how fundamentally rotten British politics really is, with its nepotism, backroom deals, bribery, unfair representation, unelected second chamber, and lack of real meritocracy. All this turns many voters off, especially in urban areas where turnout has been particularly below average over the last 20 years.

Here are 8 great ways to make Britain a truly democratic state: (and not a semi-feudal relic)

1. First and foremost, abolish the monarchy and all hereditary titles (Duke, Marquess etc.). Privilege and power based simply by happening of birth and not on merit and hard work has no place in a modern and democratic society at all.
2. Abolish the House of Lords. It is unelected and unaccountable, and effectively controlled by the leaders of major political parties, who can use it as a home for failed and/or retired politicians. Also, many nations now have unicameral legislatures (which is what happens in local governments in most countries) anyway, and the lack of a second house to escape to will be a good incentive for our public representatives to perform well.
3. Abolish the first past the post system (FPTP) for all elections and replace it with a fair and honest system. I suggest Single Transferable Vote (STV) which works very well in Ireland, and allows for both parties and independent candidates to have a fair chance of getting their message across to the electorate.
4. Take the influence of money out of politics. The varying deposit requirements (£500 for Parliamentary elections, £5000 for lists wanting to stand in European elections in the UK) to stand in UK elections above local level are not effective at deterring frivolous candidates and unfairly disadvantage smaller parties, and independent candidates, especially those with disabilities. Business donations to parties should also be prohibited, as is the case in Canada.
5. Introduce new laws, and tighten existing laws, requiring media outlets to give fair coverage to all parties contesting elections, not just those who support the media outlets' viewpoints. This will importantly mean the Green Party and other minor parties can get a fair chance for their voice to be heard, which infamously was not given by the BBC or OFCOM.
6. Allow Swiss-style referendums on some major issues, especially over what happens to our public services. This way, once public services are returned to public ownership, which needs to happen as soon as possible, the public will be able to use the ballot to stop them ever being privatised again.
7. Give local government more power, and more control over their finances, especially the power to raise their own money. A centralisation-focused system regarding local government is unfair and inefficient, and wrongly puts local councils at the mercy of Whitehall and the Local Government Secretary. 
8. And finally, allow the possibility of recalling MPs, as I mentioned above, if they grievously misrepresent us, the electorate.

This will be very useful not only for the Green Party and also minor political parties, but also for Great Britain as a whole.

Alan. 


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Foul! How the excessive influence of money ruins the beautiful game

Ladies and gentlemen, the FIFA World Cup of 2014 starts tomorrow in Brazil, in case you were not paying attention. I watch matches mostly out of support for the English football team rather than support of the game of football itself. 

I feel the need to comment on sport here, as news of the scandal over the awarding of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar has been helping expose the corruption, cronyism, and lack of accountability within FIFA,and in many football associations in general. Qatar, for such a small country, is notorious for its very poor record on workers' rights (especially those of migrant workers), its absolute monarchy, and its poor record on human rights in general. Corruption and vote-selling was also a serious problem in the awarding of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Russia.

Even this year's FIFA World Cup has shone the spotlight on the negative consequences of Brazil's grand preparations for it. Widespread protests have taken place in many Brazilian cities, especially Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, over poor living conditions, poverty levels of pay, and Dilma Rouseff's government's failure to tackle them when it has the public money to build expensive football stadiums just for the World Cup. 

Particularly since the 1980's, corporate and banking sponsorship in football, in England and elsewhere, has been responsible for the alienation of many football fans, and also of many non-Premiership football clubs going bankrupt or at least losing their place at national level (e.g.  by slipping into the Conference League from the Football League). The Premier League in Britain has been funded by Barclays Bank for many years, which explains why many famous British footballers are ludicrously overpaid, and it also explains why tickets to many football games are heavily overpriced and now unaffordable to many football fans. Many of England's Premier League football clubs themselves are owned by oligarchs or business tycoons, who are much more interested in profits and enriching themselves than in  thesport. Football teams should be owned by their fans and their players for the benefit of their fans and football itself, not by dodgy and corrupt investors like Roman Abramovich (who owns Chelsea FC).

The sponsorship of a major beer company, Budweiser, of the World Cup has also led to Brazil drafting a 'Budweiser Bill' to concede to FIFA's demands to allow alcohol sales in football stadiums; this is not only currently banned in Brazil but also many other countries, simply for health and safety reasons and to reduce crime, which is a serious issue in the beautiful game. The main problem with FIFA is its elitist, undemocratic structure-it lacks any real accountability to football fans anywhere in the world, or even to each nation's FA sometimes.

Sport has been a major part of human life for thousands of years-it needs to be freed from corporate sponsorship and influence in order to remain viable to a wide audience, which is what it was intended for. Co-operative ownership of football clubs by football fans would be a great start to achieving this and also helping the sport truly reach the public once again, as would banishing influence by large corporations in any football game, as sometimes this can amount to match-fixing in practice, and making sure players were not underpaid (as they are in many clubs) or overpaid (as they are in the Premiership), but nonetheless still motivated to keep football games exciting for them and their fans.

Alan.

 





 


Monday, 9 June 2014

My tribute to Rik Mayall

Today, admired British actor Rik Mayall, famous for his acting roles in such British sitcoms 'The Young Ones', 'Blackadder', 'The New Statesman', and 'Bottom', sadly died today, aged just 56.

Even though most of Rik's acting was before I was born, I admired his style and ability to easily satirise within British sitcoms. It is his role as uber-Thatcherite Conservative MP Alan Beresford B'Stard in 'The New Statesman', which I will remember best personally. Rik was able to satirise the worst of the Thatcherite-era intake of Conservative MPs rather effortlessly and fluently in this role. Here are some of my favourite quotes from 'The New Statesman':

(phone rings, Alan B'Stard answers): Hello, Alan B'Stard, biggest majority in the House of Commons!

Constituent (angry about the fact Alan B'Stard is asking for a £500 fee): But you're my MP! 
Alan B'Stard: So what? You would pay me if I was a doctor, or a solicitor, or Cynthia Payne!
 
Alan B'Stard (explaining about the raiding of charity boxes): It's quite simple Piers. The more money we can find in these charity boxes, the less the government has to spend on the poor and the old.
Piers Fletcher-Dervish: That's awfully callous.
Alan B'Stard: Of course it is,Piers. That's why it's Conservative Party policy.

Rik Mayall also had a starring role as a creepy, imaginary friend to Lizzie in 'Drop Dead Fred' back in 1991, and in the lesser-known film 'Guest House Paradiso' as a bad guest house co-owner, in which his long time friend and fellow actor Adrian Edmondson also starred. Adrian more famously starred as punk Vivian in the same 'Young Ones' series in which Rik played self-styled anarchist and spolit brat Rick.
  
Whilst Rik ended up in a coma in 1998 as a result of a quad bike accident, his passion allowed him to continue his acting career up until his death earlier today at his house in Barnes, Richmond-upon-Thames.

So, I give my farewell to Rik Mayall, taken from us so unexpectedly and tragically.

In memory of Richard Michael Mayall, British actor and comedian, born 7 March 1958, who departed this life on 9 June 2014, aged 56 years.

 



 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Making the case for a united left movement in Britain

Ladies and gentlemen, collusion of the mainstream parties in Britain, at least at local level, has reached new lows. Labour has allied with the Conservatives and UKIP in Portsmouth to form the new administration there, and yet another grand coalition has been formed, in Yarmouth. Even though in both cases they are only shutting out another establishment party (the Lib Dems in Portsmouth and UKIP in Yarmouth), it is also clear establishment collusion elsewhere is being used to limit the impact of honest Green Party councillors as much as possible, especially in Brighton where we form the (minority) administration but where Labour and the Conservatives have regularly colluded to prevent us achieving our progressive goals there.

Although the left-wing vote in Britain is growing, it is often split, usually by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, or by other local left-wing groups such as Lewisham People Before Profit. Given that the right-wing establishment parties clearly have no qualms colluding with each other when they feel they can, and the fact they have much greater resources than we do, the left-wing resistance in Great Britain must rally round and unite together-now.

Occupy and the People's Assembly have so far been useful banners of resistance in times of austerity, but we must also unite electorally as well as on major demonstrations, because the ballot box is our greatest means of getting our voice heard, and showing people across the entire UK there is indeed an alternative to austerity after all. With only eleven months left until the next general election of the UK-which will be one of the most hotly contested in decades-and with austerity and neoliberalism getting worse and worse, and with both the Greens and TUSC having been able to field collectively, this year, (though sadly not in even informal alliances) the biggest left-wing challenge in British local elections since World War Two, this is the best chance the left within Britain has to unite, to get out the vote and end the LibLabCons' rule over us. There are many similarities between Green supporters and 'hard left' supporters (e.g. both of us oppose the current neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy, both of us want real democracy in the UK rather than the flawed democracy we have, both of us want important public services brought back into public hands) so therefore we should ally to drive back the pro-neoliberal parties.

Unity between left-wing parties in Europe is frequent, and has achieved useful results, as I have said before. It proved particularly useful in Ireland back in 2011, (as a coalition between People Before Profit, the Socialist Party of Ireland, and the Workers' Unemployed Action Group of Tipperary) allowing a socialist voice to enter the Dail for the first time in many years, and had the hard left remained united in Ireland, it would be even stronger now. I am also sure that unity between the Green Party and the better 'hard left' groups will mean that left-wing voters will have a greater chance of being properly represented, especially with the first past the post system Britain is still stuck with-and also, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which means a combined effort between us and socialists will have a greater chance at local and national level of ousting incumbents from the LibLabCons. With the rise of UKIP, the right-wing vote is split more than ever-we must not for Britain's sake allow the left-wing vote (Labour does not count as being part of it,by the way!) to continue to be split in elections.

I believe, therefore, that we Greens should use the opportunities we can to bring Left Unity (who cooperated with us in the 2014 European elections,somewhat), TUSC, and other significant left-wing parties in Britain into a red-green alliance that can collectively field candidates in every single constituency in Britain next year and be a real challenger to the LibLabCons and UKIP.
Power to the people, not to the bankers!

Alan.





Friday, 6 June 2014

My analysis of the Newark by-election 2014's result

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first time I have watched an election count live, albeit on BBC iPlayer. It took until 3.45 am to declare the result, as the returning officer kept needing to talk to the 11 candidates taking part for one reason or another.

Anyway, the votes cast in the Newark by-election of 2014 were as follows:

Paul Baggaley, Independent, 1,891 (4.9%)

David Bishop, Buss-Pass Elvis Party, 87 (0.2%)

Nick The Flying Brick, Official Monster Raving Loony Party, 168 (0.4%)

Andrew Hayes, Independent, 117 (0.3%)

Roger Helmer, UKIP, 10,028 (25.9%, +22.1%)

Robert Jenrick, Conservative, 17,431 (45.0%, -8.9%)

David Kirwan, Green Party, 1,057 (2.7%)

Michael Payne, Labour, 6,842 (17.7%, -4.7%)

Dick Rodgers, Stop Banks Owning Britain's Money, 64 (0.2%)

David Watts, Liberal Democrats, 1,004 (2.6%, -17.4%)

Lee Woods, Patriotic Socialist Party, 18 (0.05%)

I was worried for some time that recently re-elected UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, notorious for his anti-LGBT comments before and during the campaign, would score a surprise victory given the circumstances surrounding the Newark by-election and Labour's decision not to try to win Newark. However, in the end, it was Robert Jenrick who was celebrating, because the last time the Conservatives won a by-election whilst in government was back in 1989-and in an even safer seat, Richmond (the one in Yorkshire). Roger meanwhile did not even have the dignity of achieving the highest increase in vote share or highest vote share for UKIP; Diane James MEP (who was interviewed in the final hours leading to the official result) still holds both records which she set at Eastleigh. Nonetheless, Robert still saw the Conservative vote share drop from 54% to 45%. Michael Payne for Labour was pushed into third place with only 17.7%, showing that Labour's decision to not hot-pedal Newark was not a very good decision in the end.

It was the Liberal Democrats who took the real beating in this by-election, though. They lost their deposit for the third by-election in a row, and their vote share loss of 17.4% was as bad as that in Wythenshawe and Sale East. More importantly, we, the Green Party, have come ahead of them-the first time we have beaten the Liberal Democrats in a by-election since 1989, and the first time in six years we have beaten one of the three establishment parties in a by-election. Given the lack of a Green base in Newark, and the lack of good media coverage, our 2.7% can be considered an acceptable by-election result.

One disappointment in this by-election is independent hospital campaigner Paul Baggaley, who with 1,891 votes did not quite manage to save his deposit, despite coming a good fourth out of the eleven candidates who took part.

In the coverage of the by-election result, right-wing pro-establishment BBC bias showed its ugly face again-even though it had accepted that the Liberal Democrats had finished sixth, it showed their result separately (and also showed the Labour, Conservative, and UKIP results separately), whilst the Greens' result and Paul's result were lumped in with 'others'. Also, BBC This Week did not interview our candidate, David Kirwan, once, whilst it gave a large amount of interviewing time to Diane James, and even to the unfortunate Liberal Democrat candidate, David Watts.

As for the other five candidates who took part, Nick 'The Flying Brick' did surprisingly well for a joke candidate, even though he is from Derbyshire and not Nottinghamshire. Lack of media coverage was to blame for the poor result of disability rights campaigner Andy Hayes, who did actually try his best. David Bishop was quite far behind the Lib Dems despite bets being taken on him to beat them in the last days of the campaign, on the grounds he beat them in a local by-election in Nottingham earlier this year. One-man band Dick Rodgers' return to by-election campaigns has not gone well at all-he achieved his worst ever election result. It was the Patriotic Socialist Party, a renamed United People's Party, that got the by-election wooden spoon-in fact their candidate, Lee Woods, did so badly that the 18 votes he polled is the lowest of any candidate in any of the parliamentary by-elections that have taken place since the Con-Dems took office in 2010.

I hope you find this to be a good by-election analysis.

Alan.



 





 



     

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Why green socialism is needed for true meritocracy to occur

Ladies and gentlemen, I did manage to do somewhat well in my psychology degree in the end, and will now give a piece on how green socialism can help ensure real meritocracy in society.

The reason for writing such a piece is this: by chance of birth, something we have no control over, I came from a middle-class background and all of the rest of my immediate family (my parents and brother) are university educated, which gave me unfair advantages in terms of life chances compared to children from poorer backgrounds whose parents lacked university education. Children who were privately educated (I was state educated) have the odds stacked even more in their favour, simply by chance of birth rather than real merit.

In the Independent, columnist James Bloodworth detailed how meritocracy is a myth and that 'the poor will always stay poor and the rich will always get richer'. What James does not mention is what is responsible for the failure of meritocracy in practice- the neoliberal capitalist system we live under.

The only 'merit' free-market capitalism ultimately recognises in the end is the ability to continue making money-not knowledge or anything else. It is the capitalist system which entrenches privilege and which is responsible for enormous wealth gaps in the USA and the UK (and elsewhere in the world), which are some of the most pro-free market nations in the world. By contrast, the traditionally social democratic (but still not socialist or explicitly green) nations of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have better rates of social mobility and their wealth gaps are also better than those in the USA and the UK.

As Thomas Piketty pointed out, as wealth concentrates, so do opportunities, as has been shown particularly over the past 30 years.

Green socialism can achieve real meritocracy for all the following reasons. Firstly, a green and socialist society will ensure fair wealth distribution and a comparatively very strict pay ratio; secondly, a green and socialist society will make sure no one has to pay for higher education (or any stage of education for that matter); thirdly, a green and socialist society will make sure we have a sustainable economy, encouraging people to conserve resources, use them efficiently, and also act in a more empathetic manner towards each other, and finally, a green and socialist society will give more help towards people with disabilities by giving them the help they need to achieve their fullest potential. People with disabilities are the most disadvantaged people in society under capitalism,and they make up 10% of the population in the world.

Therefore, by voting Green,and electing more Green MPs, you can help ensure Britain can become truly meritocratic.

Alan.





Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Gettng the media to shine the spotlight on us Greens

Whilst I was looking for work in the not-for-profit sector, the Green Party's candidate for the Newark by-election, David Kirwan, thankfully got rare coverage from the biased BBC to get the anti-austerity and green message across to Newark, particularly important as it is the first time we have stood in Newark since 1992. It has been reported in a related story that there apparently have been internal BBC memos instructing reporters to deliberately under-report the Green Party during the May elections.

Other notable examples of media bias include Sky News lumping us with 'others' when giving the final tally of British MEPs, even though it is known that we Greens have 3 MEPs and the Liberal Democrats only have 1 MEP, and Channel Four giving an hour long documentary exclusive to UKIP leader NIgel Farage and Channel Four waiting very late to give us a slot for our party political broadcast-there was a week where it gave Labour, Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP a five minute broadcast slot each but not us. Although The Independent, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, and Morning Star have been kind enough to give us some useful coverage, their combined share of the media market is much less than that of the right-wing mainstream media combined (Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun etc.) who are blacking us out completely, and also other parties who are not one of the main four (Lab, Con, Lib Dem, UKIP).

The issue of media coverage is becoming more and more important to us Greens, particularly with a 38 Degrees petition against biased BBC coverage,created by Brightonian Young Green Portia Cocks, having gathered 40,000 signatures and counting as I write (we just need to push it to 100,000 plus!), and a recent Lord Ashcroft poll polling us at 7% in general election terms, and crucially above the Liberal Democrats' polling of 6%. (meanwhile, YouGov, who also distribute a lot of polls, keeps lumping us in with others) This is the first time we have polled above the Liberal Democrats in a general election poll, and it shows more and more people are warming to our message of hope not fear.

I hope the hard work of David in this by-election will mean we can surprise the media by achieving the 5% of the vote needed to have our deposit returned-difficult given that the East Midlands has never been that good in terms of Green potential.

Alan.