Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Support the William Morris Gallery

Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the online petition:

"Support the William Morris Gallery"

hosted on the web by, the free online petition
service, at:

I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
signing yourself.

Here is a link to the excellent William Morris Internet Archive

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Elections coming

Readers of Brit political blogs not resident in Scotland, England or Wales may find that postings from party political types from these nations may be thin on the ground at the moment as we are in the period for nominations (until 4th April) for the forthcoming elections in May. Local politicos are running round getting their signatories and filling in forms to deliver to their local council officers before the deadline.
The elections are for local councils, and in Scotland and Wales the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.
Greens are hoping for a good vote and will hopefully have a number of candidates unsurpassed since the surge of the early 1990s. The hope is to pass the symbolic 100 principal authority councillor mark.
There is an interesting discussion board, originally set up by a Tory, but now with participants from all the major currents and parties to be found at
Apologies if my postings are less frequent over the coming weeks in the run up to the elections.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

TUC Social Policy Forum : The Welfare Reform Bill

Just time for one very important link tonight - read THIS on the TUC Social Policy Forum deliberations on the Welfare Reform agenda by Louise over at the Socialist Unity Blog.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Some interesting links

Thanks to Brian on the Green Left lists for the link to this interesting interview with Arundhati Roy in Common Dreams taken from Tehelka.

Jim of Daily Maybe blogged from Green Party Conference - his last three blogs on it are

What Kind of Party?

Green Left Fringe and

What Did You Think?

Well done to Jim for keeping us up to date!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Important Motions Passed At Green Party Spring Conference

A number of important motions, some potentially far reaching in their effects, were carried by the Green Party conference.

The hotly debated "leadership" motion was passed, meaning that there will be a full debate at the Autumn conference in Liverpool in September, followed by a full ballot of the membership in November on whether the Party want to replace principal speakers with a leader and deputy leader.

The motion proposed by fellow Green Left blogger Councillor Matt Sellwood to commit the Party to opposing new ALMOS (Arms Length Management Organistions) in housing and to defending housing stock retentions was carried. Well done Matt and everyone who worked for and voted for this motion! Whilst on the subject it is worth mentioning that the latest Defend Council Housing news bulletin has just come out, and includes on the final page 'Ten Questions For Council Election Candidates'.

Another significant motion that was carried was the emergency motion put forward by Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) members in defence of the NHS in the light of the recently announced pay awards for nurses and others in the NHS and ongoing difficulties around the country. The motion restated the Green Party's support for a publicly owned and controlled health service and ended with a call for support for the proposed summer National demonstration:

"We call for full support for a National demonstration against NHS cuts and privatisation and for the fullest possible publicisation of this position by the relevant sectors of the party."

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Siân Berry Gives Keynote Address To Green Spring Conference

Female Principal Speaker Siân Berry gave her keynote address to the Green Party of England & Wales Spring Conference in Swansea today.


Six months is a very long time in politics.

Since we last met in Hove we have entered an odd time.

Nothing is as it should be - much like the weather.

Like a political fashion show, party leaders are strutting down the catwalk showing off their latest clothes.

And we know whose designs they are copying

Whose clothes they are trying to steal.

But the reality is they haven't changed.

They don't understand that Green isn't a sharp new suit you can wear for a few days.

It has to live in your heart and in your head.

We can all tell that they haven't had a change of heart.

But the fact that their heads haven't grasped the practicalities of what needs to be done is astounding.

It's not as if they haven't been shown the evidence.

Two reports in the last six months have shown that climate change is coming out of the lab and into our daily lives.

The fourth report of the IPCC was truly frightening.

And Stern's economic review put the case for urgent action in a language that even George Bush can understand.

The IPCC gave us a stark warning to expect the worst.

It told us that the tipping point of a 2 degree rise in temperature is a virtual certainty if we don't act now.

Stern showed us that ignoring climate change won't pay

That not investing is a false economy.

And that spending money now is the only thing that will ensure against poverty for all of us in the future

The publication of these reports has at last put climate change on the media's daily agenda.

4x4s are on the way out, and now even airlines are feeling the heat.

Concern for the planet is reaching places I never thought it would.

Even the Sun and the Daily Mail are on the case and asking Greens to comment.

In this new atmosphere, Green achievements are being recognised like never before

On a growing number of authorities, Greens are putting their vision into practice. In Oxford, two million pounds over the last three years has been spent through the city budget on measures to improve energy saving and cut climate change,

thanks to Green councillors holding the balance of power.

In Kirklees, 30,000 homes are getting free insulation

thanks to budget measures devised by Green Councillors

And in London, more than £150 million is being spent this year on measures to help Londoners live more lightly on the planet.

Thanks to the influence of Green Assembly Members

Thanks to their effective veto over London's budget for the past 3 years, London is now on course to be the greenest major city in the world.

Among a long list of innovations, London will see

- a quarter of its energy needs generated locally

- a fleet of new hybrid buses

- renewable energy powering the tube

- and a crash programme of insulation - provided cut price to everyone and completely free to pensioners and those on benefits.

This is all down to the hard and skilled negotiations of our brilliant Green London Assembly Members,

Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones.

Without principled politicians like Darren and Jenny, London would be a much grimmer place.

That's why we are in the Green Party

That's why we are standing in elections

To get into positions where we can make these things happen

We're not here just to protest.

We're not here to stand on the sidelines and ask nicely.

We're here to take votes and win power from the other parties.

And make the changes that will shape the future in a way that makes everyone's lives better.

A future where climate change is being halted.

Where the planet is treated with respect and social justice underpins the way we run our lives.

That's why we stand in elections this year, next year and every year

To undo the inheritance of 20 years of inaction by Tory, Labour and LibDem politicians

Those parties are just now, at the last minute, getting around to thinking about making changes

They, and the media are finally realising that the last minute is this minute - now

That's why we in the Green Party have a moral duty to win elections

We know that the other parties won't do enough

They have proved they lack the courage that is needed to take the big steps

And will continue to delay

Continue to pretend that fundamental changes to our wasteful, consumption-driven society are unnecessary

While the last seconds of the last minute tick away

The other parties aren't up to the job

But we too need to look at ourselves hard.

Are we up to the job?

can we really do it?

The answer is, we have to.

There's no choice.

No other party has the policies.

No other party has the principles.

It has to be us.

And there is a way to make our voice heard beyond our most successful towns and cities.

There is a way to show we have the clout of a serious political party

And that is to challenge every single politician in the country.

The duplicitous, the dangerous, and the 'just don't get it's

Challenge them at the ballot box

At the next general election, we could stand in every constituency in the country

Stand in all 549 constituencies in England and Wales

to give people the right I believe everyone should have.

The right to vote for what they believe in.

The right to vote Green.

By doing this, we would show that we have come of age.

That we truly are the alternative to the three old parties.

And challenge the idea that we are marginal to this country's future.

That's a very big idea and I can't tell you how we'll do it.

But I do know that I'd rather fight from now to election day to get us every possible candidate as possible,

than let the other parties have a free ride.

That's why today, conference, I want to open up a debate about going for a full slate of candidates.

It's a big job and a difficult choice,

And in the end, it will be your choice - because it will take your hard work to do it.

You'll need to find candidates, support and funds

The party can help, but it's you, the members, who will need to go out and stand in these constituencies.

The party can improve its central fundraising, but it's you, the members, who will have to raise most of the deposits.

Can we do it? Six months ago, I would have said we probably could.

But since becoming principal speaker, since having the chance to meet more of our amazing and talented people,

Since visiting local parties like St Albans who have already done it.

Now I am sure we can do it.

And what about this year?

In these elections four years ago we made extraordinary gains.

- We doubled our representation in Brighton

- We created large green groups in places like Norwich, Lancaster and York

- And we saw a sevenfold increase in members of the Scottish Parliament

This time we are heading for even more impressive gains.

We can repeat our successes in Oxford, Kirklees and London, and hold real influence in many more towns and cities.

We can seize the balance of power on more councils this year

We can overtake other parties to become the official opposition

We can win our first Assembly Members in Wales - as we have done with Brian Wilson's magnificent victory in Northern Ireland

We can even look forward to seeing Greens in government in the UK for the first time in Scotland

People are turning to us

We will benefit from that

And we owe it to the people of Britain to bring Green governance to their doorsteps

In their councils, their regional assemblies, and then at Westminster

Because, in order to see real money diverted to combat climate change, we have shown we need Green politicians in power!

That's why we are gathered here in Swansea,

where we are expecting our first Green Assembly Member in Wales in May - Rhodri Griffiths.

And that's why many of us can't wait to get back home

to canvassing

talking to voters on their doorsteps

showing them what Greens will do with their support

Together, we will be spending the next 6 weeks attacking the monopoly of the establishment parties

So let's get out there and get people to vote Green!

And remember, we have one world and one chance to get it right"

Jim, who is blogging from conference, comments on the two Principal Speaker speeches here.

He has also blogged on how Green Party Conference is organised here, the debate on democracy and localisation here, and Green Party Executive structures here.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Derek Wall Speech To Green Party Conference

Here is the full text of Derek Wall's rousing first speech to Green Party Spring Conference as Male Principal Speaker, given this morning:

Good morning conference

What do we expect from politicians' conference speeches, from Blair, Brown, Campbell and Cameron?

We expect comforting lies.

I believe we must break with conventions in many ways. I am going to try and give you some disturbing truths. It is not enough to say we are right and they are wrong. We have to get political in a deeper sense than self congratulation.

I am going to talk about catastrophe and resistance, about the differences between new green and real radical green politics, about the two contrasting pathways we can take in the Green Party.

My 27 years in the Green Party has been about fighting catastrophe. The late Mike Woodin fought against catastrophe; the great historian EP Thompson, who I listened to in my first party conference in Malvern in 1980, fought against catastrophe. Green politics is about avoiding catastrophe on this planet and moving towards an ecological sound, socially-just, peaceful and democratic society.

Catastrophe is the title of a play by Samuel Beckett. He is not seen as political playwright, but he worked for the resistance in Nazi occupied France. His most political play written in 1982 is Catastrophe, about totalitarianism, the destruction of nature and resistance. I am going to talk about the catastrophe on this planet and how we resist - through ideas, through culture, through winning elections, through direct action.

The catastrophe is about war and imperialism.

Four years ago Britain and America invaded Iraq. War in Iraq has killed 650,000 people, according to the magazine The Lancet, with the destruction of cities like Fallujah, and with the human rights abuse of Abu Grahib.

Now they are saying that Iran is developing WMDs and contemplating more bloodshed.

The privatisation of Iraqi oil revenues will see the spoils of war divided between the oil companies.

Billions of pounds in profits are made from weapons, and the corporations recycle them back to political parties.

In Britain, BAE may be going green by producing lead free bullets, but their weapons and planes still kill on a frightening scale.

The bribery scandal, with investigations of alleged BAE payments to Saudi Arabia, and which was halted by the Blair government, reveals the truth.

They stand from top to toe in blood, shattered bones and entrails. And in this week's budget, an additional £400 million of public money was set aside to fund 'defence', a euphemistic way to describe spreading more on death and destruction in our name.

Trident will cost as much as £70bn, spent on mega death. This destructive waste, spent on an instrument of terror, could have instead been used to abolish student fees and fund public services, with money left over to meaningfully tackle climate change.

The US has intervened over 40 times since 1945. It is said that Iraq would never have been invaded if it had grown carrots instead of oil, but in 1954 the CIA removed the government in Guatamala because they stood up to the US based United Fruit Company who were concerned with bananas. And in 1973 the communications company ITT had Allende murdered in a coup in Chile.

The catastrophe is ecological. We have the highest level of co2 in the atmosphere for 600,000 years, the warmest winter since 1834.

The risk of runway greenhouse effect is terrifying - as the ice melts, more heat is absorbed by the earth; as the permafrost melts, millions of tonnes of methane will be released, accelerating the warming. Mass extinctions will occur, sea levels will rise.

The climate scientists James Hansen argues we have 10 years to take radical action.

At the same time, even if we halt global warming, commercial fish stocks are likely to be gone by 2040, the great apes by 2050.

Indonesia has the fastest deforestation rate in the world, with palm oil plantations crowding out the habitat of orangutangs. Palm oil is in everything from margarine to biofuel.

There are dozens of other ecological cycles that are under threat, as well as thousands of species. The natural sinks of carbon in the forests and the seas are being absorbed by the economy and made useless.

Whaling is on the agenda again. Non human species mean nothing. Green politics is about respect for all creation and creation is being battered by a highly organised system of greed.

The catastrophe is economic. The more we produce, the more we consume, the more we waste, the longer we commute...the more the economy grows. Profit and growth are everything. Human life and nature are nothing.

Capitalism is a secular religion, a fundamentalist religion....its priest, obsessed with a puritanical desire to get its all working harder for the economy, is Gordon Brown.

Education is about preparing us for work, the olympics is about boosting the profits of McDonalds, Tescos are going to be running doctors surgeries.

Accumulate, accumulate is the Moses and prophets. But how can our economy grow forever, when we consume 52 million barrels of oil a day and growing? We cannot keep consuming at this rate.

Gordon Brown's model of commercially responsible humanity, the US, are profligate, producing 20 times the co2 of the worlds average citizen. The mathematics behind western civilisation simply don't add up. But tell an addict to cut their habit and they get angry.

Everyday, politicians are tightening the tornique and mainlining on petroleum. They can't see the truth, blinded as they are by corrupt desires.

Corporate globalisation means companies outsourcing to the parts of the globe with the lowest wages and the poorest environmental standards. Cutting corporation tax is another step towards reducing the tax burden on big business - a step in the wrong direction from Brown.

Even if we could ignore the ecological realities, we face global economic catastrophe. The highest wages in the US, the most developed nation on Earth, are 400 times higher than the lowest wages. The share wages as a percentage of GDP is falling globally.

Wealth creates poverty. In the USA, African-Americans have lower life expectancy than many in the developing world.

Corporations are legally required to maximise profit, they do so even if it kills.

Tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans each year.

The first convincing link between smoking and cancer was established in clinical and epidemiological studies in the 1950s, so the Tobacco companies knew they were killing more people than many many thousands of serial killers!

Did they care?

They cared about dividends, investments and bottom lines. Phillip Morris funded think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute to muddy the water about tobacco.

CEI have now done the same for Exxon, spreading lies about climate change.

The catastrophe is political. We have new green, the painted-on environmentalism of Cameron, Campbell and Brown united, yes, by ecotaxes but also by support for nuclear weapons and the insanity of ever increasing economic growth. They use accountancy to pretend they are doing something - its more like pushing the food around the plate than eating up the problem.

We have carbon off-setting in Brown's anti-carbon legislation, where we pay others to pollute less so we can pollute more. Can you imagine nicotine offset, where you smoke 40 a day and pay someone else to give up, where you pay for nicotine education and awareness programmes in China rather than giving up!?

Carbon offset in both Brazil and Uganda involves enclosing land and oppressing local people. You fly, buy a tree on stolen land, and feel less guilty! That does nothing to prevent climate change.

Given war, inequality and ecological disaster, civil liberties are threatened and politics has become more and more about control; managed democracy where we have less and less say, where personality games are used to lull us to sleep; where our every movement is watched; where our every movement is watched.

I predict micro chipping for foetuses, I predict like George Orwell's 1984, that televisions will be watching us soon, not the other way around.

Who would have believed that we would be watched hundreds of times a day by secret cameras, or that the CIA would fly prisoners out of scotland to torture chambers? Every day John Reid is looking for new excuses to send asylum seekers back to repressive regimes....I guess we are moving towards a repressive regime in Britain with ID cards. Even London's Oyster travel card is used to track our movements.

Resistance is essential, but how do we resist?

Resistance is about ideas.

We have to think hard about strategy, about getting there. My time in politics has been an almost continuous meditation on strategy, on what works. I have a PhD in political sociology, and PhD in trouble making.

I think sometimes we are so worried by the threats to our planet by the multiple catastrophes, that we don't think about how we can change things.

Politics is the art of the possible. I won't tell you anything but I will try to provoke. To fight the war against sleep, we must think ever more deeply if we are to succeed. Guess what? I don't think having a leader will deliver success.

Resistance has to be about culture.

When they are most successful, movements take new ideas, new social codes and put them into the mainstream. We have to make respect for the planet part of the political consensus and change our lifestyles. To change culture we need to make it easy for people to be green.

Congestion charges going up, and rail firms like SW Trains are causing their 16 million passengers to face 20% rise in fares, while their owners are on the rich list with £395 million profits.

Cheap public transport and local services are essential.

Lead by example - teach our kids to cook, grow where we can, enjoy being green. Positive cultural change - not sacrifice.

One thing that angers people rightly is when environmentalists lecture them about flying less and then rush off to green conferences by plane. As Principal Speaker I no longer fly - it cannot be justified.

Resistance is about direct action. It's in the manifesto, it's essential. Non violent direct action is a way of dealing with inbalances of power from companies and the wealthy elites who have huge power. Direct action can slow, stop and reverse the wheels of the juggernaut.

Direct action by greens halted the roads programmed, and used by Gandhi freed India. Your help on April 5th at Exxon's headquarters at Leatherhead will help in the fight against global warming.

Resistance must be based on winning elections. We have to bring in the policies, from renewables to ending arms sales to promoting a democratic economy.

2046 is too late; and already we are winning. Kirklees produces carbon budget amendments, Green GLA members with green jet-setter Ken Livingstone.

I was the first to predict NI assembly gains, and this year I predict are sister parties in Ireland and Scotland will make gains and participate in government.

Rhodri Griffths, with your help, will be a member of the Welsh Assembly.

Green politics is about taking political power and introducing a new green economy based on meeting needs instead of corporate greed. We have to change the structures, and we can do that by electoral success.

We have come a long way from the 1970s but we must not rest.

Its never ever easy. Anyone who promises you easy success is wrong.

But we do have a choice. We can embrace our own form of 'new green' politics which is shallow, falsely pragmatic and market friendly. Or we can deepen our green, stick to our principles and change the world so we have a world.

I believe that choosing a leader will be a step on the way to irrelevence, to new green. You may disagree but I don't think being called leader makes anyone more persuasive or more articulate, wiser or more intelligent.

I do think being called a leader has the potential to corrupt. I look forward to being replaced as Principal Speaker by someone better but I will mourn if speakers make way for old style ego led political figures.

I have no easy answers, I won't tell you any comforting lies but I know my history and I can recognise a trap, however well disguised.

The fact that we are not organised like a 'proper' party, when the big parties are increasingly seen as bunches of liars, hypocrites and suits on the make, can be (if we handle it right) a positive benefit to us. As George Monbiot wrote: "I think much of the Green Party's refreshing distinctiveness rests on the absence of a single leader. It's one of the only parties which really looks like a party, rather than simply an apparatus of power designed to sustain those at the top."

Virtually every radical movement in history has been sucked in and domesticated. Socialism led to Stalin and Tony Blair. The Romans deposed their kings, built a republic and replaced it with Empire. Jesus preached humility but, under Constantine, Christianity was used to christen an autocracy.

The history of struggle is one of repetition, with radicals bought off, killed off or brain washed into submission. John Prescott used to be a union man, Gordan Brown used to be socialist. Politics can be like a gerbil cage you go up and up and up to the top slot but with compromises to get their you crash back like the fallen radicals.

Green politics cannot fail - we have a world to save. If we win power but at the cost of our ideals, that really would be a catastrophe.

I would like to introduce two people who inspire me. The first is Rhodri Griffiths, our lead candidate for the Welsh Assembly. He is going to win. He is going to be in the Assembly, pumping funds into renewables, fighting job cuts in the valley, working for animal rights, promoting trade unions and justice.

My second hero is Benny Wenda, who has seen his homeland West Papua invaded by Indonesia, a country armed by Britain. The Free West Papua movement has opposed the destruction of their forests, the invasion by corporations stealing land for cheap minerals, the imprisonment and execution of 100,000s West Papuans, often for simply raising their flag, the Morning Star.

The people who do the most to preserve our planet, like Benny, have the hardest fight. They wont get any support for Tony Blair and David Cameron. They need our solidarity and we need their inspiration.

I give you real green politics, I give you Benny and Rhodri...we all have to struggle to save our beautiful planet, to free humanity from the burden of history, and to enjoy life instead of being enslaved by economic forces. Always struggle until victory.

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British Met Office Debunks Climate Contrarians

The British Met office, in an online piece authored by Prof. John Mitchell OBE FRS, Director of Climate Science at the Met Office, have acted to debunk some of the main myths propagated by the likes of Durkin's Channel Four Swindle "documentary".

Says the site -

The Met Office Hadley Centre was opened in the early 1990s and is a world-leading climate centre. It has over 150 world-renowned climate experts who draw from the expertise of the supercomputer modellers at the Met Office.

Somewhat more impressive than Durkin's collection of retired scientists, mavericks, professional contrarians and rightist political axe-grinders.

Cuttingly, Professor Mitchell says:

Recent coverage has questioned the influence of humans on the climate. While the arguments used might have been regarded as genuine areas of sceptical enquiry 20 years ago, further observed warming and advances in climate science render these out of touch.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Green Spring Conference Opens In Swansea

The Green Party of England and Wales Spring Conference has started in Swansea, with what was reportedly a storming speech from lead Green candidate in South Wales West for the Welsh Assembly, Rhodri Griffiths.
Said Rhodri -

"It's high time that we got to hear some strong Green voices in the Welsh Assembly. Just as the Labour Party took the initiative in South Wales in the early years of the 20th century, it is now time for the Green Party to take its place in the Assembly at Cardiff. We represent the new voice of radicalism and the new voice of global justice."

However as a left green, I might quibble with Rhodri's assertion that -

"Politics is no longer ............ a question of left versus right."

Themes at the conference include:

Localisation, with a panel including Dr Molly Scot Cato, our economics spokesperson and a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff

Education - including how education can influence how our young people will treat the environment.

Energy - looking at the future for renewable energy in Wales and beyond, including the Swansea Tidal Lagoon and the Severn Barrage.

Fellow Green Left blogger Jim promises to blog from conference, which I am unfortunately unable to attend this year. He offers his contribution on the planned debate and vote on leadership issues here. A view on the leadership issue (that is reasonably in tune with mine) is by Camden Green Sean Thompson, posted by Derek Wall on his Another Green World blog. The pro-leader model argument is put by Peter on his Earthquake Cove blog here.

Elsewhere today, the "blogging minister", Miliband, has come under attack for using his "government funded website" to spread Labour Party propaganda. Surely not....

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A greener budget...........

After even the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee criticised Gordon Brown's pre-budget report as too weak to have the impact required on emissions, pollution and waste, prospects of an environmentally effective budget from the Labour Chancellor seemed slim.
The Green Party of England and Wales has published its' own Carbon Costed Budget, launched earlier this week by male principal speaker Derek Wall.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

It wasn't over by Christmas............

Yes, it wasn't over by Christmas. Four years on and the Iraq occupation continues, a seemingly never ending series of casualties and catastrophes, terror and tragedy. And George Bush calls for patience....

Protests continue, particularly in the lands of the USA and its' allies.

Daves Part covers further unusual alliances of convenience in the largest organisation of the British anti-war movement under the leadership of the Communist Party and the SWP. The coming punishment of the governing Party in devolved elections may provide futher impetus to the peace movement, at least in Scotland. British Greens continue to be strongly supportive of the anti-war movement.

In the US the protests have been supported by the Green Party Of The United States, who

have called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and are urging Congress to cutoff funding for the war to compel President Bush to order the safe return of U.S. military personnel. Greens have also called for impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors in relation to the war and numerous violations of the U.S. Constitution, and are calling on Congress to prevent President Bush from launching a military assault on Iran. For information about the Green Party's Peace Action Committee (GPAX), visit <>.

For press releases on Green opposition to the war, visit the party's press page

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blogs on Sunday

Perhaps I have started a trend with these little Sunday jaunts around the Brit left blogosphere and beyond - this week Dave Osler links to some of his favourite left blogs of the minute, whilst Jim over at the Daily (Maybe) wittily links to things he is not blogging about today – I look forward to his blogging “live from Green Party Spring Conference” later this week.

Male Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales Derek Wall blogs on some of the "big oil" funding activities of the Royal Bank of Scotland, and also links to some news on Cameron and the Tories' views on workers' rights posted at the 'action without theory' blog.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Quiet Road blogger Jim who is not feeling very well.

Over at the big readership Lenin's Tomb blog there are two cracking posts this weekend, here and here.

Justin Delacour’s Latin American News Review blog this weekend links to info about a conference coming up in Canada in May on the Herman And Chomsky propaganda model.

Also from North America, an interesting post from last week on the infrequent blog of veteran U.S. campaigner Carl Davidson on Barack Obama, Antiwar Protestors, Tactics & SDS History. It seems Obama's anti-war credentials are being increasingly scrutinised and questioned.

Finally, before I sign off tonight, a link to the Hands Off The People of Iran website, a good initiative making clear the desirability of opposing both imperialist aggression and the theocratic regime.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saint Patrick's Day

Greetings on Saint Patrick's Day to all G.O.O. readers with reason to celebrate. In particular, greetings go on this Saint Patrick's Day to our friends in the Republic, who have a General Election due this year, and to our friends in the North who have just had the first Green elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Thats it for today, I'm off to celebrate the Irish contribution to my own family (through marriage!) with a drop or two of the dark stuff!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

"Is There A Scottish Road To Socialism?"

I have blogged before about the brewing "perfect storm" in Scottish politics in the run up to the May elections for local authorities and the Scottish Parliament. The debate about Scottish Independence and break up, or federalisation, of the UK is intertwined on the left with a debate about the nature of modern British and European capitalism and state power. This throws issues into greater relief and clarity than is perhaps always the case in England.

A new book is out which sets out various opinions on this debate from a range of left positions. Is There A Scottish Road To Socialism? costs £8.99 from Scottish Left Review Press, 3f2 10 Henderson Row, Edinburgh, EH35DS. Make cheques payable to Scottish Left Review Press.

Contributors include Peter McColl of the Scottish Green Party, former Labour MP and MSP John McAllion, independent MSP Campbell Martin, (Labour Party) Campaign For Socialism activist Vince Mills, Scottish Left Review editor Robin McAlpine, Independnce First activist Joe Middleton, economist David Purdy, Democratic Left Convenor Stuart Fairweather, John Foster of the Communist Party of Britain, GMB organiser Richard Leonard, SNP activist Bill Wilson, SSP National Secretary Pam Currie, Eric Canning of the Communist Party of Scotland and historian and Solidarity member Neil Davidson.

Meanwhile, Issue 39 of the Scottish Left Review focusses on the 2007 Scottish election. It is a shame that there is not a similar review, and similar co-operation, in England. Gregor Gall reviews the new book in the Scottish Left Review here.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hospital Campaigners Plan National Meeting Later This Month

PUSH (People United Saving Hospitals) was formed in 2006 as an umbrella organisation uniting hospital campaign groups from around Britain. They now have the support of 25 or more groups. They are campaigning to stop the cuts, closures and privatisation in the NHS and they are supporting the demand of the Unison Health Service Group for a national demonstration in the summer-

PUSH welcomes the decision of the the Unison Health Service Group Executive Committee which agreed that there should be a national demonstration in June or July. There will need to be a campaign in the unions to ensure that this decision of the the Unison Health Group is carried out by the leaders of Unison.

The PUSH campaign believe that it is essential that all those who want a national demonstration and are committed to building for one meet together to decide how to take the campaign for a national demonstration forward.

To this end PUSH are holding a national meeting on Saturday 31st March at Coventry Transport Museum, Millennium Place, Coventry, starting at 1pm.

Meanwhile Keep Our NHS Public has a new pamphlet out by David Byrne and Sally Ruane that is available online - The Case for Hospital Reconfiguration - not proven. A response to the IPPR's The Future Hospital.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Welfare Reform Letter

A vey important letter on the British welfare 'reform' plans, signed by representatives of various groups working in the field, appeared in the Morning Star earlier this week. I felt it was well worth reproducing here -

Where are claimants' voices?

There would appear to be a consensus across the main political paties that drastic welfare reform is needed.
However, one needs to ask where are the claimants' voices in all this? There has been little consultation with the people who will be affected most by these reforms - and, of course, the workers in the Department of Work and Pensions.
In terms of the, in our view, draconian Welfare Reform Bill sadly going largely unopposed through Parliament, over 600 responses were sent to the Work and Pensions Select Committee consultation on the welfare reform green paper.
Yet few, if any, of the fears and concerns of these respective groups have been taken into account in the published Bill.
The latest savage proposals in the Freud review to privatise the welfare system and force individuals "back to work" will ultimately benefit only third-sector private companies who have become multimillion pound enterprises as a result of their government contracts.
These reforms clearly represent the biggest structural changes in welfare since the 1940s - indeed, there are now clear similarities between the Freud proposals and President Clinton's seminal 1996 welfare reforms, which have been such a disaster for poor people in the US.
Many people on welfare benefits, particularly disabled people, have contacted our various groups and are very angry, concerned and distressed about these reforms and wonder what the future holds for them.
JOHN ROGERS (Sheffield Welfare Action Network)
EILEEN DEVANEY (Co-ordinator, UK Coalition Against Poverty)
SIMONE ASPIS (United Kingdom's Disabled People's Council)
STEVE BLAKE (Welfare Reform UK)
COLIN HAMPTON (Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centres)
BOB HOLMAN, MARSHA JANE THOMPSON (UNISON National Young Members Forum, personal capacity)

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Climate Change - Draft Bill Published

New Labour's leadership-question-shy boy wonder David Miliband has launched the draft of the British Government's Climate Change Bill. The draft Bill - to be proceeded with in the autumn - has modest targets, (60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020) and a proposal for five year carbon budgets, with annual reporting on progress. It falls far short of the demands of green groups and even some of the demands of the other parties. Miliband, the "blogging minister" has even done a YouTube video to go with it.

Here is the Guardian take on the draft bill.

Much of the slog of the campaigning for the Bill has been done by the Big Ask Campaign headed up by Friends of The Earth - they are asking for 3% per year emissions cuts and an 80% cut by 2050) - here is their press release on the draft.

The Green Party Policy on Climate Change takes more account of the urgency of the situation. The policy has a number of motions to amend it at the Green Party Spring Conference in Wales next week, but remains a good basis for discussion, drawing on the understanding of the problem and possible solutions found in the Contraction and Convergence (C&C) model.

Like FoE, the Greens call for annual targets -

CC110 The Green Party calls for the establishment of annual targets for global and national greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and for the establishment of effective enforcement mechanisms.

The Green Party's current policy is to aim for even more than the three percent per annum reduction argued for by FoE -

CC200 The Green Party calls for the establishment of a number of targets for global and national greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and for the establishment of effective enforcement mechanisms. All targets herein relate to a baseline of emissions in 1990, as in the Kyoto Protocol.
CC201 On average, each person worldwide emitted about 5 tonnes of CO2 in 2000, of which 4 tonnes came from fossil-fuel burning. There were huge international variations, with the Americans averaging 20 tonnes, British 9, Chinese 2.5 and Africans 1 tonne. Simple climate models consistent with IPCC findings suggest that global average emissions need to be reduced by 65-80% by 2030. Following the principle of convergence this requires UK emissions to be cut by 80-90%.
CC202 The UK's commitment under the EU basket agreement reached in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol is a reduction in the 6-gas basket by 15% by 2008-2012. The Blair government has also committed the UK to a 20% reduction in CO2 by then.
CC203 UK emissions in 2003 were 7.5% below the 1990 baseline. We should aim steadily to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels to 10% of their 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve this, we will target a 6% annual reduction in UK CO2 emissions, and establish effective mechanisms for getting back on track should an annual target be missed.

The policy contains plans for how the necessary reductions are to be achieved internationally and nationally -

C.2 International Activity
CC210 The Green Party supports the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; and will campaign for the non-use of its loopholes wherever possible. A GP Policy statement describes the KP and our views of it in more detail.
CC211 The Kyoto Protocol says nothing about the future beyond 2012. To address that timescale the Green Party advocates the adoption by the UNFCCC of a framework of Contraction and Convergence (C&C) as the key ingredient in the global political solution to the problem of Climate Change mitigation, and urges the UK and other governments use it as the basis for negotiations in the international fora.
CC212 C&C is a scheme to provide for a smooth and equitable transition to a safe level of global CO2 emissions from human activity. It can be adapted either to follow-on from a successful Kyoto Protocol, or can equally be used in case the KP is not brought into force by enough countries ratifying it. C&C is not an alternative to the KP; it is a long-term framework for global cooperation towards a genuine solution; while the KP is a short-term fix that takes only very limited steps forward. A GP policy statement describes C&C in more detail.
CC213 'Contraction', means adopting a scientifically determined safe target concentration level and setting global annual emissions levels which should take the atmosphere to that target. The UNFCCC should agree specific thresholds for unacceptable climate impacts, from which the IPCC should calculate the appropriate concentration level, to be reviewed at 5-yearly intervals.
CC214 'Convergence' means taking the world in an achievable way, both technically and politically, from the present situation to a common level of per-capita emissions in a target year. Under it nations are allocated annual quotas for emissions, which start from current or Kyoto-based levels in year 1 of the agreement and converge to equal per-capita allocations after a negotiated interval, probably of a few decades.
CC215 The C&C package is completed with an emissions-trading mechanism, which should include a percentage cap to limit the proportion of a country's reductions that can be bought rather than achieved domestically. Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are also required and should be set up by the UNFCCC.
C.3 Emissions Reductions in the UK
CC230 The principles of C&C would also provide the basis for reductions in emissions within the UK, through the introduction of a system of tradable quotas. This system should cover all emissions of carbon dioxide produced by burning of fossil fuels in the UK. On introduction of the system the total carbon quota would be equivalent to current emission levels, but would reduce year-on-year to meet the targets set out in C.1. Carbon quota would be needed for all purchases of electricity (if not from a renewable source), air flights and direct purchase of fossil fuels including gas, coal, petrol, diesel and fuel oil. Consideration would be given to also including long distance train travel. A system for buying and selling quotas would be established.
CC231 A proportion of the total quota would be distributed free of charge to all eligible individuals in the UK, with all adults receiving an equal amount. The remaining quota would be sold to organisations (public, private and voluntary) by a system set up by the government.
CC232 In addition to the introduction of quotas there would be a major programme of investment in energy conservation, energy efficient appliances, public transport and renewable energy technology, so that people are able to live within their quotas. This investment would be achieved through a programme of public spending and through the revision of technical standards, such as building regulations and standards for energy efficiency of appliances. The details of these measures are set out elsewhere in the MfSS.

Meanwhile, rebuttals of the contrarian Durkin 'documentary' continue - this time from George Monbiot on the Guardian Comment is Free pages.

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Greenpeace action on Tony's WMDs

A big thankyou to Greenpeace for the actions of their activists today in highlighting Tony Blair's attempt to give us the legacy of a vastly expensive, useless and counter-productive incentive to nuclear proliferation!

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Sian Berry Selected As Green London Mayoral Candidate

Greens in London have selected female Principal Speaker and fellow Green Left supporter Sian Berry as Mayoral candidate.

The BBC report it here.

Sian has launched her campaign with an exposure of the lack of joined up green thinking behind the Tories' much-hyped conversion to the cause.

Here are the 'top ten Tory eco-cons' -

Top Ten Tory Eco-Cons
1 Support for nuclear power
2 Support for new roads
3 Support for aviation growth
4 Opposition to EU green schemes
5 Axing environmental regulations as "red tape"
6 Opposition to congestion charging
7 Support for incineration of waste
8 Support for tax cuts for super-consumers
9 Support for low taxes for the most polluting multinational businesses
10 Support for Trident over tackling climate change

Elsewhere, Green London Assembly member Jenny Jones comments on the Cameron-Brown tussle over who was greenest that erupted yesterday.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

A Green Monday

It seems to be Green Monday in Britain. Leader of the Conservative Party, shiny new blue-green David Cameron, advised by Zac Goldsmith of the Ecologist, has been revealing his green plans after the latest EU declarations on climate and energy. He has drawn the fire of "leader in waiting" of the Labour Party, Gordon Brown. Brown attacks the Cameron plans, perhaps keen to show his readiness to step into the Prime Minsterial role. He plays the Europe card and points to the Tories' Euroscepticism possibly inhibiting the necessary European co-operation on this issue, but this looks like passing the book to the EU and playing politics, whilst Cameron comes over all consensual. Cameron's plan appears to edge closer to carbon rationing rather than pricing systems as main tools with his proposals on flights, but the Tories are still a long way off a coherent policy and have 'ne'er do wells' like John 'Vulcan' Redwood and Nigel'Climate Swindle' Lawson sniping from the wings.

Meanwhile groups like FEASTA are leading the way on energy and cap and share/carbon rationing approaches as opposed to current emissions trading and pricing mechanism prioritisation by the main players. Pricing mechanisms tend towards social injustice - "pricing the poor out" - and are sometimes strongly advocated by those elements of the free market right that actually acknowledge any environmental problems. Whilst congestion charging just about works without serious social injustice due to the money flowing into improved public transportation in city centres and the easy use of same, pricing mechanisms are a much blunter and potentially divisive tool for dealing with other questions of transport and energy. The Green Party in England and Wales currently advocates carbon quotas in line with the contraction and convergence model. The Independent have a bash at working out which of the three largest parties is 'greenest'.

Elsewhere on the green front the Guardian reports that 10,000 acres of greenbelt land are under threat.

Meanwhile the Trident debate heats up ahead of the vote on Wednesday. The Independent reports that a Scottish Labour MP who was Deputy leader of the House Of Commons has stepped down to vote against the government. This possibly tells us two things - one the growing opposition amongst Labour MPs (including my own, who is not a habitual rebel) to the Replacement plan, and two, the political temperature in Scotland where the SNP and Greens are set to make progress in May, and Labour representatives and activists are getting increasingly restless.

The Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament's Kate Hudson has an article on the Trident replacement debate over at the Guardian's Comment Is Free pages.

Back on the subject of TV programmes, the Guardian's Madeleine Bunting muses on the first episode of Adam Curtis’ BBC documentaries The Trap and some of the comments in the comments section online touch on the things I mentioned the other day - the simplistic and emotive style he uses which tends to detract from the interesting stuff about intellectual currents and their influence.

The Durkin 'Swindle' programme continues to excite comment, like this posting on Indymedia UK. The Indymedia piece includes a link to an expert demolition of the programme's arguments by John Houghton, former co-chair of the IPCC.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Blog News and Comment on Sunday

Quite a week it has been, and plenty of interesting news and comment around.
Climate change and green issues have been very much in the news and media, not least due to the EU proposals that Calvin Jones talks about on his Climate Change Action blog. Calvin also publicises the international day of action planned for December 8th 2007.

Elsewhere there is a lot of comment on the right-conspiracist Great Global Warming Swindle programme broadcast on Channel 4 this week that I blogged about on Thursday and Friday. Zoe Williams reviewed it in the Guardian and their environment correspondent David Adam weighed in with an opinion piece that drew the usual collection of right-conspiracist loons to his comment section.

The actual claims of the programme beyond sensationalism, smear and conspiracism are dealt with by the serious climate science community at RealClimate. George Marshall tackles the documentary at his Climate Denial blog.
Paul Kingsnorth has a humourous take on it with a look at a Channel Four documetary commissioning meeting whilst Socialist Unity Blog went on the attack and seem to have got into a tussle with another of the cultish LM spokespeople, O'Neill. An Irish left take on it comes from Cedar Lounge.

Speaking of Ireland, Cedar Lounge have an interesting piece on the Green surge in the North and all-Ireland implications of the ascendancy of the Greens and Sinn Fein on the left.

Back to TV there is an Adam Curtis documentary on tonight - The Trap, previewed on Lenin's Tomb. Like Durkin's 'documentaries', Curtis' work is polemical and stylish, though from a different angle. Though his angle is perhaps more favourable to a more mainstream left analysis, I am still a little uneasy over the legitimacy and effectiveness of this style of documentary. As shown by Durkin's 'Swindle' this format can just as easily be used against the left, green or progressive view as for it.

I can no longer watch Lost (my article on this continues to get more hits than anything else I have written) until I succumb to the risks of 'BitTorrentitis' or splash out for the DVDs as Sky have pulled the plug on Virgin Media showing it on cable in the UK. The Murdoch Empire have gone to war against the Branson Kingdom and the poor customers have suffered after Sky withdrew its major channels from Virgin Media when they could not reach agreement over pricing. Never mind, apparently it is all a piece of conservative philosophy based on Hobbes, says Seth Michaels on the Guardian's Comment is Free pages.

And finally....the lighter bit at the end, just like the news. Ed over at International Rooksbyism has been to see Hot Fuzz at the cinema.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Act Against Trident Replacement This Week!

Tony Blair's warmongering US-puppet government is rushing, with unseemly haste, to put the question of Trident nuclear missile system replacement before MPs as quickly as they can. The date for the vote has been set for Wednesday 14th March.

Various groups are organising actions and events on the day
including mass lobbying, a rally and other actions. A list can be found

Amongst the groups organising for the day are Greenpeace UK and

CND are organsising a lobby on the day of the vote from 1pm at St Stephen's entrance and then a rally in Parliament Square: "Our presence in Parliament Square
on the day of the debate and vote is vital to show the government the
level of public opposition to Trident replacement. The rally will take
place from 6-8 pm."

There will be a Bikes Not Bombs demo in the Critical Mass tradition, meeting at 6.30 under Waterloo Bridge.

There are also events planned at Faslane and Bradford.

Here is CND's No Trident Replacement page.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Greens Win First Seat In Northern Ireland Assembly

Great news.

The Green Party in Northern Ireland have won their first seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Congratulations to Brian Wilson MLA and the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

What is even better is that the Green victory is likely to have deprived a right-wing egotistical Unionist dinosaur, for whom even Ian Paisley is too flexible, of his seat!

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"The Great Global Warming Swindle" (sic)

Channel 4 in the UK broadcast this programme last night which was an extended attack on greens, the left and climate scientists. (See the end of my blog last night)

I have no problem with debate on the models, scepticism etc I don't mind people saying that I, or the vast majority of climate scientists have an imperfect understanding, or have got a fact wrong or whatever. This is the stuff of scientific debate. Present the facts and we will debate them. Most of the debatable points put by the programme were old hat and are dealt with here at Grist and here by John Houghton.

However, the programme in question began by saying that man made global warming was a lie , and furthermore that all those arguing for the theory are liars. Now this isn't scientific debate. This is political polemic, this is slander. Round here, calling someone a liar to their face would be asking for a fight!

Calling those arguing that man made global warming exists and something can be done about it liars is classic conspiracy theory. It implies that greens and the IPCC and much of the global scientific/meteorological community know that they are arguing falsehoods and do so for a political reason. Durkin and his LM chums are of course familiar with this territory (remember the Serb prisoner camp affair) and perhaps familiar with the legally actionable nature of making such claims. Far be it from me to suggest that the IPCC and Mr Stern and Greenpeace take Mr Durkin to court......

The problem is, like the Telegraph piece and Crichton's books this polemical crap will get thrown back at us by elements of the public every time we try and argue for sensible measures to tackle the problem and we have to waste time exposing the poor arguments of the well funded contrarians that could be better spent elsewhere.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Womens Day

Today was International Women's Day.
Green blogger Natalie Bennett has a piece on the topic on the Guardian site.

In a piece of terrible irony the events in Denmark over the past week have seen the destruction at the hands of the state (in co-operation with a fundamentalist Christian sect)of the building in which 99 radical women from 17 countries met in August 1910 and designated March 8th International Women's Day.

Meanwhile the LM cult and friends have been at it again on Channel Four, lining up with contrarians and such lovely human beings as Thatcher's slimey henchman Nigel Lawson. "Ex" Furedi-ite Martin Durkin began the prog with saying man made global warming was a lie and the whole scientific and political consensus on climate change is made up of liars. Channel 4 offers uncritical platform to paranoid conspiracists and slanderers? Enough said.

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Lords Vote Result

Now there is a relatively pleasant surprise!
I try not to have too many illusions in our current deeply flawed representative democracy in Britain, but at least representatives who are elected are an advance on feudalist flunkies and crony appointees.
If the agenda now moves on to getting rid of the other vestiges of feudal/church power in this country like the monarchy and the established church we might be edging towards a state of political development equivalent to other capitalist states, instead of being saddled with the remnants of a partially reversed bourgeois revolution.
However, the signs are that the flunkies, cronies and medieval superstitious relics will not go down without a fight........


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Our Friends In The North Go To The Polls

The elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly take place this week and may have interesting results. The Green Party in Northern Ireland is standing 13 candidates and are hopeful of achieving their first MLA or coming close. The big story for the mainstream media is what the balance between the loyalist DUP and nationalist Sinn Fein after the vote, but there is encouraging support for some of the smaller parties on the left. The Greens and the non-sectarian left in the North of Ireland have my great respect operating in a difficult political environment where their concerns can sometimes be sidelined by communal political concerns and the national question.

As well as the Greens there are two candidates for the Socialist Party in Belfast and one candidate each for People Before Profit and the Socialist Environmental Alliance of long term campaigner Eamonn McCann who align with Respect/SWP in English political terms.
Here is the Wikipedia entry on the election.

The election will be conducted using the single transferable vote applied to six seater constituencies, each of which corresponds to a UK parliamentary seat. The First Minister and Deputy First Minister will be chosen by the largest parties from the two different political designations. The Assembly as a whole will then elect the executive committee using the D'Hondt method.

And here is an interesting Wiki entry on the demographics and politics of Northern Ireland.

It will be interesting to see what changes after the vote.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

NHS Day of Action and Beyond...

The NHS Together Day of Action went ahead on Saturday with events around Britain in defence of free, public, properly funded and properly staffed healthcare. I have blogged various times in the run up to the event about the initial inadequacy of the union hierarchies' response that may have been affected by their labourism in the run up to the important May elections in England, Wales and Scotland. I have also noted how things started to improve once local campaigners got involved.

I went along to the rally in Birmingham that was addressed by Unison leader Dave Prentis. Prentis made the required noises about the government approach being wrong, though the underlying critique is not of the whole new labour strategy and understanding of the power base of the neo-liberal ethos, but a naive, possibly 'Brownite' belief that a change of leader will return the safe beer-and-sandwiches social democracy that Prentis would be happy with.

Rallies took place around the country, with varying degrees of effectiveness. The Birmingham static rally in Victoria Square ensured that the vast majority of busy Birmingham was untoubled by any reminders of opposition to the neo-liberal dismantling of public health care in the UK. The marches in Sheffield and Preston were reportedly more lively - more pictures of the Sheffield march here courtesy of Indymedia. Unison released the following press release.

The demand for a national demonstration in the summer as a focus is worthwhile as although it comes from the usual suspects on the left who want to "pressure the union leaderships" (in time honoured, largely futile fashion) it is also backed by the large numbers of independent campaigners around hospital cuts and closures who see the need to unite their struggles and build a visible and powerful alliance. The group PUSH (People United Saving Hospitals) leafletted the Birmingham rally to this effect and there is also pressure within the broad based KONP (Keep Our NHS Public) for the kind of national focus that is needed alongside local mobilisations. The call for a national demonstration now has the support of the Unison Health Service Group Executive as reported here on Labournet.

There were people from various Midlands Hospital campaigns at the Birmingham rally along with RCN, Unison and AMICUS contingents. The Socialist Party, SWP, Socialist Resistance, Respect, Campaign Against Euro Federalism and CPGBML all set up stalls, as did the marvellous Birmingham Food Not Bombs people. I was pleased to meet up with some Midlands IWW members ('Wobblies') who had a humourous home made banner. ("I needed a new hip and all I got was this lousy nuclear submarine!") Some pictures on Birmingham Indymedia here.

Had a chat with Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist - who was an MP expelled from the Labour Party in the 'Militant' purges - and got his view on the McDonnell-Meacher-Simpson situation in his former party.

So, the Birmingham mobilisation was worth attending, if only to meet and talk with people from various currents of left opinion. The way ahead for the campaign around the Health Service must be to act together on a more national basis and build the links between workers, campaigners and communities that are necessary for a united movement. With a national movement for free public health care established we can go from a defensive posture to putting forward ideas about the kind of health care we would like to see. The issue is crucially one about democracy and democratic control and this obviously goes beyond just the health service to all other areas of public life and the economy. As such the battle over health care is one that can bring to a large number of people much more general questions of power and control, with the potential for mass radicalisation.

At the moment it looks as though the health revolt will be one of the key factors over the next year or so (along with the war issue, climate change/nuclear power and Trident replacement)that will shape the form of resistance to the neo-liberal agenda in the UK.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

NHS Support Federation Events List

Just a brief note today, to link to the NHS Support Federation's list of events across the country prior to the Day of Action on 3rd March. Good luck to all those taking part in the events listed.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Stand Up For The NHS - 3rd March

I blogged previously on the TUC/NHS Together Day of Action planned for 3rd March.
The number of rallies, events and marches has mushroomed as local activists and campaigners came on board with the Day of Action. There is now the possibility that some of the events, for example the Midlands Rally in Birmingham will be quite well supported. I urge any of my readers that can get along to one of these events to try to do so and be ready for an even bigger mobilisation in the summer - for which there are increasing calls as reported here by McDonnellite Labour blogger Marsha Jane here..

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