Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Green Left's First Year

The Green Party of England and Wales Green Left current have our Annual General Meeting this weekend. The first year has seen the current establish itself as an important part of the GPEW and a mobilising force for events and demonstrations that have taken place over the year. We have established dialogues with various left forces outside the Green Party and have been able to defend the Party from attacks from the left by clarifying policy and showing that the Party is not monolithic and contains a significant radical element. We have been able to demonstrate to internal critics the value of the work we are doing and to counter some of the fears about splitters and factionalism. The founding statement was quite widely circulated and commented upon and the discussions around it were useful in establishing a baseline and some direction. The best part of this is that Green Left faces both outward and inward - it is both a network for strengthening and deepening the radical policies and activities of the party and communicating the left unity message outside the party. To Green Left's credit it does not present itself, or the GPEW as the be-all-and-end-all of left politics in England and Wales, but argues that Greens have a specific and indispensable role to play in the broad movement for social, economic and political change. Without the Green element that broad movement will be incomplete and not fit for purpose. Without recognition that politics is about more than electoralism and that real lasting change requires a coalition of forces on the left, the Green Party is diminished.
The tasks ahead for Green Left are to seek to develop the internal life of the Green Party locally, nationally and internationally; to develop and disseminate practically relevant theory and analysis and media to facilitate this, to recruit more of the required activist base; to network and co-operate with the broad non-sectarian left nationally and internationally and to publicly intervene in important manifestations of protest and resistance to neo-liberalism and war.
Green Left has come a long way in one year - from a good idea to a growing network and forum for vital debate, a base for interventions and an organisational tool.
The political situation in England and Wales is if anything now even more ideal for the type of politics Green Left is developing.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday Is Republic Day

Saturday June 2nd is Republic Day.

Full details in the latest edition of the campaign group Republic's journal Imagine.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Homophobia and Repression in Moscow

Protesters for LGBT rights in Moscow at the weekend were set upon by neo-nazi, fascist and Orthodox attackers and then arrested in a blatant show of bigoted bias by the Moscow Police. The Russian equality campaigners were being supported by campaigners and elected representatives from Western Europe including fellow Green Party of England and Wales Green Left activist and PPC for Oxford East Peter Tatchell. Peter was assaulted and then he was taken away by police. German Green MEP Volker Beck and Italian Radical MEP Marco Cappato were also detained. The Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass was also attacked. Some of the far right thugs were only detained by police when it was clear that the journalists present had filmed their actions and were filming the lack of Police response.

British Media reports from the Guardian, the BBC and the Independent.

Green MEP Caroline Lucas spoke out earlier in the week about the continued repression against LGBT communities in Russia and Lithuania.

Peter's Guardian Comment is Free article from 25th May, on the situation in Eastern Europe is here.

It is clear that the danger of authoritarianism and bigotry is still very real in Russia, and those fighting it must be supported. Also a look at the comments section of even liberal newspaper articles on LGBT issues shows that homophobia and discrimination are still very much alive in Western Europe too, if less publicly confident.
The struggle continues!

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Homeworking Not Eco-Friendly?

A report on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph (cough, spit!) caught my eye at the newsagents. It seems a study by environmental consultants WSP Environmental has suggested that the drive to more homeworking backed by a number of large employers and government departments is likely to increase environmental damage rather than decrease it. Whilst there are reasons for scepticism about the source of this report (of which more later) it does raise issues that I have had when greens and others promote homeworking and teleworking as ethical and environmental options. The report suggests that working from home may create almost a third more emissions per year than working in a typical office base.

The argument has been that homeworking and teleworking decrease pressure on the transport network and reduce transport emissions. About 12 percent of the UK workforce now work from home, says the Telegraph. WSP found that while cutting out a commute reduces emissions, the extra heat and power used at home, (especially during the winter)can outweigh the benefits of not commuting. In an office or workplace heat and power are shared, at home it is rare for a person to just heat the room they are working in. In summer there is an environmental benefit - as most UK homes do not have air conditioning!

It has been argued that homeworking allows a better balance between personal and working lives. This may well be true in some cases, though in others it may be that working life invades the home even more than before.

The WSP report might be treated sceptically as Turkeys do not vote for Christmas, and a quick scan of the Internet reveals that according to the page about them on the EU Commission's Managenergy website WSP -

" is one of the largest consultants providing management and design expertise in the property sector throughout the world. Its expertise range from the world's tallest buildings and corporate headquarters to hospitals, urban regeneration and leisure. WSP provides expert advice on a wide range of transport related engineering projects, including roads, rail, bridges, tunnels and utility services. Its extensive experience including planning, analysing, designing and managing projects for a wide of range of service providers."

However, as an ecosocialist, (whilst recognising that homeworking can be liberating and convenient for some workers, and that others are given no choice) I have other reasons for being sceptical about the advocacy of homeworking as a great step forward. Dispersing a workforce to isolated locations like homes must seem to some employers like a great way of isolating them from each other and preventing organisation and mutual aid and defence. It can also be anti-social and lonely on a personal level. This is before we get into areas like health and safety and employers shirking responsibilities to cater for childcare and other personal needs of workers.

Where workers themselves see homeworking as beneficial they should be supported, but employers forcing people to work from home should be opposed and the rights of homeworkers need to be fought for and protected. Fortunately there is growing awareness of these issues and some moves nationally and internationally by homeworkers to organise. Here is an interesting page on clothing industry homeworking supported by a range of UK NGOs and unions. Here is the site of Homeworkers worldwide UK based NGO and here is the UK National Group on Homeworking.

Aside from the NGO activity though, the most important thing is that homeworkers themselves get connected and active as workers in solidarity. In terms of unionising in difficult circumstances the great ongoing IWW campaign to unionise Starbucks is an example to us all!

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

No More Breast Cancer

No More Breast Cancer is a campaign that is being supported by the Green Party, Unison, the Women's Environment Network and many other organisations and campaigns. The campaign wants the possible links between breast cancer and everyday exposure to toxic chemicals taken seriously. Breast cancer cases in the UK have recently hit a new record, yet fewer than 50% of cases are attributed to acknowledged "risk" factors - age, obesity, late-age pregnancy or late-onset menopause. However, the government and some of the cancer organisations in the UK reject the possibility of environmental causes being significant.
No More Breast Cancer argues that lifelong, low-level exposure to the cocktail of toxins and hormone disruptors both at home and at work is linked to the ever-rising rates of breast cancer.

Find out more at and

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Friday, May 25, 2007

UK Waste Strategy Lacks Ambition

David Miliband announced the Government's UK Waste Strategy to 2020 yesterday. Despite some reasonable measures the strategy as a whole was unambitious and lacked teeth, particularly when dealing with corporate interests like the packaging industry and supermarkets. Green Party of England and Wales spokesperson Derek Wall comments here.

The Tories and the sensationalist media are having a field day over "bin spies", "bin taxes" and the like while the real sources and causes of waste go largely untackled except for existing EU legislation and toothless exhortation. Waste strategy should not be another stick with which to beat already deprived communities, or an excuse to line the pockets of incinerator-operating multinationals.

The really ambitious strategy now being enacted in far-sighted communities around the world is to aim for Zero Waste.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good Luck Comhaontas Glas!

Good luck to the Irish Greens as Ireland's voters go to the polls in the general election today.

An interesting piece on prospects for the left in Ireland at the Cedar Lounge blog.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Debunking The Base-Load Fallacy

With the British Government's Energy proposals being published this week, nuclearphiles, government apologists and others have taken it upon themselves to use the "base load" argument as their main weapon in debate on comment and talk boards and elsewhere. It is with this in mind that I publish a link to an article on the Australian Green Lefts:Left Greens blog that debunks their argument. The article is by Dr Mark Diesendorf.

Dr Mark Diesendorf is Director of Sustainability Centre Pty Ltd and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies at University of New South Wales. He is co-editor with Clive Hamilton of the interdisciplinary book, “Human Ecology, Human Economy: Ideas for an Ecologically Sustainable Future”, and co-author of the national scenario study, “A Clean Energy Future for Australia”.

Base-load alternatives to coal power can be provided by efficient energy use, bioenergy, wind power, solar thermal electricity with thermal storage, geothermal and gas. Large-scale wind power from geographically distributed sites is not ‘intermittent’. However it may require a little additional low-cost peak-load back-up from gas turbines.

Opponents of renewable energy, from the coal and nuclear industries and from NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) groups, are disseminating the fallacy that renewable energy cannot provide base-load power to substitute for coal-fired electricity. Even Government Ministers and some ABC journalists are propagating this conventional ‘wisdom’, although it is false. The political implications are that, if the fallacy becomes widely believed to be true, renewable energy would always have to remain a niche market, rather than achieve its true potential of becoming a set of mainstream energy supply technologies.

The full article can be found here.

And for further information, here is the Australian Energy Science website.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Support Remploy Workers!

The Remploy dispute (that I blogged on in September) is reaching a crucial stage - I am happy to publicise this demonstration on Wednesday Morning (The Cleaners demonstration in London posted on below,is in the afternoon.)

Show your disgust for the Remploy Closure Plans demonstrate with us at the TUC disability conference from 10-00am on Wednesday 23rd of May - TUC,
Great Russell Street, London.

Les Woodward

National Convenor,

Remploy Trade Union Consortium

Visit our New Web Site

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Justice For Cleaners!

Happy to publicise this event planned for London on Wednesday:

T&G (section of Unite) continues to demonstrate all over London to demand

We are demanding: £7.20p an hour, 20 days + 8 days bank holidays, sick pay ,
pension & RESPECT!

Our next demonstration is at CANARY WHARF on Wednesday 23rd of MAY between
3.30pm and 5.30pm. The main action will be at 4.45pm outside the tube

We will be making a loud noise with a Brazilian Band and will be joined by
the Member of Parliament for Canary Wharf, Jim Fitzpatrick.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Planning Steamroller Set To Roll

You can often tell how important to New Labour it is to pass a (usually dubious) piece of legislation from the amount of spin and media manipulation accompanying its launch. Judging from the media manipulation surrounding the forthcoming Planning White Paper, (expected last week but now due for release this week alongside the energy proposals) this neo-liberal legislation is seen as crucial by New Labour apparatchiks. It is being accompanied by more spin than Walford Launderette!

The proposed legislation is being trailed in the compliant media as "helping you get loft conversions and conservatories approved easier and cheaper". This is magnifying the "sweetener" of the documents to overshadow the main drift of the legislation. And even the "sweetener" element has problems from a conservationist point of view, as indicated by the CPRE response. As Friends of the Earth have commented, the legislation is more about sucking up to big business and smoothing the way for massive expansion of airports, the new wave of incinerators, and the projected nuclear "renewal".

Greenpeace are also on the case. The planning proposals will result in big business and compliant local and regional authorities riding roughshod over the objections of local communities. The current planning system often leaves you negotiating over the colour of the fence of the chemical plant, rather than whether it should be sited there at all - the new proposals in "speeding up" and "simplifying" planning are likely to remove even the semblance of public involvement and consultation.

It is no coincidence that the planning proposals come out in the same week as the Energy proposals - the two are co-dependent. The government know that they would be in for a rough ride through the current planning system if they tried to bring in their nuclear programme without planning changes. Of course, they would most likely still get it through, but it would take longer and the falsehoods and manipulation behind their case would stand more chance of being publicly revealed. The longer it took, also, the more effective and financially attractive the renewable alternatives would be.

The energy proposals are also surrounded by acres of spin and falsehood. For example the claim at the end of this mildly critical, but still government-friendly Observer story that if the nuclear programme did not go ahead we would be dependent for "90%" of our energy requirement from "environmentally unfriendly gas-fired power stations and imports from unstable regions such as the Middle East and Russia". This is a complete distortion and manipulation of the figures, with one suspects, petrol and diesel imports for transport uses thrown into the equation and assuming no expansion in the renewables capacity.

The government know that a massive programme of energy saving, insulation, efficiency improvements - particularly in public and commercial buildings, but also in improvements to old housing stock and regulation of new build housing - and microgeneration could have a great effect on demand, and that the investment proposed for nuclear new build could be much more effectively spent on renewables. They are tied, however, to the multinational energy corporations who see mega profits to be made from nuclear new build now the climate crisis has swept away the financial objections (money is "no object" now). The role of the new planning changes in smoothing the way for new airport runways and incinerators gives the lie to the government's "climate change concern" reason for going nuclear. It is also ironic and transparent spin that the neo-liberals who tell us we do not need a manufacturing base and can rely on the rest of the world for cheap labour, manufactured products, food and just about everything else suddenly become dyed-in-the-wool protectionists and nationalists when it comes to energy. So food security and a manufacturing base are irrelevant but energy requires us to draw up the drawbridge? If it does come to the absolute crunch - unlikely if the transition to a low carbon, renewables based economy is done properly, but for the sake of argument say it did come to the crunch - what is to stop Britain buying nuclear generated energy from France to cover brief periods of high demand? After all the French have 'thoughtfully' situated much of their nuclear capacity in the North on the Channel coast to 'share the risk' with Southern England should there be an accident! And France is not at the moment an "unstable region" as far as I can tell!

Let New Labour and the corporatist Brown know, they may think this is going to be smooth sailing for them, but plenty of us have them rumbled and know who is really pulling the strings. Let battle commence.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

TUAEUC Conference - 16/06/2007

With Blair set to sign up his successor Brown and the New Labour government to further moves towards a neo-liberal, corporatist, federal Europe at the coming summit, and the treacherous right-wing TUC bureaucracy set to ignore Congress policy at next week's European TUC Congress, there is an obvious need for a further mobilisation against the EU consititutional project.

The Democrat, paper of the Campaign Against Euro-Federalism (Left Euro-sceptics) reveals that the TUC delegation to the May 21st-24th European TUC in Seville is set to ignore the RMT motion against the EU Constitution that was passed at the 2005 TUC meeting with support from Unison, T&G and Amicus.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, is arguing that a British TUC amendment opposing the reviving Constitution would be lost, so the delegation should back an unamemded 76 page document backing the Constitution. The ETUC is led by Europhile ex-TUC General Secretary John Monks and is heavily funded by the EU.

Millions of trade unionists across Europe opposed the last incarnation of the Constitution as a neo-liberal bosses charter that would enshrine free market economics in law as the "European model". The populations of France and the Netherlands, assisted by large left "No" campaigns felt they had delivered the death blow to the Constitution in their referenda, but the anti-democratic forces at the heart of the EU are bringing in the Constitutional arrangements piece by piece and are set to steam ahead again on openly endorsing a slightly revised version of the Constitution.

In these circumstances it is approprate to publicise the Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution (TUAEUC) conference scheduled for Saturday 16th June from Noon to 3pm at Friends Meeting House, Euston, London. Speakers are set to include RMT General Secretary Bb Crow and Dutch Socialist Party MEP Erik Miejer. (For info write to TUAEUC, PO Box 46295, London, W5 2UG.)

The TUAEUC pamphlet opposing the proposed Constitution is available online here.
The CAEF pamphlet, on the Services directive, available for £1 from CAEF is reviewed here by Tony Benn. (Ordering details in link)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Levellers Day 2007

We are rapidly approaching the annual Burford Levellers Day events - this year the event sounds even better than usual, with a focus on Climate Change and speakers including Green MEP Caroline Lucas, one of the greenest Campaign Group Labour MPs Alan Simpson and Tony Benn, with chairing from campaigner Mark Lynas.

9.30am to 6pm Saturday 19th May 2007. Burford. Oxfordshire.

(A cool policy for an overheated planet)

chaired by MARK LYNAS


Plus - procession through Burford, stalls & information, speeches & debate, music, entertainment, history and more!

On 17 May 1649, three soldiers were executed on Oliver Cromwell’s orders in Burford churchyard, Oxfordshire. They belonged to a movement popularly known as the Levellers, with beliefs in civil rights and religious tolerance. During the Civil War, they fought on Parliament’s side, had at first seen Cromwell as a liberator, but now saw him as a dictator. They were prepared to fight against him for their ideals and he was determined to crush them. Over 300 of them were captured by Cromwell’s troops and locked up in Burford church. Three were led out into the churchyard to be shot as ringleaders.

In 1975, members of the WEA Oxford Industrial Branch went to Burford to reclaim a piece of history that seemed to be missing from the school books. They held a meeting in remembrance of the Leveller soldiers. The following year, Tony Benn came and read in the church and in each succeeding year, people have come to Burford on the Saturday nearest to 17 May, debated, held a procession, listened to music and remembered the Levellers and the importance of holding on to ideals of justice and democracy.

LEVELLERS' DAY is a non-profit making event organised by the Levellers'
Day Committee, affiliated to the WEA (Workers' Education Association) reg.
charity no. 1112775
TICKETS: Whole day £12/£8 concessions
After 1.30pm £7.50/£5 concessions
Under 14 free
Tickets are now available from or at the door.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Important Conference Coming Up

The national shop stewards network conference is scheduled for Saturday 7th July at South Camden Community School, Charrington Street, London from 11am-5pm. This is the conference arising out of the meeting convened by the RMT union in October last year. The basis for the network was set out then -

National Shop Stewards Network – Founding Basis

A National Shop Stewards Network should be set up on the following basis:

1. Participation and support is a matter for individual TUC affiliated trade unions.

2. The National Shop Stewards Network will be made up of bona fide rank and file TUC affiliated trade union workplace representatives. The participation of full time trade union officials would be as observers with speaking rights.

3. It would not encroach on the established organisation and recruitment activity or interfere in the internal affairs and elections of TUC affiliated trade unions or the functions of the TUC.

4. The aim of the Network would be

• To offer support to TUC affiliated trade unions in their campaigns and industrial disputes;

• To offer support to existing workplace committees and trades councils.

We support the establishment of a steering group of ten trade unionists from this conference. The role of this steering group would be to organise a formal delegate conference in the spring of 2007, open to all TUC affiliated trade union shop stewards, to establish a National Shop Stewards Network as outlined on the basis of points 1-4 above.

Bob Crow of the RMT sketched out the rationale for the new network - "If we are to roll back the tide of privatisation and war, rebuilding the grass roots of our movement is essential"

More information and a model resolution for your union branch can be found at
This is a worthwhile initiative that could potentially be another jigsaw piece in the big picture of how we build an effective resistance to accelerating neo-liberalism and put together a movement that can formulate an alternative.

The necessity for this and other initiatives becomes all the more urgent after hearing the speech given by Gordon Brown tonight to the bosses of the CBI. Brown's speech was pure neo-liberalism - deregulation, flexibilisation, "sweeping away obstacles" and all. Amongst the obstacles are "risk averseness" (i.e workers' security and health and safety), and the current planning system (local people's right to have a say or some influence - however limited at present - on what happens in their community). Brown gleefully announced that next week saw the publication of the planning and energy reviews - basically expected to be the charter for big business to ride roughshod over ordinary people outlined in the Barker report and the total capitulation to the nuclear lobby flagged up by the government's so-called "consultation" that fell foul of legal criticism.

These are signs, along with his sickly sucking up to the ridiculous David Brent impersonator Digby Jones, that Brown intends to continue New Labour's neo-liberal programme unabated. If the Barker report is a significant influence on the planning review it will be a further sign that we are headed for a form of corporatism that was last seen in Europe in the 1930s. The unity of workers and the mobilisation of communities are going to be the orders of the day to resist this creeping totalitarianism.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blogs on Sunday

Well worth a visit this week are Daily (Maybe) , blogging on the political positioning of the Green Party, Socialist Unity Blog, currently putting up interesting info on both the British Labour leadership/deputy leadership campaign and the dramatic events in Pakistan, and Carl Davidson who has a piece on the shocking stuff going out in the early hours on MSNBC in the US.

Meanwhile, Green Party of England and Wales female principal speaker Sian Berry has started an important debate about the contract for census info in Britain going to Lockheed Martin.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Farewell Metaphysics

Sorry to have to report that during my time away Daniel Ketelby has decided to call it a day on his blog, Metaphysics as a guide to lunch. So long Daniel, and thanks for all the fish!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Defend Public Services And Housing In Lambeth

Happy to be able to post details of these important events coming up in London - a good example of making the links and building the alliances necessary to defend and improve public services.

Lambeth Trades Union Council
Peace & Progress

Public Meeting
"Defend Public Services & Housing in Lambeth!"

21 May 2007
7:30 pm
336 Centre, Brixton Rd SW9

Anita Wright - Lambeth NUT

speakers inc:
John McDonnell MP
and speakers from:
Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils

National Pensioners Convention

Lambeth SOS

Lambeth Defend Council Housing

NUT anti-academy campaign


Southwark and Lambeth

Press Release

For immediate release
9 May 2007

Protest Vigil outside the Maudsley Hospital
Denmark Hill
Saturday 12 May 2007, 5.30 pm

Save the Emergency Clinic - Closure Unlawful
Save the Felix Post Unit
Campaigners demand an urgent meeting with Patricia

Health workers, service users, pensioners and the
community will be protesting outside the Maudsley
Mental Health Hospital to demand that the Emergency
Clinic and the Felix Post Unit, an elderly day
hospital are not closed.

"This protest has been called to 'back up' the legal
action against the Maudsley Hospital Trust for not
putting into place alternative arrangements for
emergency clinic users at the neighbouring Kings
College Hospital accident and emergency department.
Even though we only have days to save the emergency
clinic we believe the fight is not over yet and we
want people to come and support us.
We believe the Maudsley Hospital executives will be
breaking the law if they go ahead with the closure of
the emergency clinic. We demand that Patricia Hewitt
meets us and intervenes immediately to stop the
Emergency Clinic from closing".
A spokesperson from Southwark and Lambeth KONHSP said.

Service users and campaigners have threatened to do
all they can to keep the emergency clinic open.
For more information about Saturday's protest vigil
and the campaign see below.
For more information contact
Keep Our NHS Public

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The neoliberal decay of the Lib Dems

I am pleased to report that my fellow Green Left blogger Matt Sellwood is back blogging too after an extended break. He is straight into the fray arguing for a distinctive left wing approach in the Green Party of England and Wales.

Ex Green Party member and now economically right wing Lib Dem Joe Otten has weighed in with a ranting comment on Matt's blog that shows how far to the right Otten and the Lib Dems are drifting. This orange Thatcherite cannot see the difference between Leninist Revolutionaries, bureaucratic old labour and the democratic socialists in the Green Party. This is a sad commentary on the political illiteracy of the new wave of young "Orange Book" Liberal Democrats taking their party in the direction of the right-wing free-market fundamentalism of their European counterpart parties. It is no surprise that a Daily Telegraph editorial of this week fully approved of this drift, urging them to dump the residual social democrats in the party and elect neo-liberal Blair/Cameron sound-alike Nick Clegg as their next leader. Having seen some of the "new breed" of Lib Dems in action in the recent election I can say that the people some of them remind me of most are the FCS (Federation of Conservative Students) ideologues of the 1980s. Their cocky self confidence and arrogance is matched only by the viciousness and duplicity of the tactics the Lib Dems are now centrally directed to use in elections and by-elections. Dodgy bar charts, false claims of "two horse races", personal attacks on other candidates' integrity, all are fair play as far as the young tory-boys and girls of the Liberal Democrat ascendancy are concerned.

Surely it is only a matter of time before those centrist and left voters who have taken to voting Lib Dem in the face of authoritarian neo-con Labour catch on to the fact that the new breed of Lib Dems look very much like the despised Old Tories, and share their religious belief in the infalibility of the sacred market. The fig leaf of social liberalism (which some Orange Bookers seem to have as a secondary target after discarding economic social democracy)is not enough to cover the market fundamentalism that is de rigeur in increasingly influential sections of Otten's party. It will be interesting to see if the social democratic elements in the Lib Dems strip away to Brown's Labour Party if he deploys social democratic rhetoric in feigning a clear break with Blairism (I say feigning as Brown was one of the key architects of Blairism, but that is another debate) He might have to neutralise the Iraq issue first of course!

This all creates yet more political space for the Greens, who are more in tune with the majority of voters who oppose further ideologically driven privatisations and surrenders to big corporations and would like to see democratic control re-established over vital national infrastructure like the railways, health services and education.

An interesting aside is that yet again my prediction that a return to 19th Century political positions is coming about in Britain has been confirmed by this Telegraph 'kite flying'. The Telegraph was originally, before its' many years of right-wing Toryism, the paper of Gladstonian classical liberalism. The Tories meanwhile, (at least on the surface) are returning from Thatcherite classical liberalism to the reactionary protectionism and paternalism of many of their 19th century predecessors.

Interesting times ahead.

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Monday, May 07, 2007


After a few exhausting weeks I am back in blogland. Safely in our new home and elections completed.

The Greens did reasonably well in the elections in England and Wales and now have passed the symbolic 100 Principal Authority councillors mark.
Some reasonable results for some of the rest of the left where they stood, Respect gaining a seat in the Labour heartland of Shirebrook in the Bolsover District and retaining their Preston seat

The result in Scotland was more problematic for the left. As predicted the SSP and Solidarity were both eliminated from the Scottish parliament and did not make much headway in the Councils either. The SNP surged but cannot form a majority government or coalition that will deliver an independence referendum, whilst the Scottish Green Party are reduced from 7 to 2 MSPs. Some of this decline on the left is a result of the SNP surge winning over former Green and SSP voters, but some is self inflicted, particularly with the SSP/Solidarity split. Nevertheless, the entry of the Scottish Greens into the Glasgow and Edinburgh Council chambers is good news to offset the parliamentary losses.

The news from France is even worse, with the victory of the neo-liberal rightwinger Sarkozy, egged on in vomit inducing fashion by Tony Blair who is due to announce the date of his departure this week.

It being May Bank Holiday I went along to the traditional Chesterfield May Day parade today, but didn't manage to catch Chumbawamba on stage later.