Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Is It Even A Debate?

PaulSC at Grasp The Mettle draws our attention to an excellent blog post by Richard Cable on the BBC's Blog Of Bloom.

While the changing climate is a constant, it is also pointed out that the world authority on the subject, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declares it only 'very likely' that humans are the cause of warming.

Because the chaotic nature of any effects prevents exact predictions about future atmospheric changes we should be warned about politicians who prey on our worst fears for their partisan gain. Any real action must be based on scientific evidence rather than essentially flawed computer models.

On this note environmental enthusiast and scientist Cllr Goodall has signed a personal pledge committing himself to a range of small steps he can take as an individual and hopes this will set an example to inspire others.

Meanwhile Green party campaigners got excited about a debate on Geo-engineering hosted by Reading University - which proposed to discuss some 'big-science' solutions designed to mitigate the threats posed by an uncertain environmental future.

Adrian Windisch clearly thinks this advances his political cause, reprinting the online flyer for the event which announces it will "highlight the urgency to act on climate change before it is too late", while Miriam Kennet is happy to reprint the colourful poster without giving an opinion on the issues to be raised.


Update: As if on cue, Berkshire Humanists report RBC's submission of a new Climate Change Partnership to be integrated into it's strategy with the aim of mitigating the effects of, and adaptation to climate change.

Oranjepan says:
If urgent action is required, then detailed proposals must be put forward by our political representatives - warm words will do nothing to off-set any problems caused by a warming climate.


  1. so what's the point of the Green Party?

  2. Thanks for the comment Anon, glad to see you're still a regular round here.

    I'm sorry, but I'm unable to give you an answer about 'what's the point of the Green party' - maybe you should ask one of their members instead.

  3. so what's the point in politics?

  4. Hi Matt,
    that's actually quite a funny riposte from my pov!

    However its also one I can answer - politics doesn't have a point, politics potentially provides the answers to all the problems in all our lives.

    No politics provides no answers.

    So we are faced with a choice - do we want an easier life, or do we want a better life?

    That's politics.

  5. Thew, so that's settled then! Now we just need to find out the point in the Green Party...!

  6. The Green Party provides a home for all the hippy-fascists in the country.

  7. Er, thanks for your contribution Anon, perhaps this is where I reminder commenters of my house rules.

    Gratuitous unsupported insults are not helpful, especially from anyone hiding behind anonymity, so please choose a pseudonym.

  8. A misunderstanding of the word fascist if ever i did see one. Perhaps this anon is a disillusioned New Labour supporter who is bitter that the Green Party came above them in the EU elections in the most populous region in the UK. Martin, is that you?

  9. Tell us, what does fascist mean?

  10. Ohh thank you for asking that question! If you are a reader of my blog, or indeed on my facebook, you may had noticed that i have been two-ing and throwing with the theories behind idologies for a short while now. I'm still learning, but i got a very good idea.

    Anyway, fascism, first let me start with a bit of that good old socialist critic and sympathiser George Orwell, this is from Lion and the Unicorn:

    "Facism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes. Internally, Germany has a good deal in common with a Socialist state. Ownership has never been abolished, there are still capitalists and workers, and generally speaking the same people are capitalists and the same people workers as before the Nazi revolution. But at the same time the State, which is simply the Nazi Party, is in control of everything. It controls investment, raw materials, rates of interest, working hours, wages. The factory owner still owns his factory, but he is for practical purposes reduced to the status of a manager. Everyone is in effect a State employee, though the salaries vary very greatly. The mere efficiency of such a system, the elimination of waste and obstruction, is obvious. In seven years it has built up the most powerful war machine the world has ever seen."

    I take this as a good description of a fascist state, the main principles are; creation of a war like economy in order to survive, the economy is run by the state albeit working as a capitalist organisation, society is not run for the majority (working class in this description) but for the capitalists, state control and private capital are both encouraged, any obstruction to the state is removed. During the 1930's with the rise of Nazism many capitalists from Britian and America praised the system because it allowed the state to control society and to keep itself strong but allowed private individuals to florish. If you flip it to a communist system then the state controls everything but the state is working for the majority (working class). Take this a bit more centre to social democracy, the state controls main resources but allows private gain, but the public still have the say in how the system is run through elections (unlike communism) and their voice is not repressed (unlike in fascism).

    I admit i am still learning, but i feel i have enough of an understanding to know that describing the Green Party as an organisation of hippy-fascists is well off.

  11. Oh, can i add, the above is only a simplistic example of the fascist system- there is of course a lot more to all the systems i have mentioned. :-)

  12. Orwell is hardly a socialist by today's standards, and in his later works he moved a long way from what would be commonly understood as socialist even at the time. That passage is much quoted, but he admits he is talking about German naziism, not Italian fascism, so try Mussolini's positive ("fascism is the merger of corporate and state power") or Lenin's negative ("fascism is capitalism in decay") descriptions instead.

    Totalitarianism, authoritarianism, interventionism, central planning and social Darwinianism are all strong beliefs among Greens, and indoctrination and repression of criticism are widespread tendencies. So 'hippy-fascist' or 'eco-fascist' are both perfectly fair characterisations of many Green party members.

    What are you? Do you agree with David Attenborough and the optimum population theory which supports Mengele-style eugenics?

  13. It's hard to say what socialist by today's standards really means, i mean, New Labour are still described by some as socialist. I don't think they are. Orwell did spend most of his life trying to find the political position that best fit him, but remember, i described him as a socialist critic and smpathiser i.e a critic/smpathiser of socialism (Road to Wigan Pier (1936)is a good example of this).

    The Mussolini and Lenin quotes you use sound exactly the way i attempted to describe fascism. Mussolini describes it more elequantly than me, but i did say along the lines of it being state controlled capitalism. With Lenin, the Orwell quote i used fits into his position- i.e. fascism borrowing from socialism. If you were going to bring a Marxist angle into this, then fascism could be described as the evolution between capitalism and socialism on the path to communism because it is an example of free market capitalism slowly evolving in socialism- in a fascist state all you need is a workers revolution to take control of the state and then you have progressed somewhat to socialism. But then the danger is that you actually advance into Stalinism... (Also, i wouldn't say Lenin was a fascist, but he knew that Russia needed to go through a period of state capitalism in order to progess to communism).

    Anyway, back to the point, i am a Green Party member. Of course i don't like criticsm, but i can't say i try to repress it! I also don't see these characteristics you describe being part of my character/belief system or other Green Party member's characteristics i know. In fact, a few of those characteristics i would decribe as being the complete oppositeto what i/they are like.

    But i detest the idea of the question of 'what am i'. I know i have said i am a Green Party member, and i have described my political beliefs to many people and on my site, but i have recently also written about how dissillusioned i am with the whole terminology of ideology politics. Of course i believe in ideology, but i don't like the boundaries created by the terms associated with those ideologies- they form too many walls. Oranjepan will know what i mean because i know he has read my recent post on that topic. But i am not having at go at you for asking because you probably haven't come across me/it.

  14. Oranj - "especially from anyone hiding behind anonymity, so please choose a pseudonym" - only just read these comments - great line

  15. actually, yeah, who are you anon as i would love to have a peaceful and civilised conversation with you over a cup of tea in Reading town centre... and anyone else for that matter

  16. 'So what's the point of the Green Party?' We provide an alternative to the big parties that are all on the same agenda. We have won many supporters and voters by being an ethical choice, while the larger parties are funded by corporations and millionaires.

    Up till the 2005 General Election the environment was barely mentioned, now all the parties talk about it, though the Con/Lab/LD still build motorways and extend airports.

    A better question is what is the point of the Lib Dems, who are doing what 2 other parties are doing, but less well.

  17. Politics - fiddling while the planet burns.

  18. Thanks for the comment Adrian - you would say that though, wouldn't you!

    It's not like you don't have a vested interest in painting your opponents in a negative light, so I suggest you are either ignoring reality to flatter yourself or you are acting with deliberate malice because you think you have something to gain.

    The environment has been a serious matter of debate for decades and all parties have policies on it - it's one thing to disagree with what they say, but it's quite another to be deaf to what they say and then complain afterwards you couldn't, wouldn't or simply didn't hear them.

    I hesitate to say it, but things aren't yet that bad that they can't get worse, and neither are they so far gone that we can't do anything to improve the situation.

    What one person describes as fiddling another might easily call it necessary preparation - I accept there is a sense of urgency, but at the same time "act in haste, repent at leisure" remains cautionary.

    It isn't a case of 'do something, anything at all' because we can't do everything and what we do today will restrict our options for tomorrow. So we must make choices and lots of different people have lots of different ideas about what to do - if it were possible would you close down all nuclear power stations at 24 hrs notice?


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