The past few weeks have been a political whirlwind for the UK…
We very narrowly voted to leave the EU, which shocked everyone, even the people who had been campaigning for it for months. The prime minister resigned (after reportedly complaining ‘why should I do the hard shit?!’ to his aides) and Labour promptly imploded into a backstabby messy coup. Meanwhile the Tory leadership election was equally backstabby and brutal but with an efficient speed that bizarrely saw Theresa May become prime minister without anyone voting for her. Meanwhile the value of the pound fell of a cliff and billions of pounds in that ethereal realm known as the stock market vanished. Oh, and a chilling wave of hate crime also hit the country in the wake of the shock Brexit vote. It’s all basically been just shocker after shocker for the last four weeks.
As if all that wasn’t enough to deal with, one of Theresa May’s first moves, on her first full day in office, was to axe the department of climate change.
RIP the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo I took at the 2015 Climate March in London.
I just about fell over when this happened, on 14th July.
Why would anyone even consider getting rid of the department that deals with the single biggest threat to humanity in the 21st century? Continue reading
You’re sick to death of hearing about the god damn EU referendum.
I get it. But, it’s like a super important once in a lifetime – maybe once ever – thing, so please just suck it up and stick with me.
EU flag. Photo by Flickr user MPD01605 (Creative Commons).
When this all started a few months ago, I was unsure but leaning towards In. I was unsure because the EU is centralised power (which I don’t like) and I highly disproved of the way it dealt with the Greek crisis – but I liked the way it kept a check on crazy Tory zeal. I was leaning towards In, mainly for the emotional reason that I like European culture and my grandfathers were Bulgarian and Italian. But I wasn’t too sure.
As the debate wore on and I did more and more research, I became more and more sure that In was the right choice for me. I still wasn’t too passionate though, as I felt we would definitely vote to stay In anyway. Recently I’ve become very passionate about the case for Remain and become very worried that we may in fact opt for Brexit. I’ve also been quite surprised to see that so many people that I know are still undecided – less than a week before the big day. I really feel I should be out on the streets campaigning like I did before the 2015 general election, but I’m working 3/4 jobs and I’ve left it rather late to realise how much I care.
So instead, here’s my top 6 reason’s for staying In, in blog form. Continue reading
Happy New Year!
It’s that time again. As we get over our NYE hangovers, it’s time to look back over the last year and look forward to the new one. After 22 years I’m still not 100% used to the way we get periodically tossed into the future like this. But here we go. Continue reading
Yesterday I was one of 50,000 people to descend on central London as part of the Global Climate March on the eve of the COP21 climate talks in Paris.
System change not climate change!
I took the Big Lemon bus (which runs on waste cooking oil!) up to London yesterday morning, forcing myself out of bed about half a day earlier than I would usually arise. When we got to Hyde Park, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the fire and rescue union and a couple of others took turns giving motivational speeches from the top of a fire engine before we set off towards Parliament. Continue reading
Last week, Britain’s political opposition actually became an opposition, with the election of a leader that is dramatically different (in policy, style and values) to the ruling party and its intellectual allies: Jeremy Corbyn. At a time when the politics of this country has shifted so far to the right that neoliberal austerity is presented as the middle ground and everything else is relegated to the margins, his election as Labour leader (with 60% of the vote no less) is a very big deal. Because he does not fit the cookie cutter mould of the modern establishment. A left-wing-liberal, he champions greater equality, deeper democracy and more public ownership of assets. He opposes austerity, Trident, fracking and new nuclear.
Jeremy Corbyn, Creative Commons Licensing.
We all know power is very unequally distributed in UK society, and this concentration of power at the top of the socio-economic ladder is much more extreme at the global level. Many places are ruled by completely unaccountable violent dictators and militias. I’m lucky to live in a liberal democracy. But just because other parts of the world are so much less fortunate, doesn’t mean we in Britain and the West should be content with the watered down versions of “democracy” that actually aren’t that democratic. Or liberal, for that matter.
I can’t speak for other countries that I haven’t experienced, but I know that in the UK although we have democracy, our politicians are not obliged to do what we want, nor what they promise to do. Most of them (especially the ruling Conservatives) appear to be much more interested with lining the pockets of their corporate chums and, indirectly, themselves.
Big Business gets to scrounge off the state constantly with tax breaks, unchallenged tax avoidance, direct subsidies and indirect subsidies such as topping up poverty wages with benefits – while the poorest are vilified to legitimise the speedy erosion of their rights. Austerity for the poor and socialism for the rich. The injustice of it all is breathtaking, to anyone who bothers to look.
I know, it’s a bleak picture. And it’s easy to understand why so many people in this country have become hopeless and apathetic. It’s easy to take a glance at the corruption, hypocrisy and deceit and decide that the elite is all-powerful and normal everyday citizens (who aren’t politicians and don’t run a big company or a big news outlet) are powerless.
It’s easy to see why you might think that, because that’s what the powerful want us to think. Citizen apathy is in their favour, big time.
But it’s not true.
Reclaim the streets and flex your citizen muscles. From San Francisco Art Institute, creative commons licensing.
The Green Party have been campaigning to be included in the televised leader’s debates prior to the UK’s upcoming general election.
The initial suggestion of the BBC, Channel 4, Sky and ITV was to have a first round with the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and (controversially) UKIP, a second with the three traditional parties, and a final round with just Cameron and Miliband.
Since then the Green Party have raised a petition of over 275,000 signatures for their inclusion in the first round, and they have received a large amount of news coverage over the issue. A poll by the Guardian says 89% of their readers want the Greens included, with only 3% agreeing with the current proposals. A YouGov poll for the Times said 47% of respondents wanted the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett included. Continue reading
Hello lovely readers, I hope you’ve all been having a gorgeous festive time.
As 2014 draws to a close and the new bubba year is just a couple of days away, I’d like to take this opportunity to write about some of the big deals in sustainability from the last year, sustainability-related things I’ve been doing personally, and some of the things I’m eagerly and nervously awaiting from 2015. I think it’s going to be a big year.
This is a UK-centric post as that’s where I’m based. If you live in another country, please feel free to leave a comment telling me what the big sustainability news from your neck of the woods has been in 2014!
Two days ago the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 announced they have invited UKIP’s Nigel Farage to the televised leader’s debates in the run up to the UK’s 2015 general election. They’ve have not invited Green Party leader Natalie Bennet, nor the leaders of other non-establishment parties.
The TV station’s plan is to have a 4-3-2 set-up where the first round has David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage, the second has Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, and the final round has just Cameron and Miliband. All these debates will take place throughout April, 2015.
As you can imagine, I’m outraged by this proposal.
If UKIP are being included, the Greens have every right to be included as well. You can read a pretty comprehensive list of reasons why this is so with one of my favourite bloggers, Another Angry Voice. However my top arguments in a nutshell are: Continue reading
The other day I found out about this really cool new website called Note My Vote, which basically lets you vote on potential new laws before they’re debated in parliament, and tells your MP what you (and your fellow constituents) think.
The website, which has no political affiliation, basically conducts lots of opinion polls, and sends each MP their constituent’s results. It also shows your MP’s voting records and has some demystifying information on how the UK legislative process works.
The site’s logo. Image from notemyvote.co.uk