Thursday, 7 May 2015

Labour's love lost

  letter  to the The Guardian on 6 May

Labour peer Lord Prescott suggests voting Labour rather than Green to achieve strong UK governmental representation at the climate change  negotiations in Paris later this year. ("Only Labour is able to protect our future letter," 6 May

I have voted for Labour  many times, and seen its senior politicians bit -by- bit abandon sensible policies to counter climate change ie a  country-wide energy conservation and energy efficiency programme, investment in renewable energy and construction of "zero carbon" buildings.

But firstly under the influence of David Miliband as environment secretary and foreign secretary, and subsequently his brother, Ed as energy and climate change secretary, Labour turned its back on this sustainable energy strategy to  support the unsustainable, very expensive, dangerous and unnecessary   energy policy dominated by a massively taxpayer-subsidised nuclear energy programme.

In the past five years in opposition  shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint's speeches on energy policy have been  barely distinguishable from media  hand-outs from nuclear promoter, the French Government owned  EDF Energy, who have sought guarantees and subsidies for their exorbitantly expensive reactors, all backed by ordinary electricity bill-payers ( whom Labour claim to want to protect) and  hard-working  taxpayers.

Nuclear power is irrelevant in combatting climate, change as its contribution or overall national energy supply is less than 3%, but it totally distorts  the budgets for real sustainable strategies.

Lord Prescott, who once swam down the Thames opposite Parliament to highlight the dangers of nuclear waste dumped at seas, is right the Green Party will not be our government at the Paris talks, but wrong that a vote for the Green Party, especially in Brighton Pavilion for Caroline Lucas, will do little to bring about a an ambitious deal in Paris.

Dr Lucas was the most assiduous advocate of sustainable  energy  strategies in the last Parliament, despite being outnumbered by hundreds of Labour MPs;  Labour would do  well to listen to her wise counsel in the next.

This view is supported by  many environmentalists of all parties and none

Only Labour is able to protect our future
Guardian letters, 6 May 2015
It is understandable that Caroline Lucas would urge readers to vote Green (Letters, 5 May). However, what she has not said is that a vote for the Green party will do little to bring about an ambitious global agreement to tackle climate change. Within months of the polls closing on Thursday, world leaders will gather in Paris at the conference of parties to adopt an agreement that must set the world on a path towards limiting global temperature increases to two degrees. That agreement can be negotiated only by the next prime minister. If Caroline Lucas goes to Paris it will be to protest, not to negotiate.
The real choice, therefore, is between David Cameron, who long ago abandoned his promise to lead the “greenest government ever” and has taken to referring to environmental policies as “green crap”; and Ed Miliband, who, as secretary of state for climate change, brought in the first national piece of legislation in the world to set legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions (an approach that is now being replicated around the world) and, as leader, has committed to making climate change one of the highest priorities for a Labour government.
The important point for voters to bear in mind is that it will be the next prime minister, not the Green party, who will be negotiating on behalf of the UK in December. Miliband has committed a Labour government to pushing for an ambitious agreement in Paris, with a goal of net-zero global emissions in the second half of this century. The best way, therefore, for voters to tell world leaders that they support urgent and ambitious action to tackle climate change is to elect a Labour government.
John Prescott
Labour, House of Lords

To get Greens, you need to vote Green
Guardian letters, 5 May 2015
Your editorial (2 May) recommending a Labour vote at the general election acknowledges that “it would be good to hear Green voices in Westminster to press further on climate change and sustainability”. I agree - which is why I’d urge your readers to vote Green.  The Greens are the only nationwide party to commit to urgent and ambitious action on climate change, and we have been almost alone in championing the very fossil fuel divestment movement the Guardian has acknowledged is so critically important.
Not only that. A group of leading academics, Academics Stand Against Poverty, has analysed the different party manifestos from the perspective of poverty eradication and concluded that “none of the main parties, except the Greens, have an effective strategy to address poverty at this election. The Greens seem to consistently propose innovative policies to address long-standing public policy challenges.”
Moreover, when it comes to safeguarding our precious NHS, I was privileged to be the MP who introduced the NHS reinstatement bill in parliament a few months ago - a bill that goes far further than Labour in not only repealing the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, but also in reversing the past 25 years of marketisation in our health service.
And since neither of the bigger parties is on course to win anything like an overall majority, the role of the smaller parties will be more important than ever. Greens have been clear that we would never prop up a Tory government, but that we would support a minority Labour government on a case-by-case basis – and would never support a vote of no confidence in it. If people want to hear to continue to hear Green voices at Westminster, it’s crucial they vote for them on Thursday.
Caroline Lucas
Green candidate, Brighton Pavilion

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