Recent Articles

They used depleted uranium in Iraq in our name

by Rupert Read     October 27, 2010 at 11:20 am

There’s an important blog-post here on the vast crime of depleted uranium use by the UK and US forces in Iraq.

I questioned Charles Clarke (then my MP) about this in the run-up to the criminal attack on Iraq in 2003.

To my pleasant surprise, he insisted in reply that depleted Uranium would not be used anywhere at all where it could harm civilians, in Iraq, and suggested to me that it was unlikely to be used at all by the British Armed Forces.
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Three reasons why the child benefits fiasco is a Tory master-stroke

by Rupert Read     October 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

The Tories right now are laughing all the way to the ballot box. Whether they intended it as such or not, this cut in child benefit for the richer is proving a political masterstroke.

That sounds an extraordinary thing to say, given the sustained attacks they are suffering over it, and the apologies that they are being forced to make.

But consider the following three points:
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The first ever Green-governed council? It could happen soon

by Rupert Read     August 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

On 9th September local elections in Norwich could lead to Greens becoming the largest party on a Principal Authority Council.

If they then form a minority administration, it would be the first time they would have an opportunity to govern in their (in our) own name.

OK, it would would be a minority Green administration in a City Council with relatively few powers and desperately strapped for cash. Challenging times. How would the first Green administration in Britain attempt to rise to the challenge?
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Why the left will always be at a loss without vote reform

by Rupert Read     June 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The afternoon session at Liberal Conspiracy’s excellent BlogNation event on Saturday featured many pleas for pluralism on ‘the Left’ – among Labour, Green Party, left-leaning LibDems, and others of other Parties or of none.

These pleas were welcome. But, at the same time, there was plenty of evidence of continuing tribalism lacing them: both from the platform and from some parts of the hall. Alex Smith from LabourList told us with disarming honesty of how the current attacks on the LibDems from David Miliband and others are calculated expressions of tribal self-interest.

How can the vision of a pluralist broadly co-operative politics of ‘the Left’ – central to the strategic mission of Liberal Conspiracy – actually be achieved?
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The Miliband commitment to climate change is mostly just rhetoric

by Rupert Read     May 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

The Miliband brothers both claim to be ‘green-leaning’ candidates, and this is part of what helps them to appear modern and progressive.

But the reality, given their actions when leading various government departments, is that their rhetoric masks a lot of inaction.

  1. That effort is being successfully conducted if emissions are going down. But most people don’t realise that our Co2 emissions are still going up.
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Copenhagen does not go far enough

by Rupert Read     December 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

There has been a lot of critical reaction to James Hansen’s modest and reasonable callfor a junking of the current Copenhagen negotiations in favour of something else that would actually effectually address the climate emergency that we now face.

Most of those reacting negatively to this key intervention from the leading voice of contemporary policy-engaged climate-science don’t appear to ‘get’ the very good reasons why James Hansen of NASA has said that a mediocre agreement at Copenhagen – which is all that we could possibly get now – would be worse than no agreement at all.

The ‘solutions’ on offer at Copenhagen are almost exclusively based around carbon offsets and carbon trading. These would make no meaningful contribution toward tackling the climate crisis for all sorts of reasons (a superb inventory of why can be found at The Corner House, but most crucially because they would mean that, just like with Kyoto, there is no ‘hard’ cap on total emissions.

A carbon trading system that allows offsets against emissions that allegedly would have happened without the system being in place, even if it works, offers no guarantee at all that overall emissions will fall, let alone fall at the rate that they need to fall at if we are to have a chance of keeping the world to within 2 degrees of over-heat.

Thus it may in one important respect be serendipitous that the Copenhagen talks seem in any case likely to fail.

The CRU hack at the University of East Anglia may even have a silver lining.
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Those FibDems…

by Rupert Read     June 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Earlier this month, I was narrowly beaten in my quest for a seat representing Eastern England in the European Parliament. The Green Party vote rose massively, by 60,000, to 140,000 (9%) – but this was still 1% short of what was needed to win a seat.

This was obviously very disappointing; but what made it worse was the knowledge that a systematic campaign by the LibDems to stop me from winning may have been what made the difference between me winning and not. Of course, there is nothing wrong with one Party trying to stop another Party from winning; to some extent, one might even say that that is what Parties are for (though it is unfortunate, to say the least, that the ‘FibDems’ did this when they had little prospect either of losing their seat nor of gaining a second seat – and when the all-too-predictable consequence of what they did was letting in a second kooky climate-denying UKIP MEP, instead of a Green…). But what is wrong is to stop another Party from winning by systematically misrepresenting the facts about the electoral arithmetic…

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Are polls underestimating Green support?

by Rupert Read     June 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

Nothing is certain until the votes are cast, but the polls over the last fortnight have been very encouraging to the Green Party, putting us on an upward trend. UKIP last week commissioned a ComRes poll that put the Greens across the ‘South East’ (which includes my Region, Eastern) in third position on 16%, and on 11% nationwide. This week, the Green Party commissioned a ComRes poll that had UKIP on 17% – and us on 15%, only just behind UKIP – and ahead of the LibDems! That hasn’t happened since 1989.

In fact polls ahead of European elections usually underestimate the actual Green performance. It’s worth remembering that before their historic 2.2 million-strong vote in 1989 the Greens were polling at about 7-8%, but the actual vote turned out to be 15%.
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The media is downplaying Greens and talking up the BNP

by Rupert Read     May 19, 2009 at 9:20 am

Recent polling since the expenses scandal broke shows the Greens have been reaping the rewards of public anger at the main Parliamentary parties. Some indicate we may even receive a result rivaling the 15% highpoint of the ’89 election.

A ComRes poll this weekend put the Tories at 28%, Labour at 20%, the Lib Dems on 14%, below UKIP’s 15%, with the Greens on 11% and the BNP on just 4%. A YouGov poll out yesterday showed that could be the tip of a more radical, positive mood: 34% said they may vote Green at this election.

But here’s the funny thing: the primary focus of the media, and the BBC in particular, has been on the BNP. It remains a party that appears to be falling short of expectations for them.
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The tactical case for supporting Greens at Euros

by Rupert Read     November 24, 2008 at 8:22 am

The next big electoral test in this country is the Euro-elections, next June. I’m the lead Green Party candidate for Eastern Region, one of our two top target Regions (the other being NorthWest) for the Euro-elections.

So what?, some of you may ask. “What has all this got to do with me? What do I, as a Socialist / Labour supporter / LibDem / independent care about the Green Party’s performance next June?”

The answer lies bang in the centre of the ‘remit’ of Liberal Conspiracy: because of the electoral system that the Euro-elections are fought under, and because of the arithmetic.
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