Pushing the Green Liberal Imperative
I am writing this in my caravan on holiday in Europe. It is not clear as I write what will happen next in the saga that is the UK`s political narrative. But what is reasonably clear is that we really are not very far from a General Election.
What is concerning is that whenever the election occurs our political system will end up compromised because it is just so unrepresentative of the views of the electorate. For example, it is really clear that a large majority of people are now worrying about the consequences of Climate Change, but politicians generally are just unable to respond.
Why? Because they have been unable to unravel the mess that is Brexit – and the Government is now in the hands of an unelected charlatan and fraud, with a number of “advisers” that seem to be in the pay of either our “enemies” or a small cabal of ultra-rich tax avoiders who run our domestic media. Or BOTH, of course!
The Prime Minister is SO untrustworthy that no-one even dares to try and remove him with a Vote of No confidence (VONC) in case he manages to run roughshod over conventions and causes us to fall off the cliff of Brexit in a “No-Deal” debacle on 31st October. However, I shall say no more on this matter as it is being `done to death` on FaceBook anyway.
My point, however, is that the things WE, the Green Liberal Democrats, care passionately about, along with a large chunk of the electorate – and most of the next couple of generations of voters, as yet unable to cast their votes – are being left to the margins of political discourse in the Mother of Parliaments, while the Government fiddles with the positioning of the deck chairs.
World Cup Rugby
Sshh, don`t say a word, but I should not be writing this blog by rights anyway, as it happens. I should be watching recorded matches of the games in today`s Rugby World Cup. However, my access to UK TV recordings now appears to be blocked because I am not actually In the UK. So, I have some time on my hands – and trying to sneak in a quiet Blog….
Indeed, by rights I should actually be IN JAPAN, watching some of the matches on TV, having watched the England matches in the stadiums. I had actually bought tickets for all the England matches and the likely quarter final matches in which England should be appearing if they win or come second in their group.
I am a rugby fan and have been all my life, having played for school and university many, many moons ago. I was lucky enough to get tickets for all the group games in France in 2007 and the quarters and semis and the final in that year. And after I married Fatima in 2011, we honeymooned in New Zealand and saw the England group matches and the final between New Zealand and France in Auckland. I was also lucky enough to get tickets to the group matches and quarter finals in 2015 when we had the Rugby World Cup in the UK. Sadly, our esteemed team failed to make it out of the group stage in our Home World Cup!
So – “Why haven`t we gone to Japan?” Having bought the tickets, I had a terrible crisis of conscience about actually flying to Japan in the context of the Climate Crisis! In one sense it really has not made any real difference that I sold my tickets back into the system, as it is pretty likely that they will have been bought – at least in part – by England supporters who will also fly to Japan on the same aircraft as I might have flown on anyway!
GLD Chair & other party offices
However, I made the decision I wanted to stand for Chair of the Green Liberal Democrats again, having been the founding Chair back in 1988. Since we are now at a crucial stage of political activity in the face of Global Warming (Global Roasting is probably a better phrase, in reality!!) we need to be pushing the Green Liberal Imperative. And I believe I have the right political credentials to do just that within the party. I am also putting myself forward for either Federal Conference Committee or Federal Policy Committee to push the Green Liberal Imperative there too.
With all this in mind, however, it seems just too far along the hypocrisy scale to fly to Japan for ephemeral pleasure and then seek to sit in the Chair of an organisation dedicated to getting society to change its ways. My attention was caught the other day on FaceBook by a picture of the leader of the Green Party in Canada which had been “doctored” to show her holding a reusable cup with a metal straw, instead of the “actualité” – which was that she was using a single use cup for her coffee! If you CAN be caught out in politics, you WILL be caught out for sure and I do not want to create a hostage to fortune.
We have an uphill task, anyway, getting even our Liberal Democrat party to behave in appropriate ways (think of all the single use plastic bottles bought and sold at the LD Conference just recently and the trees chopped down for all the communications aspects of the conference, not to mention the lack of recycling facilities at the Conference Centre!!)
Having moved the GLD amendment, in Bournemouth, to tackle UK emissions of methane and CO2 so urgently and bring forward the end-date for net-zero emission to 2040, I could not in good conscience fly over 6000 miles to Japan and back and then feel at ease addressing audiences around the country about “Changing our ways” as Chair of GLD. I just could not do it, so I decided to sell my precious tickets for the Rugby games. And my conscience felt much the better for it!
I have already made dietary changes to eat much less red meat – I now class myself as a Flexitarian – perhaps not the “green purist” position as being a vegetarian or vegan, but progress of a sort. I have also made other changes to my life in terms of addressing my carbon footprint. I am very lucky to own around three hectares of land in Nottinghamshire where I am planting trees in great quantity (well over 200 at the last count and many more to go over the next couple of years, whilst I am still fit enough to dig the holes to plant them in!) I say “lucky”, but it was a conscious decision on my part, more than twelve years ago, to offset as much as I could of my carbon footprint with personal carbon sequestration.
I also fitted solar panels a few years ago and more recently I have added batteries to the system to be able to store my solar energy as much as possible. I now have a hybrid vehicle (I would have gone all-electric but for the need to pull the caravan, thus avoiding short-haul holiday flights!) It is, however, only the third vehicle I have owned in over 24 years – I have consciously kept my vehicles as long as practicable to avoid the carbon cost embedded in their manufacture.
Let me be clear, however, that I am a long way from claiming an ideal low-carbon lifestyle – I know full-well that there are many others out there making a much better fist of it than myself. It is nevertheless very important that we make strenuous efforts to change our ways if we are preaching societal changes of the magnitude needed to tackle the scale of the problems we face. Ideally, we must become a “Do what we DO” Party, rather than a “Do what we SAY” Party.
We must push the Green Liberal Imperative as hard as we can – in our own lives as well as in the lives of others. OK – I need to go back to being on holiday, otherwise I shall get into trouble with Mrs Melton!
A passing Green bus in Luxembourg! Bus fares are very cheap there and all school age kids appear to travel completely free on public transport, which is comfortable and frequent. potential lessons to be learnt here…
This is a journey we are all on, isn’t it? It can only help to share issues as they arise and I am seriously impressed that you sacrificed Japan – and rugby, which must have been very painful.
(Just to introduce myself, I am standing to take on Almona’s role in the Green Liberal Democrats, a hard act to follow, I think!)
Thanks Laura – back from hols now and raring to go!