Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Rachel Reeves Tears into Tory Economic Policy

October 2, 2022

I had this mass email from Reeves ripping apart Queasy Kwarteng’s wretched minibudget. As much as I despise her as a true-blue Blairite, who vowed Labour would be harder on the unemployed than the Tories, she is right. Especially about trickle-down economics. Robin Ramsey, the head honcho of conspiracy site Lobster, has a background in economics. He pointed out that the Thatcherites had cottoned on to the fact that trickle-down economics was rubbish, and so were trying to justify their vile economics policies with arguments about morality. Trickle-down economics was recognised as bunk long ago, so it shows how threadbare Cheeselab Truss’ policies and ideas really are. And as terrible as I find Starmer, I’d far rather have him in No. 10 than Truss or another Tory.

‘David James, last week, the Tory government laid out their budget. 

And with it, they crashed the economy by handing enormous, unfunded tax cuts to those who earn millions and the very richest companies. 

Because of this, working people will be paying higher prices and higher mortgage rates for years to come.   

This isn’t some global issue – it happened as soon as the government stood up last Friday. They’ve damaged the UK’s reputation for good. 

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have no one to blame but themselves. This was a crisis created entirely in Downing Street, a direct result of this government’s reckless decisions.

Labour is urging the Prime Minister to bring Parliament back as soon as possible and reverse their disastrous budget.

I have been clear: there should be no return to the failed idea of trickle-down economics – the theory where you make the rich even richer and hope that somehow, some of it trickles down to the rest of us.

Labour knows that growth comes from the talents and efforts of millions of people and thousands of businesses across our country. 

As a government we will make different choices. Just this week, Labour set out our plans to deliver economic growth with our Green Prosperity Plan to guarantee a fairer, greener future for all.

After 12 years of the Tories lurching from one crisis to another, Britain deserves better. 

Labour is ready to deliver it. 

Thank you,

Rachel Reeves,
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer’

38 Degrees Invite Water Company Heads to Fake Festival of Sewage

October 2, 2022

This is a highly amusing idea. In order to make the point that the sewage the water companies are allowing to get into the environment isn’t acceptable, 38 Degrees are asking their supporters to send the heads of their local water companies fake invitations to a festival of sewage. I go this email and invitation about it on Friday.

Coming to a river or beach near you David: SEWAGE FEST 2022!

Okay, so we’re not actually putting on a festival celebrating sewage pollution. I know, shocking. But today copies of this poster really did start appearing in Brighton, one of many beaches affected by sewage pollution this summer. [1] The message to water companies? Sort. It. Out.

The 38 Degrees community has a history of using fun and creative ideas to make a serious point – and this time is no different! With the Government asking water companies to develop better plans to tackle sewage pollution, it’s the perfect time to publicly shame them – and make sure they really do step up their game. [2]

So here’s the plan: Imagine thousands of us inviting water company bosses to ‘attend’ Sewage Fest 2022 by sharing VIP tickets with them over Twitter (after all, it just wouldn’t have been possible without them!). It’ll be massively embarrassing for them – as well as spreading the word about the campaign!

So David, will you tweet the CEO of your water company a ticket to Sewage Fest 2022 now – and publicly pressure them to clean up their act? The ticket design is below – we hope you like it!

I’LL TWEET A TICKET

So why now? Well, a few weeks ago the new Environment Secretary told water companies to produce more ambitious plans for tackling sewage pollution. [3]

It’s positive news – and only happened because of a huge amount of public pressure. [4] But with everything else going on in the world (and there’s a lot right now) we need to make sure water companies know we’re watching – and won’t accept watered down proposals!

Last week, thousands of us emailed water company CEOs demanding they make their plans as ambitious as possible. [5] But we can’t stop there. Just imagine those same CEOs being publicly invited to an ‘event’ of their own making – Sewage Fest 2022! VIP tickets too, what a treat. Together we can publicly embarrass them, making them feel the heat over their collective failure to tackle the issue.

So will you tweet the CEO of your water company – inviting them to Sewage Fest 2022 and hold them accountable for their disgusting mess? Just click below and you’ll be sent to a page where you can select your water company.

I’LL TWEET A TICKET

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Matt, Megan, Angus and the 38 Degrees Team

NOTES:
[1] Our posters are all over Brighton – you can see examples herehere, and here!
The Telegraph (paywall): Sewage now pollutes every single beach between Brighton and Hastings
BBC News: Sussex beaches: People advised not to swim after sewage releases
The Independent: England’s most polluted rivers as sewage pumped into waterways for 2.6m hours
[2] Daily Mail: Water companies given two week deadline by government to show how they will stop sewage being pumped into rivers and beaches
Sky News: Water company bosses given 14 days to set out sewage dumping plans, new environment secretary says
[3] See note 2
[4] BBC News: Environment Bill passes following lengthy battle over sewage
38 Degrees: Stop dumping raw sewage into our seas and waterways
DEFRA: Storm overflows discharge reduction plan
The Rivers Trust: Storm Overflows Discharge Reduction Plan still too little, too late
[5] 38 Degrees: Enough is enough: draw up ambitious plans to fix our outdated sewage system

We Own It Celebrate Starmer’s Policy of a Great British Energy Company

October 2, 2022

I got this email from the pro-public ownership organisation We Own It applauding Keir Starmer’s announcement that if he was elected, Labour would set up a publicly owned energy company: Great British Energy.

‘Dear David,

Public ownership in Starmer’s keynote speech, as one of Labour’s flagship policies?! This is HUGE.

Great British Energy, a publicly owned renewable energy generation company, would help tackle the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.

Two months ago, we told the Guardian that Labour was being too cautious on public ownership and asked the question:

“Why not set up a publicly owned renewable generation company to drive forward water and wind energy, while creating jobs and boosting the economy?”

You helped to share that article and spread the word – and yesterday Keir Starmer announced exactly that, so this is YOUR win!

Read and share our blog on Great British Energy

Share on Twitter

Share on Facebook

Thousands of you signed the petition for energy in public ownership, which included Great British Energy as one of the demands!

Thousands of you shared polling about support for public ownership, showing how popular taking energy into public hands really is. 

Of course we want Labour to go further by bringing the National Grid and an energy supplier into public ownership. But this huge victory helps shift the debate. After a long period of avoiding the question, it shows that public ownership is on the table again for Labour. 

Starmer also stated that this policy would be rolled out in the first year of government. The next general election could be coming sooner than the Conservatives would like – so with Labour way ahead in the polls, these announcements matter. It’s people like you who will make sure they translate into action when the time comes. (Do read our blog for more on the politics of this announcement…)

We’re making progress. Let’s keep going! 

THANK YOU for everything you’ve done to make this happen.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew, and Kate — the We Own It team

PS This isn’t the only public ownership announcement at Labour conference this year… Thanks to everything you’ve done to make the case, Labour announced that they would nationalise rail, lift the ban on municipally owned bus companies, and oversee a wave of insourcing. These are your victories!

Starmer Announces Some Great Policies – But Can We Trust Him?

September 28, 2022

I got this email from the Labour leader yesterday, along with the inevitable request for a donation. There are some great policies in there, such as a publicly owned energy company. The problem is that Starmer’s got plenty of previous on making promises he has no intention of keeping, and of watering down his proposals when he starts thinking he’s getting near power.

‘David James, if this year’s Conference has proved one thing, it is this: 

Labour will deliver a fairer, greener future for working people. 

Here’s how we’ll do it:

In my first year as Prime Minister, Britain will start its journey to becoming a clean energy superpower by setting up a new, publicly owned company: Great British Energy. 

Publicly owned British power. 

Creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, growing our economy and protecting our country from being held to ransom by dictators like Putin.

British power to the British people.

Clean hydrogen energy in South Yorkshire, in the East of England, across the river in the Wirral. Offshore wind in Scotland, Teesside, East and North Yorkshire. Solar power, growing rural communities, in the South East, South West and Midlands.

David James, to achieve this, Labour must win. 

Will you chip into the General Election fund today, for a fairer, greener future tomorrow?

I’ll donate

While the Tories lurch from crisis to crisis, Labour’s green prosperity plan will deliver an economy that works for everyone.

Labour will:  

  • Freeze energy bills now with a windfall tax on oil and gas producers 
  • Keep bills down long term by insulating 19 million homes 
  • Secure energy independence with GB Energy 
  • Create one million new jobs by investing in new green industries 
  • Safeguard nature and our children’s future with a Clean Air Act 

Britain deserves better than Liz Truss’ trickle-down fantasy.

Britain deserves a fairer, greener future. 

Labour is ready.

Thank you, 

Keir Starmer 
Leader of the Labour Party’ 

More Conspiracy Nuttery After the Queen’s Death: Ickian Reptoids

September 13, 2022

Okay, I put up a couple of posts at the weekend talking about some of the conspiracy theories that have emerged on various right-wing websites and organisations following the death of Her Maj. These include attacks on the Queen for supposing depriving us of our ancient liberties and suggesting that King Charles is somehow part of the old Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Correct, Not Political, were at it again yesterday. They were predicting that he would be an absolute monarch, ruling by decree, who would bring about the infamous Great Reset and turn Britain into a green communist state. But something like the nadir of these conspiracy theories was reached by one YouTuber, who put up a 33 minute-long video about ‘Queen E-Lizard-beth and the coming Reptoid Civil War’. Yes, we’re back to David Icke’s conspiracy theory that the royal family and other prominent people, like politicians and so on, are really reptoid aliiens secretly oppressing and manipulating us.

Vangelis’ Theme from Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’

September 10, 2022

Here’s something which I hope will be a bit lighter after the last two day’s solemnity. It’s a video of the theme music to the 1980s blockbuster science and space documentary series, Cosmos, presented by Carl Sagan, which I’ve taken from Nedsrubiquitous’ channel on YouTube. Cosmos was one of the great space and science fact shows of the 1980s, and its accompanying book became a bestseller. Sagan himself was a Humanist and an opponent of militarism, imperialism and nuclear weapons, as well as sexism and racism. Later in the decade he presented evidence to the international authorities that a nuclear war would result in a global winter that would destroy life on this planet. Well, whatever survived the nuclear holocaust, I suppose. When NASA was holding its inquiry into the causes of the Challenger disaster, Sagan stated that the design of the Space Shuttle had been severely compromised in the interests of the military. He said that initially the Shuttle was to be smaller and completely reusable, but the armed forces objected as they wanted something big enough to put military spy satellites into space. Hence the Shuttle was only partly reusable through the addition of a fuel tank that was jettisoned and left to burn up. He also wrote a Science Fiction book, Contact, about a female scientist who establishes contact with aliens. It was later filmed with Jodie Foster. I don’t agree with Sagan’s atheism, but he was an inspirational science communicator. I wasn’t surprised when Prof Brian Cox said that he had been inspired by Sagan, because after all the space and science series Cox had done it seemed to be glaringly obvious.

The music for the series was composed and performed by the awesome Vangelis, responsible for the theme to Chariots of Fire, The Conquest of Paradise and Blade Runner. I think the music was an important element in the show’s popularity and was one of a number of themes collected in the album Space Invaded. If I remember correctly, that is. Sagan died a few years ago of prostate cancer, but still remains one of the giants of astronomy and explaining difficult concepts to a mass audience.

The video features pictures and quotes from the man himself and NASA, as well as beautiful photographs of space and the space telescopes that capture them.

History Debunked Speculates about King Charles and the World Economic Forum

September 10, 2022

I put up a piece yesterday about how right-wing counterprotest group Correct, Not Political took the occasion of Her Maj’s death to push stupid, right-wing conspiracies inherited from Resistance GB and God knows who else. The Queen was posthumously accused of presiding over the British public being stripped of their ancient liberties as well as sneers about giving birth to paedophiles and being a cousin to her consort, Prince Philip. The nadir was reached when they put up a photograph of our new king wearing a skullcap in a pew during a service with Jewish men also wearing skullcaps. This was captioned ‘Close it down’. This strongly seems to suggest to me that, despite angrily denying that they believe in the Great Replacement, they do believe in some godawful conspiracy theory about Jewish power, the Zionist Occupation Government or some other utterly malign nonsense like that.

But they weren’t the only people to suffer from a sudden attack of conspiracy paranoia. Simon Webb of History Debunked put up a video asking whether Charles was going to institute the neo-feudalism of the Great Reset. Now this is a conspiracy theory I don’t know very much about. From what little I’ve come across of it, it seems to consider that the World Economic Forum led by Klaus Schwab will use the ecological crisis to push a form of ‘Green communism’. The global economy will be reconstructed to become a form of Communism in which people will own nothing and be happy. Motor transport is a particular concern to those holding this theory. They’re very worried about current moves to ban oil-driven cars in favour of electric, and so there are forms of the slogan which run ‘You will have no car and be happy’. I didn’t watch the video. I tried but got very bored after a couple of minutes. I think the logic here is that because Prince Philip and King Charles are very much into ecology – I think Philip was patron of the World-Wide Fund for Nature, formerly the World Wildlife Fund – they must be keen on closing down the modern industrial economy and establishing this green economic system. A system in which they would be the new, feudal, ruling class.

Webb isn’t an anti-Semite. To his credit he’s put up any number of videos debunking the stupid conspiracy theories about Jews. A recent video he put up attacked one of the arguments used by the Holocaust deniers. This was that Auschwitz had wooden doors. These wooden doors would have been permeable to gas, so if Auschwitz was used as gas oven, the gas would have escaped to kill the guards. Therefore, it wasn’t. Webb described how the Nazis had initially tried killing Jews by putting them in the back of vans fitted with hoses leading from their interiors to the exhaust pipe and then driving around until their victims will killed by the carbon monoxide. This didn’t kill enough of them, so they settled on Zyklon-B instead, a highly toxic pesticide. And if that had been used with wooden doors, it would have seeped through them to kill the guards. It was so toxic that the men handling the canisters had to wear gas masks. So, the Nazis didn’t use wooden doors in Auschwitz. They used metal. Regardless of the right-wing nature of the rest of his views, he has done something absolutely laudable in putting up this post against one of the arguments used to deny the Holocaust. Unfortunately, I doubt that the people who really needed to take it on board did so. The comments below the video were full of the usual anti-Semites and Nazis stating that they were right and lamenting that Webb hadn’t come round to their views.

Despite his opposition to anti-Semitism, it strikes me very much that the conspiracy theory about the Great Reset and the World Economic Forum, which Webb appears to have embraced, is just another form of all the conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds, the Bilderberg group and the Trilateral Commission and the globalists Alex Jones used to rant about. And Klaus Schwab seems to be taking over from George Soros as main international Bond villain in these peoples’ imaginations.

But it doesn’t matter who the villains are now, it’s still the same rubbish.

Correct, Not Political Push Conspiracy Theories After Queen’s Death

September 9, 2022

This shows the utter lack of respect and class in parts of the hard right. Correct, Not Political, is a right- wing group who turn up to protest gay, environmental and left-wing rallies. Their channel on YouTube is full of their videos showing them turning up to protest against Drag Queen Story Hour, Pride marches, Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, with a section just called ‘Socialists and Commies’. For the most part their protests seem polite and largely respectful, as their form of counter protest seems to consist of them walking up to the protesters and engaging them in conversation, asking them awkward questions about their causes. And they definitely do not like being called extreme right or any implication that they’re Fascists. Yesterday they posted a video of them talking to Jolyon Rubenstein about various issues. At one point Rubenstein interpreted something their interviewer said to be about the ‘Great Replacement’. At which point there was a voiceover from their main man calling attention to how Rubenstein had supposedly called them Fascists. The video then continued with their interviewer putting Rubenstein right and protesting that they were no such thing.

Evidence that they are in fact hovering on the edge of the extreme right was presented today, when they put up a post in their community section listing the fundamental liberties we have supposedly lost during the reign of our dear, departed Queen. This, the post states, is due to Jesuits and ‘Mason Marxists’. And Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, no doubt. This is the classic conspiracy theory, in which different suspect groups are all lumped together as conspiring to bring down western civilisation. It goes back to the 18th century when the Freemasons were blamed for starting the French Revolution. In the 19th century reactionary French nobleman Joseph le Maitre was blaming what he dubbed ‘la secte’ for the Revolution and contemporary threats to western, Christian civilisation. These included masons, Protestants, Jews, democrats and liberals. And then with the rise of Fascism and Nazism there were the malign conspiracy theories principally blaming the Jews, but also including masons, democrats and Protestants in the case of far-right French groups like Action Francaise. And the list of British freedoms that we’ve supposedly had taken away from us was supplied to them, or taken from, Resistance GB, who are an extreme right-wing outfit.

Some of the issues they support seem quite reasonable. I think many people have doubts and reservations about Drag Queen Story Hour because of the various child grooming scandals. And support for the Pride parades has declined, partly because it has gone from something subversive to being entirely mainstream and corporate, as companies and organisations show off their credentials for being tolerant and gay friendly with logos and slogans of support. And some people have no doubt been turned against gay rights generally because support has become mandatory through equal rights legislation, and instances where it has been aggressively and intolerantly enforced, where even the minutest comment can become a major controversy and the person responsible vilified as a Nazi, reprimanded and even sacked. And the right has played on the intolerance the trans activists have displayed at these events towards traditional gays and lesbians who reject the inclusion of trans people in their spaces. A group of lesbians were thrown out of the Cardiff Pride march last weekend for holding a placard that said, in very forthright and biological terms, that lesbians were not sexually interested in biological men. This is a riposte to some of the biological men, who identify as lesbians, and have therefore demanded gay women accept them as lovers despite the women’s own aversion to the male body. Footage of the police talking to the lesbians and telling them to leave has been shown on various right-wing YouTube news channels around the world.

But behind this exterior of reason and politeness there’s the undercurrent of the populist far right. Be careful, and don’t be taken in.

Update

Correct, Not Political have put up another post showing their hatred of the Queen. This tells its readers to show respect to the Queen in a tone of heavy irony, as she was the head of state, mother to numerous paedophiles and a cousin to her husband. As far as I know, the only one of her children who has been accused of paedophilia is Prince Andrew. But if you look at the comments, they’re all about how she was preparing us for the Great Reset or some other takeover plan.

Update Supplemental

Mark Pattie, one of the great commenters on this blog, posted this remark:

‘Why do I get the feeling that these “Correct Not Political” (i.e. “not politically correct”) “YouTubers” have gone way down the pipeline and probably believe that nonsense about the Jews controlling the media (no, Rupert Murdoch does) and promoting mass immigration from Africa to destroy the “European race”. Which of course is utter BS considering the fact that Israel has one of the strictest immigration controls in the world- up there with Japan and S. Korea…’

This seems to be spot-on correct. I’d hoped otherwise after their interviewer got a bit stroppy with Jolyon Rubenstein for thinking he was talking about the Great Replacement and thus calling him a Fascist. But they’ve also posted up a piece with just the text ‘Shut it down’ and a picture of Prince Charles wearing a skullcap with a cross in a pew with Jewish guys in yarmulkas.

I think we can all guess what’s being implied. And it ain’t pleasant.

Message from John McDonnell about Left Labour Online Event ‘Tackling Truss’

September 5, 2022

I got this notification just this evening from Corbyn’s right-hand man about an online event Wednesday evening about resisting the newly anointed Tory leader, Liz Truss.

Tackling Truss – A message from John McDonnell

GET INVOLVED: Register here // Share me on FB here // Retweet me here

Hello David

The scale of the cost-of-living crisis deepened over the summer whilst Boris Johnson went missing. And now we have a new PM in Liz Truss who is proposing a massive offensive on our rights rather than the action people urgently need to protect jobs and livelihoods. At the same time, she will continue an economic policy aimed only at guarding corporate super-profits and further push a reactionary divide-and-rule social agenda.

But Truss though will also face growing resistance – from the wave of militancy and action sweeping through our trade union movement, to groups like Don’t Pay and Enough is Enough, to the ever-growing climate justice direct actions, to BLM, #KillTheBill and all those taking to the streets to defend our rights.

This situation could quickly become not just an economic crisis, but an unprecedented social and political crisis, meaning that it’s vital we discuss now what challenges Truss’ agenda poses for our movement and what it represents, but also what opportunities for resistance and winning the alternative may open up in the weeks ahead.

Please therefore join us on Wednesday September 7 at 7pm for a vital online discussion on ‘What Next?’ and let’s go forward together with our trade union and social movements, building the resistance, and ultimately changing the system too.

Yours in solidarity,
John McDonnell MP (via Arise.)

PS: Register now here and spread the word here.’

I’ve registered because Labour, and the broad left in general, need to unite and formulate proper tactics for resisting this latest inmate of free market ideology and the threat she poses for ordinary working people.

Sent Off the Suggested Motions from the Labour Left to My Local Labour Party

September 5, 2022

Okay, folks, I’ve sent off the model motions that the Arise Festival of Left Labour Ideas suggested to their followers and supporters that they should propose them to their local Labour parties ready for the upcoming Labour conference to my local party in south Bristol. I put up a piece yesterday showing what they were: renationalising the public utilities, including education and the NHS; ending the deportations to Rwanda; raising the minimum wage to £15; and stopping the further Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. All excellent policies. I don’t know if they’ll be proposed at the meeting, as the email I got from them about the meeting said they had six already. But you have to try.

As for whether or not they’ll be accepted and passed by conference even if they are passed by the local party, well, unfortunately the ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer is in charge, a true-Blue Labour Tory infiltrator. And there’s Jess Philips, who said that Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. Neither of them would welcome these policies, and neither would the rest of the Blairites now packed in the parliamentary Labour party. But there’s always hope.

Update

After sending them off I got a kind reply from the local party secretary stating that they’re only accepting one proposed motion per person. So which one would like I like to choose? It’s a hard one, as they’re all good and necessary. However, I chose the £15 minimum pay rise because people are starving and they need the money now. I really hope it goes through.

Other motions being proposed for the local meeting this Thursday include:

Green New Deal – Proportional Representation – Support for Striking Workers

Reproductive Rights – International Development – Industrial Strategy (End UK Childcare Crisis).

Reproductive rights obviously refers to abortion, which people are afraid is threatened after the repeal of Roe vs Wade in America.