Archives for posts with tag: Labour

A scientist recently asked in a private email message: “Just how much of a scientific rationalist is Jeremy Corbyn? As far as I know he has never distanced himself publicly from his climate-denialist brother Piers”. He was recommended to read Corbyn’s reports Protecting our Planet & Environment and Energy and to see his video (snapshot right):

It has welcome input from the excellent Alan Simpson, a former Nottingham MP, about the Robin Hood energy co-operative.

More recently Kate Aronoff in the Guardian sees hope for real progress on climate change lying in its appeal to the interests of the 99% (our term, replacing her use of ‘populism’).  

It’s one of history’s greatest “us v them” scenarios, pitting a handful of oligarchs and profit-hungry fossil fuel CEOs against the rest of humanity”.

She continues: “The brand of climate denial that informs Trump and the Republican party line is the result of one of the global elite’s most effective projects yet. It’s been multinational corporations funding the campaign to cast doubt on scientific consensus. ExxonMobil, for instance, has poured at least $33m into such efforts since the Kyoto protocol was launched in 1997”.

Despite this long-running disinformation campaign, Kate notes that the majority of voters in every state support the United States’ participation in the agreement” and today we read about the critical response from some major industrialists and about several US states deciding to ‘go it alone’ after the president refused to be part of the Paris accord. Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. The group (to date) includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses. Read more in the New York Times.

Kate points out – as Hines, Green New Deal convenor has long asserted, that any reasonable solution to climate change will require massive amounts of job creation, putting people to work doing everything from installing solar panels to insulating houses to updating the country’s electric grid to nursing and teaching, jobs in two of the country’s already low-carbon sectors.

She quotes climate scientist Kevin Anderson, who said earlier this year that shifting to a low-carbon society within the timeframe we have is an absolute agenda for jobs, “You are guaranteeing full employment for 30 years if we think climate change is a serious issue. If we don’t, we can carry on with structural unemployment.”

Her tactical advice: “Don’t chide Trump and the rest of his party for denying climate change when they pull out of the Paris agreement. Chide them for denying millions of Americans the well-paying jobs and stable future they deserve”.

Corbyn summarises: “A Labour government, under my leadership, will deliver an energy policy for the 60 million, not the Big 6 energy companies, championing community-owned renewable energy”.





A verbal sparring match between the Birmingham Press’ independent Steve Beauchampé and Rachel Sylvester in the Murdoch Times would be well worth turning out for.

Welfare and workers’ rights – so yesterday

Ms Sylvester, working to diminish members’ increasing support for the Labour leader, evident in the recent YouGov poll, sees Mr Corbyn merely “trotting out old arguments about the importance of immigration, welfare and workers’ rights, apparently oblivious to the way in which public opinion has shifted in the last 40 years. . . “ and smears: “There is no sense of passion, more a suspicion that he sees the EU as a capitalist conspiracy against the masses but is nervous of saying so”.

Beauchampé has a different perspective, pointing to David Cameron’s dismissal of many elements of EU law that make a tangible, positive impact on the daily lives of British citizens, “such as crucial environmental legislation, consumer protection laws, the working time directive, social chapter, maternity leave and necessary health and safety legislation.

He adds that the PM’s willingness last autumn to negotiate away British workers EU employment rights, sets the Tory ‘Remain’ vision of Europe decisively at odds with that of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party.

Ms Sylvester damns Cameron with faint praise – Murdoch apparently backing Boris: “Having conceded a referendum in order to appease his rightwingers, and mounted a bogus negotiation in an attempt to hold the Tories together, (Cameron) has now moved beyond the partisan bickering to put a statesmanlike case for Britain’s membership of the European Union”.

Beauchampe goes to the heart of the matter:

  • “Cameron should have focussed instead on transferring more power to the democratically elected (and by proportional representation) European Parliament, simultaneously reducing the authority of the unelected Council of Europe.
  • “He should have requested greater financial transparency regarding EU budgets (audited accounts would be a start).
  • “And he should have been opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as it is currently envisaged, a treaty that threatens to undermine democratic institutions at local, national and international level, in favour of global business interests to the detriment of millions of EU citizens.

A knockout blow?

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Hall Green CND draws attention to the January debate in Parliament. The motion by Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP) was: “That this House believes that Trident should not be renewed”. It was supported by members of the Green and Plaid Cymru parties and some from the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties, but was voted down.

Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green) (Lab) who spoke in the Commons debate explains on his website that he considers that the two arguments put forward for the ‘so-called’ independent nuclear weapons deterrent are both myths.

  • “The first myth is that the system is ‘independent’ . . . The UK does not own the missiles. It leases them from America where they are made, maintained and tested. Our 4 submarines have to go to the American naval base in Georgia to have the missiles fitted. Therefore our nuclear deterrent is totally dependent on America.
  • “The second myth is that the UK would lose its seat on the United Nations Security Council if it did not have nuclear weapons. This really is nonsense. When the United Nations was set up in 1945 the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, who have a veto, were the victors of the Second World War. Of the 5 countries only America had nuclear weapons. To suggest that a country has to have nuclear weapons in order to be a member of the Security Council is totally untrue”.

In addition to membership of the NATO defence pact, Roger Godsiff stresses the need to be able to deal with threats from domestic terrorist groups and make sure our police and internal security organisations are properly funded to disrupt their activities. He recalled an incident some years ago in White Street, Sparkbrook, where a terrorist cell planning to set off bombs in central Birmingham was monitored and the premises raided before any atrocity was carried out. The individuals involved were all convicted and received long prison sentences and Godsiff concluded:

“Committing £100 billion to renew our nuclear deterrent is ridiculous at a time of austerity when so many of our services, including conventional defence forces, are being dramatically cut. This is why I voted against renewal.”

scrap trident

 Hall Green CND are to ask Hall Green and Yardley election candidates about their views on the renewal of Trident and post their answers on their website.

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The Economic Research Council focusses on the Labour market statistics quoted during the latest Prime Minister’s Questions.

 erc pay chart

 The blue line, measured against the left hand axis in millions of people, shows the total number of people aged 16 and over in employment over the preceding three months. The red line, measured against the right hand axis in pounds, shows the average weekly earnings (reported monthly) adjusted for inflation (so they are in today’s prices), excluding bonuses and arrears.

The prime minister said that we have reached an important milestone, with more people in work than ever before in our history. ERC continues:

“The Conservatives rightly pointed out that employment levels were at new record levels. Not only that, but the number of people in employment grew faster in the last year than in any other 12 month period since at least 1992. The unemployment rate is down to 6.5%, closer to the pre-crisis levels of 2007/8, and while underemployment remains a problem, there is some suggestion that it may be declining as well.

“Labour continued to draw attention to the fact that in real terms, average earnings are declining, and have been doing so now for over five years. Real pay has declined to the point where today, average weekly earnings are equivalent to the level of pay received in September 2003.

“This doesn’t take into account the inflation figures for June, when CPI rose to 1.9%, which is only going to make the situation worse . . .”