It’s the (Green) Economy, Stupid.

When more and more new research challenges the notion that the targets set out in the Paris Agreement — targets that were set two years ago — will ever be met, and when the government succeeds in delivering economic growth but fails to protect its population from poverty and homelessness, then it is essential to bring voices of change into Parliament.


“We’d have to say, ‘it was all too difficult’, and [our grandchildren] would reply, ‘well, what was so difficult?’ What was it that was so difficult when the earth was in peril? When sea levels were rising in 2015? When crops were failing? When deserts were expanding? What was it that was so difficult?”

David Cameron, speech to the COP21 summit in Paris, 2015

In December of 2016, the independent think thank The Green Alliance published a report in which they stated that renewables spending in the UK had fallen by £1.1bn in the last six months. The think tank further stated that this spending reduction could not be accounted for by falling renewables costs, and that it was sooner the consequence of a declining number of environmental projects.

“Most significantly,” the report reads, “there is… a 95 per cent fall in investment between 2017 and 2020. This cliff edge needs to be avoided if the UK is to meet its world leading carbon budgets and Paris agreement pledge.”

The report from The Green Alliance followed another report released in September of 2016 by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which stated that the UK, as things were going, would fail to meet its 2020 renewable energy target. Following the release of the report, Committee Chair Angus MacNeil MP said:

“The experts we spoke to were clear: the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements. Failing to meet these would damage the UK’s reputation for climate change leadership.”

Time and time again, Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa May have repeated the statement that the UK cannot be run well if the economy isn’t strong. For the UK to succeed, argue the Tories, it is imperative that the country continues to be governed by the fiscally responsible economic principles of the Conservative Party. In spite of this recommendation, few people seem to understand what it is, in practice, that makes the Tory economy strong, when so many Britons rely on food banks; when so many Britons are homeless; when real wages have gone down by 10%; when the government’s deficit reduction targets demand severe cuts to disability benefits; when poverty affects one in four British children; when the NHS is doing worse and worse for each passing year; and when the government fails to design policies that make meeting the targets set out in the Paris Agreement a possibility.

When so many people fail to see the benefits of this type of economy, then it may just be that the Tories haven’t got it right. It may just be, that in spite of their good intentions, the Tory economy isn’t strong at all. And it may just be, that GDP isn’t the only indicator of prosperity.

The Green Party won’t win the General Election of 2017, but in light of the current government’s struggle to govern in the best interest of the whole of society, it seems more important than ever that the electorate sends as many Green Party MPs as possible to the House of Commons in 2017. Green Party candidates, it serves to be mentioned, have a slightly different understanding of what makes an economy strong.

For one, they support the emergence of an economy which recognizes the limits of natural systems, and which makes sure that the political ambitions of all of humanity are compatible with those limitations.

For another, they hope to achieve a society in which resources, wealth, opportunity and power is distributed fairly, and in such a way that it enables personal as well social development.

And for a third, they believe that

gross national product (GNP) is a poor indicator of true progress and does not adequately measure people’s sense of well-being. It measures only the activity in the formal sector, regardless of what that activity is. In consequence, current economic theory fails adequately to reflect the real effects of human activity within a finite ecosystem, and is used to ‘validate’ economic activities which are ecologically unsustainable and/or socially unjust.”

When more and more new research challenges the notion that the targets set out in the Paris Agreement — targets that were set two years ago — will ever be met, and when the government succeeds in delivering economic growth but fails to protect its population from poverty and homelessness, then it is essential to bring voices of change into Parliament. It is essential to bring  into Parliament those voice that may offer it an ideological direction that is grounded on principles such as fairness and equality, and in the conviction that the interests of human beings should be put before the interests of corporations. The key to the economy isn’t more austerity or higher taxes — the  key to the economy is to put human beings in the centre of it.

The electoral system may or may not be rigged, but one way to #ChangeTheGame and to make sure that your interests are represented in the House of Commons is to #VoteGreen2017.

Further reading:

“Stress that [you’re] the candidate of change, stress that [you’re] the candidate of the economy, and get mad about something. Don’t be so cool. Show some anger about what’s happened to the country.” – James Carville in reply to the question “How do you think Obama can win in the 2008 election?”

 

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