Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Vote NO2 Heathrow

Just seen a call to action (below) via Derek Wall from the Vote NO2 Heathrow group. Expanding air travel, one of the most damaging ways of putting green house gasses into the environment, in the face of a growing climate catastrophe is a form of ecocide. Please lend your support to the Vote NO2 Heathrow group.

From Another Green World / Derek Wall's blog:

Things are rapidly taking off for the campaign now the hunger strikers are entering their 9th day and we get coverage from national press and TV. But we only have a little over a week to build up pressure on MPs to vote against the senseless expansion of Heathrow. Could you help out? These are some of the ways you could support us:

• Join us for a solidarity fast on Saturday, 23rd June, at 12pm in Parliament Square: https://www.facebook.com/events/1541652785938992/
• Write to your MP: https://www.writetothem.com/
• Help our online promotion team on social media!
• Donate to our crowdfund: https://www.gofundme.com/votenoheathrow/
• Invite all your friends to like our page: https://www.facebook.com/votenoheathro/

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Sunday Times on Brexit armageddon

Lorries queue along the north and southbound carriageways of the M20 in Kent on Wednesday.
From ITV 
"In the second worst scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one. The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks." - Sunday Times 3rd June 2018 from a government source on the modelling of no deal scenarios for Brexit.

This is only the second worst scenario, the worst was labelled armageddon. This isn't a report in the the pro EU Indy but in the right wing Sunday Times. That says volumes.

While Farage, Lawson and other arch Brexiteers may be rubbing their hands at the thought of a no deal Brexit, they are the among the ones who will be least affected by this. It will be poorer people and those of us in Kent, Cornwall and Scotland who will be hit first and hardest. And it's not even about an economic downturn, this is about an immediate threat to life.

With no solutions agreed need an immediate pause on Brexit. We cannot allow the UK to trundle blindly towards a catastrophe. We need the pause so that there is time for a deal to be negotiated and once negotiated we need a second referendum to ensure the public are comfortable with the impact it will have.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Steel, Brexit and trade agreements

From Pixabay
I raised the connection between Trump's imposition of trade tariffs on steel imports and the pre-referendum rhetoric on Brexit on Paul on Politics yesterday (on KMTV). For anyone with a short memory, we were told repeated by the leave campaign that Brexit would be a prime opportunity to negotiate our own trade agreements and would open up free trade with the rest of the world, especially with the US. The opposite is happening and happening with just 299 days to Brexit.

Now I'm no fan of global free trade, it represents a race to the bottom in terms of workers' and environmental rights, and of course it flies in the face of localism; so much of Trump's new tariff doesn't bother me. The UK is a net exporter of steel and the US is an importer, hence Trump's import tariff is designed to make US steel more competitive and create jobs locally. I've no real problem with that, it makes reasonable sense to ensure that goods that can be produced locally are and if a trade tariff is needed to achieve this then so be it. Remember TTIP? That was designed to increase free trade and harmonise laws with the US to a point where the NHS and our environmental and worker protections would be at risk - free trade has major flaws.

But there are two aspects that are a problem with the tariffs:

Firstly, the tariffs will slowly but surely hurt the UK's steel industry and therefore some steel workers will probably lose their jobs. I say probably as the world steel demands are predicted to continue to grow, driven mostly by China. However, growth demand for steel is broadly in line with GPD growth and as oil prices rise, economic growth is likely to falter again.

As has been said many times, unending economic growth on a finite planet is not possible. Coupled with the environmental impacts that this brings, I am keen to see an end to continued economic growth as soon as possible but the end must be based on greater equality and ensuring access to properly paid work.

So, while there is likely to be a reduction in jobs for steel workers, government needs to ensure that other jobs are created to ensure those workers have opportunities. Of course those jobs need to be in industries that help the UK increase it sustainability.

The second significant problem is the emotional reaction of the neo-liberal governments and politicians, i.e. the trade war. Free trade is so ingrained in the psyche of neo-lib thinking that Trump's tariff must feel like a nasty infection that needs treating, hence the immediate announcements by governments on their own tariffs directly aimed at US exports.

As I said earlier, global free trade is a race to the bottom for the majority, i.e. those of us who do not own hedge funds etc. For the tiny majority of super rich, free global trade makes them richer. They can build factories in places where wages are minimal and environmental protections are non existent, increasing their profits at the expense of people and planet. However these same people are ensuring that the media and government messages continue to drive public opinion that free trade is somehow good for them by keeping prices low.

The opinion that global free trade is good is what we need to change.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Killing ravens

Email to Mike Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage on why I think SHN should withdraw the licence: chair@snh.gov.uk

There are some great responses, such as this by Chris Packham, by RSPB and by Onekind. There are petition sites too but the real value is in personal letters...

Dear Mr Cantley

You will have received many objections to your proposed cull of ravens. The objections will have set out the evidence that demonstrates why your plans are wrong, immoral and unworthy of your organisation. I do not intend to repeat all the details of those objections but to simply add my signature to those objections.

You are clearly pandering to bigoted populism stirred up by the likes of the Daily Mail and The Scottish Farmer rather than considering the research into wader decline by academics which has shown no link with ravens.

Furthermore, the whole notion that “Ravens kill for fun” trumpeted by The Scottish Farmer would, if it were true, suggest agreement that ravens are sentient beings, which of course they are. If you think it is right to kill sentient beings for their actions then I can only assume that at some point are you going to suggest a cull of the businessmen who kill grouse for fun. I look forward to the Daily Mail headline when you make that suggestion.

I urge you to reconsider your plans, they are short sighted and not based on evidence. They are unkind. Should you truly wish to protect wildlife in Scotland then you would turn your sights on climate change, over fishing, and nature hating activities such as grouse shooting.

Yours sincerely

Stuart Jeffery

Monday, 23 April 2018

Nuclear waste is coming to a place near you

There are plans to make Kent the country's first nuclear waste site...

Apparently the plan is to bury it 1 km down under Romney Marsh in sealed containers.

Containers that must last for thousands of years.

In a place that gets earth quakes occasionally.

By the sea where we get our fish from.

Near the aquifers that supply most of Kent's drinking water.

However we do need to store the waste; the nuclear waste has been created and needs to be dealt with. Of course I don't want it in my beautiful county!

Most importantly we need to stop producing the waste by commissioning no more nuclear power stations. They are simply unnecessary as well as being dirty, dangerous and expensive.

Read more here:


Monday, 19 March 2018

UKOG and the high court

I joined Bianca Jagger, Jenny Jones our Green Party Lord and Gillian Kavanagh from The Warrior's Call outside the High Court this morning for a protest in advance of UKOG's attempt to ban protests outside its oil extraction sites in the South East. Meanwhile the world is ONE degree warmer than the mid twentieth century average and on course to quickly to break the maximum two degrees rise that becomes irreversible. The only way to stop the catastrophe of climate change is to leave the oil in the ground. While UKOG are claiming that they are not planning to frack in the South East, they are planning to use acidisation - the injection of hydrochloric acid into the ground to dissolve roacks and make the oil flow more freely. Most worrying is the assualt on civil liberties. The right to protest is enshrined in law and dissent is a basic human right. We must not be made to sit on our hands while the planet is trashed for the sake of profit.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Maplin, Toys R Us, Carillion - its beginning to feel a lot like 2008

I don't want be a doom-sayer (yes I know that is my natural outlook) but it is beginning to feel a bit like 2008 with Maplin, Toys R Us and Carillion all going bankrupt in the first couple of months of 2018. Woolworths went under in 2008 and was followed by a string of other businesses as we plunged into economic depression.

I suspect the world stage is quite different this time - the 2008 was a global event. However the fragility of the UK, especially with the chaos that the Tories are making of Brexit, will mean that a relatively small economic knock could bring down the house of cards quite significantly.

One of the noticeable drivers of the 2008 shock was the price of oil. It went over $100 per barrel as predicted by peak oil. It hasn't hit that level since but it has risen steadily to $70 over the past 9 months. High energy prices driven by increased demand over a static supply will tumble across the rest of the economy.

While I am very comfortable with the fact that our economy must shrink - it is over blow and unsustainable - it would be far less painful to shrink it in a controlled manner, one that preserves jobs and homes rather than decimates the lives of those at the less well off end of the economic spectrum.