Friday, 19 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion

I am really pleased to have been able to take part in the NVDA in London this week. Climate change and the sixth mass extinction are the most important issues of our time and unless we take action now they will be the most important issues until the end of humanity.

People ask me why we risk arrest. I reply, what is arrest compared to our children not surviving. I did not get arrested though but I was and still am prepared to be. My solidarity to those who were.

Sunday saw me at a multi-faith event outside St Paul's and before that a ceremony on the shore of the Thames with Druid friends. Monday I spent with friends dancing in front of a pink yacht in Oxford Circus, admiring the trees on Waterloo Bridge and standing in solidarity outside Shell's HQ.

A few photos...

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Five months is a long time in politics

It's almost five months since my last blog post - sorry! I probably better tell you some of what I've been up to...

Working backwards:

The People's Vote march last weekend, I joined over a million people in London demanding a say on the final deal. It is quite clear that Parliament cannot express a majority opinion in favour of any course of action when it comes to Brexit so let the people have a voice now that we know what it means.

That choices should be 1. Remain; 2. A deal or 3. No Deal. It should be done by single transferable vote so as not to disadvantage any choice.

Last month I was in front of Maidstone's full council meeting pushing them to agree to declaring a climate emergency as other councils up and down the country have done. Surprisingly, after insulting me, the Lib Dems then refused to even discuss whether an emergency should be declared. I would have thought that the Lib Dems should be better on environmental issues than this.

Then there is air pollution... Maidstone has the fourth worst air pollution in the country outside of London. This is of no surprise to us or to anyone else who had tried to walk up Lower Stone Street at rush hour but it is useful to have it confirmed. I created controversy by suggesting that we need a congestion charge in the town - this hit the media and we made quite a splash with the idea.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

100 years ago ended a war that didn't end wars

My great grandfather, Albert Enever (right) fought in WW1. He survived, his brother Ernie didn't. When I say survived, he certainly did physically but I don't know what it did to his mental health as he died in the early 1970's before I got to know him.

Harry Patch, the last surviving Tommy, was quoted as saying: "It wasn’t worth it. No war is worth it. No war is worth the loss of a couple of lives let alone thousands. T’isn’t worth it … the First World War, if you boil it down, what was it? Nothing but a family row. That’s what caused it. The Second World War – Hitler wanted to govern Europe, nothing to it. I would have taken the Kaiser, his son, Hitler and the people on his side … and bloody shot them. Out the way and saved millions of lives. T’isn’t worth it."

and "I felt then, as I feel now, that the politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder."

It is most interesting that this second quote down't appear on the BBC's website where I found the first one (I was looking for the more famous second quote). Once again the BBC fails to report the real story and opts for something that is politically more appealing to them.

War is wrong. Always. Yet the UK continues to make and sell weapons to rogue states, to have a military far bigger than is needed for 'defence' - yes I am happy to have a truly defensive military.

Peter Ustinov: "Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich."

Red poppies: I remain saddened by the Royal British Legion for their refusal to put the final and most poignant verse in their campaign advert in 2014. Just for completeness this is it:

And I can't help but wonder, now Willie Mcbride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you 'The Cause? '
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie Mcbride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

As I have done for many years now I have been wearing my white poppy to remember those who fought and died in the wars but also to state clearly that there should be peace for the future.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Avoiding extinction

Today's IPCC report tells us that we are at the tipping point for the climate. A dozen years left. A couple of months ago the Hot House Earth report talked of possible extinction of humans. This really is the brink of catastrophic climate change.

There must be no more debate.

Global carbon emissions continue to grow while here in the UK environmental activists are jailed and fracking is pushed through Parliament on its last day before the summer recess.

This year we have seen wildfires, melting poles, heatwaves across the northern hemisphere and torrential rainfalls. This is just the start. People have failed to take action so the planet is stepping in...

We need urgent concerted leadership by every country in the world, especially those in the west plus China and India.

We need non-violent direct action.

We need people to be brave.

We need action.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Has politics failed?

A few excerpts from Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General's speech this week:
"We face a direct existential threat.
"Climate change is moving faster than we are
"If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.


"And it is why I am calling on civil society, and young people in particular, to campaign for climate action."

Is the UN Secretary General effectively declaring that politics has failed?

I suspect so.

Just 18 months to prevent catastrophic climate change that will be an existential threat to human existence while Theresa May focuses on a corrupt and illegitimate referendum, Putin focuses on convincing the UK that his assassins were just tourists and Trump, well... This sounds very much like an utter failure of mainstream politics to me.

People need to realise that 18 month figure. Unless we do something radical and very quickly we can kiss goodbye to future generations. It is their existence that is threatened. The hot house Earth report set out why. 60m sea level rises and so on. Indeed, Guterres's speech mirrors some of that report.

Yes I know that scaring people doesn't jolt a change in belief or behaviour but the bus is going off the cliff as the drivers have gone quite mad.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Do we need pre-emptive drone strike against Heaven?

North Carolina is about to be hit by a huge hurricane, no doubt one of those 1 in 100 year events that happens most years, so I am waiting for them to pass a law against hurricanes hitting them as they have done against sea level rises predicted by scientists.

The absurdity of this is difficult to comprehend. The Guardian reports that the state passed a law "banning policies based on such forecasts." Not only do they have their head in the sand but they have made it illegal to pull one's head out of the sand too.

Obviously this is based on political climate denial and while almost every country in the world could be accused of this when you consider the utter lack of action being taken to prevent catastrophic, runaway climate change, North Carolina's stance is at least fairly open in its denial.

Unlike the UN of course: "We are careering towards the edge of the abyss," said Antonio Guteres on Monday and there are just 18 months left to act to prevent the worst of it. Just 18 months, yet the UK is focussed on delivering Brexit which a small proportion of citizens wanted a couple of years ago based on an undemocratic referendum where the Leave campaign cheated. Yet the US has a climate denying president who is doing everything in his gift to screw the rest of the world. Need I go on?

Some of the small island states are shouting loudly, the ones who will be affected first. So why are North Carolina not taking it seriously too? They have a long, low lying coastline after all. Who know what is in the minds of their politicians.

So back to the hurricane, its expected storm surge and the evacuation of coastal towns. Obviously the hurricane can't be driven by climate change as that clearly isn't a "thing", so it must be an act of God.

I wonder at what point those acts of God will trigger reprisals? It think that Seize The Day said it quite well...

Monday, 3 September 2018

Divest now!

I'm on KMTV this evening talking about the latest investment figures from Kent County Council.
They have £165m invested in fracking industries (according to Platform London) and a whopping £267m in fossil fuels.

It's been 11 years since I started campaigning for KCC to adopt an ethical investment policy. A long and frustrating 11 years during which they briefly offered individuals an ethical policy but have never mentioned the take up of this. But the tide is turning. Waltham Forest became the first council to divest itself of fossil fuel investments and Southwark, Haringey, Hackney, South Yorkshire and Merseyside have followed suit. Claims that it would breach their statutory requirements to divest are clearly false.

I can imagine KCC being one of the last to do this, sadly, just as they were one of the last to remove  Section 28 anti-LGBT policies from its books (around 2006/7). They are not the most progressive of councils!

But in the 10 years that I've been calling for divestment the situation has deteriorated drastically. Last month's "Hot House Earth" report talked of a real threat to the survival of humanity and a real threat of cataclysmic climate change in a hundred or so years if emissions are not drastically cut now. We are truly in the Last Chance Saloon.

There is a petition that you can sign here.