Saturday, January 12, 2019

SWEETENING THE PILL OF SUSTAINABILITY



Two diametrically opposed political movements signal that politics is in an extremely delicate state  in 2019. 

In France we have had the sometimes violent Gilets Jaunes demonstrations, partly caused by rising fuel prices, and in the UK* we are seeing the beginning of the  Extinction Rebellion  which calls on Government to take action which entails, among other things, a rise in fuel prices.

How do we square this circle? How do we reduce our CO2 emissions without making life harder for those who are struggling to make ends meet as things stand?

The science of global warming is clear, but the politics of dealing with global warming is anything but clear. 

Electoral politics as currently practiced, involves using the media to persuade the maximum number of your natural supporters that they are going to be better off financially over then next four years if they vote for your party.

Electoral politics does not work for the Green Party. 
First, we are substantially excluded from the national media. The amount of column inches and airtime we are granted falls far short of the 2-3% of the vote that we receive during general elections. 
Second, we are not offering voters more money over the next four years. We are just offering them, together with their children and grandchildren, a safer, more sustainable quality of life. 

I have found in past electoral campaigns that most voters are not interested at all in the quality of life that their grandchildren might or might not experience.

So how exactly are we going to persuade people to take an interest in a sustainable future?

The only way I can see is by pump priming. To prime a pump, you have to give it a bit of water first, so that it will actually be able to do its pumping water thing. In political terms, if you want to get people out of their cars and into more efficient forms of (public)  transport, we have to make public transport cheaper than car travel first of all. When they have seen the point, and jumped aboard the cheaper, cleaner, more frequent and more flexible public transport, only then can we start applying the carbon tax. 

Likewise, when peoples' homes are thoroughly insulated through the efforts of the Green New Deal, then we can apply the Carbon Tax to home heating.

When people have experienced the pleasures of a society that is in full employment, through the Green Wage Subsidy, then they will understand the necessity and rightness of the cyclical economy.




* and six other countries

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