Archive for ‘Equality’

February 21, 2016

Make politics fairer say Medway Greens

Medway Greens have called for fairer and better policed politics.
This is in light of the revelations by Channel 4 News that The
Conservative Party may have broken electoral spending rules in the
Rochester and Strood by-election in 2014.

Clive Gregory, former Green parliamentary candidate in the Rochester
and Strood by-election says:

“The claims of illegal spending put further light on how unequal the
battle is. It seems the £100,000 limit on expenses, intended to
produce a level playing field, may not have been enough for the
Tories, who have allegedly put themselves above the law and any sense
of fair play. We are never going to take the corruption out of
politics unless we remove the power of big money.

“Added to the effect of financial imbalance, the communication of
ideas and solutions which differ from those of the powerful is made
much harder by our first past the post electoral system.  As well as
meaning that millions of voters are unrepresented, this broken
electoral system squeezes out grassroots political movements
orchestrated by ordinary people in favour of the money men.  Electoral
reform isn’t just about an attempt to get some form of true democracy,
it’s also about reducing corruption and making things more difficult
for those that can spend huge sums swaying elections to their
advantage; an advantage that consequently works for the richest and
most powerful members of our society”.

Mary Smith, Medway Green Party Treasurer and Election Agent adds:

“I have been watching the re-run of ‘The Pallisers’ and the
similarities are frightening.  It seems the only thing that has
changed in 150 odd years is that over-spending is now illegal; but
no-one seems to be policing it.  Channel 4’s news item was well put
together and seemed to make a good case.  However, as it takes some
considerable time to make an investigation of this depth, I would very
strongly suggest that the one year limit, within which legal action
can be taken, is not nearly long enough.

“As often happens, the person or persons prepared to spend the most
money gets the result.  Ironically, in this case they didn’t.

“However we will never know how much impact the money spent on the
by-election had in raising the profile of the previously little known
Conservative candidate and her subsequent General Election success”.

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June 13, 2015

End Austerity Now Demo 20th June 2015 by Trish Marchant

20_June_demo_web_flyer_2Saturday the 20th of June is a national day of campaign and action against the ideological austerity measures of this wholly Conservative government. It’s our time to stand up for the rights of the vulnerable and ignored, for workers and non-workers, for the disabled and the elderly, for those reliant on our welfare system and those struggling to find a secure job.
The Tories are planning even more cuts to public services and yet seem oblivious to the tax avoiders and the negative affect their cuts will have on the majority. Cuts on council budgets reduces social care provision. That puts pressure on local hospitals.  Pressure on hospitals means additional spending on agency nurses. Agency nurses cost more and put pressure on hospital budgets that have already been stretched due to reducing tariff payments (the money hospitals receive for work done). Hospitals end up in special measures so government regulators bring in highly paid “trouble shooters”. Its bonkers and yet this is happening now across all public services. Ask yourself why HS2, the high speed rail link that will save most of us no time, but cost £50 billion at least, is going ahead at that huge cost when your local library is closing.Why are the rich getting richer when your council can’t even afford to replant a tree after a storm? Why is there so much tax unpaid by large corporations?

And your Tory councillors are complicit in this as much as they might protest against budget cuts.

So true socialist Labour members fly your flag,  Lib dem supporters come out into the light you are free again, fellow Greens show them how its done. To everyone.  If you go you can say “I was there because I care”.
Find out more:
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/end_austerity_now_national_demonstration_saturday_20th_june

Trish Marchant
Medway Green Party Member

November 19, 2014

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett urges Rochester and Strood voters to vote for hope not fear

On the eve of the Rochester and Strood by-election, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has today urged Rochester and Strood voters to vote for the positive choice of Green Party candidate Clive Gregory.

Bennett said:

“Clive has been saying clearly to the voters that he understands they are struggling in our economy of low wages and insecure employment, with high housing costs and NHS facilities that are struggling to cope.

“But while other parties have been scapegoating immigrants and immigration, Clive has been identifying the reasons why so many are struggling: the failure to curb our fraud-ridden, risk-taking, overly large financial sector, the loss of council homes to Right to Buy and failure to build the affordable housing we need, the underfunding of the NHS and the disruption caused to it by this government’s privatisation agenda.

“And I know from my visit to the constituency how many voters have valued Clive and the Green Party’s consistent resistance to the Lodge Hill development.”

Commenting on recent campaign events, Bennett added:

“It was frankly hypocritical of Yvette Cooper to complain about the ‘arms race of rhetoric’ on immigration yesterday, while making a speech focused on tightening up control of borders.

“A couple of days before the Rochester and Strood by-election, the Labour party could have been announcing plans to make the minimum wage a Living Wage, or to end ‘right to buy’ to stop the bleeding away of the public resource of social housing. Or they could have been announcing their abandonment of the Work Capability Assessment that has plagued the lives of so many disabled and ill people.

“Instead, like the Tory candidate in Rochester and Strood by-election, who listed ‘immigration’ as her top issue, Ms Cooper has chosen to chase after Ukip and try to out-do it, rather than tackle the real causes of the struggle and insecurity faced by so many millions of households in Britain today.

“Only the Green Party candidate, Clive Gregory, with the ballot paper strap line ‘say no to racism’, is taking on Ukip head-on, exposing its damaging, dangerous misinformation.”

November 16, 2014

Medway Greens – Saying No to Racism

Clive Gregory, Green Party candidate for Rochester and Strood joins anti-racism stand-off in Rochester.

Clive Gregory was the only candidate of the main five parties to be seen at a stand-off in Rochester High Street on rsz_p1040081Saturday in which Medway residents and anti-racism protesters used peaceful means to block the way of the extremist right wing organisation, Britain First.  Britain First were outnumbered by the protesters who stood behind a banner with the words “They shall not pass” and the slogan “Rochester against Fascism”.

Clive Gregory says:

“I’m a passionate believer in free speech.  I believe free speech is total, we cannot filter out the bits we don’t like and still call it free speech.  However, Britain First have gone beyond expressing opinions in the spirit of free speech and have become purveyors of hatred, backed by aggression and a desire for confrontation.

“It was great, therefore, to stand shoulder to shoulder with other local people, anti-racism protesters and Green Party colleagues, in sending a strong message to Britain First that they are not welcome in Medway.

“We would also like to thank the police for ensuring calmness in Rochester and for allowing the people of Medway to make their stand against racism.

“As the last weekend before polling day, we had planned to do some canvassing both in Rochester and Strood but the standoff went on longer than we expected. We therefore cancelled the planned canvassing for the day. We felt it more important to stand our ground with the other three hundred or so protesters, until Britain First had no option but to retreat”.

Medway Green Party have chosen “Green Party – saying no to racism” for their voting ballot papers on Thursday.

November 15, 2014

Press release: Green Party Excluded From ITV/Meridian Hustings

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester and Strood, Clive Gregory, has been excluded from the by-election hustings, organised by ITV/Meridian television,  due to be filmed on Monday 17th November.

A complaint letter has been sent to the television company by Clive Gregory on behalf of the national Green Party and Medway Green Party.

In this letter Clive Gregory says:

“The people of Rochester and Strood have become accustomed to the Green Party being seen as equal to the other major parties and have welcomed our inclusion in each of the three major debates hosted by Churches Together, BBC South East and the KM Medway Messenger.  BBC Radio Kent and 38 Degrees hustings are all scheduled to include The Green Party as an important and equal member of their debates.

“We would like to know precisely whose guidelines you are following and what methodology you are using to arrive at your decision.  All polls, including the Ashcroft poll put the Greens at 2-3% above the Liberal Democrats.  The people of Rochester and Strood are unlikely to understand why, on the basis of our polling and inclusion at the other hustings, as a major party, you are failing to treat us on an equal basis with Tories, Labour, UKIP and the Liberal Democrats.  Logic and natural justice would indicate that we should not be excluded from this process.

“We would therefore ask that ITV/Meridian seriously reconsider their position.  We would also request that this reconsideration is taken in a timely manner and a final decision made and made public so that perhaps the people of Rochester and Strood can voice their reaction to such a decision.

“We would also point out that the Green Party nationally in partnership with the Medway Green party will have to seriously consider legal action if the decision is not reversed”.

Membership of the Green Party of England and Wales has passed 25,000 (25,206) and is up 83% since the start of 2014. At current sign-up rates, approx. 1,000 members are signing up per week. A new member is joining every ten minutes.

The Greens are polling at their highest numbers ahead of a General Election since 1989, a breakthrough year and the most recent YouGov poll puts the Greens on 19% among 18-24 year olds – ahead of UKIP and the Lib Dems combined.

Over 250,000 people have signed a petition to include the Greens in the leader debates.  Members of all political parties including the PM have argued that the Greens should be included in the debates.

The site Vote for Policies, where people vote blind on policy shows the Greens to be in first place in having policies that resonate with voters.

 

October 22, 2014

Saving the NHS for the Common Good and Clive Gregory on Radio Kent

Clive Gregory, our Rochester and Strood by-election candidate, was in Rochester yesterday speaking to voters. A report and cameo of Clive’s conversations with voters can be heard on today’s BBC Radio Kent Breakfast Listen Again at 06:24,  07:31 and 08:34 approximately.

According to Clive and the report, the most crucial issue for the people of Rochester and Strood is the unravelling of the NHS. Some information about what is happening to the NHS can be found below in this Green Party video. More to follow.

October 21, 2014

Voices of Mind Speak Out About Stigma

The Green Party recognises that there is much stigma surrounding mental health difficulties, and this adversely affects those experiencing these issues. Working alongside charities and organisations that work to challenge stigma, we would encourage several measures, including mental health awareness training within the public sector, workplace mentorship frameworks in order to support employees experiencing mental health difficulties, and would support people with lived experience of mental health difficulties sharing their experiences, encouraging a more open dialogue on the issue in wider society.

 

October 18, 2014

Rochester and Strood By-Election Candidate Demands Answer on HIV Comment

Medway Green Party have asked Mark Reckless, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood, to respond to comments made by the party’s leader regarding migrants with HIV.

Shortly before his visit to Rochester to support Mark Reckless in wooing voters for the upcoming by-election, Nigel Farage was reported to comment that he felt that migrants with HIV should be banned from the UK.

Clive Gregory, parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood says:

“Nigel Farage made his ignorant and ill-informed comment in the same breath as talking about criminals and murderers.  This perpetuates the stigma of a disease which 100,000 people in the UK live with.  With treatment it is perfectly possible for those who have this condition to have a normal life expectancy and be non-infectious.

“Nigel Farage should be ashamed of himself.  By singling out a condition which is already shrouded in stigma and mis-information, he is responsible for increasing levels of fear.  Would he have made the same comment about migrants with cancer or diabetes? Those in public office, or with potential for public office, should be working hard to reduce stigma rather than putting more barriers up”.

Clive Gregory will be out and about in the coming weeks talking to voters.

 

May 29, 2014

It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up by George Monbiot

'The mother narrative to all this is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots.'

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems. It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues miraculously vanished, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained. But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, with the accessible reserves exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the west Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable, the Ecuadorean government decided toallow oil drilling in the heart of the Yasuni national park. It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as either blackmail or fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich. Why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills, will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America.

Almost 45% of the Yasuni national park is overlapped by oil concessions.
 Yasuni national park. Murray Cooper/Minden Pictures/Corbis
The UK oil firm Soco is now hoping to penetrate Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo; one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorilla and the okapi, of chimpanzees and forest elephants. In Britain, where a possible 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil has just been identified in the south-east, the government fantasises about turning the leafy suburbs into a new Niger delta. To this end it’s changing the trespass laws to enable drilling without consent and offering lavish bribes to local people. These new reserves solve nothing. They do not end our hunger for resources; they exacerbate it.

The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious, will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble.

Some people try to solve the impossible equation with the myth of dematerialisation: the claim that as processes become more efficient and gadgets are miniaturised, we use, in aggregate, fewer materials. There is no sign that this is happening. Iron ore production has risen 180% in 10 years. The trade bodyForest Industries tells us that “global paper consumption is at a record high level and it will continue to grow”. If, in the digital age, we won’t reduce even our consumption of paper, what hope is there for other commodities?

Look at the lives of the super-rich, who set the pace for global consumption. Are their yachts getting smaller? Their houses? Their artworks? Their purchase of rare woods, rare fish, rare stone? Those with the means buy ever bigger houses to store the growing stash of stuff they will not live long enough to use. By unremarked accretions, ever more of the surface of the planet is used to extract, manufacture and store things we don’t need. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that fantasies about colonising space – which tell us we can export our problems instead of solving them – have resurfaced.

As the philosopher Michael Rowan points out, the inevitabilities of compound growth mean that if last year’s predicted global growth rate for 2014 (3.1%) is sustained, even if we miraculously reduced the consumption of raw materials by 90%, we delay the inevitable by just 75 years. Efficiency solves nothing while growth continues.

The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth’s living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result, they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st century’s great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle-class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.

Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn’t worthy of mention. That’s how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.

Twitter: @georgemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com

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Some solutions:

Given the political will, and the will of the people, one solution provided by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)  is in reducing our demand for energy in the West (by 60% in the UK) alongside the elimination of fossil fuel use. A model of how this would look in the UK is illustrated  in their ZeroCarbonBritain2030 report which demonstrates that it CAN be done without going back to the Stone Age, or “the lights going out”.

A change in our economic system could involve the  transition to a steady state economy. This could be supported by citizen’s income or basic income, which would protect us from the the effects of zero growth, provide security, and enough to cover basic needs. It would also remove the stigma associated with claiming benefits, as well as removing obstacles to work. Citizen’s income is part of Green Party economic policy and will be included in the Green Party 2015 manifesto. We also have policies to reform the monetary system and the banks, explanation of which I will leave to a future contributor in an upcoming blog.

At a global level, many of these solutions acknowledge our need to be fair to poorer people and poorer countries; the CAT model takes into account our historical responsibility as an industrial nation; estimating an energy budget which would allow greater flexibility to poorer countries who have been left behind.  The Green Party has a policy called “contraction and convergence” which basically means that rich countries would be encouraged to consume less, and be given a smaller budget for CO2, allowing poor countries to develop and consume more, until everyone is at a similar level.  However we need not fear that we will ourselves be reduced to poverty.  In the context of  reaching a sustainable level globally, Patrick Curry, author of “Ecological Ethics” says:

“In principle, there would be no need to choose between social injustice and ecological suicide if the wealthy minority [those in the West, other than people living in poverty or on lower  incomesmy words] were to reduce their consumption – and only to a level which would still enable a reasonably comfortable “European lifestyle” (at the modest end of the spectrum) while the majority increase theirs enough to permit the same”.

However, as George Monbiot argues, we need to start by recognising the problem. Until we do, little progress will be made in discussing solutions and avoiding devastating actions of Ecocide, as described in the article, with consequences on humanity as well.

 

March 23, 2014

Progress: Beyond The Growth Fetish by Rupert Read

The following article was written by Rupert Read, Chairman of Green House and Green Party member. As pointed out in the blog titled Who Killed Economic Growth in 2011 (which is accompanied by an excellent video issued by the Post Carbon Institute) our dependence on economic growth was challenged in the 1970s, yet we are still waiting to hear it being even questioned in the mainstream media, or by politicians of the other parties.

Progress: Beyond The Growth Fetish

Written by: Rupert Read on 20 March, 2014
The UK has just experienced its annual budget announcement from the Government. It contained an extraordinary attack on the eco-agenda, including cuts to energy costs for manufacturers. On the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme this morning, Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, backed this policy to the hilt. The budget celebrated instead ‘economic growth’ that has been achieved in the last year or so: Balls’s only cavil was that there could have been even more of it.

This GDP growth that is being celebrated by the Chancellor, George Osborne, and seemingly by nearly everyone else, is another unsustainable boom in consumption that is leaving behind those dependent on food banks and the long-term jobless. We will never have a stable, resilient economy, and we will never cease wrecking the planet so long as we chase economic ‘growth’ rather than economic resilience and rely on ‘trickle-down’ economics to look after the poor. In a wealthy country like Britain, we don’t need GDP growth; we need shorter working hours, flexible working, a Living Wage, family life, leisure time and rewarding work.

This is the Green view. It is a radical challenge to the still hegemonic ‘mainstream’ view, the growthist consensus that entirely dominates the media, which uncritically celebrates any ‘growth’ and is thus institutionally biased against the Green Party. Britain’s most influential media outlet, the BBC is particularly at fault. Recent research by social scientist Professor Justin Lewis of Cardiff University noted: The BBC …reflects a series of assumptions that inform the political mainstream…It upholds… a series of economic assumptions based on a global market economy (in which, for example, economic growth is seen as more important than the climate change it helps create).”

London Green Party activist Matt Hawkins helpfully punctured one aspect of that media bias in his Huffington Post blog on the budget, ”It’s Time to Tackle the ‘Hard-Working Families’ Rhetoric.” But I want to go further. Hawkins’ article needs supplementing by a direct attack on the growthist economics – shared by left and right – that underpins much of the over-work implicitly called for whenever someone praises ‘hard-working families’. We call for a fundamental redefinition of what constitutes ‘economic progress’. The lunatic ‘logic’ of many economists’ business-as-usual needs challenging.

Growthism is hegemonic. So such a challenge sounds like a big ask. To see how very big it is – and how there is yet real hope – one might start with the recent ‘manifesto’ from a bunch of ‘green-leaning’ Tories.

The Tory ‘green’ ‘modernisers’ are not really green. Because they are pro-nuclear, pro-fracking – and of course pro-growth. Along with colleagues in the thinktank I belong to, Green House, I responded to them in the Guardian by setting out the pro-ecology post-growth genuinely green route forward here. There is clear Green water between us and these Tories. Ours is an ecologistic position, undermining the industrial-growth technofix mainstream (and seeking actually to conserve our country / our planet, rather than ‘developing’ it to death).

But note this intriguing hopeful moment in the article on the ‘green Tories’: “The modernisers … call for a rethink away from … the ‘British Leyland’ mentality, which says that the strength of an economy is measured solely by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the size of an economy.”

The consensus around GDP, it would seem, is crumbling. In fact the Office for National Statistics has been busily looking at ways to draw up a “happiness index” on orders from David Cameron himself when he first came to office (before he fatefully decided that ‘green’ = ‘crap’).

The reason that even Tories are now not necessarily sold on GDP is that it is an idea way past its sell-by date. The consensus, among scientists, philosophers, policy-studies experts, ecologists, and even (non-neoclassical) economists, has in fact fallen apart completely. Quietly, away from the awareness of the media, GDP is an idea whose time has come – and gone. It’s time came about 70 years ago. And it has now gone. GDP, the summing up of all ‘economic activity’, good and bad, into one big number, tells us nothing of what we need to know about whether our economy is delivering real prosperity or not.

For confirmation of the point that GDP’s time has already gone, one need only look at this article, by a figure now highly-influential in ‘resource economics’ and in the mainstream field of valuing ‘ecosystem services’, Robert Costanza. Or look at this massive initiative, backed by the European Commission and many ‘mainstream’ NGOs.

Now, of course, we’re not against everything that could be called growth. We’re for growth in actual happiness, for instance: that is the kind of thing that some of the alternative ‘beyond GDP’ indicators are seeking to actually index. Furthermore, we’re of course for a growth in genuinely green sectors of the economy. The expansion of green business/investment IS the Green New Deal. But the corollary, if the Green New Deal is actually to be Green, is that this must be accompanied by substantial reductions in the rest of the economy; i.e. we need to close down a very substantial chunk of the real (the ‘grey’) economy. Over time, this will require a slowing down (carefully executed, to avoid an uncontrolled depression) of the levels of economic activity (much of which is just making people miserable and ill in any case).

What we’re against, in other words, is increases in ‘material throughput’, in pollution and resource consumption: increases that are not found when one does green right, but that are strongly correlated with economic growth (as documented for instance by Jonathon Porritt, in Capitalism As If The World Matters).

Overall economic growth in this country is no longer needed, and no longer viable. One-planet living must be the aim. Britain is currently in a three-planet-living condition!#

Is calling for this deep shift (to one-planet-living) going to prove unpopular? I think not, once we can get a fair hearing in the media. The public want to hear the truth. They want to hear honest politicians. We can’t just go around pretending that everyone can have everything and that everything will be fine in the best of all possible worlds. If our children are to have a future, they need to inherit an economy which is not munching the ecology up at anything like the present rate.

The public sense that they are not experiencing progress; they don’t like  the levels of air pollution they are experiencing. They don’t like the levels of freight they see and hear around them. Especially since the February floods, the public know deep-down that climate change is real and that materialism and consumerism are not making them happy. They don’t like their long commutes, nor the diminution of green spaces. They don’t like over-development, and the gradual destruction of all the beautiful places of our world. In short; there is an opportunity here. There is clear political space emerging, beyond growthism.

What’s the alternative to growthism? It can be summed up in the phrase, ‘contraction and convergence’. This is the idea that the overall consumption of a wealthy country such as Britain needs to contract while each household’s individual rate of consumption needs to converge towards equality; and the same between countries, too.

The richer few will have to cut their consumption much more than the rest. The powerful will resist this. But the outcome, as Wilkinson and Pickett explain in The Spirit Level, will tend to make people happier and better off in almost every way; as more equal societies are better in almost every way. There is a job of framing and communication to be done: but, given a good new yardstick for measuring progress instead of GDP, this is surely achievable. One can live a better life, one can enjoy real progress, while consuming less, and impacting on the world much less.

In part because, again as Wilkinson and Pickett stress, we are inherently social animals. Neo-liberalism has tried to convince us that we are simply individuals and that there is no such thing as society. What the alternatives to GDP are telling us is that this is false. We have a common good. Conveniently, ‘For the common good’ just happens to be the Green Party’s new slogan…

The original commons were areas of pasture, meadow or arable field that were managed by all in the community who recognised that only by working together could they achieve a sustainable way of feeding their animals. They ensured that no one individual overgrazed the common, nor that it was under-grazed and turned to scrub. This was not just for themselves but for their children and future generations. It also ensured that a species-rich crop was produced – the healthiest for livestock and for the insect and bird life it attracted. It is no coincidence that Britain’s last few sustainably managed pastures and meadows are home to some of the richest ecosystems in the country.

That early medieval, or even Anglo Saxon, idea of the common good encapsulates a model for society that the Green Party would like to see revived. The concept of the common good extends to present and future generations and from humans to non human species.

For the common good, it’s time to junk the growth-fetish. Progress is nothing to do with what Balls and Osborne and the BBC and the press obsess about. The media have a helluva lot of catching up to do; for GDP is no longer intellectually respectable. For the reasons given here, it’s time now to make it no longer morally or politically respectable, either.