Left Hand View – By Malcolm Tipper

LABOURS GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

When Rebecca Long-Bailey introduced Labour’s 30 point plan green pledge it rather caught got up in a lot of other radical ideas in Labour’s 2019 manifesto. Fortunately Rebecca has an opportunity during the Leadership campaign to devote more time to perhaps the single most important issue facing all of us.

The climate crisis messages have been with us for some time and are still occurring “Record heat in world’s oceans is ‘dire’ warning on climate crisis” Guardian 14th January 2020. The causes of oceans warming is obviously not the responsibility of just one country but each country must clearly show it is taking climate change very seriously and that is why we mustn’t lose sight of Labour’s radical policy when the leadership changes.

Rebecca Long-Bailey when shadow Business Secretary said that a future Labour Government would oversee an economic revolution, using the full power of the state to decarbonize the economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in towns and cities across the UK. We can be pretty sure that the new Tory Government is unlikely to use the full power of the state in anything bar supporting the United States in any wars it might start or clamping down on terrorist organisations such as Extinction Rebellion!  As Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised legislation to force UK listed firms to take adequate steps to fight the climate emergency, this is not going to happen now.

A lot of analysis has gone into why traditional Labour voters in areas in the north and midlands have switched their allegiance to the Conservatives who are unlikely to act in their best interests on wages, benefits or local services. I have a fairly simplistic view that in the Thatcher years Conservative Governments closed down swathes of traditional industries employing thousands of people and did nothing to replace those jobs. The Labour Governments that followed did nothing to support those communities and in some ways encouraged the low skill, low wage, insecure job market that now exists across the country.

Labours Green pledge had at its heart the creation of 850,000 skilled jobs in the green industry. The figures were not just plucked out of thin air but were prepared by a team of economists at the Sustainability Research Institute backed by the University of Leeds. These jobs would arise out of:

  • Insulation upgrades for every home in the country such as double glazing focusing first on damp homes and areas with fuel poverty.
  • Installing 8m electric heat pumps to start getting away from gas heating.
  • Building another 7000 offshore wind turbines and 2000 onshore wind turbines
  • A national network of electric vehicle charging points
  • Enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches

The Green pledge would necessitate nationalization of the energy network as Rebecca Long-Bailey has said “energy customers have been ripped off by the privatisation of the UK’s energy grid, with shareholders paid £13 billion pounds in dividends over the past 5 years”. She went on to say “only by taking the grid into public ownership can we decarbonize the economy at the pace needed to secure the planet for our children and grandchildren while ending the rip-off, creating good jobs in local communities and making heating and electricity a human right”.

Allied to the policies for climate change is the tricky subject of meat and dairy production particularly in a county like Devon. For me as a vegetarian and subscriber to Veganuary giving up meat and dairy is not a hardship. The magazine Science published a paper showing that a plant-based diet would release 76% of the land currently used for farming. This land could then be used for the mass restoration of ecosystems and wildlife. If our grazing land was allowed to revert to natural ecosystems, and the land currently used to grow feed for livestock was used for grains, beans, fruits, nuts and vegetables for humans, this switch would allow the UK to absorb an astonishing quantity of Carbon. Now would a Conservative Government encourage farmers to make the change and without EC subsidies to offset the cost, answers on a postcard!

For Labour voters and supporters it was tragedy that we didn’t win the election, however, it is important not to dilute the green pledge that appeared in the manifesto as I think increasingly this will be the issue that will attract voters and I would encourage members to use their vote in the leadership election to support the candidate you think is most likely to honour that commitment.

One Reply to “Left Hand View – By Malcolm Tipper”

  1. Hi Malcolm.. You would make an exemplary Green . I can’t profess to be anywhere near as dedicated in my own lifestyle even as a Green Party member. That said my wife and I have reduced meat consumption to either fish or locally produced free range chicken. Solar panels have been installed . Later this year we will add a thermal store and electric car in 2021. All very expensive and fine for us but very difficult for people like my own children on a limited budget. I appreciate we are in a middle class bubble. We voted remain (We actually voted Labour for the first time ever as in Newton a Tory winner was a fore gone conclusion & James is a great fella). But we are not middle class We both associate with our working class roots but not with the direction of working class sentiment in this country which is moving rapidly to the right. We are living in an Alf Garnet & Enoch Powell inspired nightmare. Yet I understand where the people in those constituencies are coming from. No Labour government or council has made a blind bit of difference to them in 40 years. They are blighted with low pay, poor public services, poor prospects with Johnson & Farage offering them something different. Quite an astute tactic to turn their former safe Labour seats into Tory marginals with someone as unprincipled and populist as Johnson I thought.

    I don’t believe it will work however as the Tory Party mandarins and Corporate power will maintain their stranglehold on all things Neo Liberal. In addition I think Brexit will prove to be a disaster. So what of the future for the array of lefty and soft left mish mash of parties and groups..

    For me there was only one candidate who sees the future as I do and that was Clive Lewis. Whether on the GND, Scotland, Electoral Reform and coalescing with the Green Party around ideological values, he spoke to my beliefs. No other candidate does that even if I agree on some issues. It is a major shame that he couldn’t find 20 backers in the Labour Party brave enough to stand up to the reality that we need new coalitions, new ideologies for the 21st century and far more vision than any of the remaining candidates possess.

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