Friday, April 25, 2008

Bragging on: love, music, hate, racism...

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Really enjoyed seeing Billy Bragg in concert at the Colston Hall last night. I'm a long time listener to and admirer of his music and share his liking for the work of people like Woody Guthrie.

I agree with many (though not all) of his political views, not least opposition to fascism, racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia. He has many interesting things to say about reform of the House of Lords, Independence for Scotland (which he, and I, favour), a Bill of Rights (great idea!)and national identity...

He of course had plenty to say during the concert (!), including outlining how he'd been supporting teachers in their recent strike action (they do have a point in my view - we need to ensure we are able to recruit sufficient, well qualified people to teach), the alternative St Georges Day concert and plugging the Love Music Hate Racism 30th Anniversary Carnival due to take place this Sunday, 27 April in Victoria Park, London (more details on the carnival here).

More on Billy Bragg and his work here.

Here comes power??

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Had a message from Friends of the Earth's Christian Graham the other day saying that 'Germany has 200 times more solar power than England'. Quite a stat!

The message explained that this is because 'German households and businesses get paid a renewable energy reward for the solar power they generate. This is known as the 'feed-in tariff' and has helped make Germany a world leader in renewable energy'.

Why cant we have the same here? We should be told!!

More on this issue:

I was very happy to lobby my MP Kerry McCarthy on this issue by sending the email message suggested by Friends of the Earth (below):

The UK's record on renewable energy is a national disgrace. Germany has more than 200 times more solar power and ten times more wind power installed than the UK. Germany has a quarter of a million people employed in their renewables industry. We have only 7,000 in the UK.

One of the reasons Germany is so far ahead is their adoption of a feed in tariff policy which pays consumers and businesses a long term, guaranteed, premium price for the renewable energy they generate. It is a renewable energy reward (sometimes also known as a feed-in tariff).

Please support New Clause 4 to the Energy Bill, to be debated in Parliament on 30th April. This would introduce a renewable energy reward into the UK. Failure to do so could delay the adoption of this transformative energy policy by three years.

We are near the bottom of the EU renewable energy league table. No further delays are acceptable in adopting the policies which will deliver a dynamic low carbon economy.