Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Green Knight for Europe - elect Ricky Knight as an MEP for the South West Region

Below is a guest post written by Councillor Ricky Knight, the Greens lead candidate in the forthcoming European elections (June 4), who I am very happy to actively support:

I love this world. It’s so fragile and yet we don’t look after it as we should. I’m doing everything in my power to stop it from being destroyed bit by bit by apathy and indifference – and selfish greed. Fancy joining me?

I know that as first-time voters or as people who have never bothered to vote, cos ‘they’re all the same, waste of time, nothing changes’, it is difficult to find something to believe in, especially politically. But I know too that there are enough of you out there, like me, who do believe in the possibility and power of change.

Can you believe in a Green Knight for Europe? No, not the third in a comic film trilogy – it’s me, on my bike, all charged up and ready to represent you, for a change. I’m fed up with pretending there’s nothing we can do to change the world around us. We can do it.

I tried to become an MP – but the ‘First Past the Post’ system for Westminster makes it very hard. But Europe is different. I actually have a good chance of being elected – with your help. Your vote will not be wasted. Europe is where we can make this change happen together.

That’s why I am running to become the South West’s first Green Member of European Parliament. Bit of a mouthful, sorry - hence spreading the word this way, through the ether. Just imagine – you tell 10 friends, they each tell 10 friends and so on and by June 4th, 2009, all of your votes might actually count towards something you believe in.
You can contact Ricky here: or or tel 0117 3763742 or write to or call in at the campaign office 72/73 Old Market St, Bristol, BS2 0EJ. You can join his new Facebook Group of supporters here.


  1. No wonder the "first past the post system" is not likes, as public opinion doesn't support you. Most of your electorate are too busy chopping down trees for profit, and maiming Badgers for fun.

    I would suggest that the greediest, and biggest threat to the environment are your own supporters. Green equates to middle class for me (much support in Knowle West? Doubt it) and most of the green brigade in Southville drive Audis and Beamers, spend their days drinking fairtrade organic coffee (bit of a carbon footprint, it ain't grown in the UK), and use the Green movement for 2 reasons:

    1/ As a guilt reliever, like going to confession
    2/ Yet another way to feel superior to the less educated classes (we are ahead of the curve etc)

    If you seriously care about the planet, lobby China and the developing nations.

    Also, sort out some form of politics other than Green issues. The Green parties other policies seem suspiciously like socialism rebadged to me. Yet another ploy for public sector cash to go to nobhead graduates for doing nothing. Green jobs? Just another excuse for "jobs for the boys"

  2. This is more rant and igorant stereotype than valid argument. Support for the Greens is growing, both in Bristol and elsewhere, in terms of numbers of votes, numbers of people elected as councillors, members of assemblies and Scottish and European Parliaments. For example, five yrs ago the Green vote in Knowle was 5% or so and now its more than three times that, at 15.6%, so there's been a sharp rise. There is a very real chance of the first Green MP's being elected to Westminster, in Brighton and in Norwich especially.

    Green support comes from all classes. I, as a long time green campaigner, was born, brought up and educated in Knowle West (Willinton Rd, Exmouth Rd, Ilminster Ave Jnr School and Merrywood Boys' Secondary School) and there is massive Green activity in Knowle West via the Knowle West Media Centre. Research reported on last summer found that the number of people who thought that environment should be the government's priority rather than the economy was substantially higher (56%) among the lower income, DE demographic than among the better-off ABs (47%).

    You are right on the general point about wealthier people having bigger environmental impacts - the evidence shows they tend to consume more on the whole, whether green supporters or not. The research I referred to above found that lower-income social groups have a much lighter environmental footprint overall: only 42% of DEs took a foreign holiday over the last three years, whilst 77% of ABs did. Better-off people also own more cars, as you might expect – only 5% of DEs have three or more cars, whilst 15% of ABs do.

    There's not much evidence, if any, to say that people who support the green movment do so out of guilt or feelings of superiority!! Unless you can supply it I'm of the view that what you say is much more about your prejudices and/or dogma than the facts.

    Rapidly growing countries like China, India, Brazil...have to play their part in tackling environmental problems but the environmental impacts of the average person in the USA, UK, and other more economically developed countries are far higher and so we a large leadership role to play. Those countries that industrialised first have 150/200 yrs worth of massive environmental impact that has built up eg in the atmosphere - is it not fair that countries should contribute to solutions in direction proportion to the extent to which they contributed to causing them?

    You imply that Greens are somehow just about a single issue. That can only be true if that single issue is life on Earth! Look over my wide-ranging blog posts. Look over the Greens policies and manifesto. You will find detailed economic, social and environmental polices covering all issues - and I personnally am happy to acknowledge that many of them can be regarded as leftist in nature (though you'll find that green policies form a coherent and consistent package - unlike the bolt-on policies some other parties have).

    I've always regarded myself as a leftist -describing policies as socialist (as you do) is merely a label for them not a criticism! Frankly your 'jobs for the boys' accusation is just another rant. Nothing wrong with being a graduate is there?? I worked bloody hard for years to get my degrees and higher degree and wonder how you justify insulting me and millions of other people from working class backgrounds who go to university - what's wrong with aspiration and studying to gain knowledge??

    Many, many economists now advocate green investment as the best way to get the economy going and build prosperity. Cant see the problem with putting money into energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, local community and local economic development, establishing jobs and industries that enhance energy security, food security and quality of life on into the future.


  4. To your paragraph 1: The BNP are growing in number, does this illustrate anything. Knowle is another champagne Socialist ward, like southville. How about Knowle West.

    Para 2: Statistics, you take from your own particular research - why, what a suprise.

    According to my research, 82.6% of Green Party activists have no understanding of economics, and 67% have never done a proper job with a bottom line. I wonder how much of your support comes from the private sector, and how much from the public sector?

    Para 3: I am sure your socialist views will support ensuring that no-one becomes wealthier, to prevent the invisible rays of bullshit (you'll call that a rant, I call it a sense of humour, which dour leftists could probably do with a stiff dose of) - excepting of course the political class and would be quango's such as yourself.

    Para 4: there is lots of evidence. For example, Southville having a higher income than neighboring wards which do not have a green party councillor.

    Para 5: Oh I see, white guilt is still at large. it's our fault! How fashionable! 2% of global emmisions from UK. Your argument is completely flawed, as if we look to the future, instead of trying to find oh-so-many reasons to impose your policies, and to provide earning opportunities to your turtle neck sweatered colleagues, you will see we make hardly any impact at all.

    para 6 :Yes, I am aware of your leftist views. I myself was once a staunch Marxist, until I reached the age of 18, and realised my SWP, ANL and Labour colleagues suffered from a lack of respect for hard work and common sense, most could not survive in the world of grown up business, so seek to impose their will through state advancement.

    Para 7 : You cant be too working class mate, you seem to have spent most of your life in uni. Where I came from you were out to work at 16 - no parental support through a-levels, so how do you go to uni? You cant get loans at age 16, can you!

    Someone who has been through the amount of education as you, lives in the same area as you, and clearly with views in opposition to working class aspiration (left wing?) - I am sorry to disappoint, mate, but you are definately not working class, you cant have the best of both worlds. Doesn't look like you've done a days work in your life.

    If you have a real job, you would know the meaning of hard work.

    I am not insulting all Graduates. We would be nowhere without them. It's the degree you take, and the grade you get. Proper graduates have proper degrees in real subjects from proper uni's. 80% (theres another stat from my convenianct research) of graduates have nothing degrees in nothing subject.

    The final para: Most of these economists are on the pay of the green lobby. I can see lots of problems witgh putting money into these schemes. Like, where does it come from? Yet anoth tax pool from the productive, to pay civil servant quango layabouts to drink wine, and pontificate at our expense.


    I am sure your agenda points straight at the public purse, at the nasty white public of builders, bankers and candlestick makers, so your mates can have some fricking whacking great salaries to put in place policies based on a science still not fully understood, and funnily enough, every scientist who has disagreed has been violently shouted down or silenced.

    Aslo, why on earth would a link to the Guardian be of any benefit to me? I am not a teacher, a social worker. I am a hard working white male, with asparations and a good sense of business acumen! the grauniad HATES people like me!

  5. Public Scrutiny - you appear not to realise that a decent part of Knowle West (say, Newquay Rd to Salcombe Rd approx) is in the Knowle Ward I gave figures for ie that ward where the green vote has tripled in recent yrs. Filwood ward, where most of the rest of Knowle West is, has also seen a decent rise in the green vote. You've just conveniently ignored the other things I say in para 1.

    Using my own research?? No. I'm using national survey results here (I gave a link to a press report on them).

    Can I take it the that you are a climate change denialist from what you say?? Look at the evidence eg from the IPCC. Do you value evidence?

    Your ref to Southville is not evidence, its the opinion of one person with many prejudices. Even then its only one location and what you say gives no view on whether feelings of guilt or superiority are motivating people there!

    Public Scrutiny, UK emissions may currently be the small % of world total that you state but I'm referring to the accumulated total emissions over 150-200 yrs!! All those countries that industrialised first and on a massive scale, like the UK, do have the biggest total cumulative emissions and therefore have caused most of the human-caused climate change to date. Fact.

    What you say about para 7 is very revealing of your prejudice and willingness to be judgemental with no/few facts available to you! I did not do A levels and did go out to work at 16, after winning a industrial sponsored studentship. I have not spent most of my life at uni!! In fact I've only spent one yr full time there! My first degree was gained whilst working in industry as a technologist (the companies I worked for sent me to college one day a week for several yrs). Thats six yrs of study, whilst working. I then trained to teach for a yr full time at Bristol Uni. I gained my second degree by home study with the Open University over several yrs, whilst working as a science and maths teacher. I got my higher degree, MSc, by going to evening classes at UWE for two yrs, again whilst I was working. As I said previously - I worked bloody hard for yrs to get these qualifications so dont post ignorant, ill-informed blanket criticisms of graduates on this blog as if we/they are all instantly guilty of something. And if you are going to attempt personal insult get your facts straight!

    I had to laugh at your comment that economists are in the pay of the green lobby!! Come on public scrutiny, wake up and turn your attention to the unethical practices of big business, corrupt officials around the world, organised crime and the military...We are giving billions to bankers, have plans to spend billions on coal and nuclear power, new nuclear weapons systems, new roads....the list goes on - that money needs to be spent in the right direction!! This is where the moeny will come from.

    Your comment on efficiency makes no sense. Efficiency saves energy and resources and so it money! Efficiency is an ideal way out of both environmental and economic problems!

    You refer to science not fully understood, so I guess you deny the evidence that has been gathered by the IPCC and is now acknowledged by virtually all countries scientific advisors and their scientific institutions! There is always more to be understood by science mate - its a continuous process. Get real.

    My link to the Guardian is there to show that I have based my comments on a survey/research that was publicly reported on, so that any reader of this blog could follow up on it if they wanted. Its for the blog. If you want to ignore the facts/evidence that's up to you - its the tendency you've shown throughout your comments here, so its no surprise.

  6. Fair Play GV, seems you have a proper grounding in this subject, and apologies if I was a little vitriolic in attack. Clearly you have worked very hard, harder than me in your persuit of education, so I retract allegations of being a lazy edu-waller!

    That said, I do value evidence. Evidence and truth unfortunately, are completely negotiable. Throughout human history, truth and evidence have been manipulated time and again, and entire disciplines made from them (such as alchemy). The alchemists of their age would have been arguing with the arrogance of the convinced, that alchemy was a worthwhile practice. Fifty years ago, smoking was recommended for pregnant mothers looking to keep their figure. Newton and Einstein have both been proven wrong since modern Physics came along and developed beyond Einstein's ideas.

    As one who lends his ear closer to philosophy over science, and rationalism over empiricism (which science clings to for a meaning for it's existance), I cling to the Socratic "wisest is he who knows he knows knothing". Although Science is essential to our development, we must also question the spin behind the science.

    Ok, you know the science better than me, so if it IS true (and it well may be!), the bit that I, and many, many others dislike is the political aims for the Green movement.

    If take your point on climate change seriously, would you stoop to take a major point against green ethics/politics seriously.

    My area of expertise is economics and the financial system. Being highly professionally qualified (also through nightschool) in each.

    So here is the Facts and Evidence which may challenge your left wing views:

    - The Bankers are not to blame for the billions. The government, eu, and regulators are. No-one within our industry understands what they are up to. The bankers have been villified to pave the way for higher taxes on the rich, suprise suprise what the bbc say about bankers, suprise suprise big tax hike for bankers. All of this money will not go to the poor and needy but to civil servants. Roberry....and the left claim its all the fault of the people who actually provide the wealth for them to live off in the public sector!

    The Green and left wing, essentially despise entrepeneurship and want to expand the state even more, meaning even more governement control. This is what the left wing fight for.

    Based on a lie that "it's the fault of the capitalists we have economic problemts", to seek even more power and salary to their co-idealogically supporting colleagues.

    The other source of massive frustration is the doors of the green wing are not open to entrepeneurs of right of centre people like me, its purely for liberal lefties!

    If the Green moved to the centre, and were not a disguised plot to expand the state yet again so poor foockers like me, who want to control their own income and destiny have to have their aspirations crushed by a bunch of ego-mainics who cannot handle the fact that they cannot succeed in business, cannot innovate or flog themselves to death to raise their class, and seek to tax anyone who dares takes their life into their own hands.

    So, in conclusion, remove Marxism (which it all is on the left, it some degree) from green and you will get more support.]

    Try to tax the living daylights out of the nations wealth producers to furnish your own pockets works better though, and what an opportunity this green bandwagon is, to make the impossible, possible. To take from the strong and give to those who cannot provide for themselves. Green, grants, gravy train.

  7. Thanks for the acknowledgement and retraction Public Scrutiny.

    I strongly agree with you about the value of rationalism. The approach and character of Socrates is something I've admired and aspired to since reading The Republic when in my late teens. Many of Plato's writings are on my bookshelf (Protagoras and Symposium are two works I particularly value).

    On me being a bit of a lefty - thing is that there are many different types (lefties are a fractious bunch, even the green lefties are of several varieties!). Your critique of the left may well apply to some of them but it does not apply to me:

    I dont put all the blame on the bankers (though I'm inclined to argue strongly against the current capitalism) and you'll find other Greens in Bristol taking the same line eg see Cllr Charlie Bolton's blog; I think being genuinely entrepreneurial is of great value and a key feature of getting and keeping a sustainable society; I try to be reasonably pragmatic and dont put my green/lefty ideology before evidence and rational thinking; I dont want people to be dominated by the state, whether local or central or euro govt - I want people and local communities to be empowered, including local, small businesses and the self-employed; I'm strongly opposed to improper personal gain, bandwagons, and gravy trains...

    Some of the 'green' things (so-called) coming from the Brown central govt and from Bristol City Council may well fit your description. They are not genuinely green and they are certainly not Green Party endorsed, quite the opposite. In fact there is a danger that certain central and local govt actions and initiatives could tar real and proper (coherent and coordinated...) greenery. I'm doing my best to point out the differences between greenwash/greenspeak and the real thing!!

  8. Amen, the Broon and/or BCC way is unfortunately the same way of Stalin, Hitler and all other despotery!

    I agree the system needs changing, but it was only since the FSA have existed these problems have been such a huge issue. I'm a libertarian, and prefer enlightened capitalism i.e. economic direction by consent, competition to achieve the aims of society.

    Mate, I used to be a SWP member (dont laugh, I was young!), and a Labour Party supporter thereafter, so I agree they are fractious. I gave up when the left decided to no longer work for the British Working Class, but for either the political class, the public sector, and migrants - purely to get a big block of supporters (they will all vote Labour), whilst destroying Male careers (ala Heinrich Harman), literally robbing men of their life's work to pay for a female vote in the next general election. Nothing turns you further to the cynical right-wing when you see this version of Marxism.

    All the current lot have read too much Engels, and this is a good example of who they are - Engels similtaneously kept several prostitutes whilst writing of the abhorancy of working class sexual exploitation. Jacqui Smith springs to mind.

    Apologies for ranting off over your board, but I am so incredibly angry!

    PS What is the best literature on Climate Change for someone with mod levels of scientific understanding? Many predictions predict differently for the effect - I hear its just UK Scandanavia and a few others who will have arable land?????

  9. Do I detect sexism and racism in your comments/tone (ref to the 'female vote' and to 'migrants')?? Liberty for everyone...

    As for literature on climate change...You could try Heat by George Monbiot,

    or perhaps look over the BBC website as they have a massive range of material from the science to economics...

  10. Thanks for the link.

    Thought police! It's a shame you resort to name-calling!

    Liberty is not achieved by introducing rules which "positively" discriminate, nor through prosecuting those who employ the best candidate for the job. The great thing about capitalism is it by definition absolutely non-discriminatory, anyone good enough for a position will be employed. has anyone considered another reason for the "pay gap" other than "all men are ba$tards and gang up on women"?

    Racism? That old chesnut. Anyone who disagrees with a nations immigration policy is a racist? if you flood a market with cheap labour then everybody suffers. It's good for business owners looking to exploit cheap labour, and pay less to those who's salaries were improved with over 150 years of trade union struggle. All of that for nothing! Minimum wage for all!

  11. 'The great thing about capitalism is it by definition absolutely non-discriminatory, anyone good enough for a position will be employed.' (Public Scrutiny)

    How do you explain the experiences of large numbers of non-white people and of women in the workplace then? Why the domination of white men in positions of wealth, influence and power??

    On immigration policy - I dont agree with the current Govt position either. I'd like to see as many immigrants arriving as there are emigrants leaving ie a net zero increase policy. Migrants working here should of course get the same pay and conditions as non-migrants...

  12. Maybe the reason why there are so many white men in power is because this country is mainly white, and men make more sacrafices than women to persue their careers? I know it's fashionable to fight for the underdog though....

    In Iran, it's mainly Iranian men in control for the same reason. In South Africa, it's mainly South African men, again for the same reason. It's really not that difficult to get your head around.

    Migrants usually come to Britain as menial, low wage workers, and therefore it may take several generations for their skill sets to become aligned to Western levels.

    Lets look at the NHS, are GPs white dominated? No! If non-white are good enough, qualified enough, they get the job, and bloody right too! I could counter your claims by claiming they are monopolising the health service...but that would be bullsheet, just as the idea white men hold back the rest of the world to help the old boys club is bullsheet too!

    If I went to India to work in a cornershop (oooh, sterotypes!) then I wouldn't expect the Indian Gov't to pass laws holding back their own people, so I can compete unfairly against them, citing "racism" as a reason. If they want to be racist, let them! Its their country....

    if its about righting historic wrongs, then I demand a career in Italy, as Rome conquered and enslaved us. What difference does 200 or 1800 years make? None.

    On the subject of Women, so Women and Men are exactly the same are they? Exactly the same working hours? Look at the statistics. Longer, harder work = better pay. Women do not work as long or as hard as men = less pay. men die younger, have a much higher suicide rate, are 90% of Jail populus, and have much higher substance abuse problems...but it's women who are oppressed? I'm not having a pop, I know sexism exists, but I'd argue Men have an incredible amount of pressure to succeed, which leads to their martyrdom for their wives, and hollow lives with nothing but work, work and paying bills. This fact is compounded by the fact the women on the whole, always have chosen partners based partly on ability to provide. I am sure if Women stopped placing their unrealistic expectations of lifestyle on Men, we wouldn't work as hard and ergo earn more! Men have rarely found a large bank balance as attractive as women do, therefore Women do not focus on career as much. Hard to admit, but true!

    Unfortunately, many people seek to find excuses why they don't own a BMW, and it's easier to blame the system then actually work on yourself and your education.

    I was brought up on a council estate, I used to follow Socialism under the banner of "equality for the working classes", but really it was because I wanted to blame something for my own shortcomings. I subsequently gave up political campaigning and sold out to work on my career, and hey presto, I'm pretty well paid now....and funnily enough I am no longer a left winger!

    Immigration - Not really bothered about legitimate migration, it's fantastic for economy in boom times, and should not be capped. if they are the right candidate, let them take the job, just do not allow access to benefits before say 5 years tax paid. Why should migrants get the same benefit as me, who has paid over £100,000 in tax. I have never claimed a penny. Why should migrants get this straight away. Can you imagine going abroad to work and expecting Spain to bring up your children and pay you benefits? I know you are idealologically opposed to a two tier class system, but this is precisely what we have presently. Some people pay a massive amount of their income to pay for those who contribute nothing. My wife was a migrant. She gets nothing from gov't, and to be fair finds it hard to find a job. This is NOT because she is discriminated against! It's purely because she has little UK education and job experience in UK, but it WOULD be much easier for her to sit on her backside and complain, but she doesn't, she works on herself to succeed.

    "each according to his need.." and all that. That's Stalinism!

  13. PS - I don't see many Ginger haired candidates in top jobs, very under-represented. Why should hair eye colour be any different to skin colour?

    PPS - What about transexuals? I genuinely have a post-sex-change client, and she seems to not get promoted? Why?

    PPPS - The Nazi's are the nearest thing to todays political correct employment policies i.e. favouring one race or creed over another by law. The Nazi's queried why Jews had the top jobs...being of Jewish heritage I have no qualms about recognising this for what it is, whether it be for Jewish people, against Jewish People, for White, for Black, for Blue. Discrimination is discrimination. Period. Markets are the only equality we have. Read some Milton Friedman and you'll understand!


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.