Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bristol Airport submits expansion plans

The local paper today reports that plans for the expansion of Bristol International Airport have just been submitted. Included in the report is this statement,

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer of Bristol International Airport, said:
“The application has been modified to address the key concerns raised.

"It now strikes the right balance between allowing the sustainable development of the airport to meet the long-term demand for air travel to and from this region, while also reducing and mitigating the environmental effects.”
...The airport said it will also commit to maintaining CO2 emissions at or below 2007 levels...
This shows a complete (and deliberate??) misunderstanding of what sustainable development means. Maintaining carbon emssions at 2007 levels is the committment - but the new Climate Change Act states that we need to make deep cuts!! Cuts in emissions of 80% by 2050...are completely inconsistent with plans for airport expansion here and in many other parts of the UK.
Mind you, like several of the commenters on the Evening Post website, I do think the plans look 'wonderful/very good/fantastic' - I'd happily sell off the stabilty, security and sustainability of future generations in order to get what I want today - NOT.

Greens are about all issues and how they interconnect

Great article here (and reproduced below) by Jenny Jones, Green Party London Assembly member and longstanding senior figure in the party. She is right to say that Greens address all issues and how they interconnect and interrelate....you would not be able to build a sustainable society, reconciling the economic and social with the environmental, otherwise!!

There are many shades of Green:

It's disappointing to see someone of Leo Hickman's stature reinforcing old stereotypes. His assertion that the Greens are a "one-issue" party is plainly wrong and his reasoning – that "the clue's in the name" – doesn't entirely stack up.

Let's think about this for a moment. Suppose there was a party called... oh, I don't know, let's say Labour. By Leo Hickman's reasoning we would all assume it was a one-issue party that dealt only with employment issues. Its flagship policy would be Jobcentre Plus. It would have no policy on crime, because crime isn't work. It could have no policy on defence, health or public transport, except insofar as wages and contracts were concerned. Is that what we would assume about a party called Labour?

Possibly the Greens are asking for trouble because they have a flower as their logo. But then, so does Labour. And the Lib Dems have a startled chicken, but would anyone say this aptly symbolised the Liberal Democrats? (Ok, I concede that particular point).

It always was strange that people would describe the Greens as "single issue". You only ever had to look at our manifesto to see policies on everything that everyone else had policies on.

It's also a fundamental misrepresentation. The Green party – formerly the Ecology party – formerly People – has an ecological perspective. Ecology is about everything and how it all interconnects. How could anyone ever see everything and how it all interconnects as a single issue?

This is what's distinctive about the Green party: it is the original party of joined-up thinking. The other parties have traditionally seen issues as though they were separate things in separate boxes. So, for example, transport policy was only about moving people and goods from A to B. But ask a Green to invent a transport policy for you, and they wouldn't know how to be so narrow. A Green or ecological perspective will, by its very nature, think of the thing itself and how it interconnects with everything else. Hence transport and climate change; transport and social inclusion; transport and congestion and the resulting costs to businesses; transport and disruption of communities; the impacts of transport's noise and air pollution on health; transport and external costs; and so on. That's how you end up with a Green transport policy, as opposed to endless roadbuilding, airport expansions and the highest rail fares in Europe.

That the party that blazed new trails and pioneered joined-up thinking was caricatured as single issue, against all logic, against all evidence, is one of the big ironies of modern British politics.

Most of the time, most people get most of their information about politics from the mass media. It's a relief to see that the media have recently been giving more attention, for instance, to the Green party's economic policies. Indeed, one highly respected journalist in the Daily Telegraph last week congratulated the Green Party for being ahead of the economic curve with its
Green New Deal. But the reappearance of the "one-issue Greens" myth in the Guardian, of all places, in the last few days shows that the falsehood still lives.

Whoever this falsehood serves, it doesn't serve the British voter. Democracy depends on good information. The media acknowledge their duty to tell the truth. I think there's one major task the UK media could undertake now, while British politics is in such a state of disarray that the British voter is clamouring for sweeping reforms. It's this: tell the British voter about the Green party. Not about its environment policy, but about its million-jobs manifesto. Its commitment to re-regulating the buses and doubling the number of them. Its policy for re-nationalising the railways and slashing rail fares. Its policy of rescuing the NHS from privatisation, restoring free dental care and dramatically improving maternity services.

These are good policies, and they're policies only the Green party is offering. They're popular policies, and the readers and viewers and listeners would like to hear about them. Telling the voters about all of this can only be a good thing for British democracy.