We’re Here To Stay

7 May

Many thanks to everyone who voted for one of Thanet Green Party’s candidates in the county elections. From a standing start (we are a new branch) we put three strong people forward in Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Margate & Cliftonville and we’d like to extend our appreciation to everyone who put a cross in one of those boxes; we beat the Liberal Democrats in all three wards.

There is a lot of work to be done going forward and we hope to do it.

Here are a few reasons why.

Our country has been turned into what the Guardian’s economics editor Larry Elliott in 2007 dubbed “One big offshore hedge fund churning speculators’ money while asset-strippers draw up plans for the few remaining factories to be turned into industrial theme parks.”

And that was before the financial crisis.

There is only so far that propping up a massive housing bubble and bad mortgage raddled banks with cheap money conjured off the printing presses can be dubbed an economic strategy and the shortsightedness of our successive governments has been unparalleled.

As maternity and mental health wards close, ambulance stations are sold off, prisons are put in the hands of private sector profiteers, young soldiers sent on repeated tours of countries where we went to war illegally, stupidly and to little long-term gain, something has to change.

UKIP like to blame immigrants and the European Union.

It was the British Government, not immigrants, that has since 2007 committed to spending over £1.162 trillion bailing out the banks, with it costing taxpayers up to £5bn a year just to service the loan that the crisis incurred.

From energy policy (incompetent fumbling negotiations over redundant nuclear technologies pilloried by everyone from the experts to Private Eye) and government equivocation over renewables that has cost us investment even here in Thanet (the owners of the Richborough Energy Park blame precisely that for a failure to progress their plans) to simpler things like opposing a ban on toxic pesticides believed to be behind mass loss of bees, our politicians keep getting it so wrong.

With the bees, it was simple: Our government was in the pocket of biotech corporations. With the banks, it is probably as straight forward.

Here is how Willem Buiter (an establishment economist with a resume that reads “Professor of European Political Economy, London School of Economics and Political Science; former chief economist of the EBRD, former external member of the MPC” etc) puts it:

I used to believe that state capture took the form of cognitive capture, rather than financial capture… But it is becoming increasingly hard to deny the possibility that the extraordinary reluctance of our governments to force unsecured creditors (and any remaining non-government shareholders) of the zombie banks to absorb the losses made by these banks, may be due to rather more primal forms of state capture…

Governments everywhere are doing the best they can to delay or prevent the lifting of the veil of uncertainty and disinformation that most banks have cast over their battered balance sheets.

The banking establishment and the financial establishment representing the beneficial owners of the institutions exposed to the banks as unsecured creditors – pension funds, insurance companies, other banks, foreign investors including sovereign wealth funds – have captured the key governments, their central banks, their regulators, supervisors and accounting standard setters to a degree never seen before.

You heard it from an expert. Our politicians have been bought.

With all the three main parties unpalatable and UKIP pointing the finger in the wrong place, the Green Party needs to raise its game. Your blogger joined the Green Party for the simple reason that  this comment from Nobel Laureate and economist Robert Solow did not sound quite right…

It is very easy to substitute other factors for natural resources, then there is in principle no ‘problem.’ The world can, in effect, get along without natural resources, so exhaustion is just an event, not a catastrophe.

If you can believe that and win a Nobel prize, there is something very wrong with the world (or perhaps just economists…) And with our recent governments’ (Labour, Conservative + Liberal Democrat) string of mindbogglingly stupid wars, palpable venality and shortsighted support of rapacious developers and property speculators at the expense of affordable housing, protection of green spaces and decent public transport, we need to step up to the plate.

The Green Party, for all its “uncoolness” has actually been ahead of the curve on a lot of issues. Like all parties, it sometimes gets it wrong, but more often than not it is prescient (on a land value tax, on renewables, on biodiversity loss, on job creation through a Green New Deal – bastardised by the government).

For all those reasons and no doubt many more, growing numbers of people are joining the Green Party; across the country and at quite a clip, here in Thanet. Joining a political party is a passé thing to do for many, but single issue NGOs and activism, however much they do, can only go so far.

We are an independent-minded crowd and we are here to stay.

It’s always good to meet people with fresh ideas, enthusiasm and a passion for social justice, our beautiful Isle of Thanet and the environment in any sense of the word, so please get involved – by joining, ambling along to one of our meetings or in any other way you see fit.

Thank you, finally, one more time to all those who voted.

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