New government, new climate change induced records and new nuclear – UK Green news round up week 30
Greens hit out at Boris Johnson becoming prime minister
This week, Boris Johnson became prime minister of the UK off the back of the votes of just 92,000 Conservative Party members. Like many, prominent Greens have been deeply critical of his ascent to power and the appointment of his cabinet.
In an article for the National, Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie claimed that the UK had never had a more right-wing government. Harvie wrote:
The UK now has its most severely right-wing Government ever … and I say this as someone who grew up under Thatcherism.
This is a Government with a Home Secretary who supports capital punishment; a Foreign Secretary who insists we turn a blind eye to state murder and keep supplying arms to Saudi Arabia; a Heath Secretary who has taken tens of thousands of pounds from the chair of an anti-NHS lobby group; and an International Trade Secretary who has built close links with the most extreme of the US libertarian free-market ideologues.
His condemnation was echoed by Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Sian Berry who said:
Boris Johnson is at the political extreme, a great distance from what the majority of British people want.
Green Party in Northern Ireland leader Clare Bailey hit out at Johnson’s lack of mandate and his poor grasp of politics on the island of Ireland:
Boris Johnson may have been selected as the next Prime Minister by the Tory Party but has no mandate from the people.
This new Prime Minister is intent on a hard Brexit. The man who compared a border on the island of Ireland to the boundary between Islington and Camden cares little about our economic, social and political future.
In a Huffington Post article, Green MEP Magid Magid describe Johnson’s premiership as the establishment attempting to preserve its own power:
Johnson is the embodiment of the establishment fighting to preserve itself and the status quo that protects their wealth and power.
And fellow MEP Gina Dowding described the government has being made up of “chancers” and “extremists”:
Describing new Cabinet as a bunch of incompetents would be giving them too much credit.
We are now governed by chancers, extremists, self-promoters.
— Gina Dowding MEP (@GinaDowdingMEP) July 25, 2019
Greens criticise media reporting of the UK heatwave
This week saw the hottest day of the year, with temperatures reaching as high as 38 degrees as a heatwave swept across Europe. As is the norm, the UK news media filled broadcasts and newspaper spreads with images of sunbathers and swimming pools. Climate change barely received a mention.
Green politicians criticised this omission. Sian Berry tweeted:
This is not a symptom of a normally functioning climate. History won’t forgive if tomorrow’s UK news media once again treats a dramatic and dangerous heatwave like an ‘and finally’ village fete story. https://t.co/AzE9C7mbai
— Sian Berry (@sianberry) July 24, 2019
Her critique was shared by Green MEP Alex Phillips:
Phillips also wrote in the Huffington Post on how heatwaves like these should be a wake up cal on the need for urgent action on climate change. She wrote:
These intense heatwaves put us all in danger. Labourers, and people who work outdoors will have no choice but to continue to work throughout the higher temperatures, putting them at risk of heatstroke. Asthma sufferers, those with heart and lung conditions, are all going to be affected by these drastic temperature changes. The elderly, too, are disproportionately affected by the heat, their lives put at risk due to these severe conditions; during the 2003 heatwave in France, over 10,000 lives were lost. We cannot continue like this, we cannot continue to allow people to die, nor put their lives at risk, because of greedy corporations and austerity driven governments who fail to put climate change on the political agenda.
Molly Scott Cato slams proposals for new method of nuclear power financing
New plans for financing nuclear power were released this week. The UK government announced proposals whereby energy consumers would pay for the financing of nuclear on their energy bills.
The proposals were heavily criticised by Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. Speaking on them, she said:
The climate emergency of course means we need to achieve carbon neutrality as quickly as possible. But the nuclear industry is not the answer. It is too slow, far too expensive and can only be supported by an outrageous policy that breaks the government’s previous commitment to require nuclear to survive without subsidies or not at all.
Globally, wind power output grew by 17% in 2017 and solar by 35%, leaving nuclear far behind with just 1% growth. The UK now generates more electricity from renewables than from nuclear power and we’ve seen record low prices for wind power.
Renewables, smart energy solutions and emerging battery technologies together with a big drive on energy efficiency will make nuclear redundant. A Green New Deal, which is increasingly being seen as the economic path Europe needs to take, can tackle the climate crisis while creating thousands of new jobs. Nuclear energy does not feature in this plan.
Greens select parliamentary candidate for Bedford
With a General Election potentially right around the corner, many local Green Parties are selecting their candidates. This week, it was the turn of Luton and Bedfordshire Green Party who selected their candidate for the Bedford constituency.
Adrian Spurrell was selected for the seat. Spurrell stood in the 2019 mayoral election, coming fourth with 6.6% of the vote. He will now be standing in a seat narrowly won by the Labour Party in 2017.
Speaking on his selection, Spurrell said:
Our country faces many challenges: the ongoing breakdown in our climate, escalating species loss, growing social injustice and of course Brexit.
I am passionate about the need for greater central government action to make it easier for each of us to make positive well informed choices that allow our planet to recover and our society to thrive.