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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Chain mail letter to the Constituents of The Cotswolds.

Dear Cotswold Voter,

I want to share with you my experiences of campaigning over the last couple of weeks to help you decide which way to vote as we move into the final days of the campaign. I share these experiences with you as honestly as I can.

I have been around much of this large constituency either on bike or on bus – I believe in practising what is preached and have not spilt a single drop of fossil fuel during my campaign. I have met hundreds of people and listened as carefully as I can to their concerns.

It has been a heart warming and exciting experience, and in a Conservative strong hold I would never have expected the level of support that people have given me.
This support stems from more than mere dissatisfaction with Geoffrey Clifton-Brown’s abuse of the expense system and his inability to apologise, significant though this is.  It stems from the deep seated concern all thinking and caring people have which is that the main parties will not tackle the implications of climate change. This is vital; the safe level of atmospheric CO2 to avoid runaway climate change is 350ppm. Our CO2 levels are currently at 455ppm equivalent (when all the additional green house gases are factored in). Not only have we breached CO2 safety limits but the rate of increase is increasing.  These are truly terrifying numbers and facts for us to contemplate while we live in the brief interlude between cause and effect.

Thus the urgency of taking decisive action can not be overestimated. In the period of the next parliament, we will have to take the most difficult decisions since the start of our democracy in the 14th century. These decisions will have to be taken at all levels of our society, starting at the individual level, progressing through community and national levels and going right up to international level.  Collective failure at any one of these levels will be failure at all levels, and the consequences of failure are too difficult to imagine.

The only road maps that the main parties offer us though this crisis is Greenwash. Each main party is guilty. Labour has told us to take action on our emissions, yet pursues airport expansion, the disastrous Palm Oil based biofuels and subsidies to high carbon industries.  The Conservative Party has only 10% of its prospective MPs believing that they should even bother tackling climate change. Their manifesto is committed to opening oil exploration in the hostile waters to the West of the Shetland Islands, raising the risk of exactly the same sort of crisis that is destroying the Gulf of Mexico today. The Lib Dems continue to bend which ever way the wind blows. They say in their manifesto they want a zero carbon Britain, yet Mike Collins (The Cotswolds Lib Dem Candidate) approved the expansion of Gloucestershire Airport which was aimed principally at private jet use; this Lib Dem duplicity has been repeated everywhere across our country and they see nothing wrong with this behaviour. 

Each party continues the claim that they are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and moving to renewables. However, this alone will not tackle our growing emissions, and they know it. Simply introducing renewables without imposing limits on consumption merely results in the fossil fuel savings being used elsewhere; put simply, if I cycle around this constituency then someone else will use the fuel that I save in their car. It is therefore vital that we think through our ideas on consumption, and start serious consideration of proposals such as carbon rationing and the implications that this will have on our society.

Any party that is not prepared to take onboard and support these kinds of debates are lying when they say that tackling climate change is the big concern for them. Furthermore, these debates must centre on policies that ensure the fair distribution of remaining resource. The principles of the current free market model where winner can take all must be challenged. The brutal and fundamental reality is that in a world were resource usage is increasingly constrained people can only become richer by depriving others of their entitlement to those same resources. We can not allow this to happen.

The overwhelming majority of people that I have met during this campaign recognise these issues. They understand the main parties are too wedded to existing policy and philosophies to tackle climate change and they equally understand they will not address the fundamental issue of resource distribution in our society.  This is why about 80% of the people that I have met are still undecided on which way they will vote. The superficiality of the leadership debates has simply confirmed to them that they are only capable of arranging the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks.  

The extraordinary thing is that the only people I meet who have definitely decided which way they will vote are those that have chosen Green, and they are no longer in a small minority. This truly is time for change. If you vote Green, you will therefore be in the company of many others and in no way will it be a wasted vote.

I do not ask you to vote Green because I want to be an MP, I ask that you vote Green because I believe that it is the right thing for you to do.

I leave with the thoughts of Martin Luther King, who said, “We either live together as brothers, or die together as fools.” This is our challenge, and it has never been so vital to rise up to the ideals of this great man.   

And finally, I ask for one favour from you. Irrespective of the decision you make with your vote, I ask that you forward this onto as many people as you know within The Cotswolds constituency.

With kindest regards,
Kevin Lister
Green Party PPC
The Cotwolds.