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Transcript and video of Nick Clegg's speech at the Climate Change Rally

December 9, 2008 9:48 AM

"There are a lot of people, particularly people on low incomes, really really worried about putting food on the table, paying their mortgage this month, paying their heating bills this winter, and most depressingly of all: we have commentators, pundits, politicians lining up, saying that you're wasting your time. That in a recession we can't afford the luxury to worry about the planet. That at a time of economic hardship we haven't got the privilege, we're self-indulgent to worry about the environment. They are wrong, you are right."

"Because it is exactly now, it is exactly at a time of economic crisis, that we have to ask ourselves: How on earth did we create an economy so reliant on the short-termist boom-and-bust speculation of the City, while it let our environment and our planet go to rot? How on earth did we create an economy which is not only socially unjust but environmentally unsustainable? How on earth did we create an economy in which this government, in there [points at Parliament] is spending 37 billion pounds bailing out the bankers who've got ourselves into the mess in the first place, and yet they won't lift a finger to really help us build the green economy of the future?"

"And that is why I say to you: No to a third runway at Heathrow; no to Kingsnorth; and no to spending twelve and a half billion quid of our money to give us a short-term VAT cut - which we'll all have to pay for in the future - when every penny of that money should be spent on public transport, on green energy, on sustainable housing for the future."

"Let me say one other thing that I think could be done, and it can be done now. It's something that I've pressed Gordon Brown on, in that chamber over there several times and he still refused to act. And it is this: It's cold, we all know it's cold, but we have the shocking, the scandalous situation that the big energy companies are charging a pensioner - scrimping and saving, living on her own, to perhaps heat one room in her home (or his!) - is charging her or him more than a multimillionaire who's heating their five-storey mansion from top to toe. Because we have the outrageous situation that all of us are charged by those companies more for the first bits of energy we use than the last bits of energy we use. How mad is that? It's bad for the environment, it is unfair, it is unjust, so we, you, must marry the demand for social justice as we come out of this recession, a demand for a fairer economy, a fairer Britain, with your passionate commitment to a greener Britain and a greener world too."

"So yes, there are plenty of reasons to be gloomy, but I come to you in a spirit of celebration that you are here in such large numbers, that there are countless demonstrations like this, taking place around the world as well, but also in hope. In the hope that we will learn the lessons of the errors that we have made in the past, and come out of this recession a fairer, a greener nation."

"Thank you very much indeed."

And you can see a video of the speech here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ME0L2tovrDs