Don`t get mad, get even!
By Keith Melton
Rejected by the FCC
(from a very angry, and disappointed, Chair)
As many of you will know members of GLD submitted two motions for consideration for the agenda of the online autumn conference. One was in my name as mover with Wera Hobhouse MP as summator, recognising the improved air conditions due to the "anthropause" (see below for definition!) . A second, dealing with a deeper approach to a carbon tax and a carbon dividend was submitted by Stewart Reddaway and Julian Hawkins.
Both were rejected by the Federal Conference Committee with spurious, if not downright nonsensical reasoning. I was cross enough to write a grumpy note on FaceBook immediately upon hearing from the FCC, which I repeat below. It has attracted a few sympathetic responses. One member said, crossly, "I am resigning!". Another, in response, said to her, "Don`t get angry, get even!" - which is what prompted the headline of this article.
That, however, poses a difficult question - "just how can we - get even?" The dice of the Party hierarchy is weighted against any real form of Radical Liberalism, with heavily `centrist` FCC and FPC committees. Even a couple of radical voices on these committees would make little difference. Any "appeal" process would not allow for resubmitted motions to be placed before members at the autmn conference - so the Party will fail to say anything about the most critical existential threat faced by this country and humanity in general. An `opportunity missed` is one, rather anodyne way of saying it. `Disgraceful omission` is another.
Here`s my FaceBook rant...!
"As I write this I am fluctuating between "incandescent with rage" and "disappointed to the point of giving up" and I am normally both a calm person and an optimistic person. So, both of these states of mind are well outside my comfort zone to say the least. What has brought this about?... you might well ask.
I have just heard from the Federal Conference Committee (FCC) that they have "decided not to include" our GLD resolution on the agenda for this year`s autumn conference. This has, of course, happened to me quite a few times in the past and, maybe, should come as no surprise to someone on the radical tradition of what has become, over many years, a supposed party of the centre. (Whether you consider it to be left of centre, or right of centre, is, for me, a mere distraction!)
No great surprise, then, but after a really uplifting online Green Lib Dem `festival` of green events with great feedback from participants, the decision is utterly disappointing.
The potential silver lining of the devastating pandemic lock-down - of the chance to begin to build a different world - is huge;
- by considering wellbeing rather than simply GDP as a way of measuring economic success;
- by uplifting our efforts to reach net-zero carbon emissions sooner than we had foreseen less than a year ago (ie by 2040);
- by taking advantage of the "anthropause" - (the temporary cessation, worldwide, of a large proportion of industrial activity and transport flows which has resulted in a significant reduction in human-induced air and water pollution) to bring in a carbon tax and its carbon dividend for those in fuel poverty;
- by the cessation of subsidies and support for fossil fuels and fossil fuel-based industries
These and a number of other items were contained in a motion that was signed within a forty-eight-hour-space by nearly 200 Liberal Democrats around the country (including our parliamentary Climate Change spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP; and one of our leadership candidates, Layla Moran MP).
All of THAT is utterly disappointing! But why am I so angry?
I am angry at the utter `tosh` in the reasons given for rejecting such an important and wide-ranging motion that would have shown our Party in the shining light of environmentalism. This is the very `Green Glow` of policy that both of our leadership candidates are currently lauding in their public pronouncements.
Rather than seeing the positives in the "Build Back Better" title of the motion and the wellbeing and stuff mentioned above, the motion has been rejected because it "…covers two bits of last year's paper -- carbon tax and net zero target (so, only recently debated) - and overturns them" (my emboldening)**
On the contrary, it does not overturn them - it enhances them in the light of the changed world, of which we have been granted a brief sight, during the Covid19 lock-down. Air we can breathe, birdsong we can hear in the bluest sky we have seen for years. All this plus the realisation that urgent actions CAN be taken quickly when the political realisation dawns that we have no options but to take urgent actions. It is called "Political Will" and is so often in short supply. And, to find lack of political will amongst the cosy membership of the FCC, may not be surprising but it IS anger-inducing!
So - here`s my challenge. To Layla and/or Ed. If you are true to your words and want the potential support of Green Liberal Democrat members, persuade the Federal Conference Committee to put the GLD motion on the agenda for the online autumn conference and be prepared to speak in its favour."
**PostScript: I have - subsequent to my rant - discovered that the FCC had preferred a "more coherent" `green emergence from Covid19` to be debated. Slightly mollifying on the one hand. But, on the other, there was no `consultation` with the Green Liberal Democrats about it beforehand as has previously been promised by the FCC and the FPC when environmental policies are to be considered. So, I am not `incandescent` now - merely `simmering`