Thursday, 11 August 2011

riots (letter to local press)

Looking at TV film of riots in cities around England, we need to ask ourselves what sort of society has led to this sorry state of affairs. No one can condone the violence, looting and arson, but we do need to ask ourselves questions such as: Does our society value and promote peace and cooperation or does it value and promote war and acquisition of goods and status for the few? If the answer is the latter, then we should not be surprised at the violent and acquisitive behaviour of (a tiny minority of) young people.

The gulf between rich and poor in the UK is deeper than ever. Is this what we want? Inequality leads to unhappiness for all, both rich and poor. I have called on our local MP, Mr Stuart, to take a message to the emergency recall of Parliament that we need a real and careful review of what sort of society we want . What values does our society promote? If it promotes war (trade in arms etc), and a focus on consumer goods (‘growth’- on an exhausted planet) it will get just that, so we can only expect increasingly anti-social and fearful behaviour from everyone, particularly our young people.

Another world IS possible – but we will have to decide to make it happen. We need to really consider what we really want for ourselves and for our children.


Shan Oakes

Green Party

Monday, 1 August 2011

Diversity : bio and cultural

Diversity, whether bio or cultural, is key to sustainability. Monoculture is destructive of sustainability.

These photos were taken in my garden and its quite a wildlife haven (in the middle of a town). It runs on home-made compost, self seeded plants, and absolutely no pesticides or other poisons.

Yes, the 'lawn' has buttercups and daisies and other plants in it, but I prefer that to a pristine over-managed garden which depends on hours of labour or regular dousing with chemicals.

I use the garden as a metaphor for politics. Green political theory values cultural diversity because it's enriching, progressive and self-organising. Different perspectives inform each other which promotes healthy social progress. The opposite, where cultures are kept apart, leads to prejudice, isolation and antipathy, a blinkered view of the world, and, ultimately, war. What could be more destructive?