I’m writing this week’s post from Leek, in Staffordshire, where I’m visiting my daughters and grandchildren. One of the first things I was asked by my youngest, on arrival, was: who do I vote for dad? Now I have done absolutely no research into this, but I got the strong impression talking to her that she was typical of her generation of 30 something parents with young families – that she wanted to make her vote count but, because she had no time to follow the intricacies of political debate or the various plots of our unfolding political drama, was genuinely confused. Like most of her friends she gets most of her news from social media, but, she told me, that does help. In the run up to the 2017 General Election, she said, there was a strong trend in favour of Labour, but now the trend is to be critical of them. She did not want to just follow the latest social media trend, she wanted some genuine guidance. The demands of my two grandchildren soon intervened and prevented any further conversation. I simply said: read my blog. So here goes.
I genuinely believe that part of the problem we face is that we humans are not as clever as we want to believe. We have created a very complex social world, one that is embedded in a very complex natural environment, but that we have little understanding of the extent of this complexity. Instead we crave simple, off the shelf answers to our problems. This is the paradox we humans face. We will always crave simple solutions because we haven’t evolved to cope with this complexity – but none of these simple solutions will solve our problems in the long term because…well, because they are too simple. So bearing all this in mind – here is my very simple guide: Vote for your Green Party candidate!
Why? Because the biggest threat to the future happiness and flourishing of your young son and daughter, my grandson and granddaughter, comes from the fast approaching collapse of our climate and environment. This collapse has been brought about by our greed, by our plundering of the Earth’s resources, by our belief that we are somehow separate from, and conquerors of, what Aldo Leopold has called the ‘land community’ – evolved life on this beautiful planet. To avoid this collapse we need to do so much more than most people realise. We need to change how we live, how we understand our relationship with our fellow human and non-human animals, and most importantly how we do business and run our economy. The Green Party has not got all the solutions to how we do this, but it is the only political movement that acknowledges that such a radical change is necessary.
Driving up to North Staffordshire on Friday I saw the extent of some of the flooding that has been hitting our news screens, particularly the River Avon in Worcestershire which had burst it banks. We need to accept that there is no hard causal link between these floods and our climate emergency, floods have always happened. But, and this is a very big but, there is overwhelming evidence that the rise in global temperatures is increasing both the severity and the frequency of extreme weather events, whether they are floods, droughts, or wild fires. We should be concerned, very concerned regarding the frequency of these events around the world. We really do need to take these changes to our climate seriously and accept our responsibility for bringing them about. Our future generations will not forgive us if we fail to act.
I return to West Dorset today to face an increasing full diary of engagements. Most importantly, this coming week sees the first of the General Election hustings events – this one at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester. I have to confess to actually enjoying these public debates. Perhaps rather perversely, I enjoy being put on the spot and asked awkward questions. So please, if you are free, please do come along and meet me and my fellow candidates. The school event will not be open to the public, but those that are include:
• Bridport United Church on Tuesday 26th November at 7pm (organised by Transition Town Bridport
• Prince of Wales School in Poundbury on Wednesday 27th November at 7pm (organised by Dorset Parents SEND and focusing on inclusive education)
• St Mary’s Church, Maiden Newton on Monday 2nd December at 7pm
• Dorchester United Church on Wednesday 4th December at 7pm
• Corn Exchange, Dorchester on Monday 9th December at 7.30pm (organised by Sustainable Dorset)
• And a probable event organised by West Dorset for Europe on the evening of Tuesday 10th December at The Thomas Hardye School
What is noticeable about the events, in contrast to the 2017 General Election, is that four have been organised to focus on specific areas – one education, one Europe, and two climate.