March 3, 2020

We Need it Now

Without wishing to comment on RLB’s leadership aspirations, this is a good video highlighting the urgency of the issue of climate change. Credit to her and the lP for putting it squarely on the UK political agenda. The Labour Green New Deal is certainly significant at least as a contribution to thinking about the way that we need to transform politics, the economy and society.


At the end of the video RLB says “incremental change is not enough, we need a radical Green Agenda and we need it now”.

“Now” is the point; but Labour is not in power and is unlikely to be in power during the next five years. When the danger is as profound as that posed by climate change and, more widely, environmental degradation, the timetables of our current political structures are inadequate.

At a talk by Anatol Lieven that I attended yesterday evening (2nd March) Lieven, publicising his new book, spoke of the need for what he called ‘progressive nationalism’ to meet the challenge; he argued that both the people activism of Greta Thunberg and international agreements such as the Paris Accord, while important, would be futile without action by nation states. Lieven called on the spirit of national purpose that kept Britain together through the Blitz. I didn’t buy his book and have some concerns about concomitants of nationalism, ‘progressive’ or not, but he is correct in asserting that there has to be an awakening of a national will to change and he is correct in saying that ultimately only nation states can transform economies.

Challenged by a questioner Lieven was not optimistic that our political systems would be cmotivated to initiate the changes we need without some catastropic events to catalyse this.

Lieven is correct that the transformative changes we need can only be carried out by the nation state through existing political structures but we cannot wait for, nor afford, a catalysing catastrophy to motivate the state to change and we cannot trust the state or any political structure with the moral direction of such change.

We as citizens, as individuals, and as members of communities must become the catalysing change that forces governments to act.
We must work within our political parties, within pressure groups like XR and also within our other communities including our faith groups. We must build and keep building communities of conscience and consciousness, communicating in the digitial and the actual so that it is conscience and consciousness themselves that become the catalyst.

This is not a party political project. Political structures and governmental responses are essential but what we can and must do now must be to a larger degree politically agnostic, separate from party politics, and focused on raising consciousness, invoking conscience and building community.