Targets to clean up the majority of England’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters suffering from a cocktail of agricultural and sewage pollution have been pushed back from 2027 to 2063.
Until Brexit the UK government was signed up to the water framework directive, which required countries to make sure all their waters achieved “good” chemical and ecological status by 2027 at the latest. The UK government later reduced the target to 75% of waterways reaching the single test of good ecological status by 2027 at the latest. The target for the majority of waterways to achieve good status in both chemical and ecological tests has now been pushed back to 2063, according to the documents.
By 2027, only 4% of waters are currently on track to be in good overall condition.
Environmentalists accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt the decline of nature by 2030. They say the revoking of 570 environmental laws that were rolled over from EU law after Brexit amounts to a deregulatory free-for-all leaving the environment unprotected.
The bill laid before parliament outlines how 570 environmental laws, and hundreds more covering every government department, including transport, health and social care, working hours and other areas, are being lined up to be removed from UK law or rewritten. These include the habitat regulations that have been vital in the protection of places for wildlife in the last 30 years and laws covering the release of nitrates and phosphates into rivers.
The laws were retained after Brexit when the then Conservative environment secretary, Michael Gove, promised the UK’s environmental laws would not be watered down.
The head of the RSPB says the bird charity is ruling nothing out as it organises a mobilisation of millions of people against what it calls the government’s “attack on nature”.
Beccy Speight dismissed accusations by Conservative MPs that the group was lying to its members and pursuing a marketing drive, as it leads a coalition campaigning against the government over key “growth” policies which it argues will damage wildlife and nature.
The chief executive said a meeting with the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Ranil Jayawardena, had not provided any reassurance that the government’s growth policies would protect nature.
The director general of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, accused the government of “demonising” conservationists, saying her members were “outraged and worried”.
I’m reaching a few conclusions about COP26. It isn’t serious about addressing climate change because governments are sucking up to the filthy rich and powerful. That’s what refusing to address aviation is about, all the private jets and Bezos and actors appearing. Aviation appears to be a good target for climate activism, it’s hugely damaging and far more likely to get public support. I’ll be going to my local airport on Saturday.
In UK and worldwide we need to elect some Greens or e.g. nationalist parties, with strong green policies. It’s happening anyway, Bristol is likely to elect some Green MPs at the next election. The Greens are taking votes from Labour and hopefully people will realise that the current Labour party is undeclared Tory and anti-democratic in party actions, Stalinist really. [ed: Stalinist as an insult: authoritarian dictatorship with a total disregard of others’ perpectives, crushing and destroying people.] It’s a shame that the elections are so far away in 2024.
Officially the UK government has committed to Net Zero by 2050, but behind the scenes an organised, well-funded opposition to climate change action is growing on the Conservative Right. And many of those at the vanguard – and their tactics – come straight from the veterans of Brexit.
A classic example of this appeared in The Telegraph this week: the day before the Budget, it reported a YouGov survey that found a majority of the British public “want a referendum on Boris Johnson’s net zero plans” by the next general election – a majority of those who expressed a preference, that is.
Perhaps it’s because I spent so long looking at the dark money behind Brexit, but the first thing I thought while reading The Telegraph’s story was: “Who has paid a professional pollster to carry out a survey on a question nobody is asking?”
The answer is something called Car26.org. This, The Telegraph informed its readers, is a “new campaign group calling for a referendum on net zero proposals and a pause in eco regulations until such a ballot is held”.
Yep, you read that right. No climate change mitigation policies until a referendum on Net Zero. Sound familiar?
The taxpayer-funded European Research Group of Conservative MPs – which played a starring role in the UK’s exit from the EU – has largely morphed into the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. The Global Warming Policy Foundation — which long promoted climate change denialism — has been relaunched as Net Zero Watch. Wycombe MP Steve Baker, the “Brexit hardman”, is a leading light in both.
As world leaders come together this week at COP26, I write this from a cell in Wandsworth Prison where I am serving a 12-month sentence for a peaceful climate protest, after climbing on an aeroplane during Extinction Rebellion’s October Rebellion in 2019.
The world’s “carbon budget” is the total emissions allowed to retain a 50% chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C, but analysis shows this will be blown in 11 years if the current rate of emissions continues.
I am likely to revise this article but I want to get it out. It’s about the historical and continuing malign and corrosive influence of the Australian-American press baron Rupert Murdoch on UK politics. The article starts by looking at Murdoch’s influence over Tony Blair’s government before looking at how he still wields influence over Boris Johnson’s current government (and needs expanding there). I’m only searching the web so you can do this for yourselves.
Former Sun deputy editor Neil Wallis was in charge during the 1997 election campaign when then-Sun editor Stuart Higgins was on holiday.
The paper made shockwaves when it published a “Sun backs Blair” front page after declaring “it was the Sun wot won it” for the Conservatives in the previous election.
He said he asked for a first-person piece from Blair on his party’s “cut and dried position” on Europe but it was “a piece of PR flim-flam that actually said nothing”.
“I said ‘I’m not running this Alistair [Campbell, Blair’s spin doctor] because it’s just saying nothing’. But I said ‘for this to be coherent, for this to have an impact, this needs to say you will not go into the Euro without a referendum’.
“And I duly got the piece under Tony Blair’s name committing them to a referendum on the Euro if it was ever considered that they would go into it.”
Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage directly linked this Sun column with the eventual vote to leave the European Union 19 years later.
He told the documentary: “The price of Rupert Murdoch’s support for Tony Blair was that Blair promised he would not take us into the European currency without first having a referendum, and if Rupert Murdoch had not done that we would have joined the Euro in 1999 and I doubt Brexit would have happened.
“So I think when we look at the long history of Britain’s relationship with the European project that led ultimately to the Brexit vote, I think that was a decisive intervention from Rupert Murdoch.”
So much falls into place with the revelation that Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters and attended their baptism on the banks of the river Jordan last year. True, it isn’t yet clear whether Blair had agreed to become a godparent while he was prime minister [see footnote], and the ceremony did take place after he had left office, but the important point is that the relationship underlines Murdoch’s deep entrenchment in British political life.
Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, who let slip the information in an interview with Vogue, described Blair as one of Rupert’s closest friends. Blair’s account of the relationship in his memoirs is somewhat different, portraying Murdoch as the big bad beast, who won his grudging respect. That is clearly disingenuous. As other memoirs and diaries from the Blair period are published, we see how close Murdoch was to the prime minister and the centre of power when really important decisions, such as the Iraq invasion, were being made.
Blair and Murdoch didn’t have to be bosom buddies for the relationship to be counter to the interests of a healthy national life and politics. As Lance Price, the former Blair spin doctor, has said, Murdoch was one of four people in Britain whose reaction was considered when any important decision was made during the Blair years.
Rupert Murdoch launched an “over-crude” campaign to force Tony Blair to speed up Britain’s entry into the Iraq war, according to the final volume of [total cnut] Alastair Campbell’s diaries.
Mr Blair’s former communications director accuses the media mogul of being part of a drive by American Republicans to drag Britain into the controversial war a week before the House of Commons even voted to approve the intervention in 2003.
The claim is explosive because it appears to contradict Mr Murdoch’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. The News Corp chief told Lord Justice Leveson in April: “I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything.”
It is the second time that claim has been contested. Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, told the inquiry this week that Mr Murdoch threatened to withdraw the support of his newspapers for his Government unless it took a tougher stance on Europe. …
Liverpool MP Andy Burnham has suggested that Tony Blair did not order a full enquiry into the Hillsborough disaster because he did not want to offend Rupert Murdoch.
Mr Burnham, a Labour leader hopeful said he was told not to pursue his demand for an official investigation when serving under Mr Blair.
As a result a “major injustice” was allowed to remain in place for more than a decade, he said.
Mr Burnham was the driving force behind Gordon Brown’s decision to set up the Hillsborough Independent Panel into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans. … The Sun caused lasting outrage after publishing a report following the 1989 tragedy accusing “drunken” Liverpool fans of attacking rescue workers. …
Former Prime Minister Tony has always adamantly denied allegations he had an affair with Wendi, who was married to the News UK magnate from 1999 to 2013. However, the new BBC show spoke about Wendi’s affection towards him, including an unearthed diary entry in which she spoke about his ‘good body and legs’ before adding: ‘And what else and what else and what else…’.
But it was a series of emails, allegedly from Wendi about Blair, that effectively caused their divorce. ‘She made a bad mistake,’ journalist Ken Auletta explained. ‘She was sending emails on Newscorp email, so it’s easy for one of Murdoch’s minions, or lawyers, to extract those emails and see what they said – and they did. …
dizzy: At Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s wedding in March 2016 Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel were invited – three prominent members of the current UK government. David Cameron and George Osborne – anti-Brexiteers – were not invited. Tony Blair was not invited – he’s been dropped by Murdoch after not having an affair with Wendi Deng.
An update to an earlier post from March 2019 to reflect changes since then. This is a work in progress and needs to be finished.
Since then Boris Johnson was apponted leader of the Conservative party in July 2019 and we’ve had the general election of December 2019. To my surprise the UK Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn fared poorly in the general election and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won comfortably. Jeremy Corbyn was replaced by Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party and the UK has experienced the Coronavirus pandemic during 2020 with a lockdown starting in late March.
Boris Johnson & Co are rabid Eurosceptics and succeeded at the general election using the simplistic mantra “Get Brexit Done”. Johnson & Co are indicating that they are intending to pursue a no-deal Brexit whereby UK will leave the EU in a chaotic manner. Their strategy appears to be to align closely with US instead of EU so that another simplistic mantra for the simple “we want our country back” is exposed as bolox.
I wrote in my previous post that “Socialists are a diverse bunch often fighting injustice e.g. anti-racism, and campaign for human rights, universal healthcare, democracy, equality, workers’ rights, etc. There are more radical Socialists outside of parliamentary politics fragmented according to adherence to the different historical origins and aspects of Socialist Ideology. The Labour party catchphrase “For the many, not the few” catches the Socialist ethos perfectly.”
Current UK Labour party leader Keir Starmer does not meet this definition and we have instead returned to the normal situation whereby UK voters are denied the opportunity to vote for a Socialist party.
During Keir Starmer’s previous role as UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, he … < to be continued >
The climate crisis receives very little attention from UK politicians and we currently have allegations of Russian hacking which appear to be a moral panic totally without substance.
Right now, you can be fined more for touting tickets at a football match than you can for subverting British democracy, with the max fine being £20k. The Electoral Commission imposed the maximum fine on Vote Leave – just 0.003% of its £7m budget.
Whichever way you voted on Brexit, it can’t be right that political machines with millionaire donors can break our electoral laws with impunity. The Electoral Commission has repeatedly asked for the maximum fines they can impose to be increased. But our political leaders don’t like being held to account. And so far, they’ve refused.
We could have another election or referendum at any moment – so the Electoral Commission urgently needs more power now to guard our democracy. We must make sure fines are proportionate to how much campaigns actually spend, so they act as a real deterrent. Please sign openDemocracy’s petition today and sign up to hear more about our investigations.
A short series of statements that recognises the current urgency and absolute primacy of the climate crisis. May be revised or corrected. Undecided how this series will go. Away njoio over the weekend (no not Glastonbury).
Let’s get this clear from the outset: I represent nobody except myself. Despite supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour party I have never been a member of the Labour party. I may have briefly been a member of SERA (Socialist, Environment and Resources Association) approximately 40 years ago while I was an active anti-nuclear activist. SERA was and continues to be closely associated with the Labour party.
I have been publishing inconsistently on the internet since 1998 or 1999 and I am certainly amoung the earliest bloggers. I have a portfolio of posts and articles that establishes me a competent and accomplished blogger, journalist or political activist – whatever I am. I warned of climate crisis online – from memory – in 1999.
Politicians encounter problems addressing the climate crisis because of 1. the short-termism inherent in contemporary politics and 2. the huge influence of climate crisis deniers on them.
Politicians are typically elected for terms of four or five years. They are concerned with one or at most two terms only by which time they will have lost power to the opposition.
I have difficulties comprehending climate change deniers. Perhaps I understand it in the ignoramus US resident Donald Trump.
Climate crisis activist protocol says stay positive, promote the notion that climate crisis can be averted. I am breaking with that protocol. I believe that the tipping point has been passed, that climate change has now acquired it’s own frightening dynamic. Apologies for saying this to those of you who have children.
10/7/19 There’s an issue with normally intelligent people having minds closed to the state we’re in. I’m talking in terms of the world having been destroyed, having passed tipping points that develop their own frightening dynamic. Their minds are closed and they cannot contemplate the state we’re in.
The long-awaited climate-emergency post. I have taken some time to decide what’s necessary to say. This post may be revised and expanded but the main points will remain.
Climate change, the climate emergency or crisis is a fact. The poles are melting, sea levels are rising, seas are turning to acid, polar bears and penguins have nowhere to live. It’s taken repeated record temperatures and a little girl for it to be accepted such was the power of climate denial.
Political parties that deny climate change – right-wing parties like UKIP and Nigel Farage’s Brexit party “In terms of policy, there’s no difference (to UKIP)…” are sucking up to the ultra-rich showing that they present no threat to their interests. ed: many prominent Brexiteers are climate change enthusiasts.
It is safe to assume that the World’s plants and animals do not have a concept of ownership. They do however have as much right to live, to exist. The rich do not own the planet and do not have the right to destroy it.
Unless you’re filthy rich, it’s unlikely whatever you do is going to make any noticeable difference. It is the rich who have superyachts and private jets. It is the rich who fly abroad for meals. It is the rich who travel with entourages. It is the rich that own private islands.
There is an exception – a secondary lesser class of human that is climate-dirty: those who travel a great deal especially those that commute by airplane. People who fly regularly are climate-dirty.
A wider issue: the rich are in charge. Wars are conducted at their behest and for their benefit. The whole bullshit narrative of terrorism and consequent anti-Muslim racism is for them. It is their bullshit narrative to divide and control, to weild their influence. There is one main nation-state behind terrorist attacks, often aided by another one or two nation-states with police and intelligence agencies playing along with it, turning a blind eye. Terrorist attacks are often timed for political objectives of no advantage to Islamists. You have to be really stupid to believe that a disabled old man could achieve so much from a cave in Afghanistan and that it didn’t provide the excuse for yet another war for the dirty black stuff.
edit: I am aware that I have power and influence which I tend to regard as transitory and temporary. The climate emergency is a big deal and I am laying the blame exactly where it belongs.
later: I need to write about corporate climate destruction while this post is about lifestyle climate destruction. Corporate solar exploration appears particularly futile and climate destructive. Trips to outer space for the rich? ed: It’s space tourism for the rich to further destroy the planet.
Just checking in. Brexit poll a week from today looks bad news if the opinion polls are accurate. Nigel “No more Mr. Nice Guy” Farage’s party of bigots and climate change enthusiasts may do well. Unfortunately he has the support of a lot of angry, misguided people who somehow genuinely believe that Brexit is in their interests. He plans to try yet again to join the “Westminster elite” which he condemns after seven failed attempts. There are many unanswered questions about Farage dealings, Trump (and the Clinton emails), Assange, Cambridge Analytica, Arron Banks, the dodgy Brexit campaign donation funnelled through Arron Banks’ dodgy offshore company …
After years of ministers pretending otherwise, Amber Rudd, the DWP secretary, now admits universal credit’s introduction has left people so short of cash that they have resorted to food banks. What Iain Duncan Smith hailed in 2011 as a transformation of welfare has turned into something grotesque, with massive delays and huge flaws both of administration and design, repeatedly damned by MP select committees. The independent National Audit Office judges that universal credit has neither saved public money nor helped people into work. But it has left thousands of vulnerable claimants penniless, while others starve and even lose their homes. In a House of Commons debate last summer the London Labour MP Catherine West recounted how one of her constituents had “fallen off benefits” and ended up “sleeping in a tent in a bin chamber” on a housing estate.
Such are the horrors whose very documentation by journalists the DWP letter dismisses as “unfair”. Rather than halt universal credit, as demanded by so many groups, the department’s managers now say they will respond “in a different way … very different to anything we’ve done before”.
What follows is an elaborate media strategy to manufacture a Whitehall fantasy, one in which the benefits system is running like a dream while a Conservative government generously helps people on the escalator to prosperity. It begins at the end of this month with a giant advert wrapped around the cover of the Metro newspaper; inside will be a further four-page advertorial feature. This will “myth-bust the common inaccuracies reported on UC”. What’s more, “the features won’t look or feel like DWP or UC – you won’t see our branding … We want to grab the readers’ attention and make them wonder who has done this ‘UC uncovered’ investigation.”
Not only is this a costly exercise, with a Metro wraparound going for a headline rate of £250,000 (of your money, let’s not forget), but the Advertising Standards Authority will doubtless be interested in that description of the feature. Its guidelines stipulate that“marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications”
Under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) the state – probably the Home Secretary – could make secret orders which could never be revealed. That sounds familiar somehow. RIPA has since been replaced by the Investigatory Powers Act but I’m sure that similar laws still exist. It’s a way for the state to attack people while hiding. A hypothetical example – the state could interfere in a political activist’s affairs e.g. frustrating complaints, actually denying the activist’s human rights so that the activist would be consumed with pressing more personal issues and thereby distracted from the bigger political issues. People tend to change their jobs and move away in my experience. Isn’t that the obvious thing to do if you’ve been prevented from doing your job and prevented from discussing it with anyone under threat of imprisonment? I think that the way to deal with this nonsense is to carry on regardless so that many more people become aware of these actions against democracy (even if they can’t discuss it with anyone).