3 Jul 2006

Tim Beaumont, green left in parliament

Green Left now has about 70 active supporters and in the form of Lord
Beaumont one sympathiser in parliament,

Tim Beaumont has a long history of activism particularly around sexual
liberation and rights, obviously one of our strengths, and left the
Liberal
Democrats after a long membership because of their support for free
trade,
people criticise the Liberals but there is a green and socialist
tradition,
the young liberals of the 1970s were very radical and lets face it green
socialism has until very recently been absent on the British far left
and
marginal in the Labour Party. I believe he founded the Liberal Ecology
Group. Hilary Wainwright is another example of an ecosocialist (not I
regret in the Green Party) who is an ex member of the Liberals,

of course it would be great to get Donnachadh McCarthy, who seems to be some kind of green lifestyle supremo with his ecohouse in Peckham, surely he can't be very inspired by the Lib Dems pro-globalisation swing under Vincent Cable, former chief economist for an oil giant.

Any way that's enough being nice to radical liberals still in the lib dems!

The Green Party is looking towards a fully elected House of Lords,
essentially a second chamber and green MEP Caroline Lucas and activist
Peter
Tatchell support a republican agenda, in the meantime Tim is doing good
work
for us and Jenny Jones has been selected as our second member of the
House
if we get a shot.


Here is a green speech from Tim Beaumont

Lord Beaumont, of Whitely speaks about his views

We are determined to raise the country's awareness of Green issues and particularly those that threaten the very existence of what we laughingly describe as civilisation on this planet.

We believe that it is impossible to go on pursuing quantitative Economic Growth. We live on a finite planet, whose physical resources and tolerance of pollution is limited and whose very future is in doubt. Writing this in a month when the rich nations of the world, meeting at Nice, have failed to agree on even a mild programme for combating the global warming which is clearly placing enormous strains on the very survival of large sections of the World population. It is important to tackle this problem at every level of politics.

Encouraged by the support throughout the country which has given the grees two extraordinary able representatives in the European Parliament, three on the Greater London Assembly and several in the Scottish Parliament, we are confident that, given a fair electoral system, we could build representation at a national level to the point where it would actually change the course of events. Belonging to a religion which started institutionally with eleven demoralised men and living as I do in the parish where a few evangelical Christians ended the slave trade, I am not put off by an initial lack of numbers.

An important plank in our programme is obviously the achievement of such Electoral Reform as will allow small but important strands of public opinion such as ours to achieve a platform and grow. We clearly see this as particularly important in a situation where the two largest political parties are becoming less and less differentiated. Back in the seventies when I was running the Liberal Party's General Election strategy, we had a very good advertising campaign which some of you may remember. Our slogan was 'Which Twin is the Tory?' illustrated by the feature of Wilson and Heath sliding into each other. It would be more difficult now to make the features of Blair and Hague coalesce but no skill at all to demonstrate that, writing in a week when a Labour Government has passed legislation privatising air traffic control, their social and economic policies are increasingly difficult to separate.

I find myself, as the sole representative of the Green Party at Westminster, speaking across a wide range of subjects but in the forefront of my interests is agriculture. I believe that unless we defend the interests and way of life of the family farmer, our countryside is under serious threat and our security as a nation is threatened. We have operated for the last few years on the principle that the only thing that matters in feeding our population is to keep prices down. As a result of this our farmers are going broke and their suicide rate is the highest in the country while on the other side of the coin, the food we eat is increasingly shipped in from all parts of the world by air in non-taxpaying ozone-destroying aircraft from countries where immense quantities of damaging pesticides are administered by farmworkers paid appallingly low wages. If to stop this we have to change the rules of the General Agreement on Tariff's and Trade and the World Trade Organisation, we must do so and if we cannot do so then we must opt out of these bodies and protect our own ability and that of Third World nations to feed ourselves with healthy food, produced without cruelty to animals. We did it once in my lifetime and we can do it again.

Again, in the field of energy we must invest heavily in renewable resources. Did we destroy the Durham pits merely in order to put ourselves in hock to international investors who may be good for our racing industry but for precious little else, certainly not Democracy?

And who denies that in the interests of reducing global warming, we have not to reduce the use of the private car and the long distance lorry by providing adequate public transport and good train services? Again, looking round today, I am clear that no good has come out of privatisation in this field at least.

When I get into the pulpit these days, as I did this morning, I find it more and more difficult to keep away from the text, 'You cannot serve God and Mammon.' When I rise to my feet in the House of Lords I slightly tailor the quotation for a multi-faith society but the message is the same. And in both situations I am tempted to quote Lord Lindsay of Birker:

I am unjust, but I can strive for justice.

My life's unkind but I can vote for kindness.

I, the unloving, say life should be lovely;

I that am blind, cry out against my blindness

. Come, let us vote against our human nature,

Crying to God in all the polling places

To heal our everlasting sinfulness,

And make us sages with transfigured faces.

Tim Beaumont is a retired Anglican priest in the Diocese of Southwark, who was created a Liberal Life Peer in 1968 (as Lord Beaumont of Whitely) .

Tim Beaumont 2001

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