23 Oct 2009
An ecosocialist MP for Blaneau Gwent?
Well there is one Member of Parliament pushing ecosocialist politics already Dai Davies, he stood as an independent and beat Labour in a by-election, excellent stuff, he is working with my friend Roy Wilkes on free public transport, I am looking forward to posting up more of his stuff.
Be great if Plaid and the Greens gave him a free run at the General Election...
In the past ten days big strides have been made towards a national campaign for free public transport.
I published a research paper some months ago making the case for the wide-scale introduction of free transport.
In areas like ours, where many of our valley communities and people find themselves isolated, the issue is very important.
If you can’t access work, shops, friends, hospitals, and other things which the better-off expect, then life can become very difficult.
The research led to various interviews including an hour-long debate on BBC radio Wales in which I called for free transport to be introduced across Wales.
A like-minded group in Greater Manchester then contacted me, and from that we have agreed to put the whole thing on a UK-wide footing.
At the heart of the UK campaign will be a major research project.
That research will be unveiled at a Conference next March in the House of Commons.
The aim is to get communities, organisations, trades unions, and others involved from all over the UK.
I’ve been asked to lead the campaign, and will chair that inaugural conference of the National Campaign for Free Public Transport for all.
The vice-chair is Roy Wilkes, who has chaired the campaign for free public transport in Greater Manchester.
The aim will be to produce a fully-costed and rigorous evidence-based case, which will address such issues as the social benefits (especially for less well-off communities).
It will also spell out the costs of the present over-dependence on cars, lorries, and profit-making buses and trains – in terms of the environment, pollution, transport gridlock, Co2 emissions, and other issues.
The overall aim is a fully integrated, publicly owned, and free at the point of use system.
This is an issue which every one of us needs to take seriously. Britain is grinding to a halt, we are churning-out climate-threatening levels of co2, many of our most deprived people and areas are isolated and unable to access vital services.
When people ask us ‘can we afford it’, my answer is it could cost us the earth of we don’t take action on this.
The aim of the national campaign is to put that case to everyone in Britain.