Politics, they say, is the art of the possible. But the possible is not fixed. What we believe is possible depends on our knowledge and beliefs about the world. Ideas can change the world, and Green House is about challenging the ideas that have created the world we live in now, and offering positive alternatives.
The problems we face are systemic, and so the changes we need to make are complex and interconnected. Many of the critical analyses and policy prescriptions that will be part of the new paradigm are already out there. Our aim is to communicate them more clearly, and more widely.
A 'PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE' FOR THE UK GENERAL ELECTION ON 8 JUNE?
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the UK general election, and the immediate follow-up from the Green Party's co-leaders calling for an ‘electoral pact’ with Labour and the Lib Dems, Green House publishes an analysis of what such a pact could or should mean. Sara Parkin, a former Leader of the Green Party who tried to negotiate just such a pact with the Labour Party in 1989, argues that a broad Progressive Alliance is needed to make our ailing democracy fit for the big environmental and social challenges coming down the line. Read ‘Progressive Politics: What is it, What is it for, and How do we get it?’ here.
FACING UP TO CLIMATE REALITY
Green House is pleased to announce the launch of a new major project. This project will address the widening chasm between climate science and climate policy, the reasons for it, and how to bridge it. Its starting point is that the time for false hope is past, and only courageous realism will enable us to respond adequately to now inevitable and impending serious climate damage. This message – as we have found already when expressing it in public – can be cathartic, leading to a realistic assessment of future needs and prospects and avoiding the despair and paralysis that result from the collapse of a fragile or shallow optimism. The premise and shape of the project are set out in an introductory essay available here. We have already recruited some highly-respected contributors and funding partners to join us on this ambitious project, and we will be seeking to involve others as it develops.
BREXIT AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GREEN TRANSITION
The UK Referendum vote to leave the EU will have profound consequences for environmental, social and economic policy not only in the UK but in Europe as well, where that decision calls into question a number of assumptions about the nature and direction of the European project. Green House is coordinating a major international project on ‘The potential impact of Brexit on the prospects for a green transition in Europe’, funded by the Green European Foundation and involving six countries: France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and the UK. The project will feature events and publications in all participating countries, and will culminate in a major international conference in London in November. Details of individual events and publications will be made available here .
Linked to this project, we are pleased to announce the launch of a report written by Green House authors Victor Anderson and Rupert Read for Green MEP Molly Scott Cato entitled ‘Brexit and Trade: Moving from Globalisation to Self-Reliance?’. The launch was held at Europe House in central London on Tuesday 28 March. Copies of the report are available here.
A GREEN TRANSITION FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT
Moving from Europe to a small island economy (and we don't mean the UK), we have published a new Report on the economics of transition at the local level. ‘A Green Transition for the Isle of Wight’, by Jonathan Essex and Peter Sims, develops a mathematical model for calculating the potential for new job creation in a green transition at the local level. It can be downloaded for free here, or ordered in printed form from our 'Publications' pages. An event is planned for the public discussion of the report findings on the Isle of Wight on 16 June. More details will follow.
A CRITIQUE OF THE RSA'S 'INCLUSIVE GROWTH COMMISSION'
Our latest Green House 'Gas' is a response to the RSA’s high-profile ‘Inclusive Growth' project, and it argues that that project is fatally flawed by its failure to question the growth imperative and to recognise that ‘growth’ is often a substitute for redistribution – for genuine inclusion. You can download it here.
GREEN POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Widening the focus again, from the Isle of Wight to the global South, Peter Newell, Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex (and the latest recruit to Green House's Advisory Group) argues that we urgently need to bring Green politics to bear to chart a different model of development that provides real prosperity and well-being for all the planet’s inhabitants while placing sustainability centrally. This would be a radically different approach to development that addresses the root causes of under-development in growth mania, unregulated global business, militarism and worsening inequalities. To achieve this requires a progressive development politics that forges alliances with sympathetic governments and institutions and social movements and NGOs seeking to realise a vision of development as if both people and planet mattered.
This is intended to kick-start a bigger debate. To join in, download Green Politics and International Development here.
GREEN POLITICS AND THE LEFT
'Politics is the art of the possible,' to repeat the well-known quotation from Bismarck at the head of this page. He added to this definition '....the attainable - the art of the next best’ . For Greens today, politics has to be about more than ‘the next best’. Clearly, political goals have to be attainable, but what is considered attainable has for the last thirty years certainly not been either of the best or even the next best.
The election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party - a Labour leader ‘without historical precedent’ - offers a challenge to all those who oppose continuing inequality, climate change and the dominance of ‘Capital’. For Greens he offers a special opportunity - an opportunity to articulate and promote a progressive politics that is distinctly different from that of the Labour Party, and one which is more capable of successfully addressing the complex and interconnected problems of the 21st century.
Green Politics and the Left is a new form of intervention for Green House. It brings together in one downloadable pdf seven short essays by Green House members to explore and debate the new dynamics of Ecologism, Socialism, Democracy and Republicanism. Not everyone will agree with the authors here - indeed, the point of the exercise is to draw out and debate different perspectives on the new landscape - but democracy, and especially a Green democracy, is about deliberation, participation and informed debate. Isn't that what Jeremy Corbyn has brought to the Labour Party? Let's all join in!
‘Limits to growth’ comes to Westminster at last!
A report from the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth at the House of Commons by Green House Chair, Rupert Read
Growing is a dangerous business. A person over seven feet tall is at massive extra risk of having a heart attack. Imagine how it would be for them at eight feet tall. Or nine. Or…
Aren’t we always told that ‘the sky’s the limit’? That more growth is clearly better?
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