Friday, February 15, 2008

Caroline Lucas: key note speech

Caroline Lucas made her key note speech this morning in her capacity as Female Principal Speaker. Once again she made a real barnstormer (My thoughts on Caroline's key note speech in 2006) - she even received a standing ovation, which is by no means usual, Green Party members being agreeably grumpy most of the time.

Caroline spoke directly after Sian Berry (the Green London Mayoral candidate) who gave an excellent, short speech about her campaign. I've noticed she's become much sharper over the couple of years since I first came across her. Her speaking voice is more confident and her manner has become more refined, obviously the campaign trail has done her good. I'm hoping to catch a few moments with her over the next couple of days so there may be an interview in the offing.

Caroline started her speech on the topic of non-violent direct action and the willingness of those in the movement to throw themselves into the gears risking physical harm and arrest for what they believe in. She of course has a bit of a history in this area herself, although her focus was on examples from round the country of those who'd been willing to come into (non-violent) confrontation with the law.

She denounced the idea of "politics without purpose", the politics of the three mainstream parties whose goals and principles simply revolve around keeping power. This self perpetuating governing class who can change their "core policies" simply according to how they think they need to appear.

Obviously she talked about the environment, nuclear power and nuclear weapons. she also referenced the great anti-war march whose fifth anniversary is coming up where it was demonstrated just how unable the people of this country are to influence the direction of government.

After discussing the need for a "green energy revolution" she asked who was capable of carrying this through. The so called opposition parties, whose policies change with the political winds? Everywhere there have been Greens elected to political position we have been able to affect real change - and if the "opposition" parties wont do it - then they should get out of the way and let the alternatives get on with the job!

How are any of the main three "grey" parties going to deal with the triple threat of climate change, peak oil and global economic recession? Free trade, the free market simply will not cut it when dealing with thresre fundamental issues that we will all have to face.

When raising bio-fuels she said that "it's an obscenity to prioritise food to feed our cars over food to feed the hungry." We need to begin to "live lightly" organising society and our personal lives in such a way that we can eliminate the need for the heavy load of carbon emisions we currently produce.

The grey politicians are out of their depth and it's only wth a real, radical alternative can we begin to tackle these global problems that cannot be simply focus grouped and PR'ed away.

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