All I want for Christmas is Climate Action!

Here, more or less is what I said at the Sustainable Hackney Climate Action last Saturday, 10 December, All I want for Christmas is Climate Action!

 

Merry Christmas, everyone!  On behalf of Sustainable Hackney, welcome to our climate action. Thank you to Campaign Against Climate Action, Frack Free London, Divest Hackney, Hackney People’s Assembly, Hackney Trades Council and       Hackney Unison Local Government Branch for supporting this action.

And thank you Richard Payne for leading the organisation of today’s event on behalf of Sustainable Hackney’s Steering Group.

But most of all I want to thank each and every one of you for giving up your time and coming here today to make your voice heard.  Today, we are protesting against the large organisations for their abject failure to ACT on climate change

  • AGAINST the Government

    • for licensing fracking

    • for continuing to subsidise fossil fuels

    • for withdrawing support for renewables

    • for their decision to expand air capacity in London

    • for one wrong move after another on the environment.

       

  • AGAINST Barclays for their investments in fossil fuels and armaments

     

  • And we’re keeping the pressure on Hackney Council to move faster on divestment of the pension scheme.

     

Our other speakers will talk more about these issues.

We can also celebrate today because Tina Rothery, probably the most famous of the Nanas against fracking, is NOT in prison, is NOT being pursued for costs and charges because the judge saw sense, and DROPPED ALL CHARGES AGAINST HER.  Tina is a most effective and vociferous campaigner against fracking and we salute her.

 

Let’s make no mistake about this, EVERY individual matters when it comes to taking action.  So I want to salute each and every one of you for coming here and taking action today.  Let’s spend just a few moments thinking about ALL you are doing by being here today.  Yes, you are calling on large organisations to change their behaviour, invest in renewables, stop selling weapons and prepare for a safe and sound future.  As it says on the gateway of St Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington:  ‘You don’t make peace by planning for war’.

 

YOU ARE ALSO

  • Exercising your democratic right to protest: ALWAYS important to keep those rights fit and healthy but especially important when they are being restricted in the name of fighting terrorism.

  • You are out and about meeting people, talking to them and supporting organisations local, regional and national that are fighting for a future that works.  So you are also making our community more resilient

  • And while you are out and about, you are keeping fit and healthy AND you turned the heating off at home while you are out so you are saving energy and cutting down the CO2 as well!

 

So you’ve achieved a lot today BUT I’m asking you to do more. We need to strengthen our communities and organisations even more – much more:

So FIRST today I invite you to join Sustainable Hackney.  We are a network of people and organisations supporting each other campaigning for urgent action to make the way we live and work more sustainable and for a community, NOT CORPORATE approach to reorganising our living space, our work space, our city.  There are membership forms over on the table over there, if you can afford £12 for the year, £5 concessions that would be great, but this is voluntary if you can’t afford it, we don’t want money to get in the way of you joining. 

The other organisations here today also need support to grow bigger and stronger and you can find out more about them at the table too.

SECONDLY, if you are not in a union, join the appropriate one for your work or your pension.  This is our community at work.  We need it to be stronger too.  If there is no union organised in your workplace, then join Unite or their sister union for the unemployed, Community. Why?  Because under Len McClusky, Unite has been a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he stands for.  Len is standing down so he can get a full five year term to help take forward the new economic, social and environmental policies in the Labour Party.  Join before Christmas – go home and do it today. Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents in the Labour Party, those who support neoliberal economics, have already called for their supporters to join to defeat Len McClusky.  Don’t let them win!

We have work to do in the unions as well.  We need to show the way to new low-carbon jobs so that the nuclear power and nuclear weapons workers, those in the oil and gas industry and those who see opportunities for new jobs in fracking, who fear the unemployment and devastation the mining communities suffered when Thatcher closed the mines, can see a way forward to secure skilled jobs in a clean energy sector and peaceful world.

THIRD: many of us will be seeing friends and family over the holiday here in London but also many of us will be going out of London into different communities. So let’s talk to them, tell them why we are so clear that the way forward is to support Jeremy Corbyn and the new policies he stands for.   He is opposing the neoliberal corporate policies that have gripped our economies and societies since 1980, that have privatised our public services, destroyed our welfare state, that have increased inequality to the point where the richest 1% of the world’s population own as much as the other 99% of us put together, To the point where even in this country, the sixth richest economy in the world, 40% of people live on or below the poverty line.  He is opposing the system that has

  • failed to act on climate change, even denies the evidence.

  • The system that has diminished our governments, failed to pay their taxes, destroys our planet because they want NOTHING standing in the way of their profits.

  • And that keeps us fighting wars to create permanent upheaval and keep us in fear and divided from each other SO WE DO NOT UNITE AGAINST THEM.

This fear and insecurity is where the increase in racism and hate crime is coming from.  Driven of course by the media that the very same rich and powerful own.  It is how Trump can express such a scurrilous attitude towards women too. Why he denies climate change and loves fracking.  We oppose neoliberal policies because they have failed. They brought us the financial crises, wars and terrorism, deepening and destructive inequality, poverty, food banks, make the poorest pay for their casino zombie economy failures and sanction them on top.

This unfettered corporate drive for profit and the vested interests is why Corbyn is under such attack.  Just as this corporate agenda is reaching fruition and the last of our welfare state is being destroyed, Corbyn inspired people to come together in larger numbers than ever before in the Labour Party and shows we can fight back bigger and better and stronger than in the past.  That is why he is under such vicious attack. In my view, they say he can’t win, precisely because they are afraid he can.

But there is a lot of work to do.  WE NEED TO BE CLEAR WITH EVERYONE TOO WHAT WE WILL DO INSTEAD IF WE ARE TO GET THE MESSAGE PAST THE UTTERLY BIASED MEDIA.  And we need to be clear with people, this is not just about Corbyn, it is about the new policies he, his team and all the new and returning members of the Labour Party stand for:

  • For the £500 billion of investment over 10 years to create the environmentally sound infrastructure and jobs of the future

  • For the ban on fracking we sorely need

  • For the council homes that we need

  • To deal with the fact that only 1 in 40 jobs is a “proper” job with the security, decent pay and conditions we deserve at work

  • To end the privatisation of the NHS and the fragmentation of services and increasing waiting lists it has brought

  • To integrate health and social care

  • To rebuild public services

  • To recreate and improve our democracy

  • To tackle inequality, create a more equal society, where domestic and street violence has no place

  • And to support conflict resolution instead of bombing other countries.

You might guess from what I have been saying that I am one of the returning members of the Labour Party.  Sustainable Hackney and the other campaigns here today are non-party political but these are the policies that will bring about the economic, environmental and social justice we seek.  And the vast majority of people from the centre to the left, those that oppose austerity economics, those that want action on the climate and environment, think that Jeremy and the policies he stands for are the best there is around.  If we fail to pursue these now, it will be another generation before we have a similar opportunity. So please get out there and talk to anybody and everybody!

There’s one other thing I would like you to do this weekend.  And I will finish after this.

Mayor Khan has a document out for consultation on how our city should develop under his leadership. It’s called “A City for all Londoners”.  But it will not make London a city for ALL Londoners. It is business as usual for the corporations and developers for those taking control of our neighbourhoods, creating housing unaffordable to us and driving out jobs.

Please go on line and write just a sentence or two at http://talklondon.london.gov.uk/blogs/talk-london-team/city-all-londoners.  Say, there is not a shred of evidence that Mayor Khan and his officers have even heard of the eco-city model that has been developing over the last 30 years. And that that is what we want.   And secondly, that we want the Mayor to organise meaningful consultation on this that creates a REAL opportunity for us to participate.  You can just write comments straight into the website – BUT THE CLOSING DATE IS TOMORROW.  Sustainable Hackney’s response will be on our website later tomorrow.

Thank you once again everyone.    Merry Christmas!

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