Opinion

I'm guessing that anyone with a Green bone in their body is disappointed/sickened/enraged by the announcement today that plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been given the go ahead by the British Government.

This announcement exposes in a very brutal and visible way that the current British government has no regard for the environment and probably doesn't understand (or possible care) about the long term impact that such a decision will have.

They have fallen into the old, old right wing trap of putting profit (what they would call something along the lines of 'for the sake of the economy') over the social well-being and environment consequences of such a decision.

It now looks like the campaigning and protesting will need to continue before the government will have no choice but to back down over this issue. As the report on the BBC website mentions (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7829676.stm) this is not something that can happen over night (in the sidebar called 'What Happens Next?' in the BBC report it speculates that it would be 2019 (ie. 10 years) before the runway would be ready. 10 years is a long time, so you never know what might change in that time).

The Green Party have release a statement regarding this at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/heathrow-go-ahead-ignorance-and-stupid...

I've just been reading an article of the Green Party website called 'We need a Green New Deal, not a Brown New Deal' and I think I have an answer to one of the questions raised from it.

The article mentions the fact that investment in what it calls a 'real Green economic package' (what the party calls the 'Green New Deal') could generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and the tone of the article suggests that the Green party are puzzled by why the government doesn't appear to be doing much towards creating these new jobs.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but a big part of the 'New Labour' ideology appears to be to put as much business in the hands of private companies as possible and the focus of most private companies is to make as much profit as possible (not, alas, to provide a service to their customers these days!). Therefore the easiest way for a private company to maximize their profits is to keep their work force to an absolute minimum as wages make up a large part of any company's outgoings. So whilst the idea of the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in one respect is a very positive thing, what goes with that is hundreds of thousands of wages that need to be paid out and it is this that is likely to be unattractive to the current Government.

What can be done to try and change this very narrow minded and short term attitude, I don't know (a change to a Conservative government is not likely to change this kind of thinking within the UK political system), but I think this is the root problem with current government thinking.

More information about the Green New Deal can be found in the PDF document at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/reports/Budget_for_a_Green_New... (a link I found at http://www.carolinelucas.com/?q=node/67)

With the ongoing conflict in the Gaza strip, it appears that the USA at least, seem prepared to sit back and let Israel carry on with this atrocity without any criticism of what they are doing.

This is not the first time in recent history that Israel has been allowed by the international community to indulge in apparently illegal activities without any repercussions. One recent previous example of this was when they invaded Lebanon back in 2006, oh and there is the small case of illegal possession of nuclear weapons as well

The question that never seems to be asked is why the international community, particularly the USA and Western European nations, seem reluctant to condemn these types of actions and seem unwilling to do anything about them, yet are prepared to call Iran evil and invade Iraq when there actions have far less of an impact than what Israel gets up to.

Don't get me wrong, I know that from a Christian point of view Israel has a very significant part to do with Christian history, put we are called to condemn evil regardless of who happens to be doing it and not to give a country like Israel a free pass just because of their history.

One of the things that really irritates me in our society at the moment is the use of alternative phrases to make something sound different (in most cases better) that what it really is.

An obvious example of this in the UK at the moment is the expression "Credit Crunch". This is being banded around in the media as an alternative for the word recession because it doesn't make the situation sound as bad as calling it a recession.

I've just seen another one in a press release on the Green Party website at http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2008-12-18-LibDemRoadOutofRecession.html. The phrase used is "tax avoidance". Sorry, last time I looked this was called tax evasion, a nasty thing that is worse that benefit fraud but something that the government does not seem to be doing much about, as opposed to the excessive amount of resources that they put it to "cracking down" on benefit fraud.

Still, the press release is saying that something should be done about this, but I wish they would call it what it is.

Anyway - Rant Over :-)

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