John Harris succinctly sums up the fears that have plagued our lives in Britain (Britain is already sick of profound ill – what happens when zero growth bites?, June 12). But is it really true that one cannot tell optimistic stories about the future, as they claim?
I am sure that progressive people in England – those who vote Green Democrats, Labor or Liberals – can agree fairly easily on what needs to be done. green growth strategies to combat climate change; wealth taxes to stem rising inequalities; investments in public services; corporate governance reform to combat junk capitalism; and constitutional changes such as electoral reform and the transformation of the House of Lords to bring the country into the twenty-first century.
In France, the left has just managed to unite through its new alliance, the Nupes Ecological and Social Union, to form a united front against Emmanuel Macron in the general election. Is it really too much to hope that our center-left political parties won’t be able to do something similar? This will be the first step towards a new story about our future.
What partisan politics lacks is a coherent, plausible, and reasonably optimistic story about the future, writes John Harris. genuinely? Well, maybe if “party politics” were to be limited to the Labor Party and the Conservatives. Millions of people are either out of work or in low-paying, often unproductive jobs while the essential work of greening the economy is undone and the money to be paid to do so goes to the directors and shareholders of fossil fuel companies, Amazon and Co. , goes to city banks to name a few.
The Green Party has repeatedly shown that such investments will not only improve the country, but also save money. But a strange paralysis afflicts gray politicians. It’s as if we’re in a wagon rushing down a cliff while everyone around the driver covers their eyes and refuses to turn the wheel.
John Harris’s frustrated essay contrasted with his return from a week on the Ligurian coast in northern Italy. Independent stores and cafes flourished, free from competition from out-of-town shopping malls. The streets were beautifully maintained, the traffic calmed and the frequent modern trains overcrowded. We did not see any beggars or sleeping in a severe condition. Of course, the climate helps, and so do local authorities who still have the strength and resources to look after and invest in the public sector.
Dr. Nicholas Falk
John Harris diagnosed the disease that afflicted Britain, but a short-term cure is unlikely. There are three ways in which this can be dealt with. First, by creating a new economic model that eschews traditional consumerism and unsustainable perpetual growth, and also creates a means by which all contributions to society, whether paid or not, are included and valued. Second, by tackling climate change and environmental collapse with actions much faster and deeper than those currently under consideration, Britain could become a global leader, not a complacent. Third, by introducing proportional representation. I just wish I was more optimistic.