Labour’s nature deficit

photoWhenever I am feeling a bit out of sorts with the Labour party I read the words on the back of my membership card which says ‘by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone’. I believe that stuff.

The trouble is, when it comes to environmental issues, I am struggling to find ‘common endeavour’ with Labour as it doesn’t seem to care very much about rural places or wildlife issues.

Now that the Labour manifesto is out we can all see how little Labour has to offer to those like me who want fairness in our society, and sustainability on our planet.

There are, of course, some good things, such as:

  • We will put climate change at the heart of our foreign policy.
  • …at  the UNFCC conference in Paris, in December. We will make the case for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the below two degree goal.
  • We will build on our strong record on animal welfare – starting with an end to the Government’s ineffective and cruel badger cull.
  • We want to create a world-leading Food, Farm and Fisheries sector that creates
    better paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy
  • Labour has always believed that everyone should have access to nature,
    whoever they are, or wherever they live. So we will keep our forests in public
    ownership, and promote access to green spaces in local planning
  • We feel passionately about our local landscapes, our open spaces and wildlife
  • We will support the work of the Natural Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green space

..but the problem is that these look a bit like box-ticking exercises and have no substance behind them. For example, instead of bumping off badgers, what would a Labour government do to deal with the real issue of bovine TB?  And what would a Labour government do with our forests when it doesn’t sell them off?  Labour ‘feels passionately about wildlife’ sounds a bit like a politician coming out with their favourite group or football team because they think it might sound good.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ll be voting Labour in the marginal seat of Corby because a) my MP (although currently, of course, he is an ex-MP) Andy Sawford is a thoroughly good bloke who is a fine constituency MP and will make a good minister if the votes fall the right way on 7 May,  b) because there is more to voting than the environment, high though that is in my priorities,  c) I really don’t want a Conservative MP thank you very much, although Louise Mensch was good value for an argument and d) because experuience shows that Labour never sounds very convincing on the natural world but makes a pretty decent fist of it when in government. And so, the Vote Labour posters are already up in my windows.

Well, I have a few hundred Labour leaflets to deliver – I wish Labour’s manifesto had put a spring in my step but I’d be lying if I said that it had.


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6 Replies to “Labour’s nature deficit”

  1. Corby isn't that marginal, Mark, unless the UKIP vote slumps and they all go Tory. Better in the long run to vote what you positively believe in (I'm guessing there is a Green candidate), and not just the least bad option, surely?

  2. I agree with Jamie - vote Green. Labour are backing HS2 which is atrocious for the environment


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