The following is submitted by Tim P as a contribution towards developing the Workers Party policy position on Green affairs.
What is your position on ULEZ and other measures designed to reduce car use and air pollution?
We support measures to reduce all forms of pollution – industrial and waste-related as well as air pollution on major roads – but we have to recognise that headline-grabbing top-down measures by the wealthy that add to the costs of working-class households and small businesses are not the way forward. For nearly a century, we have become an economy centred on road transport and the car and the transition to a new economy requires major advance investment in public transport and the infrastructure for cheap electric vehicles before penalising the working class because it has been trapped into the fossil fuel economy by the market. ULEZ is just elite bullying of the population in the belief that the market can be used to achieve ends better achieved through long term planning and major investment in infrastructure. The wealthy can afford these measures, most of us cannot.
Do you support the transition to the Green Economy?
That is far too simplistic a way of the putting the question. The next industrial revolution is far more than just the Green Agenda. It involves the increased use of artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, possibly nanotechnology and many other emergent new technologies. It is a total process and in every preceding industrial revolution, the wealthy capitalist has seized opportunities by forced savings on the general population and justified terrible effects on working people as ultimate progress. We too are for progress but we do not think it has to be this way. We need to manage the next industrial revolution so that we can predict bad effects, put measures in to correct them and still go forward in a planned and rational way.
Put in this way, we do not oppose the process of creating a greener national economy but we see no necessity to be rushed by business-directed media propaganda into unplanned and disruptive policies at the expense of the population in terms of taxation and social disruption. If we take it a little more slowly with more respect for the risks of unplanned market-driven change to the population, especially poor and working-class households, we will end up with a much more sustainable and fair final result. We consider climate change to be just one factor in making a society cohesive and resilience, that we should not be seduced into a collective hysteria by the media, apocalyptic intellectuals and business interests and that we should move towards the next stage of social evolution as one inclusive society based on fairness and equality in both the sharing of the costs and benefits of change.
Would you tax heavily to invest in the next industrial revolution?
There is no necessity for oppressive taxation but only for fair taxation set against the benefits to the population at large. The market can deal with product and servicing of product but the State should become active again in investing in infrastructure for a modern society – State ownership of rail, grid, water and sewage and possibly of internet structures (if equitable delivery of services is not guaranteed) as well as in social housing and the highest level of technological research inside our universities. A great deal of the cost can be offset by two basic policy approaches. The first is the renting out of the use of infrastructures according to socially prescribed standards and the second is the redistribution of currently wasted funds on foreign adventurism, defence that serves no immediate national purpose, cultural engineering and direct and indirect subsidies to business interests.
So, you are in favour of nationalisation?
We are not afraid to bring back nationalisation to the national agenda and face off the international investor community as a sovereign democratic State, our priority is not a country of total state control of the economy, nationalised chip shops and state run barbers. We must not be blind to our history and the successes elsewhere if we are to prosper. A British version of what proved so successful for the East Asian economies – Government engagement in planning and infrastructure and setting standards for the redistribution of power and resources (in our case, to working class households) but permitting a wide range of socially responsible market solutions to public needs and desires is eminently desirable and realisable. Specifically we want greater control over the credit system to ensure financial and economic stability as well as support redistributive strategies, community ownership of key service utilities and transport infrastructures and State engagement in energy and food security.
Would you continue to accept use of fossil fuels?
Yes, absolutely, as an interim measure as we move to a future planned economy (albeit restricted to social cohesion, food and energy security and fair and equitable services supply). We do not accept the necessity of Net Zero targets but only of a general intent to participate fully in the coming industrial revolution in all its facets in the interests of the whole population with an eye especially to the needs of the working class during the transition. We simply do not accept the media-driven business of government by posturing targets in any sphere of life. The reality is that events in China and India, then Africa and the BRICS will dictate terms to the environment. We are risking the pauperisation of our own people to undertake policies that will have minimal effect on climatic conditions and only enrich the few at the expense of the many.
Do you believe that climate change is taking place?
Climate change is constantly taking place and has done for thousands of years. We both follow the science when it is clear but understand just how much science can be socially constructed in a society dominated by the interests of Profit and not People, which is proven in the historical record. After all, for a hundred years, Darwin was misused as ‘science’ to promote a racial politics that is now seen as not only cruel but as thoroughly wrong. We keep an open mind but place the really existing conditions of the working class now and in the future top of mind. That is why we exist as a political party. We know that we have media structures that live off hysterical speculation, university departments that become self-selectively ideological, business interests looking for the next fast profit and governments that will do anything to bamboozle the voters through fear and greed – none of these have the interests of the mass of the population at heart. We do.