Friday, February 17, 2012

Job losses in Yorkshire - letter to Yorkshire Post

I write further to your article, ‘ Recession fears grow with wave of job cuts in region’ (8th Feb).  The loss of bank jobs is, of course,  very sad for the employees concerned, but unsurprising in the current climate of takeovers and megacorporate rule.   Ethical banks, on the other hand,  such as Triodos,  the Cooperative  Bank  and the Ecology Building Society in Baildon are doing very well.  More and more people are looking for ‘good’ banking.  Perhaps redundant bank staff could consider starting up or supporting  the growth of local credit unions which will deal transparently and fairly with local people’s money. 
Local authority cuts are due to misguided government policy which  results in cuts to services for the most vulnerable, as well as a reduction in tax receipts and spending – a lose lose situation.
 Regarding a traditional firm such as Oakworth,   no doubt they make good quality products which could be used to improve energy efficiency , such as double and secondary glazing.  A shame that they were trading with one major customer rather than lots of smaller clients.  All these job losses boil down to the need to start rebuilding relationships in communities instead of allowing ourselves to be run by  corporates and multinationals.  
Now the Bank of England has announced a new batch of quantitative easing (£50bn or so),  and the Green New Deal Group  is calling for such cash to be injected into a programme of green investment to support badly needed renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Rather than handing the money over to the banks, who then sit on it and refuse to lend, green QE would put money into the wider economy - creating thousands of new jobs, improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time.

Shan Oakes
Green Party (Hull and East Riding)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Turbines versus oil wells on the Wolds

I 've been asked by BBC Radio Humberside to discuss the issue of wind turbines – again  (we Greens get a little bit annoyed when we are asked only about environmental issues when we have the full range of economic and social policies).  Anyway, to get to the point -  East Yorks Council (ERYC) is wanting to make the Wolds an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) in order to stop wind farm applications there.  I find this incredible.  Not that I don’t think the Wolds are beautiful because I do.  It’s the fact that ERYC doesn’t want wind turbines, but they don’t mind oil drilling!  They have agreed to let a Canadian oil firm start exploratory drilling near Walkington!   It’s ironic because wind turbines harness free clean energy, and polls tell us that most people approve of them and  like how they look, whereas  oil is a fossil fuel (carbon laid down millions of years ago) which produces CO2 when burned, which  is responsible for  climate change  - which is killing 150,000 people a year (World Health Organisation).  How crazy is that?  Or don’t they/we mind because the people dying are a long way away ?