Author Archives: Simon Oliver

Are we in a fracking mess?

Over the past few weeks you could be forgiven for assuming that the party is in a bit of a mess on the fracking issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Scottish and Welsh devolved governments both had a moratorium on fracking on the basis of inherent risks in the technology, with unquantified dangers of seismic disturbance and pollution of water tables, as well as (still unaddressed) risks of waste material transport, treatment and disposal. Permitting planning authorities to reject fracking on these grounds is important. Both our Welsh and Scottish parties supported these moratoria. When a moratorium was debated at Westminster before the election, many of the 58 votes against were from the non-government Lib Dems.
However, as many have said, the evidence for these risks being unavoidable is weak. Fracking can be done safely, from a purely technical point of view. The massively over-interpreted RSE report said so.
Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 15 Comments

Protecting Nature From The Greed Of Tories

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Congratulations to the 11,000 new members of Britain’s greenest party

The post-election membership surge is an opportunity to renew and refocus our party. We can show off its core values, which have been seen recently only through the distorting glass of coalition policy. The Tories have held us back in the environmental arena more than others, so I want to make my pitch for all members, new and existing, to also consider joining the Green Liberal Democrats

The Green Liberal Democrats is the Associated Organisation I have been privileged to chair for the past couple of years.We exist to:

Ensure that the Liberal Democrats’ proud record of environmental leadership at all levels of government continues
Establish and develop links with the wider green movement
Inform and educate party activists, policymakers, candidates and elected representatives on environmental issues
Support individuals within the party who are advancing the agenda of environmental stewardship and generational justice

We’ve been around a while, as the Liberal Ecology Group founded in 1977 by the late Tony Beamish (pdf) and then the Green Liberal Democrats via a couple of more unweildy titles during the SDP merger.

Posted in Lib Dem organisations and News | Tagged | 15 Comments

Opinion: Britain’s Greenest Party, the Green Party and Environmentalism

Green Lib DemsThe Green Party, which I was a member of briefly in the late 80s, has hard left socialist roots and is widely considered both anti-capitalist and paradoxically authoritarian and localist. It has a wide range of policies, all of which take note of environmental concerns (which do not begin and end with climate change, any more than ours do) but only reference those concerns where necessary. Lately it has been adopting a less hard line approach and on many matters, such as human rights, is decidedly liberal.

However in many cases their authoritarian command economy habit overrides any nascent liberal instinct, and their antipathy to technological and/or market solutions means that they throw away over half the toolbox before they even start. Dogma comes before evidence, and articles of faith remain unchallenged and therefore unproven.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 108 Comments

Opinion: The Conflict Of Idealism And Pragmatism

For me, the most valuable parts of Conference were my discussions with a member of the Green Liberal Democrats Exec on her intense disappointment over the votes on nuclear energy, weapons and shale gas fracking.

We discussed the relative contribution of idealism and pragmatism within the party. Her disappointment stemmed from the perceived abandonment of ideals by the party, in that we should be moving firmly away from both fossil fuel extraction and the risks of nuclear energy.

I share those ideals, but I’m a little more pragmatic – some would say jaded. When going from A to Z, you can’t …

Posted in Op-eds | 8 Comments

Opinion: Rebalancing taxes – eliminating the carbon externality

What I term “The Carbon Externality” is that cost being borne by current and future society as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, being produced over the past century or so at a rate that exceeds the capacity of the planet to absorb them without perceptible harm.

Externality is an accounting/economics term for any cost that is borne by an external party, and therefore not part of the internal cost analysis. It is the fundamental flaw in Friedman economics and why those calling for small government are missing the point.

Government exists to account for and address externalities. Effective regulation of the market reduces or eliminates externalities so that the costs of doing business are increasingly borne by those who benefit from the business, in the form of reduced profits and higher end-user costs. Taxes are the principle mechanism for this.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Opinion: How the market will decide our energy future

Recently articles from both the TUC and CBI have bemoaned the burden of increasing energy costs on energy intensive businesses. Both organisations make the rather obvious error in thinking that a carbon price will inevitably drive the cost of energy upwards. In fact, the opposite is true. The stronger the price signal, the faster the market works to balance supply with demand.

The supply of fossil fuels is finite. Conventional oil has already peaked its supply (as admitted by the chief economist of the IEA) and tar sands and fracking are far too damaging to the environment to continue as …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 25 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 13th Dec - 8:43am
    @ Ed Shepherd "English voters will never accept Scottish party leaders". What a load of............. Jo Grimond, David Steel, Charlie Kennedy were all well thought...
  • User AvatarKrissi 13th Dec - 8:32am
    I see a lot of posts here saying that we should stop going on about the EU etc. My problem with this is that I...
  • User AvatarGraham Jeffs 13th Dec - 8:29am
    Let me try again, albeit slightly modified. Not a good national campaign because, among other things: a) The ‘Revoke’ commitment has gone down like a...
  • User AvatarEd Shepherd 13th Dec - 8:26am
    Other reasons for this election result being so bad for the LDP and other retainers: Young voters are not necessarily anti-racist Europhiles. I meet many...
  • User AvatarJohnm 13th Dec - 8:25am
    Oddly, I shan’t miss Dennis Skinner - what really did he ever achieve apart from sending aides into the House to book his favourite seat?...
  • User AvatarIan 13th Dec - 8:20am
    Reappointing the same campaign manager, after the fiasco of 2017, is just one of the many avoidable mistakes made on the administrative side of the...
Tue 7th Jan 2020