It was suggested by Perth Business Gateway to rewrite the 2001 proposal to use the Millennium Dome as a global environmental management centre, this time relevant for Scotland in 2006. The outline executive summary, Scotland:The World's First Ecological Superpower, was produced. The next stage is to implement it, what do you think?

Friday, 23 February 2007

Michael Meacher Labour Leadership: 10 Nil

Having given an early assessment on David Miliband, Miliband v Brown: Just What is it? and his potential bid for the Labour leadership up pops Michael Meacher for a crack at the title.

The only time I have seen Meacher speak in person was at the Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House a few years back when he was still Minister for the Environment, he was part of a panel discussing the UKs follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. Due to a defeat in the Lords over a Foot and Mouth connected matter, Meacher was delayed in Downing Street and the meeting had to start without him.

About 25 minutes late Meacher arrived took his place on the panel and jumped straight in. Without notes or any briefing he was a man at the top of his game and with the command of his subject. Without any notes he was able to comment on the debate he had missed when asked and was completely fluent in any question or topic presented. To say he was impressive would be an understatement.

It was noticeable that when he was later sacked from his Ministerial post there was a current of disenchantment with the decision from within the environmental movement.

Just hearing the news that Meacher was to stand against Gordon Brown was interesting. In any leadership contest with a general move of the agenda putting environment at the centre Meacher would have to be strong influence.

So what of Meacher’s bid. Well his knowledge of the environment is impressive, certainly it would be an environmentally and ecologically better world with Meacher having more control in that area. Nationalisation of the railways? Well personally having been brought in from the ‘outside’ and given a team to set up the site of one of the biggest civil engineering projects in Europe for Network Rail, I suffered from severe culture shock.

There are many things not right with the set-up. These seem to stem from it’s genotype at the birth of Railtrack. The way it’s legal and commercial frame work was constructed has very little to do with efficient delivery of projects and more to do with other agendas. Working within the organisation is a conflict between common sense and institutionalised stupidity. Throwing in a word like nationalisation does not address the situation and more likely to distance people away from the idea of creating a better rail system.

£7.00 minimum wage, well were is this going to come from? OK I can see a situation if somebody is being paid the £5.00 plus while working for a firm paying the massive bonuses in the city or for a supermarket making £ billions in profits. The money is there it is just not being distributed equitably. What about the small corner shop existing on tight margins that has to open 16 hours a day just to survive. They might need to have someone there all the time. Pushing up a wage bill by £2.00 an hour with the extra NI is an extra £225 a week on top of the existing overheads. That is a lot of money. They close, instead of walking to the local shop people drive to the supermarket. A local job lost , you are feeding your climate change inferno and removing a community resource.

So what is all this left of centre politics, just moving side to side on the old political spectrum. If you were making a bid couldn’t you have produced something more imaginative and relevant to the present and future political landscape. I admit you know more than Miliband on the environment, but at least he’s got ‘bold labour not old Labour’.

Don’t try and hide it, I read your 911 conspiracy theory. I have lots of questions about it, at the moment I am on the hypothesis (not yet a theory) that the terrorists (if we are allowed to call them that) got lucky, very lucky. So lucky there may well be some other explanation for it. Having said that I still don’t buy your theories yet. That takes more organisation and opportunities for things going wrong or the plot to be uncovered than the simple, terrorist hijack planes and fly them into buildings.
Michael Meacher has fantastic, awesome and impressive knowledge and insights into the global ecological and environmental challenges. He just seems to keep his intellect in separate little boxes and does allow the connections between them to be made to present a workable whole challenge. Michael Meacher’s political brain is it's own political football match, Environment 10 The Rest 0.

Meacher’s involvement in the leadership adds interest and could be of benefit as he could stir up the environment agenda, but his overall presentation is so disconnected you could drive a bus from a public transport policy through it.

Besides when I wrote to him, despite his PA (Monica) saying he would reply, he didn’t.

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