Tuesday, 20 August 2013

"Green MP Caroline Lucas: Growing a moustache was not self promotion"

From The Evening Standard:

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas today denied that she only grew a moustache as a protest and for the sake of “self promotion”.

Ms Lucas accepted she was “privileged” because as an MP she could sport facial hair in the House of Commons, but she argued it was also legitimate to demonstrate through “non-shaving direct action”.

Speaking on BBC News she said: “It’s not about self promotion. I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to talk about my moustache.”

The Brighton MP claimed many protesters sporting beards had tried to contact MPs about their decision not to shave but that the government was not taking notice.

"Do you think it would look better if I twirled it up at the ends?" she added.


DBC Reed said...

Stop taking the piss out of Caroline Lucas: she is four square behind renationalising the railways and tried a private members bill on LVT. She is part of the push back against the laissez faire revivalists who have convinced everybody that the private sector should be allowed to run everything by dint of bribing all homeowners with tax free house price increases.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, she it bang on the money in many respects - such as LVT. And possibly the railways (where the big challenge is to reduce the subsidies to the private sector monopolists).

But she is also dead wrong in others (in favour of punitive rates of income tax, against fracking and progress generally).

DBC Reed said...

The issue of railway renationalisation is part of the old case made for nationalising all natural monopolies where private sector competition can have no beneficial effect. So it is part and parcel of the LVT movement.(Even terrible old Tory Henry George favoured nationalising the American railway system.)Then, the problem with UK housing supply is that it is thoroughly privatised with massive supplies of cheap public money going in and a few new houses dribbling out.The Macmillanite heyday of 300k new houses a year resulted from local authorities paying private sector builders to throw up council houses (yet to Parker Morris standards).We need to get back to the idea of the mixed economy where the weaknesses of one part of the economy are addressed by its counterpart. Rail renationalisation is massively popular especially in true blue commuting constituencies. But the main parties can't support it because of some macho desire for the supposed toughness of laissez faire privatisation.
Lucas has stood out against all this and should not be accused of mere attention seeking.

Bayard said...

Just because the Tories privatised the railways in such a crap fashion doesn't mean necessarily that re-nationalising them is a good idea, especially now, when the idea of public service has largely disappeared from the public sector, at least in the upper echelons. All you would do is swap the current problem of too much subsidy flowing into private pockets for the previous problem of the railways becoming a political football and subject to the arbitrary funding decisions of politicians, plus the removal of any incentive from anyone save money, do things efficiently or gain or retain custom. Nationalisation saw a huge growth in management at the expense of staff on the ground, which would inevitably continue in re-nationalisation.

DBC Reed said...

Equally, just because denationalising railways was such a mess, there is no reason why renationalising them should not avoid the previous problems. The problem now is homeownerist governments are committed to maximising private sector profit and bribe the electorate to accept low wages and unemployment by keeping up house prices. They also have to appear dead tough about everything ,especially a long way away, like Syria, to conceal the fact that they are operating a soft hearted scam for their client voters .
Dunno why people are so horrified by people working in offices: London, the most prosperous place in UK , is pure office work.
Mergers of previously competing businesses (as in Socialism) cut down on bureaucracy as one marketing division etc gets to do the work of both merged firms. If there was n't any saving to be made on parallel activities, the merger would n't happen in the first place.

Kj said...

Dunno why people are so horrified by people working in offices: London, the most prosperous place in UK , is pure office work.

I think Bayard made a probably correct assumption that increased managerial staff don't necessarily add any value to the business of running trains, not putting down office work.

Kj said...

As for Caroline Lucas, I think she resembles most Green Party politicians. Their hearts and motivations (before they went into office), are in the right place, but will never let economics or on-the-ground facts disturb promoting the aesthetic idea of what is Green.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, DBC, I sort of agree with renationalising railways - or at least stopping the subsidies to them and see what happens. History tells us that unsubsidised private railways all go bankrupt sooner or later anyway.

Clearly, railways are so close to a monopoly as makes no difference, so the idea of "competition" is a nonsense.

But it's not the most important topic for me. I take London Underground which is nationalised anyway.

Kj, yes, a lot of what she says is knee jerk fundamentalist stuff.

Simple fact is, burning gas = less CO2 than burning coal.

So if C02 is the great enemy, she should be in favour of gas as a second least bad option.

Kj said...

MW:this seems to agree with that argument. But, Greens would point out, and they would probably be right from their perspective, the Jevons paradox will extinguish that advantage. So if reducing CO2 emissions is what we need to do, caps and/or higher pricing is the only way to do it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Kj, good point.

Problem is that all the massive price rises on electricity and gas have had little effect on the amount used.

DBC Reed said...

@MW Don't get the your point about subsidies. I thought land taxers like us were supposed to believe that railways subsidised local house prices and that LVT was just a means of getting the subsidies repaid so they could run the railways with lower fares. ( As with Uncle Dave Wetzel's magnificent Fares Fare scheme in London). Renationalising the railways would make a land value repayment scheme more practicable because handing over tax payer cash to private sector dozies is always going to be problematic.

Kj said...

DBC: I think that's a fair point. Opposition to subsidies are not that big when utilities are public. But a huge portion of the electorate are IMO very incoherent about these things, and think roads should be subsidised by general revenue, and that trains hould pay their own way. Although there are insane rail projects, I always sigh when projects are discussed where someone expects full recovery of costs through tickets/fees. It has never happened, and if you never look at land values, it looks as if trains have no function at all.