openDemocracyUK

A new think-tank aims to bring green politics into the mainstream

A new environmental think tank was launched today and welcomed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas
Rupert Read
21 July 2011

Green Party leader and MP Caroline Lucas this morning welcomed the formation of a new green think tank, to be called Green House. I chaired the launch meeting this morning, in my capacity as Chair of Green House.

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Green House is far more than just a Green Party initiative. We plan to operate throughout Britain and Ireland, and to engage thinkers beyond the Green Party.  Green House will become a new kind of think tank, with the initiative coming from those who do the thinking -- i.e. Green House will not just, as most think tanks nowadays do, respond to what funders ask it to do. Thus Green House will have the capacity to engage in more radical challenges to the status quo than extant think tanks.

Caroline Lucas said this morning, at our launch meeting:

“This is a really exciting initiative.  Green House will present a radical challenge, not just to ordinary politics but to all of us in the progressive (and environmental) wing of politics.  It is also another important step in bringing green politics into the mainstream in this country.”

Green House has already assembled what I believe is an impressive Advisory Group including former Labour environment minister Michael Meacher, feminist and campaigner Bea Campbell, influential economist Professor Tim Jackson and eco-feminist Mary Mellor.  

Two papers have been published to mark this morning's launch:

 - ‘Sustainability Citizenship’ by the foremost authority on green political thought in the UK, Professor Andrew Dobson of Keele University.  The paper argues that financial incentives and the politics of 'nudge' are no substitute for a genuine eco-politics of citizenship; and

 - a controversial paper on welfare reform by green economist Molly Scott Cato, and Brian Heatley, a former senior civil servant.  It argues for re-considering the definition of poverty away from self-defeating 'relative poverty' definitions defined on the basis of a given percentage of the population being poor. It also makes the case for disconnecting welfare from the labour market, and for ending the idea of a single retirement age. It is thus a radical g/Green response to Iain Duncan-Smith.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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