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.
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.