Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

With a toxic Tory agenda driven primarily by an obsession with political control and personal wealth that collaborates with powerful Corporations who place profit ahead of environmental impact or public sentiment on these issues, we are noyto in a good position post-Brexit. The commitment to stripping away ‘Red Tape’ is code for prioritizing the rapid removal of health and environmental protections. Hosting COP26 offers a chance to guilt the Tories into action. To be or not to ‘Bee’ proactive? I urge you all to Sign this Petition on which states that, “Now we have left the EU the British government will be allowing EU banned pesticides Neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam to be used on crops. This pesticide is lethal to bees and other pollinators which our environment desperately needs as pollinators help flora and fauna. Bees pollinate up to 3/4 of crops which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive. Sign this Petition to tell the government that this is NOT acceptable and that our environment matters!”

In the Canary Article entitled, “A Brexit petition to protect bees just blew up on social media,” they say, “A petition to do with post-Brexit changes in the UK has blown up on Twitter, and a phrase from it was trending on Sunday 10 January. ‘Stop the UK’ was across people’s timelines. But ‘stop the UK’ from what, you may ask? On 10 January, the phrase ‘Stop the UK’ was trending on Twitter: It was in relation to a petition. The text of it reads: Now we have left the EU the British government will be allowing EU banned pesticides Neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam to be used on crops. So, what’s the fuss about? ‘Stop the UK’ from… using pesticides? The Canary previously reported on neonicotinoid thiamethoxam. It noted that: Neonics are ‘new nicotine-like insecticides’ used in chemical sprays to protect plants… Like nicotine, neonics affect the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. But there’s a problem. Because these insecticides don’t just kill pests.”

The Canary wrote that: “Neonics are systemic pesticides; pesticides that are transported throughout the plant… It is also found in pollen and nectar. This is why it is particularly harmful to bees and pollinators. Here’s where the problem lies. “Stop the UK” from… killing bees? In short, neonics including neonicotinoid thiamethoxam harm bees. For example, one study found that exposure to the insecticide (referred to below as TMX): impaired motor functions, reducing the ability of foragers to walk and to climb. TMX-treated foragers fell more often (+83%), exhibited more abnormal behaviours (+138%), and were more frequently unable to ascend the arena (+280%). These bees also spent more time at the bottom (+93%) and less at the top (−43%) of the arena, as compared to control bees. In other words, bees were not able to pollinate so well. Other studies had similar findings, one noting that in Hungary worker bee numbers fell by 24%. All this will, among other things, directly hit human food supply.”

The Canary ask, “So why is the government allowing farmers to use this insecticide? ‘Stop the UK’ from… pandering to industry? When it was in the EU, the UK voted to ban neonicotinoid thiamethoxam. But there was a get-out clause about ’emergency authorisation’. The government has now used that. It said in a statement on 8 January: After careful consideration of all the issues, the government has decided to grant an application for emergency authorisation to allow use of a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2021. This is in recognition of the potential danger posed to the 2021 crop from beet yellows virus. The government says the risk to bees will be ‘acceptably low’. But the Guardian claims otherwise. ‘Stop the UK’ from… breaking its promises? It says that the government has done this after “lobbying from the National Farmers Union (NFU)’.”

The Canary report that, “It quoted Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the invertebrate conservation group Buglife, as saying the move was ‘environmentally regressive’. He also said: no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet. Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment. The Guardian accused the government of ‘breaking its promise’ over the 2018 ban. While this is not strictly true, the move is certainly, as Shardlow said, environmentally regressive. Brexit-supporting Tories have a habit of dodgy actions (£350m a week for the NHS?). And allowing an insecticide to harm our bee population could have serious, long term consequences for all of us.”

In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled, “A new way for the UK to boost its international green trade agenda,” Natalie Bennett says that, “The UK should sign up to the ‘Green Trade Deal’ as it takes on the chair of COP26. We’re continually being told that the point of Brexit was to enable us to go our own way, make our own choices, to improve life in the UK, our standards and quality of life, but the government has struggled to explain just how it plans to achieve that. It has signed ‘roll-over’ trade deals very little different from those enjoyed by the EU, and talked about improving UK rules. But it has refused again and again to write the maintenance even of current standards into UK law, most recently on the final day of the Trade Bill debate last Wednesday, where it suffered one of four defeats in the writing in of Labour’s Amendment 22 on trade standards. So today, I’m seeking to give it a helping hand, something the Trade Minister Lord Grimstone of Boscabel acknowledged in last week’s Trade Bill debate.”

Bennett explains, “I’m suggesting one way it could deliver on the possibilities of Brexit is signing up to the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS) – known as the ‘Green trade deal’ for shorthand. There’s so much that makes it a perfect fit. On the international stage, what could be more appropriate for the chair of the COP26 climate talks than leading the way in stating that trade must be reshaped to tackle the crushing emergency that’s facing the planet, rather than continuing to contribute to it, by incentivising reductions in environmental regulation and directly through freight (7% of global emissions)? And as a ‘newly independent’ (TM Boris Johnson), relatively small, trading nation, lined up against the giants of the US, China and the EU, why not join with New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Fiji and Costa Rica in being part of a force of minnows leading the way for the giants to follow?”

Bennett reports that, “The Green Trade Deal has specifically been structured to work within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), despite it frequently proving a barrier to international climate action, notably being used to challenge subsidies for renewable energy in the US, India, China and Italy. With the UK’s new seat at the WTO, and with the relevant minister Liz Truss, naming climate change as one of our priorities there, that is another way signing up to the ACCTS is a perfect fit for the British government. ACCTS aims to work in three key ways. The first of these is to liberalise trade in environmental goods and services. That would include obvious goods like bicycles, wind turbines and solar panels, but also services – maintenance of renewable facilities, management of pollution and waste. That’s perfect for the UK’s service-based economy, which is well-developed already in these areas, and would go some way towards compensating for loss of access to the EU market under the Brexit deal.”

Bennett says that, “The second key action method of ACCTS is to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Given these cost the UK government about £10 billion a year, mainly through cutting VAT on domestic fuel and electricity (defined as a subsidy by the WTO and the OECD, among many other organisations), this could be a boost to Rishi Sunak’s bottom line, hit by Covid-19 costs, and renewables, now the lowest cost source of energy, would balance the cost for households.” Bennett explains the benefits of, “the third action of ACCTS, aiming to standardise ecolabelling of products around the globe, could also be a bonus. As UK producers struggle to have to deal with two new sets of labelling requirements, the UK’s and the EU, plus those of the US, Australia and anywhere else they might export, were this to be effectively replaced by a single global standard, significant savings in red tape (surely a plus for the Tories) would be possible.”

Bennett asks, “So would they have us? The group of countries have said they’d be delighted to welcome extra members who sign up to the ACCTS principles. And the addition of the UK as a G7 country would certainly be a boost to the grouping. With its 10-point plan announced last year, the government set out the domestic rhetoric for a ‘green industrial revolution’ in the UK. Signing up to ACCTS would be the natural trade policy accompaniment. Natalie Bennett is a former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and a member of the House of Lords.”

An important question is posed in a Friends of the Earth Article entitled, “Trade and climate How are they connected?” They ask, “How does what we buy and sell impact the environment? The impacts of the things we buy go far beyond profits or consumer satisfaction.
• Was the person who produced that product paid properly and treated fairly?
• Did its production, transportation or use cause pollution, deforestation, or climate breakdown?
• Can it be reused or disposed of safely?”

They say, “The decisions made by governments, businesses and individuals about which goods and services enter the country, the shops and our homes can mean the difference between sustainable, low-carbon production or increased damage to our planet.”

Friends of the Earth ask, “What is a trade deal? Trade deals are made by governments, and set out the rules for trading between different countries. They try to make it easy for each country to let in goods and services that they need, while limiting or preventing the entry of goods and services that don’t meet standards (or are already made domestically). The decisions governments make about the rules set in these agreements can have huge impacts on our environment.” They point out that, “Businesses don’t need to rely on government trade deals to sell things abroad. They can do it anyway, although it can be more complicated and costly without the support of a trade agreement. Businesses can also sell products from far-off places, knowing consumers are often less concerned about issues like water overuse, unfair pay or air pollution if they happen miles away, or better yet, on another continent. If we’re to cut our global footprint as consumers, we need businesses to up their game and improve their supply chains.”

Friends of the Earth explain their, “Vision for climate-friendly trade,” saying that, “What if we redefined the aims and benefits of trade so that they favoured breathable air in 50 years’ time over bigger economies? Or rich, diverse forests over our ability to access cheaper piles of stuff? What if you knew that wherever you shopped or whatever you produced or bought, you wouldn’t be exploited, or be exploiting others? Now’s the time for the UK to change its trading ways, and pioneer new, climate-positive approaches to trade and environment post-Brexit.”

“Friends of the Earth is campaigning for:
• The UK’s environmental laws to stay as strong as, or stronger than, those in the rest of Europe – and a strong environmental watchdog to enforce them.
• The UK to be an international leader on climate change.
• Any farming or land subsidies to be based on public good, for example improving biodiversity or better flood protection.
• The UK to keep working with our European and international neighbours on our joint environmental challenges.
• A strong future relationship with the EU based on high environmental standards.
• An ambitious future UK trade policy, developed with full scrutiny and with environmental ambition at it’s heart.
• No trade deals with nations not implementing commitments under the Pairs Agreement.”

“Friends of the Earth believes passionately in democracy. We’ll continue campaigning for the best environmental outcomes for all people, in the UK and abroad. Our campaign on Brexit Brexit wasn’t a vote to cut our environmental protections. In fact, 83% of the British public think we should keep these protections. But an independent report found that environmental laws could be weakened by Brexit, leaving birds and wildlife habitats at risk. So we campaigned around Brexit to make sure our environmental laws didn’t fall through the gaps. Brexit could still have a wide-ranging impact on everything from future nature protections to food standards. Outside of the EU, the UK must also develop a new trade policy, which could mean new deals that impact on our environment. So we’re still working to make sure future protections, like the new Environment Bill, are stronger, not weaker. And we’re calling for a UK trade policy that puts the environment first.”

“Friends of the Earth is part of the Greener UK Coalition ” they say that the, “Greener UK is a coalition of environmental groups working together to ensure that the UK’s environment is improved, not damaged, by leaving the EU. It consists of RSPB, National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, WWF, Campaign for Better Transport, CPRE, Client Earth, E3G, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, WWT and Woodland Trust.” Most of the UK’s environmental protections stem from EU law and so could be changed as a result of Brexit. Greener UK has created this Risk Tracker to show which policy areas are more secure, and which are most at risk. We hope the UK government will go further than simply safeguarding protections, to take advantage of the great opportunity of restoring nature and our natural resources within a generation, as set out in the Greener UK vision.

On the Greener UK Coalition website the Risk Tracker page explains that, “Polling in December 2016 found that 80 per cent of the British public think the UK should have the same or stronger levels of environmental protection after we leave the EU. But pressure to agree new trade deals and remove regulations could lead the government to water down standards, leaving nature worse off and potentially threatening public health.” The site has, “assigned traffic light ratings to each significant policy area, to indicate low (green), medium (amber) or high risk (red).” The key areas they have listed are as follows: “Air Pollution; Chemicals; Water; Waste & Resources; Fisheries; Climate & Energy; Farming & Land Use; Nature Protection.” By clicking on the icon representing any one of these key areas of concern you can read the Greener UK Coalition, “analysis of the level of risk and to see the supporting evidence in the UK government’s statements and track record.”

In a Concerto Plus Article examining how Brexit might impact the environment they say, “Of all the issues surrounding Brexit, its impact on environmental policy within the UK and the EU has received much less focus than the potential financial and economic fall-out of the separation. However, Brexit is certainly slated to have a considerable impact on the way in which the UK writes and enforces policy concerning environmental issues such as renewable energy, pollution, and air standards, and overall national environmental safety standards. As a transnational governing body, the European Union effectively created one of the largest legal corpuses of environmental protection law and renewable energy targets that effectively cast Europe as the global leader in environmental policy. With the UK about to embark on Brexit and begin its formal uncoupling from the EU, it is still unclear how significantly the divorce will affect the environment in the UK, as well as in broader Europe.”

Concerto Plus examine, “The Upshot of Brexit and Environment Regulation – Ultimately, Brexit was enacted as the British were seeking to retain greater national control over economic and immigration policies. However, in leaving the EU, the UK now is also freer to pursue their own environmental policies, which some critics warn could likely be less stringent than the current EU standards. However, it is possible that the UK will retain its membership in the European Economic Area, which would effectively ensure that the UK must comply with specific wildlife, oceanic, and food production regulations should it choose to export its goods to the EU. Most students pursuing a masters in international relations are familiar with international treaties, but Brexit presents a whole set of complex issues that will likely serve as a case study in international affairs masters programs in the future.”

Concerto Plus warns of, “Future Concerns Over the Paris Climate Accords” saying that, “The most concerning issue regarding environmental policy and Brexit is whether the populist surge of support to leave the EU could transform into a campaign for the UK to withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Accords, an agreement nearly universally accepted and ratified across the globe. Whereas the EU crafted regionally specific environmental and energy policies designed to make Europe more sustainable and competitive in the future energy market, the Paris Climate Accords offer crucial and yet basic targets to reducing carbon emissions and pollution, while at the same time increasing renewable energy production. A potential withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords based on the populist Brexit wave would be disastrous for British environmental policy and a true blow to the global environmental movement.”

Concerto Plus conclude that, “While Brexit does not necessarily entail environmental disaster, it is clear that Brexit will take the UK off course from moving towards a more environmentally sustainable future. The UK may now have the freedom to pursue more nationally specific and ambitious green policies, but with the pressures of the business and manufacturing industries paramount in politicians minds, it is unlikely that the UK will have the ability or the popular desire to implement environmental protection and renewable energy policies as stringent as those of the EU.” As a Green Party member and after spending several decades of my life at sea, I remain passionately committed to protecting the environment. The motto for Team Pro-Maxi mg bid to enter an international women’s team in the Whitbread Round the World Race was: “A Healthy Body & Mind on a Healthy Peaceful Planet.”

The Tories underlying driving force behind Brexit was to facilitate increased exploitation on multiple levels; exploitation of human resources as our workers rights evaporate and exploitation of the natural environment for the profiteering of giant Corporations driven by Tory elitist greed. The British public were not made aware of the significance behind that ‘Take Back Control’ message that removed the collaboratively agreed protections gained by consensus within the EU and placed absolute control in the hands of our reckless profiteering Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. We will need to remain hypervigilant in the coming years keeping track of new regulations and deregulations that the Tories will sneak in using Statutory Instruments that require no debate in Parliament. Far from taking back control the British people have been totally stripped of any control following the Covert 2018 Rigged Election. We must Challenge, Investigate and Expose that corrupt result to derail the agenda of exploitation and remove the Tories from office. DO NOT MOVE ON!