Green   Green

Change the fast-fashion throwaway lifestyle

because it's wrecking the Planet


"When our living-room curtains need cleaning - do we take them to the dry cleaners?

NO - we throw them out and buy new ones. It's cheaper"

Big Business and the fashion industry have too much of a hold on our lives when it comes to clothes and home furnishings. Large numbers of us think we need to copy rich celebs like the Kardashians in all our clothes, furniture, curtains, blinds, lighting, and so on. We feel under pressure to buy new stuff every few months instead of making usable and wearable stuff last for several years, as it was in the days of our parents and grandparents. The problem is that it's not too expensive to do this - nearly all these consumer goods are made in the far east. Their factories are running 24/7 to supply all the retailer outlets here. But it's using up resource in trees and other non-renewable sources.

   We are under constant pressure to bin perfectly good clothes, furniture, and household items and replace them with new. However this lifestyle is unsustainable for the planet.  The perfect example of this, is when we recently needed to clean our living room curtains.  We found the cost of dry-cleaning them, was higher than the cost of buying a new set of curtains in the local shopping  mall.  This absurd state of affairs is because our own service sector is crippled by high taxes, red tape, EU rules, insurance costs and business rates.  But consumer goods - many of them made by children in the Far East - are on sale very cheaply. It's the same when more or less anything needs repairing - shoes, clothes, furniture, whatever. It's almost always cheaper to bin the old, and buy the new. MAINSTREAM policy would be to try and reverse this trend.     

When 'Made in Europe' is not what it seems

We all buy furniture from IKEA - a very successful brand. Swedish designed and Swedish-made, from a country with 27 million hectares of forest - so we can trust it's from trees which are getting replaced. . But is it ? In fact the furniture is designed in Sweden but most of it's made in the Far East and with Far Eastern timber, from countries where the "certificates" of sustainable origins are not as trustworthy as they are in Europe. The wooden parts are cut to size then shipped to Sweden, to be put in the flat-packs we're familiar with in IKEA stores. Should these products really be marketed as "Made in Europe?" Hmm .... maybe not ?




We all pay huge amounts of council tax to get our bins emptied but the existing system is not working. It needs us to keep an army of different-coloured bins outside - and do all the sorting ourselves. This is fine for detached houses and mansions - like where most of the politicians live. But for terraced streets, or blocks of flats like in Glasgow - this doesn't work. Pavements are blocked, mothers with pushchairs and blind people can't get past. Then when the waste gets to the depot - to avoid stupid EU rules and fines, we pay yet MORE tax to send the waste on ships to China - where it just gets dumped in a landfill anyway - so no help here for the Planet, just higher taxes for our citizens - and private companies and shipowners make a profit out of dumping our waste into Chinese landfill sites.  Then in the one week in the year when housholds have double the amount of refuse (Christmas, when there's all the extra food and present wrappings to bin) - the binmen make LESS collections  instead of MORE.

  MAINSTREAM would re-design all local council waste disposal:  Refuse lorries would be smaller and lighter to fit better down our crowded urban streets. All households would get three collections every two weeks  - 78 collections per year, plus an EXTRA collection after the Christmas / New Year holiday, to get all those empty bottles, boxes, turkey left-overs etc.  There would be ONE bin only, with waste sorting done by council workers at the depot.

Abandon HS2

  A  MAINSTREAM   government would immediately  the colossally expensive HS2 railway project. There is no justification for spending so much money on a completely new railway line in our already overcrowded land.  For one hundredth of the cost of HS2, we could make the existing railway work much better, for instance by lengthening all station platforms to allow all trains to be ten coaches long. HS2 is a disaster - quite apart from the amount of new land (now very scarce in our overcrowded island) taken up, the line is a "niche" railway. YES It will make the London to Birminham journey far quicker - but hello!  Rail journeys between London and Birmingham  are a tiny fraction of all rail journeys made. HS2 will do nothing to improve the vast majority of rail journeys - in fact the opposite, as it will drain away resources from all the other lines.


Why do we continue the ritual of changing the clocks twice a year? Every March, we put them forward. In October, back they go again. It costs millions; causes confusion for Airlines and railway-timetables. And there's no need !
    You can't alter the number of hours of daylight - that's down to the sun. If vested interests such as farming and industry, need to make the most of the daylight hours - they should get out of bed earlier, not expect the rest of us to change the clocks. The standard working-day in offices should be "8 to 4" instead of "9 to 5".
    As far as schoolchildren are concerned, the answer's even simpler ! Change the school hours to give a shorter school-day in the winter. School in the winter, for small children: 10 am to 2 pm. That way, no child in Britain ever again needs to go to school in the dark. We make up the lost hours, by having a longer school day in the summer; or by shorter holidays.
    Some idiots actually want us to go the other way - and keep the clocks permenently one hour later "to be the same as Europe". Can't they understand there's no economic rationale for all of Europe to have the same time-zone! The U.S.A. has got 5 time-zones and manages its economy perfectly well. The fact is that the sun rises over Portugal in the West of Europe, at least 3 hours after it has risen on Poland in the East. MAINSTREAM would end the clock-changing ritual for ever and leave our time permanently at GMT.  (Hopefully, other countries too would reaslise the stupidity of changing the clocks, and leave theirs unchanged as well). 

                       JUNK MAIL RESTRICTED

     Junk Mail is a plague which fills our letter-boxes every day with paper we didn't ask for, don't want, and have to throw straight in the bin. It makes work for us, extra hard work for the binmen or binwomen (paper waste is very heavy) .   MAINSTREAM  would act to restrict all unsolicited mail (junk mail) to TWO items per household per week. 


  Most household waste still ends up on 'landfill' sites outside our towns and cities. The waste is supposed to get buried, but  this takes a long time and uses vast amounts of land - which could be used for farming, forests or recreation in our small, crowded island.. The sites are smelly, and a health hazard, attracting millions of seagulls and rats. MAINSTREAM would outlaw landfill - period.

All waste which could neither be re-cycled (eg like scrap metal to steelworks,  food waste to pig farms, paper  turned into chipboard) - or incinerated - would instead be put in huge plastic rot-proof and leak-proof containers, and dropped into deep water at sea.  That way it would never do any harm to the environment or cause any problems to anybody.  These containers could be either towed out to sea, or carried on ships which were at sea for commercial purposes.    

No more building on greenfield sites

  The post-war Labour government got City Planning right. They designated every town and city with a green belt  - a ring of land outside the city, sacrosanct to be the city's "lungs" - a guaranteed right of all city-dwellers.  An area reserved for them and their families, to enjoy fresh air, where no planning for building would ever be allowed. This government of planning vandals has torn the green-belt guarantee to shreds. There are no green spaces     in  our cities, safe any more - commons, village greens, school playing fields, parks, gardens -  they can now all get built on.  The building companies use google earth to find any spare green bits. They zoom in and trace the owner. Whether it's a private farm, or a city council, money does the trick

   MAINSTREAM would outlaw new builds on greenfield site.  Why?  Because there is more than enough space on brownfield sites, for all the housing that we could possibly need (If you also take into account all the empty and derelict homes which could be brought into use). So if there's so much brownfield space available - why don't the builders do their new builds there?  Simples. Because it costs them far more money to build on brownfield.  These sites have to be cleaned up first. There is always  more profit to be made, building on green-field, virgin sites. 

MAINSTREAM would shrine in law the permanent protection of all Greenfield sites with a new "Lewis Silkin Law". Lewis Silkin was the forward-thinking Labour minister who in 1947 saw the need for all cities and big towns to have their "lungs" - a protected ring of countryside surrounding the urban area. This new law would give also outlaw any building on school playing fields, city parks, cemeteries, and "common" land. (as we speak, my daughters' school playing fields are under threat from the get-rich-quick builders. These insidious companies use Google Earth to look for empty green land, where thet can get far more profit than building on brownfield or derelict land. Then of course they use their millions to put out clever propaganda painting themselves as saviours of the community because they're building houses).


New House Builds driven by Green standards

   MAINSTREAM would legislate to ensure that all new house build designs, were driven by Green requirements and NOT - as now - by politically-correct requirements. The so-called "equality" laws, oblige builders to put a downstairs wheelchair-friendly toilet in all new houses.  Only a small proportion of the buyers will actually want or need this facility - this should be left to the market's supply and demand ; building these disabled-friendly houses in the quantity required by the market.  We should instead legislate for all new houses to have good insulation and solar panels as standard.

    As we've just found out in all the recent floods - these have NOT been cause by global warming, as there were much wetter periods in the last 200 years (recorded  in the meteorological records.)  The floods have happened - and are set to get worse - because of the vast amounts of grassland which have been concreted over - both for houses, offices and industry, and also for car-parking spaces in people's front gardens. Millions of gallons of rainwater which - twenty years ago - filtered down for several weeks through the soil, now gets dumped straight down the grids and into the drainage system.  This leads into streams. Streams lead into rivers. And the rivers flood.   We could fix this , if there was the political will to do it - by  ensuring that whenever any new area of land is concreted over, there are systems to let all the rainwater which falls, get through the concrete and into the earth beneath.  


Sort the Metric Mess!

    Another  shambles - "Metrication". Most of us use the so-called "imperial" units, for distances, weights and measures. Our new baby's weight is in pounds; our motorway signs are in miles; the speed-limits and car speedometers, in miles-an-hour. For our heights we use feet and inches.
    But our children are now leaving school, without ever learning these measurements. They're only taught  "Metric" (metres, litres, kilos etc.). How are they supposed to live in the real world, without being taught properly?

    What we've got now, the mixture of metric and imperial, is a mess. Go to a D-I-Y store, and you find that the timber is sold in Foot-lengths, but metric cross-section. When petrol goes up, they always announce the price "per Gallon"; but prices on the pumps are only in Pence per Litre. If the BBC news report includes a distance, they sometimes give it in miles - sometimes in kilometres: there's no rule - it just depends how the newsreader is feeling on the day! The Weatherman tells us how many "Inches" of rain fell today.

    We must accept that for the present we need to understand BOTH sets of measurements and be able to convert one to the other. Maybe in the distant future, the Metric ones will take over in most walks of life. One important measurement will probably ALWAYS stay in imperial units and that's Civil Aviation aircraft altitudes. Here and in every country in the world, aircraft heights are always in FEET. So 35,000 feet might be the height of a fllight to Turkey. This won't be changed any time soon for obvious safety concerns. Let's accept that for the foreseeable future we all need to know BOTH sets of units and need to be able to convert between them. Our children must be taught BOTH metric and Imperial, not in all uses but definitely for units of length, weight, and area. We need to teach BOTH. DEAL WITH IT.