On Brexit being a ‘free and fair’ choice

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“ Should the EU referendum result be annulled? For the past year I’ve been arguing that this would mean defying a democratic decision – even if it was informed by lies. Democracy is not negotiable. But what if this was not a democratic decision? What if it failed to meet the accepted criteria for a free and fair choice? If that were the case, should the result still stand? Surely it should not ”

George Monbiot, ‘Who paid for the leave vote? Brexit should be halted until we know’, The Guardian

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On Corbyn’s strengths and May’s weaknesses

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“ Despite so many years of protest, Corbyn’s greatest strength lies in proposition rather than in opposition: his gentle style is better suited to explaining his own vision than to contesting his opponent’s. The more exposure he receives, the better he looks – while the cameras expose May as charmless, cheerless and, above all, frit. She won’t stand up to anyone who wields power. She will say nothing against Donald Trump, even when he peddles blatant falsehoods in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in this nation, exploiting our grief to support his disgusting prejudices; even when he pulls out of the global agreement on climate change. She is even more sycophantic towards this revolting man than Tony Blair was to George W Bush. She won’t confront Saudi Arabia over terrorism or Yemen or anything else ”

George Monbiot, ‘I’ve never voted with hope before. Jeremy Corbyn has changed that’, The Guardian

On how to respond to terror attacks

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“ This is why terrorism happens: those who perpetrate it know that an attack on one is an attack on all. People are killed or injured in order to maximise the distress suffered by a far greater number – and to induce us, blinded by outrage, to forget our humanity and to lash out. This then cultivates a political environment in which terrorists prosper: a nation dominated by fear, a cycle of revenge, and the escalation of conflict. Altruism and empathy are what binds us together, and what defines us. We should let no one distract us from this central fact of our nature: neither terrorists nor those who, in response to them, demand that we slam our doors in the faces of an entire community or an entire religion ”

George Monbiot, ‘Don’t let psychotic murderers suppress our common humanity’, The Guardian

On dark money in politics

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“ A multimillionaire City asset manager has pledged to spend up to £700,000 on ousting Labour MPs who campaigned against Brexit. Jeremy Hosking will use his money to ensure that there is as little parliamentary opposition to a hard Brexit as possible. Why should multimillionaires be allowed to try to buy political results? Allowed? That’s too soft a word. It is enabled by our pathetic, antiquated and anti-democratic rules on political spending. Hosking claims he wants to secure the sovereign future of this independent-minded democracy. But there is no greater threat to sovereignty, independence or democracy than the power money wields over our politics (…) The third issue is political funding that operates in a different sphere. It’s not illegal, it’s worse than that: there are no effective rules of any kind. This is the use of dark money that seeks not to influence elections directly, but to change the broader political landscape. Dark money is funding used, without public knowledge, by front groups (…) Why has there been no effective action on climate change? Why are we choking on air pollution? Why is the junk food industry able to exploit our children? Because governments and their agencies have rolled over and let such people make a mockery of informed consent ”

George Monbiot, ‘Dark money is pushing democracy in the UK over the edge’, The Guardian

On the doughnut economic system

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“ The aim of economic activity, she argues, should be meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet. Instead of economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow. This means changing our picture of what the economy is and how it works. (…) The inner ring of the doughnut represents a sufficiency of the resources we need to lead a good life: food, clean water, housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, democracy. Anyone living within that ring, in the hole in the middle of the doughnut, is in a state of deprivation. The outer ring of the doughnut consists of the Earth’s environmental limits, beyond which we inflict dangerous levels of climate change, ozone depletion, water pollution, loss of species and other assaults on the living world. The area between the two rings – the doughnut itself – is the “ecologically safe and socially just space” in which humanity should strive to live. The purpose of economics should be to help us enter that space and stay there. ”

George Monbiot, ‘Finally, a breakthrough alternative to growth economics – the doughnut’, The Guardian

On what freedom the rich really protect

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“ Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it put themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today, the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought (…) You can exercise freedom of thought, for instance, without harming others. In other cases, on person’s freedom is another’s captivity. When corporations free themselves from trade unions, they curtail the freedoms of their workers. When the very rich free themselves from tax, other people suffer though failing public services. When financiers are free to design exotic financial instruments, the rest of us pay for the crises they cause ”

George Monbiot, ‘Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor – that’s what Trump and Brexit are about’, The Guardian

On why the Paris agreement isn’t even close to required changes to limit the consequences of climate change

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“ National climate change programs bear no connection to the commitments governments made at Paris. Even if these programs are fully implemented (they won’t be), they set us on a climate-change trajectory way beyond that envisaged by the agreement. And this is before we know what Trump will do ”

George Monbiot, The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces’, The Guardian