We need political change. The global ecological and climate crisis demands it. The insane levels of inequality demand it. Positive political change happens in many ways, at different levels of government, over differing timescales in different regions of the World. Today I want to celebrate a few small victories, and flag up the possibility of others.
Yesterday in Sudan President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in a coup after months of popular protests. In my youth I spent time in Sudan and have followed its politics ever since. The protestors are clear they want an inclusive, democratic government not military rule, and so the street demonstrations will continue. I wish them well and share with them the hope for a rapid and peaceful transition to democracy.
Achieving good governance is a long and slow process. The five Nordic countries are generally perceived to be the best governed countries on Earth, and the fact that they have low levels of inequality, ever more ecologically inclined policies and high rates of wellbeing are of course all related. Costa Rica is one of the best governed countries on Earth, and last year I posted a blog about what it is achieving. I’ve blogged before about good governance in Uruguay and inspiring new leadership in Ethiopia and Spain. Political progress is always hard won, often slow, but it can be cumulative and build toward something really worth striving for.
In Europe the forces of right wing popularism are being challenged by positive, socially inclusive and ecologically orientated parties, notably the Green Parties, as I wrote about in blogs reporting recent Green gains in Bavaria, Luxembourg, Belgium, and then in Hesse. Last week I came across the wonderful Swiss activist group Operation Libero.
As Brexit crumbles into ever greater farce we face elections in UK: local elections on 2nd May and European elections on 23rd May, and quite possibly a General Election sometime soon. Due to our antiquated First Past the Post system the Westminster elections will inevitably produce a government that fails to reflect people’s real feelings or ideas. I’m much more excited about the possibility of change that comes at the local level, and here in Herefordshire the Green Party could well take a few more seats. I’ll be out tomorrow in Leominster as part of one of the Green Party’s Big Days Out. The European elections are really important, and are fought under a proportional system, so it makes sense to vote for what you really believe in. The Green Party of England and Wales currently has three MEPs and I hope they’ll add substantially to that number on 23rd May. Here in the West Midlands we have a good chance of getting Ellie Chowns elected!
Although voting is important, non-violent direct action has a massive role to play. Extinction Rebellion and the Schools Strike for Climate movements are both doing vitally important work, and today I joined them in lobbying my MP, Jesse Norman. So much to do, but none of it without hope!