Rebecca Long-Bailey, like all Labour’s leadership candidates, emphasises democratic movement-building as a precursor for change (Giving power to the people is Labour’s path back to power, Journal, 17 January). But this approach will inevitably involve the few but not the many, and would benefit from taking heed of Oscar Wilde’s supposed warning that socialism “takes up too many evenings”. However, one of her demands that could involve large-scale public involvement is that of a green new deal to tackle the climate crisis, but in a way that prioritised a nationwide scheme to make all the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces energy-efficient.
Such a massive green programme would generate jobs in every constituency and result in “democracy in action”, since it would require the involvement of every household and local community, with the practical perks of improved living conditions and reduced bills. Since the general public lack trust or optimism that politicians can really improve people’s lives, this approach should garner all-party support.
Most importantly, such a route to tackling the climate emergency could go well beyond the UK’s parochial politics, since it could play a pivotal role in helping to ensure that next November’s Glasgow climate talks are a success. Were our politicians and activists with contacts in Europe to lobby the EU to commit to the same target for its 300 million buildings, thus cutting Europe’s carbon emissions by up to 40%, then Glasgow’s success should be assured.