Sunday, 6 June 2010
Two Years On - A Postcard from the Age of Plenty
This video was produced for Kirklees Greens by the national Green Party for the May 2008 Local elections. Looking back it was produced in a different age. We were in the times of relative plenty before the public purse would have to pay for the private banking sectors excesses. We were quite chuffed about it at the time, having our own local election 'broadcast' and we promoted it on our literature. It took a couple of days to put together with an all 'star' cast including me, Councillors Graham Simpson, Julie Stewart-Turner, Derek Hardastle and Kirkburton Parish Councillor Michelle Atkinson.
It's interesting to look back on it to see just how much has changed (or not) over the last couple of years. The free insulation offer in Kirklees Warm Zone had just got into its stride having been kicked off just over a year previously and was a runaway success. Our allotment initiave hadn't started but we had been successful in obtaining the funding to get sites restored and improved so, at the time, we had no idea how popular it would become and how it would give a timely boost to the local food movement. The RE-Charge scheme which helped people get solar panels and other renewable technologies installed with no upfront costs was just an idea when the video was produced and now its has won the 2009 British Renewable Energy Awards as Best Advocate for the renewables sector and hundreds of homes have benefited. What doesn't seem to be coming off though is the recycling of the funding I mentioned. The Feed In Tarrif has changed the economics of solar panels reducing the need for second charge type arrangements. Pool cars have become a reality in Kirklees Council linked to changes to terms and conditions of service. We also now have City Car Club which now has 7 vehicles being used by Council staff and other local businesses and individuals.
Other things in the video have come to pass such as the end of Christmas Parties for Party Groups paid for by Council Tax payers see previous posts on how this came to pass and
It hasn't all come true though. The can crushers initiative never actually happened or the free reusable nappies for new parents. These would have been great initiatives but seemed to end up as too difficult to acheive. One we'll have to look at again in less financially constrained times. If we were to do another one of these what policies would we promote in these days where recession seems to be government policy. If anything the policies we were advocating 2 years ago are even more relevant on the national scale today when we need to generate new jobs and industries to tackle fuel poverty and climate change. Lets see what happens and be hopeful.