Issuu on Google+

The Simultaneous Policy News • Autumn 2005

An Australian view of SP Senator Rachel Siewert and the West Australia Greens party supported SP during elections last year. She explains why. Page 4

Climate change letters Adopter Richard Lawson quizzes the UK government on climate change policy

Page 8

As Tony Blair back-tracks on emissions targets, the national press publishes John Bunzl’s comments on the need for SP

Page 8


It’s Simpol ! The Simultaneous Policy

International Simultaneous Policy Organisation ISPO is an international pressure group that aims to address and resolve global problems such as environmental destruction, regulating the economic power of international capital for the good of all, and delivering social justice around the world. Hence ISPO seeks solutions on problems that individual national governments cannot resolve by acting alone. This is because the problems transcend national boundaries, and because the global competitive system means that any government that acted alone to try and resolve such problems could effectively make its country uncompetitive. ISPO aims to achieve these objectives by encouraging ordinary people around the world to pressurise their political representatives and governments to seek coordinated international resolution of global issues for the good of all. This is because it is only by countries all agreeing to implement changes at the same time that problems no individual government dares tackle alone can be resolved in a satisfactory way. Simultaneous implementation of such policies would ensure that no country became uncompetitive as a result of pursuing policies that were right for the planet and which embodied people’s higher aspirations. All you need to do is sign up as a Simultaneous Policy (SP) Adopter, which costs you nothing. By so doing you agree in principle to vote only for candidates (of whatever party) who have signed up to SP and agreed to support its agenda. This is the simple mechanism ISPO uses to advance its cause. ISPO’s approach is peaceful and democratic. Those who lend their support will all have the opportunity to contribute to the formation of specific policies that answer global problems. And by adopting SP they can use their votes in a new and effective way to drive the politicians of all parties to implement these policies.

How do you want the world to be? Cover photo: Australia from space. This photo has been in circulation for many years. Original source unknown. Production: Mike Brady.

ISPO • PO Box 26547 • London • SE3 7YT

Editorial Exceptionally, this issue does not include a PolicyMeasure-In-Process article. The lead item that replaces it ("Simpol's Appeal to the Broad Public") provides revealing data about who among voting citizens are most likely to become Simpol supporters. These valuable findings are derived from professional, in-depth research volunteered to guide Simpol in its campaigning work. They are now being used in selecting priorities for future action. Another innovation this Autumn is publication of the first of what we hope will be successive articles written by cross-party parliamentarians who have signed the provisional pledge to implement SP alongside other nations. Readers will recall that Senator Rachel Siewert of the Australian Greens was the only pledged candidate among 60 who gained a seat in last year's Federal Election. They will therefore understand why she writes about a Prime Minister who uses "the compliant Senate to turn Australia in precisely the opposite direction to that proposed by Simpol." Clearly, she feels she has much work to do in the current session! Then, for those who don't switch off when monetary reform is mentioned, there is further confirmation in a personal contribution from Kenya that the topic is a stimulating journey of discovery, increasingly full of potential for future change the more you get into it. This unsolicited contribution has become the first in a new section of this newsletter ("Thinking aloud about fresh alternatives"), through which Adopters and non-Adopters alike can share peer-reviewed ideas for strengthening Simpol's political strategy. For environmentalists, Richard Lawson continues to persuade the UK government to adopt Contraction and Convergence as a viable policy measure when the Simpol strategy is applied in international negotiations about climate change. And Jill Phillips contributes a letter titled Meeting Participants from Puglia See Simpol-UK at Work that tells of her and Susan Crosio's "rich experience" in taking part in Simpol-UK's mid-October meetings. Finally, in addition to campaigning news and our welcome to Cynthia Josayma as the new USA national coordinator, and also H.A. Shankaranarayana for India, note among other items the report on the recent meeting in London about Simpol-UK's policy development process. This is of key importance because it is a further step in developing the HOW, which complements the WHAT, when we do our personal campaigning among potential Adopters. An occasional newsletter from the INTERNATIONAL SIMULTANEOUS POLICY ORGANISATION (ISPO) info@simpol.org Edited by: Brian Wills (brian.wills@wanadoo.fr)

www.simpol.org


Contents/Analysis

Contents Analysis :

. Letter to the Editor :

Meeting Participants From Puglia See Simpol-UK at Work : Jill Phillips.

A voice from parliament :

Campaigning : Mike Brady (Local Groups Coordinator) -- Local group activities -- Simpol-UK's Policy Development Process : Findings of the Simpol-UK meeting on 15 Oct

In the Belly of the Beast : Senator Rachel Siewert (West Australia Greens Party)

News Briefs

Simpol's Appeal to the Broad Public : Denis Robb (The Research Practice, UK)

Thinking aloud about fresh alternatives : A Personal Contribution to the Monetary Reform Debate : Silvano Borruso (SP Adopter, Kenya) A Footnote about Interest-Free Loans : Peter Challen (Christian Council for Monetary Justice) Editorial Note : follow-up contact and new book notice

Action on climate change : Contraction and Convergence Policy Measures (continuing exchanges with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London) : Richard Lawson (SP Adopter, UK)

3

• • •

New supporters in the USA : Cynthia Josayma of Berkeley, California, becomes the National Coordinator Nina Hagen, recording artist working in the USA and Germany, signs on as Adopter H.A. Shankaranarayana of Bangalore becomes National Coordinator for India Completion of Simpol's Mail-Art Project : Joe Fleury Report on Simpol-UK's AGM, 2005 : Patrick Andrews

Views expressed by authors in this newsletter are their own and are not necessarily shared by ISPO as an organisation.

Analysis : Simpol’s Appeal to the Broad Public Denis Robb of The Research Practice, a UK market and social research organisation, reflects on research findings that suggest Simpol “can meet an underlying need for a new kind of politics” sought by British voters. He suggests that Simpol has huge potential to champion people’s aspirations for change. (The implications of these important findings are still under internal discussion and implementation. But they are summarised here so readers of It’s Simpol! may share the encouraging information they contain, or raise related issues in Letters to the Editor. Ed.) How the research was conducted In spring 2005 The Research Practice investigated the appeal of Simpol to ordinary members of the British public. The research took the form of in-depth interviews with people who were broadly representative of whitecollar (“BC1”) voters. The sample embraced those who followed politics quite closely in the media, as well as people with a less active interest in political affairs. None of the respondents had any awareness or knowledge of Simpol prior to taking part in the research. Participants were introduced to Simpol via the global website or through statements that attempted to convey the core Simpol concept. The research investigated a number of specific communication issues in relation to the way Simpol described itself, the website, and the adoption pledge: for example, how the website might be made easier to navigate and how it might communicate

the most important aspects of Simpol more quickly.

The interviews revealed some unexpected findings Of most interest is the encouraging nature of broad responses. It seems that large swathes of the British public are much more concerned by issues such as the environment, third world poverty, and cultural conflicts than one might imagine. It also emerged that many could be drawn to Simpol and the type of solutions the organisation promised. In addition there was widespread dissatisfaction with the current political order and its failure to address such issues. Prior to this research, readers of this newsletter may have imagined that most people would be preoccupied with a rather selfish and insular outlook focused on consumerism, so-called ‘popular culture’, and celebrity. This is because, beyond our personal and face-to-face knowledge of family, friends and associates, we tend to think of the rest of society being immersed in the pursuits and values that the media suggest are predominant. To some extent we all use this media-driven picture as a guide and interpretive tool when we envisage the broad society beyond our personal circle of acquaintances. Hence we may feel that most people are not motivated by altruism or a sense of global responsibility. However, research into the attitudes of British people consistently reveals that this rather negative media-driven image of society is highly misleading. In truth, most people do not feel as immersed in so-called ‘popular culture’ and its associated values as the media might suggest. In the manner of ‘global citizens’, more and more people seem to be concerned by issues of injustice, poverty, the environment and tensions between different cultures.

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Analysis/A voice from parliament

4

We should not be surprised at this. Publicity about globalism and the world being a more interrelated place is perhaps having its effect. A decline in faith in national governments and in even in the notion of nationhood may also be factors. So too may be increase in travel and in cultural pluralism. Access to increasingly wide and diverse sources of information and the expansion of higher education also contribute to people’s ability to identify themselves in new and more expansive ways that defy national borders.

Respondents felt it would take people time to adjust to the new ideas the organisation extols and to ‘buy into’ the novel mechanism, i.e. the system of adoption, whereby Simpol hopes to pressurise politicians. In the interim the oxygen of positive publicity was felt to be vital to giving people more faith in the organisation and in the adoption mechanism as a credible means of effecting desired political change.

Hence many seem to be as motivated by ideas of justice on an international or global level as by anything else. National self-interest is slowly giving way to a feeling that long-term survival depends on cooperation and harmony between people around the globe, and a determination to address environmental problems.

People’s attitudes to political structures can be seen to be slow to change, even though there is widespread dissatisfaction with traditional party politics and the political world order. It will take time and education, through exposure to new political ideas, for most people to find more satisfying alternatives to the party political system they have inherited.

Growing public interest in global issues There is tangible evidence of this shift in political sensibilities among the more thoughtful, even though the media largely fail to acknowledge this. Hence organisations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International command widespread respect beyond their number of active members. Research has revealed that many more would be actively involved in such politics if they had more faith in their ability to change the world for the better. Equally, the traditional wisdom that the British public are more interested in domestic ‘bread and butter’ issues than foreign affairs has been undermined by attitudes to the Iraq War. It is clear that many people are deeply concerned by the issue of Britain’s role in the world. They are concerned by its relationship with the United States and with global cultural conflicts. However, this shift in political sensibilities has as yet found limited scope for public expression and receives little encouragement from the main political parties.

Perceptions of Simpol as a political organisation Widespread support for the environmental and social causes that Simpol seeks to advance suggests that the organisation does not need to expend great efforts on arguing the case for this political agenda. However, the mechanism whereby Simpol seeks to achieve its ends and the organisation’s general credentials raised some credibility issues. This is perhaps highly understandable among a sample that, until being interviewed, had never heard of Simpol and its aims or methods. Hence there was scepticism about Simpol optimistically proclaiming that it could resolve apparently intractable global problems in a manner that is true to ordinary people’s inner values or higher aspirations. This scepticism would seem to be compounded as a result of the painless way in which Simpol claimed it could mobilise people-power to create a brighter future for all. To some extent this flew in the face of the widespread belief that ordinary people live in a corrupt world that makes it difficult for them to change things for the better. Simpol’s lack of establishment and profile, a reflection of its relative newness, exacerbated this credibility. There was also concern about who was behind the organisation.

Simpol’s potential to become a mass movement

However, here too there is evidence that Simpol can meet an underlying need for a new kind of politics. Most people feel that conventional party politics work more for the egos and ambitions of untrustworthy career politicians than for voters. The agendas of the main political parties are also felt to be uninspiring and remote from ordinary people’s higher aspirations. An organisation such as Simpol, that can champion such aspirations over what is perceived as a corrupt top-down authority wielded by untrustworthy people at the top of political parties and corporations, would thus seem to have huge potential. While Simpol has some way to go in terms of building momentum and credibility, the research has shown that the organisation can help to address people’s deep-seated frustrations with conventional politics and their desire for a better world. It can be seen that many are in agreement with the core aims of Simpol and its desire to champion people-power. Of course it may take people time to come to terms with the organisation and to embrace it. In particular they need to be persuaded that the system of adoption can effectively influence events. However, in terms of fundamentals, Simpol clearly has the potential to become a mass movement.

A voice from parliament : In the Belly of the Beast Senator Rachel Siewert of the Australian Greens brings Simpol into the Australian Senate. On 9 October 2004 Rachel Siewert won a seat in the Australian Senate, in an election that saw the conservative Howard Government returned for an historic fourth term.

Australian politics lack representation for progressive agendas For the first time in decades, the Coalition Government

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


A voice from parliament has won a majority in both houses of Parliament. Despite earnest promises to respect the role of the Senate as the house of review, the Government has virtually shut down the Senate’s accountability functions and is treating the place with absolute contempt. Having forced through the privatisation of the national telecommunications carrier by guillotining and gagging debate, the Government is proceeding to a full-scale assault on workers, students, the climate, people on welfare and the union movement. Despite the Government’s evident unpopularity, the Labor opposition has been unable to make any inroads, virtually paralysed by internal divisions and an inability to reinvent itself as a credible alternative government. At the point at which it should have been capitalising on the nation’s opposition to the sale of Telstra, its ex-leader published a diary full of blame and bile that has gutted the party. Australia’s other progressive minor party, the Democrats, began a process of spectacular self-destruction several years ago which saw their representation cut in half at the last election. This has essentially left the Australian Greens as the only progressive voice in Australian politics, a role which has seen us come under sustained attack from the Murdoch media empire and well-funded right-wing Christian extremists. Despite this, we doubled our Senate representation to four and took the national vote to just under a million people (around 7%).

Why the West Australia Greens support Simpol Now the hard work is in front of us – how to advance the progressive agenda against the backdrop of a Prime Minister using the compliant Senate to turn Australia in precisely the opposite direction to that proposed by Simpol. During the election campaign, Simpol advocates in Australia undertook to lobby each and every candidate to sign the Simultaneous Policy pledge, and came up with an impressive haul of 60 candidates (1). The Greens (WA) were the first party in Australia to sign on as a whole. Significantly, however, there was only one signatory from the Labor party and none from the governing coalition parties. It’s relatively easy to see why the Greens would be strong advocates for Simpol. Our economic policies emphasise greater localisation tied with an international trading system that embeds human rights and respect for the planet as an intrinsic part of economic activity. Our history and culture as a party is born out of the global peace, environment and social justice movements, and our political philosophy seeks the broadest possible democratisation. These aims are in significant alignment with the programme under development as the Simultaneous Policy.

Simpol's future in politics is "basic common sense" There is a risk, though, if Simpol is seen as strictly a leftwing project advanced by environmentalists and socialists. The stakes are far too high for this work to be pigeonholed and automatically rejected by other constituencies. The key is to diffuse the concepts

5 broadly through society, pitched clearly as basic common sense. Who can honestly say they support a trade system that keeps people in miserable poverty and is ruining the earth? The ‘tipping point’ will come when signing the SP pledge becomes a genuine electoral advantage for a candidate. Some seats are won and lost on fractions of a percent, and in the heat of a campaign parties will grab any advantage they can. Herein lies a risk that cynical candidates will sign up, figuring it's unlikely they’ll ever have to come good on their pledge, and it will then be up to us to put the pressure on to make sure they honour their commitments (2). In Australia we’ve got plenty of work to do to make sure Simpol's ideals are embedded in political discourse next time the elections come rolling around. To this end, in the immediate future, our work will include helping community groups survive attempts by the Government to shut down their advocacy role, campaigning for workers’ rights, promoting sustainable economics and advancing the wider progressive agenda. We look forward to seeing a lot more MPs pledging support for Simpol in the next Parliament, in which it is essential we take control of the Senate back from the conservatives. _______________________________ Footnotes: 1. Includes a pledge received after the election. 2. Comment from a Trustee of Simpol-UK added via the Editor: "Doubts that candidates would actually carry out their SP Pledges once the time for implementation arrives is often cited as one of SP's potential weaknesses. But if Simpol becomes a decisive and genuine electoral advantage for candidates (which is, after all, the entire purpose of the adoption campaign), it follows that once the time for implementation arrives, to renege on their pledge would be to invite a critical and decisive bloc of voters never to vote for them again. Turkeys wouldn't vote for Christmas and, unless they seek their own demise, neither, John Bunzl suggests, would politicians renege on SP!"

Simpol-Australia National Coordinator: Brian Jenkins Contact: jenks@iinet.net.au The Western Australian Greens undertook to circulate our material to all their 19 candidates, which resulted in the Stop Press announcement of four returned pledges in the Autumn 2004 issue of 'It's Simpol'. But, soon after, a blanket pledge was made out for the entire party by its lead Senate candidate Rachel Siewert. The Greens (WA) thus became the first Australian political party to sign on to SP. (In Australia, Greens are primarily organised at State level, and subscribe to a federal affiliation with The Australian Greens.)

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Thinking aloud about fresh alternatives

Thinking aloud about fresh alternatives : A Personal Contribution to the Monetary Reform Debate Silvano Borruso, SP Adopter in Kenya, gives a brief historical summary of how money came to be created and used, and proposes two reforms for our current debtbased monetary system. Citing examples from the Channel Islands, Austria and China he explains the contradiction between money’s “store of value” and “medium of exchange”. And he suggests that the creation in the 1930s of stable purchasing power via the issue of ‘Gesellian’ currency on a municipal scale can be quoted as an example of successful monetary reform with huge potential benefit. (Contact: silvano.borruso@gmail.com.) From barter to modern government-based monetary systems The very existence of money depends, necessarily and sufficiently, on the division of labour and the endless supply of goods and services that it produces. Take this supply away and money, whatever it’s made of, becomes utterly useless. Given self-sufficiency, barter is the norm. Money embodies demand. As such, it ought to meet supply on equal terms, i.e. waxing and waning pari passu with the waxing and waning of the division of labour and its products. Lycurgus of Sparta (9th century B.C.) understood this. His government issued money made of iron disks rendered brittle by dipping them in acid. Money was thus a medium of exchange, without additional properties, that would turn it into “store of value.” Croesus king of Lydia (6th century B.C.) did not understand. He coined lumps of electrum (an alloy of gold and silver) into money, sparking off the very confusion avoided by Lycurgus, and which still plagues humanity after 26 centuries. He monetized a precious metal. Money, up until then embodying demand as pure medium of exchange, now became part and parcel of supply, and hence “store of value.” It followed that whoever controlled the raw material for money, controlled (and still does) the demand embodied by money, inevitably getting rich at the expense of the producers of goods and services. Croesus monetized gold and became immensely rich (1). Financiers wrested the control of money from governments in the past four centuries or so, and then convinced (or cajoled, or conned, is not up to me to say) them into believing that the way of raising revenue was by going into debt with them, and then taxing the producers of wealth to pay not only for the functions of

6 government, but also for interest on debt. This so-called “public” debt still acts like a ball and chain at the ankle of every government unlucky enough to have fallen into that trap.

Two necessary reforms and how they have been tested in practice It should be clear from the foregoing that two reforms are needed. • •

Money is to be a public service, not a private enterprise. Money’s exclusive purpose is to match the supply of goods and services coming to market thanks to the division of labour. The contradiction “store of value” v. “medium of exchange” ought to be eliminated once and for all.

The first reform was successfully carried out by the Bailiwick of the Channel Islands beginning in 1815. Since then the States of Jersey and Guernsey have issued money and spent it on infrastructures (2). Contrast them with the United Kingdom: the Glasgow Market, built in 1817 on a loan of £60 000, was repaid only in 1956, when it was ripe for demolition. The Channel Tunnel ended up costing almost twice the original estimate of £7bn. The tunnel Authority had to “find” the money by borrowing it from a consortium of 220 banks. All the while, “a pile of several billions of pounds cash [was sitting in a London] bank” (3). If “several” means ± 7, that hoard could have paid for the Chunnel without indebting anyone, and fares would now be shorn of interest. Etc. Governments, and the financial powers feared by them, as Simpol rightly points out, can afford to ignore the success of the puny Islands, as also such suggestions as: “To issue new money as public revenue and put it into circulation as public spending, rather than continuing to allow commercial banks to issue it as profit-making loans. [It] will benefit almost everyone. It reflects the same principle as will make sense for future taxation. The monetary value of common resources should be treated as public revenue. It should not be ‘enclosed’ as private profit" (4). What they can no longer afford to ignore, though, is China’s monetary policy. In 1978 18 Chinese farmers “agreed that they would still pay their grain tax [to government]. But once their obligations were met, they could sell or barter whatever surplus they could coax from the land” (5) . In a single year the bypassing of government restrictions spread like wildfire, triggering off the most spectacular economic boom of all time. Now China is doing on a grand scale precisely what the Channel Islands did, what Robertson recommends, and Silvio Gesell (1862-1930) proposed (6). China does not “borrow.” Its State banks issue money directly into industry and infrastructure capital production, thus fuelling the lightning development of its major (and now minor) cities. But the rut of convention stands in the way of this first reform. After 200 years of “borrowing” and taxing the fruits of people’s labour, a better solution is not obvious.

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


The monetary reform debate Simpol’s task is precisely to remove the scales from ordinary people’s eyes, and through them from those of their political representatives.

Proven success of the ‘Gesellian’ alternative paper currency The first step of the second reform has already been taken by abandoning the gold standard: 1931 (UK and most countries) and 1971 (United States). The second step would consist in getting rid of the contradiction “store of value” v. “medium of exchange” still plaguing paper money. Gesell showed how: separate the monetary unit from the object representing it. The unit keeps a stable purchasing power, but the paper object gradually loses 5% of its nominal value in one year, during which it can move goods and services equal to its nominal value times the number of exchanges. Demand and supply would now meet on a level field (7). Gesellian money succeeded most spectacularly in Wörgl, a railway junction in the Austrian Tyrol, in 1932. A paltry 5,300 Schillings worth of “Work-Certificates” issued by the municipality moved 2.5 million of goods and services by circulating some 450 times in 14 months. A bridge over the River Inn still stands as a witness to that success. Had H.M. Treasury acted similarly with the Channel Tunnel, a paltry 2.5 million pounds of such money, by circulating 400 times in a year for seven years, would have paid for the whole thing at the original estimate. Gesell called it “Free Money.” No country has adopted it, but the first one that did would see usury and its offspring – the public debt, high production costs, unemployment, poverty, inflation/stagnation, etc. – disappear. The Social Question would be solved most peacefully and effectively, and the rest of the world would be effortlessly coaxed into adopting a truly Simultaneous Policy. ________________________ Notes: 1. See Herodotus I, p.30 ff. 2. A virtual visit to the Islands via the web will convince anyone of how beneficial such practice has been. 3. The Economist, 27 July 2002, p.77. 4. James Robertson, Alternative Mansion House Speech, 4 Sep 2000. 5. How Eighteen Farmers Saved China, in China Inc. by Ted Fishman, Scribner, 2005, p.46 ff. 5. 6. Natural Economic Order, Part IV, Chap.2. 7. Some 30 000 communities worldwide issue their own currencies, some on Gesellian principles. Many such attempts languish and fail because there is no true ‘circulation’, i.e. a single point of issue acting also as a point of reception. That’s where Wörgl succeeded, and where national government would unfailingly succeed. In fact, any producer of goods or services for which there is demand would succeed: a consortium of schools, a transport company, a cement factory, a utility company, etc. Their tokens would be denominated in whatever they produce: a teaching period, passenger-kilometres, kilowatt-hours, etc. ______________________

A Footnote about Interest-Free Loans From Peter Challen, Christian Council for Monetary Justice (peter@southwark.org.uk) Silvano Borruso's article is right to recognise the use of interest-free (repayable) loans for productive capital projects (as in Guernsey and the Channel Tunnel), thereby halving or more the cost. It is noted, however, the article mentions such loans in the context of debt-free money which is not repayable. The difference is crucial to acceptance in the world today because debt-free money is perceived as inflationary, not directed capital projects, and exclusive of the private sector. A big momentum is now building behind nationally initiated interest-free loans which, after six international conferences, are undoubtedly winning the argument within Islamic academia. Trisakti University, for instance, is teaching the subject in its postgraduate programme and more universities are following suit. Such developments strengthen the case for monetary reform, and their increasing international acceptability endorses Simpol's decision to adopt this topic as one of its key policy measures. __________________________

Editorial Note: a follow-up contact and extracts from a new book about money Readers will be interested to know that Jill Phillips, Simpol-UK Management Board member (jill4simpol@virgilio.it), is preparing a Simpoltons’ Guide to monetary reform. This is designed to help people new to the topic learn more – easily and enjoyably – about the issues involved. Deidre Kent also offers reader-friendly guidance in Healthy Money, Healthy Planet published this year by Craig Potton (New Zealand). Her approach differs in emphasis from that of James Robertson and John Bunzl in Monetary Reform: Making it Happen (ISPO, 2003), for she writes: “I will argue that to have an abundant, sustainable and just economic system we need interest-free money at every level of organisation – international, national and local – to complement the scarce money we have now.” But the main features of this 322-page book are the clear explanations and solutions that follow from the statement “It is rare to find an economist who acknowledges that at heart there is a structural defect in the financial system, which is leading to escalating debt, a widening gap between rich and poor, and a growth imperative that endangers the survival of the planet.” The text is presented in two main sections, Sick Money and Healthy Money, and ends characteristically with suggestions about what action individuals could take so that money “can be restored to become our servant, not our master.”

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Action on climate change

Action on climate change : Contraction and Convergence (C&C) Policy Measures The exchange of letters with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues As we saw in the Summer issue, Richard Lawson wrote to Alan Richmond of the FCO to persuade the British government, in its international negotiations about climate change, to "show that the UK can give a pledge in principle to support C&C, setting an example for other states to make the same pledge. … The advantage of [the] Simultaneous Policy approach is that the fear of losing competitiveness disappears.” Richmond replied saying “We will continue to consider all proposals. … However, please be assured your views will be forwarded to 10 Downing Street.” In the absence of follow-up, Lawson wrote again in the widely held belief that agreement about decisive global action is now urgent. Here is the outcome, which suggests (a) there is minimal change in the UK Government’s position and, therefore (b), a continuing need for citizens to campaign in support of C&C as the rational and fair negotiating option. (Contact: rlawson@gn.apc.org; www.greenhealth.org.uk.) Tom Franey, Climate Change & Energy Group, FCO, to Lawson, 27 June

8 future international frameworks should address the effects and causes of climate change. However, it is the mainstream view of nations that adhere to scientific rationality that climate change is a process that is beginning to happen now, and that we must address its causes and effects with great urgency. Given that there is divergence, there is a need for leadership, albeit leadership that is sensitive to diverse positions so that it manages to keep the group together. In the context of climate change negotiations, it must surely be the case that Contraction and Convergence is the leading solution, in the sense of being the most robust and equitable, yet most flexible. It is ahead of Kyoto, in the sense that it offers the more radical solution. It is a leading concept that it is progressively gaining acceptance in a wide variety of decision making committees. I am glad to note that you did not dispute the point that it would be possible to put down a Simultaneous Policy Pledge for radical action at the same time as holding exploratory talks in the normal way. The SP pledge would lay down a target that would serve as a focus for the talks. As the talks progressed, other countries would doubtless add their names and weight to the pledge, thus strengthening the seriousness of the subject matter. For this reason, it remains the case in my view that it would be helpful at this stage to pledge support for the most radical and best developed plan available. All this assumes that the FCO does indeed hold to the view that international agreements to limit emissions of greenhouse forcing gases is an overriding priority for this Government. I would be grateful for reassurance on this point. I am pleased to note that you are working in a variety of different fora to create momentum and to look at new ways of engaging the global community in the climate change debate. Does the term global community include civil society?

Thank you for your letter of 29 April 2005 to Alan Richmond about using a ‘Simultaneous Policy’ approach to give a pledge on the contraction and convergence proposals on climate change. I have been asked to reply.

Many thanks for your time in responding to these points.

Given the differing international views on how far future international frameworks should address the effects as well as the causes of climate change, it remains our view that it would not be helpful at this stage to limit our options and pledge support for one idea over another.

The following letter from John Bunzl appeared in The Guardian newspaper in the UK on 4 November 2005.

We are continuing to consider all proposals and options on their merits to find a workable and fair framework for long-term action to effectively tackle climate change. We are also working in a variety of different fora to create momentum and to look at new ways of engaging the global community in the climate change debate. Please be assured that Contraction and Convergence and Simultaneous Policy will remain within those deliberations.

Lawson to Franey, 28 Sep Thank you for your letter of 27 June. I understand that there are widely differing international views on how far

Tony Blair proves the need for SP

“In asserting: ‘The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge’, Tony Blair obscures the fact that economic sacrifices need only be made if nations fail to act together. “At present, any nation moving first to solve global warming would invite capital and corporations to move business and jobs to less regulated, more profitable countries, making progress impossible. MPs from all the main political parties, including New Labour, have recently pledged to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments. The simultaneous implementation of SP by sufficient nations would solve climate change (as well as many other global problems) and remove the risk of economic sacrifice by some nations acting alone.”

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Letter/Campaigning

Letter to the Editor : Meeting Participants from Puglia See Simpol-UK at Work Jill Phillips, a Simpol-UK Management Board member resident in Italy, shares stimulating personal impressions of Simpol-UK’s mid-October meetings. And, citing the example of Somalis living in London (and elsewhere in industrialised countries), ponders the potential for developing a Somali SP Adopters’ Group “spread throughout the world.” This raises an interesting question meriting further discussion: Could displaced ethnic minorities, remaining in close contact and networking internationally, qualify for participation in ISPO alongside national SP organisations? On this visit to London a whole bunch of meetings was planned. I thought it a good opportunity to introduce Susie Crosio, our Simpol-Italia coordinator, to the work being done in UK which would act both as example and inspiration for our work in Italy. Happily, I was right. We attended the Simpol-UK Management Board meeting, the AGM and the Policy Development discussion. Our rich experience is being used to plan our next Simpol gathering. Unlike the UK groups, we are currently more women than men. To date we haven’t been very good at getting people to sign up as Adopters (Aderenti) or Members. This is about to change. We have issued heavily expectant invitations to Men (as well as Women, of course) and anticipate they will volunteer in force as members of our temporary Trustee/Management Board. Watch this space! We were driven to and from the airport by Somalis resident in London. This interested us especially because, at our inaugural meeting, we had asked a Somali vet to talk to us about his country. He had been resident in Puglia for many years, was married to an Italian and had two children. He told us that huge ‘families’ are scattered all over the world, keeping in regular touch through internet. Contacts with people in neighbouring African countries are still impossible to make directly, and must be made via links – usually in the US. Very confusing. Both UK-based drivers confirmed that, though many now have had citizenship of rich countries for many years, most Somalis want to go back to their own (democratic and properly regulated) country, where they might care for their land and families and practice those skills and professions for which they are qualified, rather than performing menial tasks in foreign lands for very little reward. This is an interesting case for ISPO to consider. With citizenships from every which-where, and no doubt nowhere too, concerns are, touchingly, still with their poor African country. Are Somalis unique in this respect?

9 Would a Somali SP Adopters’ Group work if spread throughout the world? Would it be appropriate and of benefit to them? Any ideas/ comments? The hugely exciting thing about Italy at the moment is that it has already succeeded in getting the subject of monetary reform discussed in Parliament, and ideas are already well advanced. The Simpol Yahoo group is reporting. True to my desire for local monetary reform, I’ve succeeded in swapping lessons in Italian for piano tuition, and intend, one way or another, to enter the fray on behalf of the masses who plead ignorance and stupidity when faced with all the – well, ignorance and stupidity, actually, which represent the interests of us all.

Campaigning : Adopters’ Group Activities in the UK Reading Contact Mo Adshead: mo@nkf-mt.org.uk or 018 950 2281. Contribution from Mark Horler: The Mayor of Reading pledged his support for SP as an Adopter at the WOMAD Festival held at Rivermead, Reading, on 31 July. I believe he was simply doing the rounds such as mayors do - but after talking to him at some length he decided to sign up as an Adopter. We were running a stall in the 'one world tent' at WOMAD. Our aim was obviously to sign up as many adopters as possible over the course of the weekend. To this end we signed up some 50 people. On the Saturday, there was a performance on the 'one world stage' by Simpol Theatre entitled 'Changing the rules of globalisation'. This was followed by a talk by John Bunzl and a small Q&A session.

Cambridge Contact Mike Brady: mikebrady@simpol.org.uk Mike was in Brazil over the summer. Find out more at http://mikebradybrazil.blogspot.com/ The next planned policy forum is on ‘Responding effectively to natural disasters’ and will examine the famine in Malawi, which is a ‘forgotten’ crisis. The United Nations is not receiving requested support, in contrast to the Asian Tsunami at the end of last year. Should responses be dependent on the interest of politicians and the media or should there be a mechanism incorporated in the Simutlaneous Policy? See http://www.pledgebank.com/dealwithdisaster/ if you are interested in attending.

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Campaigning/Policy development process

10

Penzance

October.

Contact Barnaby Flynn: barnawasp@hotmail.com or 07951 905396. Contribution from Barnaby:

In the event, 16 people attended the meeting, held at Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London on 15 October 2005. All were Adopters, some were members of the Simpol-UK Management Board and Board of Trustees.

The Big Green Gathering went ok but could have gone better. We got stuck in the car park that was the M5 on the Saturday and by the time we got there it was early evening. 7 hours it took us. We did the stall for five hours on the Sunday. We only got a few adopters, but spoke to a lot of people who took away flyers. The most common objections were down to total distrust of politicians to which I responded with quotes from FAQs on the website, and said they would become accountable. I also spoke to people from Schnews, The Ecologist magazine and to those at New Inernationalist. I said that I would send them some more info as SP was favourably recieved by them all. We should organise a paid stall at the next festival as there was incredible networking potential.

Bristol Contact Rob Wicke: rw3075@bristol.ac.uk.

Hull and Humber Contact Richard Speight: r_d_speight@hotmail.com.

Campaign resources A campaign pack including information sheets and resources can be downloaded from the Simpol-UK website. A film on campaigning for SP has been produced by Cambridge SP Adopters’ Group. It lasts 55 minutes and topics include: running a stall, holding a policy forum, campaigning at elections, working with the media and presenting SP (with a theatre piece and a talk by John Bunzl, author of The Simultaneous Policy). Printed copies of the campaign pack and DVDs and videos of the film can be ordered via www.simpol.org.uk or contact mikebrady@simpol.org.uk or 07986 736179.

Simpol-UK’s Policy Development Process : Findings of the Adopters’ discussion meeting held in London on 15 Oct On 25 July an open invitation was sent to UK Adopters via email and posted on the website inviting participation in a planning meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how policy development would work in the UK in practice. Adopters were also invited to submit written proposals. Two were received and posted on the website. These were drawn to the attention of Adopters in the reminder for the meeting, which was scheduled for 15

The format for the meeting was: • • • • •

Introductions Update on the SP campaign – John Bunzl (Trustee of Simpol-UK) Brainstorm on the policy development process – Tony Harvey (Member of Management Board) Discussion and planning – coordinated by Mike Brady (Member of Management Board) The Founding Declaration – presented during the discussion by Patrick Andrews (Secretary of Simpol-UK)

A full report of the meeting is available on the Simpol-UK website, or on request from Simpol-UK. The key actions arising from the meeting are as follows:

Policy Committee The Management Board is to form a provisional Policy Committee. All UK Adopters are invited to put themselves forward to participate in this. Attention will be given to ensuring representation of sexes and minorities. Contact Simpol-UK using info@simpol.org.uk or the address given on page 2 if you are interested. Before the next AGM details of the working of the Policy Committee will be developed so that Adopters can be invited to stand for election. The Committee will be elected at or before the AGM in 2006.

Equal Opportunities The on-line Adoption form and, where possible, printed forms when updated, will include an Equal Opportunities type survey. Data will be gathered and kept in accordance with Equal Opportunities best practice. The Management Board will use the data to ensure that both sexes and minorities are properly included in the campaign and will develop strategies as necessary to ensure this is the case. On-line discussion group A UK specific on-line policy discussion group will be established when traffic on the current international group rises to a level to warrant this change.

Policy suggestions A standard form will be developed and disseminated online and in published form to encourage Adopters to submit policy suggestions to the Policy Committee. The Committee will accept proposals whether on the form or not. (Thanks to Adopter David Smith for his suggested format, which will be adapted for this purpose.)

Policy dissemination The Policy Committee will publicise policy suggestions coming from Adopters.

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


Policy development process/News Briefs Local groups will be encouraged to appoint a Policy Officer and this person, or another person in the group, should keep other members of the group informed of policy suggestions posted on the website.

Policy ranking The Policy Committee will organize voting on policy areas to be completed by the time of the next Simpol-UK Annual General Meeting. The possibility of having an on-going on-line voting system to rank policy areas/policies on the website will be investigated.

Further discussion of the policy development process A meeting open to all Adopters will be held prior to the AGM in 2006 to review the policy development process.

News Briefs New supporters in the USA : John Bunzl (Simpol-UK Trustee) writes: “I'm delighted to advise you that SP Adopter, Cynthia Josayma, of Berkeley, CA (cjosayma@earthlink.net), has volunteered to take over the responsibility of National Campaign Coordinator for the USA. The brief bio that follows shows the depth of Cynthia's experience and commitment.” “Cynthia Josayma, Principal, Bridgings Associates, a consultancy company specializing in connecting interactive technologies with collaborative planning techniques to enhance public and private decisionmaking. “She has worked on local to global environmental policy issues for over 15 years with a core emphasis on developing innovative conflict management and multifunctional assessment tools for managing public natural resources. “Ms. Josayma has organized and spoken at numerous international conferences, including the World Trade Organization; World Forestry Congress; World Affairs Council; World Bank; World Resources Institute; Public Interest Law Conference; East-West Center, Hawaii, and University of California, Berkeley. Clients and partner organizations include the UN/FAO, Rome, Forestry Policy & Planning; USDA, International Forestry; numerous NGOs, and ministries of environment in countries across Asia, including China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, as well as in the US, Latin America & Canada.” When Nina Hagen, a prominent recording artist and Simpol supporter (see websites

11 http://www.ninahagen.com and http://ninahagen.beepblog.de) heard that Cynthia had taken over as US Coordinator from Richard Stimson, she wrote: “HI! Wonderful to get this news! I’m from Berlin in Germany but live and work also in the USA. I'm in contact with Ursulina in Germany, and I am recording a DEMO with my band for the German SIMPOL-SONG ... Ursulina gave us great lyrics for it; we wrote the music and I and a couple of other German artists will record it. “I am touring the USA a lot with my band and I am also working on my own TV-SHOW with funtastic American TVShow-producers. We aim for hitting the airwaves in 2006! In all my shows and appearances I always tell my audiences about SIMPOL, and I hope that SIMPOL'S existence will be a common and well known fact to people all over our blue planet a.s.a.p.! Much LOVE and Energy, Nina Hagen”

Welcome, also, to H R Shankaranarayana, as National Coordinator for India He is a professor and programme director at the Acharya Institute of Management Sciences, Bangalore (www.acharyainstitutions.org and www.acharyaims.ac.in) and writes: “I have a masters degree in economics, and my Ph.D. in business administration is in its final stages. I am a member of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), Johns Hopkins, and a founder-member of the Third Sector Research Interest Group (India), Mysore. I have produced a status paper titled Third Sector in Karnataka: a Status Paper, funded by the Ford Foundation. Karnataka state is a federal entity of the union of India with a population of 50 million about the size of Germany. I was invited by TRADCO, a trading organisation, to undertake a Europen Union study involving such countries as Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. The study was concerned with the role of social capital in international trade.”

Mail-Art Project CD published Joe Fleury (atombombix@yahoo.com) writes: The Simpol Mail-Art Project is now finished. It has entries from 16 countries: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay and the USA. A CD-ROM has been sent to all participants. It includes all the art and music: • •

CD-audio: music on the theme 'simultaneous' (playable on any CD player) CD-data: • information in html on ISPO (four languages) taken from www.simpol.org • web album (images: see sample on page 12)

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


News Briefs • •

SP PowerPoint slideshow(s): images (+ background music) all the music in mp3 format.

The slideshows replace the original idea of exhibiting the artwork in public places but they work only on Windows computers. Should anyone be interested, I would be glad to make up some more copies on a CD-ROM and ship them out. For ordering information see: http://members.pingnet.ch/nbt/ispo.htm. And the web gallery can be found at: http://members.pingnet.ch/nbt/SIMPOL/index.html.

12 They were adopted by the meeting. Election of Trustees. Mr Andrews informed the meeting that Mr Bunzl and Mr Challen were retiring by rotation at this meeting. Since Mr Hunt had already resigned, this meant there were three available places on the board of trustees. Mr Challen was willing to stand again and Isabelle Dodds and Mike Brady had put their names forward. The secretary and chair had decided not to hold an election before the meeting since the number of candidates did not exceed the number of places. However, at the meeting the members were unwilling to let the candidates be appointed without a vote. Mr Challen and Mr Brady, being present, introduced themselves. Ms Dodds was not present; instead Mr Bunzl outlined briefly what he knew of her, mentioning that she was a fairly early Adopter of the Simultaneous Policy. A vote was then held and the three candidates were duly elected as trustees of the company. The trustees were asked to improve the election process for next year.

(Simpol Mail-Art image created by Ruggero Maggi)

Edited Report on Simpol-UK’s Annual General Meeting, London, 15 Oct 2005 Welcome. John Bunzl, chair of the board of trustees, welcomed everyone and gave an outline of the discussion on the policy development process held earlier in the day. This represented an important step forward for the organisation, policy development being a key aspect of SP. Mr Bunzl offered his sympathy to the family of Colin Morley, an Adopter who was killed in the London bombings in July. Strategic Plan. Mike Brady presented an outline of the company's progress against the strategic plan. He mentioned the lack of success in obtaining funding. He suggested that in part this might be down to a credibility gap: donors might question whether a small, young organisation like Simpol could really change the world. He mentioned an idea being considered by the Management Board, which is to organise a competition entitled "The World I choose in 2030". Mr Brady outlined the activities of Simpol through its local groups, gave a report from the May UK elections, and told of Simpol’s mentions in the press in the prior year. Mr Bunzl reported on international developments. He asked Susan Crosio from Italy to say a few words. She indicated that Simpol-Italia is just starting up and said she is here as an observer of Simpol-UK. There is a new coordinator in the United States and, potentially, in East Africa. Accounts. The company secretary, Patrick Andrews, presented the accounts for the year ending 4 April 2005.

Governance. Mr Andrews presented ideas on possible variations to the governance of the company. This was then opened out to the meeting. Members then split into small groups to discuss the issues. After receiving their feedback, Mr Andrews said that the trustees and managers would give further consideration to the question and, if appropriate, bring a firm proposal to the following year's AGM. SP in Context. To conclude the meeting, Mr Bunzl made a presentation on SP. Having been approached by evolutionary biologists, including the eminent Elisabet Sahtouris, who believe that SP satisfies the conditions to serve as a tool for evolutionary change, Mr Bunzl had given some further thought to the characteristics of SP. His presentation sought to put SP in an evolutionary context and to show why it was a key technology to take humanity forward to the next level of evolution. (Based on minutes prepared by Patrick Andrews.)

ISPO National Coordinators Australia: Brian Jenkins jenks@iinet.net.au Belgium: Georges Drouet pi@3-1416.org Brazil: Mike Brady (acting) mikebrady@simpol.org.uk Cameroon: Betrand Tietcheu btietcheu@yahoo.fr Canada: Diana Jewell peoplepower@shaw.ca East Africa: George Omondi omondi@world-wide-democracy.net France: Baptiste Heraly bheraly@simpol.org Germany: Ursulina Telberg her-tel@brennercom.net India: H. A. Shankaranarayana meghasandesha@yahoo.com Italy: Susana Crosio sima1958@libero.it Mali: Kiki Paquet kikpaq@animail.net Nepal: Gopal Siwakoti inhured@enet.com.np New Zealand: Rhyl Jansen rhyl@ihug.co.nz Pakistan: Zubaida Hussain daima@brain.net.pk UK: John Bunzl jbunzl@simpol.org Uruguay: Ricardo Cetrulo cetrulo@adinet.com.uy USA: Cynthia Josayma cjosayma@earthlink.net

The Simultaneous Policy • www.simpol.org


/simpol-05-autumn