You have until February 20th to reply to City Council’s request for public opinion on their proposed actions. While of course it is very important to save this library or that swimming pool from closure it’s also important
a) to realise that when councillors join in “save this…” or “save that…” campaigns they may well have tacit permission from the leadership, and that the decision has already been made to spare whatever-it-is. The result is that these “rebellious” back-benchers get to look powerful and the Council gets to look responsive. See Orwell’s “1984” for more info.
b) to keep a view on the big big picture – of the growth economy as a suicide machine for this species. Personally, the MCFly co-editors will be sending in versions of this model letter below from the Steady State Manchester group (of which they are both members).
Manchester residents have until 20th February to respond to the councils consultation to the proposed 2013-5 budget. Below is a model letter for your councillor / response to consultation. Please do personalise it. You can respond via http://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200024/consultations/5921/budget_consultation_2013-2015
I/we welcome the opportunity to express my/our views about Manchester’s proposed spending plans.
I am concerned that the proposals emphasise the City’s priorities as strong and sustainable economic growth and growing our economy to create jobs. The global economy is almost 5 times the size it was 50 years ago. Such growth has an unsustainable environmental cost and despite growth more than a quarter of children in Manchester live in severe poverty (the highest rate in the country). More than one in twenty working age adults is unemployed. Yet it has now been demonstrated repeatedly that economic growth does not clearly bring benefits in terms of well-being.
Many of those with jobs are poorly paid, and rely on benefits to make ends meet. The price of energy and resources and the cost of living go up and up. This situation will worsen as climate and resource shocks batter the global and local economy alike so the city needs to emphasise economic, social and ecological resilience as cornerstones of its strategy.
The city now urgently needs a planned approach to a society where we can all live a good life, satisfied with enough, without seeking endless growth and accumulation, respecting the planetary limits: which takes seriously both the mitigation of climate change (through radically decreasing emissions) and adapting to the climate change that is already gathering. This will mean a re-balancing and re-localising of the local economy.
I/we was/were very encouraged that the full council invited Professor Kevin Anderson to address them on 30th January and by Sir Richard Leese’s powerful blog post “Apocalypse Now”, published the following day where he reports that Prof Anderson told the councillors that if we want to have any chance of keeping the rise between 2 and 4 degrees we have to act now. As Sir Richard says “… how much of a gamble do we want to take with our future and our children’s future?”. Please keep up the good work and start now.
There are citizens working on options for Manchester for a sustainable, more equitable future where all Manchester citizens live well. Manchester led the way in the industrial revolution; I/we urge you to now lead the way by introducing a steady state approach. I/we recommend that Manchester City Council works to develop the ideas in Steady State Manchester’s report In Place of Growth: Practical steps to a Manchester where people thrive without harming the planet and their response to the budget consultation as a basis for strategic direction so Manchester can ensure all its citizens have a future, and can live well and equitably.