Acronyms become a natural part of your conversation after a couple of days at the COP climate talks. One that's heard in every second sentence is NDCs - Nationally Determined Contributions - the offers to cut emissions that countries made in Paris in 2015, and that need to be being stepped up soon.
In one week, the Green Party and former Asda boss Andy Clarke have come to the same conclusion: we have to end the use of unnecessary single-use plastics. That perhaps surprising political convergence is a sign of just how far the issue has risen up the agenda.
This isn't good enough. The Fourth Estate is crucial in a democracy. We need one that works. It could start by refusing the return to sources that have demonstrably provided fake news. Although that might create a problem in finding government sources.
We're at a time of great change now, of tremendous possibility. The cruel neoliberal, neo-Thatcherite policies that have dominated Britain in the past four decades are clearly on their way out, and there's an opportunity to build something new.
We're in an age in which the people are demanding change, demanding to take back control of their communities, of our economy, and the Chancellor has again demonstrated this government is operating for the 1%, not the rest of us.
There should be many more, steps like this, much more action to make our prisons useful, rehabilitative places. But what is also needed is far more useful steps outside prisons, to set young lives on different paths.
The lack of action to ban supermarket promotions of junk food with buy one get one free deals and multipacks, as well as the failure to act on advertising junk aimed specifically at children during popular family television programmes and on the internet, are just two of the areas in which action had been expected, but wasn't delivered. Limiting fast food outlets near schools and colleges is a further area crying out for action.
We need to hand the power to the people. That clearly means, in the immediate future, a general election. And then it means profound electoral reform - a fair voting system that produces a government that reflects the will of the people. That means proportional representation. It means an elected House of Lords. It means a will to ensure a society in which no one is left hungry, no one homeless, no one stranded without hope of a decent life. It means a society that lives within the environmental limits of our one fragile planet.
Before negotiations start, we need to know what we're asking for. That has to mean a General Election - that's the only way we can reach a mandate on a way forward. We'd have a minimum period of months (the earliest practical date would be early November) to debate, discuss, inform voters, who'll then be able to weigh up the offers by various parties.
When it comes to planning to rebalance the British economy away from our dangerous, unproductive reliance on the financial sector, the model of German banking, with regional and local banks that fund and support small and medium enterprises for the long haul has a lot to offer. Of course we can also work with knowledge and skills from other parts of the world outside the EU, but by being already partners, members of the same union, the impetus for cooperation is stronger, the frameworks clearer, the funding available for cross-EU work ready for applications.
They're better off in the EU, as we're better off with stronger policies for sustainable agriculture and fisheries to secure our future food supply that come from being part of the EU where these
industries are a central part of political concerns.
Britain deserves a factual, broadly focused, debate featuring a wide range of voices: the voices of scientists and green campaigners, small business people and historians, pensioner advocates and youth activists, MEPs who can talk about the work they do and bureaucrats and campaigners who've worked in Brussels who can explain how the EU actually works. That's not what we've had up until now. But it isn't too late.
I know some will find my decision not to re-stand for the leadership hard to understand, and I've been moved by the generous words of support from many party members and supporters urging me to continue, but I hope that my decision will help make it clear that the Green Party doesn't operate like other political parties, with a steep hierarchy up which many are seeking to scramble, while those at the top defend their positions. We're a team, we work together and support each other.
Given the state of our economy, our society, our environment, we can no longer wait that long. We need to elect more Greens, put Greens in power, to deliver a new society that works for the common good, not just the 1% of the richest, within the environmental limits of our one fragile planet.
04/05/2016 15:09 BST
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