Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news…

A pile of newspapers with text overlaid reading "Voices on the Left"

1.How the Net Zero Backlash is Tied to Climate Denial – and Brexit- DeSmog

DeSmog has a brilliant piece on how the current backlash against Net Zero and campaigns for a referendum on the issue are linked to both climate denial and Brexit.

Taking a deeper look at the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG), a group of around 20 Tory MPs opposed to the ‘net zero agenda’, the piece highlights how it is linked to the climate science denying Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) as well as think tanks that pushed for Brexit.

It states: “The NZSG has roots in the libertarian network behind the push for a “hard” Brexit, including the European Research Group (ERG), which Baker chaired. Many of the same politicians, think tanks and donors that backed Brexit are deeply involved in opposing climate action. Nigel Farage recently joined the fray with his campaign for a “net zero referendum”, an effort steeped in climate science denial.”

Exploring the links between the NZSG and GWPF it adds: “The MP group’s ties to the GWPF are extensive. In August 2021, NZSG chair Craig Mackinlay told Bloomberg that his new parliamentary group would use GWPF research for its campaigning. Meanwhile, two NZSG members are current or former trustees of the GWPF: Steve Baker MP joined the GWPF as a trustee in May 2021, and NZSG member Lord Peter Lilley is a former GWPF trustee.”

2. Ministers are refusing to take action on racial discrimination – so we must fight –LabourList

Imran Hussain has written an opinion piece for LabourList on discrimination against people from ethnic minority backgrounds in Britain, and how it is often overlooked in workplaces.

Imran writes: “Such discrimination takes many different forms, from blatant bullying and harassment, which must always be called out and always prosecuted, to unconscious biases that hold them back from promotion, see them working fewer hours or leave them earning less than their colleagues.”

Imran slams the government for making a lack of progress on the issue, especially when it comes to disparities in pay.

He adds: “According to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics, there is a wide variation in the ethnicity pay gap across the country, growing to as large as 24% in London, which sees people from BME backgrounds earn less than their colleagues. Yet, despite numerous warnings and repeated calls from both businesses and trade unions, the government continues to sit on its hands rather than tackle the problem.”

3. MPs raked in £500,000 while government flip-flopped over second jobs –openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy reveals how the 20 highest-earning MPs raked in nearly half a million pounds from second jobs in the four months it took the government to U-turn on plans for a clampdown.

Among the MPs named are former prime minister Theresa May and the Conservative MP and barrister Geoffrey Cox. The revelations come after Tory ministers quietly dropped plans to cap MPs’ earnings from second jobs following the lobbying scandals involving the likes of Owen Paterson last year.

4. The Tory War on Public Transport –Tribune Magazine

Karl Hansen writes for Tribune on how the cost of living crisis has impacted people’s ability to pay for travel and how public transport can be an alternative but only if the Tories reverse their obsession with privatization and increase funding.

Hansen writes: “High levels of car dependency that leave working people exposed to rising fuel costs are not an inevitability; they are the result of bad public policy. For years, governments have sought to keep down the cost of motoring while driving up the cost of public transport above the cost of living, thus creating an incentive to drive. The result of this war on public transport is that car dependency has reached a fifteen-year high.

“Public transport not only suffers from chronic underfunding, it has been devastated by privatisation and deregulation. Control and ownership of buses and rail was gifted to the private sector, resulting in fragmented and poorly run services that have prioritised shareholder profits over the provision of a public service.”

5. Six million on verge of fuel poverty –Morning Star

The Morning Star features a piece on how fuel poverty will impact working class communities up and down the country.

“Worst hit will be working-class areas in the Midlands and Yorkshire including Bushbury South and Low Hill area of Wolverhampton, with 88 per cent of homes in fuel poverty.

“Washwood Heath in Birmingham, Castle and Priory in Dudley, Shelton in Stoke will see more than 80 per cent in fuel poverty and Smallbridge and Wardleworth in Rochdale, Bramley in Leeds, Richmond in Sheffield, Derwent in Derby and Nechells in Birmingham with just under 80 per cent.”

William Baker, of Solutions to Tackle Energy Poverty, said local authorities face a “tsunami of fuel poverty” in coming months and needed government resources to deal with it.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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