For those of you who do not know it, the BNP is the British National Party and they are a rightwing ploitical party who believe in repatriation of foreign nationals if they do not contribute to society and until very recently did not permit any members who were not white british. Their party leader has previously been on record as a hlocaust denier.You get the picture; a bunch of racists really.
They were given airtime on the BBC QuestionTime on thursday and there has been this almighty debate since the about the rights and wrongs of such a move and whether they have benefited from the showing.
I do beleive that it was right to give them air time, and it was also right that they got a pasting from the audience and fellow members of the panel. The only thing I would have changed was to make the event spefically focussed on multi-culturalism.
But this raises an important and worrying trend, that the BNP is getting popular support - and although the support is a minority, it is still there. In the UK we need to be open and confront these issues. We are a liberal and open society and pluralistic by nature.We should debate and show them up for what they truly are; racists and irrelevant to any future UK government or ploicy making.
But I have noticed that some are suggesting that we should go further and infiltrate their organisation by joining whatever colour we are, black, white, pink and gold.
Great idea, let’s get in there and piss on their party!
Very busy at the moment and having to get up with the birds and worms to get into work by 6am. One advantage, however, has been that I can listen to Radio 4 and to the joys of Farming Today and the weather forecast ( you know the one (Dogger, Biscay etc). Whilst I find the weather rather less than captivating, I have been fascinated in the debates taking place on Farming Today. In particularly this week, the programme has been looking at organic farming covering such issues as value, costs, market share, flexibility and today, brand and communication.
The brand advisor was saying that one of the biggest problems was that the message on organics remains, in his view, confusing. They are trying to sell too much and need to keep in simple.
This got me thinking about our brand and message. Here at base, we have been debating whether or not our message is clear enough or whether we need to simplify. We could sell so many things, but what is the most important. We have four steps to achieving PP;measure, reduce, invest, report. If there was one thing that we stood for, what should it be?
The reason for this debate is that we are getting some push back on our requirement for ‘investment to offset your unavoidable emissions’. That old offset debate again!! My personal position is clear; if we do not recognise and support poorer nations in their need for financial support into low carbon technologies, then there will be no solution to climate change.
The problem is that many people and companies still think that offsetting is a bad thing and that it should not be done for the foreseeable future until we have met our reduction targets. I can see the logic in this, but it sort of avoids tackling this massive issue and to me speaks of self-interest. I mean who else should take responsibility for the mess already created - its not the poorer countries carbon so we cannot expect them to agree to clean it up- so who else if not us….
So we are debating whether to drop or adapt the requirement for ‘investment’ and make it all about delivering reductions and voluntary offsetting.
Just back from Tel Aviv where I am working as a client representative on a new eco-building. The project is called the Porter school of Environmental Science and is being funded through a donation by the Porter Foundation. They want it to be the greenest building in Israel and they are looking to achieve at least LEED Gold, if not then Platinum. Quite ambitious, but having just had a 2 day review with the team I very optimistic that we will be able to deliver.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that delivering a green building is a very different process and we are having to challenge the old ways of working. Bottom line is that more work has to be done earlier and that there is a far greater requirement for integration of disciplines and good communication. It is also clear that the process of delivery requires a different attitude; one that is proactive and hungry for innovation. As you can imagine, I have had to bang the table quite a few times in order to get things moving along as we want. We submit next month for permit.
The building seems to have caught a moment in time when a new momentum is building to find green solutions. It’s like the country has suddenly awoken from a deep green sleep to find that everyone else has moved on! So now there is the new Israeli Green Building Council and new initiatives popping up all over the country. The interesting thing is because there is so much solar radiation that they have a fantastic opportunity to develop ultra low carbon buildings using on-site renewables. They also have a feed in tariff for PV cells.