- The world is top heavy. Industrialised countries are dramatically out of balance with nature. It would take a land area more than twice the size of Britain to produce all our food and raw materials, and to absorb our waste and pollution. Because there is only one Britain, we use other people’s land and expect the environment to soak up our pollution and waste. Countries in the rich North, with only a quarter of the world’s population, consume most of its resources and pump out four-fifths of greenhouse gas emissions.
- It is no good now pointing out that the South started from the same base and had the same opportunities. The North has exploited its economic resources – as well as those of the South – and got rich in the process. If it values tropical rainforests, among other things, it has to provide a convincing reason why the South should not destroy them in its drive to catch up. Many countries owe more in debt repayments and interest than they earn a year from exports and Africa spends four times as much on debt repayment as it does on healthcare. Communities in these countries are being forced to destroy their environments and ransack their natural resources in a vain attempt to pay back such debts. Deforestation leads to desertification, increasing global warming still further.
- The socially corrupting divide between rich and poor is growing at home and abroad. Consumption and growth dominate conventional politics, but when we measure the things that determine quality of life, it is clear that Britain is getting poorer. The costs of our increasingly stressful way of life outweigh the material advances of the last thirty years. To replace it, we need a just economy that produces for need not greed, distributes wealth equitably, operates within the ecological limits of the planet, and involves everyone in providing for their family and community.
- Europe must take its share of responsibility for the imbalances in the world’s economy. Trade protectionism in the North costs the South an estimated $100 billion a year from agricultural products and $50 billion from textiles. To free developing countries to produce food for themselves, not export, we must end the dumping of EU surpluses on their markets.
- Debt needs to be restructured so that countries are given breathing space to develop economically and socially. Debtor states should restrict debt servicing to 10% of their annual export earnings and spread payments over longer periods at fixed interest rates. Meanwhile, trade that makes the developing countries more dependent must be avoided and instead we should support real sustainable economic initiatives.
A regionalist government in Wessex will:
- seek to develop greater regional self-sufficiency, progressively reducing the ‘ecological footprint’ of Wessex
- work for the rescheduling of debt in the world’s poorest countries.
Meanwhile, the Wessex Regionalists will:
- campaign for the public sector to take the lead in reducing unnecessary imports into Wessex.