Caroline Lucas: Grotesque profiteering that has to stop

Share
Related Topics

I've become the first Leader of the Green Party at a time when progressive leadership has never been more urgent. We face the interconnected challenges of recession, soaring oil prices and climate change, but the leadership of the establishment parties has been so timid as to actually deepen the crisis.

When the fuel crisis started to bite, a strong leader would have set their sights on achieving energy independence. Instead, our prime minister went running to the profiteers-in-chief to beg for just enough more oil to keep us dependent. Just three of these companies – BP, Centrica, and Shell – together made £1000 profit every second over the first 6 months of this year. Every penny that the oil price inches up, is a new surge of cash from the pockets of working families, students, the elderly and the disabled, directly into the bank accounts of the world's petro-giants.

And the burden falls heaviest on working families, students, the elderly and the disabled. For every 10 per cent that the price of fuel rises, another 400,000 people are plunged into fuel poverty. We urgently need to introduce a windfall tax on the grotesque profits that companies are making from the growing energy crisis.

The energy giants like to throw their hands up – market conditions, global movements, nothing to do with us. And they are getting away with it, because this spineless government lacks the political courage to introduce a tougher regulatory regime.

But this money, pulled from your pocket by the basic need to stay warm, doesn't disappear into thin air. It disappears into the wallets of the men – and they are almost all men – at the top of the global pyramid of injustice whose corporations are robbing from the poor to give to the rich and they know it. It's about time they learned that in a progressive democracy, there is no place for robber barons. The money reclaimed from oil giants' pockets through a windfall tax should be immediately invested in getting us out of the mess they put us in.

When the world faced economic depression back in the early 1930s, it was President Roosevelt's New Deal that got people back to work with a massive investment in infrastructure. Today we stand on the brink of a crisis which is both economic and environmental. We need a Green New Deal in response.

A Green New Deal would rein in the economic gambling, and reunite finance with real resources and work. It would provide secure investments for pensions and savings, using that capital to kick-start a massive public and private works programme to cut energy use and create high-quality jobs.

The core would be a 21st-century project to make the nation's buildings truly energy efficient, starting with providing free insulation to every home as Green councillors are already doing so successfully in Huddersfield. Second, we know we need massive investment in renewable energy to secure our energy supplies for the future, protect ourselves against oil price fluctuations, reinvigourate our manufacturing sector and combat climate change.

The Green New Deal is one of the most hopeful ideas in British Politics today, and over the next two years, the Green Party will be putting it at the heart of our policy development. We can beat – and turn back – the rising price of heating your home, the cost of living and the threat to our livelihoods. A Green New Deal means making that happen, not wishing it will. That's what we need from our leaders.

The writer is leader of the Green Party

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent