When the financial crisis hit and the global economy plunged into recession, many people argued that it would be a perfect opportunity for a “Green New Deal”, were the recovery would be built by green sustainable jobs.
You could solve the financial and climate crisis in one. But governments around the world have poured trillions into propping up banks and writing off toxic assets and debts in taxpayer’s money that has literally gone down the drain.
But whilst the banks have been saved, other companies are being allowed to fail, even though they are far more sustainable.
The British government is under increasing pressure to intervene in the case of the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas which is trying to close its wind blade factory on the Isle of the Wight with the loss of 600 jobs.
Vestas is arguing that there is not enough demand from the UK’s expanding wind energy sector, and it has to move its plant to the US, where the demand is greater. This is despite the fact there are over 3000 wind turbine applications in the planning system.
This argument does not wash with the plant’s workers and unions. The wind turbine workers are not giving up without a fight and for the last sixteen days have been barricaded into the factory. They have now vowed to continue occupying the site despite a judge granting Vestas an eviction order yesterday.
So far the British government have refused to intervene. The UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, has said he had done all he can for the plant.
This stance has angered the unions. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper they showed the hypocricy of the government position, arguing that “people will find it difficult to understand that just as the government has recently set out its low-carbon transition plans to tackle climate change, England’s only large wind turbine manufacturing plant is scheduled to close.” For the blog on the recent transition plan – see here.
As this morning, six employees of Vestas Wind Systems have stayed inside the building at Newport despite the legal ruling.
One of those is Mark Smith. In an interview with the Mirror newspaper, he argues the protest is “about our future, my daughter and the future of everyone else who works here …. We’ve had support from all over the world which is really encouraging.”
As the workers dig in, the protests are spreading. Ealrier this week a group of activists were arrested after supergluing themselves together outside Miliband’s department in support of the Vestas workers.
They held up a banner saying: “Take back the wind power”.
So the government is prepared to take back the banks into public ownership but not a wind turbine company.
What kind of message is that ..