Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Priorities for my work in the EU

I write at the end of a busy first week. There's been little time to think so far, because the complexities of embarking on a complicated life in two countries, while trying to do the marking and other commitments of a university job, leave little chance for real politics. I've even gone rather quiet on Twitter which is a shame, as much is going on and I could have had a good go at the indignities of a nation and a Queen forced to host the offensive climate-change-denying "leader" of the nation that some people want us to become enslaved to (in order to get our country back).

One of the things I want to think about, in preparing to take up office in Brussels is to which of the many aspects of Green politics I want to pay most attention. I don't need to do all of it, because I am only one of a really substantial UK contingent of Green MEPs, so that's good. And anyway no one can do all of it.

Partly my focus will be determined by what committees and delegations I get assigned (I've put in my bids on that front, but I'm not going to tell you what they are till I know whether I got the ones I wanted!).

But in addition, I want to find a way of engaging with other things, but without diversifying too broadly. To keep my work focused and manage my time, let's make a list of priority areas of special interest. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on these. My first one is described below.

Animal welfare:
This interest relates to my work on the Vegan Studies Network at UEA, and my support for Compassion in World Farming (which I inherited from my Aunt). I'd like to do some work in connection with the horrors of intensive factory farming of animals, and live exports etc. Animal welfare, the economics and benefits of traditional small scale livestock practices, good farming and good food. The problems of intensive farming of crops, pesticides, weedkillers and the loss of biodiversity that goes with factory production. The problem of imports of food, including palm oil, to service the plant-oil requirements of vegetable diets. The problem of imports of soya for intensively farmed cattle. And so on.

So this focus, let's call it good food and good welfare, with the ethics of traditional mixed farming in mind. Whose land is it anyway?

This is one theme, though it need not necessarily be placed as number one priority in a hierarchy.
I will continue with some other ones later and summarise the list when I've finished. Need to stop now for a meeting!

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