Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Labour party research.......

If you type "Buy Rainforest" into Google, at the top, or near the top, the World Land Trust website pops up. Yet Frank Field has apparently persuaded David Miliband, Secretary for Environment, that what is needed is a new initiative to "promote the idea of a worldwide trust which would allow individuals and companies to buy up chunks of tropical rainforest and save it from destruction" (Guardian, 2 October).

According to the Telegraph (2 Oct)"The plan is the brainchild of Frank Field, the Labour MP and former minister. It appeals to the Prime Minister and Mr Miliband, according to their officials, because it would "capture the imagination of the world" and "bring the international community together".

But both emphasise the idea is at an early stage and admit that there would be "sovereignty issues" involving the government of Brazil, which is home to almost all the Amazon rainforest."


Perhaps someone who knows messrs Miliband or Field could point out that the WLT has been doing just what they propose for 17 years, and are only hampered by lack of funding. And even the sovereignty issues have been sorted by the WLT.


  1. I find this hilarious. It just goes to show that politicans have zero research skills. It also sounds rather frightening: "wholesale 'privatisation' of the rainforest"! (I always shudder when I hear the word privatisation uttered by a politician.) And they want to "bring the international community together". I don't suppose they have considered involving the local communities...

  2. But I thought everyone understood what party "conferences" were really all about: A thinly veiled opportunity for slack-jawed politicians to grandstand, yabbering emotively at high volume and witter on at nauseating length about all things they'll never do, don't really want to do and can't do even if they did actually want to do them.

    Of course they're 17 years behind the rest of us. It'd be bloody frightening if they did know about stuff - think of all the trouble they'd cause.

  3. Perhaps a tad cynical. Afterall, it is surely a good thing that politicians are realising that deforestation is actually an important issue. And perhaps even American politicians will wake up to the fact that saving existing forests is acually one of the cheapest ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I am glad that Field and Miliband are taking up the cause, and the WLT will be very happy to show them how to do it.

  4. So, John, what are you going to do? Letters to Guardian and Telegraph for starters? You must have contacts in press and parliament. Better still, go direct to Field and Millibrand.

    As Helena hints, there are ownership issues as well as sovreignty ones.

    But is it just another New Labour Initiative which will quietly disappear off the radar? (Cynicism has, alas, fertile ground in which to grow.)

  5. very entertaining - i think an email Frank Field / David Miliband form on your website would be a good idea.

    Frank Field can be contacted on

    and David Miliband at:

    perhaps you could get some more funding!

    give me a shout if you need some code for the form or look at www.wdm.org.uk/waterforall

  6. Poor people want to cut down trees for fuel. If governments forbid it, they lose votes. So a blindeye to deforestation often is the result.
    Sometimes private action can be effective. In Northern California, individuals often climb into trees schedu;ed for felling by timber companies to prevent the work from being done. Their 'guerilla' action has sometimes sewriously disupted felling of great oaks.

  7. Waiiiiiit a minute here!!!
    (First anon. back again.)
    Look - we need to be crystal clear exactly where the cynicism really lies.
    Is it with the observant masses (i.e. me) or does it more properly arise from politicians making tear-jerking speeches which they know that we know that they know, are just guff & sound bite. I remember Tony Blair making a marvellous speech back in March 1996 on the critical need for full Freedom of Information in a true democracy. Yeah well, still waiting Tone. And that little boast of "putting the environment at the centre of Government", er, well, ditto.

    Look, for heavens sake run a mile from politicians muscling in on WLT's remit. If rich business-men are difficult, wait till you've got insipid politico's leading you on, co-opting your agenda into their agenda, making you grand promises then dropping you in it and letting you swing when the chips are down. Don't tell me it doesn't happen.
    WLT should not get itself embroiled in here-today-more-time with-my-directorships-sorry-family politicans/political parties. Wait and see how Zac Goldsmith gets cut up by the Tories over the next few months. It always ends in tears.
    WLT has got serious work to do.