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April 2005

It broke all the rules about what candidates should say in election literature. This cri-de-coeur from my election letter to voters was wordy and about the global issues that electors are alleged to shun. Here is where my energies will be directed in the new parliament.

Dear Elector,

The giant priorities of politics for the next decade will hardly be mentioned in this election. They are global warming, ending the rigged world trade that makes rich countries richer and poor countries poorer and the waste and slaughter of wars.

These issues dominate my political life. I am horrified at the reports of the imminence of global calamities that could make our world uninhabitable for our grandchildren. Continuing to foul our environment could raise sea levels by 7 metres and shut down ocean currents - all within 15 years. Timid and blinkered politicians are failing. Courage and vision of a high order is essential.

World trade is creating poverty. Poverty to a farmer in Britain means delaying buying a tractor for six months. Poverty to a farmer in the developing world means his family die of starvation. 54 of the last 59 wars in the world have been civil wars inflicting deaths rates of a dozen tsunamis a years. 4 out of 5 war casualties are now civilians - mainly women and children. In the last decade, more than 2 million children have been killed during wars, while more than 4 million have been physically mutilated. No one party or country can deal with these crises. An international consensus is needed to halt the fouling of our human habitat. As a member of the Council of Europe I have written a report seeking radical reforms of world trade rules that blight the lives of billions of people living on less than a dollar a day. Rich countries still spend more planning for war than preparing for peacekeeping. We have the wealth and skill to build worldwide peace. While I had some differences with my own party on Iraq, they share my passion on global issues.

Tony Blair made a magnificent speech on the developing world. Gordon Brown is pioneering a new Marshall Plan. Britain’s presidency of the G8 and EU will focus on global warming and Africa. A key meeting of all EU foreign ministers will be held in the Celtic Manor. This will be Newport’s chance to reinforce these messages to a world audience. Our city has been praised for our great record of idealistic campaigning and as practical innovators in mass recycling and for re-using household waste.

I believe the political world is ready for the new politics of world justice, co-operation on global warming and effective peace keeping. The future depends on us. - Paul Flynn