In December my wife and I took our two sons to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI for short) on a Sunday. My dad was visiting and came along with us.
It was a fantastic day and a very full day. There was so much for the children and adults to see on the different sites and we took home two exhausted but very happy boys late that afternoon.
The news that MOSI is under threat of closure is really appalling. The cuts being made by central government are forcing the National Sciences Museum group to consider the closure of three northern museums to keep the London Science Museum open.
Now let’s be clear that politicians of all parties will campaign to save their local museum, and if that is successful, we’ll celebrate it. But you won’t find many saying how they would find the funds to do it. The cuts are coming from central government, run by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. Labour’s leadership has just pledged to match the government’s spending plans if elected in 2015/16, so no difference there.
I’ll return to the Green Party’s excellent election manifesto in 2010 which includes redistribution of wealth, higher taxation on those most able to afford it and the scrapping of Trident and HS2. We are the only party in Westminster articulating honestly, a costed and alternative way forward for our society.
So yes, I join with everyone else in condemning the plans to close MOSI and I urge everyone to sign the Manchester Evening News petition to keep it open, but let us not be misled.
There is a need for honesty in politics and with a deficit of £120+ billion in the last two years, we need growth in the green sector of our economy, and decline in carbon producing parts of it. That green growth has the potential to revive the economy while creating new and sustainable employment.
We need some political honesty about Trident being an unaffordable expense for us, meaning that we have our government spending 5.8% of our national income on Defence, while Germany spends just 4.4%. We need to recognise that the arguments being used to justify HS2 it are simply incorrect and the government’s own figures don’t support it.
So the Green Party nationally is proposing some cuts, but we also want to invest money into green growth. That means we need our children to have a good education and the resources to support that. So we want our museum saved and we are articulating a way to do that is more than just a “North versus London” budget decision.