Sunday, 14 October 2012

Interview with Jack Barker - A Brit Abroad

Politics UK · 6,021 like this.
7 August at 19:54 · 
  • This is the thread for tonight's interview with JACK BARKER. The interview starts at 8pm. Please don't comment on this thread while the interview is in session. Please use this link to put your question which will be posted to Jack in the open floor section.

    Thank you.
    This is the alternative thread for the interview with Jack Barker.

    This is the alternative thread for the interview with Jack Barker.
    4Like ·  · 
    • Politics UK Hi Jack, thanks for doing this interview- You emigrated to Canada recently. Can you tell us why you emigrated from the UK and have you seen any bears yet?
    • Jack Barker Hello Politics UK, thanks for having me. Ok so my Dad emigrated to Canada about 8 years ago, & so I have been over most years for a holiday. 2 years ago he moved to Vancouver Island & I came over for a few months to do a bit of travelling & to do some volunteer work. I loved it that much that I decided to emigrate this year with a work visa. I saw a bear by the side of the road last year (but it ran off when me & my cousin got out to take a picture) but not seen any so far but there is plenty of time for that!
    • Politics UK Sounds great, as an immigrant, how has the Canadian public treated you?
    • Jack Barker Well I was greeted at the airport by journalists from the Canadian Daily Mail & branded "asylum seeking benefit scrounging scum" on their front page followed by hundreds of their readers getting red faced & angry about me coming over to use their healthcare system & steal their jobs!! No I am of course joking. Whenever anyone hears my accent, they immediately ask what part of the UK am I from, & how long am I here for. I reply that I now consider myself a Mancunian Canadian & will be here forever!! A lot of Canadians are immigrants themselves, or their parents or grandparents were, so I'm just another Brit coming over to colonise North America lol!!
    • Politics UK I'm aware that you are politically active in Canada. Can you tell me more about how you get involved and what your initial impression of Canadian Politics is?
    • Jack Barker Well I'm not able to join a political party until I'm a Canadian citizen which will take a few years but I've got to know a lot of progressive politically minded people here in Victoria (capital of British Columbia, the province I'm living in) through my voluntary work with my local MP, Denise Savoie & a charity I am volunteering at called Together Against Poverty. So far Canadian politics seems every bit as interesting as British politics & I can't wait to become more involved!!! Canadian politics seems to be more centred around the country's natural resources & opposing or being for certain projects, such as the oil sands & Endbridge Pipeline, which I'm sure we'll get onto in a little while.
    • Politics UK Do you think Canadian politics is more mature than UK politics? What lessons could the UK learn from Canadian politics?
    • Jack Barker Well from the outset it seems politics here seems to be more focused on policies & where politicians & parties stand on certain issues, & less on image, rhetoric & populist policies. Having said that, the Conservative Party website has a link to a biography of Stephen Harper, their current leader (& Prime Minister of Canada) followed by a biography of his wife!! She hasn't been elected by the Canadian voters & isn't a member of the government so that looks to me like being more about image
      Laureen Teskey Harper was born in 1963 in Turner Valley, a rural town in the foo...See more
    • Politics UK And so what lessons could Canadian politics learn from UK politics?
    • Jack Barker Canada could start by putting together a FB page where people of all parties & persuasions can come together & debate the serious issues that Canada faces today like economy, environment, immigration, education, healthcare, poverty, unemployment & homelessness in a rationale & logical manner. It would simply be called "Politics Canada" & would be based on a similar page in the UK that has proved to be a great success smile
    • Politics UK From the UK, it would appear that Canada puts a higher priority on Environmental issues than the UK? Would you agree with that?
    • Jack Barker Definitely. Wherever you live in Canada, you are only a short walk away from nature & wildlife. Mountains are almost always in the background & there are more forests than people!!! So of course it is in everyone's interests to protect it, regardless of your political persuasion. Even though I am living in a city, I am only 2 mins walk from a beautiful park (Beacon Hill Park), the ocean is 10 mins walk away. In the UK, unless you live out in the country, your environment consists of advertising on billboards, buses, taxis, on the tube, trains- you are constantly bombarded with images of perfect bodies, flash new cars or cheap fast food, all making people feel anxious or insecure. You forget about the environment because you are physically & emotionally removed from it.
    • Politics UK Would you say that the UK has a ‘fair’ society in comparison to Canada?
    • Jack Barker Well it's definitely less class based & more community based so it would seem so. But as is the norm for most western nations, income inequality has increased over the past 20 years- the rich have got much richer & the poor have got poorer. As long as this Conservative government continue to cut benefits & healthcare whilst cutting taxes for corporations & the rich, the poor & middle classes will continue to suffer. Whilst I like being reminded of pleasantries back home, I don't appreciate being reminded of another ruthless Tory government!!!
    • Politics UK Back on the issue of the environment, when did you first realise that you had a passion for concern for the environment?
    • Jack Barker My love for nature & the environment stems from my Dad, we used to go hiking in the country a lot when I was younger. My Dad would always point out the amazing views & beauty of the country. During my Business degree, I did a unit called 'Environmental Management' where I learnt about the potentially devastating impact of climate change & the positive impacts businesses taking action on the issue can have on their bottom line. I always shake my head whenever I see the 'Environment vs the Economy' debates because of course it isn't an either/or situation- we can have both. Without an environment, we wouldn't have an economy.
    • Politics UK So do you believe that the planets climate is changing and that it is due to mankind’s actions?
    • Jack Barker Yes, climate science is quite complex & obviously I'm not a scientist so I'm not going to go too in depth. Basically through an increasing burning of fossil fuels & deforestation in the last few hundred years, that has released CO2 & other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. C02 regulates the atmospheric temperature & so traps the sun's heat. The Earth has been warming unnaturally during that time, & this has dangerous consequences for life on earth. Even if I didn't understand the science, the fact is that every single national scientific body on earth accepts the theory of man made climate change, as do 97% of climate scientists.
      7 August at 21:09 · Edited · Like · 3
    • Politics UK What do you think about things like the Climate Change act 2008 and the EU emissions trading scheme? Are they effective in helping tackle this issue and what improvement would you like to see?
    • Jack Barker Yes, the solutions to tackle climate change will come from governments, organisations, & people so stricter environmental regulation is definitely needed. The Climate Change Act 2008 was a good start from the previous government, (but they should have done a lot lot more). In 2006 David Cameron shared a platform with Friends of the Earth calling for the act to be introduced. Unfortunately last year all of the UK's environmental legislation was placed in a list of 'red tape' laws that the public can suggest for axing- this government's failure to live up to their promise to be the 'greenest government ever' is the worst thing they have done- they are only interested in the short term & just don't care about future generations. If David Cameron truly believes in the UK combating climate change, he should back the Climate Change Act & show real & effective leadership on the environnment. Regarding emissions trading, the EU's was the first market of its kind to span different countries & numerous sectors. In 2011, it began to include airline emissions, a major & growing piece of global C02 emissions so yes emissions trading is part of the solution definitely.
      8 August at 04:07 · Edited · Like · 1
    • Politics UK Is it possible for the UK cut carbon emissions by 80% and is there any point in trying to lower our carbon emissions when Countries such as China are increasing theirs?
    • Jack Barker Yes of course it's perfectly possible with a progressive long term approach to cutting emissions, & top down support from all parties, & grass roots support from the people. Regarding China's emissions, China's coal fired power stations actually provide the energy that makes our consumer products!! China is just undergoing its industrial revolution so of course its emissions are going to increase. China has around one sixth of the global population but is responsible for only 8% of the world's emissions ever. China is taking steps to improve its environmental record already by putting in place a Renewable Energy Law & Energy Conservation Plan, & the government recently achieved a 5 year goal of reducing greenhouse gases from electricity production by 5% below their projected levels. Of course China needs to do more- it can start by imposing a carbon tax, make its citizens aware of the terrible danger they face from climate change & aim to be a total climate friendly country eventually.
      8 August at 04:08 · Edited · Like · 2
    • Politics UK So do you think that there is a political argument for renewable energy?
    • Jack Barker Yes we must move to a low carbon energy system. If we continue to use fossil fuels, carbon emissions will continue to rise, & reduce the chance of us tackling climate change. Renewables are the only true sustainable source of energy- they will never run out & harnessing them will not damage the environment. The solutions for climate change will come from all sides of the political table. Climate change should be at the top of every government's agenda because it interlinks with all other subjects, & policies.
      7 August at 21:20 · Edited · Like · 3
    • Politics UK Why do you believe that there is reluctance for some people to believe the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is real and man made?
    • Jack Barker I think sometimes it's easier to deny the obvious, we have become addicted to fossil fuels & people simply don't want to change their lifestyles. There's also a well funded campaign by numerous wealthy individuals & corporations to spread lies that the science isn't clear, to smear climate scientists & generally make people apathetic towards the environment. If people just ignored what the media or their friends or neighbours said for once, & did their own research, they would see that the science is quite clear.
    • Politics UK Worst case Scenario - What will happen if we ignore the effects of Climate Change and global warming?
    • Jack Barker If we continue with deforestation & to burn fossil fuels like there's no tomorrow, then eventually the world would warm to such an extent that it would be uninhabitable for the vast majority of life on Earth, including humans!!! But...I am an optimist & I prefer to think positively. If we allow negativity & pessimism to prevail, we won't get anywhere. We are the most modern technically advanced civilization on Earth- we can walk on the moon, we can replace our ailing hearts & lungs, skype each other across continents & we can successfully tackle climate change!!!
    • Politics UK Finally, what’s the future for Jack Barker?
    • Jack Barker My future is unpredictable- who knows where I'll be living & working in 2 years, never mind 10. But my long term goals are to have a successful career in non profit, buy a house & have a beautiful garden where I can grow my own produce, & obtain a loving wife, turtle & a cat (in no particular order). I also want to keep on campaigning for a sustainable future & better society for all.
    • Politics UK Brilliant! PoliticsUK would like to thank Jack for his time and wish him all the best for the future.
    • Politics UK Jack is now happen to answer questions from any Politics UK users who may want to ask a question.
    • Jack Barker Thankyou Politics UK. Politics Canada is just an idea at the minute but I look forward to a time in the near future when we can collaborate on cross page debates & start debating real solutions for issues that concern both countries, such as foreign policy, economic issues and...climate change!!
    • Julia Alsop Are you proud of how well the UK is doing in the Olympics?
    • Jack Barker A lot of people have been asking me about the Olympics & although I haven't had time to watch much of it, I have watched clips of the Opening Ceremony, which many Canadians have commented was amazing & great to see the British celebrating important institutions like the NHS & historical events like the Womens Suffrage. I feel immensely proud to be British right now!!
      7 August at 22:01 · Edited · Like · 2
    • Hex Austen Has your identity changed since moving to Canada? How close to the UK is Canada's culture and societal outlook?
    • Jack Barker Interesting question Hex!! I feel at home on Vancouver Island, what with being surrounded by so much natural beauty (& I'm not even talking about the women yet!!!) & wildlife. People here seem less stressed & rushed than in the UK. But Victoria has many retired Brits & through my job, I have met many. Whenever I hear another British accent, we both look up at each other, smile & start talking- it's like 'I recognise them as a member of my tribe'. Through the response I have got from people who love Britain & the UK winning so many gold medals at the Olympics, I actually feel immensely proud to be British right now. Do not be surprised if you come across a Youtube video of a crazy patriotic Brit running around Canada wearing a Union Jack flag & hat & singing "God Save the Queen!!"
      7 August at 22:06 · Edited · Like · 2
    • Adam Smith Jack, Can I ask you a question. For me this is an really important question.

      You said you saw a bear. Did it sh*t in the woods?
    • Jack Barker Adam that is a very important question. In Canada bears are obliged to use specially built "bear loos" in case they need to defecate. There is one for every 3 square miles in every Canadian forest, complete with loo roll made of leaves, a tap & soap for them to wash their hands & air freshener for the bear to spray afterwards.
    • Alan J B Wyllie FFS Adam Smith lol

      Jack Barker You know my opinion on UK politics - its broken beyond repair. We see inequalities everywhere, the poor and vulnerable ar....(must not rant)..anyway. Do you agree with this and how the hell can we change this?
    • Adam Smith Yes!!! 
      I asked the wife if she had any objections of a threesome and she said 'Does a bear sh*t in the woods'. 

      Tonight could be my lucky night!!
    • Jack Barker Yes I agree. It all comes down to our parliamentary system- it needs reform to make our people feel like their vote counts, that they can actually make a difference, to stop this excessive corporate lobbying & elect a truly sustainable & progressive go...See More
    • Politics UK The open floor session has now ended. Once again, Politics UK would like to thank Jack Barker for the interview and wish Jack luck and happiness in Canada.

    • Jack Barker Can I finish with the following quote, "Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." (Indian proverb)

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