Sometimes politics is knockabout comedy. Sometimes it’s tragic farce. And, just sometimes, it looks as if it might do some good. At last Tuesday’s meeting on the climate change bill I felt several times that here was politics that could do good. But was I right?
Climate Change Bill Public Meeting, 22 April 2008
Chair : Anne McElvoy, Executive Editor of the Evening Standard.
The speakers were Hilary Benn and his Tory and LibDem shadows, plus Tony Juniper of FoE – which had organised the meeting. The speakers told a packed and often enthusiastic, house – the main meeting hall at
They congratulated each other on their shared commitment and on making the
It seems churlish to object when people are talking sense. And yet – with the exception of one man who called Hilary Benn a murderer – there didn’t seem to be the sense of moral outrage the situation requires. Benn spoke of targets for 2050 and five year budgeting. The opposition claimed credit for demanding a tougher target and annual reports. There was more than a touch of complacency that we were doing the right thing.
Yet LibDem spokesman Steve Webb argued that if we count aviation and shipping emissions the
In my view Sarah Mukherjee of the BBC asked the key question: “Shouldn’t we just use less stuff?”. No politician was prepared to agree. Even Steve Webb described it as “a possible second term strategy for the LibDems”.
Afterwards a group of Practical Action supporters shared experiences at a local pub. We also met Tory spokesman Peter Ainsworth, who was rather franker than he’d been in public. Politicians and public are moving. But are they moving fast enough?