“We want five green laws for a green Britain,” an interview with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP (Part Two)

July 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

DECC Secretary Ed Davey MP talking to me and other bloggers at the Social Liberal Forum Conference last weekend.

DECC Secretary Ed Davey MP talking to me and other bloggers at the Social Liberal Forum Conference last weekend.

The Liberal Democrats clearly have a mountain to climb when it comes to next year’s General Election but one area where we do have a broadly positive tale to tell is that of the green agenda, but how well does that play with voters and what can we do-as activists and elected representatives-to help trumpet our message to the masses…I asked the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Right Honourable Ed Davey MP, when I sat down with him as part of the Bloggers’ Interviews at the Social Liberal Forum Conference in London last weekend.

“I think we have to pick two or three things from what we’ve achieved and we have to have two or three measures for the future.”

“We can’t just talk about what we’ve achieved we have to have a vision for the future and vice-versa.”

“I think I would, probably ’cause I think because polls show that it’s popular, is wanting to talk about renewable electricity…cause we have a very, very good story to tell on that and, you know, people do like the idea of renewable electricity; people like on-shore wind, believe it or not; I think the Tories are wrong on that.

So, I would really talk about that, as a key achievement.

“There are quite a few others that mean a lot to people; part of the problem is some of the things we are doing are quite long-term, so although we’ve got the largest railway investment programme since the Victorians not many people have seen it because it’s going to happen over the next fifteen years.

So if you want to talk about records you’re going to want to talk about things that have actually been achieved. 

So, after renewable electricity, which is now powerful and clear, we could talk about energy…we can say a million homes will have been insulated by the election.

I like to think if we can say we’ve brought the Climate Change Act through the rest of Europe, through this European deal, I think that would be quite a popular thing.

“You can talk about the Green Investment Bank, you can talk about what we’ve done on electric vehicles, but we need to be clear what we think will resonate most with the electorate.

Green jobs I think is a good thing but I think, people know renewable energy is somehow green, they understand that, you’ve got to think about what people hear, and we’ve done some polling on green jobs and they don’t quite get what a green job is. 

“So, you’ve got to use language and use examples which people readily and immediately get, not the policy wonks in the Liberal Democrats…I might be one of those but I’ve got to talk to the electorate and, you know, we haven’t got much air-time so we need to pick on one or two things.”

Mr Davey then moved on to talk about the next set of challenges…and a big green liberal vision for the next Government. 

“In terms of the future, the party’s got to have a debate about what it wants to do.

Again it’s about communicating. I think we should say at the next election we want five green laws for a green Britain; and those five green laws should be on nature, transport, waste, on energy efficiency and on de-carbonisation. 

I think we need to show that we’ve got an agenda to really go forward.”

A bold vision for sure and one which, if communicated well, could win us back some of the much needed support that we’ve lost over the past four years.

ON SUNDAY: My interview with Party President Tim Farron MP! 



“Many British businesses have woken up to Climate Change,” an interview with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP (Part One)

July 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Me and other bloggers with DECC Secretary and Climate Change, Ed Davey MP.

Me and other bloggers with DECC Secretary Ed Davey MP.

Ed Davey has one of the toughest jobs in this Government.

Trying to convince right-wing Tories to go with him-and vote with him-in the need urgently to tackle the deeply worrying and increasingly imminent threat of man-made Climate Change.

I’m one of those who believes David Cameron was, whilst you could argue rightly ambitious, creating a huge hostage to fortune when he said the Coalition would be ‘the greenest government ever,’ especially given the outright hostility to green issues showed by many of his colleagues in the Conservatives.

But Ed Davey has been quietly beavering away and achieving substantial progress, albeit with much more to do.

At last Saturday’s Social Liberal Forum Conference in London, I and three other bloggers sat down with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

I asked Mr Davey his view on the Australian Tory Government’s recent vote to dump the Carbon Tax which had been introduced by the previous Labour premier Julia Gillard.

“Extremely disappointing, but expected. To be fair to the Australian Government they stood on a mandate for this, one can’t say that they have misled the Australian people; they were very, very clear and, therefore, they have a mandate to do that.

I don’t for a minute gainsay that. But I’m very disappointed that a country as important, as a close ally of Britain’s, as Australia, with so many things we agree with them, they have decided to take this decision which, I think, are not in the interest of Australians’ long term.

Because Australia’s been hit very much by Climate Change and I would have thought they would…the very progressive policy they had under the last Government, one would have hoped that would have continued.”

I then put to him that maybe the reason why many Australians appeared to be rather sceptical about the Carbon Tax was the way it had been introduced.

Julia Gillard had said before the election, “there’ll be no Carbon Tax under a Government I lead” and then did exactly that after the election.

Though, to be fair, it was a hung Parliament and I believe the introduction of the Carbon Tax was a condition of the House of Representatives’ sole Green MP supporting the then Labour Government.

“You’re absolutely right and that is one of the reasons why I go back to what I say he (Tony Abbott) had a mandate and so one has to respect a democratic Government’s mandate, even when you disagree with it.

But there’s no point me saying that I agree with it, because I clearly don’t.”

The argument given by the new Australian Government for dumping the Carbon Tax is that it holds business back, however-certainly in terms of a British context-Ed Davey disagrees.

“Many British businesses have woken up to Climate Change as a threat to their commercial future and the interests of their shareholders and I’m proud that the CBI in Britain has been a champion of green growth; they published a document talking about ‘the Colour of growth is green’ and we have a lot of very progressive corporates and it is worth putting that on the record, because actually I think British business, most British business, does not get the credit that it deserves and if you go to other countries, whether it’s the United States, Australia or indeed some of the European countries those Governments don’t have the support of the commercial sector.

And, actually, it’s also including the City, dare I say, because insurers know what’s happening in the World with weather patterns, they know the effect that has on insurance (premiums.)

So, high capitalists and high corporates are realising that they’ve got to take Climate Change seriously and it’s one of the reasons I’m more optomistic about whether we’re going to be successful on Climate Change because there are at least some companies and some financial institutions who are really getting this issue.”

Positive news, for sure!

TOMORROW: I talk to Ed Davey about how Lib Dems can best trumpet our green achievements at next year’s General Election!




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