“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!

 

 

 

“Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms”-my speech on LGBT rights to HBBC Scrutiny Commission

November 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

The following is the speech I gave at last night’s meeting of Scrutiny Commission at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council at the Hinckley Hub; in an item on Support and Provision for the LGBT Community in Hinckley and Bosworth (which I’d asked be looked at by Scrutiny; as far as I know the first item of its kind at the Council):

“Thank you, Mr Chairman.
I’m pleased that this item is before us, following my requesting it be brought before Scrutiny earlier this year.
Nationwide this has been an amazing year for advancing equality-with Equal Marriage for Same Sex couples in England and Wales becoming law and, after yesterday’s vote, it’s well on the way to becoming law in Scotland too.
I hope, in the fullness of time, Northern Ireland will also follow suit.
But in local communities-including here in Hinckley and Bosworth-there is still more to do for there to be true equality and understanding among different sections of the community.
I pay tribute to the fantastic work of Proud Generation, which I’ve seen first hand as a Management Committee member of Next Generation.
Shani and Rebecca and their small team have done a fantastic job in delivering the first Borough-wide LGBT Advocacy and Advice Service, a real breakthrough for Hinckley and Bosworth; and I was proud to be in attendance at a number of the events listed in the report.
Each of them a first in the Borough-including yesterday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Service at St Mary’s Church in the town, which sadly I couldn’t attend due to work commitments but at which I know the Borough Council was represented.
I wish a group like Proud Generation had been in the borough when I was growing up.
I’m sure, if it had, I wouldn’t have waited sixteen years before Coming Out.
It is the fear of how people will react, of facing potential discrimination; especially as a young person when growing up can be hard enough as it is.
And having people who’ve been through it all before and can provide help, support and reassurance is a real help.
That is why, in my view, we must ensure that Proud Generation’s work is able to continue, including-dare I say it-by providing financial assistance.
It would be a real tragedy if, this important work having been started, it had to stop due to a lack of resources.
In my own small way I hope to be a voice for the LGBT Community on this Council and have, in some small ways, including by getting the Stonewall youth survey linked to on the HBBC website and, indeed, getting this item brought before Scrutiny, attempted to help move things forward.
Discrimination and prejudice are wrong in all their forms and we need to do all we can-on this authority and partner agencies-to spread understanding, justice and peace.”

Lib Dems right to focus on ‘Alarm Clock’ Britain

January 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

David Laws...to head-up new task force.

I welcome the news this morning that one of the Liberal Democrats’ brightest stars, David Laws MP, is to head up an internal party unit, looking at how policies effect low and middle-income families and to ensure that we Lib Dems, as a distinct, independent political party, have a good crop of policies heading into the next General Election, likely to be in 2015.

Of course no one is suggesting that it is only low and middle-income families who get up early or who work hard…however, the difference between many of them and those who are better off, is that the better off have a choice…many of those on low incomes do not; their job dictates how early they have to rise, they often go and do jobs that no one else wants to do, for little recompense.

According to reports, the focus will be on those who earn between £6,475 and £37,400, which is around 70% of the population, including myself…and I’m towards the lower end of that scale.

Of course Government has to be there for all of our nation’s citizens but, I say again, that the difference between the people in this wage bracket and those who earn more is the lack of ‘choice.’

Life isn’t all about how much money we earn and the acquisition of ‘things’ but, having enough money to lead a comfortable existence, gives people ‘choice’; about their child’s education, about their healthcare, about actually having some time to be with family and have some fun, rather than constantly be worried about their financial predicament.

So, if the Lib Dems are now focusing on this ‘Alarm Clock’ Britain, I very much welcome that.

If we come at this in the right way, it could result in us having the best, most radical and progressive set of policies come the time of the next election.

2010 in review

January 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 28 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 18 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 462kb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was December 23rd with 187 views. The most popular post that day was Why some of the ‘wets’ in the Lib Dems need to grow a backbone.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were libdemblogs.co.uk, libdemvoice.org, twitter.com, facebook.com, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for tim farron, colin firth no longer supports lib dems, “tim farron”, loss of hope, and how has the government acted to address the issue of human trafficking.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Why some of the ‘wets’ in the Lib Dems need to grow a backbone December 2010
3 comments

2

Why I’m backing Tim Farron to be our President September 2010

3

Now is no time to desert the Lib Dems…we must fight for the soul of our party! December 2010
3 comments

4

The SDP has won the argument…and Liberals must not forget it October 2010
3 comments

5

Why I believe in this coalition…and why Labour are a disgrace December 2010
1 comment

It all starts here…hopefully!

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

So, this is the first day of what could turn out to be a really important week for me and my fledgling political career.

On Wednesday night I’m off to an event being put on by my local authority, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, for all potential Council candidates- where current Councillors and officials will be telling those gathered a bit about what it means to be an elected representative.

Should be an interesting evening…must remember to take my notebook and pen!

Then, on Friday afternoon, I’ve got my selection interview with the local Lib Dem selection panel.

To say I’m going to be nervous is an understatement.

I just hope my passion for the village I live in and hope to represent comes through.

Then, on Saturday, I’m off to the Lib Dem’s East Midlands regional conference in Nottinghamshire and am putting myself forward to be elected to the parties regional executive.

So, all in all, as I said earlier, a really very important week for me.

Will I soar ahead or fall at the first hurdle?

By this time next week we’ll know.

Minimum wage rise will help millions

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Lib Dem Minister Ed Davey has confirmed that, from today, the minimum wage goes up by 13p an hour, taking it to £5.93.

This rise will be helpful to millions of low-paid people across the UK, the latest in a series of incremental rises since it was introduced by the last Government.

It goes to show the commitment Liberal Democrat Ministers have to always having as a key priority helping the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

It goes alongside other positive news, with Mr Davey also setting out plans to extend flexible working rights.

That right is to be extended to parents of children under eighteen from April 18th 2011, helping an estimated 300,000 people.

Both these measures prove that this Coalition Government is and will remain a progressive one.

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