Questions for an MP
+Went today with local Labour comrades to deliver a letter to our MP, Robert Goodwill. The time has come fr MPs to account for their activities tackling climate change—but Tory MPs in particular, since they’re the ones keeping this incompetent government in power. Here’s some questions to start with:
1.Will you make climate change a priority in your own political work? If so, how will this manifest itself (we note that in your recent ‘In Touch’ leaflet no mention was made of climate change).
2. Have you asked for assessments of how climate change will affect Scarborough and Whitby, both directly and indirectly?
3.Are you satisfied that achieving ‘net’ zero CO2 emissions by 2050 is likely to contain climate heating at sustainable (i.e. 1.5⁰C) levels? Shouldn’t this target be sooner?
4. The Climate Change Committee’s most recent report states that the government is not meeting its climate change targets. How do you explain that?
5. Various government schemes to support the decarbonisation of British homes have failed. What representations have you made to urgently address the question of insulating properties in Scarborough and Whitby?
6. According to the Register of Members’ Interests, you have previously held shares in Russian oil and gas companies. Do you still invest in fossil fuel industries?
Recent reports (including from the UN) suggest that the UK is still investing more in fossil fuels than clean forms of energy. Do you consider this to be acceptable?
7. The government’s recently published climate change strategy, coupled with its emphasis on ‘levelling up’ suggests that Scarborough and Whitby should see quick and positive environmental results. Will this mean, e.g. improvements to rail services to Scarborough, including the electrification of the line? Will you campaign for that, as well as a resumption of through services beyond York? Will any of the £6.9 billion for transport schemes announced by the Chancellor be spent in Scarborough and Whitby and if so, what on?
8.How many homes in this constituency do you estimate will benefit from grants towards the installation of heat pumps?
9. Have you made representations about the roll-out of electric vehicle public charging stations in this constituency, which appears to be very poorly served?
10. Will you campaign for an extension to the eligibility of bus passes for older people?
11. You voted for the government’s cut in foreign aid. Could you explain how this cut will help advance our international commitments on reducing the threats posed to developing countries by climate change?
12. The government’s ‘levelling up’ strategy for funding bids suggests a central role for local MPs: (Levelling_Up_prospectus.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk):
The Government recognises the important role of Members of Parliament in championing the interests of their constituents. We expect bidding authorities to consult local Members of Parliament as part of their bid; though such support from local MPs is not a necessary condition for a successful bid. MPs can have a positive role in prioritising bids and helping broker local consensus.
Please explain your choice of scheme to support and how that relates to climate change.
13.On the 1st May 2019 the House of Commons supported without a division Labour’s motion to declare a climate emergency. Speaking for the government, Michael Gove said ““it is . . incumbent on us all to recognise that, if we really believe that we face an emergency and a crisis, we should do as our forefathers did when this country faced emergencies and crises in 1914 and in 1940. We put aside partisanship, we recognised the sincerity on the other side and we acknowledged that both sides had made mistakes, but we had a shared ambition to prove that Britain could lead.” Have you any suggestions as to how locally this aspiration may come to fruition?
14. Given that Parliament without dissent supported the declaration of a climate emergency, how do you explain your voting record since (as recorded on the TheyWorkForYou website - see at bottom of page)?
We acknowledge this is a long list of questions, but we hope you will address each of them individually and directly. We also acknowledge that the government’s recently published climate change strategy marks some ramping up of effort, but as Winston Churchill said “It is not always enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” We don’t believe that as yet your government is doing what is required, that is what is required to achieve its stated goals.
+In the wake of the Owen Paterson scandal, there has been an avalanche of comment on how corrupt Johnson’s government is. And with it goes a huge wondering about why Tory poll ratings are still (generally) ahead of Labour’s. One explanation is that ‘people have priced in’ Johnson’s behaviour, so no matter how bad it is, it’s nothing more than you would expect from a man like him. So all this stuff is discounted. That explanation says a lot about the electorate, but commentators don’t want to suggest that many new Tory voters are thick, or something worse. Another explanation is that Starmer is hopeless, and there is a growing pile of evidence to support such a view—he’s just not cutting through, even though the government’s ‘vaccine bounce’ is waning rapidly. Starmer’s inconsistency probably plays a part—can he be trusted any more than Johnson? It was a bit ironic hearing Starmer condemning Johnson for seeking to make justice retrospective (that is to get Paterson off the hook), when at home here in the Labour Party members can be suspended for allegedly supporting organisations that are now proscribed but weren’t when the alleged support took place. There’s plenty of retrospective ’justice’ in Starmer’s backyard. I guess he hopes no-one will notice.
I listened to former prime minister Sir John Major talking about Johnson's 'corrupt' government and thought 'about time too.' Major was suggesting that Johnson's contempt for Parliament could threaten our very democracy. Well, it is one threat, but a bit behind the curve. The greatest threat to parliamentary democracy at the present time is the wholesale purchase of the Conservative Party and its representatives by a secretive donor class whose interests rotate solely around their own financial aggrandisement. I hope Sir John will address that, too, in the near future.
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