+Went yesterday with local Labour comrades to deliver a letter to our Tory MP, Robert Goodwill. The time has come for 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?
7. 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?
8. 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?
9. How many homes in this constituency do you estimate will benefit from grants towards the installation of heat pumps?
10. Have you made representations about the roll-out of electric vehicle public charging stations in this constituency, which appears to be very poorly served?
11. Will you campaign for an extension to the eligibility of bus passes for older people?
12. 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?
13. 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.
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.