Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion

A balanced and informative piece on this phenomenon: Disruption can bring social change

A few observations of my own. I found it interesting that some of the protesters criticised organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who were pioneers of direct action tactics on environmental issues. Perhaps they have been overtaken by new forms of action.

In terms of tactics, I did find it odd that public transport was targeted as we need to develop that as part of a climate change strategy. Admittedly, they backed away from disrupting the tube, but what is the problem with the Docklands Light Railway?

The activists claim that the UK Government has done nothing, but it was the first country to pass climate change legislation. Real progress has been made on renewables. Much more needs to be done, but action is also required elsewhere, not least in the United States (some hope), India and China.

The protesters say that their policies are achievable, but certainly not by 2025. For a start, just think of the problems in replacing 24m-26m (figures vary) gas central heating boilers.

Even if the Government did want to engage with them, how does one talk to a movement that has no leadership structure?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Again no progress on reforming the Lords

Brexit, climate change, knife crime, there are lots of pressing issues apart from House of Lords reform. Indeed, this is one reason why it never gets anywhere. It is always going to be low down the political agenda. However, it looks as if we are moving backwards, even in terms of the relatively limited but necessary objective of capping and reducing its size: Two steps forward, two steps back

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Why MPs should go on holiday

The decision to start the Easter recess has attracted some criticism, but prolonging the session would not lead to a Brexit solution in the short run. If that can come from anywhere, it will be from the talks between the Government and the Opposition, although it is a very slim hope given the distance between them and the risk of splitting their own parties.

MPs are not going to make good decisions when they are exhausted and have been operating in an emotionally supercharged atmosphere. They need time to reflect. They will also not be 'on holiday' but engaging with their constituents, although that could be a rather fraught process. The recess has also been truncated with MPs returning the day after Easter Monday.