Not Clever And Not At All Funny

From yesterday’s debate on the climate change emergency:

Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion:

“I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. His words are honeyed, as ever, but we need action, not just words…. Will the Secretary of State demonstrate his new-found conversion to this emergency by agreeing that the expansion of Heathrow airport is quite simply incompatible with our climate change commitments?”

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

“The hon. Lady makes an important point. She talks about honeyed words, and of course one thing that the Government have done is to take action under our pollinator strategy to ensure that honey is produced in a more sustainable fashion. I am very happy to see more bees and other pollinators taking flight.”

Election Day – Do Vote!

District Council elections are being held today, Thursday 2 May, in England and Northern Ireland. It is difficult to recall a less predictable election. We Greens are arguing that there are huge public advantages to having a Green councilor on every council. The public seems more determined than ever to damn all politicians and all their works. A low turnout is expected – which makes every Green vote the more valuable.

Climate Change Emergency – Meaning What?

Below is the Labour Party’s climate emergency motion, passed in the Commons yesterday without a vote. Just what the motion means is not totally clear.

For the government, that snake Michael Gove accepted there was an emergency, but refused to declare one.

For business and all those organisations with a neoliberal outlook, a cost benefit approach shows the present value of something happening in 2050 to be almost nothing.

“That this House declares an environment and climate emergency following the finding of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid more than 1.5°C rise in global warming, global emissions would need to fall by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050; recognises the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on UK food production, water availability, public health and through flooding and wildfire damage; notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with an alarming trend in species decline, and that cuts of 50 percent to the funding of Natural England are counterproductive to tackling those problems; calls on the Government to increase the ambition of the UK’s climate change targets under the Climate Change Act 2008 to achieve net zero emissions before 2050, to increase support for and set ambitious, short-term targets for the roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport, and to move swiftly to capture economic opportunities and green jobs in the low carbon economy while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors; and further calls on the Government to lay before the House within the next six months urgent proposals to restore the UK’s natural environment and to deliver a circular, zero waste economy.”

Above The Law

Richard Langridge should know better. He has been a Conservative councillor in Witney for years. Now he stands as an independent for the Witney North ward in the District Council elections.

The Electoral Commission insists that no election placards are erected on public land and that all must carry an imprint. These are the little words saying who printed the thing, who authorised it and where they can be found. The LibDems often consider themselves above this aspect of the law, but the Tories are punctilious. Perhaps Langridge is making some sort of point.

What’s A Little Earthquake Here And There?

To joyous celebration in Green quarters, Natasha Engel has resigned after only 6 months as the UK’s shale gas commissioner. Hers was always a strange appointment. As a Labour MP, she opposed fracking in her North East Derbyshire constituency, then she changed her mind about fracking, lost her seat in 2017, and took a job with Ineos (Jim Ratcliffe’s fracking company).

Engel feels that folk should not worry if fracking causes the odd earthquake. She also thinks ministers should pay no attention to someone only sixteen years old, meaning Greta Thunberg.

Asked by Greenpeace under Freedom of Information legislation to cough up her emails and notes relating to Ineos and Cuadrilla, she protested she had hardly any to disclose.

“I tend to deal with everything on the day and delete what has been done …”

As one does.

A Hostile Environment For The Prime Minister

Nearly 60,000 foreign students took an English language test as part of the UK visa renewal process between 2011 and 2014. Only 2,000 did not cheat – according to the Home Office and the American company it paid to administer the test. 34,000 have been packed off home in disgrace; the rest are fighting the decision in the UK.

Shades of Windrush here and Sajid Javid has just asked the National Audit Office to investigate. A failure rate of well over 90% makes a nonsense of the test, but the context then was Theresa May and her hostile environment. The context now is Javid’s interest in leading what might be left of the Tory party.

Cracking Down On Caring Criminals

In the few spare moments left from Brexit negotiations, the government is coming down hard on carers who have claimed too much allowance. These are people paid a pittance to look after the disabled, often aged relatives. They save the state a fortune.

It’s not that these carers are trying to steal; only 483 of 93,000 over payment cases were prosecutions for fraud last year. They have simply failed to report sufficiently quickly, and in the correct fashion, that they have received more than £123 of other income in a week. These criminal carers are paid just £66.15 to provide at least 35 hours of care a week.

Latest Lib Dem Placard Outrage

These are real LibDem candidates, standing for Bridge ward in Lewes. The LibDems are normally cutthroat and unscrupulous in their approach to leaflets and placards. Could they have selected candidates with these names just to attract attention?

Patent Nonsense

This from the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office, which used to be called the Patent Office.

“Today, we’ve published our 2019-2020 Corporate Plan. We wanted to let you know, so you can get a sense of our plans and how you might fit into them.”

With all its faults, the Patent Office expected to fit into the public’s plans, not the other way around.