On 4 February, the government launched COP26 with more of a whimper than a bang. The UN summit, to be hosted in Glasgow in November, is arguably the most significant international climate moment since Paris in 2015. 2020 is the year when all countries will need to ratchet up the promises they initially made five years ago and set out clear plans to achieve them. Read more
What a difference two years can make. In 2017, we were shouting to get the environment heard in the hubbub of a general election, but 2019 has seen the first election in living memory where climate and nature are at the heart of the debate. Read more
Legacy is “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see” rapped one of America’s founding fathers on the day of his death, at least according to the musical Hamilton. Thoughts of legacy are likely to start rising up the UK political agenda over the coming weeks as the big question in Westminster becomes who will replace Theresa May? Candidates are already publicly throwing their hats into the ring, with interventions, speeches and candid pictures in kitchens aplenty. Some of these interventions have rightly identified climate and environment issues as vital to the future of the Conservative party. But will Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit? Read more
“Manchester is the place where people do things,” said Edward Abbott Parry, judge of Manchester County Court. “Don’t talk about what you are going to do, do it. That is the Manchester habit.” A love of Manchester and its new city region (including towns like Wigan, Oldham and Bolton) was on full display at the second annual Greater Manchester Authority Green Summit earlier this month. I don’t claim Manchester as my home town (I’m a ‘Woolyback’, a non-scouse Merseysider) but I did go to University there, lived there in my early twenties and have a deep love of the city. Read more
The run-up to Brexit has felt like Hemingway’s description of going bankrupt: gradually, then suddenly. Months of slow, confused politics: Theresa May surviving the most important week of her career, until the next one; unmeaningful votes passing or failing and not having much effect either way; opposition that is never quite clear what it is opposing. All this has now led us to a point just over twenty days from Brexit and, despite, or perhaps because of, the recent moves, in the new Independent Group and Labour’s support for another public vote, Westminster remains in chaos. Read more
What a difference two years makes. The Labour party conference in Liverpool in 2016 saw a party at war with itself: division between the majority of members and the majority of parliamentarians, and a front bench at odds with the mainstream media. Liverpool in 2018 still had these issues, but the party looked like it was doing a much better job of dealing with them. This year’s conference saw Jeremy Corbyn and, by association, the Labour Party, much more at ease. The leader’s speech on the final day was reported as “his best address to date”. Read more
It isn’t a good time to be a private provider of public services. So far, 2018 has seen the collapse of Carillion; the government intervening on the east coast mainline franchise due to imminent failure; and a public debate on the negatives of private finance initiatives. As such, it is understandable that coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech earlier this month focused so much on the nationalisation of the UK’s energy providers and the national grid. Or, as he put it, not 20th century nationalisation, but 21st century public ownership. Read more
It’s that time of year again when hope is in the air. The nights are getting lighter, sunlight can be felt on our skin for the first time in months, and those who believe in love can go to overpriced restaurants to watch doe-eyed couples try to eat sea bass one-handed whilst holding the hand of the one they love.
The overwhelming atmosphere at Conservative Party conference this week was one of anticipation. Throughout the fringe events and the hotel bars, even in the main hall, a sense that something big was about to happen seemed to pervade everything.
“My MP is a shepherdess. What can I do to get her to ensure the Withdrawal Bill protects the environment?” Not the most obvious question you expect a panel to be asked at a Labour fringe event, but one that was indicative of the new energy that permeated through this year’s conference in Brighton. Everywhere you looked there were new members and activists, buoyed up on the wave of Corbynism, eager to change the world and asking the best way how.