Author Archives: Paul McNamee

Could Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit?

Theresa May smallLegacy 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

What can national government learn from the Greater Manchester Green Summit?

manchester small“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

Brexit chaos shouldn’t distract the government from the climate crisis

Ashdown forest fire Feb 19_Tom_Lee via Flickr_cropThe 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

Conference diary: signs that Labour is coming out of the silo

Labour party conference smallWhat 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

Is decarbonising our energy system right… or left?

JCcropIt 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

Conference diary: policy ideas are more than a simple chant

765239170_ad46f37973_b“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.

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A green Brexit?

5469476825_0d0df886db_bThe fact that the summer of 2017 is turning out to be one of the hottest on record was not apparent in WWF’s Living Planet Centre today as Michael Gove set out his first public speech on the environment since becoming secretary of state. As one of the most energy efficient buildings in Europe, heat pumps are engaged to transport cooler air from underground whilst window features reflect sunlight in summer to prevent excess heat. A perfect atmosphere for delivering a much anticipated speech.

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Will the Withdrawal Bill work for the environment?

Early morning London:  Houses of Parliament, Westminster BridgeThough the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more. As it passes through parliament it will now be known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. A title not quite as eye-catching but a lot more practical, and possibly an early indication of the government’s new approach. Read more

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