If you are a new reader, you should know that I have officially adopted Caroline Lucas MP, as part of the UK Youth Climate Coalition’s Adopt an MP campaign. And the adoption is taking very well! I have stalked seen Caroline twice this week – on Monday at the TUC Alliances for Green Growth conference and at the Climate Rendezvous, hosted by Climate Rush. I almost went to see her again last night host an evening with Peruvian activist Hugo Blanco on Latin America and the Ecosocialist Alternative, but I went to the pub instead. I have to say, Caroline is so hard-working. She seems to always be dashing in and dashing out again, but always completely on the ball and so enthusiastic. She isn’t just any MP, she is the only Green Party MP and that means she is the face of the UK Green Party movement. That’s a lot of responsibility, but I think she does it fantastically.
Here is the transcript of her speech to the TUC conference. Some of the points I got from it were:
- We can not continue to measure a society’s success by GDP, we need to acknowledge that increasing levels of wealth are not making us happier and start looking at different measurements (check out NEF’s Happy Planet Index).
- A less consumption-obsessed society is crucial if we are to meet the requisite cuts in emissions, as no amount of energy efficiency initiatives or technology will compensate for a world that is growing ever larger and making more and more energy demands.
- We need to really start pushing for government regulation and back off the individual behaviour change. We can only achieve so much without proper regulation.
- We need a shared vision – not one about shivering in a hair shirt in a cave, but one that stresses warmer homes, better public transport, cleaner air (all things that can only be achieved with regulation).
The Climate Rendezvous speech was similar, but peppered with fun anecdotes and infected with the enthusiasm in the room (she was wearing a red sash too – photos to come soon). She said:
- Westminster looks like Hogwarts.
- That our political system is completely archaic compared to the European parliament (she used to be a MEP). We have all kinds of weird traditions like having to vote at midnight, and having to vote for and against something if you want to abstain, which just makes you look like an idiot.
- That a suffragette once hid in a broom cupboard under the stairs all night on census night, so she could write on the census that her address was at Westminster. This would have gone unremembered but Tony Benn took his own hammer and nails and put a plaque on the cupboard to commemorate it!
- That sometimes she walks the long way round from her office to the chamber, because it takes her through a corridor full of photos of suffragettes and memorabilia, which makes her feel fired up by the time she gets there.
- That when she thinks about how urgent taking action on climate change is (we have the next 5-8 years), the bristles stand up on the back of her neck.
It really struck me that she is not at all in it for the power (of course, I’m not sure if you could be, being a part of the Green Party). The fact that she has to fire herself up as she walks along the corridor I think is symptomatic of how much she has taken on – the entrenched, old-fashioned, archaic traditions of Westminster – as a progressive, passionate woman. She simply cares about it A LOT. It is so nice to see a politician be like that.
Gosh, I have really just swooned over her, haven’t I? What if she’s secretly married to Jeremy Clarkson? That would take the shine off a bit!