Writing the piece for Call4 this week on UKYCC‘s Adopt an MP campaign reminded me that I had yet to get my act together and adopt mine. So, having confirmed that my new MP was indeed Caroline Lucas from the Green Party (inner cheer!) I looked up when her surgeries were and lo and behold, within a few hours I was sitting opposite her and her aide, chatting about climate action and the coalition government.
Things you might like to know:
– She is very lovely. And her staff are very nice too (bonus points).
– I asked her about Chris Huhne’s battle with the Treasury to save DECC and to what extent any cuts (or the scrapping of it entirely) would affect the UK’s ability to keep on track with our climate commitments. She responded that in light of George Monbiot’s recent article (which basically says that all current and previous attempts to curb climate change have failed) perhaps we need to scrap DECC and see climate change for the national security issue it is – moving its whole remit into the MOD. She was only half-serious, but I see her point. She predicted however that it wouldn’t end up getting scrapped, as it is such a symbolic department – but it might get hollowed out.
– Much more of a serious issue to Caroline was the scrapping of the Sustainable Development Commission earlier this year, which had been carrying out valuable environmental auditing work. Caroline told me that the SDC had saved the government £300m through their work, over the 10 years that they had existed. The cost of running the commission? £4m per year. So scrapping it…. kind of didn’t make any sense on any level. She also made a very good point – how can the coalition ever deliver on their promise to be the “greenest government ever”, when they no longer have any auditors to tell them whether or not they have achieved that aim?
– Other things we touched on briefly were those who were doing their environmental bit in parliament (Chris Huhne, Peter Ainsworth *applause*); how, through green job creation, we can have an economic recovery and tackle climate change at the same time; how our government is getting sidetracked by nuclear; and how she wanted to learn more about the Canadian tar sands and might put forward some parliamentary questions about them (yay!).
So that was my first meeting with Caroline Lucas! I have an enviable job on my hands – tracking an MP who basically thinks a lot of what I think, where no persuasion or lobbying might be needed. What I would like to provide though is a boost, links or contacts where I can and one more voice cheering her on when she stands up in parliament. I’m looking forward to the next few months!