Hello there, I have been away for a few days, but I manage to catch a couple of days of the Labour Party Conference – joining the new Prime Minister and his many colleagues at Bournemouth in the sunshine.
What was striking about Gordon Brown’s performance on Monday was two things. Firstly, the sheer length and volume of the speech (at 63 minutes roughly eight times longer than any other Minister’s speech this week!), but probably more important from my perspective was that if you actually look at the script of some 7,500 words (yes – 7,500!) – then you notice that less than 200 were devoted to any issues regarding the environment. There are two ways of looking at this – either it is just not important enough, which I find staggeringly hard to believe, or there is a plan yet to be hatched. I sincerely hope it’s the latter, as the other interesting fact about the Labour Party conference is that climate change and carbon reduction fringe meetings far exceeded any other topic of interest – there were over forty in total. There seems to be a little discontent between the Leadership and everybody else. I guess what this tells me is that we still have a long way to go in persuading public policy influencers of the importance of the domestic climate change agenda.
It was noticeable that the Secretary of State for the Environment spent a good part of the early part of this week in New York arguing the toss with the Americans about who should take what role in terms of Global Leadership on climate change. Now, whilst this is fundamentally important it does seem that we have missed a trick on leadership beginning at home. I would be interested in anyone else’s views, either those who attended by the seaside or have just read reports in the paper.
Next week, it is sunny Blackpool and the Tories who are currently languishing a distant third in the Green Assessment Report of the nine organisations making up the Green Standard. Let’s hope the Green Alliance has better to report after next week’s conference – certainly so far the Government has done nothing to take an unassailable lead on this issue at home.