Yesterday afternoon I attended an RSPB summer reception in the palace of Westminster. It was a good event but a little bit light on parliamentarians.
However, there were a some big-hitters in the room and some very good words in the short speeches.
Our host was Baroness Parminter who is a considerable force for good on the Lib Dem benches in the House of Lords. Mike Clarke showed a lovely video and stressed the importance of the EU Directives in protecting nature in the UK and across the EU. Mike will have been gladdened by the words of the Minister, Rory Stewart, who said that we all ‘should be deeply, deeply, proud of organisations like the RSPB’. That’s quite an endorsement and I hope that the Minister makes that point when he talks to organisatiosn who are less complimentary about the RSPB. The Minister went on to say that he was impressed by the RSPB’s work on nature reserves in his own constituency – nature reserves such as Haweswater and the RSPB’s success in ‘bringing back wading birds on the Solway Mosses’.
It is Mr Stewart’s aim that the UK should be the best in the world in nature conservation – let’s hope that the Minister’s aim is true, then.
Fiona Wheatley from M&S spoke well, and briefly, and said ‘No business sets out to damage nature’ which I’m sure is true, and then said that sometimes saving nature seemed an overwhelmingly big task and that what we need is a plan and a framework. That’s fair enough – but here is a small action that M&S could take right now that would make a difference, wouldn’t cost them anything and would gain them thanks and recognition.
These speakers were all good, all very good in fact (brief, clear, interesting and making good points) but the best was kept to the end when experienced campaigner and public speaker (13 year old) Findlay Wilde told the room, and you could have heard a pin drop, that they should not let nature be at the back of the queue – they, we, all needed to give it a hand now, not after we’ve done everything else.
It’s impossible not to be moved when a relative youngster says it as it is, with passion and clarity. I was moved. Were others in the room moved? Were they moved to act? We shall see.