I watched this webinar this morning and it was a good event. Thank you to the RSPB for putting it together. It coincided with the launch of what the RSPB call a Green Recovery Plan (I’ll come back to that later) but in many ways this event was a stand-alone event.
Beccy Speight, RSPB CEO, was good at hosting the event and asking some good questions.
Mel Coath introduced the subject of nature-based solutions concerning trees, peatlands, saltmarshes etc
James Miller was an absolute star – if you only listen to one person from this event, then listen to James. I’m not one usually to be smitten by the words of ‘young’ people just because they are young, but James was very good indeed and his words would have been very good even if he were ancient.
Matt Agawarla is a Cambridge economist – very good too (not quite as young as James).
Philip Dunne MP, Conservative, Ludlow, is chair of the Environmental Audit Committee – not bad.
And then there was a chat and a break.
In Part 2 Beccy Speight asked DEFRA minister, Rebecca Pow, to say a few words and then asked her a few questions. You have to fear for the Environmental Protection Bill if it is to be rushed through parliament by this government. My favourite question was ‘When will the Peat Strategy for England be published?’ If you can spot an answer in the minister’s long reply then you have done better than I. It’s quite an easy question to understand. The answer is simply a date, or an indicative date, but answer of any coherent sort, came there none. And no answer to when legislation on burning on peatlands will be done. If the Minister doesn’t know the answer to these questions then who does? And if she does know the answers then they must be too terrible to reveal judging by the long stream of waffle that emerged. Of the two Rebeccas on show, I’d rather have Speight in DEFRA than Pow, but I’d rather not see Pow heading up the RSPB.
Daniel Zeichner MP, Labour Cambridge, was more sure-footed than the minister and that is partly because it’s easier to be in opposition when you can attack the failings of the government and suggest how brilliantly things would be done if only the electorate had had more sense, but opposition MPs are also handicapped by not knowing what’s happening and not having a civil service or a throng of SpAds to brief them. Zeichner did well and only looked momentarily discomforted when Beccy Speight asked him why Labour were so much better on climate change than wildlife. When he said judge us on our record, then the last Labour manifesto wasn’t reaching back far enough – he should have said that Labour brought in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the Climate Change Act and the Marine Act whereas this Conservative government is struggling to bring in an Environmental Protection Act that will protect the environment! He also said the right thing when saying that Johnson says the right thing but can he be believed – piffle-Pfeffel!
Watch the video – it’s pretty interesting stuff and quite short if you skip the questions and the 10-minute break. You should feel for politicians as they spend their time blagging because they mostly have no enthusiasm for learning about their subjects. It must be awful to have to pretend so much to so many so bably[registration_form]