Cancer awareness and climate change

Pictured Supporting Breast Cancer awareness week - and trying to look moderately sensible!in pink at Parliament for Breast Cancer awareness week. Turning up for a photo op / campaign support MPs found themselves presented with big pink hats, rosettes, mad pink sunglasses, pom poms, boas and so on. I felt a complete twit – but having observed the propensity for MPs before and after me in the queue to rather seem to enjoy such exhibitionism – I donned a hat and rosette (the least they would let me get away with). Well – it’s for a good cause!

Then rushed to Chamber. I wanted very much to be called to speak in the Climate Change adjournment debate scheduled for today – at late notice. I dropped a note to Mr Speaker to alert him to my desire – but being only able to put it in just before the debate and with three backbench Lib Dem colleagues wanting also to speak – was not optimistic about my chances. They call about 10 Labour and Tories to every Lib Dem and with no time limit on backbench speeches as the hours wore on my hopes sank.

But after five hours of jumping up at the end of everyone else’s speech in the hope of catching the Speaker’s eye – and just before the wind-up speeches were about to begin – I did get called – last of all. I had tabled an Early Day Motion just before the debate which congratulated Al Gore on his film on Climate Change – An Inconvenient Truth and urged all MPs to go and see it and sign the EDM when they had. The brains of the Table Office said the rules of the House ruled it out of order as the House could not pass a motion to sign the motion if signed. After three brains had a go – we removed the signing bit – and tabled the encourage MPs to go bit. I had been trying to find a way to ‘encourage’ MPs by making sure that they had to see the film before they could sign the EDM – but the House saved them from potential exposure. That’s the way the House always works.

Anyway Supporting the Big Ask campaign for an effective bill to tackle climate change– back to my speech. By the time I finally did get called almost all the points I had scribbled down had been made – so I stuck to pointing out to the Minister that the Friends of the Earth ‘Big Ask’ campaign was clearly hugely supported by individuals in all Members’ constituencies. I think I’ve had about 800 postcards by now (and still climbint). And we all want a Climate Change Bill in the Queen’s Speech to set reduction targets for carbon. And as I said to the Minister – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

You can read the speech in Hansard, but the main points were on travel planning and on education and dissemination of the threat of climate change. I suggested that the Government get Al Gore’s film shown in all secondary schools. And idea that the Minister nodded quite enthusiastically at I thought – and which was praised as ‘an excellent idea’ by the Tories when they were summing up. That’s not a usual reaction by Tories – but a good idea is a good idea!