After several days of trying, MCFly co-editor Arwa Aburawa finally got hold of Steve Connor, chair of the Steering Group. She was phoning to ask five basic questions which we had put up on the website the previous week. The phone call was short, because Mr Connor decided the best way to deal with journalists who are asking straightforward questions is… to hang up on them.
Arwa then sent an email. Here’s what happened next.
I realise you’re busy and don’t really want to talk to me but I do have some questions to ask. During our 30 sec phone conversation in which you hung up on me didn’t really give me a chance to say that.
(Connor’s responses in italics)Given your low opinion of the Steering Group you can hardly be surprised.
[MCFly - this means - "Only sycophantic journalists need apply"]
Anyway, questions are:
1. When will you be putting up the minute of the Steering groups meeting that took place in 2012? On the website they are only available up to 2011.
Minutes is an oversight. Thank you for letting me know and I’ll get it rectified.
[In a post on linked-in on June 26th, Mr Connor wrote "We'll also make sure we get the notes up on the website (manchesterclimate.com) which hasn't been done for a few months and for which I apologise. Will improve." Our phone call was on July 10. Today, July 25th - still no minutes on the website. Or if they are up, they're very well hidden. No blog posts since January, of course.]
2. Will meetings ever be open to the public?
Our meetings will remain private.
3. If you can’t attend the August refresher meetings, will there be other ways to take part – survey etc.
Refresher meetings – am taking this up with the volunteers organising them.
[Well, the refresher meetings are now a week away, and there's been no survey, no notification, so, basically the answer to that one appears to be "no" as well.]
4. From what I have seen so far, none of the workshops are looking at behaviour change. Will that change?
Behaviour change is not a siloed activity but stretches across all the areas.
5. Will the refresh meetings acknowledge the awkward fact that if economic growth does return it will involve tipping even more carbon into the atmosphere.
Economic growth – I have personal opinions which are well known to many but as a steering group we have not sat down and discussed whether we are in the death throes of ‘Late Capitalism’ and need a plan B. We have no plans currently to campaign for alternative economic models.
We could write a long editorial about how hanging up on people and making repeated promises about the availability of minutes is not the best way to show openness and transparency. But the facts, again, speak for themselves.