On Tuesday 9th July, Manchester City Council published its latest “Annual Carbon Reduction (sic) Plan.” It stated there was a 7% reduction in emissions from its operations in the last year.
On Friday 12th July, on the 3rd day of the first Ashes Test, English cricketer Stuart Broad got a thick edge, was caught at first slip but did not walk. The umpire didn’t see it, so he stayed at the crease.
What on earth could join the two?
It’s this; in both cases, the players were acting within the letter of the law, but not the spirit.
As reported yesterday, the entirety of the 7% “reduction” can be ascribed to the fact that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) now has responsibility for traffic signage. There has been no “real” reduction in emissions. Although Manchester City Council is entitled to claim their reduction, even they admit “while this represents a carbon saving to the City Council, this does not constitute a net saving to the city’s overall emissions”
In both cases, everybody who is looking knows what they saw. Partisan supporters will use the “well, other people do it” argument or the “it’s not illegal” one.
And they’re right – other people/institutions do do it, and it’s not technically illegal.
But what sort of message does it send? Is there pride in such actions? Dignity?
We are going to need trust in our institutions in the turbulent years and decades ahead. The days of deference are, thankfully, gone. Trust has to be earned. It is easily lost and devilishly hard to regain. These sorts of accountancy manoeuvres in the dark are a tragic mistake.
As far as the Ashes goes, well, it’s just a game. And anyway, speaking as an Australian by birth, I am certain that today’s 10th wicket 200-run partnership between Clarke and Agar will win us the match.
Speaking as a Manchester-resident, I am not so sure that anything quite so heroic can be pulled out of the bag. We are four years into an alleged 10 year programme. Is anyone truly happy with how the team is performing?
This is not a game, and Nature is going to bat last.
PS Yes, I know Michael Clarke refused to walk in Adelaide in 2010. He at least had the good grace to apologise.