On Tuesday 8th July a committee of Manchester City Council will discuss “sustainable food“. Meanwhile, scrutiny of the council’s disastrous performance on climate change … will not happen.
The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee of the Council, which has 96 members, 95 of whom are Labour, will meet at 2pm in the Town Hall. Members of the public are allowed to attend (1).
A report which “provides an update on the sustainable food programme following
the report to Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee in December 2013 and [will]
provide information on new developments and work contributing to the
sustainable food agenda” is up for discussion at the beginning of the meeting, and will be followed by an “Update on future delivery of Waste and Recycling Collection
and Street Cleansing Services” (Over the last years the Council so mishandled its waste/recycling services that it has decided that it has ‘no choice’ but to privatise them. Because privatisation delivers such benefits, y’see.)
Meanwhile, the update on the council’s performance over the last year, since its last “Annual Carbon ‘Reduction’ Plan” report of July 2013, is nowhere to be seen. [Traditionally the Council tries to spin increases in its emissions as decreases, and then gets rumbled.] In February the council announced it was moving to three year plans, with annual updates, but its bureaucrats said there would be annual reporting, and a report on the year 2013/4 was promised. This is not, of course, the first time that the annual reporting has been delayed. What the report will show – if/when it finally materialises – is that the Council has fundamentally and massively missed its target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2014, from the baseline it chose of 2009 (2). After all, its emissions went back UP last year (and they tried to hide it). And a “low carbon culture” – what’s that?
What should you do about all of this? You can act like the councillors and bureaucrats, and simply shrug your shoulders and swallow each other’s misinformation and blandishments. Or you can get involved in the new “People’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee.” It holds its first meeting on Monday 7th July, from 7pm, at “Subrosa” – the Manchester Social Centre, 27 Lloyd St South, Moss Side. You’ll meet like-minded people, learn new skills and generally be able to do something our lords and masters can’t – pass the “mirror test” (3).
(1) But should seriously consider whether their presence is merely adding legitimacy to an empty ritual.)
(2) Even though the baseline year in the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan was 2005.
(3) Being able to look yourself in the eye and say “I did what I could.”