This letter got published in the Manchester Evening News on Saturday 14th January.
Why futile? Because a) without a groundswell of people who are willing and able to apply sustained and diverse pressure, any bureaucracy will just shrug and say ‘meh’. And there is no groundswell in Manchester. The organisations are lapdogs and irrelevancies of varying degrees of comicality
b) Manchester City Council has no shame. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
So it goes. Futile.
The Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee is made up of 17 councillors (16 Labour, 1 Lib Dem). It is supposed to keep tabs on whether Manchester City Council is keeping its promises on climate change. Almost three weeks ago I wrote to each member separately, asking nine questions. These covered the councillor’s own carbon literacy status, that of the other councillors in their ward, and their ward co-ordinators. Also I asked whether a report – promised for January 2015 about the lessons the council could learn and teach from delivering carbon literacy would ever in fact be produced. And I asked about whether the councillors felt that the ‘stakeholder steering group’ – funded with over 100 thousand pounds in council cash should be allowed to meet in private, cancel elections and cancel the annual stakeholder conference.
I even attended the NESC meeting on 3 January to ask these questions in person.
I have had precisely zero replies.
Meanwhile, the Executive Member for the Environment proclaims the importance of leadership on climate change and carbon literacy, but adamantly refuses to set a target date by which all councillors will have completed their carbon literacy training.
If the issues were not so serious, the failure would be hilarious