Dear Mayor Burnham,
The wait is finally over! I’ve been on tenterhooks for weeks about whether I’d get a ticket for the Mayor’s Green Summit on 21 March. I am – and I am sure you sympathise – gutted not to not have received a place. As the only person to have been reporting and blogging about Manchester’s climate policy since 2008, you’ll understand I am a bit confused. Anyway
I’ve got a few questions (it’s a tic of mine). Actually, when I say “a few” I mean, well, eleven.
First a- and other people who have not got tickets are asking the same question – what were your selection criteria? What was the process? There are people who know a LOT about the issues who are not on you golden ticket list. People who would ask all sorts of experience-based questions about what progress has and hasn’t been made in the last few years.
In your letter to those who were selected you warn
“this invitation is non-transferable without prior agreement as we are attempting to achieve a balanced audience from different sectors. Entrance will be upon production of proof of identity only.” (Emphasis in the original).
Second I am not quite sure how that works. If, for example, who was the same gender and race and ‘sector’ (whatever that means) was willing to transfer their ticket to someone meeting those criteria, then wouldn’t “balance” be maintained? Or is there actually a list of ‘awkward squad’ people you want to exclude?
Third In any case, who do people who want to get that “prior agreement” to transfer their invite speak to? By when? What criteria are used to allow this.
Meanwhile in your letter to us rejects, you mentioned
“Your name will be kept on a waiting list and we will inform you if we are able to accommodate further places.”
Well, there are 600 people on that list it seems. So
Fourth: Can you please let me know WHERE I am on it?
Fifth Can you also confirm that if I turn up on the day in the expectation that a number of people won’t be coming, that I won’t be actively excluded?
In a presentation in January Mark Atherton explained that the venue capacity is 800, but that catering was only available for 400. So,
Six: Could you explain why, given the interest in the event, you didn’t simply create two categories, “catered” and “uncatered”? That would have enabled heaps of people who are perfectly capable of packing their own sandwiches to attend. Or is there some issue about not trusting people to honour such an agreement?
The rest of my questions are about the ‘listening events’, which seem not to have happened particularly early in the process (though I did go to one in December last year). Despite six months’notice, some are happening only three weeks before the summit itself, and AFTER registrations for the summit have closed (not quite sure how that works – people come along to those events, are told that the Summit registration process is already closed). Almost as if these listening events are an afterthought. Massive apologies if that seems unduly critical.
Seven: all of the ten boroughs covered? Manchester has been, obvs. And Salford, Tameside, Trafford have single events which are all happening on Monday 26 February, a scant three weeks before the event itself
Eight: How many of the listening events were specifically designed with BME communities in mind?
Nine: How many of the listening events were specifically designed with young people in mind?
Ten: How many of the listening events were specifically designed with ‘hard to reach’ communities in mind (the illiterate, the poor, those with limited English language skills)? What OTHER means (besides filling in an online survey, which requires literacy, internet connection etc) were made?
Eleven: If you’ll forgive me quoting myself
I’d also like to know what specifically the social media strategy was – twitter, facebook, youtube.
I’d also like to know what the mainstream media strategy was. Was a press release sent out, were individual journalists at the BBC and Manchester Evening News contacted? Did stories in fact appear – if so, when?
Very best wishes and looking so forward so very much to the radical, transformative speeches and powerpoints at the Summit, and the charter which will tackle head on the question of endless economic growth on a finite planet, the meaninglessness of the term ‘zero-carbon’, and the Airport’s emissions for 1001 ft upwards.
PS The above is a slightly modified version of a letter I put up online almost two weeks ago.