It’s groundhog day again. Every two or three years another glossy document full of horseshit is waved through a “scrutiny” committee on its way to Manchester City Council’s Executive. You can (in theory, if you want reasons to kill yourself) read the latest example here, starting page 55.
There was a time I’d have read it, taken it seriously, asked others to take it seriously. There was even a time I’d have lobbied the members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee (now renamed ‘Neighbourhoods and Environment “Scrutiny” Committee’, fooling precisely no-one.
There was a time I’d have gone to the meeting itself, encouraged others to come, to ask questions, to try to do the role that almost of the councillors on the committee were unwilling or unable to do.
Those days are gone.
There has been too much drivel, too much glossy horseshit from too many too well-paid people, who know in their hearts that what they are doing is wrong, but do it anyway.
There have been too many outright lies, too many broken promises (that were never meant to be kept). Too much secrecy, too much chicanery, too much flat out incompetence.
This puerile putrid document is not worth anyone’s time.Nowhere in it will you learn that the first body set up to deal with climate change, the so-called ‘Steering Group’ was supposed to hold day long-annual conferences, that it was supposed to have elections. It held one day-long stakeholder conference (in 2010), was too incompetent to do anything in 2011, and had half-day conferences in 2012 and 2013, before unilaterally killing it off. Elections were promised, never held. The people responsible for those failures are still running the shitshow, of course. Failure in Manchester, as long as it doesn’t embarrass a few key people, is rewarded.
Nowhere will you learn that all councillors were supposed to have undergone the (laughable) ‘carbon literacy’ training by 2014, that everyone who lived worked or studied in Manchester was supposed to have had that training by the end of 2013.
Nowhere will you learn that the Council was supposed to have started reporting its carbon emissions on a consumption-based metric by 2013. They didn’t (perhaps because they would destroy the lie about emissions reduction.)
The airport can’t be ignored altogether, but they punt the responsibility for it to central government (I wonder if they’d be so willing to do that if all the profits from the airport went there too? Not so much).
Most of all, the term “low carbon culture” is of course entirely absent. That was goal two of the original plan – it’s worth repeating.
“To engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in Manchester in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city.” (There’s more, read the whole thing here).
Instead, it’s the same old interchangeable guff, that’s harmless except it gives the impression that something is being done, when in truth virtually nothing is.
For the fifty-gazillionth time there is going to be a “pledge” proposal… Well, it provides contracts for whoever produces the flyers, and gives scribblers something to write about. That’s about it.
The vast majority of the cuts in emissions claimed – for the City Council – come from the selling off of buildings (though try getting baseline data out of the council, hah!). That the emissions “reductions” at a city level come from partial decarbonisation of the electricty grid and improved energy efficiency in our gadgets. That’s nationwide, but Manchester merrily claims credit for the reduction anyway.
The people who produce this crap should hang their heads in shame (perhaps they do, when they realise what their children would think of them, if they knew the truth). The people who wave it through, giving it the rubberstamp of democracy – and by this I mean the elected councillors and the ‘official’ green figleaf (aka Manchester Friends of the Earth) are too scared of Richard Leese’s displeasure to even cough adversely. Meanwhile, the Green Party – whatever happened to them – and the “activists” are revolting, sorry, “rebelling” in Piccadilly Gardens.
Our problem is not the denialists. This is not Trump’s America. Our problem is that Manchester is a de facto one party state, and the party in charge can mouth a piety or two about climate change if it has to, but has no plan, no clue and no desire to do anything concrete. And it has enough people willing to go along with that, for reasons of career, mortgage or ideology, that nothing ever changes.
Gaia help us.