Manchester City Council has once again released fundamentally misleading information about climate change. This will come as no surprise to anyone who remembers that its Comms Team was recently caught lying about its own “carbon literacy” status. (They claimed the “majority” of the team had completed its training. Further inquiries revealed only 11 of 50 had).
The latest misleading bullshit is contained in a so-called “State of the City” report, released yesterday.
There are 11 mentions of “carbon budget” in the torrent of bright-siding and gaslighting. Two are worth of note.
On page 15 there is an admission
Much later we get some soothing nonsense
Despite a semi-honest graph, nowhere does the report mention the basic fact that the city has burned through 6 million tonnes of its 15 million budget in the last 3 years.
That would reveal bankruptcies. These are of
a) the carbon budget
b) the morality, intellect and courage of the Council “leadership”
These evasions, this swerving are familiar to anyone watching Boris Johnson talk about wallpaper, or Christmas parties/”gatherings.” But because this is Manchester, and people refuse to see what is being done to them (because to see it, and say it, would be so costly) here we are.
Meanwhile, the Executive Member for the Environment has met with precisely nobody to try to organise this “collective and urgent action” that is written of. (By the way, we only know this thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Exec Member is not being held to account by the councillors on the “scrutiny” committee, all of whom are of the same party as her.)
And the “scrutiny committees” contain lots of members who just turn up, sit there in silence playing on their phones, collect their money and piss off. But there’s no upside for asking a question – either it’s a soft one and they are revealed as spineless crawlers or else it’s a real question and they incur the wrath of the leadership. Safest option is to sit there playing on their phones. So that’s what they do.
We should stop calling it scrutiny and rename it sham-ity.
Soon, the Council will have to stop pretending on the carbon budget (it was interesting that in her first speech as new Council boss Bev Craig used the date 2050 instead of 2038. Are they going to try to buy themselves some wiggle room by moving back to the notional national zero-carbon date?
Meanwhile, the task for citizens remains the same – to use what rights haven’t yet been outlawed to hold elected and unelected leaders to account, to speak truth not to power but about it, and to make it easier rather than harder for time and info-poor citizens to be meaningfully engaged in meaningful efforts. That means no smugospheres, no emotacycles, no up-like-a-rocket-down-like-a-stick “organisations”.
Not gonna happen though, is it?