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2020 Vision: more than halfway…!

June 30, 2020 2:10 PM
By Keith Melton

2020 Vision: more than halfway…! From the Chair

Wow - this last week has been intense - not just for me, but for those in the `back room`, our very professional team, Caron and Alison, and a considerable number of voluntary helpers (I am not going to list names because the biggest danger is in missing even one person from the list and then effectively upsetting everybody!!)

Despite the fact that we are more than halfway through this `festival of green events` there is still much to come and I invite anybody who has only just heard about these events to sign up and take advantage of the sessions that are yet to come. For example we have a film this afternoon called Eating up Easter, about the problems of plastics in our oceans, followed by an excellent session about "Managing our Oceans" with guest speaker Julie Andersen visiting us from Los Angeles!

Julie Anderson (Julie Anderson)Julie, a former triathlete, is the CEO of Plastic Oceans which is a non-profit organisation raising awareness about Plastic Pollution and encouraging activism in cleaning up beaches and supporting endangered Hawksbill turtles, just to name a couple of their activities.

Joining Julie `on stage` will be our very own Chris Davies, one of our former Liberal Democrat MEPs (and how it makes my blood Beach clean-up Easter Island (Plastic Oceans)boil to keep having to say "former MEPs" - such a waste of brilliant talent pulling them out of the EU, especially now when we need to be part of the community of nations!) Chris has a great depth of knowledge of the governance of our oceans from his years of involvement in the EU, which he will be sharing with us. The picture on the right is of a beach clean-up crew on Easter island from 2019.

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By the way it is worth noting here that at least NINE of our sixteen MEPs have, or will have, played an active part in our 2020 Vision series of events (and I do believe some, if not perhaps all, the others will be turning up to support our team on Saturday - see below!)

And whilst I am on the subject of support and involvement nine of our eleven MPs will have participated in 2020 Vision by the time we have finished, starting with our Keynote speech by Tim Farron just ten days ago. By the way, if you sign up now, not having been with us through the events so far, you will have chance to catch up on several of the events by seeing the session recordings before they go on general release to our members and the wider Liberal Democrat family - and, perhaps, even to the outside world via our YouTube channel.

It`s the Economy Stupid!

As we emerge from pandemic lock-down everyone is now talking about Build Back Better. Rather unbelievably, I even heard our Prime Minister Boris Johnson utter the words this morning speaking at an event in Dudley. The sad part of that is that it simply sounded like political rhetoric coming from him - he has such a chronic history of lying over the years!

The truth is, however, that there needs to be a lot of investment in future-proofing our economy and making it much more environment friendly, emitting much less CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases. The second session this evening is all about finances concerning the use of fossil fuels, both in terms of the hidden expenditures of support and subsidy this two faced government sprays around all over the place - and in terms of the need to start imposing carbon taxes, based upon the Polluter Pays Principle, an issue Liberal Democrats, and the Liberal Party before that, have always accepted as central to environmental responsibility.

The session will be started by a recorded seech from Oxford Professor Dieter Helm, an outspoken support of the Polluter Pays principle. We asked Professor Helm if he was able to speak to us during our festival but he had already cleared his time for his `holiday break`. However, he was very kind to record a specific address just for us which you can see tonight.

London based environmental commentator and Independent columnist Donnachadh McCarthy, then follows, speaking about the iniquitous use of taxpayers` funds to support fossil fuel use around the wrld, not least UK taxpayers` money, hidden away from public view. Donnachadh has had a major influence in his own area of London in stopping the ruination of community environmental `goods` by careless local authority mismanagement. He has also been an avid supprter of cycling in the capital and elsewhere as well as being a forthright environmental campaigner.

Then we shall hear about the need to address the issue of carbon taxation form our own Julian Hawkins who will touch upon a motion being put forward for consideration by the Lib Dem autumn conference on the details of how a carbon tax could and should be applied. As well as questioning the speakers, there will be an oportunity to discuss the proposed motion, both during the actual session but also in the less formal setting of our Meeting Hall after the event proper finishes

Leadership election.

You may have missed an excellent Q & A session with our leadership contenders last week, but we have in depth meetings with our two candidates this week. Layla and Ed will be with us for an hour each on Thursday and Friday evenings to tell you more about how each of them would develop the fortunes of our party as its leader. GLD exec member, Linda Johnson, and myself will chair the two Face to Face sessions at the end of the week which will be fully interactive so you can come and ask those penetrating environmental questions you are dying to know the answers to.

There is no doubt that we have a very clear opportunity to position our party as THE environmental party for the future. We have invested so much effort over the years in clarifying our environmental policies - we KNOW what needs to be done so much more clearly than the other political parties in the UK. We must make Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss central to our campaigning and so our party leaders must fully understad our viewpoint to be successful in taking us forward on these issues. Come along and make your voices heard.

Europe

I already made passing reference to our European heritage as a party. We are taking a long look at the new European Green Deal on Saturday with Greg Archer, the UK Director of Transport & Environment, one of the ten NGO signatories of the European Green Deal. Also speaking on Saturday will be Caroline Voaden - yet another of our former MEPs. The session will be chaired - you guessed it - by two more of our former MEPs, our own GLD President, Martin Horwood, and our own GLD Vice-Chair Comms, Councillor Jane Brophy.

Trophy Hunting needs to be banned… let`s do it!

Also on Saturday afternoon, we will have a session to talk about the still-continuing dreadful `industry` pandering to the whims of very rich people who want to shoot wild animals. Eduardo Goncalves, who many of you may recall from his membership of the Liberal Party and subsequently the Liberal Democrats, will be seaking about this awful trade. As the founder of the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting, he has just published his second book excoriating the perpetrators of the deaths of lions and elephants and tigers and polar bears and, for goodness` sake, even Giraffes.

Alongside Eduardo will be one more `former MEP` Catherine Bearder, one of GLD`s Vice-presidents and a long-time campaigner in the European Parliament... but more of these events another day. Must sign off now to get ready for today`s events!

Much more to come - join us, do!

Keith Melton (Keith Melton)Keith Melton

Chair GLD