I attended ‘Any Questions’ last Friday evening in Leeds. Unfortunately a hearing aid malfunction coincided with sub-optimum acoustics in Leeds Minster, but having heard the repeat yesterday, I do not think I missed much that I had not already heard many times.
Brexit got the obligatory question. Stewart Jackson (former aide to David Davis as Brexit minister) and Polly Toynbee (Guardian columnist, pro Remain) gave the obligatory answers, but did I hear correctly, bearing in mind my defective hearing, that Eric Pickles had voted ‘Remain’?
The dog which noticeably did not bark was Labour antisemitism, which would have been an Achilles’ Heel for Naz Shah, the Muslim Labour MP who ousted George Galloway from Bradford West. I cannot believe that there was not a single question from the audience on that topic. Naz got what I judged to be the loudest applause of the evening for her condemnation of austerity. Pity the universal Basic (Citizens’) Income (UBI) is not yet in her thinking.
I met Polly Toynbee at a recent UBI event at the LSE, yet she also inexplicably failed to mention the UBI in the context of austerity, or was that my deafness?
Mind you, Stewart Jackson has Achilles’ Heels aplenty – more like skeletons in cupboards – according to his Wikipedia entry.
But I am jaundiced. My question was not chosen:
“Why do either Brexit or Antisemitism get more attention than Climate Change, a much more serious threat to humanity?”
In the section at the bottom which asks if you have any special interest in your topic, I mentioned that I was involved in the foundation of what was once called the Ecology Party.
My wisdom after the event wonders if it was that reference to antisemitism, which Lisa Jenkinson, the Programme Producer may have decided to avoid. Surely it can’t have been that she actually dismissed question per se?
On second thoughts, perhaps it is that simple. After all, one reason given by the Green Party for the low priority give to eco-issues in the 2015 general election was that people were just not interested in them. I suspect that was truer in the austerity-hit Labour strongholds where we were doing well than the more affluent areas where they can afford to take a broader view.
But Any Questions has to take account of what it thinks interests listeners. Even closer to home, this weblog tells the same story. I get more hits if I discuss internal Green Party politics or Brexit than what I think is far more important. I can only appeal to readers who have not looked at my blog post of two weeks ago to do so. You can ignore the first 7 paragraphs which relate to internal Green politics, and start where it says
“It had become obvious in 1989 that Greens must make friends in the leafy shires”.
I am similarly disappointed by how few hits the new ‘Page’ Résumé as Springboard has received.
To get the full reasoning you will need to read it, but I close it with the following claim:
“In 2003, Wolfgang Sachs said:
“The world is no longer divided by the ideologies of “left” and “right”, but by those who accept ecological limits and those who don’t”
He was premature then, and it is still not true. But the sooner the Green Party adopts the foregoing narrative, the sooner it will make real progress towards tackling what should be the central concern of politics.”