Thursday, 10 December 2009

I'm Barbara, fly me

Excellent bit of investigative blogging by Stockwood Pete on why the Lib Dem leader of Bristol City Council, Barbara Janke, has decided to fly to Copenhagen for the climate change summit and quite how this squares with Simon Hughes getting all sanctimonious about others doing so.

Obviously Barbara is a very busy woman and while it is valid and sensible and not-at-all anything to do with political point-scoring for Simon Hughes to demand that the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and the Secretary of State for International Development, and, indeed the Prime Minister of Great Britain to take the scenic route, and go by train, it would of course be entirely unreasonable to expect her to do the same.

The suggestion that she might perhaps be slightly superfluous to requirements at Copenhagen given that Barack Obama and Gordon Brown and more than 100 other world leaders 'on the case' is of course simply sour grapes on my part. I hope that once she's saved the planet she has time to do some Christmas shopping before she catches her plane home.


Bristol Dave said...

It may interest you to know that someone has submitted an FOI request about this. Probably worth keeping an eye on it.

Einy Shah said...

Kerry! Look, I'm posting on your blog, block me. I am forming an opinion. What freedom of speech?

Kerry said...

Allowed through moderation despite being OT on the grounds that it makes you look very silly.

Not you Dave, thanks, that's interesting. I'd also like to see questions asked out the outcome though - what do they feel they've achieved, has it improved Bristol's fortunes in any way, shape or form? I suspect they will say 'valuable contacts', 'networking', that sort of thing.

Pete Goodwin said...

I'm sure questions will be asked, Kerry, (though you may be right about the answers). I've found common ground with Neil Harrison (comments on his blog here that trips like this need proper evaluation - and more about what might be involved in the trip other than the flying and the banquetting. But for previous trips, under both administrations, it's hard to find reports let alone evaluation.

Kerry said...

Didn't know Neil had a blog.

Were you aware that when Labour led the Council Helen Holland insisted that officials took the Eurostar over when Bristol was shortlisted for Green Capital? They weren't too happy about it, from what I understand.

In the big scheme of things one flight obviously doesn't make a huge difference, but would have sent out all the right signals. I await feedback with interest! Do they have a system on the Council where there would be a statement from the leader after her trip? We'd have that in Parliament, and it's a good opportunity both to inform people and to be questioned.

Pete Goodwin said...

I was well aware of Helen's decision to use the train to get to Brussels. She told me most emphatically, after I'd got it wrong and assumed they'd fly!

I have to say I was a bit shocked by the recent TV expose of the trips some MPs make (eg the party that flew to the Pacific Islands nominally to study ..errrr..... climate change, but clearly supplementing it with lots of other entertainment). I don't know if that delegation has reported back to Parliament.

Kerry said...

Delegations of MPs always have a report-back session for other MPs to attend, but only in a committee room, not in Chamber - but point taken about that particular trip, I was offered the opportunity to participate but didn't hesitate to turn it down - dubious at best of times, but in current political climate, not a good idea. The only such delegations I've ever been on have been to distinctly unglamorous places like the West Bank and Lebanon!