• My local MP, Mark Hoban, showing his true crappy colours

    My local Conservative MP voted against including a clean energy target in an amendment to the Energy Bill. There’s a great action and pressure internet group called 28 degrees which famously succeeded in changing the governments mind on forestry called 38 degrees. They mobilise people virtually to pressure governments with petitions and the like. Here is the email they sent me:

    Dear Jonathan,

    It’s bad news. Yesterday MPs voted against including a clean energy target in the Energy Bill. [1]

    The vote was painfully close – if just 12 MPs had voted differently, we would have won. [2] It was edge-of-the-seat stuff. Yesterday, it felt too close to call. But ultimately, we just didn’t have enough votes.

    It’s sad when we lose. Especially when it’s on something as important as protecting our planet. But we fought valiantly and gave it our all, and today we can be proud as well as disappointed.

    A year ago, the prospect of so many MPs voting for a clean energy target was inconceivable. Our work, alongside our friends at Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, changed that.

    Together we sent tens of thousands of emails and tweets, and made hundreds of phone calls to our MPs. We also ramped up the pressure on wavering MPs with adverts in local newspapers, thousands of leaflets through doors and many face-to-face meetings. It’s thanks to all we did together that so many MPs switched their votes, and turned out yesterday in support.

    This is not where we wanted to be today. But there’s still hope that we’ll secure the target we need. The Energy Bill will now go to the House of Lords to be debated again. They have the power to include a clean energy target. They are much more likely to do so because it was such a close vote in the House of Commons.

    Sadly, your MP, Mark Hoban, didn’t vote the right way. Whether it was because he voted with his political party, or he wanted to back dirty fossil fuels or for some other reason, he backed George Osborne at the expense of the environment and against the wishes of his voters.

    It’s important that we let those who voted against the clean energy target know that we’re disappointed in them. It will show that we’re watching them, so in the future they’ll know there are consequences for their actions. And next time there’s a big climate vote, they’ll be under no doubt from the outset where their voters stand.

    Could you email Mark Hoban now? Click here to him know that you’re disappointed in how he voted.


    So, overall, a disappointing result. Sometimes it can be tempting at moments like this to feel like giving up. But we know we did our best. And we know that if we keep working together, there will be chances in the future to turn it around. So let’s take a moment to give ourselves a pat on the back. We’ll keep going, because we know it’s the right thing to do. And because we know that together we can make a difference.

    Thanks for everything you do,

    Susannah, Becky, James and the 38 Degrees team


    [1] BBC: Energy Bill: Government sees off rebellion over 2030 target: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22764955

    [2] The Public Whip: Energy Bill – clause 1 – decarbonisation: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-06-04&number=18


    This was the email I sent in reply:

    Subject            Re: your decision to vote against Tim Yeo’s amendments to the Energy Bill

    Message          I’m extremely unhappy with how you voted on Tim Yeo’s amendments to the Energy Bill in parliament on Tuesday. You chose to vote them down, and to stick by dirty fossil fuels over committing to a cleaner energy future now. You’ve made a mockery of the ‘greenest government ever’ tagline, and of your constituents’ views. Once again, I’d like to express my sincere disappointment in your decision

    You are certainly not the man to steer our community into a more coherent idea of what a decent future will be. You have certainly lost any chance of receiving a vote from me. And I will not be quiet about it, including blogging about my disappointment (I have a fairly large readership).

    Yup, disappointed is a grotesque understatement. In moral terms, as Kant would say, you can judge an action by asking yourself “if everyone thought and acted like this, is this the kind of world I would like to live in?”

    It is not.



    I like 38 degrees. I think that this is the future of positive action in the digital age.

    Oh, and the Conservatives are a bunch of eejits, moving further to the write to appease the right-wing break away UKIP, alienating the centre.

    Category: Climate ChangeEnvironmentPolitics


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce