We had an ENERGY WE CAN ALL AFFORD meeting in Derby last night, organised by Derby Climate Coalition, just one of a series of 40 public meetings: see www.energywecanallafford.org
Somebody said in an email this morning: “I thought that the meeting last night was really interesting and went well.” We had a good range of speakers. Chris Williamson was scathing about the Energy Bill, arguing that it was in effect serving the energy conglomerates. He will be supporting the Tim Yeo amendment calling for Carbon targets. Jonathan Pyke from Renewable Energy UK, went over the case for renewables, and real investment. Comparisons were made with Renewables in Germany. Claire Morris from the Occupy Movement talked about Fuel Poverty and raised the scandal of the attack by EDF on the protesters, and the attempt to sue them for £5 million. Kris Ambler talked from Advice Derby talked about the attack upon welfare rights and benefits, and how we are seeing the reverse of Robin Hood, the rich are robbing the poor. The attached photo from our meeting shows the panel of speakers, with Chris Williamson speaking.
There was also discussion about the setting up of local energy co-operatives.
The inclusion of a speaker from the Occupy movement was deliberate, in order to draw out the point that there are ways of getting across to MPs and the public, over and above conventional parliamentary lobbying.
In total there were 40 people there, which was respectable, but slightly disappointing, but more than I thought we were going to get 24 hours before. There were lots of apologies. There was also a good smattering of organisations represented. And there people from a wide variety of organisations, and new people along with long lost friends. So basically the meeting was a success, and well worth putting on.
If I can end with a couple of reflections. There was very little involvement of people who are actually suffering from fuel poverty. That is to be expected; it needs something else to get through to them (remembering the impact of poverty is debilitating, to put it mildly). But it would be good to have a stronger connection with Fuel Poverty Action Groups, where they exist . Also there was very little involvement with trade unions, despite some publicity on some of the networks. I think that can be improved with a bit more planning, but we also have to bear in mind how overstretched the union movement is at the moment.
I would be very interested to hear for others who have been invloved in similar meetings. I see that KirkLees Campaign had 40 people at their meeting in January. There have been other meetings with 70 and 80 people.