Guildford climate hustings

The climate hustings (#clustings as nicknamed by the organisers Youth Strike 4 Climate Guildford) threw up some pretty memorable moments - and not entirely for good reasons! 

highlights 

Best moment: the Guildford mother in the audience who delivered with palatable emotion the question ‘what will be the first thing you do if elected to help save the lives of our children’

 

Worst moment:  Conservative Angela Richardson using the case of Shamima Begum, a 15 year old from Bethnal Green who was possibly brainwashed by extremists into travelling to Syria to join Islamic state as a reason that 16 & 17 year olds aren’t trustworthy enough to be allowed to vote in general elections - even though they have the most at stake from the climate crisis

Most embarrassing moment: Unfortunately, again conservative Angela Richardson, who when presented with the issue of not being able to resolve climate breakdown without addressing the inherent problems of our economic system demanding growth at the expense of the planet stated ‘i believe we can invent our way out of the climate emergency’. This received a heavy amount of laughing and scoffing from the audience. 

 

Most heated moment: A sustained chorus of boos rang out through Holy Trinity when an audience member challenged the conservatives on Boris Johnson’s failure to show up for C4’s Climate Debate, and when Angela Richardson tried to deflect the blame for Johnson's no-show onto Sturgeon & Corbyn. 

XR Guildford VIew

If you're not keen to read the summary of the candidates' answers in full (below) then we can summarise this pretty succinctly for you.

Four of the candidates exhibited a decent understanding of the climate crisis, and the urgency with which to act. As a party, Labour has the most ambitious target for carbon neutrality. But Guildford appears to be narrowing to a 2 horse race between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives  (last polled at 41% and 40% respectively). 

We're not going to tell you how to vote, nor endorse a party. But what we can tell you is that at both a national level and local level the current government has demonstrated that they have absolutely no valid climate policy, to the extent they don't even show up to debates or hustings across the country.

If you are concerned about flooding, food shortage, drought, mass migration as the climate emergency worsens, then we strongly urge you to use your vote in the most sensible way you can to prevent the party with no policy, and no clue on climate breakdown from destroying what hope we have of tackling the existential threat of climate change. 

Answers 

All five candidates support citizens assemblies at a local and national level to drive forward climate policy, and all 5 signed Extinction Rebellion’s petition to Guildford Borough Council to make an immediate start on instructing a binding citizens assembly to guide climate policy.

 

That’s about where the similarities end though. And on more than one occasion the audience was left incredulous by an answer - never more so than Angela Richardson shamelessly trying to shift the blame for her boss Boris 'no-show' Johnson’s absence on C4 Climate Debate onto Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn. 

 

Going left to right across the tables, and summarising the answers to the questions. 

LIB DEMS 

Zoe Franklin is a former GBC councillor for the Bellfields area & resident since graduating from Uni of Surrey

She stated support for both local and national citizens assemblies

She stated her support for putting climate change back on the national curriculum and lowering the voting age to 16, as well as adopting Proportional Representation. 

Says she will fight against lowering of environmental standards as a result of leaving the EU. 

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Supports economic reform to build a system built around human wellbeing and environmental policy.  

INDEPENDENT

Anne Milton has been MP for Guildford for the last 20 years. 

Supports local and national citizens assemblies

Supports putting climate change back on national curriculum 

Supports lowering voting age 

Also supports inclusion of 16 & 17 year olds on citizens assemblies 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Stated that the treasury doesn’t use any costing for social factors, and believes economic system should be reformed to include social costing

PEACE PARTY

John Morris has been standing as Guildford Peace Party for over 20 years

Supports citizens assemblies

Supports putting climate change back on national curriculum

Supports lowering voting age

Supports electroal reform

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Believes that for issues as severe as climate crisis government needs to rewrite the rules on spending and that climate emergency funding should be without limits

Conservatives
Angela Richardson is an amateur actor from New Zealand who lives in Cranleigh in the Surrey Hills

Supports citizens assemblies

Does not support lowering the voting age

Does not support electoral reform 

Does not support reforming the economic system to include more measures of success than simply growth

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Ummmm. She did know that  hedges block air pollution. Otherwise exhibited a severe lack of understanding of both the root causes of climate breakdown and the possible ways to mitigate the effects of the crisis. 

LABOUR

Anne Rouse has lived in Guildford for 30 years and runs a small local business. 

Supports citizens assemblies

Supports putting climate change on national curriculum & lowering voting age

Supports electoral reform

Supports economic reform to ensure climate crisis is tackled whilst maintaining green jobs

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Pushing for 300k apprenticeships as part of green revolution. States that citizens assemblies should be rolled out and include 16 & 17 year olds to shape climate policy. 

xr guildford

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