Review of Bishop’s Climate Change Panel by Andy Brooks

This review of the Climate Change Question Time event was put together by Aylestone Transitioner Andy Brooks…

A panel of politicians assembled by the Bishop of Leicester in the Cathedral on Friday 2nd October for a “Climate Change Question Time”, chaired by the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt. Revd. Tim Stevens, was listened to by an audience of over 70 people, but some of those attending were not satisfied with the politicians candour and credibility.

Answering questions posed by the audience and by e-mail in the two–hour–long session were panellists: MP Patricia Hewitt; MEP Roger Helmer; City Councillor Ross Willmott; County Councillor Dr. S. Hill; and a representative from Christian Aid.



It seemed to me that the politicians were high on hot air and low on real specifics. None of them was really straight or totally honest about what Climate Change may mean to Leicester and Leicestershire residents, here in the UK, in Europe. There was no leadership on the issue and this was so disappointing.


The amount of “food miles” of the items at the reception afterwards made me wonder if the organisers had really thought that ‘energy use and climate change means we must do it differently’.  I think that the wine, juices and nibbles must have taken lots of energy to get to Leicester (except the crisps, of course!). The South African wine from half way across the planet could have been replaced by excellent wine from Strasbourg, Leicester’s twin city in Alsace; Mediterranean orange juice could have been replaced by fresh English Seasonal Apple juice from Hereford, Worcester or Gloucester; and the peanuts could have been Hazelnuts from Kent instead.


The Bishop was right to organise the event and he was really spot on with his analysis. It seems like the politicians are lagging behind The Church on Climate Change.

One response to “Review of Bishop’s Climate Change Panel by Andy Brooks

  1. I was at this event and have a slightly different take on it then you. I must start by pointing out my bias as I work for one of the politicians! Putting that aside though, I think a conversation of this nature is very much dependent on the questions asked and many of the questions were slightly airy fairy – “what will Leicester look like in 50 years?” is a good scene setter but it will produce a lot of hot air. I don’t seem to remember you asking any probing questions to cut through the lofty discussion?

    There were some really different perspectives on the Panel and I believe these came out. In terms of real specifics, I remember Roger Helmer raising immigration and his skepticism over the science, Ross Willmott talking about urban planning, the Lib Dem councilor talking about transport efficiency, Patricia Hewitt raising carbon trading and the Christian Aid bloke talking about food shortages and our dependence on meat. It ranged from the panels hopes and expectations of Copenhagen to the role of family planning.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that I found the conversation both interesting and informative and I believe that this was shared by many in the room. I don’t see that your review captures any of the topics discussed and is a rather shallow and all too easy dig at a bunch of politicians, none-of-whom avoided answering any of the questions. I think it is too often the case that people right these events off with the same old cynicism and whilst you raise a good point regarding the refreshments, for me it’s rather a peripheral one given the gravity of the topics being discussed. Finally, what exactly did you like about the Bishop’s analysis and where was it out of keel with the rest of the panel? In my conversations with the Bishop after the event, he seemed very impressed with the outcome.

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