Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Miliband's world this week.

MP making emissions over Africa.

Environment Secretary, and South Shields MP, David Miliband, is attending a conference in Nairobi, Kenya this week along with representatives of 189 other countries to discuss the effects of climate change on the African continent. Can't imagine how much carbon was emitted flying such entourages to Africa, so I hope that some "offsetting" is taking place. One might have thought that modern technology could have been used to set up a huge video-conference instead. Typically he has described binding targets for carbon emissions reductions as "silly" and claims that a more "sensible" approach is to have annual reporting back to the Commons on a medium term basis!

He has been meeting pastoralists ( another name for a nomadic) who are struggling to access decent water supplies, and dancing with them too! One reporter admits that Miliband "is not the worst dancer to have been seen in the Cabinet!". The Guardian has been following the event and publishing regular podcasts from David's trip, you can listen to one here, where it sounds as though he is surrounded by an excited group of schoolgirls.

Meanwhile, back at home, he has come under attack for his failure in the last six months to use any form of public transport in London, despite telling us that we need to get out of our cars. Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell submitted a parliamentary question which was answered by Junior Minister Barry Gardiner on Miliband's behalf:

"Mr. Miliband has not used the London Underground, tram or light railway services or buses in connection with his ministerial duties."

Miliband explained that he walked so fast that in London it wouldn't be worth his while to catch a bus (brings to mind the image of Superman running past an express train!) A spokesman for his constituency office defended him by saying that he uses the train to travel from London to Newcastle (of course he does, it's free) and gets a metro to Chichester and then walks to his South Shields home from there.

So keep an eye open on Thursday. If you see a Harry Potter look-alike weighed down with gifts from Africa, a large suitcase, and half a dozen ministerial red boxes, tramping in the rain up Dean Road, South Shields, tip him the nod, tug your forelock and wish him well, he's doing his bit to save the planet!

A few short telephone calls to local taxi companies revealed that the minister may not be too keen on walking at all, staff at Bridgeway Taxis in Victoria Road claimed that he had an account at rival firm Westoe Taxis, however a spokesman there refused to "confirm or deny" that Mr. Miliband had been carried in their vehicles, "if we had that information we would not release it to anyone" I was told.

Curly thinks that a certain South Shields taxi company ought to "fess up" to carrying the Secretary of State from Chichester Metro station to a destination near the Readhead Park, don't you?

Mr. Miliband is back in the constituency to bang Labour heads together and make pastoralist peace with the angry residents of Laygate. You might catch them all doing a walkabout in Bowman Place on Friday 1st. December if you are lucky.

Telephones have obviously been ringing.


Shields Gazette
The Guardian
The Daily Mail

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