My friend and colleague, Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has let fly a justifiable tirade against climate change deniers and the right
wing press which behave like the the political wing of Jeremy Clarkson aka UKIP.
Ed makes regular visits to the North-east in support of both the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector – it is not an either/or policy. He sees the need to promote all forms of energy and knows the huge potential in jobs and growth they can provide which is why he supports the Green Deal, Green Investment Bank and low carbon electricity – all key planks of the Liberal Democrats input into coalition policy.
One of the best promoters of the case for low carbon energy is, surprisingly, Republican Senator John McCain. He makes the point to doubters that if he and those who recommend action on climate change are proved wrong we will still have invested in a greater diversity of cleaner energy sources.
If climate change deniers are proved wrong and we go gung ho for fossil fuels and abandon investment in renewable technology we risk the sustainability of human and other life on this crowded planet.
Put simply, we have a responsibility to future generations to develop clean and sustainable economic lifestyles if we are not to destroy the very environment that sustains us.
Churches active across Gordon
I attended two significant church events last Sunday. The first, at St Andrew’s Parish Church, Inverurie, was a service to commemorate the diamond jubilee of the
Queen’s coronation – attended by the Lord Lieutenant and Provost of Aberdeenshire accompanied by deputy lieutenants and councillors.
It was a fitting service. As the Reverend Graeme Longmuir reminded us she did not expect to be Queen but was propelled into the role of Crown Princess by the
abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII and became queen at the early age of 25 following the premature death of her father, George VI.
She has performed her duties with diligence and tireless commitment and we have been particularly fortunate in the North East, her summer home, by the many events
she has graced and continues to attend during her lifetime.
I have been privileged to meet her several times, including kneeling before her to kiss her hand as a Privy Councillor and more recently to receive the accolade of
knighthood, when she was interested in my work to promote communication support for deaf people. We are fortunate to have a head of state who is above politics and is a focus and symbol of the nation.
The second event was the dedication of an extension to All Saints Episcopal Church in Whiterashes. All Saints is a charming little church whose value to the community will be enhanced by this new provision – all credit to those who made it happen. It was also good to meet again the Bishop of Aberdeen, Robert Ghillies, whom I first met in the 1980s when I was Rector of the University of Dundee, where he was Chaplain.
Unlimited variety of 30 years in Parliament
Thirty years ago this weekend, I was elected as Member of Parliament for Gordon – for the first time and at the third attempt. It had taken nine years of sustained
campaigning. I was of course exhilarated and excited but little realised that that was the first of seven successful elections.
Campaigning has changed beyond recognition. Then we had 60 plus public meetings and there was no Facebook or Twitter. Technology was limited too. Then there were no mobile phones, no e-mail and no desktop computers.
The boundaries, which in 1979 included not only Bucksburn, Dyce and Bridge of Don, but Donside and Deeside, have changed four times, seeing the seat move northwards, for eight years taking in Keith and Turriff before reverting to boundaries that again included the northern parts of the city.
There are too many events to recount. Throughout I have campaigned on a variety of local issues – bypasses for Ellon, Bucksburn, Blackburn and Inverurie – and other road upgrades, the new Meldrum Academy, upgrades and replacements for other schools; campaigns for health services, community hospitals clinics etc.
Nationally I have spoken for my party on a variety of issues especially on the economy and the environment and of course Home Rule, including four years as Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
The nights necessarily spent away from home add up to ten years. The diary pressure has always been relentless but the variety is immense and the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, most of them polite, and learn about so many areas of life makes it all worthwhile.