Joining the dots
I’ve never been one for meetings.
They can drag on well past the allotted time-slot and you can guarantee that if you’re waiting for somebody to call you on a pressing issue, they will choose the precise moment you step into the board room to get back to you.
But sometimes they just have to happen; sometimes if you don’t gather people into a room once in a while people lose sight of the bigger picture.
In the next few days, the cabinet sub-committee on climate change is set to hold its first meeting since it was announced in a bid to get Scotland back on track and start meeting targets to cut carbon emissions.
It appeared, to me at least, that the Scottish Government had a relatively easy ride despite announcing the third target in a row had been missed. There have only been three targets.
The reason for this was that instead of simply coming to the parliament with a list of excuses, Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse had announced the creation of the new sub-committee, which should provide the kind of cross-cutting powers environmental campaigners have been calling for. Without wishing to anger Holyrood’s local government reporter, who recently launched a broadside at the overuse of jargon, it should give the government some genuine ‘joined-up thinking’ on how to solve its climate change problems.
The cabinet sub-committee, which will feature cabinet secretaries and ministers and be chaired by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, could be a crucial tool to help shape policy on how emissions can be cut, or it could just as easily be a talking shop where nothing is solved.
It is already three months since the sub-committee was first announced, but this first meeting had been postponed until now because of two recesses and the purdah period before the referendum, so it is good that at least one meeting will be held before the SNP conference in November.
With a new leader and First Minister due to take up her post after the conference in Perth and a reshuffle almost certain to follow, it will take some time for the dust to settle, it is vitally important that the good intentions that seemed to come from Wheelhouse’s statement to parliament in July are not allowed to dwindle.