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Webchat with Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change - this Thurs Dec 3rd, 1.15 - 2.15

(328 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Dec-09 15:56:37

We're delighted to announce that Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is coming on for a webchat this Thursday, 3rd Dec at 1.15-2.15. Ed Miliband will be leading the UK government's negotiations at the Cophenhagan summit which commences on Dec 7th, is one of the chief architects of Labour's election manifesto and is viewed by many as a potential future leader of the party.

Ed represents Doncaster North, lives with partner Justine and six month old Daniel and has also had government jobs tackling social exclusion and supporting the voluntary sector.

Please post advance questions here if you can't make the chat. (And do please refer to our webchat rules summarised at the top of this thread, and try to stick to them or they'll be trouble!)

WilfSell Tue 01-Dec-09 16:00:59

I'd like to be the first to go 'woo hoo' before I think of a sensible question not involving his dishier older brother grin

But could we pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeese get that lovely Ian Hislop on too? Gwan. You know I'll be lovely to him wink

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 01-Dec-09 16:03:53

Quite pleased with this. I like Ed; i find his brother deeply irritating. Don't actually have any relevant questions yet just thought I'd point that out!


I saw him speak at the Environment Agency conference last year and he was FAB.

<<goes to think of good question and tidy hair>>

Giggi Tue 01-Dec-09 16:24:25

Hi there

Serious question, though it may sound flippant. Does or did anyone ever suggest that folks hold these climate change conferences/summits remotely? In an age of skype etc would it not make more sense to save all those plane/car journeys, all that hotel food etc and do a video conference where everyone can contribute to the conference without contributing to global warming at the same time?

As I said I know this sounds flippant, but it really is a genuine question that occurs to me every time I see a country hosting any international political conference as well as every time my husband (and colleagues) jet off to yet another meeting on the other side of the world, that could clearly have been conducted using technology.

Thanks for coming on and good luck in Copenhagen (am guessing it's too late to cancel the flights now....)


<brain is enveloped in a fuzz of stupidity>

Will try and think of something intelligent.

AliGrylls Tue 01-Dec-09 16:37:48

I don't like anyone that is in a job to do with climate change.

I would like to ask if anyone saw the article in the Sunday Times which basically said that any evidence / science which has backed the contrary argument that climate change is not man made / does not exist has not been published - even though there are some scientists that do make this proposal.

Surely, in a liberal society and given that climate change is supposed to be a foregone conclusion what is wrong with allowing those scientists with opposing views to get their work published?

There is something really fishy about the whole thing.

WouldYouCouldYouWithAGoat Tue 01-Dec-09 18:13:34

as part of the government that is attempting to make us consume our way out of a recession, promoted car scrappage schemes, has done nothing but preserve the status quo re. renewables, etc etc, does mr milliband feel like a token minister without any real influence?

also does he wish hilary fancied him too?

frankie3 Tue 01-Dec-09 18:41:47

How is there ever going to be a solution to climate change when:

1 Companies such as Tesco win awards for "best green company" while building large car dependant retail sheds with huge car parks, undercutting local retailers;

2 Heathrow Airport is still being discussed;

3 There has been no real investment in public transport - a real alternative to car travel is needed, and a huge investement in quality public transport is the only solution;

4 The ecomony is still based on comsuming and retail, rather that green energy and manufacturing. We are still being encouraged to spend our way out of the recession rather that having money put into proper new green initiatives.

MaHumbug Tue 01-Dec-09 18:51:58

Hi Ed

Do you think that my insurance company is forcibly trying to reduce my carbon footprint by not coming to fix my boiler?

It's f-f-f-frigging freezing here.

Bigbadmummy Tue 01-Dec-09 19:01:17

Has to be a biscuit question, doesn't it?

1) Which one?

And as my possibly permitted follow up

2) to dunk or not to dunk?

NickNemo Tue 01-Dec-09 19:05:21

Dear Ed,

Why aren't gas guzzling monster cars banned yet? Is the government ever going to ban them? Or at least tax them so heavily it hurts?

It makes me want to scream when I make so much effort to live an environmentally sound life, yet have to watch people using these monsters all around me.

Thank you!

santaschristmascakeywakey Tue 01-Dec-09 19:29:52

Hello Mr Milliband,

I live in a district where our council has dealt with a number of wind farm applications, all of which have been turned down amid much NIMBYISM from local people. I know that they must also have not met local planning guidelines, but I'd much rather have a wind farm near me that a nuclear power station. What does the government propose to do to encourage more renewables in suitable areas?

BTW, I'm not so sure that schemes should be allowed outside of the planning system as is being proposed. Could go too far the other way instead. how do you strike a balance?

Maiakins Tue 01-Dec-09 19:31:20

Hi Ed,

Thanks for coming on. My question is: What are you doing to make sure that energy/climate change debates are pro-poor?

I worry that ‘saving the environment’ is sometimes seen as an elitist issue, both within Europe and North America, but also at a global level.

How do you resolve the tension between international development and climate change measures and who are we to put a brake on other countries’ development? What policies do you suggest to ensure that poor people don’t suffer in developing countries? And who is going to finance this? Is the UK going to give extra money to help smaller developing countries who can least afford to invest in renewable energy and new technologies? And if so, is this money ringfenced?

P.S. You’re definitely dishier than your brother – does he feel embarrassed about the banana incident last year? Did you have a chuckle about it?

mumbot Tue 01-Dec-09 20:03:18

Hi Ed,

If you were to suggest one thing that busy mums on a normal income could do to make a positive impact on the environment, what would that be?



Fibonacci Tue 01-Dec-09 20:15:12


The current proposals on Feed-in Tariffs are over-complicated and don't offer a high enough return - to be really effective they should offer home electricity generators at least 10%, as they do in Germany, do you agree?

mumtoone Tue 01-Dec-09 21:04:56

Ed, what do you believe are the UK's key strengths and weaknesses with respect to our plans to tackle climate change?

policywonk Tue 01-Dec-09 21:17:25

Hello Ed, thanks for coming on to talk to the Biscuitariat.

I'm going to be cheeky and ask two questions <tries to avoid Justine's eye>:

1) Did you hear the recent World Service investigation into the funds for developing countries that were supposed to be provided under the Bonn Declaration? Given that mistrust among developing countries seems to be one of the big potential stumbling blocks to a comprehensive deal at Copenhagen, are you confident that the financing deal announced by Gordon Brown at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting will be more transparent and accountable than the Bonn process?

2) In your recent lecture at the LSE you namechecked the marvellous Michael Sandel. Who else has informed your political thinking? Would you say that redistribution was one of your watchwords when you worked at the Treasury?

FluffyForLifeNotJustForXmas Tue 01-Dec-09 21:30:03

Hello Ed.

Why is there so much media attention/nagging on householders to reduce their carbon emissions/waste/recycling/use less energy when in fact businesses produce far, far more then the average fluffysForLifeNotJustForXmas? Surly you need to be addressing the amount of C02 production, waste, recycling and energy usage by businesses rather then spending vast amounts of money encouraging the average person to do this instead? What are your plans to tackle this?

I can spare some time if you are willing to employ me as a consultant grin

What's your favourite biscuit?? wink

lindsaygii Tue 01-Dec-09 21:38:52

aligrylls there is nothing stopping climate deniers getting their work published. If they submit it to a journal, and it passes peer review, then it will be published.

You clearly know bugger all about how science operates and would be best keeping to the kitchen in future, frankly.

Milliband New Labour have done nothing for the environment and show no interest in it.

The car scrappage scheme was a completely non-green attempt to boost the motor trade which you insulted our intelligence with by dressing it up as green.

The parlous state of public transport may have started under the Tories, but it's got worse, not better, under you (everywhere except London).

Your cowardly failure to engage the public properly over possible energy provision which the technology suggests would be strong answers, but the press would find easy to criticise (nuclear, incinerators) is weak beyond belief. Instead you have gone down the easy-to-sell but massively polluting-in-production wind farm route.

Books written fifteen years ago about the environment are still relevant today because the UK has done nothing in the meantime.

If we don't get to grips with this problem soon, and stop kidding ourselves that reusing the odd plastic bag is making a difference we're in a mess.

Name one policy, spell it out, that New Labour has put in place - and tell us three more that you will bring in within your first year back in government, please. No weasel words, no 'we'll work hard to...', describe that actual actions you will take and the dates by which you'll do them.

onebatmother Tue 01-Dec-09 21:43:25

Hi Ed

Govts generally (and Science generally) has failed sufficiently to engage with climate-change sceptics. CCS's then claim that they're being denied a platform, which in turn lends a spurious weight to their scientific arguments. When is DECC going to REALLY take them on - mano a mano if need be?wink

Also <puts on big shire-horse eye-patches to avoid Justine's eye>

There's a guy called Sulloway who posited that an individual's politics is affected by birth order, with first-borns becoming loyal conformists - essentially conservative - and later-borns more likely to be unorthodox, receptive to innovation - essentially radical. It's a cute though ultimately messy theory - but does it ring any bells with you?

Swedington Tue 01-Dec-09 22:18:14

Mr Miliaband. Welcome to Mumsnet. Is it true you are shaping up for an imminent leadership contest with Gordon Brown?

BexJ78 Tue 01-Dec-09 22:18:29

Hi, I would like to ask;
As transport is such a major part of the carbon agenda, can you please advise on how the government can reconcile the centralisation of services/choice agenda (access to schools, hospitals, services in general) with trying to encourage people to travel less or use more sustainable modes of travel?

And, do you prefer jaffa cakes, or bourbon creams?!

Swedington Tue 01-Dec-09 22:18:49

Sorry for spelling. Mr Miliband.

splodge2001 Tue 01-Dec-09 22:23:07

Dear Ed,

You went to a North London Comprehensive, one that is now performing poorly. Can you comment on what can be done by any government to improve state schools offer in London. It is so sad that this great city has become a place of such polarised wealth partly because it has been the natural inclination of the middle classes to move out to find better schools elsewhere. Wouldn't it be better for the London community if we could provide the kind of schools that people don't want to flee from?

Drayford Tue 01-Dec-09 22:36:33

I would like to fit Solar Panels to my Grade 2 listed house and the barns of my holiday cottages (also Grade 2 listed). However, my local council are refusing to grant listed building consent.

Does a future labour government have any plans to relax such restrictive planning conditions given the labour party's views on climate control?

Hello, As a new father, of course you are aware how many nappies a baby uses, most of which go to landfill, which accounts for something like 10% of household waste and takes at least 50 years to biodegrade.

Why is funding for reusable nappies only at the discretion of local Councils as landfill is a national issue, while also wishing to nail a myth that the report by the Environment Agency about energy use assumes that one tumble dries and irons hmm ones nappies.

Have you kept in touch with your Aunt in Moscow?

WilfSell Tue 01-Dec-09 23:03:01

Your dad rocked, by the way. And can't you tell bleedin' Mandy to get his nasty, slimy mitts off the humanities and social sciences. Puhleese.

A bit 'off message' I know but someone has to do the research to find out why people don't 'do' green. I can give you the names of some very good social scientists working on these very issues if you like.


StewieGriffinsMom Tue 01-Dec-09 23:09:33

[SGM would like to point that only morons iron cloth nappies and no one really stuffs them in the dryer either - seriously, who comes up with this crap? And, why are we taking advice on the environmental consequences of clothe nappies from Huggies?]

Swedington Tue 01-Dec-09 23:23:02

SGM - How do you dry cloth nappies then?

fridascruffs Wed 02-Dec-09 08:31:33

Answer for mumbot ('what can a bust mum on normal income do to help the environment):
Vote. Green if you can. If no candidate, vote for the party with the best environmental credentials.
costs you nothing.

fridascruffs Wed 02-Dec-09 08:32:17

oops- 'busy' blush

Some companies, e.g. M&S, are very overt about the way in which they are aiming to become more environmentally friendly. This can only be a Good Thing. But I worry that much of this could be 'greenwashing' rather than real change.

And I agree with another poster about the perceived pressure on consumers to cut domestic energy use as opposed to pressure on companies/businesses/manufacturers.

One thing that infuriates me is the seemingly profligate use of electricity by retail businesses and offices. Drive down any high street at night and see how many fascias are still illuminated and how many office buildings still have lights blazing.

I remember during the miners' strike of the 70s that businesses had to turn their lights off. Can we not make this policy too? Surely this would save much energy - as well as money?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 02-Dec-09 08:52:51

I dry them overnight in the flat. I have the organic mother-ease ones so they do take a full twelve hours to dry but doesn't require the dryer which we don't have room for in our crappy, poorly insulated council flat.

aliceemma Wed 02-Dec-09 09:27:26

What is he doing to address the fact that we are 3rd worst in Europe (above only Malta & Luxembourg) in generating renewable energy? And does he recognise enormous security implications of this as our own gas & oil supplies are depleted and we are forced into dependency on middle eastern oil and Russian & Kazakh gas supplies?

GrendelsMum Wed 02-Dec-09 09:38:19

Hello Ed,

Just wanted to say thanks for coming on to chat to us (despite the reputation that Mumsnet seems to be getting for savaging politicians) - it does feel like one of the few chances that ordinary people get to ask government ministers questions. We have been known to pause work in our office to follow an important webchat. Please do your best to be honest and straightforward without waffling, but don't be afraid to say that you don't know - it makes a big difference to how politicians like you are perceived.

I happen to have some slight insider knowledge of big business and environmental concerns. My impression is that businesses will only react to the threat or promise of legislation, citing their responsibility to shareholders, but that governments will only legislate if they feel there is sufficient will from the public. So our role as the public is to pressurise you as the Government. Would you agree?

And of course, what I really want to know is - have you and your brother kept in touch with your aunt in Moscow?

mrsruffallo Wed 02-Dec-09 09:48:10

Thanks for coming on.

We are constantly being told to not waste water, but a high percentage of waste is caused by leaks from lack of repair. For example, 33% of water of Thames Water supply is lost each day due to leaks.
What do you intend to do about this?

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 02-Dec-09 09:59:20

Dear Ed,

I would like to do my bit for climate change by installing solar panels, but these are still prohibitively expensive.

Are there any plans afoot to subsidise these for individuals, or to provide manufacturing incentives to get the prices down by increasing volume? (I believe that the latter has been tried with some success in certain other European countries.)

Thanks smile

nettie Wed 02-Dec-09 11:50:29

Please can you explain why my elederly parents can get help with a new boiler (if the old one breaks) can have cavity wall and loft insulation (have done) but can receive no help in replacing the rotting wooden windows they have with modern double glazed ones, which would make their home far more energy efficient.

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 12:35:50

Ooooh, Ed Miliband. Nice one, Mumsnet HQ.

So firstly, Mr Miliband - it can't have escaped your notice that climate change denialism is terribly trendy at the moment.

Do you agree the government has a key role to play in explaining to people why this is dangerous claptrap? And if so, why is so much of the government's communication efforts based on 'fear, uncertainty and doubt' advertising (yes, I'm looking at you irritating little girl and your nightmaresque poxy bedtime 'story') rather than inspiring people with what can be done?

All that terrifying people achieves is disempowering them. There are many things that can (and are) being done: smart meters/grid, renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear energy. They build economies. They free us from concerns over energy security - why on earth do we never see simple and effective advertisements selling them?

ronshar Wed 02-Dec-09 13:05:51

Mr Miliband.
Thank you very much for joining us. We are nice really despite things you may have heardsmile

I would like to ask you about Evironmental Taxes.

Why does your government continue to hide tax increases behind the Green Badge.
In particular why are we paying such a very high price for fuel for our cars?

The Environmental tax has had ZERO effect on car use.
It will have Zero effect on car use all the time that trains are more expensive and the bus service is so rubbish.
I dont live in London, nor do most people in this country. Londoners are spoilt by having a marvelous choice of well run and reliable public transport.

I drive a big car because I have three children and can't fit child seats in a small car. I am tired of paying an absolute fortune in tax for the pleasure of driving my car.

Give us an alternative and I will gladly use it.

Thank you veery much in advance.
If it helps I much prefer you to your brotherwink

BecauseI'mWorthIt makes a good point about 'greenwashing' and on similar note, would like to ask why it's down to the consumer to take responsibility for the sheer amount of waste produced by the manufacturer.

Example: Despite removing excessive packaging from items at the till and chucking back, last week I couldn't find any tomatoes that weren't wrapped in plastic hmm, so if I wanted any, would have had to schlep it to a recycling place.

Why is the burden on consumers rather than manufacturers?

pixiestix Wed 02-Dec-09 16:01:38

Mr Miliband - why is no-one but the BNP [shudder] mentioning peak oil?

mulberrybush Wed 02-Dec-09 17:01:53

The approach to insulation so far has been to make it available more cheaply to people who choose to use it.

Take up levels are still lower than they should be, and many of those who have not yet got round to it are vulnerable people who need help in some way.

It is obviously in the best economic interest of any local authority, as well as in the interests of lowering CO2 emissions, to ensure that as little as possible is being spent on heating costs.

Are there any plans to give incentives to neighbourhood self help schemes or to make Local authorities responsible for ensuring all properties in their area are as energy efficient as possible.

JackTheHallsWithBauersOfHolly Wed 02-Dec-09 17:04:26

Thanks for coming Mr Miliband, nice to have you here,

I would like to know if you are going to try and change the inconsistency between local councils with regards to recycling/renewable energy sources. Our council doesn't collect plastic, but I cannot get to the tip to recycle it. However, if i lived 5 miles up the road my plastic would be collected and recycled.

Dull question but I get very frustrated by this.

2ChildrenPlusLA Wed 02-Dec-09 17:28:20

Hello Ed.

Please could you predict for me, what year the cost of rail travel is likely to cease to increase by more than the rate of inflation?

Many thanks.

Hassled Wed 02-Dec-09 17:44:32

Mr Miliband - can you tell me your thoughts/what's happening re wave power? I read/heard something along the lines of the Britain being perfectly placed to benefit from wave power, being an island surrounded by choppy seas etc, but know little more. Is the government backing research into this? Does it look like it might be a goer?

onebatmother Wed 02-Dec-09 18:09:07

Ooh look smart metres for all - paid for by us but recouped via eventual savings. Big concerns, though, over whether energy-providers will pass on the savings.

paisleyleaf Wed 02-Dec-09 18:20:55

Can't we have everything (well probably not everything - but much, much more of it) all made out of the same plastic with easy peel labels?
toiletries, food, drinks, cleaning products etc
for easier recycling.

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 20:32:22

Hi OneBat

Don't want to spike Ed M's guns, but the chances are that consumers will not get their hands on all of the savings. Obviously you will benefit from savings made by understanding and reducing your energy consumption (most international studies suggest that will be between 10-15% of your bill - so £80-£120 p.a. on a typical electricity bill) but the utilities are likely to hold onto the very large operational savings they will make from smart meter installation (from no meter reading labour, no estimated bill queries, reduced bill disputes, better load forecasting etc).

So, in theory all parties should win, but some will win more than others. I seem to have gone all Animal Farm there...

themachinist Wed 02-Dec-09 20:56:44

I had to write him a proper letter today (through work), so t'would be greedy to ask more q on here ((showy off climate change person icon))

onebatmother Wed 02-Dec-09 21:28:57

yes quite gizmo - furthermore sounds as though legislation necessary to curb increased power of energy providers over supply <paranoid>
Also wondering whether the current 2-tier key system - where poor pay more - will endure. 2-tiers seem to be spectre hovering over carbon reduction feast..

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 22:07:52

Ah, onebat, do you mean the old 'they'll be able to turn your fridge off' argument?

As far as I know (and I promise you I'm pretty well informed on the subject - I'm a riot at dinner parties hmm) there is way an no energy supplier is going to take any direct control over your appliances unless you reach an agreement with them that they are able to do so. And you can expect some pretty attractive tariffs as a reward for giving energy suppliers even a limited degree of control.

onebatmother Wed 02-Dec-09 22:18:41

crikey gizmo - hadn't thought of anyone fiddling with my fridgables! No just that now they'd be able in theory to bypass court when cutting off for non-payment etc. But acknowledge this is prob at the outermost edge of Express-reading paranoia and that "the least of our freakin' worries" is the only possible response. Consider it said grin

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 22:24:41

Arf @ 'least of our freakin' problems'.

Believe me, there's a Daily Mail feature being prepared on 'Big Brother takeover of your fridge' as we speak...

onebatmother Wed 02-Dec-09 22:28:23

hope Big Brother likes gherkins. I have maaany.

fridascruffs Wed 02-Dec-09 22:55:14

Do you have any plans to introduce grants for people to do solid wall insulation? I really want to do mine but at nearly £9000 it's a twenty year payback period and
i couldn't ask £9000 extra if I sold- so I can't really do it.

ViktoriaMac Wed 02-Dec-09 23:54:20


In October you voted against the government estate committing to the 10:10 Campaign to cut emissions by 10% by 2010. This continued your history of never voting against the Party Whip.

In light of this, which are you more passionate about: Finding ways to combat Climate Change or The Success of the Labour Party and your place within it?

MinkyBorage Thu 03-Dec-09 00:05:51

Oh god, yawn yawn yawn at the millipedes

Gingerbear Thu 03-Dec-09 01:57:14

Hello Ed,
you are my MP and I would like to thank you for doing a great job.

I would like to know why the Environment Agency has approved the creation of a Wetlands Scheme in an area that is prone to flooding close to the River Don.
How will flooding a floodplain help protect the nearby villages?

Saltire Thu 03-Dec-09 08:35:34

Maybe not your department Mr M, but I live in a married quarter. I have lived in them for the past 15 years. Slowly (very very slowly) they are getting done up, but I would like to know how we as consumers can cut our gas/electric consumption and our bills if Defence Estates won't/can't put in insulation or proper double glazing that actually keeps homes warm and dry?
In fact married quarters are bad full stop for helping with energy saving. Our centre lights in all the rooms won't even work if we use energy saving bulbs - if we put them in the lights take a good 30-45 minutes before they come on, some won't come on at all, so we had to change them all back to regular bulbs

spiritinthesky Thu 03-Dec-09 09:42:29

are there any serious plans for personal carbon allowances legislation? i beleive this could be a very fair way to focus our minds on our consumption,and a trading scheme could be a real asset for poor folks who are usually the greenest anyway.

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 09:51:38

Gingerbear - the town where I live has had a wetland created, and you can see already how it is able to hold much more water than the floodplain alone, and stops flash flooding

I'll be back later to ask my question smile

McAli Thu 03-Dec-09 11:00:52

What is Ed Milliband's view on the Bisphenol A (BPA) debate currently heating up in the UK after the Canadian Government has banned it from Baby Bottles?

US Manufacturers have withdrawn BPA voluntarily and the British Government / Foods Standard Agency say its still ok for British babies? Breast Cancer UK, NCT, Unison and experts are calling for it to be banned here to due to the potential harm it cause babies who are more vulnerable to toxins.

Does Ed use glass or BPA free bottles for his son?

See campaign for removal of BPA from British Bottles by Mums

Shroomer Thu 03-Dec-09 11:03:32

Hello Ed,

The following is said with a huge dose of irony given the Mumsnet host: Aren't we breeding too much? Every child we have uses vital energy resources. Shouldn't there be a limit of 1 or 2 children per couple?

'In the UK, population is projected to continue rising - from 61 million (mid-2008), to pass 70 million in 2029 and reach 77 million in 2050. That's more than another two Londons.' OPT website (Mid-2008 based Principal Population Projection, ONS, 21 October 2009)

The UK imports 22,000 tonnes of potatoes from Egypt whilst exporting 27,000 tonnes back again. We export 4,400 tonnes of ice cream to Italy, only to re-import 4,200 tonnes. Do you agree that this sort of thing is crazy and how do you think this kind of mindless waste could be stopped?

(And as others have said, don't you think that the government needs to put serious resources into increasing public understanding of climate change and countering denial? Otherwise people would undoubtedly be furious at any restriction of their 'right' to choose Egyption potatoes over locally grown ones, let alone anything like flying less...)

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 12:48:15


paisleyleaf Thu 03-Dec-09 13:02:43

Shroomer, they're saying today that contraception would do more than wind turbines to help against climate change.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Dec-09 13:03:52

Before anyone starts worry about their screens - the green tint is intentional - we're seeing if by highlighting Ed's posts we can make the chat a bit easier to follow. (And green seemed appropriate).

Hello Ed,

My baby and I like to do what we can for the environment by not having a car and using public transport wherever we can.

But please can you tell me why bus drivers and train ticket inspectors seem to think they are doing us a huge favour by letting us on at all??? I am constantly being told that i can't get on the bus as there are already too many buggies on board - cue much rolling of eyes and huffing and puffing when I offer to fold mine up and get on anyway. When we take the train, we are always being told that we are in the way or fighting with bicycle and wheelchair users for the one special seat on the whole train with room in front of it for a buggy.

Why are mums and babies not welcomed on public transport? Shall I go out and get a four by four instead?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:08:36

Hello it's ed miliband, glad to be here and will try and answer as many questions as poss

LaGringa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:09:39

Why is the Government not putting pressure on local authorities to improve recycling facilities? My local council collects certain items only once per month. We have too many recyclables in that time, and end up putting them in our bin. We also have excessive amounts of plastic which are not accepted for recycling. Why is the Govt not a. ensuring councils recycle them and b. making supermarkets offer less packaging?

FreeGeorgeJackson Thu 03-Dec-09 13:09:39

hi Ed
i see my local Mp is retiring. WHat would make a normal right minded middle aged woman stand for election? are there any UPsides?
( not money any more obviously!)

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:10:35

Hello Mumtoone:
Strength? The world’s first climate change act with targets to cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050, that we’re already on track to meet and exceed our Kyoto reduction targets, that we’re the world leader in offshore wind, and also helping homes to become more energy efficient.

Weakness? We've done a lot on renewables but we need faster progress. We’ve just got new planning rules which will make it easier. And in 2008, there was a 10% increase in the amount of wind energy generated in the UK. Hopefully a sign of progress.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:11:02

To: ChocolateMoose

you asked about imports of food. You're right that seasonal, local food is good in terms of carbon. But it is not as simple as more miles equals more carbon because sometimes food grown locally or nearer in conditions which require lots of carbon if they are grown in artificial conditions

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:12:11

To: FreeGeorgeJackson

you should go for it. if you want to make a difference, it may be frustrating being an MP at times but you can locally and nationally..

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:12:38

Dear Frankie3

Every bit of the economy, every company, every home will have to play a part. We’ve set in law a cut emissions by at least 80% by 2050 and 34% by 2020 so that will mean every sector of society playing its part. If you’re interested in learning more about this, have a read of our Low Carbon Transition Plan which sets out how each area of society from homes, transport, business and industry will cut emissions. read it here

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 13:14:11

Welcome Ed - nice to see a politician here on time grin

My question: given that nuclear power does not create CO2 at the point of production (although obv there is CO2 created in the building etc), and that the Gov have decreed that they think we should be building more reactors in this country, why is nothing being done about the acute shortage of reactor physicists, health physicists etc etc in this country ? The majority started their careers in the 60s, and are coming up to retirement. And as for recruitment to the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, it is laughable.

Without the high level staffing needed (and considering these are roles that need 10 years or more of training, plus theres not even any training coming out of the defence sector now) these plants can't be built, let alone the reactors loaded. So what do you plan to do ?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:14:20


recycling is done by my colleague hilary benn but I am pretty sure local councils have targets for recycling that they have to meet...write to your local mp if you feel they aren't doing the business

onebatmother Thu 03-Dec-09 13:16:54

Yes very prompt. Welcome to MN Ed smile

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:17:10

TO:CMOT very interesting question. My sense is that we have seen big improvements on recruitment to the nuclear installations inspectorate.The Nuclear Skills Academy is co-ordinating wide nuclear skills. Do you have a particular experience in this?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:17:19

Hi Maiakins

I think it was his breakfast but I haven't asked him about it....I am now careful not to carry fruit in public.

You're right that fairness has got to be part not only of our international and domestic climate and energy policies.
We don’t want to put a brake on other countries’ development. But also we don’t them to repeat the same high carbon route that we took.

So it’s about helping them to grow their economies in a low carbon way. The reality is that one of the biggest threats to tackling poverty and development is climate change. So there’s no ‘either or’ choice here.

Simple answer is that we - the developed world - have to finance this. The PM’s speech from 26 June 2009 set the agenda on this issue - including commitments on new and additional funding. You can read more at read it here

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 13:18:33

If the government is serious about renewable, green energy, then why hasn;t the government invested in or made funding available for individuals to choose renewable energy.

My In-laws live in a converted mill with a working water turbine. They costed the price and potential energy creation of investing in a turbine. It will cost them at least £25 000 to convert their water turbine and attach it to the national grid. The potential energy creation will apparently be enough to run most of the village they live in. However, the do not have £25 000 pounds. They are over 75 and can not re-mortgage their house for the £25 000. There are no available loans or grants in order do so. If they lived in Scotland, they could have received grants and loans that would have helped to pay for the conversion.

Surely this type of small-scale green energy [available everywhere in the UK] is something that we can invest in cheaply that will have real long-term benefits?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:18:56

Dear Aliceemma:
We’ve got low figures at the moment, but we’ve got plans in place for a significant increase in renewables in the coming years and have seen real progress recently.

For example we have seen a 67% increase in offshore wind generation in the last year. We’re now making sure that our planning system is right. We also have to win an argument with people who oppose wind farms in principle. People need a voice and there can be inappropriate proposals, but we have to try and persuade people that climate change is a bigger threat to the countryside than the wind turbine.

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:18:56

Hello Ed,

Would you consider an extra paid holiday allowance for all who kept their airmiles down, to enable them to use slower transport, or just as a reward for not flying so much?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:19:15


this is the one i expected:

jaffa cake

no dunking of any biscuit---yuk

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:19:37

Ooooh, love the blue tinge!

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:21:02


good q. My brother had this idea about personal carbon allowances---the more carbon you use the more you pay, the less you use the less you pay. It's hard to do but an interesting idea...

LaGringa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:21:40

Thanks for the reply. The fact that recycling is not part of the climate change brief is telling though. How can such a demarcated approach succeed? I did go to my local councillor, who suggested I walk to a depot about a mile away. Not a realistic option when I have three children and no car...

personanongrata Thu 03-Dec-09 13:22:01

Hi Ed, blistering pace of answers!

What do you think of James Hansen's comments about capping/trading carbon legislation, in today's Guardian, that they're analagous to the indulgences the Catholic church sold in the middle ages.

And a non-climate question, how much do you get to see your baby and are you having bitter rows yet about who is doing more?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:23:08

Hello policywonk:
I asked our own policywonks about it. They tell me that the UK met and exceeded its share of the commitment - £120 million in total - made by donors in Bonn in July 2001 for the period 2005 to 2008.

In general, finance is going to be one of the crunch issues that will come down to the wire in Copenhagen. Trust - and the lack of it - is a big blocker to a deal. We’re going to have to overcome that in a lot areas - but particularly when it comes to finance. We want to play our part fairly.

Obviously my dad was pretty influential with me and my brother talk about politics a lot. Others include Richard Sennett, the late Jerry Cohen, Tony Crosland, Will Hutton. But some of the most important influences are the people you meet doing my job - like the charismatic Liam Black who used to run the social enterprise Fifteen, or Catherine Howarth from London Citizens.

And on redistribution - it’s always been important to me and I think some of the things that we’ve done as a government have made a huge difference to people who previously were struggling to get by, like tax credits.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:23:28


I dont see a contradiction between the two. On 10:10, i have personally signed up and i am determined we do as much as poss in govt but not going to make promises we can't keep...

mateykatie Thu 03-Dec-09 13:24:37

Hi Ed,

Following on from CMOTDibbler's excellent question, I've just been watching the Daily Politics show on BBC2. They said Gordon Brown sold off Westinghouse, a company which makes nuclear reactors.

Why did he let skilled energy jobs go abroad when they could have stayed in Britain? Surely you knew that we would need nuclear power to help combat climate change back then?

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 13:25:36

Ed, The NSA is for engineers and other workers, taking them from apprentices upwards. This is great, but does not solve the issue of health and reactor physicists where the training path is much, much longer.

I was looking at a job advert for NII inspectors yesterday - considering they are few, I see these advertised very frequently, telling me that they can't recruit. And when I look at the salary, they require a very specialised skill set indeed for not a lot of money (although EA specialist inspectors earn half that, which makes me wonder why anyone applies for those). And it is not comparitive with the same job in Australia for instance.

I'm not directly in the field, but know a lot of people who are, as my career branched along a different route of radiation physics, but have cross over

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:26:14

Hmm, I don't know about reducing it to financial terms tbh. Wouldn't that just mean that only rich people could afford to have longhaul holidays etc. There still has to be a choice surely.

I think rewarding in days off is a bit more fairer and direct (although I know that the rich can buy days off of course).

Businesses I suppose would compensate their employees for loss of holiday through compulsory flying so they would be encouraged to consider what really was compulsory.

If you have an extra moment would you address how the government plans to reduce the school-run traffic?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:26:20


I was pretty depressed by james hanson. i think he is just plain wrong. the world has come a long way in the run up to copenhagen: china, india, US all putting targets on the table. We mustnt be defeatist.

Daniel turned six months yesterday but unfortunately I was in copenhagen. partner v understanding but expecting me to stay in UK next year rather than just visiting!

LaGringa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:27:19

If I am permitted another question, I'd like to know if the Govt would offer asylum to climate change refugees, eg folk from Bangladesh or Kiribati who are made homeless because of climate change?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:27:24

To:CMOT I am told we have definitely recruited more, hope you apply....

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:28:42

TO:LaGringa we have a good history of offering asylum to refugees but much better to go for Plan A and avoid the dislocation and terrible upheaval that would result....

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:29:44

May I repost my original question about the cost of public transport?

When are rail prices going to stop going up more than inflation?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 13:29:53

A second question: do you use cloth nappies or do you use the more environmentally friendly disposables made with no chemicals and which are biodegradable?

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:30:42

I'd like to contragulate you on your pace Ed!

Do you move this fast in parliament? Impressive!

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:31:43

I'm going to sneak another question in here (sorry Justine!)

Carbon Capture, Mr Miliband: do you think your plans allow for adequate time to thoroughly develop the necessary technology? Moving from small demonstration plants to full blown generating kit in 12 years is pretty ambitious, and, let's be honest, a faster rate of development than your government has achieved in any other area of infrastructure development.

Spacehoppa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:31:44

Mr Miliband,

Given the cost, availabilty, cooking time and possibilities for local sourcing is it possible that cheese on toast is the best hot available eco-lunch? (cheese on toast question)

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:32:05

Hi Mumbot:

Simply getting a real time display from your energy company will tell you how much energy you're using and that means that when you boil the kettle, turn lights on you are more conscious of carbon and the costs you are paying. I visited a project in Leeds and that showed that giving people proper information can make a big difference.

The Energy Saving Trust will be able to help with further suggestions and offer advice on financial support for bigger energy saving steps.

As for fridascrubbs' suggestion about the Greens, I am afraid while they have good intentions, they are wrong on major issues. they say that economic growth is a problem when it is essential for raising people's living standards, they say we should leave carbon capture and storage development to the market when we need public subsidy and voting for them runs the risk the tories get in by the back door.

LaGringa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:32:59

They would not fit into the current UN definition of a refugee however, it would require legislative change. I'd be surprised if the UK was willing to go to such an effort. I expect neighbouring countries to those affected will bear the brunt of the problem, and we will be unable to get an effective solution as we cannot convince the US/China/India to reduce emissions sufficiently

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 13:33:42

I think you may only have filled the posts that were there... And in 5 years, who will be filling them ? 10 years ?

There is no way of getting proper training in the UK for the v specialist roles, especially with the selling off of civil and non civil nuclear sites

Sorry, and another question, still related, is what is going to happen about deep repository for the UK ? We cannot just keep storing ILW/HLW in temp stores, especially with the decommissioning process in full swing at sites. This also has a massive effect on users of radioactive material such as hospitals who have to pay huge amounts to dispose of small sources as allowance has to be made for repacking at some point in the future.

This has been deferred and deferred, and someone needs to make a decision and push it through, just like in other countries.

Much as I'd like to be an NII inspector (always fancied the access all areas badge), I don't do fissile material.

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 13:33:52

<Imagines Sun headline tomorrow : Ed Miliband goes like the clappers and comes early on Mumsnet>

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:33:58

Oh, and while we're at it, why is Ofgem and the DECC model using a figure of around 6% savings on an average electricity bill for people with smart meters when international studies have consistently shown 10-15%? Strikes me you are making life a lot harder for yourself than you need to...

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:34:16

Absolutely not. See? Politicians can give you a straight answer.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:34:23

TO:StewieGriffinsMom we use disposable nappies and actually an environment agency report from 20005 said that when you take into account the use of energy in washing and drying nappies, it evens out...there are greener disposable nappies which we are trying

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:35:21

<gazing in awe at CMOTDibbler's techy credentials>

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 13:35:28

Dear Ed,

The Thick of It - is it considered to be a comedy or a documentary in your department? Do you have your very own personal Malcolm Tucker and, if so, how scared are you of him/her on a scale of one to ten?

Oh dear. That report was very flawed, Mr Miliband, and doesn't take into account the landfill aspect.

domesticextremist Thu 03-Dec-09 13:36:51

Mr Miliband - I think that report about the nappies didnt take lots of things into account and said that you needed 24 washable nappies and that you tumble dry them all the time which noone does.

Well done on your impressive typing/answering skills btw.

stickylittlefingers Thu 03-Dec-09 13:36:51

I was very impressed my the number of solar panels on private houses in Germany - will we have a government sponsored scheme here so that we can sell electricity back to the grid?

Maiakins Thu 03-Dec-09 13:36:59

Thanks for the reply. Amused to hear you won't be carrying fruit in public - who would have thought choices of food (biscuit for Brown; banana for your brother) could be so controversial!?

Another question (and you've probably set the record for the most responses!)... at the earlier talks on climate change in Barcelona, I understand there were discussions to make the Copenhagen deal “politically binding” rather than “legally binding”, which had previously been the aim. What is your position on this - legally vs. politically binding? (Obviously one has consequences, whereas the other doesn't!)

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 13:37:33

For what question is the 'absolutely not' straight answer?

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 13:37:40

Florence suddenly feels very lightweight having x-posted with CMOTdibbler blush and runs back to S&B where she belongs.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:37:42

TO:2ChildrenPlusLA I think the transport secretary is looking at this on the east coast main line or at least I read it somewhere.... the truth is that we are putting public subsidy into the railways but i take the general point about rail fares. If you book early, it is cheaper...

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 13:38:47

Ed Miliband - Thank you very much. smile

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 13:38:48

The Environment agency report assumes that people dry and iron their nappies and that people only use them for one child. Most people who use nappies do not iron or dry them and everyone re-uses nappies. Mine are on their fourth child [not my fourth child but bought second-hand].

The Environment agency report was poorly researched and lacked a basic understanding of how people actually use cloth nappies.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:39:24

on nappies, I will look at the report again. depends where you live as to whether you can hang nappies out to dry....

Hassled Thu 03-Dec-09 13:40:03

Ahem - Harnessing wave energy? Is it the future?

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:40:43

Hi, try as I might I can't whip up much enthusiasm for it all. How can you motivate people like me to do something?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:40:48

TO:stickylittlefingers yes, we are introducing feed in tariffs which pay for you having solar panels and selling back to the grid....from april

Shroomer Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:00

Option A: Not have another child.

Option B: stop flying, turn off lights not using, switch to a green tariff, turn down heating, cycle everywhere and get rid of car, grow own veg, and lots of other green things.

Which do you think those of us who already have at least one child should do?

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:18

Oh, Ed, don't cross the good women of mumsnet on the subject of renewables: I promise you we have more experience than the Environment Agency on the subject.

Come back to safer territory...climate change denialists? Slightly wierd figures used in smart meter costing?

mateykatie Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:18

Mr Miliband,

Can you answer my question about why Gordon Brown sold off our energy companies?

Here are some articles about it I have just Googled.



He said it was to diversify risks - what risks does it diversify if we have to rely on other countries for our power plants? Also if we don't own the companies then won't they just fleece us?

We saw what happened to gas prices when Russia held Europe to ransom.

The Guardian article warned this would happen.

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:20

You should give cloth nappies a try - really, that report was a disgrace - they thought people ironed them, and boil washed. My nappies were second hand to begin with, got washed at 40, never ironed, mostly line dried, and I only used half amounts of detergent at most.

In fact, I can lend you some nappies to try if you like - unlike disposables, mine have been used and are ready to pass onto another baby grin

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:38

Well, I dry mine in the flat overnight on a drying rack. I live in a poorly insulated and poorly heated council flat. It is freezing in here but my nappies dry overnight.

PixieOnaLeaf Thu 03-Dec-09 13:41:54

Mr Miliband - Congratulations on becoming a father grin! Was your son born in an NHS hospital? If he wasn't, then why and what would the Govt. have to change to make you consider using an NHS hospital in the future? And if he was, were you pleased with the level of care you received?

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:42:22

Sorry, didn't mean renewables, meant washables. B*ggering pregheadedness.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:42:57

TO: Hassled wave power is part of our future and we are putting money into marine energy. it's still being worked on to develop it but I think its got great potential. Wave Hub in the south west is a great development of this...

Why do you think some people object to windfarms on the grounds that they are unsightly? I think they look rather majestic myself.

And yes, where my in laws live (posh bit of Eastbourne) it is forbidden to hang your washing outside as it would make the area look 'common'. Do you have any plans to make these sort of silly local rules illegal in the name of -good- eco sense?

SexyDomesticatedDad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:43:26

What about more wind power and easing any planing restrictions for small wind turbines to be errected by house owners. In the last couple of months or so Spain had their highest output of wind generated power - can't recall the figure now but pretty high. Surely we have more wind than them and so could be the leader - especially in offshore - so why did we let go our UK ability to build them!!

PS my eldest says I'm the spit of your brother...

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 13:43:51

Gosh, do you tumble dry all your laundry then ? When I can't put mine out, I use a rack over a dehumidifier, and can dry three full loads in a few hours for much less than a tumbler drier would take to run. Shame on you Ed wink

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:45:13

TO:Shroomer. I really think telling people not to have kids or more kids is not the answer. The real challenge is that economic growth over the coming few decades is going to dwarf the increase in carbon due to population. So breaking the link between economic growth and growing emissions is the key to this...

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 13:45:37

Hello Ed

Seeing as you and your government is dead set on nuclear power as a carbon cutting exercise, despite the Sustainable Development Commission's conclusions after two years of research and examining the data, what are your plans for nuclear waste storage? Do you not think you are just putting an enormous burden on future generations? Where is it all going t go?

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:46:41

SDD: I'll say what EM probably can't: for most homes, in most of the UK, small scale wind turbines are a complete waste of money. Honestly. They never reach the output the manufacturers claim and have alarming tendencies to break down.

Nothing against wind at a large scale, mind, but at a domestic level to reduce carbon you're much better off with solar water heating and ground source heat pump, or even Solar PV.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:46:43

TO:NotAnotherNewNappy I totally agree with you about wind farms... i am sure people used to say the same about windmills

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 13:46:48

But what about the impact ion landfill that disposable nappies have?

At a time when we are trying to recycle as much as possible and send less to landfill, surely disposables are a big no no.

No one tumble dries and irons their nappies, which is what the report was assuming sad, so could there be another report done on it taking all these factors into account?

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:46:57

I don't have a tumble dryer!

SkipToMyLou Thu 03-Dec-09 13:47:24

CMOT, I didn't know that about dehumidifiers. Would never have thought of it. Care to start a thread to convert tumble dryer lovers like me grin?

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 13:47:24

What is the outlook for people who live in coastal area wrt sea levels rising?

SexyDomesticatedDad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:47:26

Ed - what are we doing about getting consistent roadside recycling sorted out - a few miles down the road and they collect plastic bottles & cardboard - here I have to take them to the centre or possibly a supermarket (but not all the supermarkets do tetra pack, the local recycling does). The local recyling is run by the people that are contracted to do the door step collections - go figure!!

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:47:50

Why is VAT levied on gas and electricity? Would you change that?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:47:55

TO:PixieOnaLeaf yes, University College Hospital...great care....

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:48:56

TO:LeninGrad the tories introduced it and we cut it to 5%, minimum allowed under EU law...

mateykatie Thu 03-Dec-09 13:49:38

I absolutely hate it when politicians spout endless schemes and proposals, but don't account for their past actions.

For the last time, Mr Miliband, can you justify why Gordon Brown flogged off our strategic energy companies, and please explain what risks that "diversified"?

Why are you cherrypicking the easy questions?

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 13:49:48

I was talking more about the daily commute. Not sure how you can book early with that. I live outside London because I can't get a property within, but nearly a 3rd of my salary after tax goes on getting to work. At this rate, it is going to cost more than going to work.

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 13:50:14

Care to comment on the Sustainable Development Commission Ed?

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:50:27

Thanks, what's the rationale then? It doesn't seem a luxury to me and disproportionately disadvantages those with lower incomes.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:51:21

TO:gizmo and onebatmother good advice. the denialists are totally irresponsible and i have learnt in this job that you have to take them on. On smart meters, we have been cautious about our assumptions, but you're right the savings could well turn out to be bigger....

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Dec-09 13:52:27

Mateykatey - I'm sure your answer is coming - please read webchat rules at the top of thread about heckling though, thanks!

domesticextremist Thu 03-Dec-09 13:52:33

Ed - why is climate change so party political - can anything be done to prevent it? Is there cross party agreement on any aspect of climate change?

Spacehoppa Thu 03-Dec-09 13:52:37

Apologies to Mr Miliband, while this has been on my child has unravelled the dental floss, pulled off some wallpaper, jumped on the sofa and is helping herself to the fridge contents.
In general interest of conservation of anything-bye

SexyDomesticatedDad Thu 03-Dec-09 13:52:38

Ed - do you think that energy should be provided on an equal basis - we are in a good position and get a good deal but many are forced to use pre-paid which costs more per unit surely this just penalises those on lower incomes. A fairer deal for all should be legislated for and I'm not one for legislation generally!

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 13:52:42

I also use second-hand cloth nappies and either line dry or put them on the radiator or rack to dry (sometimes in tumble drier if desperate blush).

WilfSell Thu 03-Dec-09 13:53:04

erk. Forgot about this.

Dear Mr Miliband,

Good question earlier from Notanothernewnappy about windfarms. The French have solved this haven't they? They centralise their planning function I think rather than leaving it to local authorities. I think more centralised control is necessary for real change here otherwise the NIMBY culture will win.

Tell people there is no alternative to windfarms. Tough.

And I refer you back to an earlier question about the important not only of scientists as CMOTDibbler points out, but also social scientists in helping work out responses to climate change. We need to understand the social and cultural objections to change, don't we?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:55:01

TO:mateykatie We need the investment in energy and the question is should we have relied on that coming from government, when there is not much money around, or should we get investment from private companies, like EDF. I care less about who owns the companies, and more about whether we get the investment and the jobs in the UK.

As for fleecing consumers, the key is strong regulation and we are going to give stronger powers to the regulator in our energy bill

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:56:49

Yes, yes, to Wilfsell's point about cultural roots to climate change denial. There's got to be a better way to inspire people to get involved than your current efforts, I'm afraid.

I mean, I'm pleased you think of denialists as irresponsible, Mr Miliband, but surely you can see that scaremongering advertising will tend to drive people into their arms?

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 13:56:57

Why don't plannners insist all new housing is at least passiv if not activ?

onebatmother Thu 03-Dec-09 13:57:11

Thanks for your answer re facing the Sceptics head-on, Ed.

I think you need a figurehead. You know, a Proper Giant-Brained Scientist who will bestride the debate and win the battle for minds as well as hearts.
Clarity and Repetition. That's what I say.

policywonk Thu 03-Dec-09 13:57:27

Blimey, this is FAST

Ed, could you answer Florence's question about The Thick Of It? DO you watch it, does it remind you of DECC and who's your Malcolm Tucker grin

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 13:58:11

TO:WilfSell for big projects over 50mw for onshore wind and 100mw for offshore, we are doing it through the new infrastructure planning commission but I think local authorities should retain the role for smaller projects. The key thing though is that we can't have local authroities that just turn down all applications. We have to convince people that wind farms need to go somewhere and we are doing a mapping exercise to see what the most appropriate places are.

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 13:59:04


What we need is a Malcolm Tucker of Climate Change! I'd love to see what Nigel Lawson would make of that grin

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:00:19

TO:policywonk she's called polly billington but she is less mad than malcolm tucker...and marginally less intense wink

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:00:41

Justine - Is Ed doing his own typing? wink

pixiestix Thu 03-Dec-09 14:00:52

Hi Mr Miliband - excellent pace!
Your targets for wind farms, wave power etc up to 2050 are all very well, but you seem to be assuming that the oil needed to create all these schemes will be plentiful until then. Most scientists believe that oil has already peaked - so how is any of this really going to happen? Any why is the BNP (yuk, shudder) the only party talking about peak oil?

policywonk Thu 03-Dec-09 14:01:02

Oh and also there's gizmo's question on CCS:

'Carbon Capture, Mr Miliband: do you think your plans allow for adequate time to thoroughly develop the necessary technology? Moving from small demonstration plants to full blown generating kit in 12 years is pretty ambitious, and, let's be honest, a faster rate of development than your government has achieved in any other area of infrastructure development.'

<worried that Ed will run through everything on this thread and stray into Am I Being Unreasonable? to keep himself entertained>

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 14:01:33

LOL abour comment on windmills. Possibly true, but it isn't quite on the same scale is it?

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 14:01:46

Did you read Jonathan Porritt's article for the Guardian last month about the government's plans for nuclear power and how you ignored the Sustainable Development Commission's conclusions? It is here

WilfSell Thu 03-Dec-09 14:02:09
gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:02:20

<I could always ask him about his choice of underwear, PW - something for the tabloids, dontcha know>

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 14:02:56

Ed. What about my earlier question concerning the lack of government funding and grants for green energy programs? My In-laws are sitting in a converted mill on a fast-flow river. They do not have the cash to convert the mill to energy production and are too old to re-mortgage their house for enough to pay to convert the water mill. Yet, the potential green energy production [as assessed by a government inspector and the an inspector from the local energy company] suggests that the mill could provide enough power for most of the village they live in.

So they are sitting on a relative gold mine in green energy and can't do anything about it. surely this is where small government grant and loan packages could be targeted [with a view to re-payment once the energy is being produced]

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:03:48

I think I've covered climate sceptics.

Sulloway doesn't ring true for me. I think i'll steer clear of sibling stereotypes but i think you face more responsibility being a first born and you get away with more as second child!

mulberrybush Thu 03-Dec-09 14:04:32

Really pleased to hear about mapping exercise on best place to put windfarms. The obvious thing to do.

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 14:04:36

Why does the car scrap scheme exist? Understand that new cars can be less polluting, but, in general the manufacture of those cars and the disposal of the old is extremely wasteful isn't it?

Surely most old cars on the road now are best recycled and reused?

Shroomer Thu 03-Dec-09 14:05:07

Thanks for answer to earlier question. I work from home - what about lower income tax rates for those of us who work from home (and therefore aren't getting into cars/buses etc)?

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 14:05:33

There's also my question about coastal areas of the UK and sea levels rising.

Should I sell up now before the whole of Liverpool goes under? grin

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:06:43

TO:StewieGriffinsMom this is a good question and we are working on how you meet the upfront costs of big going green ivestments in your house. the basic point is to have repayments linked to the house not the person which means you can spread the repayments over a long period....see our consultation from earlier this year and watch this space....

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Dec-09 14:07:06

Yes Ed is doing his own typing and very speedy he is too.

Wow! I was late back and missed this - but really impressed by obvious pace and number of replies.

mateykatie Thu 03-Dec-09 14:07:43

Thanks for the answer, but surely we need to own our own energy companies, especially when it comes to things like nuclear!

Not only for our energy security, but also for simple finance reasons.

I really don't understand the point of selling off these things, just to pay them again, with extra profits, to build new nuclear stations.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:09:25

To:2ChildrenPlusLA It was designed to help the car industry which has huge skills which can be put to use for hybrids and electric cars. We were forecasting that it would be at worst carbon neutral and in fact people hav cut their carbon use by buying more eco efficient cars. Part of the climate argument has to be based around the positive green jobs that can result....

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:09:32

EdMiliband - I think a great proportion of the population are unconvinced but understand the Pascale's wager argument that we have no option but to act. It's impossible to convince people scientifically. You will end up red-faced and intolerant. A little like Richard Dawkins.

Porpoise Thu 03-Dec-09 14:09:42

So is it weird having a brother in the same line of work as you? Do people get you mixed up?

And, honest now, do you wish it was you that was Foreign Sec instead?

podgelovesmulledwine Thu 03-Dec-09 14:10:30

Do you really think that windfarms are the energy answer we are looking for, when you take into account the massive financial outlay and use of materials?
Any better ideas?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 14:11:19

I have to say, as a life-long labour supporter, it is Labour's policies on nuclear energy and Trident which are making me rethink my vote. I think both policies are poorly thought-out and lack any real investigations in the long-term effects of both. I also believe re-newing Trident is a direct violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaties we have signed.

It is a shame because both my Labour MP and Labour MSP are very good [neither of whom are keen supporters of either nuclear energy or Trident]

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:11:48


you should check our climate impact projections but I dont think liverpool is directly under threat now. We do need to act though or we will get more floods and droughts

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:11:54

Is he doing it on a manual typewriter so as not to unnecessarily waste electricity?

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 14:13:27

<sings Sust-ain-able- Dev-elop-ment Comm-ission! in a high pitched voice in an attempt n ot to heckle.> <but need to go out and do some shopping>

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:13:31

TO:Porpoise all the time, including my own whip in parliament who is called dave and often calls me David....dont wish i was foreign sec! very hard job. happy doing what i am doing

pixiestix Thu 03-Dec-09 14:15:40

I've read that if supply lorries can't get into London then the capital is four days away from starvation. As oil production has now peaked this looks increasingly likely to happen, and not too far into the future.
How are the government going to get the British people through peak oil without thousands starving to death?

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 14:15:41

Do the two of you get competitive about work ?

Deep repository ? Trying some real nappies?

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:15:44

No-one else out there? Ok, just one last nudge for the carbon capture question, then, Mr Miliband: achievable in 11 years?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:16:30

Hi Pixiestix, I'm trying to keep up with you all!

in a sense the peak oil debate has slightly been overtaken--because we need to make an urgent shift anyway due to the demands of climate change. It will also be a more managed transition the sooner we do it. If we don't we are likely to drive oil prices much higher

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:18:42


on carbon capture, we have to go as fast as poss not just for us but for china and india and to tackle climate change. Unlesss we make it work quickly, we are in trouble when it comes to climate change.

The other point is about inspiring people: completely right we need to show the positive vision. As someone said to me recently, Martin luther King didnt say 'I have a nightmare' but we do also need to warn people of the dangers. Our research showed people needed prompting about the real dangers to their kids....

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:19:01

Ed - Are you a vegetarian?

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 14:19:02

Thank you for coming in and please get the Environmental Agency to redo their research into cloth nappies by actually speaking to people who use them [and don't own either dryers or irons].

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Dec-09 14:19:53

Ed Miliband says: "I think they're all very nice" shock

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:20:23

Arf @ MLK 'I had a nightmare...'

Well, I hope your research pays off...you're obviously playing the percentage game there.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:20:45

TO:podgelovesmulledwine I think we need all the options we can get: wind, nuclear, clean coal. The problem is too big to ignore any of them. And actually, two million homes a year in the Uk are already being powered by wind power

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:21:20

Justine shock


<readjusts Harpy hat>

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 14:22:14

Sustainable Development Commission?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:22:19

TO:swedington no, we need agriculture to cut its emissions though and under our system, it has its own carbon budget just like a financial budget which it has to live within. are you?

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:22:24

Ethical Man from Newsnight only made v small inroads into reducing his family's carbon footprint and he was getting paid to be strict with himself. It can't be left to individuals really.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:23:46

TO:swedington i have described it in a more simplistic way, and i didnt know it was called pascale's wager but you're bang on!

pixiestix Thu 03-Dec-09 14:24:21

Thanks for answering! I see what you mean and agree we need an "urgent shift" but I think making targets for 2050 rather than 2015 is unrealistic - there is no way that the oil supply will continue to meet even current demands as long as that. And so the issue of climate change is masking/sidelining an equally pressing and terrifying concern.

(I think this is my fave webchat so far!)

JackTheHallsWithBauersOfHolly Thu 03-Dec-09 14:24:23

Oh very good chat. Only just got back and speed read through.

Would like to add my name to the list requesting a new report into reusable nappies be carried out, preferably in consultation with reusable companies as opposed to disposable companies to achieve a fair result.

But all in all, very good!

podgelovesmulledwine Thu 03-Dec-09 14:24:32

Thank you for my answer.

What about being a one day a week veggie?

And yes, i am.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:25:25

TO:pofacedandproud i disagree with the SDC on this. We need low carbon energy, we have very stretching renwables targets and then the question is will the energy we need on top of renwables in say 2020-2025 be filled by gas or something else: that is why i think we need both nuclear and clean coal.

mrsruffallo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:26:00

Yes, well done Ed.

Stretch Thu 03-Dec-09 14:26:23

v. impressed smile

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 14:26:29

What do you think about transition town initiatives ?

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:26:57

Ed, care to say anything about your plans re: encouraging smart grid? After all it's a key plank of the Obama administrations fiscal stimulus package.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:26:58

To:auntinmoscow questions yes, definitely and david saw her when she was there. we are definitely keeping in touch with her through some friends and i want to introduce her to my family....

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:27:10

EdMiliband - I think you are an asset to the Labour party. Would you consider defecting to the Tories? G'waaan, you know you want to.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:28:16

To:CMOTdibbler they're great. i was a keynote listener at their conference. Good experience for a politician to listen!

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 14:28:26

What StewieGriffithsMum said (about cloth nappies and Trident).

I'm a Labour supporter too but when I logged on to offer my help/support to my local MP at the next election, I read her voting record and it made me very sad. Made me realise just how much I disagree with Labour policies...

ID cards
student top-up fees
anti-terrorism laws.
Iraq war.
No investigation into the Iraq war.

I am strongly considering voting Lib Dem at the next election

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:29:15

Glad you like it Pixiestix

We're not only focused on 2050, we have five-yearly targets, they're tough and we've put them in law.

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 14:29:30

Yes it is clear you disagree - but I feel you are going for the easiest short term option and are not being completely honest about the costs involved - both financial and environmental long term. It is a shame that the long term plans proposed by the SDC - realistic but more complicated and tricky - have been ignored.

sophable Thu 03-Dec-09 14:29:54

we are 'nice' (oh please could it be cool, or switched on or something please?) to people who come on here prepared, answer questions properly, fast and in a way that demonstrates respect.

so on this thread we are nice indeed.

v well done ed.

Twit Thu 03-Dec-09 14:31:24

[puts harpy hat back on the shelf]

This has been really good, thank you.

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:31:30

<hits refresh>

<sends quick prayer for response on fascinating topic of smart grid>

personanongrata Thu 03-Dec-09 14:31:32

Thanks for answering, Ed. Can I ask one more v quick question: if we increase our reliance on nuclear power, won't the increased waste products mean we'll just be out of the frying pan and into the fire? Aren't we storing up more problems for our children/grandchildren?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:32:01

TO:Swedington no, and i disagree. I judge this by my own constituency: sure start, tax credits, new secondary schools, NHS hospitals. Part of the truth about modern politics is that people dont buy everything a govt does but I think we have made the country fairer. there is a huge amount more to do....

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 14:32:11

But thanks for coming on Ed - you were great!

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 14:33:03

I like 'keynote listener'. Can I be a 'keynote webchatter' please ?

Great webchat - you obv paid attention in typing classes wink. If you send Justine over to us, we'll get you a bit greener though

sophable Thu 03-Dec-09 14:33:11

[ed milliband for PM]

He was good, wasn't he? Nice to meet a man that can type 100wph grin

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 14:33:27

I like you (especiialy as you answered my question about Malcom Tucker after Policywonk nudged it - thanks PW!). You can come again.

Great web chat. The media will now claim that you are the "Mumsnet choice" for the next PM. Would you like us to be viciously unleasant for a while to keep Gordon happy?

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:33:34


So-called smart technology's going to be a big deal in the future. We announced yesterday our final plan for installing smart meters in all homes by 2020. They'll help us all reduce our energy use by showing us in real-time how much we're using in £s and carbon. They'll mean an end to estimated bills and, with smart grids, help us fit more renewable energy on the grid.

EdMiliband Thu 03-Dec-09 14:34:06

Signing out because malcolm tucker says I have to go--half an hour ago. And she wanted to be CJ she says...you're cool, and fab and i am going to recommend other members of cabinet do this....

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 14:34:21

An energy gadget/gizmo would work for our house I reckon, and a water meter. The combination of carrot and stick and seeing the immediate effect of our actions would go a long way to helping us reduce our consumption and would get the kids involved too, especially if they had the option to emit alarms when taps and lights are left on etc (with the ability for parents to override/programme).

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 14:34:26

Or even 'unpleasant'?

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 14:34:59

Thank you very much!

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:36:40


Smart technology...yes, tell me something I don't know wink.

Blimey. That was a bit of a education in hobnobbing, wasn't it? Not of the biscuity kind.

WilfSell Thu 03-Dec-09 14:36:51

arf at Swedes. No, gerroff. Get yer own principled intellectual activists. Oh no, you can't can you? They're all busy working in banks while the Tories are left to Mrs Humpington Bumpington or Tara Flippy Hair. winkgrin

Nice? WE are clearly losing our edge.

But we're always nice to people well prepared by their wives PRs.

<wolfish grin>

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:37:00

EdMiliband - Social mobility is at its lowest level since the fifties. So I'm not sure I fully understand how you conclude this government has made the country fairer. Giving the poor a bit more money than they had previously and some help and advice with their preschoolers doesn't make the country more fair.

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 14:37:01

I have a new political crush. My last one was Tony Benn. I am very discerning wink.

CMOTdibbler Thu 03-Dec-09 14:37:13

Excellent - just make sure you give them the course in typing, answering the actual question, and seeming like a real person before they come on. Maybe you should do that for the boss too (and Wannabe on here can teach him about screen reader software too).

I think you are in my elite group of politicians who have come on here that I actually want to vote for afterwards

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:38:52

In any case, Surestart is available to everyone and used mostly by those who should be fliipin' paying for it.

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 14:39:53

Yes Labour have made the country fairer (the Tories will take us backwards).

But they have not gone far enough.

Close tax loopholes, increase income taxes for very high earners and bring in a mansion tax.

And don't raise the inheritence tax threshold!

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:40:19

He is super bright isn't he? Not like that postman chap Labour sent a few months back. grin

gizmo Thu 03-Dec-09 14:41:08

Yeeeesss. Relunctantly I have to concede that Nice Mr M was quite convincing. Obviously had a good grasp of his brief <fnarr>.

I mean, I could quibble with him over details but the big picture strategy is actually quite convincing. And he appears to be human. Although most of all I'm loving the idea of Polly Billington starting out with CJ aspirations and ending up with a Tucker lifestyle grin

onebatmother Thu 03-Dec-09 14:41:24

<smokes fag>

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 14:41:51

Why would you iron nappies?

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 14:43:17

Is it the same Polly Billington that used to work on the Today programme?

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 14:43:47

onebat! shock

Aren't we a no smoking zone anyway, think of the children.

Anyway, agree with neenz. We had a boom, those already at a certain level burst (further) forward, the rest got left (further) behind. More needs to be done but the Tories won't do it.

Twit Thu 03-Dec-09 14:44:19

I feel bad for Mr Brown, he had alot to deal with, things that were beyond anyone's control, but I think he should go.[although there are still things Labour are saying that I'm not happy with]
Wikipedia hmm describes Mr Miliband as an angel [or saint, can't remember] with regards to the expenses scandal, is this true?
I agree he should consider being leader of Labour, but not in a cloak and dagger secret handshake type of way.

BlameItOnTheBogey Thu 03-Dec-09 14:45:30

So can we get David Milliband on here next, d'ya think?

grin he thought my name was auntinmoscow when I asked about, um, aunt in moscow!

AbricotsSecs Thu 03-Dec-09 14:46:53

I wish I had been here in time to simper

I would also like to note my approval of the minty green hue for webchat guests.

pixiestix Thu 03-Dec-09 14:47:11

Arf at onebat! grin

My only objection is that jaffacakes are not strictly biscuits.

Oh, that's right. Didn't HM Customs decide it's a cake for VAT purposes?

<Annoyed I didn't get here earlier>

Cor, that was rather smooth wasn't it?


Hassled Thu 03-Dec-09 14:59:51

What an all round top webchat that was. Scarily efficient but still likeable. Am v impressed.

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 15:09:44

Justine - I think the green highlighting works extremely well.

Wigeon Thu 03-Dec-09 15:10:10

Swedington: Yes, it's the same Polly Billington. She's one of his special advisers (or "SpAds" as they are known...)

Just to add to the chorus of approval - I was one of Ed's civil servant advisers when he was at the Cabinet Office (his job before this one) and he is hugely hard working, and wants to master absolutely everything about his brief, and also has a monumental memory for all the details. And in my experience of meetings with him genuinely wants to make a difference and do the right thing.

I'm not surprised he stormed through the questions - the man has the energy of a toddler in a sweet shop.

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 15:15:20

I think EM is Labour's best chance at a further term in office. With AJ as the stalking horse?

LeninGrad Thu 03-Dec-09 15:17:49

I knew these webchats would get better as more people got used to the format. Glad he's going to recommend others do them. Why wouldn't you really, it's a direct line to the electorate without loads of abuse and petty point scoring.

Maiakins Thu 03-Dec-09 15:18:36

I'm chuckling at the image of Ed as a toddler in a sweet shop! Yes, I was also v. impressed and can imagine him as a potential PM ... although not in the near future (i.e. next 5 years).

santaschristmascakeywakey Thu 03-Dec-09 15:22:09

Just got in and had a read though - this is the best webchat that I've read since I've been a member. Mr M seemed v switched on and able to cope with the quickfire questions.

MNHQ - I've not been able to make any previous chats, but have posted questions for them (none of which have been answered directly, but they have been fairly dull TBH grin). Is it worth posting things upfront, as webchatters only seem to be able to deal with the questions they get during the 'live' section, and not usually as well as Mr M today?

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Dec-09 15:27:24

That went well, didn't it?

The mint green highlighting makes it much easier to follow, and putting the name of the poster at the beginning of each reply works well too.

We should have asked what biscuits he was sending his aunt in Moscow.

FlorenceandtheWashingMachine Thu 03-Dec-09 15:33:34

I was joking about Gordon being cross at Ed because we liked him too much, but here is Martin Beckford of the Telegraph on Twitter:

Is Ed Miliband thinking about future leadership bid? Just told Mumsnet he is "careful not to carry fruit in public"

I really do watch The Thick of It far too much... grin

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 03-Dec-09 15:44:21

santaschristmascakeywakey we always advise webchatees to look over advance questions and prepare answers in advance - they don't always comply as well as Ed M did today but in theory when you post the question shouldn't really make a difference. In practice mid-chat is probably more likely to be answered.

santaschristmascakeywakey Thu 03-Dec-09 15:50:26

Thanks Justine, will keep posting pre-chat. And will try to make my questions more interesting grin. Hope the next chat goes as well as today's.

sarah293 Thu 03-Dec-09 15:53:25

just read through all this. He was fast and on the ball wasn't he.

Gosh! I just saw a pic of Ed Miliband...am trying to push my tongue back into my mouth! grin. I had totally the wrong picture in my minds eye for him...<swooooon>

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 16:00:05

Thanks MN, that was great. More chats like that please.

Bigbadmummy Thu 03-Dec-09 16:00:56

I had to go out this afternoon but have returned to find that my biscuit question was answered. shock

I feel so honoured.

Is that pathetic?!!!

pofacedandproud Thu 03-Dec-09 16:19:33

I don't agree with him at all about nuclear power and the SDC - but he was a very good webchat - best politician we've had on.

Ladymuck Thu 03-Dec-09 16:57:12

Impressive. Now I really want to get David Miliband on here for comparison. And anyone else who might be in contention for the Labour leadership next year.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 17:38:51

That was really quite good - at least he listened when we pointed out how flawed the Environmental Agency's report on cloth nappies was. I shall be more impressed if they actually commission a new one which involves more than representatives of Proctor & Gamble.

Another big tick from me. Loads of questions answered, in a non-patronising way - and the green shading is great too.

If I was clever enough I would have thought of a question to ask, but was v impressed with what everyone had to say.

I see Mr Tumble is on soon (probably more my bag I think)

santaschristmascakeywakey Thu 03-Dec-09 18:57:50

SGM - I agree that there should be a new nappies report. It would have to be completely indepdendent of any nappy companies - disposable/resuable or otherwise, otherwise it'll always be open to accusations of bias.

santaschristmascakeywakey Thu 03-Dec-09 18:59:56

Sorry, meant to add that I'm surprised that the last EA report was skewed from what you've already said. Such a shame.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 19:18:14

I would like written confirmation in the form of legal affadavits that someone actually irons their cloth nappies and that they didn't just make it up.

I honestly can not fathom who has time to iron cloth nappies.

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Dec-09 19:19:44

Wouldn't it be a sensible idea if some people researched what people actually do do with reusable nappies? Maybe there are lots of nutters out there who tumble dry and iron their sets of 35 reusable nappies, which they bought brand new and then buried in the back garden to prevent anyone else using them?

justaboutisfatandtired Thu 03-Dec-09 19:31:39

I am really disappointed.

He turned up late showed no interest in our questions and clearly had no knowledge of the subject-matter.

If only he'd been a Tory we'd have been so much better off.

And frankly, jaffa cakes are the choice of a biscuit wimp.

Will someone now please quote me in the Daily Mail?

(Awaits international media coverage of "frenzied Mumsnetters rip politician limb from limb again" )

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 19:38:03

I have just started a highly scientific and well-thought out study on the very issue of ironing cloth nappies here:


lindsaygii Thu 03-Dec-09 19:55:21

Why is everyone so pleased with these responses?

He's body-swerved every question, pointed out where others are wrong (in his view), but not actually said what he's going to do instead.

As far as I can see, the only relevant fact he's posted is that Recycling doesn't come under Environment as far as the Govt is concerned.

He's a leadership contender alright. Persuasive, fact-lite, bullshitter. Very Tony Blair.

<off to vote Lib Dem>

nevergoogledragonbutter Thu 03-Dec-09 20:08:12

thanks to pixiestix for asking the question i wanted to ask. the bigger picture seems to be being missed.

mumbot Thu 03-Dec-09 20:09:37

Thought he came across as normal, no ego sort of guy, v.good

AlliwantforXmasisMcnultysbum Thu 03-Dec-09 20:16:17

Very pleased! Let's get his bro on now!

2ChildrenPlusLA Thu 03-Dec-09 20:44:18

Never said I was please with the responses.

I was please with the speed. I was please with the preparation. I was please with the fact that the thread read like he was 'engaging' i.e. he seemed to remember the poster and answer their second question.

The responses weren't brilliant. He said he 'thought......because he had read it somewhere' as a reply to my question. Which wasn't very satisfying, but I wasn't ignored, which shows, at the very least, that he had researched the audience and realised that token gestures to as many people as possible was going to get him liked.

Impressive I say!

lindsaygii Thu 03-Dec-09 21:04:22

It's hardly impressive to realise that if you use people's names they'll feel complimented. Just your basic everyday gladhanding.

He's a politician working the crowd, and he worked this one without providing a single solitary answer to anything beyond 'jaffa cake'.

There's an election coming up ffs, I couldn't give a shit if he dunks his biscuits.

He's paid to be the country's leading light on the environment, and I got the distinct impression he knows fuck all about it.

neenz Thu 03-Dec-09 21:13:40

That's not the impression I got at all lindsay.

I thought he came across as knowledgable (apart for the EA report on nappies) and passionate.

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Re-read the David Cameron webchat and compare the two and I think you'll understand why people are impressed.

ronshar Thu 03-Dec-09 21:19:34

Just read through and I have to agree that Mr Milliband answered all the easy questions.
Where was the answer about a grant towards £25000 for a turbine?
Where was the answer about so called enivironmental taxes (my question, not that makes any difference)

It was good that he engaged with CMOT. By the way you are one bloody clever lady, I bow to you.

Still it was great he came on to talk to us and he had obviously made an effort to prepare.

Politians, why do they all think that normal people are stupid and wont notice when they dont get near to a real answer????

Swedington Thu 03-Dec-09 21:21:35

It's a great shame that the climate thing is descending into a Tories versus Labour thing. I'm really not sure it's terribly sensible for either party to go too far down that road. It's making the public ever more confused and more prone to doubt actually.

I hear Miliband called Davis and Lawson saboteurs. shock

FluffyForLifeNotJustForXmas Thu 03-Dec-09 21:34:39

It appears David couldn't be bothered to answer my question. BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I for one would like to know exactly what the government are doing to businesses to encourage them to reduce carbon emissions and recycle as these are the worse offenders, not us people. Was my question to flaming difficult to answer??

lindsaygii Thu 03-Dec-09 21:43:58

I did read Cameron's chat. But being better than 'Dave' (and I'm not convinced he was, frankly), doesn't make him good.

I've reread to give Miliband a chance, because the climate change problems we are facing are the most important (in my view) of anything on the table.

And I can't see him engaging with any of it. Someone asked about peak oil and he ignored it, someone asked about recycling, and he passed the buck, someone asked about encouraging business to lead change and he ignored it... and so on and so forth.

Like I say, I now know that either (a) he actually likes jaffa cakes, or (b) one of his advisors thought it was a good idea to claim he likes jaffa cakes.

It's not good enough. He's the man in charge of sorting out the HUGE changes we'll all have to get used to if we're actually going to hit the emissions targets he's committing us to, and he's got no bloody idea how.

Fluffy you're question was difficult to answer because the only truthful answer is 'we are doing fuck all because we don't care and we're scared shitless of big business'.

As for being grateful that he'd prepared. Oh please. Next thing you'll want me to be grateful he brushed his teeth. I mean. Really.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 03-Dec-09 21:47:38

ronshar - he did answer [partly] my post on the £25 000 grant. He did say the issue of local green energy is being discussed for the next budget. It was a 'watch this space' though!

FluffyForLifeNotJustForXmas Thu 03-Dec-09 21:50:30

I'm far from impressed from our minister for energy and climate change who answered very few questions on um....energy and climate chane hmm Tis not bloody rocket science. Time to pull one's head out of the sand.

I agree with you Lindsay, it's really not good enough. It's pathetic to say the least. This is the future that we pass to our children and their children and it stinks. It's terrible that the minister for energy and climate change didn't answer messages regarding his job but spared the time to talk about biscuits. Tsch, shame on you!

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Dec-09 21:59:14

I agree that he tended to give rather short answers, rather than going into things in depth, but I think that's in part the web chat format - it doesn't seem to encourage particularly long reflective posts on a subject. Yes, i would have liked him to have answered my post on how you encourage business to take on more environmental sustainability, BUT I know that's not really a question that's going to be answered quickly. Also, as DH has said, as a government minister he is expected to toe the party line on various issues. I think that the web chat plays an important role in demonstrating that the public are concerned about environmental matters and the efforts of politicians around these issues, and I think that demonstrating public will plays a massive role in pushing politicians to legislate on business.

ronshar Thu 03-Dec-09 22:24:23

Stewie that isnt an answer, that is a pass the buck and get someone else to answer for me, response.
Almost as crap as saying that recycling has nothing to do with environment or climate issues!!! Different department you know.

If he doesnt know the answer isnt it better to say "well I dont have the asnwer here right now but I will get someone to research it and my office will get in touch soon"

On the news now, they are reporting the u turn on child vouchers. Keeping them at the expense of free places for two year olds. hmm

The Environment Agency did in fact issue an updated version of the nappy report in October 2008 - you can download the summary here. Or wade through the full report here

I've only skim read it but it seems to say that there are significant carbon emissions to be saved with reusables, depending on what washing methods are used. This is the significant bit:

"The environmental impact of reusable nappies varies
greatly depending on how they are laundered.
For example, washing the nappies in fuller loads or line
drying them outdoors all the time reduces the global
warming impact by 16 per cent. If these nappies are
also used on a second child, the original figure drops by
40 per cent, or some 200kg carbon dioxide equivalents
over the two and a half years – an impact equal to
driving about 1,000 km.
In contrast, if the nappies are always tumble-dried, the
original 570kg figure increases by 43 per cent. If these
nappies are also washed at 90°C instead of 60°C, the
baseline figure rises by 75 per cent – up by 420kg
carbon dioxide equivalent over two and half years.
It is consumers’ behaviour that dictates the
environmental impact of reusable nappies.
The impact of reusable nappies on global warming can
be reduced by:
• Line drying outside whenever possible.
• Tumble-drying as little as possible.
• Using energy efficient appliances whenever
possible (A+ rated machines are preferred).
• Keeping washing temperatures below 60°C.
• Washing fuller loads.
• Reusing nappies on other children."

treedelivery Thu 03-Dec-09 23:10:06

Was looking forward to reading this but am caught in a negative feedback loop over ironing nappies.

Now I love my fluff, but the day they bring out a nappy that needs ironing.....

MN should be commisioned to re-do the report into washable nappies. I volunteer for any testing grin.

Am not exactly sure if he was really quite good, of if we've been skillfully had in the way the others tried to, but failed.

His answers were short but the energy and enthusiasm quite contagious. Not sure if short answers reflect his very fast stream of conscious, or part of a slick strategy to seem knowledgable but give away nothing. Hmmmmm....

WilfSell Fri 04-Dec-09 00:01:53

Yes to the green highlights. Very good.

Piffle Fri 04-Dec-09 09:49:35

God The best so far of the politic co.
He wins an award for genuinely mixing wit and substance.
And I am not easily impressed I assure thee

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 04-Dec-09 10:25:57

I am disgusted:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mums-come-out-in-a-rash-over-ministers-throwaway-remark-18338 32.html

Other people get name-checked. I am simply the poster who asked the original question who says you don't need a dryer. [sobs hysterically at missing her moment of fame emoticon]

ScreaminEagle Fri 04-Dec-09 11:11:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mollythetortoise Fri 04-Dec-09 12:25:09

stewiegriffinsmom - you get a name check on the BBC website though so do not depair grin

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 04-Dec-09 12:42:36

Do I? [runs off to check]

I do!!! [Is it childish to be ridiculously pleased by that? ]

Must be clear though: I don't have 4 children. I bought second-hand nappies for DD1 that had already been used on two children and passed them on to child four. I did have to buy new ones for DD2 [huge age gap and different country] but bought organic cotton ones which I have also passed on.

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 04-Dec-09 13:01:10

wow, ed gives good chat doesn't he?

theyoungvisiter Fri 04-Dec-09 13:26:31

wow great chat. And I like the highlighting too.

Shall we start an MN poll on reusable nappies? I must admit, I thought the 2005 report was laughable - does ANYONE, EVER iron nappies? You can't even iron prefolds anyway, I don't think that some of the people who wrote the report had seen a reusable nappy since they were themselves in terries.

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 04-Dec-09 13:29:12

and what is the betting he's already used the expression 'pascal's wager' fifteen times since he left mnhq?

theyoungvisiter Fri 04-Dec-09 13:37:03


assume everyone's seen this?

They went the harpy route - no mention (probably fortunately) of all the blushing and simpering grin

neenz Fri 04-Dec-09 13:54:29

Ooh, I was named in the Independent article - how exciting! grin

justaboutisfatandtired Fri 04-Dec-09 15:14:59

"gives good chat"

Ha ha ha

There is something very slightly seedy about that phrase

As if you're insinuating he moonlights on those chatlines...

AitchTwoToTangOh Fri 04-Dec-09 15:20:20

he did seem v fluent. prolly hangs out on the top gear forums slagging off hybrid cars.

justaboutisfatandtired Fri 04-Dec-09 15:31:11

Or with an alias like "Disgusted of Westminster" house-price-crash website making barbed remarks about Gordon's mishandling of everything.

(Are we past the bit of MN webchats where we're supposed to be polite and pleasant?)

justaboutisfatandtired Fri 04-Dec-09 16:25:57

You know, actually, I realise that as I look at his photo on the website I blush fancy Ed.

Do you think there is any chance he might fall in love with me via my username?

gizmo Fri 04-Dec-09 17:16:50

Oh fabulous.

I spend my days trying to get the Guardian/Indie/BBC to cover the topic of smart meters and energy use in an engaging way.

And when I finally do get a quote (in work hours, I might add), it's on washable nappies.

Really don't know whether to laugh or cry hmm.

sarah293 Fri 04-Dec-09 17:17:14

you are in the Beeb news stewiegriffinsmum.

<bows down>

StewieGriffinsMom Fri 04-Dec-09 17:22:13

Feeling quite pleased with myself, but, like Gizmo, rather wish they had run my comments on Trident and nuclear power which Brown also answered [badly] and Cameron skipped altogether.

On the other hand, I think its a bit silly for Miliband, as environment minister, to not have seen that question coming or known about the 2008 updated report.

However, I'm on teh Beeb! [Did think about posting on FB but then my mother would know!]

mulberrybush Fri 04-Dec-09 18:22:25

The press coverage was pretty patronising to women I think. The assumption was that nappies are the main interest.

I don't feel that the press made any attempt to reflect the fact that good questions were asked and good answers given.

The general feeling from the group - certinly as the webchat was taking place, is that this was a pretty good and genuine attempt at the difficult art of public engagement.

Maybe the reason why the print media weren't keen to reflect this in their coverage is that they feel pretty threatened by what social media can do!

mollyroger Fri 04-Dec-09 18:40:14

and thanks MN, for the green tint - made me smile and did make it all easier to follow.

bluesky Fri 04-Dec-09 20:48:12

agree with mulberrybush's post, was just coming on to write the same myself!

ditto green tint made it easier to follow, I liked that.

Swedington Fri 04-Dec-09 21:14:06

Yes terribly patronising. Biscuits, nappies and nappies again.

I am most worried about how they stop this "proving climate change is real debate" from gathering momentum. I've been trying to think of some sensible analogy. And I've come up with the MPC deciding what to do about interest rates, the decision isn't always unanimous. But we accept the interest rate decision nonetheless. Also, a jury might decide by a majority of 10 to 2 or 11 to 1 that someone is guilty, we don't focus on the two or one, who were unable to find the defendant guilty and demand to see the evidence again. We accept the process. I really think they need some sensible PR on this immediately.

justaboutisfatandtired Sat 05-Dec-09 08:05:31

Yes but the problem is that most of the climate change experts are academics, and most academics are lousy at PR

(generalisation alert)

whereas most of the disbelievers are politicians, and whilst they are useless at thinking they are good at PR

mulberrybush Sat 05-Dec-09 17:53:35

Thanks for the feedback bluesky and Swedington. Always a bit scary coming onto a forum where you don't know people!

I am here because people are saying some pretty interesting things!

I think that PR seems to have been a big theme throughout this webchat. I am sure that you are all right in saying that much more does need to be done to get the basic arguements across to people. but it isn't easy to get this right.

This is something where I do have a bit of relevant experience. I manage my MPs website - on a purely voluntary basis, and I see all the press releases that go out, and then see what the press do with them. so it is certainly not as simple as saying "the government should say more".

The press have a great deal of power, and do not always use it responsibly.

I'd be interested to know - do you think the webchat with Ed Miliband actually gave people any new information? or changed perceptions in any way?

What is the information that you feel people really need to know? and do you have suggestions about how this could be done?

Things move rapidly - and I think we may be already moving on. By the end of the month it may be that the arguements have changed. It may move from is it necessary? and should we do it? - to where and when, how we are going to fund it and who should "own" the means of production of the new technologies and new energy.

lindsaygii Sat 05-Dec-09 19:48:42

'Things' do NOT move rapidly. The attention span of the press and the average parliamentary researcher may move rapidly. But things have barely moved in the last thirty years as far as the environment is concerned, and certainly hardly at all under Labour.

The arguments might change, but the reality of the world won't have. I'm an ex-journalist, and I can tell you that what goes wrong is the confusion between what is a 'story' and what is actually happens. And that starts with the MPs themselves.

Miliband isn't meant to be promoting himself, or the Labour party, or anything but the environment.

He is paid - by us - to manage the country. He has been given the job of managing the part that relates to climate change. All the rest is flim flam and nonsense.

QueenHera Sun 06-Dec-09 09:51:35

There is NO evidence that carbon dioxide levels precede global warming. The Sun's activities increase or decrease Earth temperature.
Carbon dioxide levels increase as a result of global warming.
22 billion "food" animals are responsible for massive amounts of the most potent greenhouse gas, methane, water pollution and shortages, land pollution, destroyed rain forests and human food shortage.
There is no such thing as a non-vegan environmentalist.

lindsaygii Sun 06-Dec-09 11:11:07

There is no such thing as QueenHera's brain.

Centuries of searching for it has convinced scientists that the theory that she has a brain must be discredited and that the science should move on.

You're an idiot, QH. Enjoy the future.

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