On Monday evening, I was part of a Climate Rush contingent in Central Lobby at the Houses of Parliament. We were there to, as the venue suggests, lobby our MPs on the importance of taking action on climate change. However, we were prevented from doing so by the parliamentary authorities and the police. Their reason? Our chosen method of lobbying: carol singing.
Following successful singing sessions in Hyde Park and on Oxford Street, we had decided to take our unique lobbying method to the heart of power, and to the men and women who sit everyday and govern our country. The coalition government has promised to be the greenest ever, but so far we have seen precious little evidence of this: the so called Green Investment Bank is at present little better than a fund, and George Osborne’s green promises are looking more and more empty as time goes on.
This is why we went to parliament today: to remind MPs on all sides of the House where their priorities should lie, in an appropriately festive manner. Some members of Climate Rush were however prevented from even entering the Houses of Parliament, and those of us who did gain entry had our lobbying abruptly halted. We were part way through our first carol, a reworked version of ‘I Saw Three Ships’, when the police and parliamentary security descended, plucking our carol sheets from our hands and escorting us from Central Lobby. The deputy sergeant at arms even put in an appearance to remind us that such festive cheer would ‘disturb the good running of the house’ and thus was not permitted.
Following this somewhat humourless remark, all of the carol singers had their details taken by the police, although some officers were barely able to contain their amusement at writing ‘singing in central lobby’ as their reason for stopping and speaking to us.
At least one MP later commented that she was “sorry not to have seen [us]”, and to all other MPs who had been invited to a unique lobbying occasion, we can only apologize. Stay tuned, however, as this is certainly not the last you’ll be seeing of Climate Rush.
Also posted on the Climate Rush blog