London Indymedia

Suffragettes interrupt the Energy Minister in preparation for the Climate Rush

Tamsin Omond | 22.09.2008 11:05 | Climate Chaos | Gender | Social Struggles | London

Seven young women dressed as Suffragettes with red sashes that read: CLIMATE CODE RED and NO NEW COAL interrupted Energy Question Time at the Labour Party Conference on Saturday 20 September. The challenged Malcolm Wicks MP, Energy Minister, to defend his decision to build a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth. They were asked to leve but confronted him again as he left the conference room.

Who to trust? Girl with green hair? Grey politician?
Who to trust? Girl with green hair? Grey politician?

Deeds not words Malcolm - so no more 'clean'?!! coal.
Deeds not words Malcolm - so no more 'clean'?!! coal.


At the Labour Party Conference, Malcolm Wicks MP (Energy Minister) found his New Labour Spin was challenged by seven modern day suffragettes. One hundred years ago 'Women's Lib!' rang out in political meetings such as these. Today the cry was 'Climate Action!'

In one of the first talks of the conference Malcolm Wicks placed *climate change* as his number one energy priority before reassuring the audience that the construction of eight new coal-fired power stations was his number one solution. He congratulated himself for the UK's leadership in the energy and climate debate - "we will lead the world in clean coal technology." Clean /// Coal. Clean coal. CLEAN COAL. Does it seem believable to you? .

Here's what's really going on: only one of the eight new coal-fired power stations will be fitted with carbon capture and storage. The carbon capture and storage technology (which has not yet been invented) will only effect 2% of that one power station's carbon output. The brave new world that Wicks, last night, pledged we would lead, is a world where two percent of one of eight is enough. A world where climate change is not a problem. A world where Coal is Clean where War is Peace where Freedom is Slavery where Ignorance is Strength.

Maclolm Wicks is not a brave man. There is no integrity in his answers as he smoothes across difficult questions. Seven young women disrupted his 'Energy Question Time' in Manchsester yesterday because their futures are in question. They demanded answers and were met by an aging politician shrugging their future from his political agenda - shrugging off his responsibility.

Our lives are full of neglected responsibility. But when we make the wrong choice the stakes are not so high. If the UK builds Kingsnorth and seven more coal stations in its wake then we have decided not to fight climate change.

Malcolm Wicks hold our future in his hands and dares to speak about leadership. He shows no leadership. Instead he demonstrates the neglectful cowardice of privilege. A neglect that makes me cheer China for every coal-fired power station they build. Each one bringing them nearer to our great example. Wicks tosses aside his responsibility and chooses a quick-fix and no vision. The Climate Rush begs England and the leaders we have chosen to get real about climate change. Disrupt meetings where politicians lie. Make the government be honest about climate change. Take responsibility. Come out and have fun.

Like we had on Sunday at the FreeWheel London Bike ride. The Suffragettes joined thousands of Londoners in the car-free centre of town. It was Beautiful - joyous and exciting and so easy. The ride from the Mall to Tower Bridge was less than fifteen minutes. It's around 20 by car... With long skirts and starched shirts we rode all over town - our red banner catching in the wind:


Tamsin Omond
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pissing on Pankhurst's grave

01.10.2008 12:49

It seems incredibly dishonest and naive of you to appropriate the WSPU's 'Deeds Not Words' slogan for your lobbying, and to call yourselves suffragettes while you mess about with "peaceful, legal" stunts.

"There are degrees of militancy. Some women are able to go further than others in militant action and each woman is the judge of her own duty so far as that is concerned. To be militant in some way or other is, however, a moral obligation. It is a duty which every woman will owe to her conscience and self-respect, to other women who are less fortunate than she is herself, and to all those who are to come after her.

If any woman refrains from militant protest against the injury done by the Governemnt and the House of Commons to women and to the race, she will share the responsibility for the crime. Submission under such circumstances will be itself a crime.

I know that the defeat of the Amendments will prove to thousands of women that to rely only on peaceful, patient methods, is to court failure, and that militancy is inevitable."

- Emmeline Pankhurst, January 10th 1913.

Annie Kenney


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