On 3 August 2013, it was perhaps fitting that Baroness Jones AM made her speech as newly appointed Green peer at Speakers’ Corner, that place born out of the struggle for civil liberties in Victorian Britain; for rights of assembly and freedom to dissent. The Green Party’s acceptance of a nomination to the democratically retrograde second chamber, which we seek the wholesale replacement of, is nothing if not conflicted. Yet we are reconciled to campaigning for constitutional reform not just from without but also from within (just as the election of Caroline Lucas MP through a discreditable first-past-the-post system is also a means, in part, to progressing a fairer voting system from within). As Jenny has herself commented on the day of “elevation”, that she will work for her own abolition.
The ring of truth is nothing if not egalitarian and Jenny’s topic for the day was London air pollution. The London Young Greens had brought placards and face masks, emblazoned with all manner of coloured slogans. They had intelligently situated themselves against a backdrop of heavy traffic on Park Lane and Marble Arch gyratory. Jenny explained how deep was her involvement in the campaign for clean air for London. She spoke about the negative health impact upon Londoners of unabated motor traffic and Green transport policies designed to put the needs of Londoners first.
We handed out some flyers to passersby and decamped to a greener part of Hyde Park for the picnic part of the proceedings.
Short video in which Jenny is also interviewed, “Air Pollution: A 21st Century Health Scandal”