GF Blog 24 – Week 21

May 24th

My Excuse – Parties, Personal!

This week I failed. I did not write a word on Friday, having been told in no uncertain terms ‘you must not try to write a blog until you have recovered from the 5 days of your ‘Birthday Bash’ …

End of a Fowey Treffry Tales walk, for an American historian, finished off with a picnic
Making a wish over my orange and mango tray bake 😊

Parties – Personal and Political (a snippet). Then a new topic – Pilots, not the ones that fly a plane but the ones that are designed to test out new concepts

A few months back I was doing all I could to block out the arrival of this nasty, big number birthday. But gradually, so many people said “you can’t be, no surely not” that I decided to make an effort and actually celebrate my achievements rather than slinking away. I may have miscalculated, however, when I also offered to do all the preparations of the gardens, plus running 2 full length history walks (Sunday and Tuesday), cooking major meals and multiple trays of cake. The only reason that everything came together so happily was the amount of input of many, many friends. Especially of course my son, Tom, along with our South London climate correspondent, Carole, and her partner Phil.  Thanks so much everyone; I was blessed with help and many presents and warm wishes.

Parties Political

This week Rishi surprised almost everyone with his rush to close down parliament and announce a General Election on July 4th. In all our history only 2 other previous elections have taken place in early July, the first one ever in 1802, and the first to follow WWII in 1945. In all honesty, this timing puzzles me. Does Rishi know of even worse news coming through for the Conservative party in the pipeline this autumn? Ah well, 6 weeks leaves plenty of time for exploring relevant topics. But first here are a handful of websites that could be of interest for those of us trying to find our way to the best, ‘Climate Hope’ voting decision.

According to two well-funded national campaigns, Just Vote and Project Climate Vote, have launched recently to influence how people vote at the next General Election. While they seem to have impeccable climate credentials, potentially both could damage the Green Party’s electoral chances, finances, and long-term growth.

Just Vote stems from Eco-tricity founder Dale Vince. He is diverting his funding of Just Stop Oil to persuade young people and first-time voters to support Labour. His openly partisan campaign has a simple “Labour is Green, Tories are not” premise. It asserts that ‘a vote for anyone other than Labour, or no vote at all, means a vote for a Tory government’. This is contestable on multiple levels, is overly simplistic, and underestimates the political intelligence of its target audience. 

In Bristol Central, where twelve of the fourteen local councillors are from the Green Party, and Brighton Pavilion, where Sian Berry stands to hold on to Caroline Lucas’s seat, Labour is the main challenger. Green Party victories in Bristol and Brighton will not usher in a Tory Government, and a greater number of Green MPs may strengthen a Labour Government’s resolve on environmental and social justice. Conversely, votes for Labour in either of these constituencies may encourage Kier Starmer to wear his climate flip-flops as readily as the ULEZ by-election did.

In a worst-case scenario, Just Vote’s strategy would actually result in Conservatives winning in the other two Green Party target seats, where we are best placed to challenge Tory incumbents. The Green Party had the highest local election vote share in the newly created seat of Waveney Valley, and in North Herefordshire we are running a close second. Any increased vote for Labour here would split the anti-Tory vote. 

The 2 websites mentioned above are not the only examples. Here is another,

Our mission is to empower ordinary people, concerned about (or even terrified of) the impending climate emergency, to incentivise and pressurise the mainstream parties into taking the emergency seriously. We turn the first-past-the-post system on its head and enable localised tactical voting to transform the next general election into a single-issue referendum on climate change.

How It Works

Before the general election, based on expert analysis, we will rank the political parties’ manifestos according to which, if fully implemented over 5 years, will lead to the greatest long-term reduction in UK climate emissions. We will then advise members which party to vote for to have the strongest influence on the climate policies of the next government.

The members agree to vote based on those recommendations. The parties with the best climate policies will win more seats. All parties receive a strong signal about the importance of good climate policies.

As the election approaches, we will tell the political parties how many votes and seats they can hope to gain if they have the best climate policies.

Together we plan to show the political parties that manifesto commitments on climate will earn them more votes and more seats.

Summary – Join Vote Climate because …

  • It’s the easiest way to fight climate change: just a few minutes to sign up and to vote
  • Suppose we recruit one million members: that’s an average of over 1,500 members in each constituency.
  • At the 2019 election there were 46 seats with majorities lower than that. See our Electoral Analysis.
  • That’s enough seats to swing the next election.

Finally, comes this one. Not Climate Based but focused on achieving Proportional Representation in future:-

A major campaign will target more than 60 seats to oust Conservatives by tactical voting, in order to build a Commons majority among progressive parties.

Campaigners behind the drive are warning that Labour’s current poll lead is on “weak foundations” and the party must have a strategy for power sharing.

The Win As One campaign from the thinktank Compass will campaign for candidates in 62 seats dubbed a “progressive tragedy” – where the combined progressive vote outnumbered right wing parties but delivered a Conservative victory.

The group will also prioritise candidates who are backing electoral reform and proportional representation. Labour conference in September overwhelmingly backed a motion calling on the party to embrace a proportional electoral system, though there is no guarantee the proposal will be in the party manifesto.


Looking into the future, I am working on ideas for not one, not two but at least THREE pilot projects. Each will take a lot of time and energy, so it certainly is worth questioning not only the content of the projects but also the methodology.

The message above has come from my colleague David Skelhorn, who has worked in the clay industry all his life. He keeps reminding me ‘making mistakes is the best and maybe the only way to achieve optimum outcomes. Learn!’ However, I think it is also necessary to ‘Share’. Two of the best pilot ideas I am aware of in health and social care, in my opinion have not been celebrated enough by the managers and media. In the UK, the home-hospital model – also known as ‘Virtual Wards’, sounds like a great success story. So why don’t we hear that it is being greatly expanded?,rather%20than%20being%20in%20hospital

And in Holland, the concept of a Dementia Village seems brilliant to me, though clearly not cheap. In Hogewek every resident always has 2 carers assigned to them. Is that why it is not happening here?

Criteria for a Trial or Pilot


Feature  TrialPilot  
GoalsGather data and feedback to assess feasibility and effectivenessThe decision about whether or not to continue developing the new idea or approach
Implementation approachControlled environmentReal-world setting
Data collectionQuantitativeQualitative
OutcomesThe decision about whether or not to implement the new idea or approach on a wider scaleThe decision about whether or not to implement the new idea or approach on a wider scale
ResourcesLess resource-intensiveMore resource-intensive
Risk toleranceLower riskHigher risk
Common use casesSmaller-scale projectsLarger-scale projects

What follows in their guide as ‘Best Practice’ seems very obvious to me:-

  1. Clearly Define Objectives and Success Criteria
  2. Choose to Target a Typical Sample Group 
  3. Allocate sufficient Resources (time as well as £s)
  4. Document thoroughly, all Stages – this will be the source of your learning & best practice

Pilot Project Idea 1 – Manage Fallen Trees for Multiple Community Benefits.

A small portion of the beech that has fallen, blocking heritage rocks
A specialist horse and driver, on the British Horse Loggers website
The Wild Arborist, Toby, with Shire Horse, Alfred

Context – having observed the ever more severe and frequent storms battering our local woodlands, and the felling of damaged, older trees as a result, this pilot seeks, in its Objectives, to rescue fallen tree trunks and branches in order to achieve positive outcomes, such as

  1. space for new tree planting
  2. work opportunities with shire horse and ‘Wild Arborist’ techniques
  3. conversion into saleable, hand-crafted hardwood products
Beech wood may be subject to this mottled or spalted effect caused by fungi.
I love my own natural wood chopping board

All of the above activities potentially would have value for adult clients suffering poor mental health, so the pilot hopefully may involve collaborating with a charity and/or mental health setting, to find workers for the listed tasks.

Success Criteria: –

clearance of the chosen woodland area, with replacement by climate-resilient saplings

low impact removal of good quality long logs, pulled to suitable location by Alfred the horse

step by step processes followed, (sanding, polishing, oiling etc) to achieve high quality boards

sale via 3rd party online shop or own new shop

engagement of adults, who report positive change mentally through helping with these tasks  

WHAT NEXT?  Hope to gather small group of potential partners at Meadow Barns, for initial discussion in June and present case to woodland owners & community reps at AGM.

Pilot Project Idea 2 – Trial of Cornish China (Kaolinitic) Clay, as method to seal leaks in our historic aqueduct.

Context – Recent discussions with Historic England have highlighted that recommended best practice for sealing leaks in threatened heritage environments may have overlooked the potential of China Clay.

WHAT NEXT? More on this in future, as we attempt to get the point across to our partners and Historic England e.g. that other types of clay used around the UK do not have the required chemical properties but few people are aware of the issues. This is why we need a trial and comprehensive reporting of results.

Pilot Project Idea 3 – Trial of a Climate Awareness Scheme of Work in Early Years Settings.

Context – months have now passed since I put forward the idea of a Pilot in a small number of settings, for consideration by the University of Exeter and its Geo-Resources team. The scheme needs to be ready, with everyone signed up to objectives and fully grasping the requirements, so we can begin in September. I don’t know how to achieve this next stage, which repeated meetings have failed to reach.

Objective – To test the effectiveness of a Meadow Barns Curriculum for Climate Hope, achieving full engagement of Early Years staff and children, to give feedback and shape the final scheme of work.

For completeness we will need to test within a range of different locations/styles of learning/ children’s backgrounds etc. Beyond this process, the plan is to move into a 2nd phase, working with a suitable publisher to achieve recognition and earning potential.

WHAT NEXT? Contact all possible participants after Half Term and try to get their firm commitment to participate. Then push for equally firm decisions at the University.


Pilot projects can be a brilliant way to test new ideas and we need more effort to go into reporting the success stories. But, sometimes the scale of a new enterprise is so enormous someone simply has to take a leap of faith. We have seen recently how terrible and how costly such a leap can be, if later considered to be a mistake … such as HS2.

Please, readers, if you have any relevant experience or advice to give send it across.

Future Events in Cornwall  

Treffry Tuesdays walk in Fowey (too wet for a picnic, I fear)      10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Also on my personal Facebook page, find this event – Wednesday Family Walk round Par

And finally, on behalf of the group fighting for the ecology of Par Bay

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