Will Vowell's blog


Government’s 10-point plan for climate action 

We have been hearing for weeks that the Prime Minister would be making a major speech on the environment.  In the end, the “major speech” turned into a press release, sent out late at night – and that’s about all it was worth. There were some welcome initiatives, like bringing forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, but it completely failed to address the scale of the climate emergency, and there was next to nothing on the nature and biodiversity crisis. 


Second coronavirus lockdown

The second lockdown has forced the Government to revise its plans to end the furlough scheme at the end of October, and I am glad it has now been extended to the end of March.  But the lack of support for so many of the self-employed is a stain on the Government’s response, and completely undercuts ministers’ claim to be “putting their arms around” everyone.


The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill sounds sinister and it is. 

The authorisations it contains would amount to an express power for agencies like MI5, the police and other public authorities to permit their agents and informants to commit criminal offences. 

We have already seen the kind of thing this leads to: undercover police officers starting relationships with political activists and even having children with them, when their intention is to spy. 


The failings of the NHS Test and Trace service are more than just worrying, they are plain dangerous.

The latest admission, that nearly 16,000 positive COVID tests were not recorded properly between  September 25th and October 2nd, has not only distorted test data to make it harder to monitor the spread of COVID in our communities, it's also delayed vital contact tracing. This means that many thousands of people who have had close contact with people now confirmed to have COVID will not have been self-isolating, so spreading the virus further. 


Coronavirus & failures in testing 

Given the Government’s inept handling of Covid, it seemed inevitable that we are now entering the autumn and winter months facing another surge in infections.  Yet six months on from the start of this crisis, there still isn’t a properly functioning test and trace system in place – even though the World Health Organisation warned back in March that this would be key to overcoming coronavirus. 


I’m sorry that a personal commitment means that I can’t be with you today, but I stand in solidarity with you and all those rightly and urgently demanding an end to injustice and the deep inequalities that still remain in our societies – and demanding that black lives matter.  

But more than just expressing solidarity, it is now upon all of us to be pro-active anti-racists, be true allies and work within our spheres of influence to bring about the systemic change that justice demands.  


I spent much of the summer working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Green New Deal, which I co-chair, engaging with people across the UK on their vision of life after Covid.


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