FIT for heat

Fit, with or without a glottal stop on the ‘t’, is another word that talks to our times. But as the Feed in Tariff, it is unlocking real excitement for renewable energy.

We are campaigning with co-operatives and others now for a Renewable Heat Incentive, to do the same for technologies like heat pumps and solar heat panels.

Heat is responsible for 47 per cent of UK emissions and 49 per cent of UK energy demand, yet we are the poorest performer on renewable heat in Europe, apart from Malta. Just one per cent of our total heat energy comes from renewables.

We are asking as many people as possible to show their support and sign up to the Fit for Heat petition to Treasury Chief Secretary, Danny Alexander


We are comparing favourite words and my son won with “he had talked”, hablabla if right, in Spanish.

Plain talking though from the new labour leader, Ed Miliband. I sat with Suzi Leather of the Charity Commission, after swapping notes, watching his first speech, here in Manchester.

I have had letters for Cooperatives UK in the Guardian today wishing him well, and on Friday in the Independent, supporting Vince Cable’s questions about capitalism.

It is good to have politicians that can inspire – as long as it is all more than just hablabla…

Mersey time

I quite forget how wide the Mersey is.

I have been standing talking on it’s banks with Mervyn Kohler of Age UK. It’s Liverpool today for a fringe meeting on what local government can do to support local jobs.

Will Hutton signed my copy of his new book, out just today – Them and Us – on fairness. And “very good luck” from him to all of us.

I close my eyes, to fix in my mind’s eye the Mersey’s reach and span.

The new cooperativism

I think it was Stephen Viederman, the radical US philanthropist who said to me that all the ‘isms’ have turned to ‘wasms’. Anyone for ‘capitalwasm’?

Either way, courtesy of Will Davies, here is a link to a super new academic journal issue which focuses on co-operation across the world – under the title of the new cooperativism.

Square deal

I first met Matt in Harrogate when he was leading the statutory agency responsible for ‘capacity building’ across civil society. The agency is now on the way out, with all the cuts, and Matt, with all his knowledge and experience, is off to build the capacity of ResPublica, the eclectic and coop-friendly thinktank.

We met again in Trafalgar Square and he told me that it was his work over six years to get one side of the square pedestrianised. I think that is something that is a lovely achievement – practical, people-centred, democratic.

We are in times of upheaval, at least in terms of the welfare state, but one compass for what we support or challenge must surely rest on what it means for social and economic participation.

In Siberia

I have been reading “In Siberia” on my trains by Colin Thubron (Penguin), lent to me by my colleague Mary – overspilt with bleak catalogue and commentary. Here he is on children:

“The richest people in Potalovo are the children. They drive tractors and bulldozers, own houses, sail ships. The fact that all these possessions are wrecked makes no difference. They are a simulacrum of the adult world. So the children keep house in burnt-out cottages, or climb into the cabins of tractors and roam the tundra on vanished wheels.

Sometimes they man the bridge of the beached and derelict cargo ship, and steer for the Arctic Sea. Only when they stop being children do they realise that they are inhabiting a world of ruins.

At the age of twelve or thirteen, said Nikolai, they start to drink.”