Many thanks to Maureen Thompson our campaign volunteer in Havant for organising a meeting with Flick Drummond MP for Meon Valley on 24th June.
Maureen told me “Local Catholics from Meon valley and Havant responded to call by CAFOD, the church’s overseas aid charity, to make sure that their voices are heard on major global issues. Out of concern for the world poorest communities’ local supporters invited local MPs to virtual meetings to discuss tackling issues on climate change, unjust foreign debts, and how we can rebuild after the pandemic.
Being able to get together on zoom made it possible for people to come together from across our community and a group of 14 people from Bishops Waltham, Emsworth, Leigh Park and Waterlooville churches met with Flick Drummond MP to raise our concerns.
The meeting was opened by Fr Gerard Flynn quoting from Pope Francis call for “Care for our common home” and a prayer based on the Pope’s latest teaching encouraging participation “let us take an active part in renewing and supporting our troubled societies”
The first question raised was about the climate crisis and Mrs Drummond was able to offer a lot of detail about the work that the government was doing and her special interest as part of the Conservative Environmental Network. As the discussion developed some of the complexities of balancing different priorities, locally, nationally, and internationally against the need to slow climate change became apparent. The participates were encouraged by the commitment to act on climate change issues, although Tim Collins commented “within the context of the current policies of the present government, I don’t think that is going to be enough to achieve climate change goals.”
Mrs Drummond was also very encouraging to Tanya Cryer, a local primary school teacher who asked on behalf of the children in her year 2 class what they would be able to do to help. She suggested examples litter picking, recycling, turning off lights and writing to local supermarkets about cutting down on packaging. All great activities and offering even our youngest citizens the opportunity to participate.
Also discussed was overseas aid budget and the issue of overwhelming debt repayments which are hampering the recovery from the pandemic, where stretched finances are going to private loans rather than in health care, CAFOD and other development charities are asking the British government to help get these debts cancelled to help with the with the recovery. https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Cancel-the-debt
Maureen Thompson CAFOD volunteer who organised the meeting said “I had very positive feedback from everyone who attended, they had learnt a lot and are grateful to Flick for giving her time and explaining to us much of the background work she is involved in. Also, for giving us the opportunity to air our concerns as Christians that we work together for a world where everyone can thrive. We would encourage others to get involved too with local action and learning more from local councillors as well as your MP.”
Flick Drummond responded “It was a thought-provoking hour. I have taken everyone’s views into account, and I am looking forward to working with CAFOD over the next few years to address environmental issues and debt relief, both of which we are working on in Government. I am very grateful for all the work that CAFOD are doing to make the world a better place”.
Anthony McEwan “A worthwhile evening: encouraging words from our MP but much work to do if we, as a nation, are to meet CAFOD’s objectives”
Have you book a meeting with your MP as part of our Parliament in Your Parish campaign?