Today the leaders of the G7 will arrive in Cornwall to talk about preventing climate change & global warming amongst other things. One of the designated protest sites is Exwick playing fields, in Exeter, about 100 miles away from the conference to avoid the politicians having to be aware of people wanting to send them messages.
Meantime the whole area surrounding their hotels the leaders are staying in is fenced off with checkpoints requiring locals produce identity & proof of reason to cross the barriers. It means that some businesses inside the fence have had no custom for the last week. People have to carry I.D. permits to show where they live or they can’t get to their own homes. The local police are massively outnumbered by those from other parts of England, and despite not yet all being vaccinated, the local police have to share facilities with colleagues imported from the areas badly affected by the Delta/Indian strain of Covid 19, which might arrive with them.
Just half a mile from the hotels the G7 leaders are staying in begins one of the poverty hotspots of Europe where thousands of families have had to rely on foodbanks for several years. The people running the foodbanks are often asked for food that doesn’t have to be cooked as families struggle to find money for power meters. Many families are being forced to move away from the area because there isn’t any housing for them.
One of our newest restaurants in Exeter, Taco Boys, started on the beaches of Cornwall last year working from a trailer whilst the people running it camped unofficially in the corner of a field. Exeter was the nearest place they could find premises both for the business & to sleep. Somehow I think the G7 leaders will be unaware of the poverty surrounding them, or if they become aware they won’t be allowed to visit Cornwall’s slums, at least not without days of planning & selecting the “right” people to visit preceded & surrounded by a massive security and press entourage.
I keep wondering how many G7 members might travel by train. As they reach Wiltshire they could be told “Here your train is changing from clean electric power to polluting diesel. The UK government cancelled its commitment to electrify the West Coast mainline to save far less money than this conference is costing. In Exeter they would be told that this is the nearest protesters are being allowed to the leaders as they travel on for another 2 or 3 hours after. 20 minutes from Exeter. When the leaders come to Dawlish they could be shown film of just a few winters back when the railway embankment was washed away by extreme weather (due to climate change) & the railway lines were left hanging in the air. Somehow I don’t think they will be made aware of these things.
Rather than plying G7 leaders with all the best luxury goods the area can offer I think it is time they were made aware of poverty and climate change by having to come into contact with locals and seeing for themselves the reality people have to live with. What are the chances of this happening?