AN erudite and approachable Caroline Lucas spoke to the Kenton Theatre about her experiences as MP for Brighton Pavilion and sole MP for the Green Party.
Lucas moved slightly away from the Green Party’s natural focus on the environment to discuss the inefficiencies of parliament and the daily frustrations of life as an MP.
The title of her book —
Honourable Friends? — refers to the convoluted titles MPs are expected to use when referring to one another, a small yet representative example of how tradition slows the processes vital to the running of the country.
Lucas has no qualms about challenging the institution she is part of, but as yet has had little success. Ripples of disappointment could be heard in the audience when she spoke of logical suggestions that were rejected without discussion.
Many of Lucas’s remarks were surprisingly bleak from an otherwise optimistic speaker.
Her dry observation that the amount of female MPs has increased to 28 per cent in the 2015 election held out little hope of imminent change. Likewise her remarks on the counterproductive nature of argument between left-wing parties.
However, her discussion of the future of politics was largely indefatigable, heartening to hear from a politician in the minority in more ways than one.
She faced questions from the audience ranging from the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal to cattle farming and social housing without stumbling or sounding formulaic — with a predictably impassioned response to a question about the future of climate change.
Her straightforward style of public speaking seems to fit well with the recent popularity of Jeremy Corbyn, even Nigel Farage, who have distanced themselves from the polished rhetoric favoured by many politicians.
Despite her simultaneously comic and desolate description of parliament as a cross between Hogwarts and Gilbert and Sullivan, Lucas gave the audience hope for the future.
Her positivity about the future of British politics was a refreshingly optimistic perspective in the current climate of political disillusionment across the UK.