What struck me at the Canonbury East and Clerkenwell Green consultations meeting at the Town Hall on Monday evening was the inability and refusal of the audience to listen, the very charge levelled against the council.
While many participants had apparently valid concerns which deserved calm discussion to find solutions, they were continually interrupted by noisy hecklers and their colleagues shouting comments which made it impossible to either hear exactly the points they were making or to engage in a meaningful debate.
The council is trying to provide opportunities for people to give their views; the on-line consultations on People Friendly Streets which have been widely publicised, physical meetings and digital meetings. But to get the best possible outcome for everyone, listening needs to be the order of day on all sides.
The bottom line - understood by everyone, COP26 has made sure of that - is that we need to change how we live, reduce our carbon footprint and one way of contributing to this is to reduce the traffic on our roads. What solutions are there other than People Friendly Streets? We'd all like to hear them.
When we think of the changes which the current climate emergency will force upon us, the current local ill tempered debates about People Friendly Streets will pale into insignificance.
Can I suggest that it’s not only the council who needs to listen, it’s all of us.