Assorted: on environmentalists, BNP, Spiked, Dan Hannan and more


by Sunny
22nd June, 2009 at 2:59 am    

Before I write a more important post, it’s time to chuck out a few links.

- BNP Wives, Sky Three – you can watch the whole thing on Google Video. (h/t: @poorva)

- Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police – this is big news. I need to write about how environmentalists now increasingly bear the brunt of our attack on civil liberties. And yet all those Tories and Libertarians who get so exercised by stuff like smoking bans don’t even bother saying anything about this.

- More strikes ahead at power plants as oil refinery row rumbles on, says the Guardian. I say bring it on – am fully behind the Lindsey Oil Strikes. There’s a better piece in the Indy titled: How the issue of foreign workers has poisoned industrial relations – need to come back to this.

- Spiked Online: don’t you just hate it? I do. Anyway, a good blog post by Naomi McAuliffe taking down its stupid misogyny. There’s also one by Gimpy challenging another Spiked article on passive smoking. But the most interesting is this one by Richard Wilson questioning the editorial bent behind Spiked and its funders.

- Interesting article in the Washington Post about Obama’s approach to the civil-war in Iran. Let’s be clear about this: I support the voting out of Ahmedinijad because he’s a repressive, Holocaust-denying, racist tyrant. I’m not enamoured with Moussavi but he’s better than the former. It’s also pretty obvious, except to the idiotic rag-tag of people who supported the war in Iraq or are Tory that Obama must do something, without taking into account how that plays into Ahmedinijad’s hand. When will these people learn?

- Also according to Richard Wilson, though Tory MEP Daniel Hannan loves talking about transparency etc, his voting record in fact betrays the exact opposite. Typical.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Current affairs,Media






45 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. pickles

    New blog post: Assorted: on environmentalists, BNP, Spiked, Dan Hannan and more http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4923


  2. UK results for Northumberland in Cumbria

    [...] Pickled Politics " Assorted: on environmentalists, BNP, Spiked, Dan … [...]




  1. Dave S — on 22nd June, 2009 at 9:17 am  

    On the subject of the surveillance protesters – the reason you won’t find many Tories and Libertarians standing up for them is that the concept of solidarity is lost on them.

    It’s the “I’m all right Jack” attitude which doesn’t understand that whenever one person is oppressed, all of us are oppressed. It comes from a perspective of privilege – from having never had to struggle for anything in one’s life, and thus not understanding why others should either.

    So of course they get very fired up about smoking bans and hunting bans and speeding tickets and taxes! They have little need to clash with the law over any more pressing issues.

    Remembering the mistaken assumption that “all are equal under the law”, as Anatole France said: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    No, access to the protection of the law (and also protection from the law) is very much based on how much money and power you have, because the law is inherently in favour of those who have more of both.

    It’s easy to be a Tory or a Libertarian and not give a crap about other members of society “as long as they leave me alone” when you’ve had your life handed to you on a plate. Tories and Libertarians can’t seem to understand why others make such a fuss, “cause trouble” and won’t just accept their lot. Very easy to say, when you can afford to say it.

    Yet again, this is why I am an anarchist.

    We take the Libertarian line of thinking (ie. “personal freedom”) as far as possible, but apply it much further – to economic freedom for all, as well as the mere freedom to do as you like “as long as it doesn’t hurt others”. We recognise that our freedom only exists in the context of a wider community, and that we all must share this planet together – whether we like it or not.

    We seek to share it on an equal footing with all – because who among us is truly any better than the others? No, we are all equals.

    The freedom “to do as you like” means absolutely nothing when over millennia, your ancestors and now you have been systematically denied – often by force – a fair share of the Earth’s resources, equal access to the land, and true self-determination with which to utilise that freedom.

    Anarchy may not be perfect (and I would never pretend that it is), but it is the only logical choice for extending the greatest amount of freedom and the best quality of life, for the greatest possible number of people.

    Climate change is an issue which will hit the world’s poorest the hardest.

    While the rich are “keeping their heads down” working at careers, amassing personal wealth, and slagging off “nuisance environmental protesters”, the world’s poorest are already dying to the tune of 150,000 a year (WHO figure from 2000).

    To be honest, I wouldn’t expect many Tories or Libertarians to care – the less poor people there are, the better for them. Once the poor are mostly dead, then there will be less hungry mouths to feed and thus the problems of climate change will be far easier to deal with.

    So it’s win-win if you’re rich, and a good stomping under some police boots before a swift trip to jail if you are poor (or care about the poor).

    That is why Tories and Libertarians don’t seem to care very much about climate change, or about those who are oppressed by the state for trying to do something about it – because for the masses to tackle and survive climate change ultimately means social change in favour of the masses, against the privileged.

    (I don’t know whether I include Rumbold in all this – probably not. Although I disagree with him on many things, he seems like a decent enough chap who has a heart. I often can’t understand his political standpoint, but there you go. Rumbold, this is not meant as a tirade against you.)

  2. cjcjc — on 22nd June, 2009 at 10:16 am  

    “And yet all those Tories and Libertarians who get so exercised by stuff like smoking bans don’t even bother saying anything about this.”

    I would be amazed if the Samizdata crew were not concerned by this.

    I am neither a Tory nor a libertarian (though I am always amused at how “liberals” and especially “anarchists” use that as a term of abuse) and I am extremely concerned.

  3. Leon — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:24 am  

    On the subject of the surveillance protesters – the reason you won’t find many Tories and Libertarians standing up for them is that the concept of solidarity is lost on them.

    Left wing libertarians aren’t opposed to solidarity…

  4. soru — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:27 am  

    ‘It’s also pretty obvious, except to the idiotic rag-tag of people who supported the war in Iraq or are Tory that Obama must do something, without taking into account how that plays into Ahmedinijad’s hand. ‘

    Is that missing some words or punctuation or something? It doesn’t seem to make sense as written.

  5. Rumbold — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:43 am  

    Sunny:

    It is very dangerous to play the “why aren’t they talking about it game?” I can’t remember you writing a post on the Congo, North Korea, or the abuse of disabled children in Eastern Europe, so you can’t care about any of these things right?

    Dave S:

    I didn’t read it as having a go at me. I think that the “I’m all right Jack” attitude does pervade throughout society, as not just among those ‘at the top’. Just witness the support for 42 days without trial among non-Muslims. I think that what happened to the protestors is wrong, and I am glad that people are highlighting it.

    Too few people (including those concerned) make the distinction between ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ libertarians. Positive libertarians (of which I am one) are mainly concerned with the overweening power of the state. We believe that people are inherantly good, and that society functions better when people have more control over their own lives. In that way were are close to anarchists, but differ in that we believe in the need for law.

    Negative libertarians are generally distrustful of people (as well as the state), and mainly want power returned for their own benefit. Thus people arguing for the right to bear arms would tend to fall under this catagory. In that sense they are closer to traditional conservatives and socialists, given that all have a mistrust of other people (and so want control).

  6. MaidMarian — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:57 am  

    1) Spiked is, by and large, excellent. Wrong on some issues (e.g. Yugoslavia), but spot on in many respects. The writing knocks spots of many other internet news sites.

    2) ‘I need to write about how environmentalists now increasingly bear the brunt of our attack on civil liberties.’ With apologies for being excessively blunt, knock the chip off your shoulder. I like having electricity, so there!

    3) The Indy link makes clear that current issues are not related to foreign workers. Conflating poor management and immigration seems a bit unwise on the part of the newspaper. Being fair, the indy headline writer has done a poor job.

    4) ‘Obama must do something.’ Like Soru, I suspect there is something missing there. But Obama does not have to do anything. Leave Iran well alone and let the people there sort it out for themself. Nothing must be done, to rework a phrase.

    5) ‘And yet all those Tories and Libertarians who get so exercised by stuff like smoking bans don’t even bother saying anything about this.’ Two reasons for that. Firstly, the smoking ban was about private behaviour. Sure, the line was blurry at best, but still, on balance, private. Secondly, civil liberties campaigners by and large only have the spine to make an issue of something when they feel they can be assured of tapping into anti-Labour sentiment as a stalking horse for their issues. Because of the adept way the anti-Smoking lobby have stayed largely non-political they are having their issue seriously debated rather than being used as a stalking horse for other political gripes. The civil liberty crowd have much to learn from the anti-smoking model.

    6) Please stop giving publicity to Hannan.

  7. damon — on 22nd June, 2009 at 12:35 pm  

    I agree with MaidMarian that Spiked is pretty good … often.
    Not always, and they do perhaps have a ‘contrarian’ bent. They may have gone ‘too far’ with Yougoslavia, but I remenber reading what they said before the war reached the masacres of Srebencia proportions, and I thought they were (it seemed to me) almost a lone voice on the British left who were countering the ‘blame the Serbs for everything’ view that was most common (as I remember it).
    Croatian nationalism was a huge part of the cause of the war (and the Slovens started it all off, and got away with it pretty much unscathed … and are now safely in the EU, away from all those ‘Balkan Kosovan peasants’)

    I find the liberal/left’s reaction the the Spiked people most interesting (in three years on another leftist website, when ever I mentioned a Spiked article, or did a link to one, it was absolutely and completely ignored.).
    Apart from one or two exceptions.
    Articles like this, were just TOO much for the PC mind to even contemplate, (and it was easier to say ”you’re a racist” than to go near it with a barge pole.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3002/
    And this was just like a red rag to a bull:
    ”Who does Doreen Lawrence think she is?
    We all empathise with the mother of Stephen Lawrence. But we don’t have to respect her views on race, policing, Boris or anything else.”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3710/

    I suppose to the ”Billy Bragg mindset” that this kind of thing is an anathema.
    I’m not saying I agree with it entirely, (and have only quickly glaced through it again just now), but going agaist the grain of perceived leftist wisdom seems to realy stick in the craw of kneee jerk leftists like some of those people on that other site.
    Critiscise the ”ethical consumption lifestyle” (which I had argued was more about the ethical consumer boasting of their superiority than doing much real actual good, and you’d be bound to make enemies).

    Critiscize the views of the campaigning group ”No Sweat” (which many of them supported) (like Spiked does) and all you’d get is annoyance and anger.
    http://www.nosweat.org.uk/

    I tended (because of the negative reactions) to end up thinking the Spiked people might have a point in some of what they said.

  8. Rumbold — on 22nd June, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

    Damon and MaidMarian:

    Brendan O’Neill is usually contrary for the sake of being contrary, which can get annoying, but they do put out some useful pieces. Perhaps the annoyance comes from the fact that they cannot be easily labelled ‘left’ or ‘right’, or tied to a particular party.

  9. munir — on 22nd June, 2009 at 12:49 pm  

    Doesnt Brendan O Neill defend the genocides committed by the Serbs in the Bosnian war?

    What a sicko

  10. munir — on 22nd June, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

    damon
    “Croatian nationalism was a huge part of the cause of the war (and the Slovens started it all off, and got away with it pretty much unscathed … and are now safely in the EU, away from all those ‘Balkan Kosovan peasants’)”

    Serbian attack on Slovenia? the Slovenes fault
    Serbian attack and genocide in Croatia? The Crotians fault
    Serbian attack and genocide in Bosnia? The Bosnians fault
    Serbian attack and genocide in Kosovo? The Kosovons fault

    Yeah how dare the Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians etc dare to democratically vote for independence, damon. They fully deserved to being slaughetered. raped and put in concentartion camps for this impudence. Likewise the Jews who arrogantly demanded their rights in Europe.

  11. damon — on 22nd June, 2009 at 1:59 pm  

    Can I first say that I was no expert in the first place (on Yougoslavia), and of course it’s years since this all happened, so even having read and listened to Misha Glenny quite a bit at the time, I’ve forgotten much of the detail.

    Munir, I don’t find your point of view @ post 10 to be all that accurate.
    You will accept wont you that there are different ways of viewing the same events, depending on how the way nationalism and war (and events leading up to war) can skew things?
    You have to accept at least that I hope.

    Was it ”Serbs” who wanted to break up the multi-ethnic/national Yougoslavia from the beginning?

    For a start, I read that Yougoslavs weren’t of different races, but it was just a matter of what religion that people were (in a previously pretty secular country). The Muslems were still Slavs (or south Slavs), but just ones whose ancestors had converted to Islam under the Ottomans.

    ”Serbian attack on Slovenia”?? Well I’d imagine that there are many states that might act against violent seperatists … like India did against the brakaway Sikh ‘Khalistan’ people.

    Croatia followed on with it’s declariation of independence, and the nationalism within that ‘Republic’ went as far as glorifing the only other time that Croatia had been an independent state, under the Nazi sponsored UstaÅ¡e regiem during WW2.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usta%C5%A1e

    Orthadox Christians within that new proposed state of Croatia (”Serbs” .. or Chetnicks as they were called)
    feared that they may become second class citizens (or even worse).

    About seven years ago I visted (for just a couple of hours when I was changing trains) the former capital of the Croatian Serb enclave (in the west) – the town of Knin.
    Most of the Serbs had been cleansed from the area when Croatian forces overran it in 1995 during Operation Storm.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Storm

    I walked around the town for a while, and it was a pretty sorry and miserable affair, (as I knew a brief outline as to what had happened some years before).
    One thing I remember clearly is that right outside at street level ther is a life sized statue of a Croatian soldier who is leaning back and yelling in victory to the air.
    (I knew he was a Croatian soldier because his cap badge is clearly the Croatian national flag.)

    That was a ‘bit’ of Croatian ethnic clensing as far as I could understand things.

    The Croats attacked the Muslim side of Mostar witout mercy, and in 1995 I worked in a German hotel with with Bosnian Muslim guys who had fought against the Croats, (and one guy had even been taken prisoner by the Croats and held in some kind of camp before getting out and going to Germany.)
    He also said that regretted the breakup of Yougoslavia, as it had been a good country. Doing his national service he’s served and had good times with people of all Yougoslav backgrouns, and that as young people during the heydays of Yougoslav tourism, for guys from towns like Mostar, the coast with it’s jobs in tourism and it’s fun weeends, was only an hour’s drive away. (But now it was a different country, and one where they were not welcomed, what with their Bosnian passports and car number plates etc).
    I also worked (in the houskeeping department) with a lovely Bosnian woman (wife and mother) who was from Tuzla in Bosnia, and because she was a Catholic, had been told to get out by ethnic cleansers of the sectarian muslim variety.
    Her house been occupied by Muslims who had been ”ethnicly” cleansed from other parts of Yougoslavia. (Though she had always regarded herself as a Bosnian and a Yougoslav .. she told me).

  12. Mango — on 22nd June, 2009 at 2:21 pm  

    Plod are simply picking on ‘easy meat’ of the envirotards.

    But, I’d love to know how the Greenies propose to keep us all warm without coal powered power stations. Goosefat and old newspapers?

  13. munir — on 22nd June, 2009 at 2:27 pm  

    damon
    “Was it ”Serbs” who wanted to break up the multi-ethnic/national Yougoslavia from the beginning?”

    No they wanted to keep it together in a Serb dominated “Serb-o-slavia”- one only needs to look at the supression by Milosevic of Albanians to know what that would entail

    “”Serbian attack on Slovenia”?? Well I’d imagine that there are many states that might act against violent seperatists … like India did against the brakaway Sikh ‘Khalistan’ people.”

    Except that the Slovenes (and Bosnians and Croats) didnt engage in violent seperatism – they voted for independence via the ballot box. You are essentailly arguing against democracy

    Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia were made to feel they were underthreat by fascist Serbian propoganda. Its true what the Croats did in WWII made this much easier but it was still the propaganda of Greater Serbia.

    Yes Croats and Muslims engaged in bad acts – but these were in response to Serbian ethnic cleansing.Its like brining up German citiziens having to leave Czechoslovakia and Poland after WWII and ignoring what Hitler did

    The Serbs wanted to create a pure greater serbia whereever Serbs (or the bones of Serbs) lived- to this end they terrorized, raped killed and destroyed non Serbs

    You are being an apologist for genocide and fascism against democracy. Shame on you.

  14. munir — on 22nd June, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    damon
    ““”Serbian attack on Slovenia”?? Well I’d imagine that there are many states that might act against violent seperatists … like India did against the brakaway Sikh ‘Khalistan’ people.””

    Incidentally the violent seperatists in this war were the Croatian and Bosnian Serbs who used the Serb dominated army to ethnically cleanse non serbs from parts of Bosnia and Croatia – so you are arguing against yourself damon

    And the India army never ethnically cleansed Sikhs, set up rape and concentartion camps nor destroyed all evidence of Sikh existence (places of worship, graves etc)

  15. Leon — on 22nd June, 2009 at 3:07 pm  

    Re: what can we do about Iran.

    Well as pointed out, I’d like very careful public wording by our so called leaders. The last thing the people on the streets need is being characterised further as being incited by foreign powers…

    What can we as British citizens do? Harder question to answer to be honest…

  16. damon — on 22nd June, 2009 at 3:25 pm  

    I had written a post in reply to munir over the last half an hour, but have deleted it before posting it, because I remember that this thread was about the Spiked (Living Marxism) people specificly.
    As I said, I went with Misha Glenny (and my own knowlege and reactions) over the Yougoslav wars.

    For example: ”Republic of Serbian Krajina” is not, in my opinion, just something to be skirted around and dismissed with the words: ”Serbian attack and genocide in Croatia” that munir talks about.
    It was the Croatian nationalists who were insisting on a brakaway from the national state.

    Imagine if in England – Scotish nationalism/hatred got so strong, and the breakaway Scotish state was saying that ‘Englishmen’ were less than equals, but were claiming their state down to Hadrain’s Wall (well into England, and claiming large chunks of Northumberland and Cumbria).
    If things got as far paramilitary forces (like you could easily imagine in Northen Ireland), then we might not be so different to Croatia.
    Scotland declaring that all of its historical lands must be brought under Scottish control .. as English minorities were fearing for their future.

    Anyway, this was not meant to be so specific asbout Yougoslavia, but more about the reaction to Spiked-online.

    As I didn’t say it right in my last post, can I just say it right? That it was outside the main entrence of the railway station of Knin (that the Croatian army had overun some years before, that there was this lifesize statue of a victorius Croatian soldier shouting to the sky in victory.
    This, in a formally Serb majority town.

  17. gimpyblog — on 22nd June, 2009 at 3:29 pm  

    MaidMarian, I’d be interested to know what you think Spiked are right about? By and large their writings on science are almost always comically dim and the references they cite often don’t say what they claim they are saying.
    Today they have a piece on climate change saying we in Britain shouldn’t worry about it and we’ll find a solution somehow and we already have solutions to famine, drought, etc. Which would be fine if Britain was the only country in the world and we really did have solutions to famine, drought, etc – we don’t hundreds of millions die each year because of these. They offer easy solutions, comfortable lies and unscientific platitudes. They sometimes have the appearance of being right on science in that they support GM, nuclear, etc and all the other technologies that many greens are irrationally afraid of, and they attack alternative medicine and so on – but this doesn’t mean they talk sense. It just means they are not completely stupid.

  18. Shatterface — on 22nd June, 2009 at 4:24 pm  

    Dave S (1): a lot of anarchists, including Chomsky, use ‘Anarchism’, ‘Libertarian Socialism’ and ‘Left Libertarian’ interchangeably.

    George Wheatcroft’s classic book ‘Anarchism’ describes itself as a ‘history of libertarian thought’.

    At work I describe myself as Libertarian Socialist rather than Anarchist because people think they know what I mean by Anarchist (some hippie lobbing bricks at McDonalds) while they have the sense to ask what ‘Libertarian Socialism’ means.

  19. Dave S — on 22nd June, 2009 at 5:09 pm  

    cjcjcj @ 2:

    I am neither a Tory nor a libertarian (though I am always amused at how “liberals” and especially “anarchists” use that as a term of abuse) and I am extremely concerned.

    I am an anarchist. I am also a libertarian, or in Chomsky’s terms: “a libertarian socialist”.

    I think my politics go quite a lot further than just libertarian socialism, but as a broad-brush classification it’s OK as a starting point.

    I don’t use the term libertarian as an insult. The terms are somewhat interchangeable, though most anarchists probably would prefer not to be called libertarians.

    Leon @ 3:

    Left wing libertarians aren’t opposed to solidarity…

    Fair enough, I should have been more specific.

    Rumbold @ 5:

    We believe that people are inherantly good, and that society functions better when people have more control over their own lives. In that way were are close to anarchists, but differ in that we believe in the need for law.

    Well, that’s good. You and I actually have quite a lot in common after all, and I wouldn’t mind living in your kind of society. :-)

    If the purpose of the law was actually to protect people and provide a platform for settling disputes, and if, for example, everybody had a direct and informed say in formulating it, then I think quite a few anarchists would be happy enough not to grumble about it (too much). I’m probably one of them.

    Your distinction between positive and negative libertarianism is a good one. Perhaps we need a new word to distinguish between them?

    Maidmarian @ 6:

    With apologies for being excessively blunt, knock the chip off your shoulder. I like having electricity, so there!

    Sigh. Nobody with in the Climate Camp is arguing for the abolition of electricity. But we can produce it in ways which are much cleaner, and we can make wiser use of it so we don’t “need” as much of it.

    I think it’s pretty silly to argue against that point of view, but then I also think it’s silly to put the profits of the few against the needs of the many.

    What part of “you are part of the natural environment and depend on it entirely for your survival” doesn’t make sense to you?

    Mango @ 12:

    Plod are simply picking on ‘easy meat’ of the envirotards. But, I’d love to know how the Greenies propose to keep us all warm without coal powered power stations. Goosefat and old newspapers?

    I can’t honestly believe you would love to know. The solutions have existed for years now – both in theory and in practise. If you aren’t aware of them, then here’s a few things to get you started:

    Renewable energy, passive solar energy, geothermal heat, making buildings out of materials that are themselves an effective thermal insulator, heat from compost, and just better home insulation in general.

    My questions to you are similar to the one I asked Maidmarian above:

    You apparently don’t see yourself as a part of the natural environment. What values do you stand for that are opposed to those of the “envirotards”? Will it be possible to sustain your way of life in the face of environmental collapse? (Or do you simply not believe that’s where we’re heading?)

    I’m genuinely interested in your answers.

  20. MaidMarian — on 22nd June, 2009 at 6:30 pm  

    damon (7) and Rumbold (8) – The stronger argument against spiked is indeed that they can be contrary for the sake if it. That having been said Spiked remains the place to go to for the ‘anti-PC’ (for want of a better term) view. And a very well written view it is too. The Who Does Doreen Lawrence Think she Is is one of the best pieces of comment I have read for some time.

    On Yugoslavia, Spiked tends to fall into the trap that many other Milosevic cheerleaders fall into. They miss the extent to which people movement was used as weapon and the effect this had regionally. No one is saying that anyone has anything to be proud, but the idea that Serbia has some sort of extra victimhood because of ‘the West’ is just fanciful.

    gimpyblog (17) – Spiked’s view of civil liberty is excellent, as is much of their writing on the recession. Their thinking on I/P is refreshing iff not flawless. Their comment on ‘health scares’ is outstanding. Broadly, their comments on the green movement are right. Their writing on the cult of celebrity puts newspapers to shame. I like many things, but this something in reply to your question.

    dave s (19) – ‘But we can produce it in ways which are much cleaner, and we can make wiser use of it so we don’t “need” as much of it.’ Not in dispute.

    It’s just that in the interim I don’t want the local powerstation closed down while we pursue a will-o-the-wisp. I’d like to think I can moderate my own power use, I don’t need or want protesters to do it for me. They may not be arguing about my right to use electricity, but they they can skate very close to saying that their views matter more than mine.

  21. Shatterface — on 22nd June, 2009 at 7:13 pm  

    I think Sp!ked’s slogan ‘Humanity is Underrated’ is rather wonderful (why don’t we hear this more often?), their record on civil liberties is excellent and they are abysmal on foreign affairs and the environment.

    Tim Black’s film and TV reviews are pretty good.

  22. Sunny — on 22nd June, 2009 at 11:15 pm  

    There are plenty of people with a good record on civil liberties.

    It’s just that Spiked only care for the civil liberties of certain people.

    And given their rubbish on climate change – why should I take anything else they say seriously?

  23. Shatterface — on 23rd June, 2009 at 2:07 am  

    Given that many Greens believe in magic water and even their more mainstream members support policies on medical research that are indistinguishable from the Christian Right, why believe anything they say either?

  24. Shatterface — on 23rd June, 2009 at 2:21 am  

    And you repeatedly claim that Spiked only support civil liberties for ‘certain people’: who are they, and who else should they include?

    Do you think your support for free speech goes further than theirs, for instance?

    How often have they called for ANYTHING to be banned?

  25. gimpy — on 23rd June, 2009 at 7:12 am  

    MaidMarian,

    I don’t mind so much Spiked’s writing on liberties and other social and economic issues – I might not agree with everything but the arguments they present need to be heard. I do object though to their treatment of environmental issues. Of course they are right in criticising the wing of the green movement that rejects technology and science but that is hardly a controversial or brave stance, anybody who understands the value of science and evidence will broadly agree with Spiked’s initial arguments. However, where they go wrong, badly so imho, is to make assertions on the scientific understanding of AGW, pollution, biology of pain, etc that go against the scientific consensus. In this they are the mirror image of the greens who fear technology, they adore it so much they overlook the effects or outright disort the evidence (as my look at that smoking article shows). Also, their sweeping dismissal of environmentalism as being the preserve of fruitcakes is grossly unfair, much of the public face may consists of individuals and organisations who mean well but don’t really understand what they are talking about so make basic errors but environmental science and studies of ecosystems make clear that we should be very concerned about the effect of our activities on local and global biodiversity and geography.
    It is very telling that Spiked prefer to attack the strawman of Al Gore, a hypocritical politician, rather than the scientific arguments when it comes to climate change. Al Gore’s arguments are simplistic and unsubtle to the point of being almost wrong, the scientific evidence is more nuanced and careful and to criticise it requires an in depth knowledge of the fields, mathematics, statistics, computers, etc. Skills I feel most Spiked writers lack.

  26. douglas clark — on 23rd June, 2009 at 7:24 am  

    I must admit that, attracted as I am to environmental regeneration I couldn’t vote Green, simply because of their anti-science stance, which includes ‘no’ to stem cell research, ‘no’ to nuclear power and a pretty clear failure to bridge the energy gap with meaningful schemes.

    I know I go on about tidal power, but a combination of Severn and Solway Firth barrages would make a huge difference to our use, and dependence on fossil fuels. Whilst the Greens embrace the idea of tidal power, they also give the NIMBY element almost unfettered powers of obstruction.

    It is really not good that what should be a debate that involves all of us would be constrained by knee jerk idiocy.

  27. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 9:22 am  

    MaidMarian @ 20, and others who object to Climate Camp:

    It’s just that in the interim I don’t want the local powerstation closed down while we pursue a will-o-the-wisp. I’d like to think I can moderate my own power use, I don’t need or want protesters to do it for me. They may not be arguing about my right to use electricity, but they they can skate very close to saying that their views matter more than mine.

    Disclaimer: I am not involved in organising Climate Camp. I’m just somebody who attended the first two camps, and was involved in running one of the workshops and doing some cooking. I can’t speak for Climate Camp – there is no such formal “organisation” to speak for, really. I do speak as someone who can at least say that many of the people involved hold very similar views to mine.

    Climate Camp is not (and has never been) about telling individuals how to live their lives. In fact, I was at a very well attended (200+ people) discussion at the second (Heathrow) Climate Camp, where Aubrey Meyer (quite a well respected environmentalist) suggested that our only chances of survival were in strictly controlling the environmental impact of individuals – green authoritarianism, basically. He was severely condemned (with his points thoroughly dismantled) by a sizeable number of the audience, including myself. It went so far in fact, that someone made an announcement at the end to say that this way of trying to solve the problems was not at all in the spirit of the Climate Camp, which has always been about individuals freely, joyfully and collectively taking control of their lives and their world.

    Climate Camp is not 100% anarchist, but it is organised entirely on anarchist principles and has a deafeningly loud anti-authoritarian slant on the way green issues are presented and discussed. You could even go as far as to say that the Climate Camp is organised specifically as an alternative to authoritarian tendencies within the green movement, and that many people involved with it are well aware of authoritarianism, and actively take measures to spot it, prevent and counteract it.

    I don’t blame anyone who hasn’t actually been to Climate Camp and experienced this first hand, because chances are you wouldn’t pick it up from the mainstream press.

    Climate Camp is not about telling individuals how to live their lives. Even groups like Plane Stupid (of which I am not involved) are not about telling individuals how to live their lives.

    Certainly, some folks involved with many environmental movements including Climate Camp and Plane Stupid make the mistake (perhaps out of frustration, desperation or just plain fear?) of thinking that the only way we’re going to survive is through green authoritarianism, or guilt-tripping individuals. They are entitled to their views, but I believe they are mistaken, and they are a minority within Climate Camp at least.

    It has been clear to me for some time now that authoritarianism is not a way forward in the slightest; that you can’t use guilt, fear or coercion to motivate the masses, and that such tactics are always doomed to eventual, colossal failure – without exception. Green authoritarianism is every bit as undesirable as any other form of authoritarianism.

    Climate Camp is about tackling the corporations and capitalists who are driving climate change. In the context of direct action against a coal-fired power station, it is about pointing out that if it weren’t for corporations pushing consumerism in the name of profits above all else, then we absolutely would not even “need” these coal fired power stations.

    If consumer capitalism were abolished, we could easily meet all our genuine electricity and energy needs from renewables alone – many times over.

    Which is why, again, most within the “Green movement” (if there is such a thing) are opposed to nuclear power – because aside from the mountains of radioactive toxic waste for future generations to deal with using considerably less resources than we’re currently using to avoid dealing with it – nuclear power is completely unnecessary with regard to meeting our actual energy needs. The only reason for “needing” so much electricity is to power the industries which make big profits for a minority of capitalists, at the expense of us all.

    Just think what we could do with our lives if we eliminated all unnecessary work – you know, the type of work which is involved in producing things that nobody really needs, and which makes massive profits for a few wealthy shareholders.

    Wouldn’t we enjoy life more if we all just did a lot less, and had less “stuff” in our lives?

    I don’t know. I can’t speak for anybody other than myself, but the less stuff I own and the less stuff I “have” to do, the more time I have for things which really matter to me – like friends, producing my own food, making and listening to music, writing, enjoying the company of my daughter!

    My friends! The work ethic and endless drive towards “progress” (what sort of progress?) is killing us from inside and out.

    We can have environmental justice, social justice, freedom, time to do whatever we want, and an incredible quality of life. It all starts from rejecting the idea that we “need” all this stuff that people are trying to sell us, and from finding our own ways to live.

    Please – just do less, and co-operate with others to enable them to do (or not do) the same!

    On the other hand, I don’t mind if you don’t, because next week I am moving out of the city, to the countryside, to do exactly as I have described above. I already feel better for necessarily having to give away quite a lot of the possessions that I really didn’t need – like quite a large weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The things that I own still own me, but to a lesser degree already, and thus I am already happier from downsizing.

    Do you think that someone climbing an endless, wobbly “career ladder”, having to compete and sell themselves “better” than their co-workers in order to get promoted, worrying about pension plans, large mortgages, insurance for their property, interest rates, earning enough to eat and with precious little time or energy left for “leisure” (Origin: “licÄ“re” = to be permitted!! HAH… permitted!?!?!) and all the rest of it will be happier than me in a couple of years time?

    I seriously doubt it.

    In fact, I know a few city slickers – permanently tied to their Blackberries – who are absolutely riddled with jealousy at what we’re about to do – at the freedom we’re about to taste, even if only for a short while. But the point is – they could do it too, if they’d just stop being such slaves to their careers (which they only “need” in order to purchase stuff that they don’t really need).

    While they are sitting in meetings, or popping out to Pret A Manger to grab a quick lunchtime sandwich before heading back for a hard slog at the office in the afternoon – I’ll be off picking wild blackberries (the real ones) with my daughter, or working on our vegetable garden, or building new contraptions to collect heat and generate power, or sitting outside in the sun.

    We’re doing this on a shoestring budget too – there is SO much waste around at the moment, that it’s not even difficult to find the things we need – often for free! You just have to let go of your fear, get creative, and learn a few new skills.

    A high paying job in the city has nothing – absolutely nothing – to offer me. Because I don’t really need anything, other than myself.

    Not to mention that my lifestyle will stand well in the face of environmental catastrophe – which isn’t to necessarily say that I will personally survive it. But what does a career or a large pension mean when the entire financial system supporting it is in ruins, and all those big numbers on a computer are finally shown for the empty nothings that they really are – as will happen when consumer capitalism soon runs out of the resources to support itself.

    The writing has been on the wall for ages. That way of life is coming to an end, whether we like it or not, within our lifetimes and probably a lot sooner.

    How are you going to adapt, survive and enjoy your life as best as possible?

    I know what I’m doing, and I’m getting in there years ahead of you and enjoying it NOW!

    And yeah, you can come and steal my food, and I’ll maybe have to start again… but still, I’ll have learned the skills to start again if I must, and the empathy to not resent you for acting out of desperation for yourselves.

    Perhaps I’ll even help you to get established on your own – and actually, helping all comers to get established on their own is also a major part of my eventual plan.

    So please, don’t call those of us with our eyes open and a positive vision of a future in an increasingly uncertain world “envirotards”, when that is not the case.

    The future is bright green, and we can all be a lot freer and happier than we are now. I’m sure one day we’ll look back on this time and be able to laugh at how we thought we had so much, but we actually had so little of any real worth.

    But why take my word for it, when you could permanently tell your boss to fuck off, and live the adventure yourself? :-)

    PS. I mean really, just look at what cowards we have become to the slavish doctrine of the career, and to the idea of work now for reward later! Why, why, WHY!? My friends, just break free and walk away!

  28. cjcjc — on 23rd June, 2009 at 9:30 am  

    I assume you won’t be claiming any benefits which are, after all, paid for by us cowards?!

  29. Katy — on 23rd June, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    I think what Dave is saying, cjcjc, is that by rearranging all of our lives so that we “need” less and have the time and freedom to produce most of what we fundamentally need ourselves, we would eliminate the need for state benefits which are part of the system which is failing anyway.

    As an aside, I find it amusing how people think that their hard-earned money is going straight into a pot labelled ‘benefits’. When who knows where that money comes from? I don’t. I assume all of our money goes into paying off our colossal national debt.

    But to be totally frank with you, yes we will be claiming benefits – if working tax credits and child tax credits are seen as benefits?

    I was getting incapacity benefit for a year until recently (for mental health problems) until the DWP in it’s wisdom, sent me for a medical assessment in which the person who did the assessing said that she didn’t think me capable for voluntary work at that time, let alone employment, and then was ‘failed’ on the points system (I got 8 when I needed 10) based on a “decision maker’s” conclusions who is not a medical professional or someone who has ever met me before. Incidentally, looking at the questions and answers there are at least 2 questions that are wrong, worth about 4 points. I am going to appeal, but not very hard because I don’t have the energy needed to do a long hard slog. That’s probably what they count on. But I digress.

    Neither of us wants to be on benefits in the long term. But we have both worked and paid taxes. Dave still works as a self employed person. But we simply don’t consume as much as the average person, and we plan to become producers, rather than consumers. All Dave is trying to do is inspire others to find ways of making themselves freer and happier, and in the process, cause less unwitting destruction.

    Oh, I’m Dave’s partner, if you hadn’t already guessed!

  30. cjcjc — on 23rd June, 2009 at 11:26 am  

    When who knows where that money comes from?

    Well it doesn’t come from the money tree, does it?!

    PS – yes I am (very very slightly) jealous.

  31. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 12:08 pm  

    cjcjcj @ 28:

    As Katy says.

    Though aren’t “tax credits” just a convenient euphemism for adding extra state control into a system which just won’t admit that the lowest earners shouldn’t pay taxes on their earnings?

    Or also a convenient way of taxing people, and only paying it back to those with the nouse to navigate their way through the confusion, find out what they are actually entitled to, and fill in the paperwork to claim it? (I mean, I’ve got a Computer Science degree and didn’t exactly find the tax credits forms a breeze to complete.)

    I am self employed, and only work to earn as much money as I actually need to live off. As it is with nuclear power, so with money – we will always find ways to use up what we have available to use up. So I’m starting from the other end of the question – what’s the very least amount of money I can live off, and how can I best utilise my available budget without wasting it? I’m also working to reduce that amount, and perhaps in time, will not be working enough hours to qualify for working tax credit. When that point comes, it is fine by me, because we will have become largely self-sufficient.

    For all intents and purposes, my objective is to become what is termed “economically inactive”, as far as is humanly possible. There are other ways to live, and we will be living them.

    But personally, I think no individual should pay any income tax at all, and that all taxation should be based on corporate taxation and individual spending.

    That way, if you resent paying taxes so much – just consume less! (Or, if you are a corporation, reduce your profits.)

    If there is to be any sort of tax system at all, it should be one which discourages unnecessary spending and consumption of natural resources. But of course, that way lies the inevitable collapse of the global economy, doesn’t it?

    Never mind that this current way lies the inevitable collapse of the global economy too though, eh?

    Global economic collapse is coming, and it’s really going to bite. The more we depend on the economy for our life and limb, the more it’s going to hurt us. I’d like to find a painless way out, before it gets to that point. I believe the answer is to consume a lot less, work for other people a lot less, and meet our actual needs directly by producing a lot more ourselves.

    (Or are we modern humans so useless and de-skilled that we can’t grow our own food, build our own houses, and produce our own heat and energy from our surroundings – doing all this freely in small communities without state involvement? Is that so unrealistic?)

    While we’re on the subject of benefits, I presume you know full well who the biggest state welfare claimants are?

    Immigrants. Single mums. The unemployed. The incapacitated. Pensioners. Oh wait, it’s… corporations!

    Those figures are from before the credit crunch, when the state paid billions of pounds of our tax money in the way of corporate welfare to prop up the failing banks. (Or have you been asleep for the last year?)

    Funny that you seem quite prepared to scoff the “benefits” insult a self-employed person and a parent, who are working their way towards self sufficiency, while simultaneously overlooking the abso-fricking-lutely HUGE benefits paid to corporations. (Do you work for a bank, per chance?)

    Incidentally, I often find that you are rather glib in your criticism and dismissal of the things I post on this site, while revealing very little about yourself, or what you stand for instead.

    So, let me ask you, if I may: What do you actually stand for, cjcjcj? Do you believe your way of life – whatever it is – can be continued into the future?

    If I understood a little more about where you’re coming from and how you see the world, perhaps it would be easier not to jump to the conclusion that you’re just knee-jerking against what I’m saying because it doesn’t sit well with you.

    It’s pretty easy to criticise, but I’m genuinely interested in your alternative suggestions to mine, if you’d care to enlighten me a bit about what you actually believe in?

    Also, if I may – where do “your” wages come from? I mean, where do they really come from? How do you know they are really “yours”?

    Because those natural resources which power the banks which power the corporation I’m guessing you might work for, which in some a round-about way produce the consumer goods I presume you like so much… those natural resources actually belong to nobody. Or rather, they are a gift which we have been given stewardship of for a time, and which it is our responsibility to pass on to future generations in the way we best can.

    How do you know they are “yours” for the taking? We can’t just use them all up now, because we feel like it and have the means to. What does that leave for the future!?

    So I’m afraid, unless you’d like to persuade me otherwise, those earnings of “yours” (and everybody, including me) amount to little more than theft of something which belongs to future generations, and which we in the “rich” parts of the world are already stealing the fair share of from those of our own generation, who by nothing but blind luck-of-the-draw happened to be born elsewhere to different parents.

    Persuade me that your earnings aren’t just a type of legalised theft, and maybe you can sit on the moral high-horse for a while.

    Me, I’m withdrawing from this scummy system as much as I possibly can, and I’d love to give you a hand, should you ever decide to do the same.

  32. Katy — on 23rd June, 2009 at 12:22 pm  

    cjcjc- I hope you know what I meant and are just being faecetious…

    and I’d much rather you were very very slightly inspired than jealous. Will jealousy inspire you?

    :)

  33. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 12:32 pm  

    Oh, and a quick apology if I may!

    cjcjc – I never realised until just now when Katy pointed it out to me, but I always thought your nickname here was “cjcjcj“. Sorry for the extra “j” – it was just a brain fart of mine! :roll:

  34. cjcjc — on 23rd June, 2009 at 12:34 pm  

    Do you believe your way of life – whatever it is – can be continued into the future?

    Yes. I believe in human inegnuity and in the resulting technological progress which has delivered (where it has been allowed to) extraordinary advances in human welfare.

    which power the corporation I’m guessing you might work for

    In fact I am self-employed.

    Persuade me that your earnings aren’t just a type of legalised theft

    Your oxymoron already suggests I won’t be able to.
    Still, as you will be claiming some small share of them for a while it seems you are not really that fussy yourself!

    Listen, in a way I admire what you are doing and am to some extent jealous. And I understand enough to know that the secret of happiness is in the suppression of appetite.
    But I would not welcome a return to a world of subsistence farming.

  35. MaidMarian — on 23rd June, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

    dave s (27) – Thank you for your reply, I hope you feel better for getting that off your chest. Three points.

    1) ‘Even groups like Plane Stupid (of which I am not involved) are not about telling individuals how to live their lives.’

    How on earth do you possibly draw that conclusion?

    2) ‘You could even go as far as to say that the Climate Camp is organised specifically as an alternative to authoritarian tendencies within the green movement, and that many people involved with it are well aware of authoritarianism, and actively take measures to spot it, prevent and counteract it.’

    Perhaps, but like radical feminism before it, the thing becomes a tautology. Remove yourself from the ‘real world’ (for want of a better description), indulg in collective group think and you can start to believe anything. That does not mean it survives a brush with the world as it is rather than as you would like it to be.

    3) ‘Just think what we could do with our lives if we eliminated all unnecessary work – you know, the type of work which is involved in producing things that nobody really needs, and which makes massive profits for a few wealthy shareholders.’

    Now this is a better point. You have a stonger argument here, but isn’t this more to do with inequality rather than the environment per se? Sure, the two are not mutually exclusive but I struggle with the idea that if we remove the shareholders or ‘equalise’ top managers the same desires for travel, wealth and the like will diminish. Maybe they do in a climate camp, I don’t know.

    Humanity is underrated.

  36. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

    cjcjc @ 34:

    Yes. I believe in human inegnuity and in the resulting technological progress which has delivered (where it has been allowed to) extraordinary advances in human welfare.

    That may be so. But can you not see that nearly all of this has come off the back of using up fossil fuels (and other natural resources) that have taken several hundred million years to form? Literally, in 200 years, we have taken all of that embedded energy – placed here by the Sun and transformed through various reactions over millennia – and used it up.

    What will sustain your way of life in the future, when those resources are gone?

    Not only that, but our “advances in human welfare” are still ripping off those in the majority (poorer) parts of the world, because our welfare comes at the expense of theirs.

    So ultimately, our current way of life comes at the expense of future generations, and at the expense of others in our generation who do not have access to the same amount of resources that we have.

    Is that in any way just?

    Is that in any way sustainable?

    I believe both answers are “no”.

    In fact I am self-employed.

    Well, good on you!

    Still, as you will be claiming some small share of them for a while it seems you are not really that fussy yourself!

    On the contrary, I am extremely bothered by this, and thinking about it (and ways away from it) sometimes keeps me awake at night. I don’t want to depend on the state in any way, but I have been raised in a country where it’s been deliberately made nigh-on-impossible NOT to depend on the state in some way.

    I plan to transition away from this dependency over a period of about 5-10 years – the sooner the better. But like all transitions, it’s not just going to happen over night.

    The first step is to recognise the problem, and the second is to make a plan away from it. I’m at the beginning of the third step, which is to take action to make that plan a reality.

    Listen, in a way I admire what you are doing and am to some extent jealous. And I understand enough to know that the secret of happiness is in the suppression of appetite.

    That’s an interesting way of putting it! But “suppression” is not really how I feel it, because that implies that I am giving something up, when in fact, I’m not “giving up” anything – just stopping my involvement in it.

    But I would not welcome a return to a world of subsistence farming.

    Neither do I! Which is why the other day when replying to you, I mentioned forest gardening and permaculture.

    It seems to me that you are of the opinion that it’s a straight choice between “industrial capitalism” or “subsistence farming”, when really, that’s quite a false dichotomy.

    Using human ingenuity, we can factor out hard labour and masses of energy from our food production systems, and use design and nature (who never sleeps) to do all the hard work for us.

    It really is that simple – all we need is land to do it on.

    And please, I implore you to watch “A Farm For The Future”, which I also linked to in that previous post – it’s very inspiring.

    I don’t want you to feel jealous – you can do this too, if you really want to. (Though I can admit it’s not particularly easy to get started at the moment, which is why we’re going to try to make it easier.)

  37. damon — on 23rd June, 2009 at 4:23 pm  

    So; I think that quite a few people here agree that the Spiked people are somewhat contrarian, and play a bit fast and loose with science when it comes to enviromental issues.
    But I still think they are a tonic to the stifling ‘mono-culture’ of much of the liberal and enviromental left.
    I know enough about them to know (or at least think I know) that many of the points that George Monbiot made about them in 2003 are complete rubbish.
    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2003/12/09/invasion-of-the-entryists/

    For example: points 1 to 5 are just laughable.
    And as for point 6 ???
    ”In 1988, it set up a magazine called Living Marxism, later LM. By this time, the organisation, led by the academic Frank Furedi, the journalist Mick Hume and the teacher Claire Fox, had moved overtly to the far right. LM described its mission as promoting a “confident individualism” without social constraint.”

    What an idiot…. ”had moved overtly to the far right” he says. Far right? That’s how we describe the likes of the BNP.

    ”(7) It campaigned against gun control,(8) against banning tobacco advertising (9) and child pornography,”

    Point 7 is a subject that is open to having various (legitimate) views on, in my opinion, and one that should be open for debate. (Just like is fox hunting, where I remember them writing an article titled ”Fox hunting is fun”)
    http://web.archive.org/web/20000304100503/www.informinc.co.uk/LM/LM108/LM108_Foxes.html
    On a previous left/liberal website that I was on, views like that were reviled so much, that the moderator of that site banned further talk of fox hunting. A couple of rural pro-hunters (before I had ever joined the site) had so ”wound up” some of the anti-hunt regular leftists of that site, that passions had to be cooled by banning further talk of the issue.
    (I found such passion about such an non-issue to be laughable)

    Point 8 should also be up for debate. I’m not particularly enamored with all of the anti-smoking developments in recent years myself.

    And as for point 9 and the idea that they defend child pornography, I think you have to know what it was that they actually said here. As I remember it, it was more a libertarian argument about controls over the freedom of viewing internet without having to explain what you were doing to some authority.

    Having got that far through Monibiot’s spurious accusations against them, some of the later ones in that article … points 17 to 35 – (that I knew less about), I tended to wonder if they were built on sand as well.

    And as I finish off this post, I’m looking at an article from Frank Furedi from today’s output which says:
    ”People should not be punished for their beliefs
    The proposal to ban British National Party members from teaching in schools is a far bigger threat to democracy than the BNP itself.”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/7070/
    Whether you agree with what he says or not, I think it’s a fair to view to take.

  38. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 8:26 pm  

    MaidMarian @ 35:

    How on earth do you possibly draw that conclusion?

    Because although the outcome of Plane Stupid’s actions occasionally inconveniences individuals, the targets of their direct action are strictly corporations and government, as far as I’m aware?

    I don’t recall people acting under the Plane Stupid banner telling individuals what to do (or not to do), but perhaps I am wrong about this.

    As I mentioned, I am nothing to do with Plane Stupid. I have criticised them a few times in the past when I thought they were alienating the public, and this has been the times when their actions (against corporations) have inconvenienced members of the public too much.

    Perhaps, but like radical feminism before it, the thing becomes a tautology. Remove yourself from the ‘real world’ (for want of a better description), indulg in collective group think and you can start to believe anything. That does not mean it survives a brush with the world as it is rather than as you would like it to be.

    What is your point? The Climate Camp is not putting out an authoritarian Green message, and nor do I believe it has ever. If anything, it has been too anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist for the mainstream to really comprehend.

    Now this is a better point. You have a stonger argument here, but isn’t this more to do with inequality rather than the environment per se?

    No, this is very much to do with the environment. Every time I hear somebody say “why bother cutting our own CO2 emissions when China are increasing theirs?”, I feel the urge to point out the phrase “Made In China” on just about every piece of consumer junk in existence.

    Now, that’s no insult intended towards the Chinese people, but more of just an observation that if it weren’t for the fact that capitalists are using their country (and thus the Chinese people’s share of emissions) to produce mountains of unnecessary crap to sell worldwide, then their emissions would be considerably lower.

    In any case, it’s the per-capita emissions which are the best measure, and despite the amount of crap that they produce for us to buy capitalists to sell, the Chinese per-capita emissions are still something like ten times lower than ours in the UK.

    Ten times lower – just think about that for a second.

    What does that say about how much unnecessary energy we may each be consuming in this country? What on earth are we doing with it all?

    And of course, that doesn’t include the energy consumption that we’re effectively “outsourcing” to China because they are making our stuff.

    Energy consumption / unnecessary work / free time – they’re very much linked together.

    (Afterthought: I’m not sure that really answers that part of your question? Does it?)

    Sure, the two are not mutually exclusive but I struggle with the idea that if we remove the shareholders or ‘equalise’ top managers the same desires for travel, wealth and the like will diminish. Maybe they do in a climate camp, I don’t know.

    Humanity is underrated.

    I agree. But surely if humanity is underrated, then it’s not too optimistic to think that in a world where our basic needs were met by our immediate surroundings and community, the desires for travel, wealth and the like would diminish? I know they have in my case, and will continue to do so a lot more once we get properly established at our new place.

  39. Dave S — on 23rd June, 2009 at 8:49 pm  

    Oh balls… I screwed up the HTML and missed my closing blockquote tag! And it seems Pickled Politics no longer has that handy five minutes post-posting edit ability?

  40. damon — on 24th June, 2009 at 6:43 pm  

    Plane Stupid are a pain in the arse. And I think that Spiked are good for saying as much.

    How dare they think that they can disrupt Stanstead airport? (like they did last january or sometime when the charged onto the runway and chained themselves to fences and stuff they had brought with them)

    Their excuse to disrupting people already in the unworldly situation of being at an airport at the crack of dawn (having travelled long distances to get to this airport for early morning departures) is: ”Sorry folks, this is just another reminder from us people out trying to save the world, that your weekend citybreak to Barcelona or Prague (or Riga) is totally selfish, and so … sorry about the inconvenience, but we are talking about bigger things than your immediate distress and discomfort.”

    That’s why I had some time for what Brendan O Neill said about this on Spiked.
    ”Class hatred at Stansted Airport
    Posh Plane Stupid insists that it is not picking on poor people. So why is it so madly obsessed with cheap flights?”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/6008/

  41. Dave S — on 25th June, 2009 at 12:16 am  

    Damon @ 40:

    Posh Plane Stupid insists that it is not picking on poor people. So why is it so madly obsessed with cheap flights?

    Because many of those cheap, short-haul flights are the ones that could be almost as easily carried out over land – causing many times less emissions, and at a much less damaging altitude – if only the investment was put into high-speed rail networks instead of airports. That’s why.

  42. damon — on 25th June, 2009 at 9:35 am  

    Dave S

    I’ve got no problem with developing high speed rail to replace some short haul flights (particularly within Britain) – but you’ll be pushed to make it to Tallin and back on your weekend break by train.
    And god knows what the fare would be.

    Another really negative result of this modern (smug) trend to go ”invading” places like airports (or the House of Commons) is that in places that are already under real security threats, a bunch of kids playing silly buggers is totally selfish.
    I remember about one airport invasion, some activist being interviewed on the radio said access to getting ”airside” at the terminal was easy, as they had just run down the exit channel and were then able to cause the airport to be thrown into turmoil for sometime. Also, setting off the fire alarms got everything grinding to a hault and all kinds of sirens going off.

    It’s not about CO2 with me (as I accept that governments and industry have to do something about emissions) – but like the Spiked people might say about this continuous moral hectoring …
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cqJMo50zQc
    ”Enough already!”

    I went to the Heathrow airport climate camp last summer (just for a look about) and wasn’t really that impressed with what this movement looked like.
    Now I’ve got nothing against peaceful hippy types (in fact they some of my favourite kinds of people – like I met at a ”Rainbow festival” in the Czech Republic some years ago), but if they start getting political then I think they loose the plot a bit.

    For example: I was in a big marquee watching them practicing direct action tactics for breaking through police lines. It involved focusing large numbers of people at one point of a police line and trying to break through by overwhelming the police in that one particular area.
    They were due to do it for real the next day. ”How daft” was my reaction to seeing this.

    Is this action going to save one square meter of low lying coast in Bangladesh?

    Seeing stuff like that and then reading Spiked’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics protests by western pro-Tibet supporters where there was an article that went:
    ”Putting the ‘I’ into internationalism
    The arrest of four Free Tibet protesters in Beijing shows that Tibet still fulfills the fantasies of posh, disillusioned Westerners.”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/5563/

    It makes me think they might have a point about enviromental and pro-Tibet like campaigners.
    Particularly ones that go chaining themselves to things, and go about with bicycle locks and rope carabiners on their person.

  43. Tan A — on 31st July, 2009 at 7:44 pm  

    I read Spiked regularly and I think they are great. I don’t always agree with what they say but it is always thought provoking. As for them being contraraian what is wrong with that? It is refreshing to read something that goes against the mainstream thought sometimes and they do a brilliant job of that! If only the mainstream media were as good.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.