Way to go to turn Joe and Josephine Soap against tackling Man Made Global Warming, ramping up the activities of liberal, metropolitan, middle class elitist campaigns like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion.
Monbiot does the work of the fossil fuel lobby for free.
“In a YouGov poll for Sky News, more than three-quarters (76%) of people say they believe the world’s climate is changing as a result of humans.”
An interesting statistic, but more on that poll later.
COP26 ended on Sunday 14th November (although it should have ended on 12th).
Let’s give COP26 7/10, because that got the disinterested voting Remain in 2016 or voting Labour in 2015, 2017, 2019 …
“… if we denounce our own government’s record, don’t be surprised if the people conclude we shouldn’t be put back into power.”
If you say COP26 was a waste of time, a cop out, perhaps even counter-productive then do not be surprised if some people conclude they, personally, need not bother doing anything to address Man Made Global Warming, because it would be a pointless exercise on their part.
Unsurprisingly, they will not be especially inclined to vote for political parties wanting to deal with the issue.
Out on the doorstep at election time:
“Do something about climate change, mate?”
“What’s the point. I mean your metropolitan middle class elitist conference failed in Glasgow, didn’t it?”
“So it doesn’t matter what I do, does it?”
I am sure Joe and Josephine Soap will respond as positively to Monbiot’s language as they have so far to the counter-productive antics of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain.
Do not say you care about the little people, their hard lives, zero hours contracts, poverty and want people to use public transport then bring said transport to a standstill in the evening rush hour.
Emma Thompson, in dungarees, flying in from LA to high five XR folk in Trafalgar Square when she might have made a point by participating from California over Zoom was comedy gold for the Mail and did they exploit it.
A Hollywood darling, surprisingly without the media nous to think travelling half way across the world by plane to attend a demo against climate change was not a good look.
And the Monbiots of the movement wonder where they are going wrong. Actually, I am not sure they ever do stop and review their approach to the disinterested; the concerned, but confused and the sceptical on the Birmingham omnibus.
Monbiot talks down to people.
I am not sure he even knows he is doing it.
I stopped taking Monbiot seriously when he wrote a piece in the Guardian about hiring a private stretch of river to go fishing in order to de-stress.
I am not sure writing about it was a great idea.
Did nothing, in my opinion, for his environmental credentials and street cred.
In the Hungry ’30s, a couple of ladies from up West went down the East End to show cockney women how to make a nourishing soup from left over fish heads and tails.
As they began their lecture, a voice from the back shouted out, “When do we get the fish?”
Monbiot is certainly no David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Aneurin Bevan or, coming up to date, Mark Drakeford.
Where do we go from here?
Engage with people where they are and not lecture them on where they ought to be and about what they should be concerned.
Remember the 60/40 rule where you listen for at least 60% of the time.
Remember Churchill’s average voter …
… and prepare accordingly.
“Why would anyone not want to see policies implemented that will cut their energy bills; increase the UK’s energy security; create businesses, jobs and exports and generate tax revenue thereby; reduce pollution and, sotto voce, help to slow MMGW?”
My father, four years as a Labour Councillor, expands on Churchill’s point. In his view (and mine), most of the electorate, most of the time are not incapable of rising to the challenge of participating fully in our representative democracy, but they are often time poor. And quite often woefully ill informed which is mostly not their own fault, but it makes them conservative and, sometimes, even hostile to change.
Be topical …
The threat of Belarus to use energy as a weapon provides an argument to increase renewables and energy efficiency in UK to increase our energy security.
But may be that is not the sort of argument that some principled campaigners want to make, but I gather this is a crisis?
Let us make it so fewer folk feel the need to make that trek across Belarus/Polish border and risk a trip across the Channel.
Let us get serious, set aside the moral outrage, appeal to enlightened self interest at home to get funding overseas to make that happen.
Let us make it so one of the spurs for folk to leave home, family and friends to make a better life for themselves in another country is not Man Made Global Warming.
Let us help more folk make a good life where they were born.
Be more Bevan …
Remember, most refugees stay in the countries neighbouring where they were born. Most never wanted to leave home in the first place.
How is it most of the campaigns never put up spokespeople with regional accents or clearly from low income backgrounds?
Let us face it, the brightest and best, the Oxbridge crowd who tend to front these campaigns do not come across well on any media, do they?
I cannot believe the Oxbridge crowd make up all in the campaigns.
And I know there is plenty of raw talent out there to make a good case to which the many not the usual few may relate.
The people who may put the pressure on at elections and not just General Elections and chip in to other campaigning, more generally.
There are plenty of environmental charities, businesses, activists, some very locally based on which to build a substantial movement for change, but that takes hard work, bordering on knitting fog and perseverance.
Nowhere near as easy as writing a piece for the Guardian or posing in Trafalgar Square.
Ever since the Referendum in 2016, it has been open season for comment pieces, programmes and the like on socio-economic regeneration by people for whom it is not their job or their field of study. They have even crowded out community activists when speaking of the left behind.
Heaven forfend, an expert in the field be asked to even make an observation.
The media and politicians have nearly 100 years of theory and practice in socio-economic regeneration in a UK context from which to draw upon and experts in the private sector; the voluntary and community sector down to local level; the public sector and academia with whom to engage.
Govitis, an aversion to experts, is spreading.
I see it infecting the debate over Man Made Global Warming.
Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar, for example, became for an hour an instant expert on Man Made Global Warming for the BBC, opposite some drongo from the other wing of the Commentariat.
I think the likes of Sarkar and Monbiot should think seriously about forgoing a few appearance fees and insisting that the media invite others on in their place with a wider range of insight, expertise in the matter under discussion.
I think men refusing to sit on panels on which there are no women sets a good example to follow in other aspects of influencing the way the UK media assemble discussion groups.
Monbiot, a Guardianista, and Sarkar, a so so Communist, are hardly the people to appeal to any, but a niche audience. I would go so far as to say that they are, on occasions, a drag factor in motivating the disinterested; the concerned, but confused and the sceptical to take action (or vote Labour, Novara Media).
And how many of Monbiot’s readers and social media followers actually practise what he preaches?
Do we have any polling data on that?
Some of those ‘evil’ capitalists are ahead of governments on the environment and the need for change.
When you are looking to regenerate an area, you aim to lever in sizeable private sector investment much greater than any increased public spend targeted on the locale.
The public money acts as a catalyst.
Companies have an eye to profit.
“Where there’s muck there’s brass“, both at home and abroad.
Red Tape creates jobs and shareholders want profits.
Governments may use the carrot and stick of regulation to create an environment for profit making.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment recycling is “a rapidly growing sub-sector due largely to the implementation of the original WEEE Directive in the UK by the WEEE Regulations 2006”.
I am surprised, pleasantly surprised, that more than three-quarters (76%) of the people in the Sky News poll say they believe the world’s climate is changing as a result of humans.
“Only two in five people would support increasing taxes as part of efforts to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions – but a majority are in favour of hiking the cost of air travel and banning petrol and diesel cars from city centres, new polling suggests.”
That 76% is a number with which to work, on which to build. That 40%, 59%, 54% …
Jane: “Listen, a Liberty Foundation poll’s about to come out …”
Josh: “A poll!”
Jane: “68% say we spend too much on foreign aid. 59% want foreign aid cut.”
Josh: “What the hell do I care? These people are responding to …”
Jane: “Come on. They’re responding to being overtaxed and then having that money sent to Burundi (see above) instead of the school their kids go to.”
Josh: “Now you’re for more education funding?”
Jane: “That’s not the point.”
Josh: “Of course foreign aid polls badly. The people it’s helping aren’t the ones answering the phone.”
Jane: “Or paying the taxes, or voting.”
Josh: “The Senator just reached this conclusion when the Liberty Foundation …”
Jane: “No, he’s never liked it, and you know that and the poll gives him cover with the New York Times people.”
Josh: “When you say the New York Times people, you’re not talking about the people the who work there, are you?”
Jane: “No, look …”
Josh: “You mean people who can read?”
Donna: “This is a push poll.”
Josh: “68% think we spend too much on foreign aid. 59% think it should be cut.”
Donna: “I think this is a push poll.”
Josh: “Respondents estimate foreign aid to be 15% of the federal budget. It’s one percent of the federal budget. Or it was a half hour ago.”
Donna: “Listen to this question: “The money that goes into foreign aid could be used to reduce the tax burden here at home. Do you support such a shift of funds?” That’s not a push poll?”
Josh: “Come here. I lose this vote … I’m resigning.”
Josh: “So, if we’re lucky, foreign aid’s going to be funded for another 90 days at 75 cents on the dollar. No one who’s ever said they wanted bipartisanship has ever meant it. But the people are speaking. Because 68% think we give too much in foreign aid, and 59% think it should be cut.”
Will: “You like that stat?”
Josh: “I do.”
Josh: “Because 9% think it’s too high, and shouldn’t be cut! 9% of respondents could not fully get their arms around the question. There should be another box you can check for, I have utterly no idea what you’re talking about. Please, God, don’t ask for my input.”
Will: “Why is foreign aid important?”
Josh: “It fosters democracy.”
Will: “There you go.”
Josh: “[in British accent] Well, well played, young man. Very good, yes, yes.”
Will: “I don’t know if you realized, but for a second there, you changed voices.”
Josh: “Someone said, “The best argument against democracy is five minutes with the average voter”.”
Will: “Churchill. He also said, “Democracy is the worst form of government”.”
Will: “Except for all the others.”
A push poll is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organisation attempts to manipulate or alter prospective voters’ views under the guise of conducting an opinion poll.
Generally, push polls are viewed as a form of negative campaigning.
We should, also, remember Sir Humphrey on the uses and abuses of opinion polls.
As Bernard would tell you, high level, strategic agreements at a COP are one thing, but operational delivery, Minister, is quite another.
COP26 set minima not maxima targets and folk should not be allowed to think that the targets are not for exceeding.
And those engaged in delivery are used to making sense of vague strategic commitments and turning them into something concrete.
Folk in all sectors of the UK economy do it, week in and week out.
In conclusion, Monbiot is right, more of the same is not going to get the disinterested; the concerned, but confused and the sceptical motivated to get serious about Man Made Global Warming, is it?
And, despite everything, I still like Emma Thompson.