Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party and perhaps in 16 months the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, has made a series of sensible points in an interview with the Observer newspaper. He of course uses the “national security” and “resilience” rhetoric that anyone who wants to mention the environment has to, unless they want to be labelled a hippy tree-hugger.
MCFly interviewed Miliband just before the last election. And we’ve seen him in action a couple of times. For what it’s worth, he was a surprisingly honest and willing-to-actually-engage-in-debate-and-discussion kinda guy. The discussion in this facebook conversation sums up the dilemma very well.
Here’s the thing though; In the absence of enormous “countervailing power” that forces elected leaders to put the frackers and the airport builders on a (very very) short leash, then it doesn’t matter if someone like Miliband had the wisdom of Solomon, the oratory of Obama and the courage of Judi Bari and Chico Mendes. We have to grow up and realise nobody is coming to save us from the consequences of our previous actions and inactions. The Milibands of the world might be able to help, but if the species is going to avoid the worst of it, and roll with the punches, then it will be because of millions (billions) of nameless people beavering away with no expectation of recognition, reward or, ultimately, success. If you want to meet some others of those people, come along to the next Manchester Climate Monthly meeting – “Climate Action in Manchester – where next” on Tuesday 25th February from 6.30pm onwards at the Friends Meeting House, Mount St in the City Centre.
From this wonderful illustrator/cartoonist/activist.
UPDATE 17 Feb 2014: And Jon Harris is a bit self-contradictory…
I am not the first to point it out, but if now is the time to belatedly protest the four-year absence of what we once called “green issues” from mainstream politics, we should be honest enough to properly apportion the blame. It’s not about Nigel Lawson, or pantomime-villain deniers: they will stick to their script no matter what, and sounded just as daft before the great deluge of 2014 as they have in the midst of it. No, if anyone is going to carry the can for the fact that climate change vanished from public discourse just as the weather was definitely turning strange, it is surely the politicians who once banged on about its urgency, and then suddenly went quiet.
but then also
I watched Miliband interview Mohamed Nasheed, the then president of the Maldives – the island nation whose fears about climate change make headlines about the British weather look like indulgent moaning. Nasheed clearly understood the need to commune with power – but he also talked about the best way of pushing backsliding politicians in the right direction.
“What we need is large-scale, 60s-style direct action: dynamic street activity,” he said, “and we need to act very quickly.” He uttered those words in 2010. Four years later, they still sound like a consummate piece of advice.
Erm. The people who do that mass-protest/nvda etc etc aren’t the Labour politicians. It’s the “people”. Via their trades unions, churches, campaigning groups etc. All of which have been shrunk/obliterated by the ravages of anomie, neo-liberalism and the State.