One appalling detail in the Queen’s Speech shows voting Tory was a vote to ruin your children’s future

Boris Johnson
Tracy Keeling

The Queen’s Speech on 19 December unveiled Boris Johnson’s plans for Britain.

It confirmed that the pledge he made during the election campaign for a £10.50 living wage was, frankly, nonsense – as was the promise not to further weaken workers’ rights. And it illustrated that the country is at risk of moving in a ghastly authoritarian direction.

But one appalling detail in the speech also showed that those who voted for the Tories in the election were voting against their children’s future.

Accelerating the crisis

The world is living through a climate crisis. And although Britain may not be currently feeling it as strongly as those in the global south and the Arctic region, make no mistake, it is a threat to the feasibility of widespread life on earth within our children’s lifetimes.

Back in 2018, the UN told the world that we have 12 years left to make changes and choices that will bring us back from the brink of catastrophic climate change within this century. We’re now on the cusp of 2020, so that’s 10 years left.

Air travel is one of the things we need to change, because it’s a heavily polluting industry. As the Guardian has pointed out:

a long-haul flight produces more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world generates in a whole year.

Yet Johnson’s government is planning to increase the number of flights in Britain’s airspace. Its air traffic management and unmanned aircraft bill detailed in the Queen’s Speech will ‘modernise’ air traffic regulations so they “support sustainable growth” in the sector.

However, there’s no such thing as ‘sustainable’ growth in air travel, at least not growth that’s sustainable for our planet. Friends of the Earth campaigner Jenny Bates said:

You can’t have so-called sustainable growth in a sector like this and stop the climate crisis. And while some may believe developing technologies like electric planes will deliver a green travel future these are nowhere near being a reality.

The real solution, as part of the fight against climate breakdown, is far fewer planes in our skies. Instead, the opposite is being encouraged with airport expansion projects, including the planned third runway at Heathrow.

Not the answer

The Conservative Party’s decision to add to carbon emissions via air travel isn’t surprising, however.

Firstly, although it claims to be aiming for net zero emissions in Britain by 2050 (which it is already failing at achieving), the party of government conveniently omits air travel and shipping emissions from its carbon accounting.

Secondly, ahead of the general election, both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth told the public that the Conservatives’ climate plans were among the worst on offer. Only the Brexit Party scored less than the Conservatives in Grennpeace’s analysis. The government has also removed a guarantee of continued standards on environmental protections from its withdrawal bill.

Meanwhile, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas pointed to a glaring omission in the Queen’s Speech:

The Climate Election

Given the mortal threat posed to us by the climate crisis, it should have been the key issue in the election, as it has been in other countries’ recent elections. Especially as it’s a crisis of our own making. But, aided by Britain’s pro-Tory media, the Conservatives managed to make it a ‘Brexit election’.

As a result, voters have ushered a party into government that has actively encouraged and championed the sort of business that will make the climate crisis worse, and is now introducing policies that further imperil our children’s futures.

That’s unlikely to be what many parents were hoping for when they put an X in their Conservative candidate’s box. But it is exactly what they’ve landed the planet – and their children – with.

Featured image via Guardian News/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Caroline Lucas was part of the anti-Brexit movement trying to fuck democracy, and was warned its push for an anti-democratic result would cost them democracy either through voters or stolen votes or both. It need to own it but refuses to admit its folly, but if Labour had stuck to its 2017 manifesto commitment it would have walked it. That was when I gave up Labour membership, because Corbyn was weak over it.

    2. Those who voted for destruction deserve to die, arguably their children do not, and neither do those who want a peaceful, bio-diverse, caring, sharing World.

      What I am most annoyed with however is that those of us who love life and the Earth must apparently shut up and die quietly and quickly so that those who desire extinction may enjoy their last days murdering and blaming anyone other than themselves.

      I for one will not go quietly, nor will I stand idle while those anti-life Hominids continue to enact our extinction.

      With 10 years to go, can anyone really justify doing anything else other than working to save the Planet? Sadly I think far too many people believe they are more important than anyone, or anything else in existence, and that the Earth can support unlimited growth, and provide unlimited food and materials. They continue to promote living conditions which are wholly unsustainable, and only care about the environment when it is politically expedient, or to appear like they give a damn.

      That delusion effects a great many people from the lowest to the highest paid, and across all classes. Intelligence is not enough to combat greedy, self-absorbed, narcissistic humans, as no matter how credible or proven arguments against that type of behaviour are, those who want what they want to the exclusion of all else, will never admit their flaws or their evil acts and desires.

      Therefore, only force works, and only their permanent exclusion will work, which whilst they would adamantly declare it is NOT what they want, they are too cognitively dissonant to accept that their opinions, or choices, could ever be wrong. Far from it, they then attempt to engage in (what is to them brilliant and clever, and to the rest of us is blatantly stupid and dishonest) linguistic deceitfulness, to force what is already accepted as bad, to appear as good, against ALL evidence to the contrary.

    3. It’s crucial to understand, as Noam Chomsky has recently remarked, that the policy of the American Republicans is now the destruction of most of life on earth. The insane logic is this: we can destroy almost all life, including almost all people, but we will survive to make profit tomorrow. Johnson is hanging onto the coat-tails of this madness.
      Internal flights for anything but the most urgent needs should be banned. The rail system should be nationalised and extended so everyone can get to any destination by train quickly, easily and cheaply. All buses and taxis should be made carbon neutral. Car use needs to be cut by 50%, even when cars are electric.
      Flights abroad for holidays should be banned until flying can be made carbon neutral. Flying should be reserved for urgent matters when no other form of transport is available. Shipping, including passenger ferries and liners, must be made carbon neutral.
      All this will be greeted with dismay by a public which has come to believe that flying abroad once or twice a year is a right. The earth grants us no such right. The public believes solutions are bound to be found: those in charge know what they’re doing and it will all work out in the end. Some of those in charge are in denial. The Australians are opening coalmines as if it’s 1750. We believed that by conquering nature we could exceed all limits, but the earth has told us its limits are much tighter than we thought. The urgency is far greater than the public understands, because the politicians have refused to inform.
      No one knows quite how the earth will respond, but whatever we do, there will be catastrophes in the coming decades. There is a school of thought which says exaggerating the threat is counter-productive. Quite so. But it is no exaggeration to say that if we don’t act radically now, the earth may respond in ways which put an end to the human adventure within a few hundred years.

    4. “… one recent scientific opinion
      stated that at 5C above the pre-industrial mean temperature, we are
      looking at an ecological system capable of sustaining just one billion
      people. That means 6-7 billion people will have died within the next generation or two. Even if this figure is wrong by 90%, that means
      600 million people face starvation and death in the next 40 years.
      This is 12 times worse than the death toll (civilians and soldiers) of
      World War Two and many times the death toll of every genocide
      known to history. It is 12 times worse than the horror of Nazism and
      Fascism in the Twentieth Century.”

      https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Roger-Hallam/Common-Sense-for-the-21st-Century–Only-Nonviolent-Rebell/24261355

    5. It’s deeply disturbing which inky further demonstrates Corbyn and Momentum have failed progressive politics in this country so badly.
      We can expect 5 or probably 10 years of this thanks to their disastrous strategy which had no chance of stopping Johnson.

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