Screw Johnson’s elitist PR stunts. Here’s why Corbyn is the people’s leader we so desperately need.

Jeremy Corbyn Climate Strike
Ed Sykes

As millions of people took part in a global climate strike on 20 September, UK prime minister Boris Johnson was nowhere to be seen on the streets. Instead, he was tweeting about meeting military elites.

PM-in-waiting Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, was on the front line with ordinary people showing yet again why he’s the leader we so desperately need.

“Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”

As is his custom, Corbyn was on the streets alongside protesters. And people in London greeted him with chants of “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn”.

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The Labour leader also gave a powerful speech, explaining why his government would fight hard to deal with the global climate crisis:

Seemingly criticising Johnson’s alliance with climate-change denier Donald Trump, Corbyn insisted:

Let’s have no more of this hand-holding with Donald Trump.

He also compared the strike with the mass public efforts to avoid the illegal and disastrous Western invasion of Iraq in 2003, saying:

It feels like the global demonstrations we held in 2003 to try and stop that terrible war in Iraq.

Green revolution is an “absolute priority”

When a reporter asked Corbyn if the climate emergency was a priority, he answered:

Absolute priority for everybody. If we can’t protect our planet, what can we protect?

And he backed this up by stressing his party’s commitment to a “green industrial revolution“:

He had previously stressed that, among other projects, this plan “will create around 400,000 jobs, high-skilled, good quality, well paid jobs, all around the country” in green industries.

His actions, meanwhile, show just how important he thinks the fight against climate chaos is. Because before attending the main protest in London, he also backed climate strikers in his own constituency:

‘Where’s the government?’

Many protesters, meanwhile, asked where Boris Johnson’s government was:

The only reference to the climate strike from Boris Johnson on Twitter was an apparent attack on the protesters. The Conservative Party Twitter account said “while some politicians prefer to protest, @BorisJohnson and the Conservatives are taking action”. And it announced a token policy of “12 new renewable projects”. This seemed like a poor afterthought, however, in comparison to numerous previous tweets about increasing military spending to “meet evolving global challenges”:

For most British citizens, increasing military spending during peace time (excluding ongoing covert wars) is far from being the top priority. On the other hand, a recent survey suggests that the climate crisis is a priority for many. The vast majority, for example, believe we are facing an emergency; and 64% agree that “time is running out to save the planet”. Only 23%, meanwhile, think the government is doing enough.

Boris Johnson and his government may believe that now is the best time to boost the military industrial complex. And the recent schmoozing with human rights abusers at the controversial DSEI arms fair suggests they do. But for large numbers of people throughout Britain, the true ‘global challenge’ today is the climate emergency – something that requires bold, systemic change rather than a boost in spending for military elites.

Yet again, Corbyn is on the right side of history. And Johnson is MIA.

Featured image via Cllr Mas Patel/screenshot

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    1. The trouble with the climate argument is that initial dodgy science (e.g. ‘black box’ climate prediction models and how their output was interpreted) queered the pitch. This resulted in legitimate scepticism naturally latched onto by vested interests sensibly reluctant to change industrial practice on the say so of speculation by self-proclaimed savants.

      All this obscured mounting evidence of global warming which upon extrapolation would have dire consequences for mankind. The issue yet to be resolved is the extent of warming being a phenomenon incidental to man’s presence on the planet versus it being initiated by human activity and/or exacerbated by the activity.

      The political class is flummoxed. Contradictory messages arise on the one hand from soundly conducted science/observation, assuming its practitioners are distinguishable from the rest, whilst, on the other, lobbyists seeking to protect sectoral business interests conduct no expense spared campaigns. Meanwhile, agitating crowds add nothing to the substance of discussion but do keep the topic boiling.

      Whether warming is contributed to by mankind may take a very long time to settle. It’s a matter of scientists establishing that seemingly persuasive correlations are actually cause and effect.

      In the general course of events politicians deserve scathing criticism for taking actions justified by scant, if any, evidence. Politicians operate in a smug world of ‘common sense’, such deemed ‘the metaphysic of savages’ by Russell, rather than the demanding world of informed ‘good sense’. However, given increasingly compelling evidence of global warming (regardless of explanation), sitting around waiting for the nearest thing to scientific certainty is not prudent. Pragmatism, as explained by William James rather than politicians’ understanding in terms of opportunism, must be brought into play.

      For instance, even should carbon dioxide emitted from industrial process turn out not to be particularly relevant to the observed warming nobody has suggested it is beneficial in any way. Moreover, fossil fuel based processes produce a range of pollutants, none desirable. Hence, increasing pace of transition to renewable energy can only do good even if the climate is not affected as one might wish. Also, as Mr Corbyn recognises, going ‘green’ creates ancillary opportunities e.g. regarding employment.

      Deforestation similarly is implicated in global warming. Regardless of that it is becoming obvious planetary vandalism. Not only is the environment despoiled but also there may be unanticipated knock-on effects from reducing biodiversity. Solution rests with advanced nations offering resources to remove economic necessity for converting rain forest into agricultural land.

      The converse of reforestation, e.g. in Europe, with trees naturally indigenous to an area can do nothing but good in terms of the environment and people’s quality of life even should removing more carbon dioxide (and pollutants) not affect the global climate.

      Then there is the matter of anticipating damage caused by global warming, e.g. through raised sea level and by changing weather patterns with respect to rainfall, rather than responding piecemeal only when disaster strikes.

      Doubtless there are many other things to add to the mix.

      If governments would agree to tackle problems with remedies that do good, even should they not affect the climate, then schoolchildren can more usefully employ their time at school.

    2. No, the science is uncontroversial. What else can explain the sharp rise in global average climate over the past decades but human action? What else explains the melting of the ice-caps? There has to an explanation. This isn’t mere correlation. There is no other hypothesis which makes sense. Just as no hypothesis for the variety of species make sense but natural selection. Science is about hypotheses which exist to be proven wrong. As yet, no one has proven wrong the hypothesis that CO2 in particular has warmed the planet. Of course, water vapour is a greenhouse gas too. If you have a hypothesis, the world would love to see it. As yet, there isn’t one which fits the evidence.

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