Tag Archives: Brexit

Climate Change – learn from the Apollo mission

I heard Ed Miliband speaking on the radio yesterday, saying that we need to be on a “war-footing” to tackle climate change. That we need to fight the problem like we fought the Nazis in WW2.

As a rallying cry, this is hopeless. A war-footing is far too negative. Miliband is being badly advised. People will close their ears and minds to such an appeal.

There does not appear to be an immediate existential threat to our future, our lives or our culture – not like the visceral threat posed by Hitler in 1939. We are all happily shopping online, slugging back the prosecco and catching up on Game of Thrones. Oh yes! And having some lovely early spring weather – I’ve not heard so much birdsong before and everything is bursting into blossom.

No one wants a war, when there isn’t an obvious enemy. Who are we supposed to be fighting? Wars are exhausting!

The first rule of any campaign is to inspire, to set a target and show that there is a map and a pathway to achieving that goal.

In the late 1970s Britain was quite forward-thinking about alternate energy supply – does anyone remember Salter’s Duck? But we pushed ahead with Nuclear and then gorged on the new North Sea oil resources, paying for mass unemployment while we closed down old industries and put off the inevitable. Such are politics and vested interests.

I remember as a lad thinking how brilliant it would be if we had our own Apollo mission – a mission to harness the waves and the wind and the rays of the sun. There is so much energy waiting to be harvested almost for free. We would have been the world-leaders in energy technology, exploiting all the tech spin-offs that would have been developed in such a national mission.

What did Kennedy say to inspire the US to drive the Apollo moon mission forward?

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too

Now that is a clarion call!

We do not need to be on a war-footing, we need to focus the nation on creating carbon-free energy and to develop new technologies that will bring the climate back under control.

In doing so, we would become the Silicon Valley of energy and carbon neutrality.

We may have to eat a little less meat, but then we will develop even more delicious plant-based alternatives that will soon become favoured over meat.

We may have to learn to add another layer of clothing rather than heat the house so high – maybe learn to wear last year’s jumper rather that this week’s new fashion for instagram?

Proudly show our carbon neutral efforts and credentials on instagram rather than the new eyebrows.

We will have to learn to travel in power-efficient electric cars – I’m sure we can get used to it. Most people have no idea what is under the bonnet. All they want is to be able to get from A to B in something that is comfortable and possibly looks cool.

I suppose Gaia was an attempt to brand this mission, but it has too much of a beardy, hippy connotation. My best thought is UK Sol as all the energy comes from the sun or Impetus UK. they sound a bit 1970s though – Im sure some clever marketer can come up with a mission name and logo that we can all feel proud and part of.

We Britain is so good at banding together for major national projects. The millennium created so many new buildings and projects. The 2010 Olympics were a national triumph.

Brexit has already split the nation into warring factions – we do not need any more war footings. We need a leader who can bring the country back together with one purpose. A purpose we all pretty much agree on now, but feel small and helpless to do anything about.

We need a leader to show the way, to nudge, cajole and praise, to lead us into new, hi-tech sunlit uplands – to make Britain a great leader in the world once again – after all, isn’t that what Brexit is really all about?

Pandora – the perfect picture book for Brexit Times

Listening to the news just now, about MPs being jostled and abused while trying to get into Parliament, makes me realise just what a Pandora’s Box the referendum turned out to be.

The referendum was supposed to be advisory, just to find out what the country wanted, assuming it would return a good majority to remain.

But oh my goodness, look what curiosity did. Look at all the forces that have been unleashed. All the attitudes and positions we were blissfully unaware of, that have been emboldened.

If you are wondering how to explain Brexit to little ones, you could do no better than to go back to the original warning story of them all.

Teach children now about when to leave well alone, so they don’t make the same decisions when they grow up and take control themselves.

Tell them that Parliament was so curious to find out what the people thought, they decided to ask them. The referendum was like a Pandora’s Box, they knew should be left well alone – their job was to make the choice themselves, but Parliament was just too curious, it had to lift the lid and find out. It never expected what was going to happen, how their failure to govern and make decisions has brought us to this.

Perfidious Albion and Brexit

I learned something today. I woke up with the phrase, “Perfidious Albion” , ringing around my head.

It’s a very old-fashioned term. It’s a term of disparagement used in the past by those irritating, continental Jonnies and the ungrateful empire. I’ve never really understood what it meant nor bothered to find out…

Until I woke up this morning with the phrase, “Perfidious Albion” , ringing around my head.

WikiPedia has it as:

An anglophobic pejorative phrase used within the context of international relations and diplomacy to refer to alleged acts of diplomatic sleights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states) by monarchs or governments of the UK (or England prior to 1707) in their pursuit of self-interest.

Perfidious signifies one who does not keep his faith or word (from the Latin word perfidia), while Albion is an ancient and now poetic name for Great Britain.

It all comes down to our system of government. Each election creates a new government that is not beholden to previous laws or treaties. I can renege on previous agreements at will, without cause for feeling guilt or need for reparation. That is our system of democracy. That is our DNA. We are perfidious!

That’s who we are and how we are seen by the rest of the world and, in Brexit, we are reverting to the old ways, sticking two fingers up to the world and telling them to lump it.

But the world has changed. We are a very clever and resourceful island, but the rest of the world has caught up –  the rest of the world is very clever and resourceful too – and more numerous.

Brexit will leave us with no friends and a confused world wondering if there is any point in making new trade deals with us, if we are only going to tear them up and ignore them in a few year’s time.

In the EC, we were beginning to grow up as a nation, learning to co-operate, not to go barging in with guns blazing and holding interminable royal inquiries afterwards. Yes, Europe has many flaws and is hideously undemocratic, but that was meant to be our role, to bring honesty and democracy to the EC. We blew that, had a referendum and decided to throw the toys out of the pram for any reason other than the ones that actually matter.

We now, as a country, look like that old man in a baseball cap, who was filmed in a pub, during the referendum, with tears in his eyes and very few teeth, whining, “I want my country back!” He looked stupid and irrelevant then as we are being to look stupid and irrelevant now.

And we are being led by a a “Stupid Woman”. One who sets red lines before negotiations, One who continues not to govern the country, allowing it to fall to pieces in favour of a pipe dream of her Brexit.

A leader who continues to make promises and statements only to break them and renege on them months later – it is her way. Perhaps she is the perfect, perfidious leader for Perfidious Albion, as we untie ourselves from reality and go floating of into a dream of Victorian Empire and Devil take care.

I didn’t vote for this – and I don’t think anyone else did either.