Overreact now to Gulf invasion

by | 12 May 2010 | Cartoons, Climate brinksmanship | 0 comments

What we need is a decent nuclear accident, then they’ll vote Values.

Gulf of Mexico oil spill cartoon

Oil Lobby: Hot Diggity!—this’ll nicely take the heat for CO2 cartoon Majorlook Productions

That was well before Chernobyl, in fact five years before Three Mile Island. And sadly, the self-appointed Values Party spokesman wasn’t being factious.

Aside from the tragic state of mind that would have a soul praying for catastrophe in order to enhance his political aspirations, the assumption that an environmental party will benefit from environmental tragedy is tragically naīve.

Back then, a fair assumption was that the lack of proportional representation was primarily to blame the lack of support for the fledgling environmental party. It was to a degree. But it is instructive to note how little the widespread concern for the home planet is reflected in the Green Party vote, after 14 years of proportional representation.

This is only partly to do with the fact that neither the Green Party nor those inclined to support it sufficiently understand how mixed member proportional works—why else would the party currently stand 70 electorate candidates when it can only conceivably elect, at best, 10 or 11 list members. The result, of course, is that most of the Green Party votes are wasted on electorate candidates, at the expense of the all-important party vote.

The stark reality is people and institutions take an alarmingly long time to adapt to change. The British Labour Party has just self-destructed rather than embrace proportional representation. And party hacks can’t wait to go into retirement and garrulous ‘opposition’. How appalling that the once necessary, once noble notion of a loyal opposition has long since degenerated into institutionalised cynicism. If ever Britain faced a crisis that called for a grand coalition it is now. But not only is there no collective instinct for survival, the preoccupation is with saving the economy, so that it may wreak further havoc on the planet. The lesson of World War Two should have been that Britain buried its head in the sand and subsequently came within a day of being overrun by Germany. That a few great men including Sir Keith Park made the difference is glorious, but the abiding lesson should be, a stitch in time.

Business-as-usual is condemning billions to displacement and/or an ever-harsher environment. An immediate war footing is needed to prepare for this unprecedented threat to life as we know it. There is now no time for a gentle weaning off fossil fuels, desperate measures must be taken.

In the United States the politicians warn against ‘snap judgements’ on the great Gulf of Mexico oil spill and lobbyists framing the discussion. Calls for an end to deep sea drilling are labelled an overreaction. It is consummate how the call for responsible action is repackaged as overreaction. This was the sort of prevarication Winston Churchill had to endure. Nick Clegg certainly appears to have Churchillian courage and sense of moment. In little over a day he has succeeded in imposing the Liberal–Democrat’s policies on the Conservative Party.

No end of individual environmental disasters—Torrey Canyon, Santa Barbara, Amoco Cadiz, Ixtoc I, Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, and Sea Empress—can start to match the disaster that is global warming. It is the equivilent of World War, and an extraordinary world leader could draw the contemporary parallel to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:

The invasion of Poland.

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