It is as if I, and a few others, inhabit an alternate universe, when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, despite being in possession of the most recent reports from the IPCC and United Nations, both of which point to a devastating future should we not immediately curb and cease fossil fuel usage, proclaims he will grant thousands of new oil and gas licenses.
There is something both tragic and pathetic in his proclamation, as he tries to sell it to the British people. For here’s a man motivated by self-interest – he holds a vain hope of re-election, if he can deliver economic growth – beholden to the increasingly hollow demands of global capitalism, ‘hollow’ because economic growth has shown itself, in late stage capitalism, to be an illusion, a false dawn, unable to even deliver its chief promise of individual happiness.
Beneath Rishi’s poorly delivered sales patter, can be heard the slight existentialist dread of a man who knows, like many other current leaders also lacking the political will and courage to confront the climate crisis, that he’s leading us to oblivion. And yet like his many contemporaries, he is driven by short-term interest, and beyond this, wilful blindness.
It is simply not in Rishi’s interests to do what he, and others, know we must do, which is to radically change the economic system that governs us. And so, he chooses to deny the truth: he is willfully blind. Let us be in no doubt about this. For you can no longer reasonably claim that you have another opinion on the matter, that the climate crisis is, in your view, not as bad as they say, when large parts of the world are either on fire or under water. The evidence is now incontrovertible.
Does he, on occasion, like awake at night, unable to sleep, as he ponders the fate of his young daughters in thirty years’ time, if we continue as we are? He surely must, in spite of his likely inherent capacity to compartmentalise. For there are certain truths that none of us can run from.
Perhaps we must give Rishi some further cause for insomnia, and follow the lead of young Austrians, and others, who are now suing their leaders and governments for climate inaction? This must be the next step for young Britons. To hold him to account for his current actions.
I’m now fully behind the actions of Just Stop Oil, a small group of people with the courage to confront the truth, and do something about it. They deserve all our support.