Consider how arbitrary the political situation is in the UK. We are where we are because David Cameron put the survival of his party before the survival of the union. Imagine that instead of being reactionary nostalgia monkeys, the Tory backbenchers Cameron indulged had experienced some Thunbergian style epiphany back in the early 2010s and had agitated not for a referendum on departing the EU but instead on one where the people of the UK decided on how best to respond to the climate crisis.

It’s reasonable to assume that appraised of all the facts of an imminent existential threat to every species on the planet, the majority of the population would have agreed that something significant needed to be done.

By now, the government would already be enacting the will of the people and ‘Getting carbon neutral done’. The UK would be leading the green revolution in Europe and its inhabitants would be feeling pretty fucking good about themselves. History would judge these people and their political leaders kindly. What foresight! What bravery! For once, the UK looking forward with an appetite for positive and essential change rather than peering back into a time of spitfires, rationing and one World Cup.

In the final televised leaders’ debate no mention was made of the greatest existential threat to mankind our species has ever known. Instead we got Corbyn and Johnson reiterating their party lines on getting Brexit done. A spectacle as edifying as watching two old bluffers in a retirement home arguing over who gets control of the TV remote, except in this instance the retirement home is ablaze and the melting polyester carpet is fusing to the soles of their slippers.


Tim Fishlock, December 2019


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