Some will say that last Friday’s biblical deluge has nothing to do with climate change. No true. Such events must become more likely as the atmosphere holds more energy. What follows is a slight re-write of a ‘prediction’ I wrote a few blogs ago.
Theresa May is quite rightly waiting for confirmation that the ‘unelectable’ Jeremy Corbyn remains leader of the Labour Party, before deciding on her tactics. Strictly speaking she cannot call an election before the five-year term is up, but there are ways. One would be a vote of no confidence in her leadership. For example, is she really so stupid as to announce going back to Grammar Schools with the former Education Secretary opposed to it?
But whatever the pretext, no one will be fooled. The tactics might be slightly different if Owen Smith unexpectedly wins, but either way, now is surely the right time to take full advantage of the problems within the Labour Party.
Suppose last Friday’s thunderstorms were merely a mild precursor of a much more serious event. Extra energy in the atmosphere does not just raise the temperature. Instead, some of it lifts vast quantities of water, or drives tornados.
So suppose there is an extreme weather event a week or so after the election is called, affecting a large swathe of the country. Not too much devastation or loss of life, just enough to scare the shit out of everybody. Just enough to persuade everybody to take climate change seriously.
Such a scenario would transform the political scene. Brexit will still have to be sorted out, and the Labour Party will still be in disarray, but keeping CO2 levels down would suddenly seem more important than either.
But the Green Party would not of course ‘sweep into power’, as I jested in my previous blog, for two reasons. First. there are probably only enough climate sceptics in Parliament to give the Greens the balance of power, even if every single one replaced a climate sceptic. The link is to an article prior to the last General Election, but I doubt if the situation has changed significantly.
Secondly, the Green Party has lost the plot. Having quietly dropped its original Limits to Growth raison d’être several years ago, the Green Party strategy at the 2015 General election was to present itself as the real Labour Party, Living Wage (dependent on economic growth) and all. Jeremy Corbyn’s unfortunate turn up for the book did cause the Green Leadership to return to mentioning the environment more often, but that is platitudinous unless linked to – limits to growth.
That is mentioned occasionally, but that too is a platitude unless backed by something which whole populations can relate to, and which enables large numbers of individuals to make not only the necessary lifestyle changes but also the vital political choices. A ‘recession’, for that is what limiting the growth of economic activity will almost certainly entail in the short term, is unpalatable to almost everybody, and frightening to many.
My suggestion for this purpose is of course the Citizens’ Basic, Universal Guaranteed Income (it does have rather a lot of names). The election result, whether premature or in 2020 may well leave the Green Party with one MP, but it could begin the process which will eventually lead to our ‘1945’. The homework which Green Party strategists should be doing now is identifying all the climate sceptics in Parliament. A large number of mainly Conservative MPs will be given a fright. They will try to change course, but as when Thatcher tried to paint the Tory party Green in 1989, no one will believe them.
But I don’t see the Green Party joining up the dots yet, certainly not in time for a snap election.