Why I would vote for the Cumbrian coal mine

I have not changed sides. My motive is a devious, desperate ploy to save the ecosphere: chessplayers would call it a gambit: an apparent mistake which gains an advantage later.

If  this development is prevented, the steel works it is intended to supply would continue to produce, at less profitable rates than overseas competitors,, It would close down, and its output would be taken up by a foreign operator,  over whom we have no control.

If however the proposal goes ahead, for a while., the steelworks will be more profitable than it is currently, because the coal is ideally suited to the needs of this steelworks. Closure of the mine and steelworks would be kept as a bargaining card in an eventual negotiation to save the ecosphere.

Britain could have had a whole fistful of such bargaining cards. An extra runway at Heathrow (or Leeds/Bradford)? Why not a complete new Airport Hub on the Maplin Sands? Hydraulic Fracturing? Of course. Oil is actually more plentiful than coal. Accessing it just needs the new technology.

At every stage it would be made clear that we intended to behave as as badly, if not worse than everyone else as long that remained profitable. Britain would not lose market share. Could China be a clue?

The (successful) Chinese strategy has been to go Hell for Leather for growth, in a bid to become the No.1 economic world power. The inscrutable part is whether they realized that there was a time limit: they must achieve dominance before economic activity became so extensive as to threaten the entire ecosphere. Perhaps they did. In 2016 China surprised the rest of the world by putting its weight behind the Paris Climate Accord.

When Extinction Rebellion was launched in London in October 2018. Greta Thunberg asked:

If climate change is an existential threat why is no one talking about it?

Greta, I can answer that question.

There are two main reasons Many companies are still making enormous profits with ‘business as usual’ it has been in their interests to minimise, and distract attention until the last possible moment. But they are entrepreneurs.  They is a serious risk that they will guess at a much later date than say, scientists.

But more immediately relevant, if the world economy is to heed ecological constraints, it must contract. We should not have needed Coronavirus to demonstrate that any contraction in the economy would mean catastrophic loss of income. for many. The world economy, includimg its inadequate welfare systems, assumed continuous growth. Any interruption would be short lived.

As Kate Raworth explains in Doughnut Economics, an economy within ecological limits will happen. The choice is ours as to whether it happens as a ‘soft landing’, or as a crash. Most who consider this problem tend to assume that the economy need not collape catastrophically. At least that is what they thought before Covid 19 struck. They may be right. But balancing closures, including bankruptcies with new, carbon free income generating enterprises will require skilful management., right?

Not necessarily. A latter day form of Feudalism, or the Indian caste system, using gated communities with an impoverished majority out side seems a probable final scenario at present, though not before considerable avoidable bloodshed.

But this is not the only possible scenario.  This weblog at least suggests a catalyst, a lubricant, to assist a managed transition to sustainability. Everyone needs to be sure they have basic necessities. Socialists have been pressing for this for a long time, but they perceive an enemy who must be defeated: the Capitalists.

There was a possible view when no limits on economic growthwefre noticed that if anyone did not have enough, it must be their own fault. But the world economy is alfeady far too big. Economic growth should have ceased some time ago. Even permanent ‘flatlining’, would continue to cause global warming, coral bleaching, habtat abd dbiodiversity loss…

If limits are accepted,  it is possible to sell to Conservatives that a degree of redistribution is insurance: a premium payable to ensure the ecosphere continues to function.

This is where I need help. I have what seem to n me an ‘insight.. The overwhelming majority, especially t hose who still see Conservatives as enemies who must be defeated, think I am misguided.

If governments do try to implement the demands of the school strikers it will quickly become apparent why nothing has been done – without that guarantee of security.

My insight’ (vision, even) still is that a leader who had the trust of the population cud, on the basis of that guarantee that no one would starve,  to introduce the draconian measures needed immediately  to save the ecosphere. I can see either Jacinda Ardern or Angela Merkel in this role. Not exactly charismatic, more inspiring trust. Winston Churchill, ably assisted by Clement Attlee, overcame a very divided country the last time Britain faced a crisis of this magnitude. My vision is that Churchill, supported by Attlee, could have presented the necessary proposals, and the public would have accepted them. As I shall say to Greta, if I ever get the chance, it is obvious to me why these proposals are not yet even ‘on the table’

Does Boris Johnson have the vision, or the calibre, to rise to the occasion and co-operate in tackling the biggest threat ever?

It will be ironic if my ‘gambit’ has the real intended effect. Public support from the few who quietly agree would help.

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