Writing on the wall

Submitted by Anon on 18 August, 2003 - 6:55

Things can only get
wetter

Greenpeace protesters dumped sacks of coal outside Downing Street on Monday morning to protest against the British government’s lack of action against climate change.

Tony Blair has promised to make global warming and Africa Britain’s two priorities for chairing the G8 group of the world’s richest nations.

However, Blair has also said that “the blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge”, supporting similar statements by George Bush. For “economy”, of course, read “the oil industry”.

The World Wildlife Fund has accused the government of undermining global action to prevent climate change, by moving “towards George Bush... and away from targets.” Indeed, Britain is predicted to miss its target of a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2010.

The government’s chief scientific adviser, Professor David King, dismissed the WWF’s criticisms as “grossly unfair”. He said, “I think we achieved an enormous amount. We now have 12 states in the United States saying they wish to engage in emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Er...that would be twelve states out of fifty wanting to buy poorer nations’ licence to pollute, not actually reduce pollution. And this in a country which produces a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases.

Magnificent progress!

LOCAL HOMES FOR LOCAL RICH PEOPLE

The Tory council in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the wealthiest areas in Britain, has acknowledged the erosion of the local community by the influx of millionaires. And Daniel Moylan, deputy leader of the Council, has thought up a bright idea to deal with the problem.

Does he propose building more affordable housing? Well, no actually. The Tories’ plan is to restrict the existing affordable housing to the children of people who already live in the area. Instead of being bought up by newcomers (or, for that matter, people who need it) such housing will be bought up by local millionaires as starter homes for their offspring before they inherit Mater and Pater's mansion.

TORIES TO BACK BLAIR?

David Cameron, who looks likely to win the Tory leadership contest, has, unlike his rival David Davis, indicated his upport for Tony Blair’s privatisation of education, which he says “reflects Conservative values” (no shit, Sherlock).

Michael Gove, Tory and Times columnist, who is an important backer of Cameron, enthuses: “ Tories should not be embarrassed about saying they can learn from the PM’s success.”

Maybe, then, Blair has at last achieved his ambition of “shifting the centre ground” and making the opposition define its politics in his terms.

All he had to do was become a Tory!

MYSTERIOUS GEORGE

The behaviour of George Galloway, centre of attention of so much of the pseudo-left, is getting increasingly erratic. Failing to turn up for a crucial vote on the Government’s anti-terror legislation was only the latest inattention to his Parliamentary duties. In Oxford we were somewhat puzzled by the announcement of Galloway as the star speaker for the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA).

Was this the young Tories’ idea of a joke? Apparently not — less than a week before he was due to speak, the meeting was confirmed. Accordingly, the University’s Labour Club wrote an open letter to Galloway, asking why someone claiming to be on the left was willing to speak to an organisation best known in recent years for cracking anti-semitic “jokes” about the Holocaust, singing Nazi drinking songs and performing fascist salutes in public while shouting “Heil Pinochet”.

The press publicity embarrassed Galloway’s supporters.

Someone describing himself as being “from George Galloway’s office” said that Galloway’s secretary had agreed to him speaking to the Tory meeting, but Galloway himself (who had somehow taken six weeks to notice) would not speak to any organisation “standing in the tradition of Margaret Thatcher”.

However, “a spokesperson for Respect” said that Galloway could not speak this term because of other commitments, but did not rule out his addressing the lucky young Tories at a later date.

NO TO THE COVER UP!

Wandsworth Stop the War (run by the SWP) have organised a meeting in a local Islamic centre. The organisers agreed to the conditions of the people who run the centre.

Those conditions? Everyone (meaning women) should dress modestly. Women should cover their heads. Men and women should sit separately. The organisers contend that these conditions are worth it because “solidarity is the key to the struggle to end the occupation of Iraq and to combat the steps now being taken to infringe everyone’s freedoms.”

Incoherent nonsense! Are you saying, because it is necessary to have solidarity with the people of Iraq, we must cover up our bodies? Or is it, because it is necessary to have solidarity with Muslim people in the UK, that we must cover up our bodies? Or is it because the anti-terror laws infringe freedom we must forgo a bit of our own freedom — to wear what we want, sit where we want? Or is it that those freedoms are irrelevant?

Women’s rights are not small incidental matters of freedom. Kow towing to religious authority is inimical to everything the left should stand for. The left submits to religious regulation at a huge cost.

It is time the left — the SWP in particular — stopped to to think about the people they alienate. The women who have spent perhaps lifetimes trying to throw off the petty rules and regulations of a religious background. Men who have done the same, also at huge personal cost. The gay people too who needed immense courage to stand up to hostility in their communties.

Talk to and make solidarity with Muslim people, yes of course! Force women to cover up? Kow-tow to religious leaders? Never!

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