Winter is Coming

The abandonment of the environment during the climate catastrophe is just one aspect of the Conservative’s programme of darkly venal, richly ideological politics. Their corruption is fractal, from the personal to the global and is a moral abomination.
The soubriquets Thick Lizzie and Leaky Sue for the former Prime Minister and the returning Home Office minister Suella Braverman offer some light relief in dark times.

Braverman is Sunak’s totemic gift to the party’s far-right, though the degrees of political extremism on a left-right spectrum within this Tory party range from Ghengis Khan to the newly-departed Jacob Rees-Mogg. It’s a spectrum, but not a very broad one. But if this government is littered with the hard-right Barverman is off the map, famously declaring at party conference that “a plane taking off to Rwanda … That’s my dream. That’s my obsession.”

But more than that her (re) appointment is a quick crash landing for Sunak’s attempt to re-frame the Conservatives as possessed of integrity or professionalism.

Yesterday, the ex-party chair Jake Berry told TalkTV that far from committing what she described as a “technical infringement of the rules”, “from my own knowledge, there were multiple breaches of the ministerial code”. The cabinet secretary, Simon Case, is said to be “livid” at her reappointment after just six days, and Keir Starmer called it a ‘grubby little deal’. Today more stories of their furtive corruption spill reluctantly into the public domain.

As we live through a balmy October and France heads for the hottest ever November recorded the consequences of such a right-wing government are revealing themselves. In the week when the UN environment report declared there to be “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place”, what did our new Prime Minister do? He announced he wasn’t even going to COP27 meeting in Egypt.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the regrettable Dr Thérèse Coffey MP was asked this week what she does for the environment and what she would recommend people do. ‘Permanent cups’ was her derisory reply. Her appointment, given her appalling voting record on the environment is an insult to the intelligence of us all. She is at the apex of a government riddled with vested interests and climate denialism.

Given the reality of where we are this isn’t a party-political matter, it is just terrifying.

This week’s UN environment report analysed the gap between the CO2 cuts pledged by countries and the cuts needed to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C. It concluded that the progress towards the internationally agreed targets has been “woefully inadequate”.

According to the UN if the current pledges for action by 2030 were delivered in full, it would still mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C and catastrophic extreme weather around the world.

It’s in this context that Leaky Sue’s glee at longer prison terms for peaceful climate protesters should be noted: “We’ll keep putting you behind bars,” she said. And they will, they have all the legislation in place for the coming battles.

Braverman is allies with all of the hard-right in the Tory party. Take for example Sir John Hayes, who is said to be her mentor. As Polly Toynbee has noted: “His Common Sense Group, launched two years ago in the wake of Black Lives Matter with about 40 MPs and reviving the old Cornerstone Group (faith, flag and family), inhabits the shifting sands of rightwing diehards. “Common Sense” is a useful catchphrase suggesting anything less than hard right is nonsense…”

“Here are his views: a Brexiter, he has voted to restrict access to abortion, and is against equal marriage and onshore wind turbines. He’s for standing up in football stadiums and capital punishment. One of his outside jobs is as strategic adviser to BB Energy, a global energy trader. In the middle of the summer heatwave, Hayes condemned “a cowardly new world where we live in a country where we are frightened of the heat. It is not surprising in snowflake Britain.”

Ah ‘snowflake Britain’. The irony is your children and grandchildren may not see a snowflake in the near future due to the climate denialism of Braverman and Hayes. That’s chilling isn’t it?

It’s difficult for anyone to care about the climate catastrophe when we are faced with food and fuel poverty, and the culture wars mean that any direct action in defence of the planet will be mocked and shredded. Our downfall at the hands of this political cult is being watched around the world. In The Atlantic Derek Thompson writes (‘How the U.K. Became One of the Poorest Countries in Western Europe‘):

“The past few months have been rough for the United Kingdom. Energy prices are soaring. National inflation has breached double digits. The longest-serving British monarch has died. The shortest-serving prime minister has quit.”

He goes on: “When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it hit hard, smashing the engine of Britain’s economic ascent. Wary of rising deficits, the British government pursued a policy of austerity, fretting about debt rather than productivity or aggregate demand. The results were disastrous. Real wages fell for six straight years. Facing what the writer Fintan O’Toole called “the dull anxiety of declining living standards,” conservative pols sniffed out a bogeyman to blame for this slow-motion catastrophe. They served up to anxious voters a menu of scary outsiders: bureaucrats in Brussels, immigrants, asylum seekers—anybody but the actual decision makers who had kneecapped British competitiveness. A cohort of older, middle-class, grievously nostalgic voters demanded Brexit, and they got it.”

None of that Brexit-reality will change with a Labour government, that’s been made very clear, but it’s the convergence of climate crisis and the cost of living that is most tragic. As Alok Sharma hands over the reins to the next COP leader, the reality is that Big Oil has just posted newly obscene profits.

The reality is that the UK is facing a cost of living crisis and the Treasury needs to fill an estimated £50bn hole in the country’s finances. Yet this week Shell admitted it had paid no windfall tax despite having made a record $30bn in profits for the year so far.


The oil company said it had taken advantage of a loophole exempting companies that invest their surplus in increasing oil and gas extraction. On Friday, the US fossil fuel firm ExxonMobil reported a quarterly profit of nearly $20bn, $4bn more than forecast. If that doesn’t make you angry nothing will.

The appointment of Thérèse Coffey to the Environment brief and the abandonment of COP27 is a failure of leadership of historic proportions quite in keeping with the corrupt shambles that runs through their time in office.



Comments (14)

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  1. Mr E says:

    We can all look forward to the Scottish Greens campaigning in the next GE with climate-change policies that consist of ‘independence’. And that’s it. A single issue campaign, pretty irrelevant to climate change, with no deviance. Maybe Harvie will be overthrown. Unfortunately, I doubt it. He has jumped the shark though, it doesn’t look very Green, and I think he has taken the party with him.

    1. Wul says:

      Scottish Greens Manifesto 2021



      Our climate is already changing, causing raging forest fires, devastating floods, deadly heat waves and mass extinction of species. The world is in trouble, and so is Scotland; cut adrift from Europe and without the powers we need to build a strong, equal and green society. Our economy is suffering as jobs disappear and inequalities grow. Huge challenges face our education system and health services, and the world continues to struggle to begin to recover from the pandemic. This is not the future we want for ourselves, our children, or the wider world. OUR COMMON FUTURE is a bold plan to build a better future for all of us over the next five years and through to 2030. It will mean change.

      It will mean borrowing more to invest more, and we will ask the richest in our society to pay more……

      We donít pretend delivering the ambitions set out in OUR COMMON FUTURE will be easy. But our MSPs in Holyrood have shown over the last five years that you can trust the Scottish Greens to deliver. They have fought with determination and commitment, and the results speak for themselves. Now imagine what more Green votes, and more Green MSPs could do. We will face up to the common challenges ahead. We will rebuild our economy, tackle the climate emergency, invest in our public services, correct the stark and growing inequalities that take away the life chances of too many, and restore our natural environment.

      Ask yourself this: Do you want more of the same, or will you vote like our future depends on it?

      Lorna Slater & Patrick Harvie


      In the last Parliament, the Scottish Greens were critical to securing an ambitious Climate Act that commits Scotland to reducing our emissions by 75% by 2030. Meeting this target requires a fundamental transformation of our economy and society. Every industry, every part of our economy and every individual will need to rise to the challenge.

      This demands determined and bold action from the Scottish Government, now. To date, this action has been missing. Scotland has missed its climate targets two years in a row, and transport emissions in particular keep on increasing.

      The programme set out in OUR COMMON FUTURE will put Scotland on track by embedding transformative action throughout our programme for government, and genuinely placing green industries, infrastructure and action at the heart of our plans for Scotlandís economic recovery.


      A GREEN ECONOMIC RECOVERY…………………………………

      More here:

    2. JP58 says:

      Maybe, just maybe the Greens actually think independence would not only be better for environment but improve development and utilisation of green energy in Scotland with all the potential renewable resources that Scotland has.
      Maybe, just maybe Greens in Scotland can have policies on more than just the environment- Green Parties are able to do this in many other countries across Europe.
      The mystery to me is why so many people are so desperate to remain attached to Westminster after Brexit being imposed on Scotland with no regard to how Scots voted not to mention the complete shambles of Westminster in recent years and the continued economic harm the Tories have inflicted on most areas of UK including Scotland.

      1. dave. says:

        Well, JP58, it all comes down to leadership and brainwashed Scots. That is the answer to the mystery of Scots clinging to Westminster after Brexit.
        Since 1707 all Scottish history was replaced by English history. That was the start of dumbing down the vast majority of Scots. A few treacherous wealthy Scots embraced the English Class system and kept the vast majority of their countrymen/women poor thus allowing England to take our wealth for the benefit of England. That has never changed. To-day 2 Scottish Alba MPs stand up for Scotland against 600 English and NU-S.N.P. Scottish M.P.s. at Westminster. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that 2 Alba MPs can never outvote 600 NU-S.N.P.s and their English partners. F.M. Sturgeon has declared that she is British yet the dumbed down NU-S.N.P.s and supporters can’t get it through their heads that a Brit, Sturgeon, will never lead any Indy movement against Britain (England). She has always said that the people of Scotland will decide, never that she wants independence for Scotland. Her heritage is of course English. How many times have these ‘no’ Scots to be told that Scotland is a sovereign country and doesn’t need England’s permission for anything including independence? It is F.M. Sturgeon who spread that false rumor then followed it up with her do-nothing delay agenda for 9 years. That included her begging programme to Boris along with her ridiculous campaign to get him to resign only to get Liz-no Truss t who was even worse than Boris. Then another delay fell flat when airhead Sturgeon called for an English general election which anybody with half a brain knew would never happen under the Tories. So, we now have another eegit, Sunak, who will now be begged to, and a campaign waged by F.M. Sturgeon for him to step down. Neale Hanvey, Alba MP predicted the above, and is 100% correct, but the NU-S.N.P. ignored him. There will be around a four-year delay as Sturgeon’s asking of the English Supreme Court whether it is legal for Scotland to have a referendum. Sovereign Scotland does not have to ask any foreign country for permission. F.M. Sturgeon, NU-S.N.P.CEO Murrell, Ian Blackford are all paid thousands of pounds in salary plus more thousands for non-taxable expenses while the NU-S.N.P.s at Westminster receive less but similar ‘rewards’ from the English Gov’t while the majority of Scots can hardly put food on the table and keep warm in the winter. F.M. Sturgeon has blacked out just how wealthy Scotland is in conjunction with the English Gov’t and their 95% owned and controlled Scottish media.
        So, you JP58 can perhaps see why there is confusion with Scots who can’t get the picture.

        Breaking news from Westminster: Kenny MacAskill, Alba, raised the question of Scotland’s vast energy bounty being cabled south with no benefit to Scotland. All NU-S.N.P.s led by Ian Blackford immediately walked out with their fellow English MPs. Unbelievable.

        1. Me Bungo Pony says:

          I assume, from your bitter tirade, that the 2 Alba MPs (elected under the SNP banner) eschew their salaries then. And why are they still taking their seats at Westminster? Malcontents are forever criticising the SNP MPs for not walking out, yet the Alba 2 continue to take their seats and salary. A little bit of hypocrisy there I feel. Perhaps Alba would find more traction among voters if they had a more positive, pro-independence programme. However, all they have is a bitter resentment of SNP success and a “confusing” (for the voter) desire to attack and bring down the pro-independence govt at Holyrood.

          1. dave. says:

            Okay Me Bungo Pony? From your cringe reply, Please provide any and all evidence that the NU-S.N.P. (with their British leader Sturgeon, CEO Sturgeon’s unelected husband and Ian Blackford) have done for our independence.

          2. dave. says:

            Still waiting for your reply Me Bungl pony. Evidence please ?

          3. Me Bungo Pony says:

            None so blind as will not see Dave. If your bitterness has left you blind to everything happening around you, there’s nothing I can say that will change your mind. Everyone bar the allegedly pro-indy malcontents are convinced the SNP is determined to achieve, and actively pursuing, Scottish independence. Unionist and Indy alike. So far, I have seen nothing from Alba that helps achieve that goal. The onus is on them, not the SNP, to prove they are an asset to the independence movement. Up till now, they have eschewed any action on independence to instead concentrate on attacking fellow Indies. Until Alba can change their tactics, concentrate on independence and convince me supporting them will hasten its achievement, I will stick to supporting the party that can actually make it happen sooner rather than later. The SNP are, perhaps, months from making it a reality. Alba are, at the very least, decades away from that.

          4. dave. says:

            You haven’t answered the question Me bungo pony: Please give us ( Bella readership) the contributions for independence made by your nu-S.N.P. over the last 9 years?

  2. SleepingDog says:

    Well, it isn’t just the valid points above. The British Empire continues to run a war economy, very badly, and its military (like other powers such as its UN Security Council buddies) largely runs on oil, and these military fossil fuel budgets and emissions were excluded from COP26 anyway.
    The MOD’s £300bn waste of public money
    “The British public is facing a new round of austerity while the Ministry of Defence squanders vast sums of money on weapons that are unusable in any foreseeable conflict.”

  3. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I read through this and was horrified. Almost every word is true and points to a coming disaster for our children and grandchildren, brought about through global inaction.
    Scotland might leave the UK and follow sensible policies but the big batallions will continue as before until the earth roasts and we drown in a sea of discarded plastic.

    I shared this on facebook.

    1. Thanks for sharing Dougie!

  4. DR R S M FINDLAY says:

    Excellent piece thanks.

  5. Squigglypen says:

    But unfortunately the inmates have taken over the asylum..SNP.

    For Scotland!

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