Category Archives: Climate change

Blockade of printworks highlights the fact: the UK does NOT have a ‘free press’

Blockade: Extinction Rebellion members at a Murdoch print works.

Could you feel the Establishment rage at being told its propaganda mouthpieces aren’t providing us with the news?

It seems 72 members of Extinction Rebellion did, after they were arrested in protests targeting three printing installations owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Why does he need three? Because he owns too many newspapers and they all print what he wants – not what the people need to know.

So the disruption at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, Knowsley in Merseyside, and near Motherwell, North Lanarkshire hit the distribution of his publications including The Sun, The Times, The Scottish Sun, along with those belonging to some of the few other billionaires who own the UK’s national press, including the Daily Telegraph (Barclay brothers), Daily Mail (Jonathan Harmsworth – Viscount Rothermere), and the Evening Standard (Evgeny Lebedev).

Do you really think any of these moguls will let their papers publish anything they don’t want you to think?

This Writer is reminded of the words of the late, great Tony Benn – that nobody should be allowed to own more than one newspaper. Then we would at least have a more free press than we have now.

Further to this, consider the onslaught under which those of us in the social media have to work every day. We don’t have the massive advertising resources of the Murdochs of this world, so we have to rely on organisations like Twitter and Facebook to spread our message virally.

And organisations like Facebook and Twitter respond by suppressing us. Facebook has an algorithm designed to push posts from left-wing news sites down people’s newsfeeds so they don’t see them.

This Site is currently having to cope with an 84 per cent drop in income due to its articles being suppressed in this way. One commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page said it had been so long since they had seen a link to one of my articles, they thought I had given up!

But if you check the “Archives” list to the left of these words, you’ll see that Vox Political has been publishing articles continuously – every day, barring a few rare exceptions – for years.

The only reason people don’t see links to my posts is because somebody else doesn’t want them to.

Yet Boris Johnson and all the other hypocrites only complain about attacks on the “free press” when their propaganda sheets take the hit.

Just look at the nonsense spoken about this by the Establishment stooges quoted in the BBC’s story – and where possible, let’s contrast it with what Extinction Rebellion has to say about these people:

Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.

“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”

Have you seen that from the Murdoch press, the Torygraph, the Heil and the Standard in response to the decisions of his government – the worst Tory government ever to blight the United Kingdom? No.

 

Shadow Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stephens, said: “People have the right to read the newspapers they want.

“Stopping them from being distributed and printers from doing their jobs is wrong.”

People also deserve to be told what their money is supporting, though. It isn’t fair to let them go on paying these propagandists without knowing exactly what they’re buying.

ER has been scathing about Starmer Labour’s “business as usual” approach:

This is worth reading too:

Actually, let’s go into this a bit because Labour’s position, under Keir Starmer, frankly, stinks.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s Brent MP who has suffered racism from the police, from her own constituents, and from members of her own party (if a certain leaked report is to be believed – and I do), tweeted in support of XR – and was then ordered to take it down by Starmer’s minions:

Could anything demonstrate Starmer’s Establishment credentials better? He must not be allowed to get anywhere near 10 Downing Street because he’ll only stamp on all our faces harder than Johnson (to paraphrase Orwell).

Here’s what Starmer’s – and Labour’s – response to her tweet should have been:

Let’s just put the seal on this:

Right. Back to the Tories:

And Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted the overnight action by XR was an “attack on democracy”.

Obviously there are too many sharp responses to Patel for me to publish here, so I’ll restrict myself to pointing out that she has nothing to say about attacks on the left-wing social media – which would be an “attack on democracy” by the same token.

Here’s ER:

The bosses and editors of the newspapers involved have all condemned the action; they would, though, wouldn’t they? I see no reason to comment on their words.

Extinction Rebellion itself has made it clear that the blockade was a response to the so-called ‘free press’ suppressing reports on climate change and the ecological emergency it represents.

A report on its own website states: “The groups are using disruption to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate & ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulatIon of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas.

“The right wing media is a barrier to the truth, failing to reflect the scale and urgency of the crisis and hold governments to account. Coverage in many of the newspapers printed here is polluting national debate on climate change, immigration policy, the rights and treatment of minority groups, and on dozens of other issues. They distract us with hate and maintain their own power and wealth, profiting from our division. We can’t move forward until this barrier falls.

“Five billionaires are the majority voting shareholders for most of the UK national newspapers, with a combined weekly readership of 49million. Three companies alone (News UK, DMG and Reach) dominate 83% of the national newspaper market (up from 71% in 2015). This small group of extremely powerful people manipulate the media narrative to serve their own ends.”

Is it really a free press if it is only used to put us in chains?

The response on the social media has been very clear on that:

And some have made the important point that Tories like Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have actually avoided passing laws to ensure press freedom:

That’s right.

If the press really is free and fair, why have the Tories spent years blocking a full public examination of its wrongdoing?

Source: Extinction Rebellion protesters block newspaper printing presses – BBC News

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Heatwave exposes failures of Tory UK to cope with climate change

Heat death: the far north has experienced its hottest temperatures ever, with fires breaking out across the world. But the Tories see no need to adapt to climate change and Keir Starmer has abandoned Labour’s policies to deal with it.

This Site received a strange response to the article on Tory class war yesterday (August 14), to the effect that I should be writing about climate change instead. In fact, the two are intertwined.

The Conservatives don’t accept climate change because the changes that acceptance would require would bite into the profits of their donors – and therefore into their own funds.

The recent/current heatwave has brought the issue into sharp focus. This Writer has been stewing, every day – and the nightly thunderstorms, while entertaining, didn’t make up for the fact that it has been hard to concentrate.

It seems I am not alone.

Our buildings are unsuited to hot weather; they were made to keep heat in during the winter. There is still no legal requirement to ensure homes, hospitals, schools or care homes are designed for the current or future climate – and under the Tories I do not believe there every will be.

It costs too much.

Parts of England are set to run out of water soon, because the Tories privatised water provision and the new companies fell into the hands of foreign government-owned franchises that have taken huge profits but invested nothing.

Our transport and energy networks are also facing crisis – look at the Stonehaven derailment which has been blamed on a landslip after heavy rain.

What is the government doing? It’s making matters worse.

Rishi Sunak has announced a £2 billion fund to make homes more energy efficient, with the cash going towards insulation – but the wrong insulation can turn a house into a heat trap.

And Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is no help with Keir Starmer at the helm. He has abandoned Jeremy Corbyn’s ambitious plans to combat climate change because he thinks they’re unpopular with the voters.

We’re facing a wholesale failure in thought and deed by our leaders.

And when the fabric of the nation falls (even further) apart as a result, who do you think will get the blame?

We will.

Source: UK infrastructure inadequate for climate emergency, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

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Starmer may drop Labour’s net zero emissions climate target – to win elections

Heat death: Siberia is burning now – who knows what it will be like in 10 years’ time? But Keir Starmer wants to win elections so the environment can go hang.

It seems Keir Starmer thinks letting the planet burn in order to win an election is a fair exchange. Take a look:

Labour could drop the ambitious 2030 climate crisis target it adopted under Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s new leadership has said.

A spokesperson for Keir Starmer said that he had supported the plans included in Labour’s last manifesto, but that the party had lost the election.

The Green New Deal policy adopted under the previous leadership included the aim of a path to net zero carbon by the year 2030, based largely on massive public investment in green technology.

Apparently Starmer isn’t keen on investing in any future – apart from his own, maybe.

Given a choice between socialism and corporatism, it seems clear which Starmer would choose.

Since This Writer read the story, I’ve had words from a song running around my head:

So take me home to the red red skies
And the brown, brown grass
And the black, black seas,
The broken glass and the dead, dead trees

By a curious coincidence, the song is called Roses.

Whoever would have thought it referred to the Labour rose?

Source: Keir Starmer could drop Labour’s 2030 net zero climate target | The Independent

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How we can use measures to tackle COVID-19 to beat climate change

A guest article by Harry Fenton.

While governments across the world have responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic with unprecedented lockdowns and restrictions, there has been no urgency by them or the global community to address climate change – which is a huge threat we have known about since the 1980s and have had plenty of time to do something about it.

While COVID-19 is a short-term crisis causing many illnesses and deaths as well as temporary economic damage, climate change is a long-term threat to humanity and the planet which could cause lasting damage to both if we don’t get a grip.

Prince Charles rightly called for the same level of response to climate change as coronavirus at a WaterAid event in March but this doesn’t mean we need lockdowns, social distancing or travel restrictions to tackle climate change.

With most of us being told to work from home for social distancing, air pollution around the world has plummeted with far fewer people travelling every day – so we should encourage home working after the lockdown.

Now that many larger employers have adapted their IT systems to make home working possible in response to the virus, they could be required to let people work from home if their job allows them to.

Governments would be able to invest more in super-fast broadband, funded by cancelling environmentally destructive transport infrastructure projects such as HS2.

Not only would this permanently reduce air pollution, people would have more free time and save money from not commuting twice a day and they would have more control over their working conditions so this will improve quality of life for millions of people.

To reduce the need for personal travel even more, public and private services could offer virtual appointments to service users through video calling applications such as Skype, which are being relied upon as we follow social distancing guidelines.

They could be used for many professional appointments including medical consultations, financial and legal appointments and job interviews but we could go as far as using them for juries and witnesses in court and for people who want to see their close friends and family who are in hospital or prison but can’t be there in person.

If this becomes widespread, people would save even more of their precious free time and this would be less stressful for people going through difficult times as they could discuss sensitive matters from the comfort of their own home.

Another key measure many governments have used to enforce social distancing has been to shut down ‘non-essential’ businesses at short notice so, if they have the will to do this, in response to a serious threat, why can’t they shut down parts of non-essential industries that are major contributors to climate change?

On my list would be the “fast fashion” industry, worth 10 per cent of global emissions, where clothes are only made to last a season, single use plastics manufacturers and intensive animal farming which, apart from being inhumane, is the most polluting part of the agricultural sector, worth nearly 20 per cent of global emissions.

The shutdown of these industries would need to be done in a controlled way over a period of time to mitigate the effect on the economy, give those workers time to find employment elsewhere and give them the financial support and retraining to help them do that.

Closing those three sub-industries alone would significantly reduce global emissions and our environmental impact without affecting the needs of the vast majority of people.

Travel restrictions have also been a major part of Coronavirus measures across the world and though we will need some travel restrictions to fight climate change, they wouldn’t be anywhere near as strict and they would focus on the usage of certain modes of transport, not on people’s movements.

The main restriction ought to be banning cars in large towns and cities once public transport provision is significantly improved, as most people live in major urban areas and most transport emissions come from cars. Last year, almost 30 per cent of the EU’s emissions came from transport, 60 per cent of which come from cars.

We could also ban flights of less than 400 miles and ration the number of flights for personal travel to two return flights a year and the same for business travel. That way, we can cut the majority of transport emissions while ensuring that people in major urban areas can travel around, people can carry out occasional business flights if necessary and people can still go on foreign holidays each year.

Clearly, we can swiftly implement measures to combat climate change that are much more radical than those that have been implemented to date – without destroying the global economy and without a significant change in most people’s quality of life.

Not doing enough to combat climate change will, in the long term, damage the global economy and the quality of life of billions of people throughout the world.

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Trump’s ‘prophets of doom’ speech suggests the UK should NOT enter trade deal with him

Doom: While Donald Trump tells Davos nothing is wrong, the habitat of Australian species – like kangaroos – has been destroyed in fire. Do the flames have to be spreading up Pennsylvania Avenue before he’ll admit the facts?

If the UK enters a trade deal with Donald Trump, won’t it be joining an ‘axis of doom’ with one of the world’s principle climate crisis deniers?

That’s the message from his speech at Davos, where the US president made clear that he was not planning to change his country’s high-carbon economy.

The man who has absolute power to dominate, transform and control the lives of most people in the world decried climate protesters for demanding “absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

That’s a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

Oh, he said he’d sign up to an initiative to plant, restore and conserve a trillion trees – but hasn’t he noticed how all the trees seem to be catching fire, in the Amazon and Australia?

Climate crisis icon Greta Thunberg has – and she was at Davos where Mr Trump’s speech failed to impress her.

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she said.

“You say: ‘We won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.’ And then, silence.”

And she asked: “What will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing… climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?”

The trouble is, she has been saying this for more than a year and those in power haven’t lifted a finger; in other words, she’s right about them.

And history may view such people with extreme prejudice – as UK TV presenter Chris Packham made clear in a speech to TV executives at the annual Bafta television lecture.

He wasn’t afraid to name names, either. He said future generations may come to regard Mr Trump, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Scott Morrison in a similar way as current generations see Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, because by then they could have caused the deaths of millions of people.

But while the leaders pay nothing more than lip-service to action on climate change, UK prime minister Boris Johnson is inching closer to a trade deal with Mr Trump – one that, we’re told, will bind him into policies that deny the danger.

Already he has failed to seize opportunities to make a real difference.

Will he bottle it again – and sell us all down the river just so he can have a few American dollars?

Source: Davos: Trump decries climate ‘prophets of doom’ with Thunberg in audience – BBC News

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This leading Tory just made a mockery of his party’s claims about the climate crisis

Climate denier: Matt Hancock.

So much for green Conservatism.

Matt Hancock has said he’s happy for the entire planet to burn, as long as businesspeople get to their meetings a bit quicker.

Oh, and he’s the Health Secretary, by the way.

Do you think that might be the reason the Tories have helped save the airline Flybe, when they couldn’t give a damn about retail firms like Mothercare (for example)?

This Conservative government is a sick joke – and the laugh is on everybody who voted for it.

The Tory Health Secretary has declared Brits should carry on taking short-haul internal flights despite the climate crisis.

Matt Hancock said people shouldn’t cut down on domestic air travel – because it’s quicker than taking the train.

It comes despite Chancellor Sajid Javid saying Tory plans for government were “the most green manifesto any party has ever published”.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Either Matt Hancock thinks airplanes run on fairy dust, or he does know they’re a major source of planet-heating emissions but simply doesn’t care.

“Whichever it is, his comments fly in the face of the Conservative manifesto commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

Source: Top Tory says we should all carry on taking short flights despite climate crisis – Mirror Online

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Tories want to ignore climate change for profit – that’s why they call Extinction Rebellion ‘extremist’

Tories call this terrorism: if enough people realise the threat of climate apocalypse caused by their policies, it might affect their profits.

On the weekend when the Doctor Who episode was about the dangers of ignoring climate change, the Conservative government is trying to ignore it.

Priti Patel defended the decision to order police to include climate activist group Extinction Rebellion on a list of extremist groups.

XR has threatened legal action after it was revealed it had been placed on a list of ideologies that should be reported to the authorities running the Prevent anti-radicalisation programme to prevent terrorism. Police now say that was an error.

Sir Peter Fahy, who was head of Prevent from 2010 to 2015, subsequently said such categorisations risked Prevent losing confidence from communities.

But Ms Patel said: “Everything has to be based and calibrated upon risk.

“They’re obviously a protest organisation. But everything has to be based in terms of risk to the public, security risks, security threats. That is based on information from the police, and various intelligence that we will receive

“That’s the proper thing to do. You develop your policy approach accordingly.”

So she thinks the “proper thing to do” is to marginalise a group that campaigns peacefully for our continued survival, lumping it in with terrorists.

Labour’s Keir Starmer took time off from kowtowing to the Board of Deputies of British Jews to say something sensible about this.

He said: “It’s completely wrong and counterproductive to describe Extinction Rebellion as an ‘extreme ideology’.

““Climate change is a real and present danger that requires an immediate policy response.”

I think Ms Patel has delivered that response.

The Tories don’t want to even acknowledge climate change because such a long-term threat gets in the way of their short-term profits.

It has been said that Boris Johnson has been warned off discussing climate change because that might jeopardise the trade deal he wants to do with Donald Trump – at a huge disadvantage to the UK.

I guess it’s nice to know who your national leader answers to.

His “scorched Earth” policy means he wants the whole planet to go beyond the point of no return and into climate apocalypse but – hey! – that’s what the UK voted for.

Source: Patel defends police over Extinction Rebellion inclusion on extremist list | Environment | The Guardian

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Tory candidates banned from pledges on NHS or climate – so BOTH are in danger

Doesn’t this say everything about the two-faced Tories?

While they tell us they will protect our National Health Service and fight climate change, the Conservative Party leadership has told its candidates not to make any promises about either of them.

The message is clear: The Tories will sell our NHS. And they will pursue policies that will harm the environment beyond the point of no return.

There is only one way to stop this insanity:

A Labour government.

Conservative candidates in the general election will be told not to sign up to specific pledges on protecting the NHS from privatisation and trade deals or tackling climate change, according to a leaked internal document from party headquarters.

The issues on which candidates have been told to avoid signing up to pledges include:

  • Trade deals with the NHS. The memo warns candidates to avoid signing any pledges to “protect our NHS from trade deals with new legislation which ends privatisation”. It says this kind of pledge would “give credence to factually inaccurate smears … The NHS is not for sale.” It says candidates should focus instead on “Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to override the British people on Brexit”.
  • Climate change. Tory candidates are told that many campaigns to tackle climate change “contain unrealistic targets that would be impossible to achieve” and that it would be better to focus on “practical, reasonable steps to protect our planet while keeping bills down”. The memo claims Labour does not have a credible approach to the problem
  • Women’s state pension age. This highly charged issue could be a significant factor for women in the general election as the age for receiving a state pension rises from 60 to 65. Boris Johnson has promised to review the change, but the memo urges candidates not to engage on the issue. “Avoid signing [pledges],” it says. “Changes to the state pension age are part of a long overdue move towards gender equality and will put the pensions system on a more sustainable footing for future generations.”
  • Standing up for Brexit. The memo says it is unnecessary to pledge to stand up for Brexit because “a Conservative government with a functioning majority will immediately get Brexit done”.

Source: Don’t sign pledges on NHS or climate, Tory HQ tells candidates | Politics | The Guardian

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Activists fighting climate change have won cast-iron support – from the Terminator himself

Star support: Arnold Schwarzenegger with Greta Thunberg.

Even the Terminator can see that Greta Thunberg and the activism against climate change that she promotes deserve support – or at least the actor and former politician playing him can.

Arnold Schwartzenegger, former Republican governor of California, has spoken out in support of Ms Thunberg’s environmental activism.

It’s good to see the movement getting such high-profile support.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed his support for environmental activist Greta Thunberg, after he offered to lend her an electric car so she could get around the US.

The actor is currently doing the press rounds for the latest Terminator film, Dark Fate, alongside co-star Linda Hamilton, who reprises her role as Sarah Connor.

Speaking to Sky News, Schwarzenegger said that politics “gets in the way of good policy”, which he cited as the reason he now tends to steer clear of political commentary,

However, he made it clear he was a fan of Thunberg, calling her “fantastic” and adding: “She’s a child and here’s children saying ‘when you screw this up with the environment, it’s our generation that’s going to suffer’, and I think that’s a very compelling message and I think politicians are listening.”

Source: Arnold Schwarzenegger praises climate activist Greta Thunberg: ‘I think politicians are listening’ | The Independent

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Worried about climate change? Then DON’T VOTE TORY!

Conservative MPs are more likely to vote for damage to the environment that causes climate change than against it, despite what they may say, according to this analysis by The Guardian.

They also take gifts from polluters, it claims.

Among the worst offenders was Tory prime minister Boris Johnson, who was among several dozen MPs – mostly Conservatives – to record the worst possible score of zero.

He was also among 10 ministers who received donations or gifts from oil companies, airports, petrostates, climate sceptics or thinktanks identified as spreading information against climate action.

The average voting score of Johnson’s cabinet was 17 per cent, compared with the Labour shadow cabinet score of 90 per cent – although the paper charitably stated that this could be because they are in opposition and unable to influence government decisions..

The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, scored 92 per cent.

The conclusion is clear: if you want a government that acts against climate change and to protect the environment for you, your children and future generations, you need to vote LABOUR.

To find out how your MP scores, visit this web page.

Conservative MPs are almost five times more likely to vote against climate action than legislators from other parties, a Guardian analysis of 16 indicative parliamentary divisions over the past decade has revealed.

The Tories also registered many more donations, shares, salaries, gifts and tickets to sporting events from fossil fuel companies, petrostates, aviation companies and climate sceptics, according to declarations made in the parliamentary record of MPs’ interests between 2008 and 2019.

The Guardian, in collaboration with the investigative environmental journalism group DeSmog UK, rated MPs from 0% to 100% based on 16 parliamentary votes since 2008. The selection sought to cover a range of measures that would affect the UK’s carbon emissions, with an emphasis on votes where MPs were willing to break ranks and put the climate before their party.

Source: Tory MPs five times as likely to vote against climate action | Environment | The Guardian

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