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Brendan O’Neill on eco-paternalism:

If less well-off people fly less often, why are their flights looked upon by environmentalists, again and again, as the most destructive and foul of all? It is not only cheap flights that environmentalists attack, but the cheap people who take some of these cheap flights. Plane Stupid refers to the “binge-flying” of those who attend stag nights in “Eastern European destinations chosen not for their architecture or culture but because people can fly there for 99p and get loaded for a tenner”. Green party leader Caroline Lucas says we need “an end to cheap stag nights in Riga”. These are not attacks on the Daily Telegraph readers who fly Ryanair, but on “the poor” who fly Ryanair.

Related: Plane Stupid’s theatrical onanism.

Joe Lima watches Steven Soderbergh’s four-hour film, Che. He’s unimpressed, at length:

I have just one more thing I’d like to say about Mr. Soderbergh and Mr. Del Toro. I don’t mean this maliciously, as I think that the experience would be very good for the emotional, intellectual and artistic growth of these two men. I wish that Mr. Soderbergh and Mr. Del Toro could live in Cuba, not as the pampered VIPs that they are when they visit today, but as Cubans do, with no United States Constitutional rights, with ration cards entitling them to tiny portions of provisions that the stores don’t even stock anyway, with chivatos surveilling them constantly. How long would it be before Mr. Soderbergh started sizing up inner tubes, speculating on the durability and buoyancy of them, asking himself, could I make the crossing on that? How long before Mr. Del Toro started gazing soulfully at divorced or widowed tourist women, hoping to seduce and marry one of them and get out? Only then could they see why this insipid, frivolous and pretentious movie they have made is nothing less than an insult to millions of people, who really do live like that, and who’ve lived like that their entire lives.

Related: Fellating Che. (h/t, Dan


carbon based lifeform

Some hilarious comments on the O'Neill article:

"heading off for a weekend of binge drinking in an Eastern European city is not "the poor" having a well deserved break. It's the Sun-reading middle classes behaving like they are being told to behave."

It's that damn false consciousness again!


There's a hint of a turf war going on here

Note George Monbiot here

He absolutely loathes Frank Furedi and the ex-RCP crowd

On the same day we had
And today

There is some speculation that Climate Resistance is a front for the Spiked crowd. Certainly there are associations.


“It’s that damn false consciousness again!”

Yes, it’s good to see so many indignant commenters inadvertently confirming O’Neill’s point about condescension and paternalism. One guy sneers at “wanky overpaid stag-night idiots.” Presumably, the commenter feels he ought to be in charge of how much people who go on stag nights get paid and how they celebrate.

“Heading off for a weekend of binge drinking in an Eastern European city is not ‘the poor’ having a well deserved break. It’s the Sun-reading middle classes behaving like they are being told to behave.”

Note what happens when the proletariat doesn’t conform to the socialist narrative. Suddenly, the “oppressed” become “the Sun-reading middle classes” (!) who are, naturally, being manipulated by dark forces. So no condescension there.



Yes, it does look like there’s a, er, personal aspect to it. But maybe the personal is rather important here, not least with regard to Monbiot, whose ostensible motives are somewhat suspect. One might, for instance, wonder if there’s some link between Monbiot’s vehement and unconvincing disdain for “the rich” and his own rather elevated upbringing and ancestry. (Monbiot is nothing if not a product of the “privilege” he affects to despise, and hence his sensitivity to accusations of being a “toff”.) There’s also Monbiot’s rather free-wheeling approach to “facts”, most recently regarding average incomes. Consequently, I think one has to entertain the possibility of other, more personal, motives. As so often, one might suspect that the political agitation has quite a lot to do with some personal psychodrama.

If nothing else, Monbiot is a true believer and troubled by authoritarian urges. And let’s not forget he was recently enthused by the prospect of recession, with all that entails for those with low incomes, and all in the interests of “social justice”. I see no reason to believe that he, or those who make similar assertions, are actually “concerned” for the poor in quite the way they claim.


I particularly liked the Climate Rush article.

They make a good point and its worth stating again. Environmental protesters are NOT anti-establishment. Politicians of all parties are more in line with the environmental vanguard than the general public. The latter lag far behind. The protesters are a convenient prop for politicians to use to claim they are responding to populist pressure when they pass restrictive legislation. "But you demanded we restrict your freedom".


Wasn't Monbiot last seen whinging about the eco-horror of Agas?



“Environmental protesters are NOT anti-establishment.”

In my experience, environmental protestations are frequently accompanied either by an assumption of overwhelming public support (itself dubious) or, more often, by an assumption that democratic proprieties can be swept aside in order to forcibly enlighten those whose priorities differ, even if they comprise a vast majority. If you follow the commentary of environmentalist groups, you’ll see this theme recur. Plane Stupid and Climate Rush are proudly dismissive of mere formalities like democracy, persuasion and reasoned argument, such is their moral authority.

It’s rather like how we hear about the “rightwing establishment” in the pages of the Guardian, and the usual blather about challenging some terrible bourgeois consensus in the media, schools, etc. The Guardian’s own middle-class readership of around 300,000 is in very large part made up of teachers, social workers, educational advisors, broadcasters, media types, etc. The paper’s influence is thus much greater than its limited sales would suggest. Many of the views propagated by the Guardian are, to a significant degree, the views of the current educational and media establishment. (Max Hastings famously said of his writing for the Guardian that “it is read by the new establishment.”) Thus the ever-so-daring “challenge” to an alleged “rightwing establishment” is very often a restatement of orthodoxy among the political, educational and media elite.

James S

"Wasn't Monbiot last seen whinging about the eco-horror of Agas?"

He's got a thing for cooking: "In this age of diamond saucepans, only a recession makes sense."

Horace Dunn

TDK and David

Regarding the personal element in O'Neill's piece. Well, yes. It is interesting to note that more than a third of the article is all about O'Neill and how this person accuses him, poor baby, of being one thing and another person accuses him of being something else and how he has to accept this sort of thing ("it comes with the territory") but nonetheless even though our planet is imperilled he'll keep using his limited quota of words to correct assumptions made about him by Monbiot and co. I counted six occurrences of the pronoun "I" in the first paragraph alone. But anyway we have a better idea of where the various Guardian types stand in relationship to their attitudes to the working / middle / upper classes, so that's the main thing.


I can't answer your specific question, but I would say that, since Agas are a symbol of those smug, middle-class, weekend-cottage-in-the-country types, I should jolly well hope that the Guardianistas are on the attack. I mean, that's what the Guardian is for, surely.



Vanities aside, what struck me was the inadvertent confirmation of paternalistic urges.


Lima's commentary on "Che" recalled a review of an art show from 2004.

Jerome du Bois of "The Tears of Things" ruminated on the opening of Cuban artist Abel Barroso's exhibit at the Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

This one might not have ended up laminated and framed.


Oh, how I wish there was a right-wing Establishment. There might be a right-wing establishment, e.g. a club somewhere whose members are mostly conservative, but a right-wing Establishment? It disappeared at least ten years ago, probably twenty.

As David said, the Establishment is now the political class, the media, NGOs, the civil service, teachers, the Law. Please demonstrate how ANY of those are right-wing these days. The reality is the Left has a death-grip on all these areas. Fifty-something pony-tailed wankers at the BBC and the Guardian only claim to be anti-Establishment because it is fashionable to do so.

Horace Dunn


Precisely. And the “new” Establishment have wasted no time in becoming snobbish and blustering – just like the “old” Establishment that they spent decades deriding. The grumbling, raised earlier on this thread, about the ghastly Sun-reading types flying off for cheap stag-nights is a good example. The left set themselves against what they saw as the exclusivity and elitism of the old ruling class only, once they’d grasped power, to become equally as exclusive and – I would argue – much more elitist than the people they replaced. Perhaps that is why they spend so much time on the kind of vacuous posturing that David highlights so often this thread. Maybe they need it to persuade themselves that “they” haven’t become like “them”.


Del Toro: "Che was a warrior, like Batman."

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