Comment, by Mathew Carr
Nov. 17, 2021 (LONDON): It was a master class of spin.
Accused in Parliament today of covering up sleaze in his government (ministers simultaneously being paid as lobbyists), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s strategy was to turn the problem on his accuser, Labour leader Keir Starmer.
Instead of apologising and potentially moving on from the story, Johnson Attacked Starmer, accusing him of the very thing the PM’s party was being accused of.
Johnson was repeatedly berated by the house speaker, but he didn’t appear to care or listen.
It’s a classic strategy deployed by people in power, and it’s hugely damaging to society because it slows progress.
It’s also a strategy being deployed by rich countries who have caused the climate crisis by releasing billions of tons of heat-trapping gas into the atmosphere for more than 100 years.
Instead of acknowledging the bad behavior, moving on from it by making polluters pay, they deny it, which perpetuates it.
It delays climate action. Some call it “predatory delay” because it allows people to make money out of the delay.
“Let’s turn China, which makes a lot of our energy-intensive stuff, and India, which barely has any historical responsibility for the climate crisis, into the villains,” they effectively say.
They spin this line — often ”off record” to reporters so they can’t be held accountable — even though those emerging nations have not caused anywhere near the damage that the U.S., the U.K., Germany and my home country Australia have done on a per-capita basis.
Even former President Barack Obama is not showing the leadership he should be displaying.
At his speech at COP26 in Glasgow he said “we” need to shoulder responsibility, but he didn’t single out the United States as the “we” he was talking about. The U.S., with about 4% of the world’s population, has put about a quarter of the heat-trapping gases into the world’s atmosphere.
It’s time for these politicians to grow up and be accountable for the hugely damaging behavior that’s taking place, or the world is cooked (and strangled by sleaze).
This spinning, gaslighting, lack of basic human kindness needs to be relegated to the 20th century. Now.
I’m not holding my breath.