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Saving the planet is worth more than votes

The millions of people watching climate horror unfold must mobilise
Low-traffic neighbourhoods

Low traffic neighbourhoods are being scrapped, but still aren’t enough to save the planet (Picture: Wikicommons/ Jack Fifield)

Will scrapping the so-called “green crap” be a good way for the Tories to scoop up votes from ordinary people? They certainly think they’re on to something after Tory candidate Steve Tuckwell beat Labour’s Danny Beales in Uxbridge, west London. Tuckwell and others attributed his slim victory to the unpopularity of the Ultra Low Emission Zone pushed by Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. 

That means the Tories, who were already convinced that scrapping green policies was the way to beat Labour, are even more sure now. Secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities, Michael Gove, warned his colleagues against “treating the cause of the environment as a religious crusade” last Sunday. 

He expanded on this, saying, “People think that you are treating the cause of the environment as a religious crusade, in which you’re dividing the world into goodies and baddies. Then you alienate the support that you need for thoughtful environmentalism.”

His “thoughtful environmentalism” means scrapping or dialling back green promises that the Tories don’t think are popular, regardless of what the planet needs. Over the weekend energy secretary Grant Shapps told the Financial Times newspaper that the government plans to “max out” North Sea oil and gas. 

Downing Street hinted that it would review plans to phase our diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030. And to top it all off, Tory transport minister Mark Harper has recently called for a review into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). The government put out some false concern for ordinary people. It said, “The government’s view is that they need to work for local people and they need to involve extensive consultation. 

“We’ve seen some councils remove some LTNs where they don’t work for people in the past.” But the concern for ordinary people and what their needs isn’t genuine. Instead the Tories hope to receive support from sections of working people deeply alienated from politics. 

The Tories imagine that these people are concerned only with their own financial issues. That they hate “green wokeness” and despise environmental protesters, such as Just Stop Oil. Some sections of the Labour Party and union leaders have bought into this idea too. But in a poll conducted by the Office of National Statistics last year, 74 percent of those polled reported feeling somewhat worried about the climate crisis.

And climate change remained the second biggest concern adults faced in Britain the same year. The wildfires forcing thousands of tourists to flee Greek islands this week are a reminder that climate change is real. If we are to save the planet, the millions of people watching these events in horror must be mobilised.

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