COP26 Kelvingrove Square

How our elites exclude everyone but themselves

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AS HER MAJESTY weighed in to inject purpose and optimism into the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) on Climate Change, Greta Thunberg less eloquently dismissed the entire proceedings as no more than, “blah blah blah”, adding with a rhetorical flourish “no more whatever the F*** they are doing inside there”.

The great and the good will have to navigate carefully between these two positions. The premise is accepted by all though. Climate Change is real.

Of course for most of us, from pre-history to now, climate change has always been real. For instance, notice the doors, roofs and windows that make our very houses climate change-proof. Time horizon is all in this discussion.

Added to this, in the United Kingdom in particular, looking after our environment has been in our national DNA for centuries. The parks, greens and open spaces, that pepper our cities, towns and villages – or the model garden citiesas exemplars – are testimony to that.

As a general rule, we care about the things that are ours. This country is ours. It is ours to husband. What is noticeable though is that we are increasingly removed from decisions that affect our way of life and homes – by people who have granted themselves a righteousness they just do not deserve.

Greta Thunberg is right on some detail. The COP26 on Climate should be looked on with extreme scepticism.

Firstly, we find out that Dana Strong, the new boss of Sky (owned by US media giant Comcast), spent the first half of this year commuting regularly between her home in America and her office in Britain by private jet. Her company is a major sponsor of the Glasgow Climate Change knees-up and is reported as having 50 journalists attending. It is also worth noting that the European Union is exempting private jet fuel from taxation.

Secondly, COP26 is, as Greta intimates, the ultimate closed shop. Lots of words will be spoken, words written and pledges made to deliver a new, better and shinier world. The momentary feel good will be theirs – but the actual costs ours.

However, Greta is wrong about pretty much everything else. As the high priestess of this increasingly hysterical movement, she claims righteousness and virtue for herself and her followers.

Appearing on various news outlets, she said that Britain was the original climate villain because that is where the industrial revolution started, adding that she found it “strange that they are the ones we are supposed to look up to”.

In others words, we, as Brits, carry the original sin. We should have no say and be excluded. And we, as an electorate, are indeed excluded.

As David Starkey, the irrepressible historian, noted in response to Greta’s vilification of our country, “we bear a responsibility for the entire modern world”. He added mischievously, but rightly, that we invented the games that people love to play, the suits that businessmen need to wear, and the weekends that we all desperately long for.

We are also responsible for the industrial revolution. It lifted humanity from a perennial fight against the elements to one of relative, if not total, control over our surroundings.

David Starkey is also right when he says that Greta stands against the modern world. She is “a millenarian”, who believes that the end is nigh. That belief gives her and her followers unwarranted certainty, leading to a desire to impose her views by diktat on the rest of us. Debating, for her, is a sign of unworthiness.

The issue here however is that the leaders at COP26 are moving in her direction. We hear daily of the need to solve something that has been around since Creation.

There is no counterpoint. No discussion or debate is allowed. We, as taxpayers, have no protection against the forced imposition of this new world order.

Excluded are those who either have practical experience of the issue or who are paying the bills for these extreme policy changes.

That we as individuals are discounted is something to which we have sadly grown accustomed. What we vote for and truly would like is of no interest whatsoever. The established order ploughs on ahead regardless.

In a classic case of “feeding the crocodile in the hope of being eaten last”, the energy companies that have taken us from the horse and cart to the car, the train and the plane – which allows Dana Strong to commute from the United States to the United Kingdom on a weekly basis – have recently been thrown under the bus as well.

COP26 Summit organisers, an activist site, reported, that oil giants “do not fit our success criteria”. And so they were barred from attending a conference on the future of energy.

Whatever one’s views about the executives of the Oil Majors, these companies represent at least 150 years of accumulated knowledge across extremely complex fields of operation along very tight supply chains to deliver a world of hitherto unimaginable comfort.

In short, the guys who know their stuff are not welcomed. Only politicians, who in the main know what their special advisers and climate activists tell them, are invited to opine. Whilst for you and for me, keeping the lights on and at a reasonable price is by far the most important criteria; for them, it is all about purity of motive.

If this wasn’t absurd enough, we see this pattern repeated across every sector of policy making. The guys with practical knowledge are vilified; the ones with “pure motives” but no experience are officially canonised.

When COP26 ends in a few days’ time, the UN will hold its ninth ‘Conference of the Parties’ — COP9 — and a Meeting of the Parties — MOP2 — to the Illicit Trade Protocol in The Hague, Netherlands, under the auspices of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The conferences will consider, respectively, how to reduce rates of smoking, and how to address the large and growing illegal tobacco market, which costs governments up to an estimated $50bn in lost taxes per annum across the world.

As with COP26, so COP9 has closed its doors to industry stakeholders. A couple of years ago, tobacco farmers showed up outside its meetings in Delhi to protest peacefully about their exclusion from the event. They were promptly rounded up by security. This time anyone in the tobacco supply chain has been excluded – from farmers to retailers. Even Interpol, the international law enforcement body, is excluded from discussions on the prevention of illicit trade in tobacco.

The ban extends to healthy alternatives to smoking – such as vaping, which is dramatically safer than smoking. COP9 will avoid any association with the tobacco industry even though it has become a major supplier of safer alternatives to smoking. Despite Public Health England declaring that vaping is at least 95% safer, or a recent study from Cancer Research UK that found those using e-cigarettes were 95% more likely to quit smoking than someone using no aid at all, none of the facts matter to zealots.

The problem is these ideologically-driven authoritarian zealots now dominate most our institutions – from the supranational to the national from the elected to the bureaucratic: there is no hiding place now.

In short, COP26 bars energy experts on the future of energy discussions; COP9 bans Interpol from talks on Illegal tobacco trading and discussions on safer alternatives to smoking; what can we expect next?

Whatever it is, you and I won’t be invited. But we will pay.

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Photo of the opening COP26 dinner courtesy of PA pool.

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