ACTOR Idris Elba, eternally touted as the next James Bond, was in Davos last week to add a sprinkle of celebrity glitter to that dull assembly of technocrats and billionaires plotting all our futures in the super-luxe Alpine resort. The London-born star reportedly flew almost 5,000 miles from his home in Atlanta to preach to the world about global poverty and, of course, climate change.
In a two-minute address, which to be fair was aimed more at the corporate world than private individuals and was mild rather than Thunbergian in tone, Elba called for greater investment to save the planet and to help the world’s poor. In an interview with AFP he expanded on his speech: ‘What drives me is the unjustness of half the world eating and half the world not eating, and half the world causing considerable damage to our planet and the other half not contributing [to climate change] but starving and suffering from that damage the most.’
He declared that with greater access to finance, knowledge and people ‘we can define a different future’. Some might say that when it comes to the climate change part, and his role, the actor is defining a differing reality.
Idris Elba is surely among the super-elite when it comes to climate change hypocrisy. It is hard to think of anyone less entitled to grandstand on the subject – never mind receive an award for his efforts (a small crystal), since he is a high-octane petrol-head and the proud possessor of a collection of at least seven gas-guzzling supercars. And this is no private indulgence or guilty pleasure. The 50-year-old star of The Wire and Luther seems to have spent much of his career encouraging others to share in his passion. He was even once slated as a presenter of Top Gear. That didn’t happen but he did host a four-part driving show where he ’meets speed challenges with different vehicles: a Ford Fiesta R1 rally car, an XtremeAir XA42 aerobatics plane, a Super Comp dragster and a Bentley Continental’, according to the series blurb. I wonder what Jeremy Clarkson makes of him?
Elba has competed in car rallies and beat Sir Malcolm Campbell’s ‘Flying Mile’ speed record in 2015 (doing 180mph in his Bentley Continental GT at Pendine Sands in Wales). With two homes, one in Britain and the other in the US, his carbon footprint must be off the scale.
He has even appeared in a TV advert for Bookings.com, the company that, you know, encourages people to travel all over the world in things called planes, which run on fossil fuel and are the works of the devil, according to the climate change zealots.
Unless Elba has left all that behind him, and has had a Davoscene conversion to the green cause, his appearance at the Swiss convention smacks of another classic example of superstar ‘do as I say not as I do’ posturing and lack of self-awareness elevated into an art form. I’d go for the latter of those options: it seems unlikely he returned home by catamaran.
Of course Elba is in good company in this high-flying hypocrisy, singing the same song, in the same style as such luminaries as Emma Thompson – LA to London (5,400 miles) for an Extinction Rebellion gig; Leonardo DiCaprio, one-day round trip (8,000 miles) New York to Cannes on a private jet to pick up an environmental award, and Bono, who has ‘harmonised with the Pope’ about climate change, but once had his hat flown from London to Italy, first class, for a gig with Pavarotti. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the jetsetting earthly saints Meghan and Harry, for whom there are too many examples to list here.
Elba, despite his superior star wattage, was outshone at Davos by that petrified monument to eco-alarmism Al Gore, wheeled out to delivered a deranged rant about ‘boiling oceans’ and a billion ‘climate refugees’, two phenomena that seem to exist only in the vivid and apocalyptic imagination of the ‘former next president of the USA’ (Gore’s one joke). But Elba, the ‘former next James Bond’ (he’s apparently out of the running due to his age) may well have taken notes on what may be his next big role.
In the meantime, if you want to watch Idris Elba making a personal contribution to that despoliation of the planet he bemoaned at Davos (assuming you subscribe to the nonsense theory that man-made CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming), his driving show is on Discovery TV. It’s called No Limits. The title either has something to do with his attitude to speed and automobile-related challenges, or is a reference to the extent of his climate change hypocrisy.