BY way of variety, something that is not directly about Brexit. It turns out that this ludicrous, failed and about-to-be-dissolved Parliament has not confined itself to wreaking European and constitutional havoc, it has also caved in to some of the demands of the Extinction Rebellion mob. You may recall that these are the morons who want to stop all UK CO2 emissions by 2025 who rather abused their democratic right to protest by seeking (but failing) to bring London to a grinding halt for a couple of weeks last month.
I wrote about this here. To refresh your memory, the aspiration of ‘net zero’ by 2025 could be achieved only through stopping all transport (which means no food in the shops), shutting off all the gas mains (no heating) and closing down most of industry (no jobs) unless in the next five years the UK (1) commissions about ten times the amount of renewable and nuclear generation that it currently has and (2) upgrades the distribution grid to be able to deliver about ten times the amount of power that it does at present. Failing to implement (1) and (2) means that people will die.
In any case, the net zero target is the wrong one if you want to save the planet: it does not include the emissions related to the stuff that we import (iPhones, BMWs, trainers, food etc), so the pointless gesture becomes even more pointless.
Now, one can’t expect ecomaniac yoga artists to be able to count. But I had nursed a hope that bits of our Parliamentary system could, particularly bits relating to business, or science or the Treasury. I was wrong. As the Telegraph reported on Friday, no fewer than six select committees (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Environmental Audit Committee, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, Science and Technology Committee, Transport Committee and Treasury Committee) have decided to initiate one of the Extinction Rebellion demands and have launched the process to establish a citizens’ assembly to consider climate change. Thirty thousand names have been generated at random and of those who reply, 110 will be selected to attend.
Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said: ‘The Climate Assembly UK will advise Parliament on how people want us to meet the net zero target, and suggest policies that the Government can implement to secure success.’
So these 110 people, selected on nothing but the basis of a random number and availability, are going to advise the government on our behalf. How in the name of all that is holy can that be democratic, scientific or sensible? (We’ll ignore cost-effective as that seems to be something beyond the comprehension of Westminster, Whitehall or the yoga muppets.)
Although there is probably an argument that, provided the selection is truly random, the 110 may well have greater numeracy, integrity and interest in the public good than many of our MPs. This decision may well illustrate the case that it’s time for a complete change in the House of Commons. We have that power and we should use it wisely.