The ruling class is laughing in our faces: COP 26

The ruling class is laughing in our faces: COP 26. By Brendan O’Neill.

COP26 is gearing up to be a grotesque spectacle. We are about to witness Versailles levels of extravagance and hypocrisy.

The rich, the powerful and the full of puffed-up virtue will gather in Glasgow to pontificate to the rest of us about how much we are harming the planet with all our waste and hubris. They’ll arrive in their private jets to bemoan the scourge of air-industry emissions. They’ll tuck in to five-star meals in between wondering out loud if the little people should eat less meat. They’ll rest their weary, virtuous heads on plump, silk pillows after long days of discussing how to rein in the material aspirations of the masses. It promises to be one of most nauseating displays of oligarchical conceit of recent times.

It feels like the elites are just laughing in our faces now. So the other day we had the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, saying everyone will have to eat less meat and fly less if we are going to get a handle on this climate-change thing. A little later it was reported that around 400 private jets will fly into COP26, carrying world leaders and big-business execs to the plush surrounds in which they’ll wring their manicured hands over mankind’s carbon crimes. Ordinary people are guilt-tripped for taking one poxy flight a year to escape the trials and vagaries of life in capitalist society for a couple of weeks, while those who quaff champagne on airplanes that it costs $10,000 an hour to hire out get to pose as hyper-aware defenders of poor Mother Nature. …



Prince Charles, from one of his palaces, says COP26 is the ‘last-chance saloon’ for the planet. The royal family has collectively flown enough air miles over the past five years to get to the Moon and back. And then around the Earth’s equator three times. In short: 545,161 miles. Reader, they’re taking the piss. …

People will be perfectly within their rights over the next few days to ask why it is that those who live in the lap of luxury, who jet to every corner of the globe, who experience more luxury in a week than most of us can expect in a decade, should get to hold forth on humanity’s alleged suffocation of the planet with carbon and pollution.

Like Joanna Lumley, famed, well-paid traveller of the planet, saying travel should be rationed. Or Dame Emma Thompson literally flying first-class from LA to London to take part in an Extinction Rebellion protest about the evils of CO2. Or Harry and Meghan attending a concert focusing on the ‘urgent need’ for climate action and then leaving on a private jet. …

Here’s the thing, though — it’s always been like this. For years now, it has been clear that the environmentalist movement is fundamentally a wealthy man’s game, made up of people who live luxurious lives bemoaning the destructive habits of the masses.

Who can forget when David de Rothschild — yep, he’s from the banking family– wrote the Global Warming Survival Handbook that contained wonderful nuggets of advice like ‘Wear a jumper’ (so you can turn off the heating in your home) and ‘Grow your own tomatoes’ (so you can shop less)? … Or when the plummy activists of Plane Stupid called for a ban on cheap flights because all they do is allow oiks to jet off to ‘Eastern European destinations chosen not for their architecture or culture but because people can fly there for 99p and get loaded for a tenner’?

It’s been clear for years now that the green movement is a neo-aristocracy that draws its loudest voices from the old aristocracy and also from the middle-class managerial elites and the new technocratic establishment.

Environmentalism is now the core ideology of the new ruling class. The greening of the elites has been one of the most extraordinary developments of the past two decades. Across the West, green thinking has been embraced by virtually every wing of the establishment, from the political elites to the media class, from the educational realm to the world of popular culture.

And it isn’t hard to see why. It’s the perfect ideology for our at-sea elites. It allows them to magic up a sense of urgent moral purpose — they’re saving the planet, no less! It lends itself beautifully, or, rather, terrifyingly, to the project of social engineering: lower your horizons, learn to live with less, reconceive of yourself as a destructive creature in need of top-down control rather than a creative being who might help to push humanity forward. It naturalises the limitations of capitalism, encouraging people to make their peace with austerity and downturn on the basis that economic growth is a bad, nature-exploiting idea. And it is a very difficult ideology to challenge. The marshalling of The Science to buoy up this ruling-class ideology means that anyone who questions it – anyone who demands more growth, more ambition, a bigger human footprint – can swiftly be written off as an anti-scientific scourge, as a ‘denier’ of the revealed truths of climatology.

Politicians do not form an inquiry without knowing what the outcome will be. They know what the outcome will be because they select the people running the inquiry. Simple principle, well known to the politically savvy.

Now apply the same principle to “the science”. Since WWII and the Manhattan project, most science has been funded by government rather than by private industry. Bureaucrats get to choose the results by choosing who they give money to.

“The Science” is whatever the bureaucrats want, because they choose which scientists to fund. “The Science” has just become a means of giving the bureaucrat’s views more credibility.

In climate science, all the research is funded by government (exception: me — go to the Donate page, link is above). In climate, “the science” is bought and paid for by the bureaucrats (with your money). The western bureaucracies only fund those who believe in the carbon dioxide theory of global warming. Simple.