BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE
How can one reconcile the two seemingly opposing ideologies of deindustrialisation and a want for endless housing? The answer: when the former is merely a means to bring about the latter.
It’s no secret that climate change activism often acts as a front for hard-line socialism; indeed, the Extinction Rebellion protests held in London were marred by blood red demands to ‘bring down capitalism’. Although we may very well laugh at the abject hypocrisy of the zero emission jet setters who attend these marches, you have to admire Extinction Rebellion’s resourcefulness to make use of those who are otherwise useless.
It wasn’t instantly apparent why the congregation of etiolated soap-dodgers had turned their halitotic breath towards the British farming industry. Is their livestock agriculture – which effectively converts infertile land into protean – not more environmentally friendly and efficient than the corporate behemoths of Monsanto or Nestlé who produce much of this soulless vegan fare? But then George Monbiot’s recent documentary ‘Apocalypse Cow’ emerged in which he may have somewhat given the game away.
The revelation comes when Metro-Monbiot visits a humble farmhouse matriarch to tell her that she should abandon her wicked farming ways so that nature may be allowed to reclaim her land. Despite protesting that this would destroy the local community and see her out of a livelihood, Monbiot reassures her that, in his ideal world, she’d still receive the same amount of government subsidies. Although most of many farmers’ income does come from subsidies, there was no mention of what would replace her income from agriculture or any acknowledgement that this would destroy her autonomy, rendering her completely dependent upon the state – something unlikely to trouble an ardent socialist like Monbiot.
If the plan is for the state to demand that farmers cease the agricultural activity on their land, then it’s not much of a leap to imagine that the next step might be to expropriate said land. You may see in this somewhat recent column by Monbiot where he isn’t motivated by conservationism, au contraire, his only gripe with farmers is that they are sitting on land which could instead be used to sit thousands of council tenants. His talk of making farmland more efficient and ‘bio-diverse’ is just artful doublespeak for his long-standing vendetta against the enclosure acts and any farming family belonging to a lineage that is thought to have benefited from them.
Maybe Monbiot is on to something: why preserve green pastures and wildlife when, according to the head of the Lake District, they exclude ethnic minorities and those on low incomes? One would like to think that one’s ability to appreciate the beauty of nature wouldn’t be dependent on one’s melanin count, but let’s not question the authority of the wealthy and white Richard Leafe on these matters.
Also worth of mention is that Mr. Monbiot claims there is a conspiracy of propaganda in children’s books to portray farms in a positive light, one which he of course thinks of as being ill-deserved. Well, how would he have children’s books illustrated, you might ask? The subsequent shot in the program perhaps gives us a clue to his imaginings as we see an animation of a farmer in a tractor with, wait for it… a cartoony, stylised evil face – yes, it really was that blunt. And you speak of propaganda, George? You can well query whether this was in breach of impartiality laws but why bother? Ofcom will only act on assertions which contradict the scriptures of the three-foot Swedish saint and ‘how dare you’ or I for thinking otherwise?
Whilst I don’t doubt the good intentions of Mr Monbiot, a man who co-founded the ‘Respect Party’ – a party which, incidentally, never did enjoy that much respect due to it being steeped in so much controversy – I don’t think rural folk are in need of any more townie saviours. In London, you may fashion your land from concrete, but here we prefer ours to remain as we inherited it – enclosure act or not.