Climate Clinic? It’s enough to make you sick

MCFly had Good Intentions. Off to lots of Labour Party Fringe meetings we would go, dutifully blogging (but not tweeting), as unofficial payment for stuffing our cakehole with the free grub and booze.

Couldn’t do it. Just Could Not endure more of the vacuous ecological modernisation drivel that spews out of all their mouths.

It was the SERA meeting that did it, the one on Sunday night. Was going to do a detailed analysis. Suffice to say this; sure, it started fifteen minutes late because Hils Benn was unavoidably held up, but we then had three white men talk at us for just on 45 minutes. Then the ‘interactivity’ was down to questions of one or two sentences all bundled up with the speakers giving rapid fire answers to a small proportion of them.
These meetings are not about debate or movement building. They are about stoking the egos of the speakers and raising the profiles of the sponsoring organisations. Complaining about the lack of intellectual candour or rigour or anything approaching reflection on the horrific and multiple failures of climate campaigning over the last five years is like complaining about (sorry for the repetition) the lack of car chases in Proust.

And the rest of the ‘green’ fringe events looked equally uninspired and uninspiring. So MCFly spent the time on the stepper at the gym, reading. May be no lighter, but certainly not weighed down with horrible memories of shiny-faced besuited bullshitters and spivs (except for my friends who were panellists, natch!)

Oh, and the title of this post? Well, every year there is this “Climate Clinic” the major party conferences. Sponsored by the usual suspects, including the UtterlyDependent, Christian Aid, nef, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and so forth.
They produce a newspaper.
Here is some race and gender analysis for you.
There were 11 articles with names attached to them (and smaller advertorial ones).
Three were by women. Eight were by men (one with two male authors).
None of the articles dealt specifically with the threats facing women. One article tackled the fact that “Children in the developing world are the first casualties of global warming.” There were two photos, one of a boy, the other of … five boys.
On the subject of photos; in the twelve pages of the “newspaper” thirty one human beings were portrayed. Twenty five were men, 6 were women. Twenty three of these people were white, 8 were black. This included two usages of the same black 14 year old boy, and one of President Obama. And the single shot of the five boys in the distance.

It’s almost as if, gasp, the political world is run by and for (Rich) White Men. But no, that’s just a conspiracy theory, right?

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2 Responses to Climate Clinic? It’s enough to make you sick

  1. Bill Raymond says:

    But you are asking for something that is alien to the UK Labour movement. I was once in a (short lived) libertarian entryist organisation (before I studied Marx) – we used to try to get the chairs put in a circle. In our LP branch meeting they even used to sit behind a little table in someone’s front room – it did look funny but was oddly iconic of what that movement had become. I just can’t believe that the Rochdale pioneers or the IWC and Freddy Engels had that in mind.
    But I actually don’t think the meetings have the explicit function you suggest – except in the literal sense of POSIWD (The purpose of a system is what it does) – for my money it is more a question of habit and tradition- they just don’t know, nay can’t imagine another way – its culture, and not the culture that the labour movement should have become.

  2. A. Non says:

    This comment reached MCFly via other means, and is posted in the interests of Fairness…

    Climate clinic – despite all it flaws does very well to keep the issue on the agenda at party conferences. And, that is pretty much the only point of it.

    OK, it’s not going to change the world, but the purpose of these events are to engage with MPs and councilors and other party members – to try and get the issue on to their agendas, and to exert pressure within their party. But it doesn’t pretend to be more than that. It’s open to the public because we’re outside the secure zone.

    But I don’t think it is fair to berate climate clinic for trying to do this.Just compare it to some of the fringe events going on elsewhere or in the secure zone, the private meetings, the wining and dining, and generally we don’t get a place at that table, or if we do, it’s in the child’s high-chair, too far away from the table for anyone to really hear us. I don’t pretend to think that it couldn’t be much better – but it does give us a presence that we otherwise couldn’t afford (time and money), especially when we’re not willing to take sponsorship from corporates that lean towards the side of evil.

    Second it’s a coalition, and coalitions, generally suck, having to go for the lowest common denominator – you know this. But many voices sometimes, is better than a lone voice…

    So I still think climate clinic plays a role. There are any number of strategies that we can use to communicate, campaign etc, but we can’t pretend that there is one magic bullet that can hit all the things in one swift swoop.

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