I had been intending to write about George Monbiot’s latest back-and-forth with spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, author of Can I Recycle My Granny? And 39 Other Eco-Dilemmas (and Planet Gore’s favorite Marxist). But here’s Climate Resistance on the dust-up instead.
George Monbiot is a very confused man. A few days ago, he announced his campaign against the Aga cooker (because it uses lots of energy). This, he said ‘is indeed a class war’ – the Aga is an expensive piece of kit, and therefore, you have to be rather wealthy to own one. We thought he wasn’t entirely serious about this campaign, it was just a rather childish attempt to prove to his detractors at Spiked-Online that the Green movement wasn’t dominated by the upper classes. He might just as well have shot himself in the foot to prove that he wasn’t lame.
I’ve lost count of the number of aspirational middle-class greens I know who own one of these monsters and believe that they are somehow compatible (perhaps because they look good in a country kitchen) with a green lifestyle. The campaign against Agas – which starts here – will divide rich greens down the middle.
George is trying to resist criticism that the environmental movement is dominated by the upper classes by committing himself to a campaign that will, according to him, divide them. In other words, it’s a nonsense that at best defeats itself. But this wasn’t a joke. Yesterday, George appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show to talk about why the Aga is a bad thing:
there are lots and lots of ways to spread love and happiness, but starving out the people of the Horn of Africa because of repeated droughts caused by our use of Agas is not one of them
George’s commitment to class war gets even more bizarre and questionable. Shortly afterwards, the Guardian published a comment piece, in which he announces that,
A Labour government approves the expansion of Heathrow – why, it’s almost enough to make you vote Tory
This isn’t a joke, either. . . .
It gets weirder. George’s Aga ga-ga phoney class war, which followed criticism from Spiked, came in an article which attacked the Editor of Spiked, Brendan O’Neil. At the beginning of the article, Monbiot makes an issue of O’Neil’s Marxism, but by the end, he places O’Neil on the other side.
Yes, this is a class war; and Brendan O’Neill and his fellow travellers have sided with the toffs. These Marxist proletarian firebrands are defending the class they profess to hate.
(O’Neill – who doesn’t ‘profess to hate’ any class – answers Monbiot here).
So not only does George demonstrate that much of Spiked’s criticism is correct by his calling for a ‘class war’ against the Aga, he switches from eco-Socialism to eco-Conservatism over the course of a working week, and then accuses others of being Right, where they had, according to him, assumed to be Left!
George emerges dizzy from his own spinning and thinks it is the world that’s confused about what direction it is moving in. And this is his fundamental problem. Everything he writes is a projection of his own inability to understand a world that fails to conform to his expectations. The ideas he uses to orientate himself fail to give him purchase on his own existential crisis; they crumble underfoot. The result is his capricious, vacillating, and incoherent column in the Guardian, with its frequent attacks on Spiked. This disorientation demonstrates beautifully, albeit unintentionally, Spiked’s broader criticism that the Left-Right axis isn’t sufficient to explain the world. Monbiot is a painful symptom of this disorientation, not a bright and leading advocate of an urgent cause.
Read the rest here.