Mar 02 2008
A real shift in green politics?
By Chris Littlecott
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The Independent on Sunday today carried an excellent piece by veteran environmental journalist Geoffrey Lean today, in which he teases apart the increasingly green appearance of UK politicians.
The article, Today, the plastic bag. Tomorrow… even more words? , points out that even Boris Johnson has made efforts to shake off his previous anti-environment reputation in his bid to become Mayor of London.
Lean questions whether such shows of greenery are really here to stay, but does find evidence to show that they might be:
As Bob Worcester, doyen of British pollsters, puts it: “The politicians are running scared of not being seen to be green enough.” And Ipsos Mori, the firm that he founded, reports that Britons are beginning to match their concern with action – with 80 per cent now recycling, two-thirds buying some organic and fairly traded products, and half buying green goods and taking steps to reduce their energy consumption at home.
“Something is happening that is not just another fashionable wave,” says Professor Tom Burke from Imperial College London, one of the country’s shrewdest green commentators. “We are seeing the mainstreaming of environmentalism.” He likens it to how the US Democratic nomination race is about “whether you care most about the present or the future. Clinton is all about the present, as is the British Government. But Obama and the politics of the environment are about the future.”
But as always, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating - and its a something that the future itself will decide.