Let us eat Brexit

Unfortunately I was too busy to pen an election blogpost prior to the event, but on the upside at least this makes foretelling the result easier – I predict a thumping majority for Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, putting an end to ten years of thin majorities and scrabbling coalitions in British politics.

OK, so I admit that hindsight makes prediction quite a bit easier, but even now a lot of us are still scratching our heads trying to work out what the hell just happened. Ideally, I’d like to avoid adding my voice to the welter of wise-after-the-event opinion-mongering that claims to know exactly what the Labour Party got wrong, and write instead on the implications for my main themes of sustainable localism and agrarianism. But in order to achieve the latter, I think I do need to indulge in a little of the former…

Labour’s erstwhile top brass have blamed the result on their ambiguous stance on Brexit, compared to Johnson’s simplistic ‘let’s get Brexit done’ messaging. Some Labour activists outside the Corbyn faction have called this ‘mendacious nonsense’ and blamed the unpopularity of the leader himself. There’s no denying Corbyn’s low public esteem, but it’s worth further pondering this analysis.

First, it’s not actually an analysis – further steps are needed to explain how voters proceed from personal dislike of Corbyn (“There’s something about his mannerisms” in the words of one Labour-turned-Conservative voter in a depressed, post-industrial erstwhile Labour town) to voting instead for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (Eton and Oxford), whose congenital disdain for such places and people couldn’t be plainer. But if that’s all there is to it, then at least we can all go home, stop devoting any attention to actual politics, plug in the TV and just give Kelvin and Oti the keys to No.10.

Personally, I think Brexit did have a lot to do with the result – as indeed even the “something about his mannerisms” voter maintained, and as is suggested by the correlations between leave-voting areas in 2016 and Johnson-voting ones in 2019. However, this too requires further analysis. What kind of Brexit Johnson will ‘get done’ remains unclear, but it’s pretty clear that it won’t ‘get done’ on 31 January, and when it’s ‘done’ the situation of struggling voters in Britain’s post-industrial towns will almost certainly be worse. I can’t help feeling that what we were voting for wasn’t any actual Brexit that Johnson has either the power or desire to deliver, but Brexit as a kind of ideal that’s slipped its real-world moorings – Brexit as a dream of autonomy and control regained in an uncertain world, Brexit as analgesic, Brexit as totem. A case of let them eat Brexit.

This is fantastic news for those of us who have other potentially unpalatable political truths to deliver, such as my own conviction that we need to develop a labour-intensive, small farm-based economic localism to see us through our present crises. Forget the agonised political analysis and the enormous difficulties of realizing it. Just give it a vague and upbeat moniker – ‘the transformation’, perhaps – find a useful idiot to promote it in a mainstream party, and talk constantly about how it’ll enable us to take back control. Job done.

Oh, who am I kidding – that’s not how it’d play, is it? What the Conservatives have pulled off is just another variant of a classic right-wing populist heist: deliver some jam-tomorrow message cloaked in nationalist garb aimed at the ‘majority’ working class while demonizing enemies within and without like socialists, immigrants and gypsies, and propagate the message aggressively through the good offices of deep-pocketed patrons and a compliant press run by the same, who are the only people likely to reap any substantial benefit from the result.

Populism of this kind has been one of the more successful politics of modern times (witness the USA, India, Brazil, the Philippines, Hungary, Poland etc.), so there are reasons to think it could be the long-term making of the Conservative Party. But there are also reasons to think otherwise. The government’s hybrid new constituency of well-to-do little Englanders and alienated Brexit ex-Labour voters would be a hard one to hold together long-term even for a popular, able and wily Conservative politician – and I don’t think Johnson is any of those things. After the referendum I wrote that Johnson was largely responsible for packaging up a fantasy Brexit for mass consumption and now needed to be given the leeway to try to deliver the real one. After three years of faff, that hour is now upon us. Honestly, I could have written the same post last week – it wouldn’t have lost much for contemporary relevance.

I’m not sure this will pan out well for Johnson. It seems likely that Britain’s already hollow economy will be further carved out by the EU and the USA on his watch, and it may not be easy to pin the blame on them, particularly the USA, long-term. Likewise the integrity of the UK itself – including the irony that Corbyn’s sympathies for Irish republicanism seem to have strengthened Johnson’s hand, while the latter’s Brexit may well do more for Irish reunification than Sinn Féin ever could. Johnson fancies himself as a Churchill figure, but as he-who-can-no-longer-be-named once said, history repeats itself – the first time as tragedy the second time as farce. Maybe Brexit is Johnson’s World War, and it’ll be followed by an Atlee.

But what kind of Atlee? I think it would be a huge mistake if the Labour Party tacked rightwards as a result of this election. Centrism scarcely got a thumbs up from voters (look what happened to the Lib Dems … or to Dominic Grieve) and the Tories are always likely to be better at muscular nationalist populism than the Labour Party. Also, peering through the absurdities of Britain’s first-past-the-post and multi-national politics, the fact is that Corbyn got a higher proportion of the vote in this election than any Labour leader not called Tony Blair since Neil Kinnock in 1992, and in the 2017 election under his leadership a higher proportion than anyone since Harold Wilson in 1970 – despite levels of media vilification far beyond those that even Kinnock endured. That’s not to say Labour doesn’t need a different approach and a different leader. But I don’t think the lesson of this election is that it needs a more centrist one.

As various commentators have suggested, the Labour Party’s malaise has deep historic roots that long pre-date Corbyn’s tenure, relating to the demise of the organized industrial working-class and its forms of community-building and self-education. What’s now needed to create an electable left populism is longer-term community-building of another kind, promoting locally shared spaces and resources, environmental care and economic autonomy that tries to build bridges among whoever’s locally in place. That strategy is also the one that’s needed to build a sustainable small farm future. So for me it’s clear at least where to focus political energy.

The short-term consequences of Johnson’s victory for farming and the countryside seem grim. Although many farmers seemingly voted Conservative, they’re a small constituency of no electoral importance to the party, especially now it’s shorn of its more patrician elements in favour of the radical right. It’s extremely unlikely that the financial support farmers will get post-Brexit will match the largesse of the EU – I think many will go to the wall as a consequence, the countryside will be carved up by market forces, and Britain’s food system will be forced open by its new trading situation, becoming more import-dependent. The hope has to be that, in this vast churn of farm property sales and rural destruction to come, the necessity for building local economic autonomies and ecological conservationism will become more obvious, along with the opportunities to do so.

26 thoughts on “Let us eat Brexit

  1. an electable left populism is longer-term community-building of another kind, promoting locally shared spaces and resources, environmental care and economic autonomy that tries to build bridges among whoever’s locally in place.

    I wholeheartedly agree with these goals, but I doubt that pursuit of them will result in an electable populist left. Locally shared spaces and resources are irrelevant to urban areas, which must get their resources from non-local spaces, and since the vast majority of voters live in cities, they will never vote against their own interests.

    It seems to me that until national politics becomes irrelevant, small farms can only be created against the political trend of the day, now consisting of nationalistic populism. An electable populist left may well replace the current drift toward more oligarchy, but it won’t be any more interested in small farms than the right is now. Small farmers are on their own.

  2. I am a bit surprised about your conviction that a Britain outside the EU will spell disaster for farms. I guess there are two factos of importance here: 1) the level and nature of public support to the farm sector. and 2) the market situation post EU as opposed to inside EU.
    On the first item, while the EU spend a lot of money on agriculture, a lot of the money has gone to bigger farms and most of the money seems to be capitalized in land prices (in Sweden land price increase since EU membership amount roughly to half the total EU Ag supportn in Sweden during the same period). Many programs also seem to be rather bureaucratic and almost counterproductive (perhaps it is only the Swedish authorities that screw things up). A considerably smaller, but better targeted, support to the farm sector COULD be as valuable. Of course, I have no idea if there are any realistic expectations for that to happen.
    On the second, I guess that the hardest competition today for British farmers comes from the other EU countries. I have no clue about how a post brexit trade deal with the EU will look like, but I guess it will be symmertic on agriculture, i.e. if there will be tarriffs they will be the same both ways. If anything there will be less competition pressures from the EU post Brexit. So I guess the market situation comes down to which trade deals Britain would make with Morocco, Ukraine, Turkey, Brazil and the US et al. I know Britain has a long history of “free trade” politics, sacrificing its agriculture. But will it also now?
    I thought that Brexit would provide you with a unique opportunity to start with a clean slate and ask the public, which kind of food do you want, how should we use our landscapes and how do we create viable rural livelihoods?

    • Lots to agree with here.

      In the US there is plenty of evidence that government farm support programs end up being capitalized into land prices. There is something of a lag period to this phenomenon… the longer and more secure looking supports are the ones that push land prices higher. I mention the latter aspect as offering some promise that sudden and temporary supports aren’t as likely to be codified into land values.

      I seriously doubt Swedish authorities have any patent on the ability to mess up a government program. But I would offer that over a longer stretch bureaucracies can fix their early missteps… and IMHO the longer running support projects (which end up inflating land values) seem better run and less abused (or gamed). Still, abuses occur for even the older projects.

      I also like Gunnar’s parting thoughts. Being physically situated within sight of the continent, and worlds away from Morocco, Mexico, South America, and the US – transportation costs are likely to force what remains of the EU to find some way to bargain with the UK.

      One parting notion – as agricultural land prices escalate, the choices for plant and animal culture tend to shift toward human foods – particularly veges. Further, the economic incentives to restore once degraded fields increase with increasing prices of good fields.

      Perhaps Homo sapiens must come face to face with the cliff before realizing the time to turn about has arrived.

  3. Well from this side of the pobd the future of the EU dont look so rosy , France is in a near general strike , Germany has Mercedes laying off 10,000 workers , VW 12, 000 and their executives stating the electricity price is killing them plus Deutcher bank closing most of its branches with 30, 000 lay off’s world wide, Italy is the usual disaster its allways been closely followed by Spain , Portugal and Greece , Sweden is doing extremely well with over 100 explosions so far this year and now Brussels wants its own millitary ( perhaps to invade England ) the EU is a money pit England is best out of .
    UK farming families have been in delcline since the last world war , a cousin of mine took over his fathers 85 acre farm just outside Sandbach Cheshire in 1951 , over the years he ha bought out most of his neighbours and his sons farm over 1200 acres today , he didnt force them to sell , they were damn glad to get out , most got out just after the milk marketing board went defunct and milk prices halved , the sons set up a “co op ” which employs a person full time keeping up with EU farm regulations / translating the legalese into plain englsh .
    Recently the Huston chronical caried a piece from the EU farming minister stating the EU is loosing 5 farmers a week , the EU is not a rosy place its falling into recesion , its UK revenue stream is drying up Merkel has allready stated Germany can not fill the gap , Brussels largess will have to be cut hitting the south and east , without beaing able to hand out billions the EU will fall apart .

  4. I expect history to repeat itself with the tragedy being Theresa May’s election to lead the Conservative Party and her subsequent tenure as Prime Minister, and the farce being Boris Johnson’s…

    Related to food and farming, below are some highlights of what’s supposedly on Mr. Johnson’s to-do list (as promised by the Conservative Party before the election). One of the promises is to “encourage public sector to buy British food.”

    Guarantee current agriculture budget to 2024

    Trade and standards
    ‘Raise’ animal welfare, agriculture and environmental standards
    Negotiate trade deals with USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in next three years

    Keep UK out of single market and customs union
    Negotiate a trade agreement with the EU next year

    Animal welfare
    End live exports and ‘excessively long’ journeys for slaughter and fattening

    Future farming policy
    Move to public money for public goods farm support system
    Encourage public sector to buy British food

    Access to labour
    Reduce overall numbers of immigrants and ‘lower-skilled’ migrants
    Increase annual quota for Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme to 10,000

    Protect the Green Belt
    Set up Office for Environmental Protection
    Plant an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament
    Restore peatlands
    Create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Beauty
    Make green spaces more accessible to the public

    Deliver on target to become net zero by 2050

    General Election 2019: What are the political parties promising on food and farming?
    Abi Kay, Farmers Guardian, 27 Nov 2019

  5. You may want to check, but I’m under the impression the former PM spelled his family name with two t’s… and it might be worth correcting in light of the fact there is an Atlee out and about on the net these days.

    Just a fellow Clem – attempting to stand up for the given name.

  6. Thanks for the comments. Much to agree with in all of them. Briefly:

    Joe: yep, I pretty much agree with your urban bias thesis, and the marginality of small farms until national politics becomes irrelevant – what I’ve elsewhere called a ‘supersedure state’ situation, which at least Johnson’s government is likely to expedite. I guess I’d say that locally shared spaces and resources aren’t irrelevant to urban areas, but it’s true such areas are net importers – greater attention to that through local self-help can usefully dramatize the dependency. But yes it’s an uphill struggle.

    Gunnar: much to agree with there in principle, but the political context is all. It will be hard to mourn the end of the single farm payment for the reasons that you and Clem identify, but that doesn’t mean what comes next will be an improvement. In theory, yes, this is a fine opportunity to rethink our food and farming system in positive directions – but in practice under a strong Johnson government I don’t think it will play out that way…

    Steve L: …on which note I doubt that many of these campaign promises will come to pass. Indeed, some of them are inherently contradictory, others seem to be the legacy of Michael Gove’s career-rebuiliding efforts at DEFRA which have already passed into ancient history, some of them will safely languish on the backburner (zero carbon by 2050…) and yet others are less than they seem: a national park in Britain, for example, isn’t the same as one in the US. But time will tell…

    Clem(ent?): oops, apologies – you nailed my Attlee typo down to a t. Not so sure about the impact of transport costs, which are generally low as a proportion of food prices, but yes the modelling I’ve seen suggests that commercial horticulture may be a winner from Brexit. Every cloud…

    Diogenese: I agree that the EU is a failing project – as indeed is the USA, and ultimately every political project – and I agree with some, though not all, of your reasons for its failure. However, IMO the manner of our leaving has been an enormously counterproductive waste of time and money that has contributed greatly to the impending failure of the UK too as a political project. I’ve said before that collapsing early to avoid the rush at a national level may have some advantages in the long-term, but it’s a high-risk game that I struggle to support.

    This article by Jonathan Portes is quite interesting in its predictions about how the trade deals will unfold. Perhaps I should likewise revisit my claims here in a year’s time and see where we’re at – will somebody remind me a year from now??


  7. Given the number of post-facto analyses and explanations out there it’s a pleasant surprise to find that I’m in almost total agreement with you Chris, and even the ‘almost’ is only there as an insurance policy. There are plenty of reasons to feel very worried about the future here now (as if there weren’t before…), but the silver lining does appear to be a dawning realisation amongst many on the activist left that local organising is now the way forward. It was perhaps humbling, but also very educational for many, that the great Labour campaign mobilisation was totally inadequate to convince large numbers of people that their interests were best served by the policies on offer. So attention is turning from cities to towns, and perhaps we might now try to nudge it further, towards the farms located beyond…

  8. In the wake of the election result I found myself revisiting Oswald Spengler and the idea that we’re in the time of Caesarism – a time when personality and empty slogans rather than policy and ideology will dominate the political sphere. It’s sort of comforting to imagine that the result was just some inexhorable historical process playing out – not that I didn’t expect Johnson to win, but the size of his victory did surprise me – although that’s largely a function of our disfunctional electoral model.

    All that said I think Johnson’s premiership is going to be interesting to watch, Over the past 20 ro 30 years the Conservative Party has been shrinking, in part because policies designed to enrich its members and supporters have increasingly excluded ever more people from economic opportunity – the replacement of social housing with private renting, capital gains tax regimes that favour those with wealth, EU agricultural subsidies that benefit the largest landowners the most, which I believe the Conservatives lobbied hard against capping when the EU proposed doing so. With a bit of thought I could probably create a long list. No Conservative government could easily reverse any of these things without seriously jeapordising support among its traditional constiuency – so, for example, the housing crisis is endlessly addressed by appeals to private housebuilders whose best interests are served by maintaining a shortage of houses and the housing crisis remains a crisis – its effects mostly felt by young people paying extortionate rents and the age of those young people getting ever older. So the Conservatives are/were dying out and Johnson has managed to aquire a new constituency for them – white, working class, northern, patriotic.

    How all this plays out I’ve no real idea but I do feel something is different here – the Conservative Party has to change or it will die out – Cameron tried to modernise the party but never managed to match that with an appeal beyond the Conservatives natural supporters, supporters who hated much of his modernising project (gay marriage comes to mind). To what extent that traditional support will allow Johnson to break with traditional conservatism, for instance by spending money with a profligacy that Conservatives usually ascribe to Labour politicians is moot. But he’ll have to offer the new voters he’s aquired something.

    Returning to the idea of Ceasarism I can’t help thinking of the Roman mob – who would understand the power of the mob better than a classics scholar? And I do think that’s our situation – political power attained by meaningless slogans, nativist appeals and promises of jam tomorrow. It all seems like he circles that can’t be squared but it wasn’t many weeks ago people were talking about Johnson being the shortest serving Prime Minister we’d ever had.

    PS. I wouldn’t mind a good fall in the price of land as it might make aquiring some feasable – but I’m not sure we’ll see that.

  9. It has been pointed out that the ‘Labour Party’ spawned a lot of social groups in the 1920’s & 30’s – cycling and rambling clubs that sort of thing which ‘drew in’ potential supporters

    Possibly we need to go back to the idea of a ‘movement; rather than a party for Labour or whatever replaces it

  10. Yes, I think Caesarism is an apt description for a strong tendency in contemporary global politics. I don’t share Spengler’s cultural pessimism or historical determinism but I agree that we’re likely at the end of an era in ways that Johnson, Trump etc foretell but don’t understand. Caesarism and mob rule will be one way to try to deal with its contradictions (a strategy of right-wing populism) while rural renewal, community self-organization and republican politics (a strategy of left-wing populism) will be another and better one. I agree with Andrew, John and others that building a wider movement rather than currying short-term electoral favour has to be the way to go. Labour under Corbyn made a few moves in that direction, but not enough.

  11. I think I might share Spengler’s pessimism but I think his determinism is too easy an option (even if its right and I don’t know if it is). Yes I’m absolutely with the small scale community self-organisation idea – not so much as a way of building or rebuilding a wider movement but simply as a way of surviving the capture of the political space by what I see as very destructive forces and absenting ourselves as far as possible from their impacts. Its one of the reasons why having rights to the use of land seems so important to me – perhaps not for me at this point but certainly it’s something I’d like my children to have.
    Just reread that paragraph and it does sound pessimistic. Maybe I am – looking at the election we just had it seems to me that the notion of truth has been so completely corrupted and that untruth so vigorously promoted by certain politicians, political organisations and sections of the media that meaningful political debate is no longer really possible. I found this video of Daniel Schmachtenberger talking about what he calls ‘The War on Sensemaking’ and thought it was very interesting – I need to go find part 1 now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QGrffjOFko

    • I’m OK with pessimism of the ‘things may not turn out so well here’ variety, not so much with cultural pessimism of the ‘the culture of our ancestors was superior to our own’ variety. Though I must admit I’m wavering, indeed largely because of the ‘war on sensemaking’. Case in point was a feature about Trump’s impeachment yesterday by a shell-shocked BBC which focused entirely on the president’s levels of support and not at all on what he’d actually been impeached for and the evidence for it.

      • Yes I’d normally subscribe to the former sort of pessimism and not the latter. I think Spengler might say that its not that our ancestors’ culture was superior to ours but that they had culture we didn’t. He suggests that the creative force of a ‘culture’ eventually fossilizes into ‘civilization’. which has the forms, but not the creative impulse, of culture. I probably need to go back and reread him and see but, these ideas seem somehow to speak to where I feel we, as a culture/civilization, really are.

    • Thank you for the fascinating video from Daniel Schmachtenberger. His aim at developing methods for increasing collective intelligence are laudable, but based on the experience of 71 years watching the way the US and other political systems work, I think the effort is futile. People have always weaponized just about everything, but our modern technology is now allowing those weapons such great reach that they will always overwhelm sincere, empathetic communication and sense-making, something that can really only happen face to face.

      So I also see small farming and community building as a form of protection, however tenuous, from all the weapons at play in the world and the impact of those weapons on my family and local community. My children are adults, who now live in a small city in the US. When US society disintegrates and they can no longer live there, I hope they will be able to make it home to the farm and hunker down here while everything falls apart. If they can’t, I hope that other young people with children can take their place.

      • I’m with you Joe in thinking that Schmachtenberger is well meaning but that his efforts are probably futile – he says that even some of his earlier attempts to help people step outside the culture wars have been instantly weaponised. I’m actually sort of surprised to see him on that particular youtube channel which often seems to be talking in an uncritical way many people who seem quite deeply implicated in said wars. I do think Schmachtenberger is correct when he points out that the culture war point toward real war – a point Chris Hedges often makes based on his experience in the former Yugoslavia.

        I think much of my current pessimism is rooted in the fact that it seems in the most recent election here in the UK a lot of genies were let out of a lot of bottles and I don’t see any real way of getting them back in despite well meaniung efforts like Schmachtenberger’s. Maybe lots of those things actually happened back in the referendum campaign but in my head I’d sort of seem that as something different from domestic political campaigns – not any more.

        Happy Christmas to our host and all the commentators here – one of the few places on the net where there’s robust and respectful debate which I always enjoy even when I’ve not the time to join in – Smaje for President? I know he’s about to publish his manifesto (only a little longer than Labour’s)….;-)

        • Thanks Bruce for the presidential nomination, which I’m afraid I must politely decline since I have more pressing things to do – felling trees, preparing for the growing season etc.

          And thanks Simon for heralding my talk, where indeed you will get a sneak preview of my book.

          As to ‘only a little longer than Labour’s manifesto’ – hmm, well cutting the word count is a major operation at the moment. But all is not lost. Words that don’t make it into the book may well find themselves on the blog…

  12. well Trumps impeachment is a damp squib just the result of hate not facts , Trump is popular but even amongst the democrats they saw a star chamber worhty of any banana republic , and it frightened them , no questioning of witneses allowed no defence witnesses allowed making everyone a posible victim of soviet style show trials yet congress has no prosicutable powers they are the investigative arm , the Senate is the court , guilty untill proven innocent is not the way western law is written .
    delete if you wish .

    • Trump will not be convicted by the Senate, but the silver lining there is that only a person like Trump (and his supporters) will be capable of rapidly reducing modern industrial civilization to ruins. More temperate people would keep BAU functioning for far too long, which would result in a more certain path to hothouse earth.

      The rich world is well into extreme overshoot. Trump and his ilk will move the bottleneck up to the near future rather than keep pushing it back. Pushing the bottleneck back will only increase the eventual damage, so distasteful as he may be, we should be grateful for Trump’s efforts.

      • kinda strange how politics works , trump (kinda concervative )heading headlong into energy shortages and China ( ya basic comunist ) by UN reports will be the bigest poluter at 50 % of the worlds CO 2 by 2030 .
        neither side has any answers .

      • I’m not sure, Joe. The more extravagantly we emit GHGs and generally mess with the biosphere in the short term, the quicker and therefore more unmanageable will be the blowback. And the more we elect or otherwise suffer burn-the-house-down politicians, the more divided and ill-equipped we become to develop robust communities able to weather the blowback.

        • It’s a close call. Ideally we would have political leaders who could gracefully implement degrowth, reduce carbon emissions and also spare the general population as much pain as possible. I have yet to see any politician even propose degrowth, much less demonstrate an ability to manage it well. Carbon emissions just keep going up everywhere (except Europe).

          So if our only chance is to disrupt the politics that underpins the global market economy, then it will take an extremist, with nationalistic inclinations and zero ability to provide continuity to historic economic and political norms. Trump’s trade wars, his narcissistic contempt for western alliances and his destruction of the functionality of the US federal government are all leading to the kind of operational breakdown that just might cause the global market economy to crumble. Brexit, which to me makes little sense for Britain, can only help.

          If the cost of that breakdown is a slightly higher rate of carbon emissions for a few years it is probably worth it. Only a severe and permanent global economic depression will save us. Trump may bring it on faster than anyone else. If the only immediate personal cost is gagging at his every utterance, it’s one I’m willing to bear. The really big costs will come later after economic depression takes hold. Those are the costs I am continuously preparing for.

          • Have to align more closely to Chris on the value of rapid vs slower decent. We humans don’t seem to respond well to very rapid upheaval, and our fellow life forms seem to exhibit more tolerance for gradual change in their habitat than sudden change… evolution and all.

            Under either eventuality tough there is some hope for a future… mammals appear to have survived the horrific meteor strike that took out the dinosaurs.

            Hope could use a few loyalists about now.

            I also imagine Trump may survive the coming trial in the US Senate. But I also imagine there will be consequences for the Republican party. Time will tell whether their calculus in standing behind such an unworthy miscreant will serve them well. My own fear is the damage to public civility caused by blatant disregard for facts, for civility itself, will do more immediate damage than the environmental disregard on display in the current White House.

            There are positive developments taken up by some outside the government here. This is a hopeful sign.

            So long as we commoners are ‘out’ – we can complain; but better, we can choose to take our own paths and to model better behavior. Practice makes perfect they say. As we practice a simpler, smaller, safer path we offer something for others to emulate. We can buy some precious extra moments to allow others some practice time. And we allow our fellow life forms some adjustment time as well.

  13. Chris, don’t worry – I’ve rejoined the party after a 20 odd year hiatus to take the agrarian populist revolutionary message to the good people of Leeds and beyond.
    Or at least, to try counter the green growth FALC fallacy from within – Let’s see how that one goes eh?!
    I’l post Christmas/seasonal best wishes on this thread, even though it’s not the Christmassy one – So have a great holiday, all the best for 2020 and looking forward to the book!

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