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COP, Cops and Cop-outs by Val Waldron

We’ve stolen enough from our young. The imposed ‘debt’ from two world wars must be dropped. Inequality between generations belongs in the bin with the rest of the culture wars currently raging across the western world. We need each other. We’re as interconnected as the earth and the sea.

Who and what are the winners, losers and big fat failures of COP26? Time will tell, but we don’t have much time. A scan with a wide angled lens might offer an impression of the direction of travel.

The Delegates

The success or failure of the ‘1.5 degrees’ from the Paris Agreement essentially lies in the hands of the 1% or so who still own half of the world’s wealth. If politicians with private jets and enormous cavalcades don’t sound your internal alarm, note that the largest delegation at the conference consisted of 503 fossil fuel lobbyists.

Not all delegates were wealth and power centred egomaniacs though. We should differentiate between the above and the many indigenous people who made the journey here with few resources, no guarantee of accommodation and with a life-or-death agenda. They have everything to lose but could never be described as losers. That title belongs to others.

There was strong competition for the title of ‘Biggest Self-promoting Blowhard’, but Bezos and his moving (to himself) ‘Earth from Space’ speech reminded us yet again that the wrong Amazon is under threat.

Barak Obama arrived in ‘Glass-cow’ with a disappointing whiff of Yesterday’s Man, and a disorienting reference from ‘The Emerald Isle’ about the evils of Nationalism. A confusing and sad attempt at relevance. The message; I’m not Trump.

Johnson, whose final task involved a shameful and unconvincing denial of the UK as Sleaze Central, also appeared to be disorientated in time and place. Amidst the napping and hospital visiting without masks, he later referred to the host city as Edinburgh. Whether careless or deliberate, he wins the ‘BS Blowhard’ award because he’s also a total hypocrite and a liar.

 

The Talks and the Take-aways

No, not the ones over-flowing in the bins that no-one within a red flag of the conference saw. I refer to the discovery that fossil fuels can now be named as a major contributor to climate change. Pity help us. Nursery stuff for today’s kids. The promises, or rather the possibilities that some countries may agree to phase out, no, phase down emissions and reduce deforestation of the Amazon within 30 years, or maybe the next 100 is euphemistically known as ‘A Start’. Thank goodness India and China agreed to be scapegoats at the last moment. Nothing much more to say on the substantial tone of the agreements than Bla bla bla.

 

Policing – An Embarrassment of Polis

What fresh Hell on the Clyde! Just another set of assorted ‘Police Play-People’ figures doing kid-on Search and Rescue operations and scaling bridges. A colourful variety of uniform accessories and accents from the City of London and beyond, with an equally impressive set of skills from kettling to lying.

One thing is for sure, they don’t like red flags. They don’t like XR, and they don’t mind saying that it’s all in the name of public safety when our State Broadcaster asks. On the other hand, eyewitnesses confirm several incidences of over-enthusiastic policing. Dawn raids by the Met and Welsh forces on accommodation, unnecessary diversions through an unlit park for local residents during a VIP event and tortuous long lasting kettlings only served to reduce public confidence in Plod. It’s an overall fail by the UK’s Finest.

 

The Hosts

There seemed to be some confusion over whether COP26 was hosted by the UK, Glasgow or the UN. For Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar the bins and rats were always going to ‘highlight’ Glasgow as host. His failed attempt to weaponize a worker’s strike suggests that he really does hate his own city. PM Johnson, by contrast took full British Nationalist UK ownership and decided that there was ‘No way she…’ (the First Minister) was getting anywhere near COP.

Nicola Sturgeon engaged in soft diplomacy via meetings, interviews, posed photographs and a Ted Talk. She schmoozed with everyone from politicians to leaders of actual relevance, like Greta Thunberg. Much of this activity was beautifully presented in a photomontage prepared by a bitter opponent who intended his artwork as an attempt to present the FM as an intruder in her own city. In her own words ‘…and if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to showcase Scotland to make sure that we are playing our full part, then I’m pretty sure my political opponents would be queuing up to criticise me if I hadn’t been here as much as I have.’

A massive backfire for Montage Man and those Red and Blue Tories, all largely irrelevant throughout COP. Let’s call it out as another fail. Maybe not in the same league as the shocking display of Tory corruption and sleaze that continues to run in the background like a broken sewage pipe, but nevertheless a petty display of jealousy and self-interest at a time of maximum need and opportunity for our continued existence. Shame on them all. Get in the sea with the raw sewage that pollutes England’s waterways.

 

The Fringe -Bla bla bla

‘You can shove your climate crisis up your arse’. Greta Thunberg COP26 2021.

Thousands of people will keep up the pressure for real change as world leaders settle back on their haunches. While massively over-priced accommodation stole the headlines, an army of volunteers quietly hosted visiting activists at their own expense and gave their time and energy to showcase a different and vibrantly humane side the event.

Two massive marches and rallies and a series of smaller and often spontaneous events and gatherings took over the streets. Community green spaces came alive with fire, food and music. Giant puppets and climate activists made long difficult journeys. Whether silent and dignified or energised and percussive, protest pulsed through Glasgow, giving this COP its heart and historical perspective. This was Glastonbury on speed, but you couldn’t miss the gravity of the message.

For a close up of fringe activities and street activism check out posts by editor Neil Scott (@nwScotty) on http://leftungagged.org

 

The Young

For many of us the most enduring impression of COP26 is of children fighting hard for a future. We now have a largely self-educated global population of young politically aware climate activists. For activist, read anyone out of nappies who understands that the future of the planet lies in their hands. If that doesn’t make you angry, it really should.

Climate activism must not be left to those with most to lose from the failure of older generations and self-serving capitalists. In the UK, with rising food and fuel costs and imposed Tory poverty it’s about basic survival for many of us, old and young, but where we can act we simply have to.

We’ve stolen enough from our young. The imposed ‘debt’ from two world wars must be dropped. Inequality between generations belongs in the bin with the rest of the culture wars currently raging across the western world. We need each other. We’re as interconnected as the earth and the sea. If you’re lucky/old enough to pick up a final salary pension or have children in your life, it’s time to look outwards. On a global scale, if we weren’t listening to those who made their way to Glasgow to tell us about the threat of actual extinction of countries and communities it’s time we did.

 

For more current debate and comment from the Ungagged team tune in weekly to this week’s Holyrude podcast

 

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Val Waldron

 

 

 

 

 

 

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