The climate protests, with Extinction Rebellion in the vanguard, have clearly had an effect on the real establishment elites - as opposed to the ones they invent in order to distract from their own callous and inconsiderate behaviour. As a result, the establishment elites have decided to kick back. Their desperation is such that the target they have chosen for their attack is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.
It is not only the collective idiocy at Spiked that is trying its damnedest to smear Ms Thunberg: out there on the right, an insistent yet appallingly irritating whine has begun to sound off against her. To no surprise at all, that whine belongs to the loathsome Toby Young, who is opposed to the attention the teenager is receiving. Why? He just is.
Tobes decided on pedantry as the best form of attack. “Just saw a clip of Greta Thunberg on the BBC News saying ‘since no one else is doing anything’ it’s fallen to her and her generation to do something. But Western governments are doing something. Maybe not enough, but that’s a different point. When’s someone going to call her out?” The kind of generalisation he might use in a newspaper column. But wrong when she does it.
How about suggesting everyone look over there? Sure thing. “Imagine if a 16-year-old who’d been diagnosed with Aspergers was being lionised around Europe for making speeches decrying the evils of Big Government and urging kids to skip school until welfare payments were reduced? #C4News would be covering it alright, but rather differently”. 16 is too young to have been bought by dirty corporate climate change denying money. Next.
Wasn’t he just jealous? “I just deplore the fact that schoolchildren are being encouraged to go on ‘strike’ on the basis of fake news. The U.K. govt hasn’t done ‘nothing’ to combat climate change”. So what has the UK Government done? We don’t get to find out. But we do know that Tobes is calling Fake News on others. That’s a rather brave stance.
Plus he could just add a little sleight of hand. “But we’re not just ‘ignoring’ climate change. U.K. emissions in 2017 were 43% less than in 1990”. “Doing nothing” has become “ignoring”. Also, cleaner car engines, more renewables generating electricity, far less coal being burnt. The reduction in emissions over that period is easily explained.
Problem was, no-one was listening. So time to up the ante. “Pointing out that U.K. hasn’t done ‘nothing’ to combat climate change but has in fact met its emissions reduction targets is not ‘minimising’ the problem. And the phrase ‘the wrong side of history’ has often been used by Communist tyrants to justify mass incarceration & murder”. Ri-i-i-ght.
Two things here. One, according to Full Fact, while we might have met emissions targets so far, the UK is way off track for meeting its post-2022 goals. Also, Tobes assumes that meeting those targets is sufficient, without considering it might not be. And Two, the phrase “The wrong side of history” has its origins in the years before the Russian revolution. So Stalín may have used it? So it’s cheap and misleading from Tobes.
But he’s not a pedant, honestly. “It’s not ‘pedantic’ to correct basic factual errors, particularly when hundreds of thousands of people are being misled by them. 16-year-olds don’t get a pass when it comes to spreading fake news, particularly when their youth is invoked as a reason they should be listened to”. While he keeps moaning “Fake News”.
Enough. What Ms Thunberg has told is not “Fake News”. Toby Young is beyond desperate in reaching for the expression in order to smear someone who is more popular than he and his fellow denialists are. He is more desperate in trying to link the growing climate awareness movement to “Communist tyrants”. He is not waving, but drowning.
The last word goes to Steve Anglesey: “Greta Thunberg has enthused and mobilised hundreds of thousands in 71 countries. You couldn't even get five mates to turn up to your stag do”. That, Tobes, is reality. While Ms Thunberg is helping people to realise that it isn’t a game, there is Toby Young carrying on as if nothing had happened.
Still, it keeps him in commissions and paycheques, so that’s all right, then.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at