Like many people, my reaction to the all-white protest by Black Lives Matter UK at London City Airport was general disbelief. It wasn’t just BLMUK’s glaring diversity problem (what, no black faces?), but the curious collision of environmentalist and racial politics afoot – namely, the cry that ‘climate crisis is a racist crisis’.
Many remarked that the incident seemed ‘beyond parody’. I thought it actually was a parody. I suspected the whole thing to be a practical joke, a prank in the spirit of Chris Morris, Sacha Baron Cohen or Cyderdelic – the fictitious West Country direct-action group who urged us to ‘overthrow capitalism and replace it with something nicer’.
It transpires that it wasn’t a spoof. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Identity politics has, for some time now, inhabited the realm of the surreal. Ever since the turn of the millennium, when racism stopped being something that happened – an empirical phenomenon that could be observed and accounted for – and became a mysterious and ethereal force that was ‘institutional’, ‘unwitting’ or ‘unconscious’, no area of life has been free from the irrefutable charge of racism. It’s a magical word that makes you look important and virtuous. It’s a voodoo allegation for which there is no reasonable answer.
The truly depressing thing about the matter was not the turn it represented in identity politics. The politics of race is now run by fatheads and grandstanding imbeciles. We accept this. The tragedy in question is how the serious scientific matter of climate change became hijacked by politics.
The issue of global warming, as it used to be called, was originally appropriated by leftist agitators of different hues in the 1980s. In it they spotted a means to further their anti-modern, anti-Western, anti-capitalist agendas. It became a convenient avenue in which they could call for greedy, carbon-emitting corporations to be punished. In the name of saving the Earth, they could further their anti-consumer ideology against us selfish, braindead slaves to capitalism who like cheap food from supermarkets. Anarchists and communists jumped on the climate-change bandwagon, what with its one-world possibilities of challenging the legitimacy of nation states. Vegetarians told us it was proof that we shouldn’t eat burgers. After the fall of the Berlin Wall came disillusioned post-Marxist, post-humanist, anti-human Malthusians, for whom climate change was proof of human selfishness, wickedness and sin.