Is it ethical to vote for Sian Berry?

Our ethical columnist discusses the London mayoral elections.

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

Hello Ethan,

I’m doing the web strategy and online PR for Sian Berry, the Green candidate for London mayor, and I’m wondering whether you’d be interested in answering whether it’s ethical to vote for Sian to be the next mayor of London? I really look forward to your response.

David Hollinshead,

Dear David,

Oh dear, where do I start?

Well, if I didn’t believe a) that voting in elections is a criminal manifestation of man’s arrogant desire to control ‘his’ surroundings and destiny, and b) that ‘London’ is an alien concept imposed on the south-east of ‘England’ by the plague that is the Anglo-Saxon section of humankind, and if it wasn’t for the fact that c) I live in Kent, then yes, I probably would vote for Sian Berry.

However, considering that a), b) and c) are all unquestionable facts, and so too is d) – that the Coke-drinking, turkey twizzler-scoffing, ketchup-devouring, car-driving, tabloid-buying masses are the last people on this unfortunate ball we have labelled ‘Earth’ that we should trust to choose our wise green rulers – I am afraid that I must discourage everyone from taking part in the insane traipsing to the ballot boxes in London on 1 May.

Don’t get me wrong. I like some of Ms Berry’s zesty, zingy campaigning! I have long admired, for example, her campaign against urban 4x4s. She is quite right to target those vile, big-haired, blinged-up Chelsea mums who, just because they got hitched to some thick footballer who earns £450,000 an hour, believe they have the right to stain Mother Earth’s face with their speeding carbon skidmark.

I especially liked Sian’s ‘daring protests’ (her words!) at Chelsea Football Club a couple of years ago. Remember that, David, when Sian and others dressed up as footballers’ wives, donning peroxide blonde wigs, fake fur jackets and big bug-eyed sunglasses, and adopting names like ‘Melody’ and ‘Shinaz’?! They waved placards that said ‘4x4s are minging, not blinging!’ and ‘I’d rather guzzle champagne than petrol!’ It was hilarious and inspired. Your candidate clearly has a keen eye for who are the worst pollutants in our rotten modern ‘society’: those newly moneyed, not very well-educated working classes who for some bizarre reason instantly buy big disgusting things – 4x4s, mock Tudor houses, dead-mink monstrosities – as soon as they start earning a half-decent wage.

Dressing up like these people – we might call it ‘chavving up’, after that age-old practice of ‘blacking up’! – took A LOT of guts. I mean, what if one of the footballers had mistaken Sian or one of her colleagues for an actual Essex girl and asked her on a date, or worse handed her a spiked drink in order to pursue some ulterior, nefarious purpose? Footballers do that kind of thing all the time – it was supremely brave of the comrades of ‘Stop Urban 4x4s’ to take on such a simultaneously powerful/unpredictable section of British society. Speaking to these people in the only kind of language they understand – blinging!, minging!, champagne! – was an excellent way to pry open their permanently sealed eyelids and get them to see the terror of their greedy nouveau riche ways. The bigger solution seems quite obvious to me, David: such people should be DENIED access to obscene amounts of money until they have been re-educated in the sensible, prudent ways of Waitrose-style, organic-approved, localised shopping. I propose that if Ms Berry doesn’t become London mayor, she should instantly set up a Re-Education Camp for thoughtless shoppers who have come into money but taken leave of their senses.

Sian (may I call her Sian?) has also demanded a ban on advertising for cheap flights. Yes! As I have argued many times before, David, cheap flights are without question the worst things in the entire world, after perhaps Japanese whale-hunting and new mothers knowingly bottlefeeding their babies. I mean, we can all see some tiny element of rhyme and reason in military flights, delivery flights and expensive flights (my friend Rafe takes a VERY expensive flight to Mongolia every year where he learns necklace-making with beautiful, weather-beaten locals with wrinkles), but cheap flights??!! Eeeeurgh! Cheap flights only facilitate cheap and pointless holidays for cheap and pointless people. No one NEEDS to go to King Wenceslas Square and moon the local population, do they? No one HAS TO got to southern Spain for two weeks just so they can lie in the sun and turn a mind-boggling shade of orange in order to win the ‘I’m the brownest!’ competition at a bus-stop strewn with empty beer cans in their local town or village, right? Cheap flights are an abomination against Gaia.

So it’s just brilliant that Sian wants to BAN adverts for big cars and cheap flights on the Tube and on buses. As she says, ‘that is when we’re at our most vulnerable’. Indeed. Of course, I never step foot on a bus or a Tube train – having vowed 15 years ago never to travel by any other means than foot, donkey or local wood-sourced coracle – but I have heard stories of depressed and, let’s face it, possibly a bit stupid workers sitting on over-crowded, whiffy buses and staring in wide-eyed wonder at garish adverts that say: ‘Fly to Prague for 1p and drink 18 buckets of beer with your fucking mates!’ Many people cannot resist such an offer. And as Sian knows only too well, the only solution to the rape of the skies by cheap-flying morons is to (a) restrict freedom of movement in the air, and (b) enforce severe censorship of adverts and any other form of direct cajoling. And possibly (c): ground all flights, ban all public discussion of manmade flight, and enforce severe local road and street tolls so that, like in the good old days, people rarely travel beyond the boundaries of their local town or borough. Has Sian thought about those options, David? I would be happy to discuss them with her.

As to the other candidates for London mayor… clearly none of them has Sian’s campaigning zeal. They do have some interesting ideas. I am a longstanding admirer of Ken Livingstone’s one-man war against the manmade toilet. His advice that the people of London should flush their toilets less often was one of the bravest and most inspired political statements of recent decades. However, he didn’t go far enough. It’s not good enough to say ‘If it’s brown, flush it down – if it’s yellow, let it mellow’. No, people should be encouraged to stop using toilets altogether and to recycle their nutrient-rich and extremely useful shit and piss. My motto is: ‘If it’s brown, bury it in the ground. If it’s yellow, recycle it like a good fellow.’ Buried poo is wonderful for Gaia’s complexion and urine can be recycled as all sorts of vitamin-packed smoothies and shakes for the whole family to enjoy. Will any of the candidates be brave enough to call for the ABOLITION of the toilet, David, and for the enforced recycling of our daily excrement?

Then there’s Boris. Silly, oafish, floppy-haired Boris. Yet even he has some good points. He hates bendy-buses – good. He rides a bike – great. He’s posh and possibly a bit aristocratic… That is also good. After all, some of the most wonderful greens – Jonathon Porritt, Zac Goldsmith, the entire board of directors and dinner-party wing of the Optimum Population Trust – come from super-privileged and super-wealthy backgrounds. There is something about their open, airy, green upbringings in big country mansions, something about their instinctive suspicion of ‘little people’, following centuries of experience in quashing unrest and saying no to grubby-faced urchins who asked ‘Can I have some more, sir?’, which makes them good upstanding environmentalists not afraid to enforce austere, belt-tightening, country-preserving measures. So there is hope even for Boris.

Unfortunately, however, I must encourage my readers NOT to vote in the mayoral elections. I’m sorry, but voting is a crime against the planet. Who are we to decide what should happen in London, or England, or on Earth itself? If we are serious about limiting our human footprint on the planet, in disenfranchising, if you like, the spread of the human virus, then surely we should start by voting against the bizarre idea of manmade elections? I say ban them. After all, election time is when we are at our most vulnerable.

Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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