Good riddance to Caroline Lucas

The departing Green MP embodies everything that’s rotten about environmentalism.

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Deputy editor

Topics Politics UK

Caroline Lucas, the UK’s only Green MP and two-time party leader, has announced she will step down at the next election. Her reasoning for doing so unwittingly reveals everything that’s rotten about environmentalism.

In a letter to her constituents, republished in Brighton’s Argus today, she says the ‘intense’ demands of being an MP have got in the way of a bigger goal – namely, working to turn back the clock on the ‘nature emergency and the climate emergency’.

Remember that famous slogan of the French gilets jaunes uprising, ‘While the elites worry about the end of the world, we worry about the end of the month’? Lucas’s letter is the complete inversion of this. While her constituents fret over their piddling problems, Caroline says she wants to focus on staving off the apocalypse. Rather than representing the interests of the people, she now wants to represent the interests of ‘the planet’.

In fact, for environmentalists like Lucas, the people are the chief barrier to planetary salvation. It is their ‘dirty’ cars, ghastly habits and tacky tastes (their ‘cheap stag nights in Riga’, as Lucas once put it) that supposedly need reining in. Meanwhile, industries that employ thousands are denounced as ‘climate crimes’.

According to Lucas, the public’s perplexing desire not to be cold and poor is driving us to oblivion. ‘The endless pursuit of economic growth, as the lodestar of economic policy, is what is driving the climate crisis’, she argues. Apparently, we are ‘obsessed’ with growth – ‘addicted’ to it, even. In her parting letter, Lucas insists that it is a ‘myth’ that growth brings us happiness. Tell that to the billions of people around the world who are still fighting to catch up to the living standards of the West.

The green hostility to wealth and growth is not just about tackling CO2 emissions, either. Over the years, Lucas has also been a trenchant critic of electrified railways and carbon-free nuclear power. It is modernity, infrastructure and human flourishing itself that environmentalists apparently find so offensive and want to tear down.

Greens, while they might not like to admit it openly, are also as critical of democracy as they are of growth. After all, Lucas was prominent among the many MPs who campaigned for a re-run of the Brexit referendum. Although this was posed as a ‘confirmatory vote’, or a ‘People’s Vote’, the aim was obvious – to overturn the wishes of the people. When asked if she would accept the result if the public went for Brexit a second time, Lucas admitted she ‘probably wouldn’t’. At one point during the Brexit wars, she even proposed replacing the elected government with an all-female ‘emergency cabinet’, which would be vested with the authority to put a stop to Brexit. The arrogance was stunning. This single Green Party MP felt she had the right to void the votes of 17.4million Brits.

The only regrettable thing about Lucas’s departure is that it won’t mark the end of the green miserablism she embodied. The Tories are wedded to Net Zero austerity. Labour is now aping Just Stop Oil. It seems that, whoever we vote for, we always end up with greens. The whole political class has given up on improving our lot.

That is not to say that Lucas – as her resignation letter might have you believe – has single-handedly turned Westminster green. She was first elected in 2010, two years after the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all put their alleged differences aside to back the Climate Change Act, the punishing consequences of which we are still living with to this day.

The greening of British politics over the past few decades – all while the UK’s Green Party has only ever had one MP – is pretty revealing. Far from being an insurgent ideology, environmentalism is now the default setting of our low-horizons establishment. They all want us to put up with less.

The end of this rotten ideology cannot come soon enough. Caroline Lucas leaving Westminster is a good start.

Fraser Myers is deputy editor at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics UK


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