Tories confirm contempt of young people with response to climate change protests 2 years ago

Tories confirm contempt of young people with response to climate change protests

In the face of ecological collapse, Conservatives are more concerned about 'truancy'

On Friday, thousands of teenagers and primary school children demanded action on climate change. They protested in London, Oxford, Leeds and across the rest of the UK. Students bunked off school and others walked out en masse at 11am, allowing the movement to describe itself as a strike, for others it was half term.


In London, demonstrators staged a sit in at the junction near Parliament Square and on Westminster Bridge. Their message was clear and simple: political leaders are not doing enough to combat climate change, it's time to take positive action before it's too late.

It may be already.

People at the protest felt patronised and disenfranchised. Several called for the voting age to be lowered to 16 so that political parties actually have some skin in the game when it comes to their demands.

GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 15: Schoolchildren take part in a nation-wide student climate march in George Square on February 15, 2019 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.Thousands of UK pupils from schools, colleges and universities will walk out today for a nationwide climate change strike. Students in 60 cities from the West Country to Scotland are protesting, urging the government to declare a climate emergency and take action over the problem. They are keen that the national curriculum is reformed and the environmental crisis is communicated to the public. Similar strikes have taken place in Australia and in European countries such as Belgium and Sweden. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) Schoolchildren protest in Glasgow (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell)

When asked whether the prime minister supported the strike, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "It is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers' workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for."


Andrea Leadsom, a Conservative MP and leader of the House of Commons, tweeted "It's called truancy, not a strike," before rowing back a bit:

That was the response of two of the most senior Tories in the country. You can see why the protesters were chanting "fuck Theresa May."


This is the same Conservative party that wants you to think it is concerned about the environment. Yesterday's response is a clear cut example that no matter how many times David Cameron says "vote blue, go green" or Michael Gove announces a ban on straws after an episode of Blue Planet II, Tory claims of concern for the environment come across as disingenuous.


Yesterday's demonstration was an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to tackling the single greatest security threat to the UK and the rest of the planet - something they claim to support. Instead, it chose to attack young people for political participation.

By way of contrast, here's how the left of British politics responded:


Addressing a strike in Brighton, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: "Our children recognise that this is a climate emergency.

"They are striking this week because they know we cannot carry on as normal."

The only thing perhaps more worrying than impending ecological collapse is the increasing tendency to view the issue through a left/right lens. When did the extinction of the human race become party political?