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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Letter to Princess Anne - following her trip to Greece

Dear Anne,

I watched with little interest your trip to Greece to bring back the “Olympic” flame. Unfortunately, there was not much I could do at the time to avoid it. It was covered in all the newspapers, all the television stations and most of the standard web sites such as Yahoo. All the well-paid editors of these organisations told us what a great and important job you were doing and how we should all be so grateful for your efforts.

I ask you to consider the absurdity of your actions and in future to show sensitivity to the minority of people in this nation that have pressing concerns about climate change. Not everyone is bowled over by consumerist propaganda, and some are quite distressed by it. Unfortunately, I can only assume that the privilege you enjoy prevents you understanding we have exceeded all the worst-case predictions on climate change. As a direct consequence, we face the inevitability of our civilisation collapsing by the end of this century, or worse the extinction of all virtually all life on our beautiful planet.

It is therefore totally unacceptable to see you flying all the way to Greece to pick up the tiniest little flame. Your flight would have contributed about 50 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere. There is the certain irony of the flames in the jet engines sustaining your flight dwarfing the pathetically flickering ember you brought back with you.

Like it or not, you and David Beckham, are amongst the top excess consumers in our society. Relatively simple maths shows that the top 5% of our society are responsible for about 30% of the global CO2 emissions. This group of top consumers are antisocial and destructive. As a key member of this group, you maintain your position in it through a symbiotic relationship with the same big corporations that are threatening us with further unsustainable growth. In case you did not notice, the airline that flew you was BA. While it tries to demonstrate egalitarianism with your outing, it simultaneously subverts the government’s attempts to cut the aviation industry’s carbon emissions. Its sponsorship of the Olympics is merely another element of an ongoing propaganda onslaught to make us believe that ignoring environmental responsibilities is the normality we should all accept.

As well as your own reckless excess consumption, there is also the question of your parenting ability and the morality that you instil in your children. Unfortunately, I could not avoid the reports of your daughter parading the Olympic torch around Cheltenham on her pet horse. Did you suggest at any time to your daughter that perhaps supporting one of the biggest propaganda exercises since the 1936 Nazi Olympics is not the best thing that someone in her position should be doing? I put it to you that encouraging your daughter to support consumption to excess just because the privilege of her birth allows her to do so is no better than someone at the bottom of society joining the riots in the city centres last year to enjoy the same pleasures of unbridled consumption. 

What further irony that as you flew all the way to Greece to get your little spark, and rubbed your privilege into the wounds of Europe’s first failed state, the Home Secretary was putting in place plans to stop waves of Greek economic migrants flooding our country. Her plans will be supported by force if necessary. The sad fact is that your actions support the absurdity of our country happily waving nationalistic Union Jacks as we firmly shut our borders to the desperate and disposed, while allowing the privileged and powerful of the Olympics to indulge themselves at our expense.

In these increasingly troubled times, we should not be surprised if we see a resurgence of extreme right wing nationalism. Nationalism is after all, what the institutions of this country put above everything else and what they are there to support. It seems that with Royal Weddings, Golden Jubilees and Olympics, they have never been so busy getting the masses ready for the forthcoming crises.

I am sure that you must be delighted to be playing your part.

From a citizen of the world, and a subject to no one,
Kevin Lister

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