[audioplayer src="http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/thegreendelusion/media.mp3" title="Douglas Murray and Steph Smith discuss whether all young politicians are oddballs" startat=1130]
[/audioplayer]Whenever the curtain is pulled back on youthful political activism, the picture is ugly. Three years ago, in Young, Bright and On the Right, the BBC followed students at Oxbridge fighting like vipers to get ahead in their university Conservative clubs.
When world leaders met in Paris to launch the latest UN climate conference, much of the talk behind closed doors did not focus on global warming. Instead, the Paris conference has been overshadowed by more pressing and less contentious security concerns: the war in Syria, Europe’s refugee crisis and the growing threat of Islamist terrorism in the wake of the Paris massacre. The Copenhagen summit six years ago was a massive event; this year’s climate conference barely merits a mention of the front pages.
[audioplayer src="http://rss.acast.com/viewfrom22/thegreendelusion/media.mp3" title="Matt Ridley and Michael Jacobs debate the point of the Paris climate change conference" startat=31]
[/audioplayer]The next generation is watching, Barack Obama told the Paris climate conference: ‘Our grandchildren, when they look back and see what we did in Paris, they can take pride in what we did.’ And that, surely, is the trouble with the entire climate change agenda: putting the interests of rich people’s grandchildren ahead of those of poor people today.
Jeremy Corbyn is a rarity among politicians. All his enemies are on his own side. For the Tories, Ukip and the SNP, Corbyn is a dream made real. They could not love him more. As the riotous scenes at the shadow cabinet and parliamentary Labour party meetings this week showed, his colleagues see Corbyn and John McDonnell as modern Leninists who are mobilising their cadres to purge all dissidents from the party.
William Brown had the right idea about Christmas lists. Under the heading ‘Things I Want for Christmas’, he requests: a bicycle, a gramophone, a pony, a snake, a monkey, a bugal, a trumpit, a red Injun uniform, a lot of sweets, a lot of books.
The Christmas list, as William so ably demonstrates, is a rare opportunity to be shamelessly greedy. I don’t hold with the Tiny Tim business of ‘God Bless Us Every One’.
‘Crimea is ours,’ President Putin boasted last May. He was speaking on a documentary viewed by millions of Russians, and it was the culminating moment in the militarisation of Russia. Moscow had attracted criticism for spending unprecedented sums on its armed forces under Putin, despite a weak economy over-dependent on oil. The successful annexation of Crimea seemed a perfect vindication.
Yet the huge expansion of Russia’s armed forces budget was instigated not by Putin but by the defence minister, the mysterious Sergey Shoigu.
It was watching the latest film on the Krays (ludicrously called Legend) that brought it all back. I remembered not so much the deliberate and casual violence which underlay the swinging Sixties in Britain but something more personal. A recurrent question I have asked since those days is whether I personally could have prevented one of the Kray murders.
Let me go back to 1966. I was a journalist on the Times commissioned to write two articles on British prisons.
Martin Surl, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, has been buying flipflops. Hundreds of them. Not for the police, but for a local Christian volunteer team of ‘street pastors’. Earlier this year, Surl announced a £40,000 grant to cover the group’s training and resources. ‘Some things are better delivered by people who aren’t the police,’ he says.
What street pastors deliver is hard to sum up in a few words.