Greta thunberg

Too many tales of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

A book about hedgehogs is not the obvious next step for Sarah Sands, the former editor of Radio 4’s flagship news programme Today, and before that editor of the Evening Standard. But then Sands has had a rough time of it lately. In The Hedgehog Diaries, she recounts the death of her father, Noel, the news broken to her by her brother, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, who had to climb through a window of her Norfolk house to do so since she wasn’t answering her phone. Hesketh-Harvey, who was a writer and performer and a great favourite of the King, died not long afterwards of heart failure. Julian Sands, the actor made

In defence of cows

‘They’re going to have to stop cows,’ said my mother, looking doubtfully down at her plate as we tucked into a roast dinner. It was not like her to come over all veganistic, but she had been watching the BBC where she had got hold of the idea that cows might have to be banned because ‘they can’t stop them breaking wind’. Put the entire working population on veganism for a week and see what happens And nor should they, said I, cutting off a juicy slice to push into my mouth, the builder boyfriend and my father also chomping away as we sat around my parents’ dining table. I

Who fact checks the fact-checkers?

Last week, a retired physics professor called Nick Cowern said it was time to get tough with ‘climate denialists’. ‘In my opinion the publication of climate disinformation should be a criminal offence,’ he posted on Twitter. He was ridiculed, but what sounds ludicrously over-the-top today could easily become the norm tomorrow. At least four EU member states have made it a criminal offence to spread disinformation – Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and France – and others including Ireland are preparing to do the same. In the UK, the Online Safety Bill will introduce a new false communications offence. I have a dog in this fight since I run a news publishing

Does Nicola Sturgeon care more about oil revenue or climate change?

‘Now, as I’ve hopefully made clear throughout all of my remarks, the North Sea will continue to produce oil for decades to come. It still contains up to 20 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. Our primary aim – and I want to underline and emphasis this – our primary aim is to maximise economic recovery of those reserves.’ The words are from a speech made in June 2017, a few months after the Paris Agreement that aimed to limit climate change came into effect. A speech by a pro-oil Conservative, or perhaps the head of an industry group working on behalf of the oil sector? No. They are, in fact,

Greta Thunberg is right

I am not usually on the same page as Greta Thunberg but she is absolutely right when she accuses the UK of lying about cutting its carbon emissions by 44 per cent since 1990. I have heard ministers repeatedly make this claim on radio and television while hardly ever being challenged on it — so I am thankful that Thurnberg has done what others have failed to do. The government’s 44 per cent claim is based on its official figures for territorial emissions — i.e. those physically spewed out within the UK. It excludes emissions from international shipping, aviation, the manufacture of goods elsewhere in the world for the benefit

Is climate change to blame for Germany’s flooding?

Greta Thunberg has declared the floods in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to be the product of man-made climate change, adding ‘We’re at the very beginning of a climate and ecological emergency, and extreme weather events will only become more and more frequent.’ Well, that’s sorted out that one, then. We hardly need Angela Merkel or the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, to confirm it for us. Nor, indeed, do we need to hear from Michael Mann – aka Mr Hockey Stick – to tell us that the floods are the living embodiment of what climate scientists have been warning us about for decades. It was climate change

Greta Thunberg doesn’t like you

Dorian Lynskey recently wrote a piece celebrating Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday entitled ‘Bob Dylan doesn’t like you‘. The article highlighted the disdain Dylan has for fans, critics, journalists, and even the Nobel Prize Committee. Feted as the voice of a generation, and often acting like it, he still has nothing but scorn for those who acclaim him as such. Another ‘voice of a generation’, some three generations removed, Greta Thunberg has been acclaimed by many politicians for her climate activism. But there is little sign that Thunberg has anything but scorn for them in return. It would be fair to say to most world leaders ‘Greta Thunberg doesn’t like you’. The most

Unhappy blend of melodrama and allegory: Southwark Playhouse’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice reviewed

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a musical fantasy set in a Nordic town near the Arctic circle. Johan is a magician whose healing powers have won him the respect of his neighbours. But his rebellious daughter, Eva, has been expelled from school for scrawling ‘down with the patriarchy’ on a mirror. She’s also suspected of trying to sabotage a local factory that refines energy from the Northern Lights. The wicked factory owner, Fabian, is an emotional cripple who lives with his sick mother and rejects claims that the aurora is fading because too much energy has been extracted from it. If he continues to run the factory at full tilt, he

Skates on the edge of parody: The 1975’s Notes on a Conditional Form reviewed

Grade: B+ Just what you wanted. An opening track that matches banal piano noodling to an address by Greta Thunberg. Followed by a hugely unconvincing stab at tuneless industrial metal on a song called ‘People’, in which the aforementioned — me and you, not them, of course — are cautioned to ‘WAKE UP!!’ Leafy Wilmslow’s middle-class skag-head prophet, Matty Healy, is back, then, with a series of injunctions for us all, spread over interminable length and always skating on the very edge of parody. The 1975 are probably Britain’s biggest ‘rock’ band — those quote marks are needed — and this vast slab of pretentious, gullible, vacuous commendations to us

Why schools should stay shut

Has the stock of any politician fallen more sharply, these past three or four years, than that of Shami Chakrabarti? As the leader of Liberty, and an almost weekly performer on the BBC’s Question Time, she was a respected purveyor of leftish sanctimony to the masses, a humourless voice of conscience and, I think, self-regard. The battles she fought then were at least, in the main, on the side of decency — and while we might have found her a little trying and even bumptious, there seemed no doubt that here was a young woman motivated by principle. That notion was swiftly expunged when she accepted a brief from Jeremy

What a relief to no longer have to pretend to be sociable

Hulking fat chavs pushing shopping trolleys full of lavatory paper back to their Nissan Micras. I can’t think of a better image to sum up the coronavirus crisis right now. I saw a bunch of them outside my local branch of Morrisons on Sunday morning, their expressions uniformly defiant and smug. One family had at least ten multipacks in their trolley — and nothing else. Surely one cannot live on toilet tissue alone, no matter how agreeably scented it might be? I assumed they were part of the panic-buying crowd, although having seen the size of their arses it may well be that this was simply their requisite amount for

Did Greta do a Corbyn?

Has Greta Thunberg been caught out repeating the same trick as Jeremy Corbyn? Thunberg tweeted an image of herself sitting on the floor of what she described as an ‘overcrowded’ train on her way back to Sweden: However, the tweet quickly sparked controversy with German train operator Deutsche Bahn appearing to derail Greta’s suggestion that she had been forced to sit on the floor, claiming she had a ‘seat in first class’: Greta quickly hit back, claiming that ‘overcrowded trains’ are a ‘great sign’: Back in 2016, Jeremy Corbyn found himself in a similar situation after he published a video of him sitting on the floor of a supposedly overcrowded

Panto should be about escapism, not saving the planet

If you were hoping to escape the bilge that’s been pumped out by supposedly neutral organs of the state during this general election campaign — the BBC, schools, the NHS — I don’t recommend going to see a pantomime. Gramsci’s long march through the institutions has finally reached the last redoubt of political incorrectness. Say goodbye to bum-pinching, boob-squeezing and irreverent, smutty gags about holier-than-thou political figures; say hello to anti-austerity scripts, racially sensitive casting and three-hour lectures on climate change. You think I’m making it up? Oh no I’m not! A new version of Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole written by former Blue Peter

If parliament were more modern, might it become less aggressive?

I’m writing this in Crete where a late summer has seen brilliant sunshine and temperatures reaching 25°C — but can I enjoy it? The unrelenting diet of gloom coming at me from every direction leads me to question even the dazzling blue Aegean and the cloudless sky. It’s surely a sign of global warming and the possibility that we are, quite possibly, doomed. I worry about Jeremy Corbyn. Will he be in Downing Street by Christmas Day? Will Trump have started world war three? Will Orfordness lighthouse, which has stood valiantly on its little shingle spit since 1792, have finally fallen into the sea? Everywhere I look, the tide is

Portrait of the week: An election date is set, al-Baghdadi dies and a row over gay giraffes

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, having shelved his Brexit Bill in the face of parliamentary opposition, persuaded the Commons to vote by 438 to 20 for a general election on 12 December. A one-clause Bill was given its third reading after an amendment put by Labour to change the date to 9 December was defeated by 315 to 295. That majority of 20 coincided with the voting power of 10 MPs to whom the Conservative whip had earlier that day been restored, including Alistair Burt, Ed Vaizey and Sir Nicholas Soames, but not Philip Hammond, Sir Oliver Letwin, David Gauke, Dominic Grieve or Kenneth Clarke. The government had failed

The cult of youth damages everyone | 10 October 2019

We’ve begun to behave as if young people are special; more virtuous and wiser than adults. It’s wrong and it’s creepy and we’ve got to stop it — not for our sake so much as for theirs. It looks as if, come Friday, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg will win the Nobel peace prize, and if she does the whole Nobel show will double up as a sort of topping-out ceremony for the cult of youth. It’ll be the final proof that even the most sophisticated adults in the world have signed up to the bonkers idea that children can somehow intuit the answers to humanity’s existential problems, though Lord knows what

Mary Wakefield

The cult of youth damages everyone

We’ve begun to behave as if young people are special; more virtuous and wiser than adults. It’s wrong and it’s creepy and we’ve got to stop it — not for our sake so much as for theirs. It looked, for a terrible moment this week, as if 16-year-old Greta Thunberg would win the Nobel peace prize. On Thursday, 96 per cent bets placed with William Hill were for Greta. Though in the end, the prize went to Abiy Ahmed, the sheer volume of votes for Greta was proof that even the most sophisticated adults in the world have signed up to the bonkers idea that children can somehow intuit the

Toby Young

You have to laugh at Extinction Rebellion

I ventured out into Westminster earlier this week to take a look at the Extinction Rebellion protest and it reminded me of the Edinburgh Fringe. I don’t just mean the sheer number of people in fancy dress, such as the Red Rebels with their red robes and white face paint, or the men in gas masks. I mean it was like a huge piece of political street theatre written by a brilliant satirist. Wherever you looked there were little comic vignettes. At one point, having become slightly numb listening to one activist after another condemn ‘western consumerism’, I popped into Pret a Manger, only to be confronted by protestors politely queuing

As Greta and Malala show, the children know best

The first book I ever produced, some 50 years ago, was a collection of poetry written by children. I called it Children’s Words. There are poems in there by the young Daniel Day Lewis and Montagu Don, among others, and another by one Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I was a young teacher trying all I could to help children find their voices. It was at a time when teachers were not so confined to and driven by a narrow curriculum, the children not so taught to the exam, not so force-fed. So teachers like me could all have more time and space to explore ideas, discover worlds, write our poetry, tell

The problem with Greta Thunberg’s sea crossings

Greta Thunberg’s yacht, the Malizia II, has delivered her to the UN climate conference in New York – two weeks after she first set sail from Europe. The transatlantic trip was a masterstroke in PR, with every major media outlet broadcasting updates on the journey and detailing the hardships Thunberg has endured – no toilet, no shower and sea sickness. The accusations of hypocrisy have also rolled in thick and fast, criticising everything from the plastic water bottles used by the crew, to the long-haul flights taken by the sailors responsible for returning the yacht to Europe. Thunberg has discovered the perils of pursuing such an ideologically pure cause: if you preach