You can’t be an environmentalist without being a hypocrite. It’s obvious why: we aspire to something which we can’t easily achieve. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need environmentalists. If you didn’t aspire to it, you wouldn’t be true. Today the darkest greens need broadband and laptops to communicate with, even if they might abhor some of the ramifications of the internet.
Here is a parallel, closer to Brexit. A chap I was at school with, Robert Loomes, based in Stamford, Lincs, makes a wristwatch manufactured entirely in Britain. It is a true, British product we can be proud of. But is the white gold mined in Britain with British-built machines? No, and that does not matter. Principles have to be applied within reason – pushing the conventional borders but not to the point of impossibility or insanity.
If you are well informed, you understand that life on the planet is a fiendishly complex web of living organisms interacting. You pull out one part of that web and you weaken it in some way. The more parts you pull out, the more you weaken it, until the thing collapses. Anyone who played jenga (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenga) would know about that; or a carpet maker – you can remove threads and no-one will notice, until the point that you have no carpet anymore.
Enmeshed in that web of life is real ale and village greens with cricket and beef-eaters, and bulldogs and even Morris Dancers. And not just facile examples, but the food that feeds working people across the country, the air they breathe, the water that gives them life. Everything that is Great Britain is by definition a subset of the life on the planet.
If you are a reasonable and intelligent person, you recognise that. You would not deride and undermine the people who are trying to sustain the fabric and bedrock of the existence which you cherish. Actually, they cherish the same things as Nigel Farage does. The difference is that they actually want to protect those things fundamentally, not just dream about them.
Before divert attention from the key issues, by mocking the way that environmentalists travel, it is important that Nigel Farage grows up a bit and starts to understand the substance of what they are saying. And then encourage his followers to do the same. It would be a service to them and their children.
It is a sign of limited imagination and understanding to believe that Conservative living or even “right wing values” are incompatible with caring for the planet. There are plenty of Conservative philosophers with a robust case for being green. Take the British thinker, Roger Scruton, for example.
I know that some people bristle at the idea of people “telling them what to do”. It hits their identities full on, because their sense of personal sovereignty assumes they are doing everything right anyway and no outsider should impose on their “freedom”.
It doesn’t take much quiet reflection to see it differently – if my freedom is unnecessarily fucking up someone else’s or something else’s freedom, then any reasonable person recognises that communication, compromise and compassion might be needed. If it takes someone else to draw that to my attention, of course I should listen. If I am about to reverse into an old lady, I should be glad that someone points it out to me (even if that person were a serial killer, for that matter).