By Ben Cohen
I had a lot of respect for the Green Party’s Sian Berry, until I read her baseless attack on George Monbiot. Berry basically accuses Monbiot for being wrong about nuclear power (he supports it with stringent regulation) because he has a bad hair cut. And no, I’m not kidding. Monbiot sums up her argument (I’ve summarized):
She starts by praising three of the remarkable women who have been making waves on climate changeTamsin Omond, Ariane Sherine and Leila Deen…….. she contrasts these inspiring people with “the alpha males of the green movement”: Mark Lynas, Chris Goodall, Stephen Tindale and myself. Unlike her and her heroes, we have committed the cardinal sin of becoming open-minded about nuclear power. But worse, far worse, we have “a tendency to be over 45 with the haircut of a WW2 fighter pilot”.
I do have that tendency. Try as I might, I can’t help myself — being 46
is one of my bad habits. As for the haircut, I won’t try to justify it,
except to say that it gives Johnny Hun a fright. But the problem,
apparently, is that “combined with their deep voices and 1940s
haircuts, this rhetoric from the alpha males frames the issue in a
‘practical expert versus excitable hysteric’ narrative that is very
hard to counteract if you are following one of them in a debate and are
young and female. No matter how much science you can quote, you’re
never going to get people to think you are making sense in that context
if you look like an MMR-shy mum.”
And that, dear reader, is the extent of the argument.
Berry’s silly piece doesn’t do her justice as she has a very fine record, but it does raise some questions as to how serious she is in dealing with political realities. While nuclear power is not the most desirable option in creating clean energy, the climate crisis is so severe, it may be the only option in curbing emissions in time to stop irreversible damage. Berry may have an intelligent counter argument to this, but so far, she hasn’t articulated it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.