The Independent’s John Hari slams David Cameron for his atrocious record on the environment:
Can you hear the silence of the huskies? When he was rebranding the Tory party, David Cameron promised us he would lead “the greenest government ever”. Since he came to power, he has broken every environmental promise he made – and then gone much further. He has opened up the coasts of Britain to the deep-sea drilling that worked so well in the Gulf of Mexico, and put a “for sale” sign outside every single remaining forest in England. Yes, as his own Environment minister puts it, Cameron is determined to “dispose of public forest” – and the timber companies and holiday parks are preparing their opening bids.
In order to raise £2bn, the Government is selling all 650,000 acres of our forests – a privatisation that even Margaret Thatcher blanched at. These are the most popular outdoor spaces in Britain. They are the last places where millions of people can go to escape their anxieties and glimpse what Britain looked like to our ancestors for millions of years. They are the site of some of our most potent national myths: what would Robin Hood say if he knew Sherwood Forest itself was now on the market?
Cameron has of course masked all this in rhetoric, claiming that selling off public land will ’empower communities’ (he thinks that environmentalists will purchase the land), but as Hari points out:
Sources within the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs say that, unsurprisingly, only about 1 per cent of the sales are anticipated to go to local co-operatives or green groups.
This double speak is becoming increasingly dangerous as Cameron and his band of extremist free marketers dismantle the state in front of the publics eyes while soothingly telling everyone it’s really ‘progressive’ policy.
The effects of the privatization of Britain’s forests will be felt for generations. Once they have been sold, it will be virtually impossible to get back, and Britain will have lost vast swathes of its natural landscape to private industry.
The only positive spin I can put on this is that the effects will be so horrendous the Tories will make themselves unelectable for years to come. Unfortunately, the damage may not be reversible.
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.