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Cheers, Andrea

You may remember, back in the dim and distant mists of time, the rise of David Cameron. As he clambered to the top of the landfill pile which passes for the modern Conservative party, David enjoyed warbling about green issues. he would lead "the greenest government ever" he twatted about in the Arctic Circle parping on about huskies.

Whilst this was clearly a focus group inspired shift in the Tory line designed to attract a few Centrists who like to congratulate themselves for doing their recycling (and it worked, to an extent) it did at least signal that the conservative Party had belatedly grasped the idea that environmental issues were a concern for some of the electorate. as time has worn, and the situation has been revealed to be even worse than we thought back then in the heady days of the noughties, this has only grown more true.

Which is why any politician with even the vaguest sense of how the electorate feel would have applauded yesterday's climate strike, in which thousands of young people, disgusted by the inaction of their elders, marched on climate issues, making their voices heard. we're often lectured about the lack of engagement of young people, they don't vote, they're not interested. Brexiteers chuckle about how they should have voted in the referendum then, shouldn't they? It's a lazy trope. And here they are, marching on an issue which exercises them, making their voices heard. Their voices which, as the generation who will suffer the impacts of climate change far more than most people currently sitting in parliament should, on this issue, carry more weight.

HM Government should, at the very least, have noted this with some carefully prepared line about listening to the issues. But they responded with disdain, mockery, sneering. May bemoaned the disruption of "hard-working" (people are always "hard-working" when she wants to add a bit of emphasis about feeling your pain) teachers plans (bit rich from the administration which has bled the education system dry). Leadsom honked "it's not a strike, it's truancy", a particularly unpleasant piece of dismissal which lays bare the attitude of the party to anyone who are not their immediate peers. They don't count.

A sensible political class would have thanked these students for engaging with the issues, would have praised their initiative, even if they hated it. This lot sent in the mounted police. So cheers Andrea, for reminding anyone who may still have Cameron's faux-inclusivity as their Conservative archetype that it was all a pose. That this administration cares not for the environment, and cares even less for the attitudes and concerns of young people. Cheers Andrea, for a timely reminder that the Conservative and Unionist Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland cares about one thing and one thing only, and that's itself. May's increasingly desperate manoeuvres to mollify her right-wing headbangers over Brexit have already illustrated that party is more important than country. What yesterday proved is that party is, to them, more important than planet.


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