Boris Johnson in hypocrisy overload as he slams Labour’s environmental policies

“Labour has more or less given up on the green agenda, because we’re doing so many things, whether it’s reducing the use of plastic bags, or whatever."

Boris Johnson sparked not one but several backlashes at a hustings in Darlington on Friday.

He was condemned as ‘crass’ and ‘anti-immigrant’ for saying ‘everyone should speak English’ when asked about immigrants. Welsh party Plaid Cymru said the fact he didn’t even consider Welsh speakers ‘just proves that Wales isn’t even an afterthought to him.’

But his comments on the Conservatives’ environmental record also raised some eyebrows.

Asked about how to appeal to young people, Johnson responded:

“We’ve got a fantastic record of environmental improvements. This is the party that champions clean battery technology…erm…all the improvements in air quality we’ve seen in the last few years…

“Labour has more or less given up on the green agenda, because we’re doing so many things, whether it’s reducing the use of plastic bags or whatever.

“[We’re] doing so many things on the environment that they feel the Tory party is now the party of a cleaner and better environment. That’s a winner for us. The jobs we’re creating in clean technology will continue to expand for years to come…and that’s a message we can really sell to young people.”

While Theresa May adopted a ‘net zero‘ carbon target by 2050 in her last weeks in office, it fell far short of the 2040 date many green campaigners say is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe – and not a single penny in extra funding was pledged to reach it. Moreover, the Tory government has repeatedly been taken to court over illegal levels of air pollution in many parts of the UK. Johnson himself has previously tried to cast doubt on climate change, in comment pieces.

Labour appear to be moving towards backing a 2030 net zero target, and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said companies will be delisted if they fail to tackle climate change. The party are also set to bolster the Bank of England’s powers to steer green investment.

Aliya Yule, co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal told Left Foot Forward:

“These are deeply ironic claims from Boris Johnson, whose campaign is being funded by climate change deniers.The truth is he has never shown any interest in the ‘green agenda’. Rather the only agendas he serves are his own and those of his billionaire friends. 

“Johnson and his party have proved themselves totally unfit to respond to the climate emergency we face. The Tories’ nine years in office have shown they are the party of dirty energy and climate breakdown, sanctioning fracking and huge fossil fuel investment.

“Meanwhile Labour have shown that they are prepared to take the radical action needed to avert the climate collapse. Not only is Labour promising 400,000 green jobs and nearly 2 million solar panels, but party members are laying out a plan for a radical Green New Deal which would transform the basis of our economy in order to allow a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“For the good of our planet, the next leader of the Conservative Party should step aside and let Labour get on with it.”

Amelia Womack, deputy leader of the Green Party, said:

“Any Tory claim to environmental leadership from this government is, sadly, laughable. There is Michael Gove talking big on plastics then failing to progress a bottle deposit scheme, talking about ending unnecessary plastic use by 2042. I mean really, 2042!”

“This is the government that’s been trying to impose fracking on reluctant communities in England, Heathrow expansion on London and roadbuilding around the country, utterly denying expert advice of what’s essential in this climate emergency.”

“Criticising the Labour Party is right, but it is rich indeed coming from the Tories. Labour is now increasingly talking about the environment, which is progress.”

“But it has failed to implement many of those policies in their councils – many of which have watered down Climate Emergency petitions, backed airport expansion, supported unnecessary road building programmes or enabled new coal mines.”

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

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3 Responses to “Boris Johnson in hypocrisy overload as he slams Labour’s environmental policies”

  1. Tom Sacold

    He’s quite right about everyone should be speaking English. I’m Welsh but I consider being able to speak welsh a ‘nice to have’, a cultural hobby rather in the way that I can speak French on holiday. I never actually use the language on a day-to-day basis when I visit friends & family in and around Cardiff.
    English is essential for effective communication and integration into normal British society.

  2. Patrick Newman

    The Tories have gone backwards on climate change measures – probably dating from Cameron’s infamous “get rid of all that Green crap”. Not only are they supporting fracking but recently (March 2019) they terminated the Feed in Tariff for micro-generation (mainly solar panels). There is still an enormous potential for this technology to be exploited. They have raised VAT to 20% for energy products like domestic batteries. They have made on-shore wind projects much more difficult. Proposals for tidal power have been cancelled. They are determined to allow Heathrow to expand when air travel hubs are increasingly unnecessary. No one mention the vehicle fuel escalator. We have an energy ‘market’ ostensibly with the purpose to reduce energy prices when efficiency and energy conservation must be the aim! So Boris is, as usual, talking bollocks!

  3. Julia Gibb

    For hundreds of years English aggressors tried to crush the culture and languages of Ireland, Wales and.Scotland. In Scotland post Culloden it became a ruthless campaign. In the 20th. Century Scottish children were still having signs or even rocks hung around their neck for speaking Gaelic.
    People like Tom Sacold above consider this aggression should be rewarded by ignoring the cultural purge. We should surrender to the planned intent and speak English.
    However the Empire lives on in the minds of many, hence the success of Brexit.
    The article ignores the most recent insult to democracy. That the people of Scotland CANNOT have a second Referendum on Independence. They cannot exercise the right to self determination enshrined in UN policy. It is not just the Tories making that claim. Labour and the LibDems support the Tories in a re-run of Better Togethet.
    The 3rd biggest Party (SNP) as regards MPs and members is ignored by the BBC and MSM.
    I detest the Empire culture of the U.K. You can keep your Royal Family, The House of Lords, the Knighthoods or the rich, the Private School elite who by birth and wealth run the country.

    Stop pretending it is a Tory issue. The Labour Party and the LibDems are every bit as guilty as the Tories. Labour have been promising to end the unelected HofLs and yet continue to stuff it from their ranks.

    Once again we have an article in which the glory of Labour is that they are not as bad as the Tories.

    Words, betrayal, lies and abstentions – that is why Scotland rejected Labour. That is why they are at 18percent in the polls.

    Socialism has gone the same way as our languages. We are to accept English and the politics of the greedy.

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