'This is an official Conservative Party message putting themselves in opposition to the environment'
Using a story from The Sun newspaper, the Conservative Party have attempted to rile up division against the general so-called ‘eco-mob’, as Tory MP’s campaign for politicians who support climate change activist groups to be banned from the Labour candidates list.
The official Conservative Party Twitter page published a post featuring a zombie hand rising from a grave holding a Labour rosette with a headline from The Sun about ‘Keir’s eco-zombie’. The caption above read, ‘The eco-mob are rising and they’re wearing Labour rosettes’.
It came as the Sun splashed a story, which they have run over two-days now, about a Labour candidate running for Nadine Dorries seat in Mid Bedfordshire. The candidate Alistair Strathern took part in a peaceful Greenpeace publicity stunt – where he was dressed as a zombie – in November 2022 against the government’s public order legislation.
Because of his association with the global environmental campaign organisation Greenpeace, Tory MPs like Grant Shapps are calling for him to be banned from running as a candidate.
It came after Greenpeace members staged a peaceful protest on Rishi Sunak’s roof over his backing a major expansion of North Sea oil and gas drilling.
However, the Tory’s reaction seems to have backfired as the tactic has been blasted as a ‘desperate’ attempt to lash out at a new ‘bogeyman’, for which the government can direct their blame and distract the public from their failings.
Grant Shapp labelling the Labour candidate an ‘eco-fanatic’ who the party had ‘plotted’ to put in Parliament, in an attempt to rile up division. There is no evidence of Strathern being involved in any other demonstration with the organisation.
The minster for energy security and net zero stated: “Labour have gone too far this time – plotting to put eco-fanatics in Parliament.
“Keir Starmer I’m challenging you to today ban members of the eco-mob from Labour’s candidate list.
“Will you stand up for Britain or like a zombie will you mindlessly follow the mob’s every whim?”
This is from a party who took £3.5 million in donations from entities linked to pollution and climate denial last year. While it was revealed Rishi Sunak’s family firm signed a billion-dollar deal with BP months before he gave the go ahead to oil and gas licenses in the North Sea.
Some would say this was mindlessly following the mob who has the money, but at the expense of our planet. As their worrying rhetoric demonising supporters of climate change groups seems to fit a more general anti-environment stance which will be concerning to anyone hoping politicians are taking climate change seriously.
Asset manager Trevor Greetham wrote on Twitter: “This is an official Conservative Party message putting themselves in opposition to the environment. Do they expect anyone under 30 to vote for them ever again?”
Whilst Law Professor, James Chalmers pointed out, Greenpeace are actually more popular with the public than either party.
Chalmers wrote on Twitter: “OK, but people *like* Greenpeace. YouGov ratings show that 95% of people recognise them and they have a net favourability rating of +30%, which compares to -50% for the Conservatives and -10% for Labour. This is not a vote winning strategy.”
According to YouGov, Greenpeace are favoured by 49% of Britons, whilst 19% dislike them and 28% are neutral.
Another Twitter user put it: “Ever increasingly desperate Tories now lashing out at a new bogeyman responsible for everything wrong with society – the eco-mob.” While another pointed out, “The govt and right whingers keep telling ‘the eco-mob’ to stop protesting and get involved in politics. This is what happens when they do.”
(Photo credit: Greenpeace)
Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues