If you don’t know Darren yet, you should. He started a Brexit campaign for young people and students, and drew the intense ire of the anti-Brexit establishment and media, including press smear campaigns that resulted in accusations of illegalities, resulting in several court cases. Big mistake. They lost. And he has fired back on all cylinders, making a name for himself as an independent journalist. They have never forgiven him.
Extinction Rebellion and Roger Hallam need no introduction here, of course.
Some were expecting fireworks. But I found Roger likable and reasonable, despite our being essentially political enemies. We discussed those differences, and Roger was accepting of much of the criticism. We even found some agreement, of sorts.
One point of agreement was our views of the state of democracy. I think Roger genuinely wants there to be a democracy. However, I think he hopelessly misconceives democracy and its problems. He believes citizens’ assemblies, or sortition — the random selection of members of the public to make political decisions — are solutions to what appears to be the terminal point of British representative democracy.
However, I try to argue that the establishment, too, would rather do away with representative democracy, and to appoint citizens’ assemblies that it controls — which is exactly what happened with the UK Climate Assembly (much more on which will be discussed here later). He thinks the government and MPs are reluctant to follow a radical climate agenda, whereas I argue that they would like nothing more, but have been held back by fear of a public backlash. He believes, not unlike the politicians, technocrats and ministers that organised the Assembly, that once you explain things to people, they simply agree with you.
The next few years will be the test of our debate. Net Zero is going to be imposed on the British public, and in the words of one outgoing civil servant, “they don’t know what they’re in for”.