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Posts Tagged ‘George Monbiot’

George Monbiot and Heathrow hooligans make a lot of noise about nothing

Heathrow 13“The Heathrow ‘hooligans’ are our modern day freedom fighters,”  says George Monbiot in the Guardian. We think of a freedom fighter fighting for choice, glory and human endeavour. Monbiot’s freedom fighter is someone who wants to stop you taking a package holiday.

They have been reviled as vandals, hooligans and lunatics. But to me, these people are heroes. The 13 women and men on trial this week for cutting through the perimeter fence around Heathrow airport and chaining themselves together on a runway were excoriated by police, passengers and politicians. (One of the defendants in the case is a member of the cooperative society that rents my house.) If convicted, they all face a possible prison sentence. But there are two trials here: the legal proceedings in a local magistrates court, and a test of something much bigger.

Aviation enjoys some astonishing exemptions from the civilising rules that constrain other sectors. Other industries must limit the noise they make; but aircraft, thanks to an obscure clause in the 1949 Civil Aviation Act, are exempt.

Wrong. Says the Government:

Noise is regulated to some extent at all UK airports. This can include noise limits and restrictions on night flights.

Gatwick Airport has more:

The rules for night time

Until 1962, the government had no policy on night noise, and airlines were free to fly into and out of the airport at any time. Since 1962, in response to increasing community concern about noise, the government has tightened the rules…

The night time rules apply from 23:00 until 06:00. There is also a ‘shoulder period’ at either end of the night, with slightly less strict rules – that is 23:00-23:30 and 06:00-07:00.

From 23.30-06:00, the rules allow for a limited number of flights and a limited amount of noise over the whole summer or winter season. The number of flights is based on a points or ‘quota’ system relating to each plane’s noise levels.

On top of the quota system, there is also an absolute limit on the number of flights permitted at the airport. Under the quota system, the airport has a total number of ‘quota points’, which are then used up by night time flights. Different types of planes use up different numbers of points, depending on how noisy they are.

The noisiest aircraft use 16 points of the quota, and they’re called QC16s (QC = Quota Count). The next noisiest have eight points – QC8s. As planes get quieter, their points get smaller until the quietest planes have just half a point or are exempt altogether.

During the night quota period the noisiest types of planes are not permitted to be scheduled. Because there is a limit on the airport’s total quota of points for night-time flying, this system encourages airlines who want to fly at night to use the quietest aircraft.

Monbiot is utterly wrong, then. There rare rules governing noise at airports.

He then utters:

Airlines operate in a legislative vacuum, a transnational, extralegal limbo, accountable nowhere and to no one. As a result they threaten everything that was agreed at December’s climate talks in Paris.

No shareholders. No staff. No laws. Nothing and no-one.

You can do a course in aviation law at the Air Transport Association (IATA), which begins by telling anyone:

International air transportation is governed by a complex and fragmented system of global regulatory agencies

Being an expert on such things is far simpler at the Guardian.

Posted: 21st, January 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot Makes Shock Discovery That Humans Are A Viciously Destructive Species

HOLD FOR RELEASE AT 8:01 P.M. EDT; THIS STORY MAY NOT BE POSTED ONLINE, BROADCAST OR PUBLISHED BEFORE 8:01 P.M. EDT** FILE ** A Myanmar vendor in the border town of Tachilek, just across from Mae Sai, Thailand, offers endangered animal bones and skins for sale to tourist in a Saturday, Nov. 25, 2003 file photo. Almost a third of all apes, monkeys and other primates are in danger of extinction because of rampant habitat destruction, the commercial sale of bush meat and the trade in illegal wildlife, a report released Friday, October 25, 2007, said. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File) Ref #: PA.5280240  Date: 12/10/2007

A Myanmar vendor in the border town of Tachilek, just across from Mae Sai, Thailand, offers endangered animal bones and skins for sale to tourist in a Saturday, Nov. 25, 2003.


THIS really ought to take some sort of a prize for the amount of cluelessness it shows about our fellow humans. Yes, of course we’re ruthless, greedy and destructive swine, what the hell else did anyone ever think we were?

You want to know who we are? Really? You think you do, but you will regret it. This article, if you have any love for the world, will inject you with a venom – a soul-scraping sadness – without an obvious antidote.

The Anthropocene, now a popular term among scientists, is the epoch in which we live: one dominated by human impacts on the living world. Most date it from the beginning of the industrial revolution. But it might have begun much earlier, with a killing spree that commenced two million years ago. What rose onto its hind legs on the African savannahs was, from the outset, death: the destroyer of worlds.

Before Homo erectus, perhaps our first recognisably human ancestor, emerged in Africa, the continent abounded with monsters. There were several species of elephants. There were sabretooths and false sabretooths, giant hyenas and creatures like those released in The Hunger Games: amphicyonids, or bear dogs, vast predators with an enormous bite.

And Monbiot goes on to point out that where ever humans ended up we killed off the megafauna in that location pretty quickly.

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Posted: 27th, March 2014 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

So what has this neoliberalism ever done for us?

WHAT has neoliberalism done for us. So asks George Monbiot this morning. All this pandering to the rich, allowing offshoring, the hollowing out of all that was good and wondrous in the British economy. What good has it done he asks us:

The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples – in a thousand business schools, the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and just about every modern government – have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are now in. Total failure.

Total failure eh? Rather depends where you look really.

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Posted: 16th, January 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot is The Day Today’s roving reporter

GEORGE Monbiot is doing his bit to bring back the comedy of The Day Today. He’s visited an A&E centre:

My bike slipped from under me and I rolled on to the pavement. I thought at first I was unharmed, but when I pulled myself up I found my left foot could not support my weight. I phoned a taxi. The accident and emergency department was almost deserted. It was evening, but not late enough for the broken drunks or the seasonal fight victims – goodwill to all men unless they’re looking at my bird – to start arriving…

Only one person was sitting there. There were no magazines I wanted to read, so I parked myself two spaces from him in the hope of starting a conversation. He had a number one haircut and tattoos on his neck and knuckles. His hands and face were filthy. He wore a stripey fleece jacket, like the one I once owned, until I lost it. His was thick with grease and soot, and pitted with cigarette burns.

“What are you in for?”, I asked. He held up a finger, suppurating, black and yellow, missing its nail. “Blimey. How did that happen?”

“Pig slammed it in his car door.”


“Because he’s a fucking pig.”

“What had you done?”

“Nothing. Fuckers were moving us on.”

“Oh. What sort of a vehicle do you live in?”

“Old ambulance.”

“So where have you moved to now?”

He looked at me then turned away without answering. I had transgressed. Travellers, as I had found when I’d written about the harassment they faced, were often – and for good reason – wary of telling people much about their lives.


Posted: 31st, December 2012 | In: Reviews | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Oh the Irony: Lord McAlpin tweeter George Monbiot bemoans bias

THE world according to George Monbiot, Guardian columnist. In October 2012, Monbiot wrote to Media Lens:

Our brief correspondence on Twitter caused me to wonder why it is that Media Lens, a project whose purpose is to engage and persuade progressive journalists by critiquing their work and encouraging people to write to them, so often seems to alienate and antagonise them…

While I love debate, I do not love receiving scores of almost identical messages from people who sound as if they haven’t thought through an issue for themselves, but are parroting a line – often the exact words – formulated by someone else… you often seem to ascribe to people the worst of all possible motives…

The third issue is what I perceive as confirmation bias: that you appear to have begun with a conclusion…then sought evidence to support it. Take your recent alert about the Guardian’s coverage of climate change. It seemed to me that you were cherry-picking a few lines of comment to support an otherwise unsupportable conclusion. I challenge you to conduct a comprehensive assessment..rather than just plucking out the items you disagree with, and seek to decide, as dispassionately as possible, whether or not it really conforms to the propaganda model.

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Posted: 14th, November 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot gets Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan wrong

GEORGE Monbiot goes all over Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan this morning:

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

I dunno really: Maoism killed 60 million people after 1949, Pol Potism a third of Cambodia’s population.Compared with that inspiring the Tea Party seems pretty minor. And on Alan Greenspan:

Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru’s philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down.

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Posted: 6th, March 2012 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Guardian Reveals What It Will Costs You To Poach George Monbiot

WANT to know what George Monbiot earns? The Guardian oput the news on its front page. He published a  “registry of interests“. Tim tells us that Monbiot earns £75,000 a year gross or thereabouts.

As opposed to a Toynbee which runs at £116,000 I’m told, or a Rusbridger which is £500,000 plus bonus and pension contributions.

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Posted: 1st, October 2011 | In: Money | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot Completely Misunderstands the Housing Market

GEORGE Monbiot completely misunderstands the housing market isn’t all that much of a surprise of course: the list of matters economical that George can misunderstand is fairly long.

But what’s getting him today is that there’s a reform of the planning system in the air. This, according to him, means that the bastard plutocrats will be able to build all over this green and pleasant land and once again the bastard plutocrats will make pots of money.

Strong planning is one of many factors, but it is symptomatic of a political culture that puts the national interest above the self-interest of the rich and the long view above the quick buck. Pickles and Osborne are seeking to rip up England’s planning system for the same reasons that they want to drop the proposed new banking rules: corporate power, cronyism and plutocracy, the forces that got us into this mess.

Erm, no, not really, In fact entirely the other way around.

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Posted: 6th, September 2011 | In: Money | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

They’re All Wrong About Climate Change: All Of Them

THEY are all wrong about climate change. “All” being those who tell us that we’ve got to crush capitalism, localise, banish greed from the human heart……no, sorry, I’ve not the heart  to carry on with the tripe we get from Greenpeace and the like. But they are all wrong in what they tell us we must do about climate change. And the people who tell us so are the IPCC themselves.

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Posted: 11th, August 2011 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

George Monbiot Rebrands Boring Canada As Powerful Earth Killer, Canadians Delighted

death-or-canadaWHAT image do you have of Canada? Space. More space. Moose. Space. Backpacker wearing maple leaf badge on haversack. Space. More space. Polar bear! Well, Canada is feeling the change. George Monbiot is rebranding the great wilderness:

Canada’s image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling… This thuggish petro-state is today the greatest obstacle to a deal in Copenhagen.

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Posted: 3rd, December 2009 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Al Goreans Sell Inconvenient Truth Sequel As The Bible Code

gore_fallGLOBAL warming is no longer the terror it once was. Even rebranding it as climate change is not having the desired efect. What we need is a religious approach. Al Gore is on it.

George Monbiot tells us:

There is no point in denying it: we’re losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere which cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.

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Posted: 4th, November 2009 | In: Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0