What does Carry On Up The Khyber, the budget speech and climate change have in common? Quite a lot it seems…
In the final scene of ‘Carry On Up The Khyber’ the colonial British Governor and guests continue their silver service dinner whilst their ornate dining room collapses under attack from an Afghan uprising. Bombs fly, the orchestra plays on and as the ceiling falls on their heads the governor’s wife cries “I think I’m a little plastered!”. There is something quintessentially (and stereotypically) English about this scene: the pomposity, the slap stick and the biting satire about our unstoppable ability to carry on as though everything is perfectly normal while the dysfunctional world (that we have created) crashes in our heads. For the uninitiated see here.
This scene sprang to mind when watching the budget speech this week: the jokes, the jeers and the bawdy cheers when the chancellor announced a freeze on wine duty. All this but absolutely no mention of climate change. As Brother Belcher exclaims in ‘Carry On Up The Khyber’ when the Governor asks for wine as cannon balls sail over their heads “Wine?! They’re all raving mad!”
This budget speech was theatre of the absurd in technicolour. A mere fortnight since the International Panel Climate Change report – an international scientific consensus that urged our governments to act now to avoid global disaster – and not only was climate change ignored but Phillip Hammond announced a 30 billion road building package. Perhaps this is further evidence of a disturbing level of collective disassociation.
So what to do? Well we can choose to participate in this mass disassociation from the truth or we can write to our MPs and ask them
- What they think about the fact there was no mention of climate change in the Chancellor’s budget speech?
- What are they (and their party) going to do about it?
And as for Philip Hammond: well there’s a time for cups of tea and keep calm and carry on and there’s a time for wake up and smell the coffee. Surely it’s time for the latter?