What do Greens and the billionaire press have in common?
Monday morning began with some confusion for Labour activists as Barry Gardiner, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, responded poorly when questioned about Labour’s decarbonisation plans on Radio 4. He failed to assert Labour’s policy of developing a pathway to net-zero emissions by 2030 which was agreed at Labour Conference in September. Instead he claimed Labour’s position was “well before 2050”: technically true, but misleading on the detail.
Gardiner’s misrepresentation of Labour policy was picked up by billionaire-owned media outlets like the Independent whose headline falsely claimed “Labour abandons climate change plan for net-zero emissions by 2030”. The news was shared gleefully on social media by dozens of Green Party activists all relishing the opportunity to undermine Labour’s climate credentials.
Catherine Rowett, a Green MEP, took the opportunity to show off the Greens’ increasingly characteristic disdain for trade unions and the working class, tweeting: “Sadly, Labour is stuck with the Unions. The Unions are stuck with a traditional outlook, focused on defending the status quo.”
The problem, though, is that the Independent’s reporting was fake news. You might argue that the press reporting Barry Gardiner’s mistake as a definite policy change was irresponsible, because of Gardiner’s track record of contradicting Labour Party policy, including on Brexit. This would be too generous. It is in fact clear that journalists working for the billionaire media are looking for anything to sow the seeds of division and generate confusion in Labour’s ranks to demobilise an active base of activists. The Greens were happy to go along with this with no critical interrogation of the validity of the Independent’s reporting or Gardiner’s answer.
Within hours, Clive Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister with responsibility for sustainable economics, told Jo Coburn on Politics Live that Labour’s target remained net-zero by 2030. Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, tweeted a threat affirming Labour’s commitment to the net-zero 2030 target. This was an authoritative move as climate is fully within Long-Bailey’s brief. Shortly after, Labour’s Press Team tweeted: “The motion passed at conference committed to working on a path towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Our manifesto will set out that path.” This is a position consistent with Labour’s Green New Deal policy passed at Labour’s Conference.
Unsurprisingly, the number of journalists tweeting speculation about Labour abandoning the 2030 target vastly outnumbers those reporting the fact that Labour are committed to the target, as verified by several sources. This is to be expected as the billionaires who own Britain’s news outlets like the Independent are ideologically opposed to a Labour government promising real change for the many.
Perhaps more surprisingly is the refusal of Green activists and elected representatives to correct the lies they happily circulated earlier in the day. In this election the choice is socialism and climate justice with Labour or barbarism and climate breakdown with the Tories. Despite this, its seems that some Greens are happy to share fake news and conveniently ignore falsifying evidence if it means they can assert an anti-Labour narrative. That is what Greens and the billionaire press have in common.
It seems that this article is out of date. It transpires that the Greens, by circulating articles by the Independent and Guardian, were NOT spreading fake news. The Labour Manifesto does, as predicted abandon the 2030 net zero target.
In its manifesto the Labour is instead promising to “achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030 in a way that is evidence-based”. Vague words – but certainly NOT net zero by 2030.
Could Bright Green now be accused of spreading fake news but propagating this article?
Chris Saltmarsh is an Oxford Labour City Council candidate. This is a cheap attempt to undermine the Greens (who have a good chance of winning in the ward where he is standing). Labourlist reported something similar “Barry Gardiner confirmed this morning that the broad 2030 commitment is now more of an aspiration than a cast-iron guarantee. Basically, the party wants the bulk of the work done within the next decade – as previously indicated by Rebecca Long-Bailey – but doesn’t think full decarbonisation by 2030 is a realistic aim.”
This article is missguided.. there appears to be a lot of unfounded claims that the author fails to substantiate. The quality of the articles on this site is deteriorating.. or are you just an anti Green publication now?
Thanks for putting this article together. I will be pleased if your prediction comes true and the motion is implemented into the Labour manifesto released tomorrow. However I did not, as our leaders did, circulate the press piece. I am aware that sometimes media reports turn out to be inaccurate or unsubstantiated, but as one green party member tweeted – fake news is an unhelpful term. It plays into a narrative of distrusting main stream media such as CNN whilst combined with lies of ones own. I was angry when I learned of the news which the BBC also reported on citing a deleted instagram post. My response was entirely constructive: to fill in a survey of what issues are priorities for me, delivered to me by my local GMB and Labour. My main criticism of Labour is not details like how many years they will wait for urgent action, it’s that they do not have a published manifesto yet. And I’m delighted that the Green Party have published an excellent 2019 manifesto. I am a member of the Green Party Trade Union group and would not seek to distance ourselves from unions. But in the GMB’s case I would like to no more, like does Tim have the confidence of his members? Did he take part in Brighton? Did the members have any interesting arguments about the Green New Deal campaign? Why did Rebecca Long-Bailey use the phrase Green Industrial Revolution. In a free country I have a right to ask these questions and to listen to journalism that asks these questions. I am a big fan of Naomi Klein’s new book and recommend it to everyone whether you agree or disagree or not. I am a fan of AOC’s Green New Deal bill in congress: but it’s my role right now to look at the best thinking and advise the green members and that means looking too at the original Green New Deal Group such as the article by Anne Pettifor, the beauty of the Green New Deal is it pays for itself.