Alex Chalk’s support for the Extinction Rebellion shows the Conservative Party has no self-confidence

Matt Snape argues that Alex Chalk MP's pride in "Extinction Rebellion" should alarm Conservative Party members.

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Matt Snape
On 9 May 2019 15:11

The Spectator wrote a devastating piece about how Parliament has lost its self-confidence by providing climate activist Greta Thrunberg with a platform to speak to politicians. Furthermore, Environment Secretary Michael Gove met with Extinction Rebellion activists, who claim Mr. Gove failed to impress them.

Greta Thurnberg has much to be proud of. She has caused politicians to listen to her and whilst most 16-year-olds would be concentrating on dabbling in alcohol, drugs (both legal and illegal) and social media, she can reflect upon her teenage years in time to come and say that she inspired a generation to participate in political activism.

But as The Spectator claimed, Greta also has the self-confidence many politicians lack. If Mr. Gove had more conviction, he would not need to allow a 16-year-old girl to lecture ‘mature’ politicians on climate change. Instead, the Government should stick to its convictions on its energy policy. Britain has gone for more than 5 days without using coal to generate power. 2018 was classed as the greenest year on record for the UK. Carbon emissions are at their lowest ever. Many automotive companies are investing in alternative emissions for their vehicles. These include Tesla and Dyson. If the Government provided the free market with more incentives to provide green technology, this would create more jobs and investment as there is a huge demand for environmentally-friendly products. It is capitalism, not state interventionism, that will end climate change. The Government has a proud record of combatting climate change. Of course, more work needs to be done. But if Mr. Gove, and Parliament generally, discussed the facts about climate change and had the confidence to combat the Extinction movement, Greta would not need, or deserve, a platform to lecture politicians.

Yet she has also become a figurehead for a movement that has contradicted its own message. The Met Police Chief told ITV News that the protests cost them an extra £7 million, which could have been better spent on policies designed to end climate change. Social media displayed dozens of photos of London completely littered following the protests, thereby adding further costs to the public purse to tidy the city. According to the Met Police Chief, the police officers did not see their children for days. Fundamentally, these irresponsible children who provoked Extinction’s protests have separated parents from their offspring. Also, Emma Thompson flew from America to participate in the protests, thereby extending her own carbon footprint- even more reason politicians must be braver in confronting these misguided activists.

Alas, Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk further encapsulates what is wrong with Parliament. Despite all the damage the Extinction Rebellion has done to the environment and the public purse, he told Gloucestershire Live that he is ‘hugely proud’ of the Gloucestershire-founded group and that their protest means ‘radical change’ to environmental legislation is required. This, again, exposes the lack of self-confidence Tory MPs have in being able to communicate their own Government’s record on fighting climate change. Mr. Chalk was no doubt hoping no one would shine a light on his ridiculous comments, but it is time to discuss everything that is wrong with them.

The Conservative Party may have embraced environmentalism in the mid-2000s under David Cameron, but it has been a party of law and order since its birth. How can Mr. Chalk justify a protest that led to almost 300 arrests? According to BBC News, up to 500,000 people were affected by the diversion of 55 bus routes. Even London’s left-wing Mayor, Sadiq Khan, expressed his concern over the disruption this protest was causing. Three men and two women were arrested for causing criminal damage. Most protestors were detained on suspicion of public order offences. Was the Cheltenham MP aware of this when he made his ignorant comments, or has the Conservative Party moved so far away from being a party of law and order that it now justifies illegal activities in the name of climate change? Is it so hell-bent on appeasing the left that it has forgotten what it has stood for?

Simon Richards, Chief Executive of the Freedom Association summed up Mr. Chalk accurately:

Alex Chalk is what Marxists would call a “useful idiot.” He is far from alone in this- in fact, a majority of Conservative MPs now fall into this category. Thanks to Sir Christopher OBE, MP, Mr. Chalk’s virtue signalling will go no further than the hot air he has already created. With a close eye on his majority, Mr. Chalk, like so many self-styled “Eurosceptic” Conservative MPs, spends a lot of time pandering to left-leaning voters in his constituency, safe in the knowledge Conservative voters there (of whom I was one) have nowhere to turn. Now that the Brexit Party has declared its intention of standing in the general election, he faces his own Extinction Rebellion from Conservatives who have had enough of a Remainer Conservative Party which treats its voters with contempt. “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind.”

 

Mr. Chalk’s comments should alarm those who are Conservative Party members. It is clear the most successful party in the world is stuffed with weak-minded MPs who believe copying the Labour Party is key to victory, even if that means alienating traditional voters and activists. The Government has much to be proud of on tackling climate change but surrendering to environmental activists shows the party has no backbone. Similarly, in the US, the political swamp here needs draining, and until it does, voters will feel disconnected from their representatives. But for now, Alex Chalk and Michael Gove will forever be associated with a political generation that lacked self-confidence and surrendered their convictions to a bunch of children.

 

Matt Snape is a freelance journalist whose stories have been featured in numerous national, local and specialist publications

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