Despite Momentum, the organisation set up to support and promote Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, claiming to want to “Put people and planet before profit and narrow corporate interests”, I found little evidence of his green credentials being displayed during his leadership campaign.
During his Question Time debate with Owen Smith on the BBC the only reference he made to the environment was during comments he made regarding his wish to scrap Trident. Now, I fully support his position on this, and I certainly agree that ‘the environment’ would also be a victim should nuclear weapons be deployed, but this is not the only threat to the planet’s health! Any politician who deserves to be taken seriously must acknowledge and make a priority the fact that there are limits to what resources we can take from the planet and that there are fast approaching limits to what waste we can deposit in its atmosphere, oceans, and ground. And such a politician must acknowledge that our current global economic system, our headlong pursuit of world-wide economic growth, is only accelerating the arrival of those limits. But not a hint of this.
His later Sky News debate with Owen Smith was no better. There was a great amount of discussion regarding our exit from the EU, and he did mention (almost in passing) the resulting loss of environmental and consumer protection regulations. But that was it! No elaboration. No further comments. In sixty minutes of passionate debate during which he appeared to list all the problems and issues he thought important, and all his key policy areas, no mention of climate change or the limits our relationship with the planet will impose on our economic growth. Even during his closing remarks when he made clear his opposition to the current government and their policies, there was no reference to their pursuit of continuous economic growth and their belief in the power of ‘free market’ to solve all our problems.
I’m sorry, but I find it very hard to believe that if he really believes that both people and the planet should be placed before profit he could not have said so during two hours of high profile debate.