The run up to this election in many ways has been unique. The horrific terrorist attacks in London and Manchester have made security the focus of the election, Brexit has overshadowed proceedings like a bad hangover and the two major parties of this country haven’t been more divided since Thatcher.
The Conservative party has moved further to the right as they try to entice UKIP voters back to the blue as UKIP fades into insignificance and the Labour party has moved further to the left to win back ‘the working man’ who felt increasingly alienated by new labour.
The Tories will urge voters that labour cannot be trusted with the economy and Labour will argue that the Tories cannot be trusted full stop. Both good points.
However, while Theresa May might suggest that Jeremy Corbyn cannot be trusted with the economy I would argue that the Tories cannot be trusted with something far more important. The environment.
Theresa May abolished the climate change department on her first day in office, is pro fox hunting and failed to sign a letter to Donald Trump condemning him for refusing to honour the Paris climate agreement. Further the Tories have cut money for renewable energy projects and Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs is quoted as saying “is climate change real?”
Everyone agrees that it would be a crime if charismatic species such as the orangutan or the tiger were to be lost to extinction and we readily shake our heads at the idea of hunting or deforestation in the far distant lands that they inhabit. However how can we go to the rest of the world and ask them to protect their wildlife and be more environmentally friendly if we don’t do the same?
The other political parties appear to take the natural world and environment more seriously in their manifestos. The SNP want to continue powering Scotland with renewables, the Labour party want to ban the controversial neonicotinoids pesticides, Tim Farron recently described climate change as the greatest threat to our future and the green party speak for themselves.
The party cry of the Tories this campaign has been that they want to create a ‘strong and stable’ country (could anyone have missed it?). In reality if you want a strong and stable country you need fish to fish, bees to pollinate, an energy source that is sustainable and an environment that is indeed ‘strong and stable’.
I, like so many people, do believe that the world is in an environmental crisis and intend to use my vote to attend to this issue. On the 8th of June the Tories will bark on about how we cannot trust Labour with the economy. I would put it to them, can we trust you with the planet?