- George Monbiotauthor, columnist for The Guardian and a leading environmental activist.
Following the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have advanced to a runoff to succeed Johnson as Conservative leader, which would also make them prime minister. Both candidates would be “utterly devastating” for the U.K., says Guardian columnist George Monbiot. “What these people have to do to become prime minister is really to appeal to the worst instincts of humanity.”
AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to how one television station in England covered this week’s heat wave. In this clip, that’s gone viral, GB News anchor Bev Turner interviews meteorologist John Hammond.
JOHN HAMMOND: We all like nice weather, but this will not be nice weather. This will be potentially lethal weather for a couple of days. It will be brief, but it will be brutal. So, you know —
BEV TURNER: Oh, John, but —
JOHN HAMMOND: — we can — yeah?
BEV TURNER: So, this is — so, John, I want just to be happy about the weather. And every single — I don’t know whether something’s happened to meteorologists to make you all a little bit fatalistic and harbingers of doom, because all of the broadcasts, particularly on the BBC, every time I’ve turned on anyone’s talking about the weather, they’re saying that there’s going to be tons of fatalities. But haven’t we always had hot weather, John? I mean, wasn’t it '76, the summer of ’76 — that was as hot as this, wasn't it?
JOHN HAMMOND: Uh, no. And, you know, we are seeing more and more records, more and more frequently and more and more severely.
AMY GOODMAN: This has been compared to the hit movie Don’t Look Up. Your response to this? And then if you can comment on the British prime minister’s race and where the final two candidates stand on this critical issue?
GEORGE MONBIOT: So, I mean, people say that Don’t Look Up was an exaggeration, but, honestly, the news anchors in Don’t Look Up were not as stupid and as blinkered as the news anchors in that segment you’ve just seen.
When I saw Don’t Look Up, it was like my life flashing before me. I thought, “This is all so familiar.” This is all so — including completely losing it in a TV studio, where I just couldn’t take it anymore, the banality, the stupidity, the triviality, and, I’m sorry to say, I just burst into tears, which is slightly mortifying. But, you know — and then, when I saw Don’t Look Up, I felt almost vindicated, because, yeah, actually that is the human way to respond to this utterly ridiculous, infuriating situation, where these total morons are just dismissing the greatest threat to human welfare there’s ever been. You know, how else can you respond to it? And kudos to John for keeping his cool. I don’t know how he did it, because I would have been bashing my head on the table that he was sitting at.
Anyway, yes, so, we’re talking about total morons. We now have a race between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to grab the helm of the Titanic as it starts going down — and in brackets, the Conservative Party. You could not have two less suitable people for high office of any kind at all, let alone to be prime minister of this country. But they are going to be chosen, not by the country as a whole, but by the members of the Conservative Party, who are about 200,000 people, mostly elderly, almost entirely white, mostly male, living in a very particular prosperous part of the country. And so, what these people have to do to become prime minister, really, is to appeal to the worst instincts of humanity, and that’s how they win. And both of them are highly — are very well equipped to do that. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak basically are, in concentrated form, the worst instincts of humanity. And they would be utterly devastating. I mean, we’ve had a terrible prime minister, the worst prime minister ever, perhaps, in the form of Boris Johnson, and it looks like they will continue that glorious tradition. Basically, what the Conservative Party in this country has become, now that it’s been stripped of all moderating influences, is a channel for the demands of the most predatory and destructive forms of capital.
AMY GOODMAN: And let’s just say, the British prime minister, addressing Parliament, just said — Boris Johnson — ”Hasta la vista, baby.” Your last five seconds, George?
GEORGE MONBIOT: Yeah. I mean, I would love to see the back of all of them. I mean, here we are, in this huge crisis —
AMY GOODMAN: We have to leave it there. I’m sorry.
GEORGE MONBIOT: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.